The Martha Stewart Show, which is done live in her studios in Chelsea. So we got up at 5:30, primped, packed up our netbooks, and got on the subway. We felt rather brave doing this, since we had to be there at a given time. No time for mistakes - we could do that later (and we did).
Soon, we were let in the door, where we checked in with government-issued I.D., then went through security, which consisted of searching our bags and going through a metal detector.
We then walked into a holding room, where we checked our coats and were encouraged to use the restrooms while we waited. There were bottles of water for our refreshment.
Also while we waited, we could purchase Martha items, including books, sweatshirts (buy one, get one free for $55), and even a Martha Stewart rain slicker. I'd really wanted to buy one of her gardening books for her to sign, but can you believe it? There were none. Only books on cooking and the big home handbook.
Now that didn't mean I couldn't get a signed copy of a book though. If I was one of the first ten to purchase a book and one other item, I could have a signed copy. Geesh. I chose not to do that, but in retrospect, I wish I'd bought a chocolate brown hooded sweatshirt with "It's a good thing" in aqua on the front and a signed copy of Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook. At the time, I was kind of irritated that we were manipulated to purchase in that way.
When it was time to enter the studio, we were admonished to spit out our gum (no gum here!) and we were called into the studio by either the color or number on our tickets.
Mom and I were numbers eight and nine, so we were seated on the floor, right in front of Martha's kitchen part of the set. Only 22 people were seated there, with everyone else in the seats on the risers behind us.
What a beautiful set! I want to live in it.
Since everyone was to blog during the show, each section was assigned one of four routers, so we first got online, then took some photos of the set. The only time were were allowed to take pictures was before and after the show, and only from our seats, so nearly all of my photos contain the crew prepping the set for the show.
Joey Kola came out to warm us up, giving us instructions on how to applaud, which was much like being part of an orchestra. He had signals for when to really whoop it up and when to tone it down. We practiced a bit and then he brought out a bag of gifts, which he tossed up into the audience - behind us.
Soon it was showtime and Martha and her guests entered from our left: Alexis Stewart and Jennifer Koppelman Hutt (the Whatever, Martha! girls), Pim Techamuanvivit (author of The Foodie Handbook and blogger), Andrew Ritchie (blogger for Martha Moments), and Jeff Blumenkrantz (blogging his way through Martha Stewart's Cooking School, like Julie Powell did with Julia Child's book).
When Pim was cooking Pad Thai, Martha mentioned that a spatula would be helpful. I enjoyed seeing the assistants in the kitchen scramble to find what she needed. Someone came out with three different kinds of spatulas, so she would have what she wanted.
Then it was time to go and we were ushered out of the studio, we gathered our coats, and were handed our free book as we went out the door.
Joey was being interviewed and photographed by a reporter for The New York Times, so we hung around and I asked him if we could have our picture taken with him. He was very gracious and personable, as others then came over for photos, too.
So there you have it. Our Martha Moment. For those of you who'd hoped to catch a glimpse of us on television, the cameras were rolling back and forth in front of the audience on the risers, with us behind them. While we had excellent seats for seeing Martha and her guests up close and personal, we were in the wrong position to be seen on screen.
What did I think of it all? First, the good stuff. It was a thrill to see Martha and her gorgeous studio. It was fun to see just what all it takes to do a live show like that. We had great seats, but there isn't a bad seat in the place.
Now the not-so-good, which I'll direct to the star of the show:
Martha, this was a show about blogging. You required the studio audience to be bloggers and that we bring a laptop or iPhone or Blackberry so we could be seen blogging during the show. We complied. Were we wrong to assume that the show would actually be about blogging? Or that a couple of bloggers from your blogging audience would be involved in the show?
I know Brian Williams was supposed to be there, but he was in Haiti, so you brought in your daughter and Jennifer. Alexis did her best to be rude to you and while Jennifer is a charmer, what was up with the recorder playing?
As a garden blogger, I was kind of hoping maybe you might have a little bit of something about gardening. I know you garden. You even wrote a book about it once, and I was disappointed to find that it wasn't for sale. You see, I bought it before I left to go to New York, and it didn't arrive in time for me to bring it with me. I was willing to buy it again, just to have a signed copy.
I watched your show before I attended it and I've watched it since I got home, and I have to say, coming home with a Thai cookbook was nice, but you could have done so much better for your blogging audience. Today's audience got a wireless printer! (Among other things.) A few days ago, they went home with five books and a DVD (The Botany of Desire). You could have given inexpensive and cool computer items, such as a flash drive or a portable fold-up mouse - things that bloggers of all kinds could use.
Regardless of how that might sound, I didn't attend your show for the giveaway, nor for the guests you did or didn't have on your show. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see you in person and confirm what I suspected all along - that you are even more beautiful than you are in photos and on the TV screen. It was fun to see how a live TV show is done, and if it weren't for getting tickets to your show, I would have been older than my 52 years before I made my first trip to New York City.
But you dropped the ball on this one, Martha. The show could have been so much more than it was. Can you tell I'm a little disappointed? I feel like we were props that contributed only a little less to the theme of the show than your guests did.
Those shoes were fabulous, though.
The Blogging Show (January 14, 2010)
Bloggers in the audience - Very cool that both of my blogs are listed on Martha Stewart's website! They're in a fabulous position on that page, too! (And yes, I've seen an increase in traffic.)