Day 6 in Toronto–Heading Home to NYC

Late evening update: The Publishing People for President Obama fundraiser, held at a handsome downtown loft–which I rushed to after landing at LaGuardia late in the afternoon–was great fun. According to organizer Barbara Lowenstein, it was a big financial success, with nearly $150,000 raised from it. Presidential advisor David Plouffe addressed the group and answered more than a half-dozen questions, making clear that the OBama campaign will draw sharp contrasts wherever they can do so. He was followed to the stage by Rosanne Cash and a fabulous guitarist John Leventhal. They played three songs and made a lot of us in the crowd even more glad we had come to support the president.

Afternoon update: I’m at Pearson Airport in Toronto, soon to board a flight for home to LaGuardia.

My productive and fun visit to Toronto ends today, and I am packing up my room this Monday morning. After I’ve checked out of my hotel and left my luggage with the concierge, I’m heading off to breakfast with my friend and book business colleague Marc Glassman, former owner of Pages Bookstore, and nowadays organizer of Toronto’s This is Not a Reading Series, and film critic. We last saw each other when I came to Toronto for NXNE last June, so we’ll catch up about the past year, including this blog and my new client, Speakerfile. Marc’s coordination of panels for his innovative reading series makes him potentially an ideal person to utilize the Speakerfile platform.

On Sunday, I attended an outdoor performance by the wonderful 6-piece band Ohbijou. They play a special kind of chamber-pop featuring guitar and soaring vocals by Casey Mecija and violin by her sister Jenny. The rest of the instrumentation makes for an unusual and appealing soundscape: electrified cello, keyboards, bass, and drums. In the evening I took the Toronto subway for the first time out to the northern reaches of the city to join a Father’s Day BBQ hosted by the Fish family, my Toronto relations. The family includes Abe and Marcy Fish, a cousin to my late father Earl. This was the second year in a row I was able to join them for this occasion, also after finishing up at NXNE. I enjoy enormously being with Abe and Marcy, and with their son Joel, at whose home we gathered. Surprise arrivals were Arthur and Bonny Fish, at whose vacation home on Prince Edward Island my family and I enjoyed a wonderful evening with their three sons a few years ago.

This whole trip has been my first attempt to more or less live-blog an event and it was a mixed bag, with some growing pains. I regret that the problems I faced in writing and posting about my activities limited my posting–due to the fact that 1) Verizon made fatal mistakes with my account and the SIM card on this IPad before I crossed the border into Canada, denying me access to cellular networks, and leaving me dependent on sporadic Wifi at many venues; and 2) Publishing photos in WordPress–the environment for this site–on the IPad is a very incomplete interface. In short, I had hoped and intended to post as rich a brand of content as I do from NY, with links and photographs and video, but it just hasn’t worked out that way.

I apologize to readers that these failures limited what I’ve been able to post from Toronto; still, I’m hopeful I will have learned valuable lessons over the past week that I can apply to my blogging the next time I travel.

Next time I post I’ll be back at my desk in NY, eager to upload and share my NXNE photos and write about the many great bands I heard over the past week, the interactive/digital/social media connections I made, as well as the new friends I met, and the great time I had hanging with my CBC Radio 3 friends. Toronto is a great city, vibrant, lively, diverse and cosmopolitan, a true engine of urban discovery.

When I land in NY later this afternoon, I’ll be heading right from LaGuardia to a Publishing for President Obama fundraiser. I look forward to seeing many NY book friends there.

Putting Printed Books and Ebooks on Equal Footing

With indie record labels now routinely making downloads of music available to buyers of vinyl LPs, I’m heartened to see a similar strategy taking hold among indie publishers too, with regard to ebooks and printed books. . . . With the print book and ebook initiative announced today, Coach House has demonstrated their continuing relevance, if it were needed–and that of publishers like them– in the burgeoning digital age that publishing has entered. I wonder how long it will be before big, commercial houses are also routinely making ebooks available, or some digital product, available with purchase of a new book. Meantime, congratulations to Coach House Books for leading the way. // more. . .