Keith Stokes' New York Nebula Awards Weekend Trip Report
My flight to Newark was a direct flight leaving Kansas City at 6:45 AM. Taking the Super Shuttle into Manhattan from the airport, I arrived at the Crown Plaza (about 200 feet from Times Square) at noon. I had a quick lunch of a Ruben sandwich at the Back Stage Deli, across the street.
After settling into
my room, I went in search of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers
of America Suite and registration. The hotel couldn't identify any room
as being with SFWA, only by person's last name, so I waited around the
lobby. Some of the Noble Fusion writers were also hanging out trying to
find the SFWA suite, while Allison Stein was busy canceling her credit
cards. Her wallet was stolen while she was having lunch. Finally we saw
Lori Mann, who told us what floor the suite would be, and that it wouldn't
open until after 3 PM.
After the signing, Kathy Wentworth, Rick Wilber and I planned to share a taxi back to the Crown Plaza, but instead joined Joe & Gay Haldeman and Rusty Hevelin in picking up some wine and retiring to the Haldeman's hotel for good conversation.
At 11 PM when Rick, Kathy and I were ready to return to the Crown Plaza, the Haldemans recommended that we step across to Penn Station and take the "C" subway back. We confirmed which subway to take with a police officer, and preceded to wait 45 minutes at the station, while many other trains passed through We finally learned that the "C" doesn't run late night and the "A" changes to a local. The next "A" took us within a 100 yards of the hotel.
Back at my room, I uploaded the first pages of photos to the net and crashed at 1:30 AM.
Saturday dawned early and I uploaded more pictures before hurry to the SFWA business meeting. The business meeting crowd was small and when Paul Levinson called for a quorum count, there were only 29 active members. The meeting continued and there was cheers when Active #30 arrived.
The only surprise at the meeting was the announcement that Michael P. Kube-McDowell will no longer produce the Online Updates. Shane Tourtellotte will take over following the Nebula Awards announcement.
Only 45 minutes were left for new business. Yog's motion that the Sawyer Referendum be rescinded took almost the entire time. When it was decided that the motion would result in taking away membership of SFWAns who joined under the Referendum's rules, the motion received only 4 votes.
Following the meeting, I took a taxi to the Forbes Galley, a free museum featuring the Forbes family collections. 100s of toy boats, 10,000 toy solders and figures, the very first handmade version of Monopoly, 12 Faberge eggs, other Russian royal family items and more. My favorite part was the two rooms of presidential memorabilia rotated from the 4,000 pieces in the Forbes collection. It included the note the Truman wrote to the critic who unfavorably reviewed Truman's daughter's singing, the log book from the Enola Gay, Nixon's pardon and many Lincoln items.
When I left the gallery, it was raining, but I walked in the rain over to 8th Avenue and had a forgettable meal at a Thai restaurant. After lunch, I finally got a taxi, which took me back to the hotel just in time to join Graham Collins and a couple others for a walk to the Royale Theatre for Copenhagen.
Copenhagen is a drama
with only three characters, the ghosts of physicists Werner Heisenberg
and Niels Bohr, and Bohr's wife Margrethe: Philip Bosco, Blair Brown and
Michael Cumpsty. An excellent show.
Following the awards, I raced up to the room to post the winners on the SFWA website, than returned to the ballroom hallway where folks were drinking and talking. Edelman, Keyes and Aldiss signed my books.
I spent the rest of the night at the SFWA Suite, most of it chatting with Dave Truesdale. There was no bar and there was never a large crowd. We talked until 4:30 AM and were the only ones there for the last hour.
Sunday dawned much too early. I packed and checked out, checking my bags for the day.
I walked over to the TKTS kiosk in Times Square and got in the VERY long line for discount theater tickets. The box office opened about 20 minutes later, and after about an hour I had a ticket to Cabaret for only $35. I spent the time before the show was mostly shopping (but not buying) along 5th Avenue. For lunch I enjoyed an excellent buffet at the fairly elegant Jewel of India on 44th Street.
I spent the next 90 minutes window shopping along 5th Avenue. Just before the show, I had a slice of pizza at Joe G's Pizza. Dave Letterman fans know the place.
Cabaret was in Studio 54, with the main floor tables and chairs adding to the setting. I sat far up with what Michael Hall's Emcee called, "the poor people." The show was good, but has a bleak ending. Sally Bowles has a strong voice and gives a wonderful but depressing performance.
The flight home was uneventful. I finished Ken MacLeod's The Cassini Division, just as the plane sat down.