I spent several hours this past weekend watching writers perform as singers and musicians.
First up: the Rock Bottom Remainders at the grandiose Nokia Theatre in Times Square, with esteemed authors Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Scott Turow and others daring to display classic rock chops on such tunes as Mustang Sally, Gloria and, of course, Paperback Writer.
Then, at the tiny Jalopy Theatre in a remote corner of Brooklyn's Red Hook, pop culture writer David Hajdu promoted his recent book of essays, Heroes and Villains, both by reading an excerpt and playing backup guitar for his wife, singer Karen Oberlin, in a concert of relevant songs. Another musician onstage was critic James Marcus, author of Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the dot.com Juggernaut.
I ended up at both of these shows as offshoots of my PR work. Looking to see if paidContent had covered news from one of my online advertising clients, I stumbled upon a ticket giveaway for the Rock Bottom show. I learned about the Jalopy event while pitching an author event to sponsor Freebird Books.
PaidContent didn't cover my news, and Freebird has yet to respond to my author suggestion. But they're hardly villains in my mind. In fact, they're more like heroes for connecting me to two great shows.
And those singing and strumming writers? Well, the Rock Bottom Remainders perform for worthy causes (in New York, World Vision, the 92nd Street Y, America's Promise Alliance and We Give Books), and that's certainly heroic. As for Hajdu? Kudos for coming up with a novel approach to book publicity in an era of fewer bookstores and shrinking publisher support!
Last year, The Book Publicity Blog suggested teaming up authors and musicians to draw better attendance at author events. But how much cooler to make them the same person!
Maybe I can convince my author client to take singing lessons?