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Odd Words August 25, 2011

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Big news sometimes comes in a small box. Longtime fixture of the local indie book scene Maple Street Books is exploding into a mini-chain even as the big boxes shrivel and die in the shade of Amazon. Founding in 1964 in a house on Maple Street, the shop expanded into a new and used bookstore, taking over the former children’s bookstore space and acquiring the used book stock of deVille Books and will now open two new branches, the first in The Healing Center on St. Claude Avenue.

The grand opening is Sunday, Aug. 28, and will feature a second line parade from Canal and Rampart to the store, along with kids’ activities, music, food and general good times. Some of the musical guests will be John Boutte, Henry Butler, The Treme Brass Band, Mardi Gras Indians, Chuck Perkins & Voices of the Big Easy, and Sean Johnson & the Wild Lotus Band. Another branch will open later this year in the Faubourg St. John neighborhood hear Bayou St. John.

This weekend is the sixth annual Rising Tide Conference which will feature a number of authors among the panelists and featured speakers. There will be two keynote addresses, first from noted geographer Richard Campenella, author of BIENVILLE’S DILEMMA, GEOGRAPHIES OF NEW ORLEANS and LINCOLN IN NEW ORLEANS. The afternoon feature will be David Simon, creator of The Wire and Treme HBO series, and the author of HOMICIDE and THE CORNER. Other notable writers appearing include Jordan Flaherty, author of FLOODLINES: COMMUNITY AND RESISTANCE FROM KATRINA TO THE JENA SIX and Bob Marshall, the Pulitzer-prize winning Outdoors Editor of the Times Picayune.

As co-editor of A Howling in the Wires, which sought to break down the false distinction between blogging and writing, there will be a raft of talented writers on all of the panels. You can get the details and register in advance here. Once again, the talented artist, satirical cartoonist and blogger Greg Peters, who produced the cover of A Howling in the Wires, produced the poster and t-shirt image available at the conference.

Before we get to the listings, a big thanks to Susan Larson for inviting me to appear on The Reading Life this week. You can still catch the re-broadcast Saturday as 12:30 pm on WWNO-FM or you can listen to the podcast. And thanks to Octavia Books for underwriting this wonderful program, which fills the gap left by the Times-Picayune’s abandonment of their book page.

& Tonight you have another chance to get a signed copy of Jennifer Shaw’s Chin Music Press book HURRICANE STORY (the slow boat full of books having finally arrived from China). A fascinating collection of staged miniature images shot with a disposable medium format camera illustrating a brief text of her Katrina exodus, it is (like everything else from CMP) a physically gorgeous and textually fascinating book. And you get to hang out at the Ogden (I may have to get the seersucker out if I can only find a pair of bucks somewhere cheaper than Rubenstein’s). And it’s during Ogden After Hours so you can grab a real cocktail instead of signing wine and listen to some excellent music. Thursday, Aug. 25 at 6 pm., Ogden Museum of Art.

& We’ve all heard the horror stories of the hospitals after Katrina, the anecdotes about the nurse who stayed for Katrina and will not come back to New Orleans. Here is a piece of the back story to that tale: “What’s it like to be a patient with advanced cancer trapped in a hospital with no electricity or running water and no way to escape? Carolyn Perry vividly recounts her husband’s ordeal in the flood-ravaged devastation following Katrina. In “FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE: PATIENT IN THE MAELSTROM Perry tells the gripping story of two people in a loving marriage, fighting a relentless disease and swept up in the chaos of a man-made disaster. Thursday, Aug. 25 at Garden District Books, 5:30 p.m.

&This Friday I can promise the return of the No Love Lost poetry reading at the Love Lost Lounge, hosted this week by Joseph Bienvenu. Pay no attention to the hulking figure in the corner. Its jazz happy hour in front and poetry in the back and the kitchen is open serving fabulous pho so stop by and get your weekend started.

&The Maple Leaf Poetry Reading will feature Thaddeus Conti and Francis Matherne, 3 p.m. ish at the Maple Leaf Bar. Words and possibly other things will fly, drink will flow and poetry will be celebrated in the grand manner established by Everette Maddox in the South’s longest running poetry series.

&Downtown on Sunday after you visit the new Maple Street bookstore, you might want to continue your Rising Tide weekend by attending the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society’s annual My New Orleans: A Katrina Remembrance event at 2:00 p. m. at the Presbytere in the Louisiana State Museum’s Katrina & Beyond exhibit. Faulkner Society guests who RSVP for this event will be able to see the museum’s Katrina exhibit at no charge. Featured authors include Zelia “Lisa” Williams, author of the new post-Katrina memoir, Why Can’t I Get Over Katrina: The Greatest Disaster Ever MADE!, which is being released concurrent with the anniversary of Katrina; a reading by New Orleans poet Brad Richard, whose new collection, Motion Studies, is Katrina related; and readings by the distinguished professor of literature, fiction writer, poet, and playwright John Biguenet from his prizewinning plays Rising Water and Shotgun about Katrin. Sunday, Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. at the Presbytere at Jackson Square. RSVP to Faulkhouse@aol.com or call (504) 524-2940 to reserve your place or reserve copies of books in advance. For more details on authors, visit http://www.wordsandmusic.org

&A continuing Wednesday event is the spoken word open mic at VASO on Frenchman Street, hosted by Carl SMUT DA POET Smothers. There is a $5 cover, drink specials, and free admission for all participating artists. “All Poets, Singers, Musician’s And Anyone With Something To Express Are Welcome.” Doors at nine, show at 10 p.m. Wednesday, VASO Ultra Lounge, 500 Frenchman St.

& If there’s anything more frightening than Jessica Fletcher walking into a room (OMG RUN! SOMEONE’S GOING TO DIE!) it’s next Thursday at Octavia Books when serial crime novelist George Pelecanos will read from, discuss, and sign his new book, THE CUT. Among fans of David Simon’s television series The Wire, Pelecanos is also known as Simon’s Hitman. When you see his name in the title credits, somebody is going to die. I’m going to take my chances and be at Octavia Books. Thursday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m.

The Loyola Writing Institute Fall 2011 Writing Workshop: Writing Well-Crafted Fiction will be led by Stephen Rea, author of FINN MCCOOL’S FOOTBALL CLUB. The class will run eight weeks starting Tuesday, Sept. 27. Cost is $250 and you can register here. Deadline to sign up is Sept. 13.

If its this busy, summer must almost be over, right? Right?

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