A few posts back, you'd expressed interest in hearing about tonight's benefit for 826NYC. I was there assisting Eric Bogosian and thought I'd fill you in as best I can.
Cynthia Nixon, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Rockwell, Justin Theroux, Kristen Johnston, Bob Balaban and Martha Plimpton all participated. I was running around taking care of a couple of things and so didn't hear everything read. Martha Plympton read an excerpt from JM Barrie's "Peter & Wendy" and Justin Theroux read something by Oscar Wilde (both of which I was sorry to have missed). Philip Seymour Hoffman read a darkly funny story by George Saunders, about a man with an inordinate amount of fear, and the effects of that fear on his life and family. Sam Rockwell and Justin T. did an hysterical staged reading of Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham" (in the end, Justin did try those green eggs, in case you're wondering). Kristen Johnston read a poem by one of the students who'd participated in an 826 writing workshop, Bob Balaban read an excerpt of your story "Sunbird" (the last half or the last third--from the description of the barbecue pit through to the end) and Cynthia Nixon closed out the night reading several of Shel Silverstein's poems, including one about a pirate (I didn't catch the title, but enjoyed her pirate impression a great deal), "Where the Sidewalk Ends" and "If the World Were Crazy" (which drew an awful lot of knowing laughs... as though the world CURRENTLY seems crazy to some people. Go figure).
Things went exceedingly well. The audience seemed to have a lovely time, as did the performers, and the 826NYC folks were quite pleased. Mr. Balaban mentioned how much he enjoyed reading your story; I though he did a really excellent job of performing it. The members of the Epicuriean Society were very colorful (great names too). I noticed everyone who'd been working in the front of house at Tonic snuck in to hear it read.
It looks like McSweeney's is publishing an book that includes some of tonight's stories, but I didn't really get a good look at it and don't know any of the specifics, including when it might be published.
I was taking care of a few different things during parts of the reading, so I'm sure you're not getting the complete picture here. I hope someone else who got to see the whole thing has written you with the details. And I hope my account isn't too scattered.
PS Eric kept telling people that you are my favorite writer (this is true). I used to assist him on a regular basis and often raved about your books, particularly American Gods, which I got him to read as well. I'm really looking forward to Anansi Boys and Mirrormask, and enjoy your blog a bunch.
Thanks Sarah. It sounds wonderful. (Sarah followed up by pointing out that of course I'd said the story would be in a children's anthology that McSweeneys would be putting out, and she was very tired. And she was of course right, and I was just grateful that she'd write at 3:00am to let me know.)
One of my readers pointed out a few days ago that my blog post on British comics was (a) stupid, and (b) incorrect. I had that horrid feeling of having put my foot in it: he was right. I yanked the post and put up a correction, whereupon another reader emailed this morning and said: "Too late, Neil Gaiman's already read the first post." ... Gah!
I'd have known better had I given the subject even a little more thought.... It was a boneheaded post, and I hope you'll forgive it. Should I ever meet you or your colleagues, any rounds at the pub will surely have to be on me now.
All the best,
Which I stuck up here because I thought it was astonishingly gracious. A side effect of wittering on about stuff in public is that every now and again you're going to say something stupid or wrong (I know I've been guilty of both here since 2001).
And anyway, it gives me an opportunity to plug the excellent Collins Library books. And rumour has it he'll soon be reprinting a Harry Stephen Keeler...
oops. gotta run.