The Aaron Goldfarb Blog

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Bar #7 – Old Bay – Post-Mortem

New Brunswick, NJ

I'm starting to understand why most artists and performers don't leave the beaten path and only appear in major cities...

Oh no, I thought I was more clever than them, that I could exploit minor markets and, as the "only show in town," kick some serious untapped ass.

Instead, due to this dopey stratagem, I found myself in a near empty bar full of huckleberries and rubes, bozos and unemployed Rutgers grads, nearly more bar employees than paying customers.  At least it was "Beer Pong Mondays" with $6 Yuengling pitcher specials.  Oh wasn't, because the dope managing the bar that night had been too lazy to stock up on Solo cups for pong, too lacking in foresight to have "Lager" on tap for the steaming (pile of shit) masses.

And, once some drunk HVAC conventioneers rolled in from a nearby hotel, my manager Craig and I decided to fuck selling books and instead dominate on the cornhole boards that had been set up in a side room.  We won ten in a row, showing the locals that they truly weren't good at anything, which lead to most all of the cornhole losers buying books.  It was probably our best conversion rate of the tour in strangers met to books sold (even in a crowd of potential illiterates.)

If I EVER return to New Brunswick again, it'll only be to watch Syracuse dominate one of Rutgers' meager athletics teams.


Having an event in New Brunswick.


Forced to share a bed with my manager that evening, I zinged him:  "You only get to sleep on 15% of the mattress."


Fresh Saison Dupont on tap.  Wow.  Never had this legendary beer any way but bottled before--and not quite sure how some innocuous bar in the middle of Jersey got some--but it was delicious.  Herbal, buttery, creamy.


Bar #6 – P.J. Whelihan’s – Post-Mortem

P.J.'s in Cherry Hill, New Jersey is the kind of place where aging dudes come in packs together to eat some wings and watch some football.  The kind of dudes that wear sweats to the bar.  That keep a Bluetooth in their ear at all times like as if some douchey cyborg.  The kind of dudes that exit the bar nodding to the 19-year-old hostesses at the front door, "Evenin' laaadies."  Always "laaaaadies."  Always with that drawn out aaaaaaa.

P.J.'s is the kind of place where presumably divorced dads bring their 5-year-old kid to the bar to watch football on the screens and watch dad pound a Miller Lite beer tower all day long (see above)*.

This was not exactly my type of crowd.  Before the tour started, I intentionally tried to go to smaller cities and towns a bit off the beaten path, thinking these places would have the kind of people so not use to fun and interesting celebrity "appearances" (I should probably scare-quote "celebrity" too), that they would clamor for me and "How to Fail."  I've quickly learned that's not the case.  Next tour I'll probably stick with the major cities that every other artist sticks with.

Having said that, and though we actually did sell a good amount of books yesterday, Sunday was most important in acting as a much needed rest day to finish week 1 of the 30 Bars in 30 Days tour.  Especially since I seem to be developing a wicked case of "barstool ass" from the hours and hours a night, night after night, that I've been barely teetering on a barstool.  My cheeks are flattened out and my tail bone is in serious pain.  I may soon be the guy at the bar sitting on his own hemorrhoid inner tube.

POWER POLLS (through week one)

Best Events

1.  Amity Hall (Manhattan)
2.  Drinker's Tavern (Philadelphia)
3.  Brooklyn Bowl (Brooklyn)
4.  P.O.P.E. (Philadelphia)
5.  P.J. Whelihan's (Cherry Hill, NJ)
6.  Kildare's (Manayunk, PA)

Top Fails

1.  My assistant locking her keys in the car (with countless books inside) right before an event was about to start.

2.  My assistant parking in an illegal spot in Brooklyn and getting a sanitation sticker slapped on her vehicle.

3.  My assisant resuming smoking after having quit just a week before the tour kicked off.

4.  Me drinking Miller High Life forties so hardcore on Friday night at Drinker's that I was so ridiculously hungover all day I was unable to leave my room to find a sports bar to watch my beloved Syracuse Orange clinch a bowl game for the first time in ages.  Shameful.

5.  Me acquiring a serious case of barstool ass.

5(tie).  Me eating bar food for 6 consecutive dinners even though I promised myself I wouldn't do that.

*I shouldn't be razzing him.  Dude bought a book!


Bar #5 – P.O.P.E. – Post-Mortem

I was so world-class hungover on Saturday after the previous night's festivities that I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make this event.  But after an afternoon nap and a Cuban sandwich I had mustered up the energy to head back out in Philly for my second event in that town, one I thought would be a top event on the tour, the craft beer bar Pub on Passyunk East (or P.O.P.E.).

I shouldn't have been so excited.  Though the bar had a great layout and a spectacular beer list (it was Dogfish Head night!), the clientele was the too-cool-for-school skinny jeaned hipsters too off-put to do anything but twiddle their lip rings.  A group of people snarking in real life, like internet blog commentators in full 3-D!

One woman came up to me, looked at my picture on the back of the book...

...and goes, "That's guy like mature, handsome, and dateable.  But in real life, look at you.  Get someone to dress you better."

Having said that, the staff at P.O.P.E. was awesome and easily my biggest fans.  Several bouncers bought several copies of the book to read it in front of the bar and, loving it so much and straight up LOLing, customers actually saw these big burly guys enjoying themselves and decided to go inside to grab a copy themselves.

Not a total loss and the sales for the day were surprisingly strong.


Drinking Miller High Life forties so hardcore the previous night at Drinker's that I was so ridiculously hungover all day I was unable to leave my room to find a sports bar to watch my beloved Syracuse Orange clinch a bowl game for the first time in ages.  Had to follow the play-by-play via Twitter on my iphone.  Shameful.


I've long wondered whether blurbs actually sell books--leaning toward, no, they don't--but now I can confirm that they actually sold at least ONE for me.  Some dude was perusing my book when he looked up at me and goes, "This kinda sounds like this one book I loved.  By some lawyer.  From Philadelphia."  Wordlessly, I turned the book over:

BOOM!  Book sold.  Thanks, PL!


Dogfish Head's World Wide Stout via a Meyer's rum-soaked cherries Randall.  HOLY FUCK.  Best beer of the tour so far.  Shit, best beer I've had in the last month or so.


Bar #4 – Drinker’s Tavern – Post-Mortem

I was seriously bummed out at how poorly the previous night's event had gone in Manayunk, that I began to wonder if the next 26 days were going to be similar.  Then, when I entered Drinker's Tavern, a place that looked like a total dive--and was dead empty at 8 PM on a Friday night--I was near suicidal.  So, I had no choice but to do what I always do when the going gets tough.  I get loaded.

And there was no real other choice as to what to get loaded on but Miller High Life forties.

Luckily, I'd mis-estimated Drinker's and it wasn't a dive bar, but rather a faux-dive bar, a distinction I actually discuss in "How to Fail":

There are many people that think they go to dive bars.  They laugh at the surly bartender who gives them a foggy pitcher of macro swill, are amusingly grossed out by the unisex bathroom with a standing water floor and graffitied walls, tickled by the jukebox full of David Allen Coe and George Thorogood ditties.  But successes don’t go to dive bars, they go to faux-dives.  Bars intentionally shitty just so bored successes can pretend to slum it for an evening.  Calling these dive bars is like an eleven-year-old claiming he went to a truly haunted house last October 30th when his parents drove him to that warehouse off the highway and paid $35 apiece for some drama club failures to spook the youngster.

Real dive bars are on Twelfth Avenue, nestled between storage facilities, motorcycle repair shops, secret brothels, and hot dog cart supply companies.  Not Zagat-rated French restaurants and free trade coffee shops.  They have names like Ollie’s and McCullough’s and Joe’s.  If they have names at all.  Most are anonymous, just a blacked-out sign, a neon High Life in the tinted window, a door with a few nine millimeter holes in it.  Aside from those holes, you can’t see into these bars from the street so it’s a major gamble every time you enter.  Inside you'll find a bartender with a Rollie Fingers handlebar mustache.  There'll be the guy playing pool with a “Mad Hungarian” Al Hrabosky mop of hair, a guy stuffing his Mitch Williams curly mulleted face with free pretzels, and a guy shooting Canadian Club and then slurping the excess whiskey from his Goose Gossage fu manchu.  At real dive bars the male population always bases their personal style on that of a former Major League relief pitcher, like the guy near the door with the Kent Tekulve aviator shades who is considering killing you for looking at him funny.  You don't look at anyone funny in a real dive.

(page 175)

Yes!  No real dive bar would serve High Life forties--a totally ironic beer choice--nor would they be situated in the tony Old City Philadelphia part of town.  And, even though I was shitfaced by the time people started streaming in near midnight, I was glad to encounter an upscale, college educated, cool, hip, fun crowd.  The absolute sweet spot for lovers of the book.  And, since they were hardly spending any money to keep themselves hardly sober, books flew off the table.

An awesome event.


Me thinking it wise to drink Miller High Life forties all night!


Drunk-selling books like a mad man!*



*I'd love to see how sloppy my autograph looked by the end of the night if any one could send in some funny pics.


Bar #3 – Kildare’s – Post-Mortem

I've become like one of those obese half-a-ton guys that stays in bed all day doing atypical "bed" stuff for hours--working, eating, shitting themselves--all from a supine position. The bar events are kicking my ass and leaving me hungover and immobile all day.  I type this from my bed office...

They say, in a stat I'm too lazy to confirm at the moment, that 70% of book purchases are by women.  And, oddly enough, so far that is ringing true with HOW TO FAIL.  When I was shopping the book around, countless people told me I had a "dude" book that wouldn't appeal to women at all.  In theory, that sounded like a fair assessment.  HOW TO FAIL is a transgressive book chock full of profanity, drinking, sex, sleaziness, onanism, and the like.  Not exactly a book the fairer sex would seem to enjoy.  Not to mention, the book doesn't have a pink cover.

But none of that has mattered.  My main publisher is a woman and loves the book.  My editor is a woman and likewise.  Ditto my tour manager.  And, at every bar we've been to so far, it's the women that are clamoring for the books.  Coming to the table, flipping through a few pages, laughing their asses off, and immediately plunking down their $15.  All the men are doing is hassling us and hitting on the aforementioned women--all cute--that represent me.  It really is true I guess--men can only think about getting drunk, getting laid, getting wing sauce on their face, and watching men tackle each other while at the bar.  Especially in town like Manayunk where $15 can get you either:


B)  5 vodka tonics

C)  7.5 Miller Lites

D) 42.85 buffalo wings

How can I compete with that?!  Luckily, women aren't as cheap as men--or, are more willing to blow money they don't have--and thus the book continues flying off the table.

Event #4 tonight--Drinker's Tavern in Old City.  See you there.


*My assistant brushing by the table and knocking a beer all over the books and merch.

* (TIE)  The stress of the tour already affecting my publisher so much that she resumed smoking after having just quit the week before the book's release.


*The same assistant getting bumped into by a girl who apologized for her uncontrollable "big ass" which led to convincing said Big Ass into buying a book for both her and that ass!


Victory Wild Devil on tap.  Victory's tasty Hop Devil IPA with brettanomyces added.  Yum!


Bar #2 – Brooklyn Bowl – Post-Mortem

After a rousing kick-off to the tour at Amity Hall we shifted boroughs for night two.  Unfortunately, the day's event immediately got off to an ignominious start as my assistant locked her keys in the car.  The car that had all the books, signage, merchandise, etc.  Luckily, Craig, my manager and a Brooklynite himself, had a small box of books stashed in his apartment and we were able to set up the most meager child's lemonade stand at the front door to a most massive venue.

If you haven't been to Brooklyn Bowl before...GO.  It's a spectacular spot, almost awe-inspiring when you first enter as the space just has so much going on--bar space galore, performing stages, video screens, and, uh yeah, bowling lanes too--that so many synapses start firing and you're quickly overwhelmed.  Brooklyn Bowl is kinda like Dave & Buster's except with high-quality local beer, cool people, and no place to redeem any tickets for a fucking keychain.

We met a slew of fascinating folks, according to my manager's post:

- the two organizers of Ted X Brooklyn

- a public radio host based on Long Island

- a pizzeria owner

- marketers, ad execs

- a clown enthusiast

- PR rep for numerous liquor and spirits company

- citizen-science educational researcher

- numerous artists and musicians

...the only problem was, they were more interested in schmoozing than buying books.  Which was fine, these were great conversations, but as the head of my publishing company finishes every e-mail to me with:  "SELL.SELL.SELL!"

Nevertheless, despite the admitted cheapness of a lot of the people we met, we still sold a good deal of books and still had a great time.


*My assistant locking her keys in the car along with the books.


*The bouncer at Brooklyn Bowl buying a copy of the book to read on his honeymoon he was leaving for the next day.  Will be curious to hear how that goes!


Brooklyn Blast DIPA on tap.  One of the most underrated IPAs in America and always a pleasure to tipple!


Bar #1 – Amity Hall – Post-Mortem

November 10, 1:11 PM, approx 12 hours after event ended

Fuck, 29 more to go?!

What have I gotten myself into?

I've got a wicked hangover, I've been supine all day, and I should probably have an IV attached to my arm.

But that's great!

No, not that I'm in deathly pain, but that I actually had a book event where someone could do the kind of things that make you need to call in "sick" for work the next day.  Believe me, if my event had been at Barnes & Noble last night, I'd feel physically great and most certainly un-hungover today, but I wouldn't have had fun and neither would any of the attendees.

The most common refrain I heard last night was:  "I can't believe I stayed this long."  You know why?  Because people are used to a typical book event which involves going to an over-lit bookstore, hanging out with old farts looking for some freebie "entertainment," and falling asleep as a nerdy author stands behind a lectern reading a book you're already planning on reading yourself.  The hardest drink around a mere Nantucket Nectar.

Well last night we had my own How to Fail Cocktail--a delicious blend of bonded bourbon, Grand Marnier, apple cider, and a splash of ginger beer created by noted DC mixologist Derek Wallace--and we, more importantly, had fun.  And the house was still packed around midnight.  Try making it to last call at a Borders.

And now I'm in pain and have scarred vocal chords.  I feel like Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston.  If they were authors on a whirlwind book/drinking tour and not just washed-up drug addict singers.

Oh well, onto event #2 tonight--Brooklyn Bowl--doors at 6:00 PM.  If you didn't make it out last night, join the fun today.  If you made it last night, come again for even more fun as I secretly try to start an Aaron Goldfarb Deadhead-like traveling circus (Failheads?)


*None.  It was an awesome, near-flawless day and event.  I'll never forget it.


*As I was getting video interviewed on the street, two drunk Italians came by and started heckling me.  I stepped a way from my interview to yell back at them and they returned to chat.  Though drunk and slurring they did speak quality English.  "'How to Fail?'" one guy said, noticing the sign in front of the bar, before pointing at his friend.  "He's great at failing!"  We all had a laugh and the drunk Italians decided to change their plans for the evening and enter the party to buy some books.  Turning hecklers into friends into book buyers.  Score!


Though the Black Xantus on tap was phenomenal, the special How to Fail Cocktail was a huge winner for all.



HOW TO FAIL: THE SELF-HURT GUIDE, the world's FIRST self-hurt guide, is HERE!

My first novel is now on shelves at finer bookstores, many less than fine bookstores, newsstands, airport shops amongst the Airborne, train stations next to the prophylactics, bus depots side-by-side issues of Big Booty, Jersey Turnpike rest stops, and pornography huts (soft-core only). And, if you're not seeing it in those places, go up to the dork manning the cash register and demand it! Or, just be a normal person and buy the book online:

My book tour, 30 BARS in 30 DAYS begins Tuesday in Manhattan (Amity Hall, 80 W. 3rd Street) before cutting a swath through the upper northeast.

Please come out and encourage your friends and the losers you work with to do likewise.

But that's not all...I'm pleased to also announce something that has never been done before, the simultaneous release of my short story collection THE CHEAT SHEET, stories about the sexes, sex, and sexiness in New York.

This book sells for $9.99 paperback and $6.99 on Kindle, Nook, and the Ibookstore, but NOW...

To the first 3000 people that buy HOW TO FAIL and e-mail me proof of purchase (a forwarded online receipt, a picture of the physical receipt, etc)...


That's...quickly doing the math in my head...$25 worth of books for a mere $15.

How can you beat that?!

PLEASE blog this, forward this message to any one in your contacts, amongst your FB friends, Twitter followers, or LinkedIn a-holes that might be interested.


Aaron Goldfarb

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“30 Bars in 30 Days” Book Tour

I'm pleased to formally announce my book tour, “30 Bars in 30 Days”!

I hope any of you in the tour’s path will come out and say hi, buy a book or two, and let me scribble my name in it.  I’d love to have a drink with any of you!

Pass this on to your friends, post on your FB walls and Twitter, put the info on your own blogs, and, please, order a book if you haven’t yet.

See you soon!

RSVP for the events here.

Map and appearance updates here.

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