Friday, April 29, 2005

Word of Mouth begs Oprah

Word of Mouth Writers, an association of prominent women writers, wrote Oprah a letter, pleading with her to bring back her book club. Whenever Oprah mentions a book it usually hits the New York Times best seller list. The book club boosted sales even more.

I love Oprah but I think it's a pretty sad statement that the writing community is so unimaginative that they have to rely on Oprah to promote books. Sounds like some big-time writers are missing those big royalty checks. Some of the writers: Louise Erdich, Jane Smiley, Amy Tan. As of April 30, Oprah hasn't replied. I hope she doesn't.

Here's an excerpt of the letter: " However, the writer M. J. Rose, a novelist and long-time reporter on publishing news, has noticed something different. Her research suggests that the drastic downward shift actually happened six months after the attacks: fiction sales really began to plummet when the The Oprah Winfrey Book Club went off the air. When you stopped featuring contemporary authors on your program, Book Club members stopped buying new fiction, and this changed the face of American publishing. This phenomenon was a testament to the quality of your programs, the scope of your influence, and the amazing credibility you possess among loyal Book Club readers."

Perhaps the way books are retailed could be improved. Maybe the authors could put more of themselves into promoting their books. Maybe the industry could dig up another worthy promoter-of-books, or maybe a few, so they don't have to depend on one. Perhaps the writers should be pushing their publishers to contribute more to the marketing effort. Perhaps the name writers could start a reading program at their local schools to nurture the future book readers. Maybe they should start blogging. Surely, the future of books can't fall on the shoulders of Oprah.

Here's the pathetic ending: "The American literary landscape is in distress. Sales of contemporary fiction are still falling, and so are the numbers of people who are reading. Readers complain that, although daunting numbers of new books are published, too few of them are brought to the public's attention in a meaningful way. Readers have trouble finding contemporary books they'll like. They, the readers, need you. And we, the writers, need you. America needs a strong voice that addresses everyone who can read, a voice that will say, "Let's explore the books that are coming out today. Let's see what moves us, what delights us, what speaks to us in a way that only fiction does."

Oprah Winfrey, we wish you'd come back.

Monday, April 25, 2005

ATP rocked and I missed it

John Frusicante, my favorite musician, played All Tomorrow's Parties festival in England, this past weekend and from the reviews, it appears to be one of his best -- and longest -- shows ever.
I should've spent the money, put everything on hold and gone, even though it was in England! I am kicking myself. A number of other artists were there including P.J. Harvey, Vincent Gallo, Sean Lennon, The Zombies, Autolux, Women and Children, Vitamin B-12.
Next time an opportunity like that comes along, I'm there! Even just to be someplace else for a while. has some great reviews and photos.

That reminds me, I still have two tickets to give away to the Red Hot Chili Peppers Concert July 2. See my earlier post.

This photo was taken at ATP by one of John's fans.

Image hosted by

For those, who also missed the show, another fan site,, has more ATP photos and reviews. This site also has some ATP photos/video but you have to register:

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Ms. Appleyard says skateboarding is A-OK

Carole Appleyard is the mom of champion skateboarder Mark Appleyard Here's a story from the mom's perspective.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Radio call letters

This has no relevance to anything. I just thought it was interesting. The origination of radio call letters, you know, like KBIG....
here's another:

Free Red Hot Chili Pepper tickets

We have a bunch of JF fans! Here's another contestant:

"I'd love to spend the day with John Frusciante, never mind a day, five minuets would be enough time with John. I love John so much and what he does with his music. The guy is a genius. I sit at home everyday with my acousitc in my lap just playing to his solo records and chili peppers songs. John and the peppers come before anything in my life. John is the biggest inspiration in my life and he is my idle. Without him I wouldn't even of picked up a guitar."

Here's the first person to respond to my ticket giveaway:

"I would love to spend the day with John. just listen to
John's music gives me feeling that I can't even
explain. John is one my few interest in life. I would
love to just ask him how he doing? How often he puts
the guitar down? And if he didn't play the guitar what
would he like to do? Then I would hope John would be
John go through his average day in from of me."

What a great post. I sit here with my John Frusciante shirt on and I'm thinking I'd like to give the tickets away to the person who sent me this but I'll wait. I'm going to put a deadline on this. The last day to submit is the end of May. I'll add that to the original post as well.

Here's mine:
Of course the Chili Pepper I'd most like to spend the day with would be John. His music makes me happy. Every CD he's released is one of my favorites. That's rare. Usually a CD has one or two good songs but his music resonates with me for some reason. I believe it's his voice.
I guess I'd take him to the coffee shop and ask an endless number of questions about creativity, why music is such a strong force in his life, and I have to admit, his ethereal interests are intriguing. what else he does for fun why doesn't he drive, does he still skateboard?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Free Red Hot Chili Peppers tickets

new contest

Just curious, if you could spend the day with one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who would it be? The Peppers are playing a free show in Las Vegas July 2. The show is to celebrate Las Vegas' 100th year. See two posts ago or click here.

If you didn't get your tickets within the first 15 minutes, you are out of luck.

But I've got an extra pair.
To win them, send me a note telling me which Chili Pepper you'd spend the day with, where you would go and what questions would you ask?

Send in submissions to me and I will post them.

Send it to me at I will gather all the responses. I'll randomly pick a winner out from the submissions. The last day to sumbit is the last day of MAY.

Any takers?

Sunday, April 17, 2005


This is my new music discovery. I guess I'm late in finding Elefant since their CD was released sometime last year. But better late than never.
I love this band. It's real poppy with Cure sensibilties, fun without a doubt.
Diego Garcia, lead singer
Kevin McAdams, drummer
Mod, keyboard, guitar
James Jeffrey Berrall, bass and vocals

Check them out here.

Diego Garcia, the singer. Need I say more?

Drummer man, Kevin

The band

Friday, April 15, 2005

Las Vegas Centennial

My early years were spent in Las Vegas when it was still a vast desert. We lived on the West side of the Strip. For fun, we raced lizards and ran after the ice cream truck. My next door neighbor was a singer at one of the hotels and my uncle had a TV show and was a radio DJ. My mom would wear false eyelashes, mini-skirts and big wigs when she and my dad headed out for a night on the town. The Thunderbird was all the rage.

Teenagers used to jump from the top of buildings into pools, turn their eyelids inside out and shoot me in the foot with BB guns as the Rolling Stones played in the background.

It was the Wild West. But I have always recalled it fondly. Years later, with that warm place in my heart for the desert I decided to go to college there. Yes, they have a school there, the No. 2 ranked school for hotel administration. The basketball team, however was No. 1.

But my second stay in Vegas wasn't anything like the first. The city practically ate me alive. Still, I stayed for 10 years. I have strong ties to Las Vegas and it continues to enchant me.

It's not the Strip or downtown or Steve Wynn's latest hotel. It's the people and their dogged pursuit of community in a land where tipping the customer over and emptying his pockets is the name of the game.

Now Vegas is celebrating its 100th year in business -- it is after all a business, isn't it? -- kicking off the events with none other than my favorite band -- the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Ahhhhhhh, Vegas, you can still get to my heart. Here is Vegas' centennial site.

For more Vegas history click here.