The Great New Wonderful
I just saw a fantastic film called "The Great New Wonderful." I'm calling it a film instead of a movie because I saw it at the Angelica, which is where all the independent films play. It's an ensemble piece with five stories about New Yorkers coping with the aftermath of 9/11. Each story is unique, realistic, and somewhat heartbreaking (although there is a lot of humor in the movie, ahem, film). Afterwards, the director got up and spoke along with one of the stars. This was an unexpected bonus. I had no idea it was going to happen, but boom, there they were. It was quite weird to see an actor in person that you just saw on the big screen (Jim Gaffigan). There was a Q&A that was extremely interesting. They shot the film in 24 days on a pretty small budget. The theater was about half full and many people left right after so the director spoke to a pretty small crowd. It reminded me of going on a book tour. Too often you speak to small groups. I highly recommend this movie if it comes to your city.
This was another case of naming a movie after a fairly unimportant element of the piece (like "The Drowsy Chaperone" I mentioned in an earlier blog). "The Great New Wonderful" is the name of the bakery Maggie Gyllenhaal owns. That's one of the five stories in the show, er, film. Now that I've seen this done twice, I suppose I could do it, too, even though it still feels like cheating to me.
Tonight my friend Brooke is coming in and we're going to dinner at our favorite place to dine together - Echo. It's a small Italian restaurant just down the block from me, the place where I had my birthday dinner this year. Brooke is a reporter who does the Scoop page for People Magazine. Schuyler is at yet another Sweet 16 party (seems like just yesterday it was a bar mitzvah every weekend). Mark is at the National Track and Field Championships in Indianapolis. Sam is hanging out, breaking in his new haircut.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Another celeb sighting
I swear, my life is just filled with glitz and glamour. Today, I noticed in the paper that there were two open houses in my neighborhood that I wanted to go to - one for a $4.5 million apt. and one for a $5.5 million apt. Just wanted to see how much better they were than my apartment. The answer? MUCH, MUCH BETTER! But anyway, as I was returning from the more expensive apartment, who (whom?) did I walk past but the guy who plays Christopher on the Sopranos. I know he lives in our neighborhood because I've seen him several times, often with kids. I wanted to yell out, "Happy father's day, Chris," but then I contained myself and acted like I didn't even notice him. Luckily, I was wearing dark glasses so he couldn't see my eyes beholding him. Of course, he probably saw me and said (to himself), "Oh my God! There's the author of the Ivy Chronicles!" Naaaaaah! Bottom line on the sighting: he's better looking in person than on TV. And, his arms are very muscular - this is a guy who works out with a trainer. Finally, he's a little guy, but I always suspected that.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
The Drowsy Chaperone
I went to see the Drowsy Chaperone last night on Broadway. It was cute. There were some very funny lines. And the concept was clever. It was odd to me that they named it "The Drowsy Chaperone" in that this character wasn't even the lead. But, of course, the name is catchy. Still, naming a play after a supporting character seems like a cheat. I struggle so much over titles. If I could go with a title that relates to the story but isn't germane to the main theme, it would be so much easier. Maybe I should consider it... Tonight I'm having dinner with my friends Tatiana (Style reporter for the NY Times and a first time novelist) and Jamie (a pediatrician and former brain surgeon - I swear!!!). We're going to the Knickerbocker, one of my favorite restaurants in the Village. I'm very psyched to have a girls night out dinner. I've been working very hard on coming up with the story for book #4 and I'm making progress. Whew!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
India Fudge and book #4
I turned in India Fudge this week, that is, I gave it to my agent. She'll read it now and I'm sure she will make comments. So, there will be one more round of edits on my part before we show it to publishers. I'm very hopeful that I'll sell the book because 1) I worked so hard on it, and 2) It's SUCH a fun story. I know, I should be more modest about it, but, hey, can't a girl get excited about her book? Here's my "elevator speech" about the story in case you are curious:
In 2006, the remains of a murdered young girl are found in the basement of a Fifth Avenue mansion that was, for over one hundred years, a boarding school for girls. In 1879, Fanny Reilly, a terrified maid fleeing the lecherous advances of the headmistress's husband, takes refuge in a cabinet where she finds a time travel tunnel leading to the mansion of today. Once through, Fanny meets India Fudge, a spoiled but lovable thirteen-year-old skateboarding misfit whose billionaire family owns the stately home, and her best friend, TJ, a boy genius whose father has little use for him. Together the children set out to determine if the body discovered in the basement is, as they suspect, Fanny's. But when they go back in time to prevent the murder from happening in the first place, each of their lives is changed in ways that none of them could have imagined. "India Fudge and the Time Travel Tunnel" is filled with quirky characters, suspense, humor, and unexpected plot twists. It is akin to "Time and Again," Jack Finney's classic tale about a modern day man who travels back to the nineteenth Century and solves a mystery that still has people baffled in his own time - but India Fudge appeals to a younger audience.
I'm trying to come up with a diffent name for the book, one that doesn't give away in the title that it's about time travel. I have a bunch of possibilities but haven't settled on one yet.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to come up with the hook for my next book. Simon and Schuster contracted for another two so I need to get moving. I have tons of beginning ideas, but I have to decide which subject will keep me excited for many months and years to come. So, I'm not rushing into choosing any particular theme. I'm letting all my ideas swirl around in my head for a while. But, of course, I can't wait too long.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Wife in the Fast Lane
I just got my first copy of Wife in the Fast Lane from the UK. It'll be published there on July 3. Can't wait! The book looks wonderful and I just hope everyone has as much fun reading it as I did writing it.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Sweet Rhythm memorial service
Piano great John Hicks died about ten days ago. Last night, all the jazz luminaries gathered at Sweet Rhythm for a memorial. I didn't go because, as with any official jazz event, it started well after midnight. Mark said that everyone was there - all the jazz royalty - and they performed in tribute to John. His kids were there, as was his twelve-year-old grandaughter who also played. Mark was in tears talking about the night. I think it was even more than John Hick's death. His mentor, Jerry Boltz, died about two weeks ago. The memorial service was yesterday in California and he didn't go. Jerry was the fatherly senior partner Mark never had (because he never worked in a firm). Jerry really watched out for Mark, helped him whenever he could, advised him. Mark is usually not that emotional, but these two deaths got to him. All the stragglers from the John Hicks memorial came to our house after for a nightcap. Sam walked into our bedroom at 11 and said, "Mom and Dad, there's a woman asleep on the living room couch that I don't know and Schuyler doesn't know. Can you please remove her." It was one of the waitresses from Sweet Rhythm who had come over and fallen asleep in the living room. Mark had forgotten about her. Oops. As sad as it is that John Hicks and Jerry Boltz died, the one thing you can say about both of them is that they touched many lives in the most positive way. I don't think a person can ask to do more than that. Both men were so loved and admired. Both men will be missed for years to come. On a much lighter and happier note, we have a friend who is up for a Tony award - for set design for The Pajama Game. I'm really rooting for him. I've never known anyone nominated for a Tony or an Oscar or an Emmy. This is BIG!
Sunday, June 04, 2006