August 2019 Newsletter

Rave Reviews for Thrillerfest 2019!

Ah, New York City. I was in the city a month ago for the International Thrillers Writer’s Conference at Grand Hyatt,
42nd Street and Park Avenue, and felt like I was in a thriller movie.
I experienced the following events in the last two days of my stay -
a fatal car crash in front of the hotel, angry demonstrations against the visiting Taiwan President which made Hyatt a security nightmare (security of the visiting President almost didn’t allow me inside the premises till I showed my writer’s ID), and lastly, a total blackout in mid-Manhattan which affected 70,000, rendering Times Square and Broadway in total darkness.

And yet, the calamitous event brought out the resilience of
New Yorkers who didn’t panic during the blackout, but instead brought comfort to those who were stranded in the streets.
Broadway cast members were singing outside the theatres, with a smile on their lips.

The Thrillerfest conference was like “summer’s camp for writers” according to Kimberley Howe, Executive Director of Thrillerfest. In a sense that was true since old friendships amongst writers were renewed and new friendships amongst many were created. 

But really, it was a high-level summer summit for writers.
The number of best-selling authors walking leisurely around the corridors of the Grand Hyatt were head-spinning. Here was John Sanford (author of the Prey novels) signing autographed books at one table, Lisa Unger happily posing a selfie with another author (that’s me!), Steve Berry dispensing invaluable writing lessons to new and experienced writers, and so on.
I'm looking forward to ITW 2020 with Diana Gabaldon, writer for "Outlander" as the Thriller Master awardee. Her novel was published in 1990 and blends multiple genres. When asked to describe her book, this is what she says:

'Frankly, I’ve never been able to describe this book in twenty-five words or less, and neither has anyone else in the twenty years since it was first published. I’ve seen it (and the rest of the series) sold—with evident success—as <deep breath> Literature, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical NON-fiction (really. Well, they are very accurate), Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Military History (no, honest), Gay and Lesbian Fiction, and…Horror."

Hey, just the perfect writer to honor at Thrillerfest next year!

Thanks to Kimberley, Sandra, Kathleen and John! Because of these selfless organizer-writers, the International Thriller Writers conference was a magical experience, and only because the writer-organisers
made it so.

Reviews for
'Camp: Notes on Fashion'
at the
Metropolitan Museum of Art

After seeing the “Camp: Notes of Fashion” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
I had to walk for thirty seven streets along Central Park (from 82nd Street to my hotel near the 45th Street), to try and digest what I saw.

What is camp? Andrew Bolton, Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute’s curator in charge, was inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay “Notes on Camp” which had 58 different definitions of the term.

“A subject that at first seems obvious, camp is a densely layered sensibility that encompasses (among other things) the revivifying and subversive power of the extreme, artificial, performative and pastiche, often challenges established norms of “good behavior” or “good taste” (feh! with the good taste) and is deeply intertwined with the history of queer culture.

“A historical, cultural and sartorial journey traced in 250 objects of which there are 170 garments, the show begins with the concept “se camper” (“to flaunt” or “to posture”), and exists formally in two parts. The first half evolves through four eras — Versailles, Oscar Wilde, Christopher Isherwood, Susan Sontag — which connect individuals and their camp points of view with their expression in written and decorative arts. Section two addresses the multiplicity of meanings of camp today, as illustrated by a multitude of looks straight from contemporary runways: feathered, Freudian, elegant and over-the-top.”

Now you know why I needed the walk!
The history of pre-Sontag camp material in letters, books and photographs was interesting for me. Then the second half of the exhibit was an explosion of colours as camp is defined through fashion gowns : Balenciaga, Yves St.Laurent, Thierry Mugler, Tomo Koizumi, Christian Lacroix! 

Vanessa Friedman , The New York Times’s fashion director and chief art critic said it succinctly -
“What it really reveals is that camp itself is such a giant, elusive concept, it can’t really be satisfyingly contained in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor galleries. But I’ll give him this: After you go through those doors, you don’t stop thinking about it. It sticks with you and niggles in the brain.” 

S hare your thoughts by emailing me at mayet@mayetligadyuhico.com