Friday, June 27, 2008

Barbara Walters in Las Vegas

I was at Barnes and Noble on the westside of the Las Vegas valley this week when Barbara Walters stepped out of a limo for a one-hour book signing for her new book, Audition: A Memoir. It was held in the children's section of the store, and a line of people wrapped around the inside parameter about a quarter of the way. Around 200 people bought books and then stood in line for their turns to have their copies autographed by the author. Some interesting behind-the-scenes goings-on: Barbara had requested in advance that customers hand her their books from her right side, not her left. The talk-show host of ABC's "The View" also requested two other things: that fresh-sliced almonds and sliced apple ("No brown spots, please") be waiting for her in the store's employee lounge -- her makeshift personal green room -- where Barbara waited before venturing out onto the floor to sign books. One customer brought with her Barbara's first book, How to Talk with Practically Anybody About Practically Anything, which was first released in 1971. As the customer, who was with her granddaughter, approached the front of the line, a Walter's handler stopped her and said she couldn't hand any books to Barbara other than her new one. The woman said, "Okay," that she wouldn't do it. But when she got to the table, she presented both books to Barbara. She told Barbara that her daughter had bought the hard-cover book when she was 16 and asked if her mother could get it autographed for her. Barbara obliged and didn't say much, other than she ought to have it put back in print. I haven't yet attempted to tackle the latest book. If I do, I'll review it here.

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