Talk about the best-laid plans! I had intended to blog a couple of times during Litquake week but... well... was simply too INSANE to be able to sit down long enough! As co-artistic director, my duties this year were less of the menial variety and more of the figurehead variety - introducing events, troubleshooting, seeing and being seen, etc. But for some reason it was no less frantic! In years past, my co-founder title didn't buy me much slack - Jack and I still had to do pretty everything, from permits to insurance to check-paying to finding musicians to booking authors to securing venues. And carrying heavy boxes of programs. But now, as the festival has ballooned into this giant magilla, with 450 authors in 9 days at something like 80 venues, we had to raise enough money to PAY someone to do these things, to free Jack and me up to function more creatively. I think it worked great - Litquake was near-flawless this year! I am still exhausted, but hopefully won't get deathly ill as I do almost every year.
Favorite moments? Dancing at the closing night party between Stephen Elliott and Daniel Handler as they made a "Jane sandwich." Tobias Wolff getting choked up at the tribute I produced honoring him. Diane Johnson's first Litquake reading - at my annual women's night at the Bubble Lounge. Hearing gorgeous prose and provocative commentary from a panel called "East of Istanbul: Voices from the Muslim World." Marc Capelle's incredible music/lecture composition at Grotto Nights, where his band played backup to a hydrogeologist lecturing about the scientific life of the Bay we love. Jonathan Ames' house-burning opening night story at Porch Light. Young movie starlet Amber Tamblyn proving she's got both substance and chops with her own funny story about doing the Vagina Monologues. Ishmael Reed's poetry at the Progressive Reading. Tess Uriza Holthe's stunning collaboration with the ODC (Oberlin Dance Company) to the theme of her father's death. Doomsday scenarios being laid out eloquently by our "green" panel at the Commonwealth Club. The unexpected sweetness of Tom Corwin's reading at the Literary Death Match, which normally is yards-deep in irony. And Clarion Alley at the Lit Crawl - our first foray into street-corner readings!!
Next year will be our tenth anniversary, and I'm already wondering how to top this!!
Off to Inverness for some R&R and to savor a fabulous week....