Jeez. 7 days in NYC – I really should have paced myself better and spent some time blogging during the trip. Then I wouldn’t have cast my tired brain back over the craziness of our journey to the Big Apple, which began two Thursdays ago.
Anyway, 6 of my colleagues and I spent a week (give or take) at a major conference of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, fondly known as APAP (and it wasn’t until this trip that I started to wonder how strange we must all sound saying we’re going to a conference who’s acronym is a girly medical procedure).
You wouldn’t think it, but APAP is a pretty big deal. More than 4000 delegates attend from dozens of countries. It’s a booking/trade show for the arts, which is appalling in some ways, and invigorating in others. For example, you get to have meetings with inspiring artists like David Michalek and see great new bands like Red Molly, but you also spend hours haggling with agents and wondering how you can balance the budget and do amazing projects that are free or low cost for the audiences.
But I get ahead of myself.
We (my colleague and I) arrived on Thursday morning…and had time to wander the streets, visit 5th Avenue, and in my case, buy some much-needed black boots. We wandered in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Lego Store, and saw Rockefeller Plaza, still decked out for Christmas. I was reminded how my home town in Arkansas needs more cool funky lunch places like Chop’t, where you can get amazing salads mixed up and chopped to order. I spent a cold hour in line at the TKTS booth, and that night, we saw the mighty James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave in the stage version of Driving Miss Daisy. I was ten feet from Darth Vadar’s voice for nearly 90 minutes. Awesome. Later that evening, we went to a barbeque joint to see a fun band called Hot Club of Cowtown a “modern western string band”. Barbeque in NY? I know, that’s weird.
The next day, session hopping began. The most interesting part of the day for me was the astounding varieties of ugly carpeting that decorate the floors of the Hilton. Actually, I did enjoy the session on Cultural Diplomacy, and am starting to wonder if that’s my next career area. We’ll see. That night we saw the Tony Award winning Broadway show Memphis. It was great. It was exciting to see a new original show be so much fun. We tried to go see a Second City showcase, but were waylaid by the need to gossip with our coworkers.
Saturday began with the inevitable Starbucks line, where I ran into my good friend Betsy from grad school. The morning’s session was the best at the conference, in my humble and clearly unbiased opinion – it was done by students in my graduate degree program at the Bolz Center for Arts Administration. They’re so smart. They make me feel less smart. 🙂
‘Scuse me a moment, I have to check my twitter feed to remember what I did that day. Hold please.
Ok. Thanks to twitter, I now know that on Saturday I attended a so-called “lightening session” where the presenters were supposed to speak for 8 minutes each about their respective topics. Naturally, being arts people, they couldn’t keep it brief, but it was interesting. The best quote: “Young people have an increasingly short attention span for boring things.” – this from David Taylor, arts consultant.
Pardon me. We must pause for a moment to note that Chris Colfer just won a Golden Globe, and told all the kids out there who have been bullied or told they can’t be who they are “Screw that, kids!” Hear, hear, Chris.
Back to Saturday, where I can remember having drinks with Bolzies and seeing my good friend Sarah, founder of the awesome Four Seasons Theatre, and realizing that the assassination of an Arizona representative was actually real. I realize now this is partially why I was a such a grump during a great performance by Marc Cohn. Then back to the Hilton for a few showcases, including Dala, who will be appearing at the WAC this spring, and several other showcases that made me realize I am able to distinguish good from bad.
Sunday morning brought showcases; Trout Fishing in America and Ball in the House, among others – man, do I feel for those artists having to perform in the morning. Then a “town hall” meeting, then lunch at a booking agency. Then began the “Day of Loss” as I managed to lose my gloves, scarf and badge at showcases, which included the Martha Graham Dance company and the Midtown Men (the 4 original Jersey Boys). But the day ended on a high note, as we noshed on some chicken and rice from the alleged best food cart in NYC.
Monday brought time wandering the Expo room and a plenary lunch featuring David Hyde Pierce, who somehow found a way to call all arts presenters crazy. Then more expo time, then meetings, then a super lame dinner followed by a botched attempt to see a film. So I subwayed my way down to a showcase where I saw, among others, the fabulous Patti LuPone. That, I won’t soon forget – the highlight was hearing her do “My Way.” I finished the night with a jazz show at the famous Blue Note in Washington Square. I tried, I really did, but I don’t get jazz. That was a LONG 90 minutes.
Tuesday (good grief, this is a long conference!) featured an inspiring closing plenary session with author Azar Nafisi (I had never heard of her, but will definitely download her book Reading Lolita in Tehran soon) and some excellent shopping sandwiched among meetings and much panic/changing of flights as a large snowstorm loomed. We had dinner at Orso (I had quail) followed by Million Dollar Quartet and shakes at the Shake Shack. We walked home and had a magical moment in Times Square as the snow fell.
Wednesday (1/11/11) should have been a travel day, but due to a falsely inflated snowstorm it was a bit of play day, and play we did, in Central Park, in our new rain boots. Lunch at La Bonne Soupe followed, then a surprise gem of a show, Lombardi, and then an amazing dinner at Carmines, followed by Mary Poppins, blintzs and packing.
Finally, home on Thursday. Whew. Despite my incessant complaining about the length of the trip and missing my dog, it was pretty awesome. I’m a lucky gal.
PS: I’d like to thank the good people at facebook, twitter, outlook calendars and the Hollywood Foreign Press for helping me reconstruct my life. I love you all.
|Central Park, 1/11/11|