Thursday, January 21, 2010

Martha, Martha, Martha... Stewart!

And now the day was here - the day which brought us to New York City. Mom and I had gotten two tickets to attend a taping of 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).

In less than ten minutes, we were at our stop, which was a couple of blocks from the studio. As we walked up to the door, there were a few people already in line, but we were feeling pretty good (a little smug, even) about our position. While we waited in line, some of Martha's people came around and interviewed some of us about our blogs, me included.

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.

The show zipped right by without a hitch and before we knew it, it was over.  Martha filmed several promos right after the show, then stuck around to answer some questions.  The burning question on everyone's mind concerned the shoes she was wearing.  At this point, Martha just whipped her leg right up on the table to show her Yves St. Laurent six-inch heels.

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.)


Patsy Bell said...

I love this post. You make us feel like we are there with you. Sounds like you have a great NYC trip.

Fern @ Life on the Balcony said...

Great post Kylee! I'm glad that you had the opportunity to go to the show, too bad it didn't live up to the hype. I think a lot of people know that bloggers and web 2.0 are a big thing, but they don't really know how to harness it for their benefit. It probably would have helped to have a blogger assisting the people at the show put this one together. It seems to me that Martha missed a big opportunity to connect with and become relevant to an audience that is, by and large, a least a generation or more younger than she is.

Anna/Flowergardengirl™ said...

Oh man Kylee, Martha missed a big big chance. Really disappoints me. I've got stock in her company too. I'm sorry she didn't better prepare for her audience. And to think she's so in to gardening. I was really looking forward to reading this post. Now I'm just let down. Not at you by any means as you did us all proud the whole time....Nice reporting from NY!

But Martha--you could of done a whole lot better. Her set is lovely.

Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" said...

HI Kylee and Mom!
You are a natural born reporter. Great post and I enjoyed the pictures. Looks like a gorgeous set.
Too bad your experience didn't live up to what you envisioned. I know how that feels.

I did see that your blogs have a great mention on her site. Good for you.

On that note, I'd love to have you back on the GWR sometime soon.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Somehow I am not surprised how the show experience turned out. I have often been disappointed when going to an event expecting one thing and getting another. I am glad you did get to see the show etc. I have also not bought something while on vacation for one reason or another then later regretted not buying it. Maybe you could get the sweatshirt on line??
You and Mom looked pretty all spiffed up for the show.

Sarah from Toronto Gardens said...

Wow, almost as good as being there. Great pix and insights.

Kind of nice to see Martha showing off her shoes and looking like a normal woman,with actual body creases!

That set does look gorgeous.

It is disappointing that she has seemingly lost a gardening focus, and you didn't get the garden book.

Phillip Oliver said...

I enjoyed reading about the process. I watched the show and I too was puzzled about the content. I thought it was going to be about blogging! One thing I've wondered is how long it takes to film the show? Are there a lot of breaks or reshoots? It sounds like a well oiled machine and everything goes smoothly. You mentioned Alexis being rude - I couldn't help but notice that! I've never watched her show but surely her personality is snappier than what she displays on Martha's show. Yikes! Tacky about the merchandising and the tactics to get you to buy more of her stuff. Doesn't she already have enough money???

Christina said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing your experience, I loved all the pictures too. It was nice to be "behind the scenes" with you.

Pam/Digging said...

Bummer about the show not living up to its promise, but it does sound as if you and your mom had a good time on the trip. You guys are always so cute in pictures! I look forward to seeing you both at Buffa10, which, as we know, WILL be all about blogging and gardens.

Mark From said...

fill the audience with bloggers and then not include blogging in the show or make anything relevant to bloggers?

They just don't get it and it really doesn't make sense.

Great pictures and account of things.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Hi Kylee, I am glad to read about your adventure and happy to see your assessment of the show. I too felt like it was not at all about blogging. It was disappointing to watch. Not sure about the mother/ daughter relationship but could do without the rude banter.
This was the first time I watched Martha and it is the last. It is rather self absorbed. I am glad you had a good time in NYC.

heen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence™ said...

I'm glad you got to go to her taping. It is truly an experience. And you are so right, she is even more beautiful in person. H

Beth said...

What a great post, Kylee! I loved your account of everything that went on at the show. I enjoy your writing and your photos, Kylee. Good work, as always.

Beth, Beyond the Garden Gate

Unknown said...

I would have assumed the same thing you did, wouldn't you invite bloggers to a show about blogging? Weird. It sounds like a good time though, and I would love to see one of her shows too. What an excellent behind the scenes post though. I'd love to visit NYC some day too.

Jan said...

I watched it Kylee, and felt the same way about the content. Was disappointed with that! I'm glad you had the experience though and came back with some positive memories. I 'felt' the tension between mother & daughter and agree w/your assessment of her daughter! How awkward for the audience that had to have been. It's wonderful that your blogs are listed on her website...that's a bonus;-)

Anonymous said...

Great post! I've gotta say, I would have been pissed at the obvious sales ploys given to you guys while you were waiting, too. You were invited! That was definitely crappy. And as someone who works in marketing (though I hate saying that and still choose to identify myself as an editor) I agree that they dropped the ball a bit. On paper it sounds like a GREAT idea and a very unique opportunity, but they just didn't follow through like they should have. Still pretty good, though (I checked out the video). And, lord, Alexis is pissy!!

Also FYI the "bloggers in the audience" link doesn't seem to work...

miriama said...

Very well written! I thought it would be about blogs or bloggers, too. That is what I would have expected. Maybe she will read this and respond. I'm glad that you enjoyed the rest of the trip.

Alexandra said...

I'm going to give points to Martha and her producers on this one. I think they just made a common mistake about the nature of the on-line community. They still really don't get it, but like the tourist to a foreign country that only takes the bus tour and doesn't speak the language, at least she went.

Stella said...

I absolutely love this post. I watch the martha show and have followed her for years. It was great to know about her show from a audience member's point of view. The pictures were great and so were the factoids. No gum!! What's up with that? Leave it to Martha.

Shady Gardener said...

Nice job of reporting, Kylee. And you must have been a busy girl to do the recording, photographs, etc. during the show and still be able to enjoy it!

One aspect of having the live audience be bloggers is the amount of extra coverage Martha received. Did they not even mention that you all were authors of blogs?

I'm sure you and your mom had a wonderful trip and enjoyable time!

Have a great weekend.

Kylee Baumle said...

Patsy ~ Thanks! We DID have a WONDERFUL trip! I'm now reliving it through my photos. :-)

Fern ~ That's the thing - Martha claims to be an avid blogger, and the guests she had were bloggers. It's just that very, very little of the show was actually about blogging! I'm sure in any given show she does, that her guests also have blogs, and for sure her audience does. For a show that was touted as being "all about blogging," it wasn't.

Anna ~ Yes, you're right. We felt let down as well. I've been reading some of the blog posts from the other bloggers who were there and we aren't the only ones who felt like this. Still, it was a wonderful experience just being there.

Shirley ~ Shirley, you're so kind! You would have enjoyed being there, I'm sure. Mom and I had a great time there, all-in-all.
And I would love to do something for GWR again! That was so much fun! You just let me know what you want from me and I'll do my best! Thank you!

Lisa ~ Thanks, Lisa! We tried to clean up a bit. LOL. Oh, I don't really need a sweatshirt, but that one was kind of neat and it would be the "other" thing I would have bought to get what I really wanted, which was an autographed book.

Sarah ~ Martha is 68 years old, if I remember correctly, so she's entitled to some body creases after being a model in her younger years and all the experiences she's gone through. She did seem like one of us, especially when she mentioned she'd bought the shoes "on sale." LOL

Phillip ~ It took just an hour to do the show. It is done live, so there are no do-overs. Just a few minutes between segments, for commercials, so what you saw is what it was. It went very smoothly as far as I could tell.

Christina ~ Thanks! It's been fun sharing our experiences in NYC.

Pam ~ Oh we absolutely had a wonderful time with everything we did! And we are BOTH looking forward to Buffa10! Can't wait to see you there!

Mark ~ Thanks! Blogging was mentioned and talked about briefly at the start, but that was it. There were bloggers there, but the content was certainly not about blogging.

Janet ~ I think maybe Alexis exaggerates her rudeness, thinking it's all part of her persona on her own show, but it doesn't come off in a very good way, regardless. Martha has had some very good shows, but this sure wasn't one of them!

Helen ~ I wouldn't trade the experience for anything and I would go again. On second thought, I think I'd try to go see Rachael Ray instead. I don't cook, but her shows are still good.

Kylee Baumle said...

Beth ~ Thank you! You're so kind. :-)

Cinj ~ We really enjoyed being there, in spite of the "not about blogging" thing. And yes, you really HAVE to get to NYC someday! Mom and I both just loved it there!

Jan ~ It actually wasn't all that awkward for us, because we all were kind of busy trying to blog and tweet and stuff. Plus, if you know Alexis or have seen her in action before, it's not surprising how she was. I think she exaggerates the rudeness some, but it's still not becoming to her OR to Martha to be a part of that. Oh well!

Jennah ~ Thanks for letting me know about the broken link! I fixed it. :-) Not every show can be great, and this one really wasn't, given what it could have been, but it was still a wonderful experience!

Miriama ~ Thanks! Oh, I doubt Martha will read any of the blog posts we bloggers wrote about her. Maybe her people will choose to read some, but they're all so busy, I doubt it. But she really should pay attention to her audience/fans, because they are the ones who buy the books and other Martha merchandise.

Xan ~ I understand what you're saying, but Martha says she's an avid blogger, and her guests were bloggers, too, so she should know if she's going to do a special theme show on blogging, that the content really should be about blogging! She's not a novice, apparently, and one of her guests actually writes a blog for the show. So as much as I would love to give her the benefit of the doubt, this time I just can't. I'm not angry by any means, just disappointed.

Stella ~ Thanks! Yeah, I had to laugh when her assistant told everyone to spit out their gum, but I understand why, too. It doesn't look attractive to see someone chewing gum. If I had a TV show, that would be my rule, too. LOLOL

Shady ~ Thank you! It did seem like I was busy during the show. I only made that one teeny post and tweeted the rest during the show. Tweeting was definitely easier. I have to think too much when I'm writing a blog post! I would have totally missed the show if I'd been putting together a blog post. And yes, they mentioned that we were all bloggers. The only time they showed that was as the segments were beginning and ending, they panned the audience and you could see the laptops on everyone's lap.
We had a ball in NYC and we want to go back in summer, when we can visit the botanical gardens there!
Hope you're having a good weekend!

Rose said...

Thanks for this great post, Kylee! I'm still so mad at myself for not setting my DVR properly so I could watch this episode. But you've given such an excellent wrap-up that I almost feel as if I had viewed it. I like the photo of all the assistants prepping the set beforehand. Martha always seems to be a bit intimidating to me, yet it's a good reminder that her perfect home, garden, etc. doesn't get that way by her work alone. If I had a "staff" my garden and home would look beautiful, too:)

I really wanted to see the show, not only because you were there, but also to hear what she had to say about blogging. How disappointing that she didn't include any of the audience in discussions! Maybe I didn't miss so much after all:)

Robin's Nesting Place said...

It was fun to read about your experience even though it was not what you were expecting. I wonder how much they have to hype future shows to get people to come and fill the audience for the live shows. It sounds like it was just a marketing ploy and you were duped for their gain. I hope it wasn't intentional deception on her part.

Kerri said...

Kylie, it's been fun and very interesting reading all about your trip to The Big Apple and seeing all your photos.
It's good to hear both the pros and cons of your experience with the Martha show.
I wondered about the "blogging during the show" which is not at all realistic because, as you say, posting needs lots of concentration to do the work, as anyone who posts knows, and you'd want to give your full attention to the show!
All in all though, it sounds like a fun experience for you and your mom. Thanks for taking us along :)

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Great report, Kylee! I am a bit late, but I want you to know that I enjoyed this post a lot! I am glad you used this chance to visit New York.

Suz@SlowFamily said...

Kylee, I'm so glad you and your mom got to visit New York and be on Martha's show. I followed your progress from the beginning and was very excited by it. I also felt let down by the show and was expecting to see more blogs highlighted or hear a bit about blogging in general. Martha, after all, has one, even though she has someone else who maintains it for her -- she's mentioned him on the air. Much more could have been made of the blogging and tweeting audience. But know that it was fun to follow all the tweets at home.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Kylee!
Have been meaning to get over here and catch up on your travels. What great pics. And, I noticed that you and I own the same netbook. (Hey!) Don't you love it? Not surprised re: the outcome of the show but it looks like you had a fab time in NYC. That pic of you and your Mom in the audience is just wonderful!

"Daffodil Planter" Charlotte Germane said...

Kylee, You and your mother looked terrific! What a shame that the cameras missed you. Fascinating to see The Big Day in Marthaland. With your sharp photos and clean layout the post reminded me of a story in MSL ;-) I am shocked that her producers did not focus on blogs and bloggers. Think of the talent in that audience! When I read that you were seated in the front row I thought, "Oh good, Kylee definitely got called up to speak with Martha". But no one did. Darn.

I am a longtime fan of MS and it was a thrill to read your account. Now I'll go watch the show.

Victoria Williams said...

Great, honest post, Kylee! I have a feeling I would have totally agreed with you; about everything. Good experience, though.

Tamara Jansen said...

What fun! That would just be such a thrill :)

Joe Lamp'l said...

What a fun read! Good job on documenting your trip. Thanks for a great post. I really enjoyed reading and seeing how your day went.

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