Sunday, May 31, 2009

2009 Audie Awards

The "truncated" ceremony the APA came up with this year worked out pretty well, in spite of the reservations of not a few participants. The Awards presentation itself was streamlined to ninety minutes instead of a lengthy dinner. Individual winners were not invited up to accept their awards, with the exception of four major categories, but were asked to stand in the audience and be acknowledged. Tony Roberts was a congenial host and the presenters did a nice job. The new format needs a bit more polish and pizazz but overall it seemed satisfactory. On the plus side, the awards were bracketed by cocktails and hor d'ouevres before and champagne and dessert after, so there was actually more time to visit, and people actually stuck around for a while instead of dashing out after an exhausting evening like they did last year. Playaway, makers of the "disposable" audiobook that's growing in popularity with travellers and libraries, held a little "after" party. I stayed out way too late for a middle-aged narrator who had trouble squeezing into his tux this year, and I somehow ended up in a strangely-lit disco that felt more like a scene from Jacob's Ladder than a post-Audie celebration. At that point I decided it was time to go home!

Blackstone did extremely well this year, tying Macmillan Audio for the most awards.

John Lee won Solo Male Narration for our production of The Count of Monte Cristo.

Elmer Gantry, read by Anthony Heald, took the Literary Fiction category.

The Mystery award went to The Voice of the Violin, narrated by yours truly. (By the way, I consider this my first "personal" Audie. My only previous win was as part of a multi-cast production for Listen and Live.)

Bronson Pinchot's narration of Chip Kidd's The Learners grabbed the Humor award, beating out David Sedaris--no mean feat!

All in all we had 20 nominations, so we were exceptionally pleased with our showing this year.

The APAC conference seemed to go well, though I skipped some of the workshops to talk with other people. I had a productive meeting with AFTRA. I have no idea if, in the end, we'll reach an agreement, but we came up with a proposal that has more chance of going over with my bosses at Blackstone, on the one hand, and the AFTRA board on the other, than anything that's been discussed before. Over the next few months we'll kick around some hard numbers and see if anything takes.

I had a 7 a.m. flight home from Newark Airport this morning. A car service picked me up in mid-town at 5 a.m. We were less than four blocks from the hotel when the radio announced that the Lincoln Tunnel and the Holland Tunnel were both closed. The driver said he didn't think we'd get to Newark in time for the flight, so what did I want to do? We pulled over and I spent a ridiculous twenty minutes on my cell trying to reschedule my flight. Eventually the driver took pity on me and said, "Aw, what the hell, we can make it." With that he threw the car into gear, plowed up the East Side, flew across the George Washington Bridge and Hail-Mary'd back down through New Jersey to Newark in time for the flight. So I'm home. New Yorkers are great.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Off to New York...

...for Book Expo America, the Audio Publishers Association conference and the Audie Awards. I have four nominations this year: one for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, one for Andrea Camilleri's The Voice of the Violin, and two for Abraham Lincoln: A Man of Faith and Courage.

Blackstone has 20 nominations altogether. Wish us luck. I'll post again as soon as I get back on Sunday.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday at Lithia Park

Gorgeous day. Spent the afternoon at Lithia Park, where we met this fellow at the Duck Pond.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Visit to Yreka, CA

Just an hour away, over the Siskiyou Pass and through the bone-dry mountains of Northern California. It was a bit of a ghost town, what with the holiday, I suppose. But we strolled around and saw what there was to see.

Among other things, there's a lovely 1888 church, and a wonderful little historical museum with an excellent collection of Indian and gold rush artifacts. Also a nice little bookstore and two antique shops.

I scored a nifty retro brass wall fixture at one...

...and a fantastic fiberglass planter at the other (perfect for our mid-century philodendron!).

The second shop also had two superb 50's atomic-style floor lamps, in beautiful condition, complete with gold-flecked parchment shades. Tanya wouldn't hear of it, though--they were a bit on the garish side, LOTS of chrome and black bakelite. But I was disappointed...

Then lunch at Brickhouse Pizza, which was excellent, and back home in time to do some gardening.

Ann Veronica and Moura Budberg

Ann Veronica is H. G. Wells' feminist novel, published in 1909. The other day Michelle Black, wife of Blackstone owner Craig Black, asked if we could record this and make it available for Blackstone listeners. I contacted Carolyn Seymour, a wonderful British narrator who lives in LA. Carolyn may be one of the best narrators you haven't heard enough of yet. She's recorded a new version of Wuthering Heights for us which has yet to be released. She also narrated The Rose Labyrinth, which has been released and received a very nice review from AudioFile. She also participated in our multi-voiced recording of The Canterbury Tales. Anyway, Carolyn said she would love to do it, and that she had a special connection to the book. Check this out: Her grandmother was Moura Budberg, mistress of both Maxim Gorky and H. G. Wells. Astonishing. I look forward to a very special reading!