Apparently, you can't be in New Jersey and not talk about Kevin Smith. It might be a law somewhere. He was the topic of conversation before the event got underway at The Raconteur book shop, movie rental place, screening place on the main drag in Metuchen, NJ.
Day two of the book tour was another ass-kicker, though I'm hoping that the rest of the days start mellowing out. It wasn't so bad in terms of the gigs. Oh, no. It was just all the driving and getting up in the pre-dawn hours to haul ass to the Pennsylvanian capital, Harrisburg, and then the rest of the way across the state and into New Jersey.
You couldn't talk about two more different spaces than Midtown Scholar in Harrisburg and The Raconteur in Metuchen. Midtown is a huge, sprawling space with tons of natural light and a grand coffee bar. There's an upstairs reading area that's lined with shelves of film books. Meanwhile, the Raconteur is one of those places where you're sure to butt brush a few dozen books off the shelves/piles around. There's no coffee bar but owner/operator Alex is sure to offer you a plastic cup of wine if you're at the place for an event. And then there's Rosie, the former leader dog that patrols the place. Two very different atmospheres but both wonderful in their own ways.
As I've said before, it's meeting people that is really making this trip a blast. At Midtown, Moviate coordinator (more on this Monday when there's a whole Moviate screening planned of Black Shampoo with a post-screening Q&A with Greydon Clark) Caleb Smith stopped by to wish me luck. Also joining me was former MicroCineFest alum Dan Krovich, Cashiers du Cinemart alum Mike Sullivan, and AisleSeat.com scribe Mike McGranaghan. I've been chatting with Mike McGranaghan for a while on Twitter but had never met and I've been corresponding with Mike Sullivan for years. The Mikes, Dan and I bullshitted for movies around a table full of Impossibly Funkys for almost two hours. Two ladies came up and asked me about the book. One, a former Flat Rock resident, even purchased a copy. Score!
After packing the car back up, Andrea and I kept heading east to Edison, New Jersey.
I didn't meet any long-time "virtual" friends in Metuchen (save maybe for Alex whom I'd been bugging for months) but did hook up with an old real life pal, my good buddy Leon Chase (of Uncle Leon & The Alibis) drove down from Brooklyn to read from his piece, "All the Good Guys and the Bad Guys that I've Been" from Impossibly Funky. He also gave me a great deal of (im)moral support. He, Andrea and I had some amazing pizza before diving into The Raconteur for a little talk about the book and some reading. There's going to be YouTube footage of this floating around sometime soon... beware.
It wasn't a bad turn out at all. I had hoped to see a lot more people from New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York at the event. Leon tried to explain to me that even though it was only a 30 minute train ride from Penn Station that New Jersey could be considered only slightly less distant than, say, the moon to most New Yorkers. On the bright side, I managed to sell three books (w00t!).
True to my observation of yesterday, the guy who wanted to talk to me the most and impress me with his knowledge of movies, didn't buy a copy. Sonova... I need a good way to get rid of these folks (I'd say "guys" but the Oak Park person was a woman who wanted to impress me with how great her son is). If I was a better film nerd I'd destroy them with some cutting cinematic slur ("You, sah, wouldn't know a pan from a tilt!") but my momma done raised me better. So, if you're at one of these events and see my time being taken up by someone without a copy of my book in their hands (preferably with a receipt sticking out of the top of it), feel free to interrupt the conversation.
I have quite a thirst for beer tonight. I'm wondering if anyone in Baltimore will be able to help out with that tomorrow...