Saturday, May 3, 2008

On The Book Tour - Day 1 & 2

It's already weird. Mostly because I don't know what to expect on this tour since I'm not really an author. I'm more accustomed to traveling and shooting TV commercials. This is totally different and I'm completely out of my element.

After 3 radio interviews (Martha and two others in Oklahoma and Wisconsin), my first 'reading' was 6 blocks from home at my local Barnes & Noble. A nice, soft start to the tour, a short walk to discuss the book with friends. 10 close friends showed up and about three strangers who probably just happened to be in the store. There was one legitimate fan who asked great questions and a cop pacing in the back of the room (kinda like the Nazis in Sound of Music waiting to take Captain VonTrap away - totally threw me off). That night, with the pre-travel jitters and last-minute packing I only got about 3 hours of sleep and had to get up at 5 to fly to Oklahoma City. My only media obligation was a 2 minute walk on interview at the local Channel 4 news so sleep could wait. I had to change planes at O'Hare and was delayed thanks to a thunderstorm. 

Lightning bolts, the works. On the Chicago-O'Hare leg of the trip the woman sitting behind me was chanting "6..6..6.." most of the flight. Very spooky until I discovered that she was playing sudoku. Made it to Oklahoma City with just enough time to change my shirt and run onto the KFOR-TV Ch.4 news. I love live local news because they are clearly working much harder than the big guys with small sets and loose production. I had to share a lav mic with the guy who was on before me (during the commercial break we did a quick mic swap). I was interviewed by old-timer and local TV and radio personality Danny Williams who asked me, "What's the worst burger you've ever had?" Regardless, the interview went smoothly and it was an honor to be seated next to this media icon.

I left KFOR and checked my email to find a nasty one from a jerk who called me a, "condescending New Yorker" based on what he read here in a Chicago Tribune interview by Chris Borelli. Unfortunately, I had a great time talking with Chris but he dismissed my book as 'stunt food journalism' and decided to skew the article towards a 'Top 100 list' instead of seeing that the book is equally about the people who make burgers and all of the nostalgia that goes with it. This, of course, resulted in a shitstorm of off-color comments on the Trib website calling me a 'moron', a 'clueless tourist', and a 'dill-rod' (Oooooo..) for putting the Billy Goat in my book. Not one of the 100+ commentors on the website had read the book so they are all clearly misguided. Also, only one had been to Top Notch it seems, also in Chicago.

I had dinner with good family friend Tom Palmore, artist an all-around great guy with great stories. He was the one who turned me onto a place in his hometown, Folger's in Ada, OK. They are in the book. The publisher put me up at a Marriott in a honeymoon suite that is Vegas-huge. Tomorrow, the Burger Day Festival in El Reno...

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