Archive for June, 2013

The MET – 8 hours, 6 miles and I still didn’t see it all

Friday, June 28th, 2013

It’s true.  My Fitbit pedometer says I walked 6 miles, most of it in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and I was there from open to close and I did not see it all.  I heard a man moaning to his wife that the tour only gave them an hour to see the MET and he knew he’d never even get a taste.  He was right.  When I have a full day in the MET, I have two objectives.  First I want to visit my favorite places and objects and second I want to find somewhere I have never been.  This time I found two entire floors that I had never set foot it.  It’s like exploring Hogwarts only with a better map.

Which floors, you ask, did I miss?  The first is the mezzanine above the main gallery in the Greek and Roman sculpture.  These are huge galleries, one of which has an entire chariot, yet I never set foot in them before.  The second is the third floor of the American Wing.  Did you know they have an entire room from the 1600 America up there?  Incredible.

                                                                                                              The view from MET rooftop garden is spectacular

This visit I was there at the right season to visit the rooftop gallery and café.  This spot has amazing views of Central Park and the city beyond.

 

Africa, Oceana and the Americas Section of the Museum is less crowded. A hidden jewel.

I love all the open spaces in the MET.  Top on my list are the large gallery in the Africa, Oceana and the Americas gallery, the large open area in the Greek and Roman Art galleries, The American Wing open sculpture garden, and the Egyptian Temple of Denhur.  Medieval Arts has an open place, the Medieval Sculpture Hall, where they set the nativity each year.  There is a Spanish courtyard (Gallery 534 Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco) just to the left of the grand staircase that is very beautiful.  Unfortunately, I did not see the Chinese Vanderbilt garden this trip because it is closed for renovations.  I hope they are taking good care of the koi fish.

Impressionist in the 19th Century European Art galleries are always popular, but if you get there early you can sometimes avoid the crowds.

Some of my favorite painting are by John Singer Sargent in The American Wing, including Madame X.  In the European section, I visit the Gauguin each trip (The Annenberg Collection: Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Masters)  and in the Modern Art area I love Modigliani, O’Keeffe and Matisse.

The American Wing has lots of Tiffany windows, glass works and jewelry

As for decorative arts, I always love Tiffany’s windows and anything that is jewelry.  Faberge eggs are on display, if you can find them.

Moonstones and Montana sapphires, by Tiffany

I returned home footsore and astonished at how much I saw, how much I didn’t have time to see and feeling bereft for that man who only had a hour in that magical museum.



Writing is a Solitary Business….Mostly.

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Jenna signing BEAUTY’S BEAST at the RWA booth at BEA

Writing is not all book signings and fabulous rooftop parties.  But sometimes it is.  I figure this is the yin to the yang of spending hours in the chair typing away by my lonesome.

This year was my second Book Expo America and this year I was not quite so gob smacked.  The Javits Center is filled with books and more books and products related to books and more books.  For me it is like Christmas morning.  Then add to that celebrity sightings, signings by notable authors and free books!  If there is a Nirvana for bookworms, this would be it.

Jenna between authors Joanne Rock (left) and Karen Rock (right) at the Harlequin Rooftop party at the Kimberly Hotel in Midtown.

I was asked to sign at the Harlequin booth this year.  It’s not really a booth.  Don’t think lemonade stand but more like a large open store set in the center of it all.  The Harlequin Booth includes all the August releases, a conference room for meetings with buyers, smaller tables for smaller clients and a high central counter for book signings.  My editor was there, opening books for me.  For me that is a bit like having my boss act as my valet.  I had such fun meeting the librarians and booksellers and other publishing professionals who came to the book signing.  Those books disappeared very fast.

I was dressed up for the occasion, but was not foolish enough to wear heels.  Good thing that, because my pedometer indicated I clocked eight miles that first day.  That included exploring the Javits Center and in the evening a party at a lovely venue, a rooftop hotel in midtown with a fabulous view of the Chrysler Building.  I spoke with many folks including CEO Donna Hayes and the CFO.  There were a few familiar faces as well, fellow authors, some from the same series I write.

I didn’t get much sleep that night and was up and back at BEA on Friday to sign at the Romance Writers of America booth.  I sat between Heather Graham and Kristen Callihan.  Again the line of readers went by in a blur of smiles and laughs.  I got a copy of Kristen’s book WINTERBLAZE which I’m reading now.  Great opening!

Authors Heather Graham, Jenna Kernan and Kristen Callihan signing at BEA 2013 at the Romance Writer’s of America booth.

Afterword it was back to the Harlequin Booth to meet up with my editor for a lovely lunch.  Lunch includes some business, some catching up and dessert.

After all my obligations were finished it was time to round up a few free books of my own.  I was very good on day one and only picked up one book, an uncorrected proof of Dani Shapiro’s, STILL WRITING, The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life.  I’ve started it already and it’s great.  On day two I showed no such restraint.  I snapped a few photos of Jim Carrey who was signing his children’s book.

Jim Carrey signing his children’s book, How Roland Rolls.

 

I stood in line for Bill Byrson’s new book, ONE SUMMER, and again for T. Colin Campbell’s nutrition book, WHOLE.  I gave up only when I could barely lift my bag and was considering starting another.  Instead I dragged myself to the curb and discovered no cabs to be had on that Friday afternoon.  I aimed for a cross street hoping to catch a cab there.  No luck.  I considered the twelve block walk to Grand Central stretching out like before me like the Mohave dessert and then considered crying when who should come pedaling around the corner–a bicycle livery.

 

At rush hour in Manhattan, you take what you can get!

 

I’ve never been in one.  He pulled over.  We haggled, agreed on a price and away we went.  It was hot, but the bike ride was better than air conditioning.  I have never, ever had a more pleasurable ride or so exciting a one.  Dodging cross-town buses on a bike is not for the faint of heart. My Knight in shining armor wore a tee shirt and had calf muscles like steel.  He got me to the train.

 

When I made it home I weighed my book bag—22 pounds.

Nearly had to drag my tote the last two blocks!

I was so foot sore that had I been a horse I would have had to shoot myself to put me out of my misery.  Makes me glad to get back to spending hours in the chair typing away by my lonesome.