Tuesday, June 07, 2011

On the Road Again - Impossibly Funky Book Tour Notes Pt 2

I've come to a decision. I'm never doing another book tour again. There's just too much overhead and not enough return. Yes, I had fun most of the time but I had quite a few disappointments as well.

I know better than to count on folks who say they'll attend events. I tend to count on maybe half of those who say they'll come out to actually do so. I was riding high up until Wednesday night.

I didn't expect to see a lot of people at the screening of Black Shampoo at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, Long Island. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when at least a dozen people showed up. The Q&A after the screening generated some good questions with one guy asking for my other favorite blaxploitation picks.

While the movie played, Dylan Skolnick and I hung out at the CAC's awesome concession area/lounge talking movies. And, after the show, CAC broke out the wine and munchies.

Books Sold: 3

Despite some miscommunications, the screening on Wednesday night at Brooklyn's reRun Theater went well. It was especially nice to have dinner with Dylan and Christine from Paracinema before the screening. The reRun has a wonderful little screening space with old automobile seats rather than chairs and some tantalizing gourmet grub. I highly recommend the popcorn with duck fat and garlic. Delish.

A great deal of familiar faces came out to the event including fellow MicroCineFest alum Mike Faloon who brought out some free copies of his book The Hanging Gardens of Split Rock for anyone who bought a copy of Impossibly Funky. I was thrilled to finally meet some folks that I had only ever talked to online including Mark Trahan, the fine folks at Cinema Knife Fight and Keith from Teleport City. Again confirming that the best part of the book tour is meeting people in real life that I've only ever conversed with via mail or email.

Books Sold: 4

Thursday we headed up to Midland, MA -- appropriately named as it's roughly halfway between Boston, MA and Providence, RI.

Almost as soon as we got in, I took off again, heading to the north of Boston for a meeting with Bill from Outside the Cinema podcast. We did an impromptu live broadcast. More movie talk and a lot of fun shooting the shit with him.

On Friday Andrea and I did the tourist thing most of the day, heading down into Boston and hitting a "hop on/hop off" bus tour of the city along with a couple of bakeries. We got back to Brookline, MA just in time for my reading at the Brookline Booksmith. Despite a terrific introduction by Booksmith's Evan Perriello, the reading was a bit of a bust. First, I kept flubbing lines. Perhaps that was due to the huge crowd that had gathered... all three people. At least one of them in the audience was Adam Blomquist, a fellow Paracinema writer.

Adam and Evan also later came to the screening of Black Shampoo at the Coolidge Corner. This put them in a pretty elite group of people as not very many other folks made the midnight show (despite a lot of folks telling me that they'd be there). I expected maybe twenty or thirty people to show up. I think that around ten did.

Books Sold: 1 -- to David Haymen of .45 Caliber Samurai.

If I was disappointed by the number of "I'll be there!"s versus actual people in the audience in Boston... then Providence was devastating. First off, we got into the city right about 1PM after having some brunch at Evelyn's (featured on "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives"). Little did I know that the planned tour of the city by the Providence by trolley wouldn't happen since it's not a "hop on/hop off" tour. It's one fucking trolley that does three tours a day in the summer. We missed it by a few minutes and didn't want to wait around for two hours until it came back. Instead, we headed to the mall and caught X-Men: First Class, which -- despite a great performance by Kevin Bacon and some awesome outfits on January Jones -- was more Coach class than First class.

I'm still not exactly sure what happened to dinner plans that night. Rather than things coming together smoothly as they had in Manhattan or Schenectady, it was a true cluster. Of the expected six people at our table (two of those being Andrea and me), we had three. Thank goodness that Cable Car cinema projectionist Josh Gravel showed up. After waiting over an hour for the rest of our party to show up, we finally gave up the rest of the table to some waiting patrons.

Waiting for people to show up that never did also happened at the theater where at least three "for sure"s ended up as no shows. I try not to have unrealistic expectations about people but these folks had been talking to me about my Providence trip for months. So, when they never came, called, or emailed (still), it stuck in my craw. The few folks that came out to the Cable Car seemed very into Black Shampoo and it ended up being a pretty good night for sales.

Books Sold: 3

And, on Sunday, I drove us back all the way from Midland, MA to Westland, MI. This gave me plenty of time to think about how going out on tour for the book may not have been that great of an idea. Yes, I had a lot of fun seeing old and new friends. The people who helped me set up the events were all very cool and everyone that came out seemed to have a good time. I'm glad I helped spread the word about Black Shampoo, Angels Brigade, Satan's Cheerleaders, Without Warning, Shock Treatment, and Miami Blues and, hopefully, Impossibly Funky.

I want to thank everyone again who showed up and/or helped make these gigs happen. The screenings were truly a pleasure, albeit a very expensive one. Maybe all of the time and money will help make the next book more of a success...

I can hope.


Anonymous said...

Well... phooey! That is truly disheartening, Mike. I'm sorry to hear this. I do hope you can make it out to Portland someday, if not for a book tour, then just to hang out and watch movies. I for one would definitely be up for it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry it ended up being such a disappointment towards the end. I'm really glad we got to see so much of you guys though!

XichthusX said...

That sucks, Mike. I'm very sorry to hear about how things unravelled toward the end for you guys. The book is great and I hope you clean house at B Movie Celebration. I will do my part to keep getting the word out for you!! Any plans to come to Indiana or Kentucky for any reason!?

Charles Unger said...

Hey Mike, although it may be initially disappointing, these kinds of tours have more long-term benefits. You may not see the results initially but I'll bet that you will in years to come. We're about to do a similar thing and know going in, that it may not be a success at first but we hope for a pay off later. Rock on Man.

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