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Working with Speakerfile at BEA, June 5-7

June 5 Update: As you can read below, I was planning to put the Book Expo America (BEA) live stream on my site, but I found the link for it brings with it a jarring, noisy ad that disturbed and annoyed readers on my site the few hours I had it up as a preview. If you do want to view the live stream, I recommend you go to the BEA site and watch it there. Meantime, below is an updated version of my original post previewing BEA, which stands as relevant as when I first put it up last week. Now, I’m off to the first full day on the convention floor at the Javits Center!



May 31

Next week I will be attending Book Expo America (BEA), the book industry’s annual convention which I’ve been attending regularly since 1978, when with my family I began operating the bookstore Undercover Books. In those days it was known as ABA, named for the American Booksellers Association, the trade group that then ran the show. It’s a sturdy annual rite of rededication to the creative and commercial enterprise that is book publishing where acres of forthcoming books are displayed at publishers’ exhibit stands; authors sign advance reading copies (ARCs) for booksellers and librarians; and book biz friends who haven’t seen each other for at least a year meet and re-meet and share their enthusiasms for the upcoming year’s new books.

This year I will be working BEA with a new client, a Toronto company called Speakerfile who’ve hired me as an affiliate of theirs in NYC, representing them to publishers, publicists, agents, and authors. They’re building a great platform–think eHarmony®–with conference organizers and meeting planners on one side and experts and authors on the other. If you are an author who does public speaking–or you work with authors, experts, and thought leaders who speak in public–and are eager to have more and better bookings, I suggest you visit Speakerfile’s website to get a sense of what they’re building, and ask me for more information. To make it easy if you want to learn more, I’ve placed a promo spot at the upper right corner of my site–a click on it will take you right to Speakerfile’s home page. CEO Peter Evans will be at BEA, so please ask me for an introduction or a demo of their platform. If you’re looking for us, much of the time we’ll be at Bowker’s stand.

Also, for the first time I will be at BEA as an accredited member of the press, covering the event for this blog.One perk that bloggers have been offered is the chance to live stream on our websites the BEA’s own video feed of the convention from the Javits Center. So beginning next Tuesday, June 5 through Thursday, June 7, I invite you to visit this site where you can vicariously channel the experience of BEA.(A warning: the embedded link currently begins with an e-reading ad at high volume, so you may want to mute your volume for about ten seconds.) I have no input about which events they’ll be carrying but I suggest you keep an eye out for these two possible highlights:

♦ Wednesday, June 6, at noon when Patti Smith will engage in a conversation with Neil Young, who in October will be publishing his memoir, Waging Heavy Peace. June 5 Update: I’ve been told that due to permissions and rights issues, BEA will not be able to live stream this event. To view the BEA live stream, go to the BEA’s own web site.

♦ Tuesday, June 5, 3:00 PM, when Ami Greko and Ryan Chapman host 7x20x21. In this rapid-fire program speakers have 7 minutes and 20 powerpoint slides to present their publishing   obsessions. Participants are

*Statistician Nate Silver, who writes the FiveThirtyEight politics and polling blog at the New York Times

*Shelia Heti, author of Ticknor and the upcoming How Should a Person Be?

*Robin Sloane, former Twitter employee, writer, media inventor, and creator of the much-lauded tap essay Fish.

*D. T. Max, writer of the upcoming David Foster Wallace bio, Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story.

*Dan Wilbur, creator of Better Book Titles, a blog which offers this replacement title for “Much Abo about Nothing”: “An Extremely Complex Lie Will Clearly Solve Everything.”

#FridayReads, May 25–“Bill Veeck” and “BEA Buzz Books”

#FridayReads, May 25–Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick, Paul Dickson’s superb life of the progressive-minded baseball team owner, filled with fascinating social history and baseball lore. Also dipping into BEA Buzz Books, the ebook collecting 30 top books to be featured at this year’s Book Expo America, with selections from Neil Young’s Waging Heavy Peace, Mark Helprin’s In Sunlight and In Shadow, and many others.

A Renovated Digital Home for the CBC Archives

Cool stuff on the Web from the CBC Archives is now accessible to virtually all computer users. The national broadcaster of Canada goes back to 1936 but until now their Internet archive was more frustrating than enlightening. Now, however a post on the CBC’s in-house blog explains that the old site has been updated, with a side benefit that MAC users–formerly shut out–should now have as full access as folks on Windows machines. It does look much better now and you can savor TV and radio clips of musicians Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Glenn Gould, writers Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Farley Mowat, and Pierre Berton, comedians Bruce McCullough and Scott Thompson from Kids in the Hall and Catherine O’Hara of SCTV and Patrick Watson* (the longtime broadcaster, not the current day musician), to name only a handful. I should add it’s not all about the artistic luminaries–the correspondents and journalists who’ve long made up the CBC, such as Patrick Watson* (the longtime broadcaster, not the current day musician) and the late Barbara Frum, co-host for many years of “As it Happens,” Canada’s “All Things Considered,” represent great broadcast talent. This archive is a veritable youtube for Canuckaphiles and honorary Canadians like me. For a taste of one artist, enjoy this 2 1/2 minute clip on stellar rapper Cadence Weapon, celebrating his selection in 2009 as Poet Laureate of Edmonton, Alberta.

*In 1979, one year after my family bookstore Undercover Books opened for business, Patrick Watson published an excellent suspense novel titled Alter Ego. My brother Joel read it and wrote to Patrick inviting him to visit our store. With the participation of his publisher, Viking, Patrick visited our store for an autographing and a great book party that moved from the store to my family’s nearby home. I recall that Patrick, an accomplished pilot, flew his own small plane from Toronto to Cleveland. I bumped into him in 2003 on the convention floor at Book Expo Canada. We had a pleasant reunion. He’s a grand fellow and has had a fascinating career as broadcaster, actor, author, and engaged citizen. Apart from the thriller Alter Ego, Patrick is also the author of a book in my art book library, Fasanella’s City, on the American painter known for his colorful canvases that depict May Day celebrations and demonstrations of workers’ rights amid clamorous scenes of urban density.

The Soundtrack of My Teens–Hearing Neil Young Live in 1969

This is really exciting news. On June 6, to promote his forthcoming memoir Waging Heavy Peace, Neil Young will speak at BEA, the annual book industry convention. I’ve been attending BEA most years since I got started in the book biz in 1978, back when it was still called ABA, and have usually taken a pass on the guest speakers, but not this year. I am very eager to be there for Neil’s appearance and I’m sure lots of other book people will be there too. His publisher, the Blue Rider imprint of Penguin Putnam has put out this release along with the news, explaining that he will be interviewed by someone to be named later. [May 24 update: It’s been announced that Neil’s interlocutor will be Patti Smith.] Speaking of interviews, Jian Gomeshi of CBC Radio One’s “Q” program conducted a great interview last year with Neil, and Daniel Lanois, producer of Neil’s 2011 album “Le Noise.”

I’ve admired Neil since I was fourteen when I saw him perform in Cleveland. I went with my older brother Joel–with whom I would later operate our Cleveland bookstore Undercover Books–and despite my being way under-age, Joel, who would have just turned eighteen, somehow got me past the front door with him. Confirming my memories, Jimmy McDonough’s indispensable book Shakey describes the venue as “a tiny basement coffeehouse,” though I recall it also served liquor. I recall Neil played two consecutive nights, and we even went back for night #2. This was soon after Buffalo Springfield had split up around when his first solo album was released, and before Neil released “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere,” the first album with Crazy Horse.

Neil played solo acoustic sets both nights, but he also had a backing band that opened on its own and later played with him, a tight and country-tinged outfit called Natchez Trace, about whom I’ve found a faint trace online. From that source, a Buffalo Springfield fan site, I see that the shows were on Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1. I recall that the club was not crowded either night. At some point during the two nights, Joel and I availed ourselves of the opportunity to go up and say hello to him. I extended a hand and shared a shake with Neil, then so young, and a bit shy in fringed buckskins and extremely thin, as he was not many years past the polio that had defined his early years, also chronicled in Shakey. When I hear Neil speak on June 6, I’ll be remembering those La Cave gigs and the early days of Neil’s career.

Just Another Busker in Glasgow–Neil Young

Completely awesome and precious film footage of Neil Young busking in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1976. Made me shed a tear of joy to see him on the street with Glaswegians admiring and curious about his music. Banjo, harmonica and voice, all in service of “The Old Laughing Lady. Via the fabulous Dangerous Minds website.

Neil Young, Musical Hero

Neil Young, who has for quite awhile been vocally decrying the sound of much recorded music nowadays said this at a tech conference today: “Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music. His legacy is tremendous,” Young said. “But when he went home, he listened to vinyl (albums),” as reported by the AP.

In other Neil news, a recently recorded 37-minute Crazy Horse session is burning up the Internet, http://www.neilyoung.com/. For now, we’ll have to listen to it in a compressed digital file, but it still sounds pretty great. I bet this will be part of a new Crazy Horse release soon, and available on vinyl.

Treasuring Neil Young

Neil’s the best. What a beautiful concert he played for the kids at the Bridge School. The lyrics of “Sugar Mountain,” all about the uneasy passage from childhood to adulthood, are especially meaningful here. The cover of the old Youngbloods song, “Get Together,” was a special way to close the night. I treasure Neil Young.