"15 minutes worth of people"
That is the phrase that ran through my head as I drove back on Allisonville, smelling bacon at 8:30pm, from the book reading/signing that John Green and David Levithan had for their book, Will Grayson/Will Grayson. This is not a dis, this is a compliment. Andy Warhol once said in the future everybody would be famous for 15 minutes. Because of the internet and the amazing depth of fandom combined with little breadth, people can be famous to 15 minutes worth of people. Not that only 15 mins worth of people showed up, but that the pscyhotic level of fandom that Warhol associated with being famous back in his day (true adoration) in a smaller dose. The level of devotion from the fans present was something I would expect from a boy band crowd. Teenage girls that knew details of the author's life, knew everything about the books and the internet stuff, had homemade t-shirts, had 5 books for the author to sign, squealed with delight as if 1999 NSync was performing. This is an author of young adult books. Good from what I hear, but still, this is not Tolstoy coming to Indianapolis.
Yes, I have never read his work. I have watched some Youtube clips of his, and been impressed by his insight and entertained by his humor. I will probably breakdown and read whatever book of his that my cousin recommends. I got a book signed for my cousin, which was why I suffered through the teen girl nerd fest. Hipsters in the making. Some fatties too who had to text at every chance. God forbid they just enjoy the event. He has great patience to put up with a fanbase that matches up with Twilight. I tip my cap to him.
This was the 2nd reading I have been to, with Toni Morrison being the first. Much more enjoyable this time. Toni Morrison reading poems about womanhood, slavery, racism, being ugly etc. is quite powerful but quite depressing. John Green and David Levithan, who wrote Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, did readings in a mock play form. Entertaining, and especially nice with a real gay guy reading the gay part. The author's references to Joyce's Ulysses or David Foster Wallace and Infinite Jest made me laugh inside as those notes had to have flown over the heads of most of the crowd. They then took questions, training these young women for future Q&As with female angst author's in several years. Side note: David Levithan looks like Fred Armisen with longer hair. He has to know this. It is an amazing doppelganger duo. Because I got there so early, I got to be 15th in line or so. I managed to get a laugh as I said "I feel like I'm on a Chris Hanson To Catch a Predator episode". I also joked with Levithan to give him some love as it was obvious he was the sidekick tonight from the psychotic show of fandom for Mr. Green present.
I tip my cap to Mr. Green as he has carved out his niche through his books and incredibly hard efforts online. The man has built his fervent fanbase from his antics, rants and online discussions. He has created a community online, which is fantastic for a built in audience of readers. Smart marketing to keep fans involved and aware of your nuggets of thought in between the 2-5 years it takes to create, research and finish a book. It reminds me of the vlogging Imogen Heap did for her new album that kept my wife entertained each week. it it wonderful to see someone who gains a following from good work, hard work, and word of mouth. It feels organic and true. Being surrounded by his creepy, devoted fans actually made the experience more enoyable because he was in his element with a home crowd. i wish him the best of luck with the new book and hopefully creating enough of a following to not have to work a day job.