Founder Alx Klive chronicles the North American Book Tour and his first meetings with MPP photographers, as he planes, trains and automobiles his way across the country.
New York City
Tuesday January 2nd 2001
Thursday December 28th 2001
Getting to New York on New Year's Eve really was 'planes, trains and automobiles'. The planes were full, the trains were sold out, not a rental car available in the entire Greater Toronto area. Ended up spending my New Year's midnight moment on a greyhound bus, somewhere between Buffalo and Syracuse. (The fireworks over Syracuse were very nice incidently). The whole idea was to get to New York in time to pay the Today show an unscheduled visit a year on from the big event. And we arrived just in time at 7am to discover the whole New Year's Day show had been pre-taped!
Notwithstanding this major setback (considering the journey of the night before), myself, Kim Wadsworth and Tom Donadio returned the following day to complete the mission. We succeeded in handing copies of the book to Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, who both thanked us for the trouble and followed up with the traditional sign holding fun in Rockerfella Plaza. One and a half seconds of airtime!
A quick stop in New York to do our biggest TV appearance yet - CNN. And all thanks to the extremely nice gentleman who is Myron Kandel, one of CNN's long standing business reporters. He couldn't fit us on his show but beat the drum for us with Bizz Buzz, a popular financial program from CNNfN who had us on to talk about our Community Enterprise project model.
Tuesday December 19th 2000
I didn't get to Graceland unfortunately but I did get a taste of the famous warm Southern hospitality. Just as well because the weather was freezing cold. Did the Good Morning Memphis show and met up with MPP photographer Candace Williams who joined with me to do a book signing.
The weather reports were not looking good for the journey on to Chicago and sure enough all flights were cancelled. No chance to hit up Oprah unfortunately.
Monday December 18th 2000
Things didn't go exactly according to plan and Amy and Jeff got into a spot of car trouble... They made the most of it however and trekked off to a local Borders book store while their car was being fixed to do some grassroots promotion.
Project photographer and long time volunteer Amy Sides made the long trek from Tuscaloosa, Alabama with her husband Jeff. We met up at the studios of Good Day Atlanta where all the staff were practically fighting over copies of the book.
We drove up to a radio station to do an interview (a country music radio station no less) and agreed to meet up in the evening with some of the other local photographers.
Amy writes "The wheel began vibrating really badly so we gathered up most of our belongings and left the car to be fixed. We hitched a ride to the nearest bookstore and convinced the manager to order some books! We then walked the mile and a half back to the tire store, uphill through the mud, in the freezing cold wind, advertising the book to passing cars as we walked along (only to get there, find out that our car still wasn't driving right, and that an ice storm was on its way!) What an adventure."
Luckily Amy and Jeff both made it back to Tuscaloosa safe and sound, albeit with an overnight stop halfway. True MPP spirit!
Friday December 15th 2000
After a long flight due to delays caused by the snowy weather, it was back to home base for a marathon day of interviews in Toronto - CBC Ottawa, Montreal, Yellowknife, Thunder Bay, Windsor and CBC International, among others. Later it was on to CityPulse 24 for the business show Money Matters, and finally, a sit down interview with the arts channel Bravo for their BookTV show. Sleep came swimmingly.
Wednesday December 13th 2000
Back on Canadian soil and another obscenely early morning to meet up with the crazy breakfast TV people at VTV. Vancouver's most popular morning show supplied copious amounts of coffee (which were well appreciated) and three hours later it was back in the hot seat for CTV's national talk show Vicki Gabereau. Vicki is well loved here in Canada for her down-to-earth style and incisive questioning. Local photographer Eve Henry joined with me for the interview and got to talk about her experiences taking her photos in Bangkok, and what it meant for her to take part in the project. The audience seemed to like it a lot, lots of laughs were had, and we rounded the day off with some well earned drinks and an appearance at the Chapters Mega store.
Monday December 11th 2000
Stopped in Denver for just a few short hours to meet up with some of the local photographers and do a book signing. Jeff Johnson came by, as did Bea Taylor and her husband, along with Richard Miodonski and his wife. I completely forgot that Denver is up by the mountains and it was freeeeeeeezing! Needless to say there was no extra vehicular promotions activity, so instead we headed indoors to warm up by the bar and do a bit of one-on-one promotion. Apparently the bar manager wasn't an 'MPP trooper' and decided to throw us out citing solicitation. Consequently, an official MPP 'slap on the wrist' for P.F Chang's China Bistro.
One highly amusing incident at Denver airport upon leaving. Yours truly was called to the front of the plane just before the plane was about to leave the gate. The baggage handlers were a little concerned by the fact that 'a loud siren noise' was eminating from my suitcase. Apparently my trusty megaphone had decided to take on a life of its own. Fortunately the baggage and security guys were good sports and all stood around chuckling as I waded through my bag on the airport tarmac to turn it off. (If it had been in Washington, they'd have blown the thing up with explosives.)
San Francisco / Los Angeles
Wednesday - Sunday December 6th/10th 2000
The book tour continues southwards down the USA's west coast with stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In San Francisco, we had a book signing at Borders and another remarkable coincidence. Just as myself and MPP photographers Leping Zha, Brad Perks and Roberto Delpiano were signing books and generally getting to know one another, a customer approaches to check out the book. Turns out George Bennett was also an MPP photographer who just happened to be in the store and knew nothing of the book signing! Strange eh?!
Did the requisite photo op at the Golden Gate Bridge and various drop ins to local book stores to drum up support and interest in the book.
On to Los Angeles, city of angels and excessively friendly people. MPP snagged itself a hot invite to the X-files Christmas party in downtown Hollywood and partied the night away with the cast and crew. Chris Carter (creator of the X-Files) took time out to sign the master copy of the book and pose for photos. And what did he sign on the book? "The truth is out there....!"
Our LA book signing was at Rizzoli's on Santa Monica Blvd and we had an impressive (all female I might add) turnout of MPP photographers and friends - Terri Trent, Beth Kuckuka, Sandra and Michelle Sparr, Kelly Fulton, Ishika Mohan (en route to Bombay) and Joan Lauren all made it down.
Yours truly spent Sunday hanging out at all the 'star spots' trying to track down celebrities to sign our special copy of the book. The Coffee Bean on Sunset, Mel's Drive in (reeeeally good eggs) and the uber swank, place-to-be-seen, Ivy restaurant on Robertson.
Net result? Zip, nada, zilcho. Not one celeb to be found anywhere! Not a complete waste of time however, found a very cool bookstore on Sunset called Book Soup (where the stars buy their books apparently) and they agreed to carry Dawn of the 21st Century.
Perhaps our book will end up under some very exclusive Christmas trees...???
Monday December 4th 2000
To the land of double-decaf half-low-fat half-non-fat triple-mocha tall-iced no-whip with-a-shot-of-frangelica... please. Seattle baby!
We kicked off the day at the ridiculously early hour of 6am so as to be over at the studios of Fox television for an appearance on their popular Seattle morning show. Local photographers Jim Bryant, John Schlesselman and Sandra Hixson-Matthews all made it up there first thing in the morning and actually got to see the book for the very first time while we were on the air! The Fox people were extremely nice to us and squeezed Sandra into the show even though she wasn't originally coming.
Afterwards it was time to rig the van up with our mobile sign kit and completely by chance (strange forces at work?) Lee Corkran, formerly of Kodak Photo Quilt and ONE OF THE MPP JUDGES, just happened to walk by our van. Turns out he works in Seattle and was on his way to grab a spot of lunch. What are the odds?
We all marvelled at this amazing coincidence and afterwards it was time to hit the road with the MPP megaphone. We stopped by the Seattle fish market where Sandra had taken her New Year's Eve photo and goofed around with the guys there and a fish named Bob.
Next it was on to the worldwide headquarters of Amazon.com in their new digs on the hill overlooking Seattle. We announced our arrival with the MPP megaphone, generally causing chaos, and trucked in en masse to see if we could hand a book over to head honcho Jeff Bezos. Turns out he's a trooper because within minutes he appeared in the lobby, asked us to leave the book for him and then rushed off to an important meeting. V.cool.
Tried the same over at Microsoft but all the employees must have been hard at work on Office 2010. No book for Bill.
Next up, a quick stop in San Fran before heading on to the land of dreams and stars, Los Angeles!
Wednesday November 29th 2000
The Millennium Photo "North American Roadshow" kicked off in the US capitol today. We'll be making our way right across the States and Canada over the next three weeks as we work hard to spread the word about our book. What with all the uncertainty about the presidential election, media coverage for our feel good book is proving to be difficult, but we intend to press on with the tour regardless. Hopefully for everyone the election will all be over soon. ;-o
We woke up in Washington however to find a wonderful review of the book in USA Today (Thursday's edition). This really cheered us up since we were a little depressed to find two television stations had postponed their interviews because of the election. So we headed on over to our friends at Border's to do a couple of book signings instead.
It was great to finally meet some of the local photographers for the very first time. Richard Smith who took his photo at the Egyptian Pyramids came by with his wife; Daniel McNeil who took his photo at the Lincoln memorial was a true MPP trooper (more on this in a minute); and it was also nice to meet David Moss who took a photo in the book of his wife reading the Washington Post on New Year's Day.
Daniel McNeil and myself had some adventures during the day. We had brought with us some 'Dawn of the 21st Century' banners which we proceeded to attach to a rented mini-van. This was a little more problematic than it should have been. Despite ropes, suction cups and both Dan and I wedging things behind doors, as soon as the van hit 30mph, the wind blew the things around so much that the van nearly took flight. We got it sorted though and basically created the... Millennium Photo Mobile (Coming to a town near you.)
A quick stop at Radio Shack and we had in our possession a vital new tool - a megaphone. Being clearly a little insane, we decided we would make use of it to drum up attendence at the book signings.
We tested it out as we drove past the Pentagon and the White House. "Attention shoppers!", and we were all set to hit the town of Bailey's Crossroads in full MPP guerilla style. This time the weather proved to be the party pooper and torrential rain meant there was no one to 'megaphone' to.
Next town I guess.
The book signing was great fun. The store had done a fantastic job of organizing it and had set us up with an impressive display of Dawn books right by the front door. Connie, our never tiring community liasion assistant arrived by car from Philadelphia; Richard (and wife) and David showed up as well; and we all took the opportunity to take lots of photos, sign books for people and generally get to know one another. It was like two worlds colliding - the virtual and the real!
The famous doctor Patch Adams (as in the movie with Robin Williams) came by to see the book and ended up posing with us for lots of silly photos.
So not a bad start to the tour really. We didn't get the TV thing we hoped for but we did get to show the book to a few bookworms and most importantly we met others from the crew and had fun.
Next stop.... Seattle on Monday.
If you want to keep track of what is going on with the Millennium tour, pop back every few days to read Alx's latest diary. Thanks for stopping by!