I had another week of glorious indulgence in NYC this week. I stayed at the happily situated Tribeca Grand Hotel and was in Heaven strolling the streets of Tribeca, Soho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Nolita. I started my week in fine fashion attending the wedding of my friend, (brilliant actress and audiobook narrator) Katy Kellgren to actor and theatre critic David Cote. It was literally the most incredible wedding I have ever been to. The bride looked stunning in a gorgeous vintage-inspired gown, the ceremony was heart-felt and inviting, the reception venue was classy and understated, the speeches were witty and hilarious (you can always count on an intelligent literary crowd to deliver) and the food was incredible.
When the bride announced that, “there was an assortment of cakes and pies on offer” we never expected that there would literally be over 25 different cakes and pies to choose from! It was literally unbelievable. Most of the guests pulled out their cameras with one thought in mind, “nobody is going to believe this obscene display of sugary genius if I don’t have visual evidence.” Even I happily indulged in what I can only describe as the most enjoyable acidic orgy I have ever experienced. Suffice to say, a lot of lemon water was consumed before I went to bed that night, in the hopes of washing away my guilty sins.
Tess Masters The Blender Girl and opera singer Jessica Dean The next day we went to see the Broadway revival of The Normal Heart with my gorgeous cousin Jessica, and her husband Antony who stayed with me in L.A for a few days and then flew to NY on the same day. It was such a happy coincidence and we had a blast together in the city. This was Jess’s first Broadway show, and meeting the star, Joe Mantello outside the theatre was just icing on the cake. We then moved onto the APA mixer party at The Three Monkeys that officially kicked off the audiobook celebrations leading up to the Audie Awards.
On Monday, I attended APAC (Audio Publishers Association conference) for the first time, and enjoyed seeing friends and colleagues in the audiobook industry, as well as making new connections. The audiobook world is such a warm group of intelligent people with a genuine love of story. There is a strong sense of community and generosity that I find very seductive. The highlight of the day was “The Listening Lounge” where some of the greatest narrators in the country: Katy Kellgren, Scott Brick, Simon Vance, Tavia Gilbert, Dion Graham, Robert Fass, Johnny Heller, Grover Gardner, and the "Meryl Streep of audiobooks", Barbara Rosenblat, read selections from their favourite award-winning audiobooks. Oh, it was like chocolate. I just couldn’t get enough. I wish someone had have recorded it so everyone could have a listen. WOW! I had to wipe my seat at the end of it. It was just incredible!
Tess Masters and Audiobook Narrator Scott Brick Following that, I moved onto the annual cocktail party at INC Lounge at The Time Hotel hosted by the wonderful folks at Tantor Audio who produced the current audiobook I am listening to: Kathy Freston’s The Veganist narrated by my gorgeous and talented friend Karen White. They are such a fantastic fun group of people that produce great audiobooks.
The next day was BEA (Book Expo America) where as Scott Brick’s official shadow and glorified handbag I hung out with Harlan Coben and the incredibly entertaining peeps at Brilliance Audio before their book signings. Then (at the risk of being a serial name dropper) I moved over to the Hachette Booth just in time to meet Brad Meltzer, who signed copies of his latest title, The Inner Circle with Scott. I then enjoyed the Audiobook Tea, where Brad Meltzer was joined by Tony Horwitz and Karin Slaughter to discuss the collaboration between author and narrator, where Brad Meltzer raved about his long-time relationship with Scott, who has read every single one of his many bestselling books. It was quite a day.
Then it was back to the hotel to get dolled up for the Audies. I had a killer dress that had to be complimented with a gorgeous hair-do. Jess and Ant came over to help me get ready, and this is where I offer up my most entertaining story of the trip. Jim Carrey was staying in my hotel, and as I was leaving they were hosting a party for a film starring many notable actors including Ewan McGregor. So needless to say, there was an impressive crowd of Paparazzi waiting to snap pictures of their favourite stars. As I excited the hotel in my long flowing sequined gown, I was blinded by their flashing bulbs, until they saw me hailing a dented cab and realized I was no-one of note! I guffawed, exclaiming that I would be getting a lot of mileage out of this story for years to come!
The 2011 Audie Awards were so much fun! Even standing on my five inch heels (and even Jimmy Choos are not that forgiving) could not wipe the smile off my face. I was feeling no pain as Scott and his fellow cast members won best drama for their group read of George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan produced by Blackstone Audio. It was thrilling to see our friends win their awards. The gorgeous Coleen Marlo won her first Audie award for her narration of Snakewoman Of Little Egypt for Tantor Audio; Cassandra Campbell snagged one for her incredible narration of The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks for Random House / Books On Tape; Dion Graham picked up a gong for The Rock and The River for Brilliance Audio; and Simon Vance took home the prize for best thriller/suspense for his narration of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest for Random House / Books On Tape. But it was definitely Hachette Audio’s night, picking up six Audie awards including Book Of The Year for Life by Keith Richards, narrated by Johnny Depp and Joe Hurley. Joe was there to happily accept the award with the beaming Hachette team, who won book of the year last year as well.
As if the night couldn’t get any better, Playway hosted a fantastic party in the library bar at The Hudson Hotel, where we partied with Joe Hurley and all of the other winners, nominees and attendees until we were officially kicked out at 2AM.
I crawled out of bed the next day to catch a performance of The Mother F**cker with the Hat before heading to the JFK for what I thought would be a quick plane-ride home. But due to the storms in the Midwest and the South turned into a 24 hour journey home. With healthy perspective as my greatest ally, I maintained a smile in the midst of the plane full of very angry passengers who had sat on the runway for over 7 hours in total. I finally landed in Burbank airport at 4.30 AM and crawled into bed at 7 reflecting on one of the most fantastic weeks of my life.
June is audiobook month, and If you have never listened to an audiobook I encourage you to have a listen. It is such an amazing way to experience a story, especially when it is narrated by one of the greats. Follow the "June Is Audiobook Month" conversation on Twitter with hashtags #JIAM2011 and #NARR8.
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