So tonight was Neil G’s last signing book tour at the Danforth Music Hall and lady__croft and I went to the event.
Neil was hilarious as his books are. He read from The Ocean at the end of the Lane his newest title as well as a new children’s book coming out in the autumn called Milk – it was brilliantly funny and he had the audience in stitches with the whole premise of the story. We had seats in the balcony at the far back of the auditorium. Wish we had seats closer to the front but we didn’t find out about the event until very late and we were lucky we got seats at all as it ultimately sold out. There were ticket scalpers there looking to sell and buy…I was a bit surprised by that. I met one of the girls who also attended a lecture I went to last month at Origo Books in the Carrot Common were we got a snack before the ‘show’ and she said she met a couple who’d come all the way from Montreal because they couldn’t get tickets there. Amazing. The lineup was very long and there were all sorts of problems with the venue and the logistics of getting 1200 people into it on time. The hall was searching bags for alcohol which imho is ridiculous as it is a book signing and not a concert. It took forever and was horribly organized. They were letting only a few people in at a time and they’d decided to sell Neil’s latest novel in the lobby which was a huge mistake. What they should have done was what they did for Rick Riordan’s and have them pre-ordered and you pick them up or be delivered beforehand then go to the event. With Rick’s you had to show proof of purchase and you did that with your online printout. No reason they couldn’t have done the same for this event too. Plus they didn’t open the doors early enough and the lineup was down the street and around the block to the point where it interfered with area business. How could organizers possibly think that you could get 1200 people that had to be bag searched into a venue that only opened an hour before the event start time….very poor planning imho. It was a nightmare. The lights were turned off which was a bit annoying as well especially in the balcony as it was hard to see. There was a spotlight on Neil thankfully. During the wait for Neil to come onstage, someone called out Morgan Hoffman’s name over the loudspeaker and at first we weren’t sure if it was the Morgan from Innerspace but it was which was cool that she was there. I like her as the new host actually better than Cynthia to be honest. In addition, they changed the way they did the rows to go up for the signings. They decided on doing a lottery for it which means that you’d have to wait around for the whole even to see when your row was called. If you call from the front or the back first people know they have time to zip out for a bit to eat depending on where they were sitting but a lottery, although a nice idea, doesn’t really work in this situation. We didn’t stay for the signing as we didn’t want to be waiting around possible to midnight.
Let’s sum it up this way…great readings from a wonderful author but poor event management.