"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

BEA Post Mortem

The scene at Javits before the show starts.

BEA – Book Expo America 2007

I went in with a plan. Really. I had maps, schedules, lists, My BEA Daily Planner and other tools. It all went for nothing the minute I walked into the Javits Center.

Phil Ortiz working on the BEA mural.

5/31/07 - Thursday. Conference: Panels all day long. I started out with good intentions and a planned schedule of panel attending, culminating in the Latino Book Awards. That was before I realized I had packed for a New York spring and it was hot, humid and my clothes just wouldn’t do. Nope. I walked from 43nd and 10th to Times Square and kept walking till I hit Ann Taylor and Macy’s.

Phil Yeh likes Tin Tin!

I spent an enjoyable morning spending money on me for once. I usually spend it on things like grandkids, kids, bills, rent and food. I got back to my friend’s apartment just in time to quickly shower and change. Grabbed a cab and I was off to Javits, arriving just in time for the Latino Book Awards (see my La Bloga post for my full list of winners). The awards ceremony was a little long, the list of Latino books and categories was long which is great that we have so much out there. I met nice people, chatted with people from all over the country and was thrilled to see some of my favorite books get awarded.

6/1/07 - Friday. The exhibit floor opens!!! I did attend one panel and had several meetings as planned. Then I went wild. Books! Books! Books! I visited publishers booths that I really wanted to see. I kept running into things I hadn’t planned on seeing and just got completely caught up. I’d run into someone that I had only corresponded with on email and we’d get to chatting and there went my schedule right out the window. I don’t think I even made it to the press room except for once in the morning. I met Phil Yeh and Phil Ortiz who were doing a mural for BEA. Yeh is the author of Winged Tiger while Ortiz draws the Simpsons for the comic book series. Nice guys.

I got to the launch of LIP (Latinos in Publishing) reception just as it was ending. Darn! I did have a chance to meet an icon of Chicana literature, Ana Castillo who signed her new book The Guardians or me. The fact that I didn’t stutter in the face of that diosa famosa amazes me. Ms. Castillo was gracious, beautiful and the first page of her new book already has me hooked. I saw Julia Alvarez leaving but didn’t get a chance to talk to her. Darn!

From there I hopped over to the Transcontinental party with two of my new friends. We shared blue martinis and good conversation while watching some of the crowd hook up to a flavored oxygen bar. Wow. I felt like I was in a Star Wars movie or something. The blue martinis were yummy and stylishly blue. Tired and happy, I left to the apartment on 43rd but headed right back out again to enjoy NYC at night. Goat cheese pizza and a cannoli with an espresso made the night perfect. Why did I ever move back home again? I adore Manhattan. Oh yeah, it was those bitter cold winters. Wimpy me can’t hang.

6/2/07 – Saturday. Morning coffee in the press room while going over the show daily and my notes. A few appointments. Hit the floor. I spent a lot of time bringing books down to attendee shipping to put in boxes. What a work out! Authors seen – Peter Yarrow who’s beautiful picture book Puff the Magic Dragon had lines of hopefuls stretched out for what seemed like forever. I scored one and chatted with the courtly gentleman for a sec. The book is gorgeous and I got one of the cool tote bags too! Can’t wait for my box to get here so I can read it and listen to the CD. I saw Wilbur Smith and also got his latest book, The Quest signed. Another lovely and nice man. I headed over to what I call comic book row where Diamond Distributors have their booths and Marvel is just around the corner. I met Joe Keatinge from Image Comics and Jimmy Gownley the cartoonist and author of the delightful Amelia Rules! winner of a 2006 Cybil award (I was on the nominating committee).

Joe has several books of special interest to me in my other incarnation as GM of Animation World Network (AWN.com) 
and he lists them below:
TALES OF COLOSSUS: Written and drawn by Mark Andrews, one of the major Pixar stars 
behind the upcoming Ratatouille. 
This is an epicmedieval tale where science and the occult combine to resurrect a  fallen soldier 
in the form of an iron colossus.
SCRAP METTLE: Another Pixar superstar, Scott Morse, has collected his sketchbooks and odd doodling 
into a 400 page hardcover edition,due out in July. It's a very interesting look into the process  
behind one of animation's finest creators.
The two of them also worked on two anthologies through Image, 
AFTERWORKS VOL. 1 & 2. Both volumes consist of animation's finest  doing what they love to do
 most after work - comics! The stories range from heartwarming all ages tales to WWII epic battles to  
silent heartbreak.
THE DRINK & DRAW SOCIAL CLUB. One of the front runners behind their art  book is 
DAVE JOHNSON, one of the main designers on the hit TV show BEN 10.

I stopped to chat with Chris Staros of Top Shelf comics who handed me a copy of Renee French’s new book Micrographica. Another book I can’t wait to get to. Where are my boxes UPS? I know, I know, not till the 8th. The wait is killing me.

I finally got to meet Jeremy Atkins from Dark Horse Comics. We exchange a lot of emails and go to a lot of the same conferences but have never met. Finally! Dark Horse does some amazing things including the much talked about Alice in Sunderland and those luscious Samurai: Heaven and Earth comics that I can’t get enough of.

Thalia signs at Chronicle Books

PGW party at the Blender at Gramercy Theatre that night with a friend. Good band, good music, good time.

I could go on and on with everyone I met and spoke to on Saturday and books I saw but I’ll save some of that for the next post.

6/3/07 – Sunday – I was EXHAUSTED!!! I got to Javits, headed to press room and had coffee. Feeling mildly human, I headed to the floor. Scored more books, met up with more people, went to shipping and just sat on the concrete floor sorting books and organzizing my boxes for about an hour. I got it all together and had it shipped, then planned on going upstairs to do more of the show till it ended. Somehow my feet ended up walking me right out of Javits and all the way to the apartment. I got there just in time. It started pouring down rain. My friend was back in town so we hung out, had Thai food and talked for hours. BEA was over, but not really. It’ll all be new when the boxes of books get here and I go through everything, my notes, the show dailys, the business cards, the emails. What a blast.

Next year, it’s in my turf – Los Angeles. YEEHAH! Maybe in 2008 I can stick to a schedule.

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