Aug 25, 2009

Oh that Julia!

Pubcasters' memories of Julia Child keep proliferating like profiteroles in Paree. Here's one from Jim Lewis of Oregon-based fundraising consultants Lewis Kennedy Associates: Back in 1985, Child was receiving an honorary doctorate in humane letters from her alma mater, Smith College in Massachusetts. She agreed to attend a donor event at WGBY, thanks to a former classmate and friend of the station, Charlotte Turgeon. "As general manager," Lewis told Current, "I was given the honor of driving Julia from Northampton down to our studio in Springfield." Child's husband Paul was in front next to Lewis; Turgeon and Child were in back. "As I drove down Interstate 91, Julia loudly carried on in back, talking about food trends with Charlotte," also a cookbook author and editor. "And those food faddists!" Child loudly exclaimed. "They're ruining the entire concept of a meal. These vegetarians! How can you prepare a meal without meat? It's a (bleep)!" Child suddenly paused, mid-epithet, "staring at the nape of my neck," Lewis said, "apparently aware of my presence for the first time. Leaning forward, she gave me a rough slap on the shoulder. 'Oh dear,' she said, 'you're not one of those, are you?'" Classic Julia Child. "It was all I could do to keep the car on the road," Lewis added. "A really funny moment, delivered in full roar."

Julia's book sales: proof of the power of movie publicity

If anyone doubts the power of Hollywood and its well-trained media machine, note what the New York Times reports this morning: Within days after Columbia Pictures launched an affectionate bio of Julia Child by an expert screenwriter and featuring two highly likeable stars who draw free publicity from a zillion magazine, blog and TV reports, the 48-year-old book at the heart of the plot is selling far better than ever before. Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Child and co-authors, was selling 22,000 copies a week, more than in any entire year in its history, the Times reported. A Barnes & Noble exec said the $40, fatty and fat (750-page) book sold seven times as many copies in a month as in a typical year. Even discount stores that previously never stocked the book are ordering it. Next week, for the first time, the book will top a Times bestseller list, in the how-to category. Public TV anticipated the movie's publicity value, angling for web and TV audience based on Child's early shows.

You might attend SXSW next March?

Vote by Sept. 4 on panels you'd like to attend at any of the three South by Southwest conference-festivals to be held in Austin, Texas: interactive, March 12-16; film, March 12-20; music, March 17-21. Example: Jacob Harris of the New York Times wants to hold a panel "Shut Up and Code! (Hacking the Future of News)": "Talk is cheap. Talk about the future of news is cheaper still, especially since so little leads to action." To enter competitions: The interactive festival will accept entries Oct. 16 through Dec. 18 (entry fees escalate). The film festival will accept short or feature-length entries Nov. 5 through Dec. 11 (entry fees escalate). No trailers or works-in-progress. FAQ.