Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Very Literary Week

Courtesy of the lovely Lesley, this past week was one that was incredibly, I guess you could say, literary.

It began with a book launch for the anthology "Under Cover of Darkness" published by DAW books, where Lesley and I gathered with some other folks to listen to some readings and then get our books signed (and also to eat yummy things - free yummy things, which always makes yummy things even yummier).

Then last Wednesday we went to the Harbourfront Reading Series to see specifically Jon Clinch read from his book "Finn". We had met him on an online writers' forum called Backspace, and since we were the only people he sort of knew in Toronto, we went to be supportive, and then more importantly for drinks after. For a more detailed account of the event, read Lesley's blog.

And then on Saturday I fulfilled my destiny as the next Vanna White at Ad Astra (a literary convention in the genre of Sci-Fi/Fantasy), located at the Crown Plaza in the way east end of the city (way way east).

It was a heck of a lot of fun. But I have to say I am not sure I truly got the whole convention experience.

See, yes I did spend a few hours showing off items to be auctioned, and yes in the evening went to listen to some music based on the books of Guy Gavriel Kay and Caitlin Sweet, but really most of the hours from between 11:30am to 12:30am (that's just after midnight folks, not the lunching hour), were spent in the hotel bar sitting with a large group of people, writers, editors and the like, having some food. Having some drinks. Having some chat. Taking goofy pictures. And that's really it.

It was very university common room of us. Sitting on big couches and comfy chairs, or on the floor and laughing like very very silly people. I went to no panels (aside from the one that directly preceded the auction which was about the history of the Sunburst Awards, for which we were raising the money in the first place). And aside from the odd Jedi Knight passing by the bar, saw little to no costumes for the masquerade that night.

But who cares! I had a blast!

As for the auction itself. Well let me just tell you. I rock at being a prize girl.

Like seriously.

I mean, for some reason my body knew exactly how to pose, and how to hold the various prizes and show them off to the audience. And it wasn't even done tongue in cheek, a bit of making fun of the whole prize girl concept. No. It was really quite good. If I do say so myself. Which I do. But only because I am so surprised with me.

Lesley, Caitlin and I were dressed in very fab tight red dresses.

(left to right: Caitlin , Me, Lesley [aren't my lips ridiculously red!])

The two of them got to be all sparkly and stuff, my red was more matte, but that was okay. We looked hot. And slightly ridiculous. The auction itself was an hour and a half, and I am quite grateful I was just the prize girl because all the talking that Lesley and Caitlin had to do just seemed exhausting. By the end of the whole thing we were pooped and starving (the auction ended at 4:30pm and we hadn't eaten yet). Quickly we changed and then met with the others again in the bar.

Some of the guys asked why we changed and didn't stay in the red dresses. I replied they should try wearing heels and a thong for several hours and then ask me that question again. What do men think? That somehow our tolerance of discomfort is higher? That we don't ever get uncomfortable? Sheesh.

And then we ate. And then we hung out. And then it was early the next morning and Lesley and I went home.

It was fun! And I highly recommend going to a conference if you get the chance. Though I'm not really sure what it's like to actually attend some panels and stuff. I imagine it could be quite interesting.

Anyway, that's my story. Caitlin has so kindly provided a link to some pictures from the event (some of which you have already experienced here). If you feel so inclined check them out here!


S.K.S. Perry (Steve) said...

Had you gone to the Masquerade, you would have noticed that some of the guys *were* wearing heels and a thong.

Just saying.

adrienne said...

Steve, I stand corrected. You are right, I passed too hasty a judgement.

Heidi the Hick said...

"We looked hot. And slightly ridiculous."

I think that's a good way to be, really!

I'm still totally intimidated by conferences. I don't believe I belong there. But I'm making more of an effort to find out where authors are doing readings. I have a lot to learn!

Thanks for a look into your excited and exhausting event!

J M McDermott said...

to expand on mr. perry's erudite observation, i have noticed that a popular halloween costume is "the hairy man in drag".

one thing that always made me cock my head and go "well... that's interesting":

these men all seem to have suddenly developed a talent for prancing around in heels. no balance issues. no complaints about their poor, crushed toes.

anyway, i'm just saying that's interesting, isn't it?

i don't usually find cons intimidating, but if these three lovely ladies were prancing around in lovely dresses, i'd be extremely intimidated.

if i showed up in skin-tight dresses and heels, it would be a very different kind of intimidating for my fellow con attendees, indeed.

heidi, if you want to track author readings, four important places to look across most of America are university writing programs, art museums, and your library and bookstore calendars (usually posted on-line and on doors).

Major literary figures are rarely as much fun in person as kid's book authors. This is a fact. Julia Alvarez reading from her kid books was VASTLY more fun than her reading from her latest literary title.

Caitlin said...

So hot, so ridiculous...mostly ridiculous because I not-so-secretly LOVE dressing up. Thanks to Lesley for the sparkly red gown. Thanks to both Lesley and Adrienne for providing safety in numbers. Thanks to Steve for providing a room in which the Pussycat Dolls could safely explode.

About those pictures...here's a glimpse into the goings-on at the bar, which A. described perfectly: http://www.flickr.com/photos/grimmwire/sets/72157594573037074/

Caitlin said...

Yikes - that endless url seems to have been cut off. Let's try the last number string again:72157594573037074

Lesley Livingston said...

"We looked hot. And slightly ridiculous."

Or, alternatively, "ridiculous and slightly hot". No no, I jest. We were SMOKIN' hot. With a passing resemblance to Charlie's Angels as we stalked the length of the hotel lobby from Steve's 'sploded pussycat/ tawdrily besparkled room to the auction.

And I will be posting pix over at my blog later this evening. Heh heh... wait for it...

adrienne said...

Heidi - I would advise finding someone *cough Lesley cough* who forces you to attend these conferences and introduces you to everyone and has already done all the work for you. I can assure you that if it weren't for that lovely lady, I too would be totally intimidated by conferences.

Caitlin - oddly I could see those pictures from your first link . . . weird.

Lesley - I want to see those pictures!

Caitlin said...

OK - allow me to wax pedantic for just a moment. As I've discovered, "conferences" are academic beasts, concerned with scholarship and erudite meetings-of-minds. Ad Astra and its ilk are "conventions", commonly known as "cons," and they're only incidentally scholarly and erudite, though they definitely also feature meetings-of-minds...

Lesley: do Adrienne and I not get to veto the red dress pics?! Aaaah!

adrienne said...

Again I stand corrected. Caitlin makes an excellent point. T'was a convention, not a conference. This gathering was far from formal.

Nonetheless I still maintain that if Lesley had not been my guide (and then subsequently Caitlin), I would still have been rather intimidated! You guys don't know how scary you really are!

Caitlin said...

Oooh! I have red dress pics! (And then some.)

For all your Lesley/Adrienne/Caitlin photo needs, go to:

And stay tuned for Les' offerings...('cause really, can you have too many Ladies in Red images?)

ORION said...

I think you guys looked wonderful! I LOVE red dresses.
Sounds like mass quantities of fun.

Lesley Livingston said...

Here you go - this is the one from my camera where Peter figured out the flash!


Ghost Girl said...

I'm with J M:
Major literary figures are rarely as much fun in person as kid's book authors.

Unless of course they are wearing a tight red dress and a thong and showcasing the rubberized head of a terrifyin' space monkey!

You guys look fabulous, and it sounds like tons of fun.

Rebecca said...

I laugh that you think that the Don Valley Parkway is in the far east. I live in the true far east of T.O., that is, on the very border before you arrive in that other town of Pickering. It's a good 25 kms further east from the DVP!

You were fab in red, sparkles being truly unneccessary. Thanks so much for helping us out. Did you know you possessed true talent as a Vanna type? I could really see you in the role. Very convincing!