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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

D+Q Girl Gang Gets Real in NYC: Rookie Edition

Image courtesy Alyssa Laurel Ringler: http://alyssalaurel.photoshelter.com/
Okay so I left all the "punctual" blogging in Tracy's capable hands (cf SPX and NYC fun posts), but I'm finally back on the job! Shout-out to Trac for the post title.

During our week in New York, Tracy, Peggy, and I had the delight of attending not one but two magical Rookie parties, meaning we got to hang out with the incredibly awesome Rookie team several times. The first event was a book launch at McNally Jackson, one of Manhattan's most charming indie bookshops. There were a whopping ten or twelve readers, I believe, but Rookie MC Amy Rose did a flawless job of introducing every one. Most were Rookie contributors and staff writers, but there were guest appearances from Dave Hill, Lena Dunham, and Sarah Sophie Flicker. Lena & Sarah both made speeches that made (I swear) half the audience tear up. More on that later.

Even more exciting was the fact that this trip, as Tracy alluded to, was the first time we got to meet the Rookie team IRL (if you will). Tavi, Steve, Berit, Anaheed, Lauren, all the rest of the Rookie staff writers and contributors: it was a complete and utter pleasure to get to meet you. We've loved working with you, we're so so thrilled to be publishing Rookie, and we look forward to everything else you've got up your communal sleeve! Sonja, we'd definitely met you before, but it was great seeing you too!

So, Sunday afternoon... Everyone knows that to get a party going, you need a LOT of candy and soda pop. Our first stop was at the latino grocery near where we were staying. We scooped up all the brightest-colored sodas we could spot...

...and headed down to the LES, where we hit Economy Candy Market and blew all our funds for the week.

With that taken care of, adorned in candy necklaces and ring pops, we headed down to McNally, where a throng of the most stylish, most charming young women you have ever seen was already starting to form. And they just kept coming. There were people everywhere! We were set up in the basement to maximize space, and by the time the reading started, there was no space downstairs. Over the course of the reading, even the stairs filled up - a new definition for standing room only!

The delightful and multi-talented Fiona Duncan, former D+Q employee, current McNally Jackson employee, introduced the evening with a beautiful explanation of the Rookie MO.

And then Amy Rose took it away. As I mentioned above, her introductions were chatty, enthusiastic, and extremely gracious. I sort of wish she could host all of our events.

The readings were powerful, and the feeling in the room was so warm and supportive. Here's Rookie staffer Arabelle reading from a piece about coming out.

One of the most moving moments for me was Lena Dunham (Girls, Tiny Furniture) giving a speech about the importance of Rookie. She not only attended the book launch, and gave a reading of a piece composed to her younger self, but also spoke at length about how she had never wanted to have children, but now she wants to have a daughter, if only so that she can get her daughter to read Rookie. I'm ruining it here by transcribing it, but she spoke eloquently to the role of Rookie as a venue for young women to express things they've never been able to share with one another before.

Lena Dunham!
Finally, Tavi read one of my personal faves in the Rookie Yearbook: "How to Not Care What Other People Think of You."

After that, all the Rookie staffers and contributors  got up and answered questions from the audience.

Photo by Alyssa Laurel Ringler.
Then we brought a bunch of Rookies into the kids section, sat them down next to If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and got them to work signing, assembly line style.

L-R: Jenny, Arabelle, Petra, Tavi, Amy Rose, Laia, and I think that's the tip of Joe's nose
The signing line went all the way up the stairs for over an hour, as people patiently waited.

Just cuz we can, here are some pics of other people at the launch. Below: Rookie Editorial Director Anaheed + an adorable Rookie reader whose name I tragically do not know!

Here are Librairie D+Q fave Emma Straub (author of Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures and Other People We Married, not to mention a Rookie contributor) and writer-about-art/awesome person Naomi Fry (Frieze, Art Forum, n+1, and more):

After the last happy customer got the last copy of Rookie signed (did I mention we sold out of books??), we headed with the Rookie posse to a nearby restaurant, where Tavi gave a gracious and funny speech thanking everyone, the final beautiful speech in an evening of beautiful speeches. Here she is blurry and happy.

The next night, it was our delight to turn on the tube, and watch Jimmy Fallon learn to bitchface from a pro.

On Wednesday we headed out with Tavi and Steve for some stock signings, and what was the first thing we saw?

Yes that's right, y'all! Rookie was front and center at the Union Square Barnes & Noble when we arrived for the stock signing. PLUS, we did not capture this moment, but when we were in the secret signing room, a staff member knocked on the door to request a copy of the book because someone was asking for it in the 15 minutes Tavi took to sign their big stack of books!

After the B&N stop, we continued on to the Strand, where Kate (below) arranged things beautifully, setting Tavi up in a gigantic & shiny leather armchair, in the heart of the Strand's gorgeous rare books room.

Best of all, though, (and completely unphotographed) was when we arrived at our distributor FSG's offices for our stock signing there, and there was a table completely submerged in copies of Rookie. Awesome!

After that we said goodbye to Tavi & Steve, and headed back to Brooklyn to put our faces on for the party later on that night at the Ace Hotel. It was Rookie's One Year Anniversary, and my did we have a blast! The evening was peppered with readings and great tunes. This was a book launch, but mostly it was a party to celebrate all the great stuff and staff that make up Rookie, and we were glad to be able to participate.

Almost all photos below should be credited to the wonderful photographer Alyssa Laurel Ringler who snapped beautiful photos at both Rookie parties. Check her work out here.

Here's Rookie Managing Editor and incredible multitasker / fun lady Lauren Redding:

Image courtesy Alyssa Laurel Ringler.
The readings at both Rookie events were,  one after another after another, unendingly great. Inspirational, insightful, funny, wise. Here's Kevin Townley on stage at the Ace: 

Did I mention that everything was splendiferously glittertastic? The Rookie team showed up hours before the event, and draped the Ace hotel in glitter and sequins. 

Since the venue was pretty dark and crowded, we didn't manage to snap too many photos of the readings, but here's Tavi, kicking off the official dance party segment of the evening.

Apart from the glitter, the Ace was also decorated in the prettiest pastel coloured cupcakes you ever did see.  Me oh my were these cupcakes - the apex of cupcakedom, I'd say. Thank you Babycakes! These may have accidentally served as my supper. And a fine supper it was, too.

Image courtesy Alyssa Laurel Ringler.
Oh yes, and after the sugar high from the cupcakes, some of us may have gone wild with the photo booth, forcing innocent bystanders to join us in embarrassing photo ops. 

L-R: Sonja Ahlers, Lauren, Berit, Tracy, me, dear Librairie D+Q employee Julien, Fiona!

Image courtesy Alyssa Laurel Ringler.
 L-R: yrs truly, Sonja, Tracy, Julien, Fiona, Adrian Tomine!

Image courtesy Alyssa Laurel Ringler.
But the D+Q staff weren't the only folks to take advantage of the awesome set-up!

L-R: Anaheed, Laia, Ira, Amy Rose! 
Image courtesy Alyssa Laurel Ringler.
And to cap it all off, here the best group staff photo I've seen in a long time. Congrats on being one year old, Rookie! To many more!

Image courtesy Alyssa Laurel Ringler.
A final postscript: don't forget that we're bringing Rookie fun to Toronto at the end of the month. Tavi and a handful of Toronto Rookies will be hitting the Yorkdale Mall Indigo and Magic Pony on Saturday October 27th.  We hope to see you there!


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