Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Shameless Self-promotion

I’m not sure there is any other kind of self-promotion, so here goes.

Recall this summer I got a plum writing assignment from my friend at NACS, the National Association of Convenience Stores, for his monthly magazine. I wrote a cover story for the July issue about Hollywood’s portrayal of convenience stores and gas stations in movies and on television.

The piece was fun to research and write and well-received by the magazine staff and the association members and was good enough to get me another assignment from them (Sports Sponsorships for a recent issue – to be posted soon).

Flash forward to October when the magazine columnist for The Washington Post writes a funny article about the unusual niche publications one can find here in DC – particularly at your neighborhood gym. In the piece he scoffed at the concept of a magazine for convenience store owners.

Being an on-his-toes self-promoter himself, my friend, Jeff Lenard, seized upon this opportunity to reach out to the Post reporter, Peter Carlson. Jeff introduced himself, the magazine, and the association to Mr. Carlson, sending him some back issues, including the July issue that contained my movie story.

The piece made an impact on Mr. Carlson who wrote about it in today’s (11/27/07) Washington Post. The review is glowing – or very sarcastic. I read it a few times to be sure, and I have decided that even if he meant it sarcastically, I’m taking it as a positive!

See the excerpt from Mr. Carlson’s article below – the title of the piece refers to his review of the new issue of Details Magazine, which was the lead in his article.

The Magazine Reader
Pungent Details: All It Needs Is an Atomizer
By Peter Carlson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 27, 2007; Page C01

How Convenient

Back in October, I wrote a column on the weird trade magazines that people peruse while exercising at a local gym. After reading the column, Jeff Lenard, publisher of NACS, the official magazine of the Alexandria-based National Association of Convenience Stores, sent me a few back issues. The July issue contained a masterpiece -- the definitive history of the portrayal of convenience stores in American cinema.
The author, Michael Klein, provided a rich textual analysis of convenience store scenes in "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" and "Thelma & Louise" and "Booty Call" and "Raising Arizona" and "Grosse Point Blank" and "Clerks" -- plus TV shows ranging from "Seinfeld" to "Mad About You" to that classic "Simpsons" episode in which Apu, the lovable owner of the Kwik-E-Mart, sells a 29-cent stamp for $1.85.
Such rigorous cinematic scholarship would be enough for a lesser magazine, like Cahiers du Cinema, but Klein doesn't stop there. In a sidebar story, he asks the writers and directors of these shows to reveal what they bought the last time they went to a convenience store.
"I walked up to the counter [with] a bottle of moderately priced chardonnay, a bottle of Scope mouthwash and a pack of condoms," says Bill Grundfest, a former "Mad About You" writer. "And the lady behind the counter just looked at me over her glasses and said, 'Well, somebody's got an interesting evening planned tonight.'"