Tonight Bob and I went to Powell’s Hawthorne to see Neal Pollack.
Last year we got the Never Mind the Pollacks CD in our xmas loot from Steve and Denise. When we drove to Tacoma for Wintergrass Bob brought it and we threw it in the cd player and we laughed our asses off. I think it’s safe to say that only a tiny portion of my readers (if any) would share our amusement. This isn’t humor for the masses.
On CD Neal comes across cranky and bitter and not especially friendly. Bob and I had to meet at Powells b/c I was coming from downtown and Bob was coming from Vancouver. Bob said if there was a line at the bookstore, he’d wait and get us a seat. This is funny for two reasons because, (a) of course there was no line and (b) Bob never gets there before me.
We ate dinner at this fantastic hole in the wall French place that I don’t remember the name of but we’ve eaten there before and it’s out of this world. It’s worth driving over there just for that. We didn’t get to Powell’s until 7:15pm (the reading started at 7:30pm) and there were about 20 chairs set up and about 15 people there.
We sat. Neal was already there. No entourage. Not even a special place to stand before the thing started. More people came and they set up more chairs. I’d like to give you a feel for what sort of audience Neal draws but there was no common denominator other than we were all human and knew where the bookstore was and had heard of Neal.
He’s promoting the paperback of this rock and roll novel. The CD and rock band tie in (the Neal Pollack Invasion) were just a gimmick for the book and he didn’t recommend following this strategy. He read from the book and then played from his CD and then read some other stuff. He writes for Vanity Fair. He was hilarious. Way funnier and cooler than you’d guess if you’d only heard the CD. Also since it was a small reading, you felt more like you were hanging out with the guy, rather than attending a function. I’ve had this experience with other writers at Hawthorne Powell’s.
After the reading we bought the book and had him sign that and our CD. I told Neal that I had also written a rock and roll novel about 80’s hair bands on the Sunset Strip and I think he was a tad impressed. He said he’d neglected that era in his book. Then he asked me if it was published and said: “No, it’s in a box in the garage.”
He inscribed my book: “For Pamela: This book is also in a box in the garage. Neal Pollack.”