11/10/04
Just returned from my Vegas trip. It was a busy week. We had two book launches and another one is finished and was presented to the author, who was thrilled. The launch event for that one isn’t until December.

The big one seemed to be Marta Becket’s To Dance on Sands. She’s the amazing 82 year-old artist, ballerina, eccentric owner and solitary inhabitant of a ghost town in the valley of death. First was the evening performance of her one-woman show and book signing. She doesn’t move with speed or anything approaching athleticism anymore but she is graceful and still posesses a mesmerizing charisma. One has to admire the perserverence and longevity of a creative spirit who has done it her own way for a long lifetime.

The booksigning went well and the 100 copies she had stocked in her own gift shop sold out plus 72 more that evening. The next day found us out in Death Valley Junction again for another booksigning, but most people had come the night before so this wasn’t a smash. However many RV’ers stopped at the Amargosa Opera House and walked through looking at the amazing frescoes she’s done there, and several stopped in to the shop and purchased the book. Two people who “may” have been Hell’s Angels (but probably weren’t) stopped. These two guys were all dressed in the de’rigour Hell’s Angels type ouftits with the insignia, tattoos, hair and all. They toured the opera house and then came and purchased three books each! So then they stood respectfully in line holding the books with the ballerina in the pink tutu on the front so that they could meet her and have her sign the books. Then they bid her farewell and rode off on their choppers. What a trip.

The next night we had an event at a Las Vegas Library with Marta being interviewed ala “Actor’s Studio” and this was very well attended. The interview was nearly an hour and the audience was in rapt attention. Marta is quite adept at this, though she at first appears shy, she certainly has a stage presence even when not dancing, and boy can she milk a crowd! Afterward there was another signing and we sold over another 100 books. Nearly all of those people stood patiently in line to have the diva sign them. And she did…though toward the end she was getting pretty tired of it! Overall I’d say this has been one of the most succesful launches yet. You can see this book and others here. http://www.stephenspress.com/

The other launch for Vegas: One Cop’s Journey was not as successful, but it was loud. We had it in a nightclub called the Ice House–the people watching was interesting anyway.

We delivered the first copies of Roy Purcell’s book Long Journey from Wikame to him and he was adequately impressed and joyful with the results. It is a very beautiful book, due mostly to his artwork, not mine. Though I’m still pleased with the results. I hope this one sells well. I know he will do his part to promote it though. He is so talented and has a gallery for his works in Tubac, Arizona. We were fortunate to see a large installation of his works at a “private bank” in Las Vegas. What I wouldn’t give for one of his large paintings. Well I guess I wouldn’t give what they normally sell for, cuz I can’t possibly afford one. The closest I can get is this book, though his recent paintings are much freer and more beautiful. How cool to have met and worked with two such artists in one week.

Oh yeah and my eldest daughter came and visited which was nice. I’m sure she would have preferred having a more fun time instead of working! But it was good to see her anyhow.

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