Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The New Old Biddy Meets The Fabulous Tim Gunn!

It all started with reading a tweet from PulseJFK.

It was immediately followed by hysterical giggles while sending an email to my friend, Joanna, saying: "YOU IN?"

She responded back immediately: "YES."

This was then followed by a month of waiting and anticipation.  And figuring out what to wear.  And giggling.

And what was all this girly hub-bub for?  I will tell you.  THIS:

Books AND Tim Gunn in one place?
I may die from complete happiness overload...

As you know, I adore Tim Gunn.  (If you didn't know this, where have you been??)  He's my favorite element of Project Runway and he was oh so delightful on his TV show (and in his book), Tim Gunn's Guide To Style. (The TV show got the ax when PR jumped ship from Bravo to Lifetime.  BOOOOO!)  So when I found out that he was promoting the graphic novel he appears in, Models, Inc., I KNEW I had to go. I also knew that I couldn't wear a hoodie for fear that he might say, "Young-ish lady, why are you contributing to the slobification of America?  I dare say that you are completely unacceptable to be out in public!  Away with you!"  (This is seriously a fear of mine.  It's right up there next to spiders with inappropriately long legs and barf.)

I got to Barnes & Noble in Tribeca at around 5:30 in my early biddy fashion.  I bought my copy of Models, Inc. (and two other books on social media and HTML - what can I say, I'm a dork at heart) and sat down in the third row.  And waited.  Happily.  Eagerly.  In short, I'm sure I looked like a grinning doofus.  At least I have good teeth.

My friend Joanna joined me and the rest of the seats began to fill.  Now, I need to talk about the audience before continuing:  It was comprised of people I would NEVER peg as a Tim Gunn fan.  (Not that we have a look, mind you... And by 'we' I mean 'I need a 12-step group.') Some people were there wearing what they woke up in while others were decked out.  Others were there for the Marvel Comics aspect of it and were shocked to see such a dapper man as part of the panel.  Some were teens, some were old.  But my favorite two audience members sat in the front row and did each other's make-up.  It looked like a mother/daughter duo and their excitement was adorable and palpable.

Okay, back to the action...!

Just before 7pm, Tim Gunn walked through the room with a posse of Barnes & Noble workers doing their best Secret Service formation. (All that they were missing were ear pieces.  And is it wrong I wanted one of them to talk into the cuff of their sleeve?)  Upon his arrival an excited golf clap erupted from the audience and Tim gave us a humbled (yet confident!) look as if to say, "Oh shucks, everyone.  Carry on!  Nothing special here."  I think I speak for the entire audience when I say that we all fell in love with him right then and there.

After what seemed like ages, the panel began!

Tim Gunn, Some Guy from Marvel, PR Guy From Marvel
(I should take better notes...)

There is no way to retell how entertaining and hilarious this discussion and Q&A was.  At one point I turned to Joanna and said, "Tim Gunn should do stand-up." HE IS A RIOT.  He's so genuine and off the cuff.  He's so well spoken and completely honest with his answers and because of this, he instantly connects with his audience.  THANK GOODNESS Barnes & Noble taped the entire discussion and will post it on their site in about 2-3 weeks!  YOU MUST SEE IT WHEN IT COMES OUT.  I can not do it justice in a blog.  I'll keep an eye out for it and post when I see it.

But in the meantime here are some topic highlights without giving too much away:

* Tim Gunn's love of comic books started when he was a kid
* He has a thing for Iron Man (who doesn't??)
* They discuss capturing Tim's vocabulary for the comic.  (Although I would have liked to see, "I assert that..." "Egads!" and "Where's Andre?" in there somewhere... but that's just me.)
* He worries about the Incredible Hulk's "costume"
* Mr. Gunn likes a good cape
* Hairpulling!
* "Leggings are not pants, ever!"
* He discusses two more "Crimes Against Fashion"  
* He was a art student/sculptor before getting into fashion
* Diane VonFurstenberg got him on the path to discovering his personal style
* Season 6 of PR was horrible  (AMEN!)
* Nina needs to rethink the gladiator sandal
* He went to Parsons because he had a "call to teach" - which he talks about so passionately.  (This is a man who LOVES what he does and where his life has taken him!)

I will tell you the question I asked.  Ahem.  I dare say that it's very good.  Okay.  Here goes: "You're always so dapper, what do you wear to make toast in the kitchen?" (Riveting journalism, no?)  His answer: "Jeans and a t-shirt!  Of course!"  Squeee!  

"However, I will wear the Iron Man outfit 
before a hoodie."

After the Q&A, it was time for the book signing....

"I before E, cross the T..."

While waiting in line, a mom and a little girl came by to wait and say "hi" to Tim after the crowd thinned out.  Turns out it was Jay's child model from the "Mom"challenge!

I told her that she did a great job on the show and she blushed and whispered, "Thank you."  TOO CUTE.

Finally, it was time to meet the man of the hour.  Now.  I'm usually pretty cool about things, especially when celebrity driven.  I don't get nervous.  I remain myself.  UNTIL I was 5 feet away from Tim and I turned into a blathering dimbulb with a fourth grade vocabulary at best.

I asked that he make the signature out to my blog's namesake, The New Old Biddy.  His reaction: "Who or WHAT is a new old biddy?"  I squeaked, "It's me!  Cuz I'm young but have older sensibilities."  To which he exclaimed, "Why that's me too!"  

Then...  I had nothing to say.  Years of questions that I'd stored in spare gray matter, gone.  Blank.  Nada.  He filled in the gap by asking me my real name.  I swear to Dior, I had to think about it:  "Matilda?  No, that's my dog."  Finally, I blurted out, "Jennifer," and thank goodness I was right.  He chirped back, "Well it's nice to meet you, Jennifer."  We then chatted a bit about the blog, Blogging Project Runway, and how wonderful the people who run it are.  (Yes, Patrick, that's what we talked about!)  I told  him ("stammered at him" is more like it) that I blog about the show and as a result of that blogging have met many of my friends that way.  (You will be proud of me, I did not bring up that I think Bunim-Murray is run by plebes.  Gold star for me.)

Then, picture time!

And Tim Gunn's head grew three sizes that day...

Look - I know.  I got a tiny melon.  Only to be horribly highlighted against a fully developed skull full of goodness and knowledge.  But the fact that he's angled closer to the camera does not help my (tiny) plight.  

Joanna: "See, Jennifer.  This is what  a normal head size looks like."

After he was done signing my book he said, "I'm sure we'll meet again!"  I said, "I hope so!"  Then I shuffled off and tried to get my heartbeat back down to a regular rate.  Seriously.  I was lame!

Afterwards, Joanna took me to a place where she knew I'd fit in:

"We are neither new or old.  Just early."

Joanna and I then ate (I had a burger with Irish bacon!), drank (vodka tonics for me, black and tan for her) and talked for 3 hours. (Our chat is off limits.  I have a reputation to uphold...) All in all, it was a fabulous night!

Oh and fellow Tim Gunnians, (did I just coin a term?), he has a new book coming out in the fall! 

Until September 10th, make it work!

I hope Barnes & Noble does another promotional event.  I'll start practicing saying my name in the meantime. Just in case...


  1. ooooh!! That is wonderful! I just heart him madly. But, he would be very disappointed in me because I adore my leggings (but I always wear the appropriate butt covering tunic or blazer.)

  2. I have always loved women. I adore thier smiles, the soft skin, the tilt of a head, the curves, the hands, the smoky eyes.

    The Honorable Tim Gunn, however, can have my body on a sexy skewer if he so desired.

    I am jealous and yet soso happy for you!! If they only served bacon appetizers you might have died right then and there. I simply HAVE to figure out a way to get Tim Gunn to work on something I'm organizing.

    And in my new old giddygay dreams, Anderson Cooper is there as well.

    It really is funny (weird). As a dude, I love younger women. As a closeted gay man, tho, I love the silver fox Tim Gunn. But then again, who doesn't? And we ALL know he's way WAY out of our league.

    :::sigh::: Squeeeeee's all around for you and your wonderful experience!

  3. Tim is my favorite silver fox (a distant second is Anderson Cooper) and I'm thrilled that you got the chance to meet him. You never forget your first time. EVER. Here's something - the next time he sees you, he'll remember your name - I swear!!! *Hugs*

  4. I feel so honored to be featured this time! (Of course, I know I'm a far second behind Mr. Gunn.)

    Christina, you would be happy to know that Gunn's one important piece in anyone's wardrobe is a blazer, for either men or women.

    Jen, carry on!

  5. Christina - make sure you read Joanna's comment! :)

    Mintzworks - Tim is SO dashing in person!

    The Scarlett - BEST first time. Ever. Squee!

    Joanna - And you would be...? ;)

  6. I'm so happy you got to have a moment with Tim Gunn and also had time to tell him about your blog -

    AND he's a new old biddy too!! Yay for biddies!! Luv ya!

    ~ Linda

  7. Jennifer, You not only "Make it Work", you "Make
    Things Happen!" New York is THE place you should be!

  8. There is hair on top of your head! You have a top to your head!!

    Who knew??

  9. As We Speak - Thank you! I for one can not imagine living anywhere other than NYC now. I love it!

    Tbone - Was there debate about this? Was the top of my head cut off in Assignment: Jennifer? :P

  10. I love when Tim talks about teaching because he sounds like an wonderful teacher. And good teachers can definitely make a difference in your life.

    New York is the place to be. I can't wait to move there when I'm finally finished with school. I'm actually really happy for you that you moved. I don't really know you, but it sounds like a good place to be when your trying to find things in life. I'm glad you are enjoying it.

  11. Good teachers absolutely make a difference in your life. I can remember the names of the teachers who made my life change. The other's fade into the background.

    When are you done with school? DO come to NYC! It's been the best change I ever made in my life. There are so many options here. I love it - and I hope you do too!! (Let me know if you do come out - if you have any questions.)



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