Friday, October 05, 2007

While we're obsessing about money, what's up with David Sedaris?

I don't necessarily have a problem with this, but I'm curious how an author on book tour manages to command $35-$40 a head just to read, answer questions, and sign books. Apparently David Sedaris will be at Lisner Auditorium tomorrow night doing and charging just that. Meanwhile, uptown, you can see Chris Matthews at Politics & Prose for free, and the National Press Club book events -- where I've met Michael Crichton, John Irving, and Sebastian Junger, among others --are always free. Now the head-scratcher for me is whether I think these events should all be free, or if it is ever appropriate to charge moola.

One of the great things about living in Washington, DC is that every famous author -- including all the good ones you'd get in New York -- comes here. It never fails. If an author is smokin', Washington is on the list. We may be late getting movies, and we may usually have to settle for the touring cast of interesting plays (although I'd rather go to NYC for plays anyway), but dagnabbit, we get authors while they're hot.

So hmmmmm. Is it worth that much just to see another barbaric yawper? And how many people will show up?


David Savageau said...

The Lisner Auditorium was sold out, which meant Sedaris and GW split a $60,000 box office and Sedaris got to sell books before and after his 2-hour reading.

We did learn that, after making a career of being anti anti-smoking, he finally kicked cigarettes during a recent 3-month stay in Tokyo. We also learned that he will become a British subject. The audience applauded both pieces of news.

The last half hour was audience Q & A. The questions were inane - Did he know his name came up in the latest episode of Ugly Betty? What's it like out there on the road? Have you been back to Raleigh?

I have to say the evening started off hilarious and glided down to disappointingly flat - and Sedaris knew it all along. He better do something about it; this is early in a 32-city lecture tour.

Catherine said...

I think the difference is that Sedaris is also a comedian and performer, so he is in effect performing.