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Back to the Future February 25, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
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The campus toward Leon C. Simon was a vast meadow, covered in a cotton blanket of ground fog in which we left a wake as we walk home. As we passed the utility plant known as Stonehenge for the wall of interrupted standing concrete monoliths that surround it The Mad Scotsman would come out. We have no way of knowing if was actually Scottish. That’s just what we called him. We only know that on nights after our class in Twentieth Century poetry, perhaps after a night class of his own, he would play his bagpipes somewhere toward the building that houses the music department.

The meadow of 1978 is now a parking lot to serve the gleaming tower of the new Engineering Building and the campus of Ben Franklin High School. The walk south from the Liberal Arts Building toward St. Anthony Street is a maze of curving sidewalks, concrete plazas and a confusion of new buildings. Some of the sidewalks trace the goat paths students once wore into the grass, while other paths of memory are blocked by berms meant to discourage shortcuts.

I thought the greatest difference in going back to school after thirty years would be the age difference between the other students and myself. When they notice me at all, the conversations are not much different than they might have been decades ago. No one asks me why I am back in school. They bum a cigarette, complain about a disinterested professor, ask after a generic liberal arts class what my major is. In the mirror of their eyes I am as they are, just another student.

The sidewalks are no more full than I remember them but there must be more students or who is populating all of these new buildings? Perhaps they all scurry off to their cars and go somewhere else between classes. I notice the young woman with the interesting tattoos I sit next to in History of New Orleans sometimes scurries off toward her car after class, but I see her later in the new canyon between Liberal Arts and the new Mathematics Building. It has always been a commuter campus but other than the mobs in the lunch lines in the University Center I don’t know where they all are between classes.

The students and professors mostly accept me. I am not the only older student in the room. I am most unsettled by the new geography and I find myself spending time between classes in familiar haunts: the second floor of the UC, the patio in the center of the LA building, the library. The cafe I knew as The Cove is now The Sandbar, and the angular concrete walls that once flanked the entrance are gone, remembered only in a small display in the library lobby. I look for myself or someone I knew in the photographs but don’t find them.

The entry to The Sandbar is now a plaza with fountains and gas-fueled, lava-rock braziers amid the metal cafe tables. I avoid the building, mostly because I can’t stand to eat my homemade sandwich in a room filled with people eating Popeye’s Friend Chicking, one of the half-dozen fast food outlets that have moved on campus to complete with the cafeteria and the original Sandbar the counter service that was once the only choices.

I think about those long gone concrete walls at The Sandbar, and the concrete monoliths of the physical plant. I recently learned that Curtis and Davis, the architectural firm where my father spent most of his career, laid out the original plan for the campus in the early 1960s when it was opened. In the long-gone, berm-flanked concrete walls that gave to us–the second generation after The Bomb–the sensation of entering a fallout shelter, and in the monoliths as the center of campus, I see a touch of functional Brutalism that marked the work of Curtis and Davis. None of the people going in and out of the cafe or toward their cars remember the Rivergate or the other studies in undulating cement and sand in their french curve glory that marked the work my father did.

Do these children even know what a French curve is, or how to operate a slide rule? Everyone seems to have a tablet computer or a tiny netbook computer, and their backpacks are small. My messenger bag straings my back as I groan under the weight of the Riverside Chaucer and another class’ thick stack of tabbed printouts that fill a once inch binder. I have tried both the pack pack and shoulder slung arrangements and neither spares my back. So much paper, unless we have lately slung a case of copier paper we forget how much it weighs until you fill your bag with a ream of it. My son mocks me because I dutifully fill in three-by-five cards before a biology test. Why don’t you use Quizlet online, he asks? I tell him writing for me is a mnemonic aid, even while every professor posts Power Point slides of their lectures on the Moodle website I could just as easily study from.

Amid all this technology (and I have worked in IT. I am no luddite) I think I find comfort in a stack of blue-lined cards, a prop to help me adjust. Scantrons, the little sheets of circles to be colored in with a brace of No. 2 pencils, I remember only from scholastic aptitude tests, not classes. I find some comfort to see the stacks of blue books in the book store, and wonder if I can still manage to fill one legibly with my bad handwriting, a task that thirty years ago required a concerted effort but which in retrospect I think required me to slow down and focus on what I was writing.

I no longer walk out of my last class of the day in a direct line toward Leon C. Simon and St. Anthony. I could not if I wished to, but would have to thread the maze of new buildings. I left my car in that direction, not far from my old apartment at 6219 Wadsworth Street, but my son has taken it to NOCCA. Thirty years go I parked for free in the lot of the abandoned Pontchartrain Beach amusement park, but that is also gone, replaced by a university-affiliated technology park. I head instead for the familiar brick bus shelter across the empty approximation of a quadrangle north of the library to catch my bus home, glad to sling my messenger bag full of books (how can the onion skin of the thick Chaucer weigh so much?) onto the concrete benches.

I will probably drop my one night class when I return to work part-time. Moloch regrets their decision, and wants me back to help. I wish I could keep that class. I know the Mad Scotsman is long gone, but I often hear music students practicing in the new amphitheater behind the bus top. I long to walk some night through the swirling ground fog to meet my ride home, to the strains of some powerful instrument–a tenor saxophone perhaps–to sing me home through the dark.

Odd Words February 23, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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You know you are the old fart in your Chaucer class when the words “Procol Harum” and “Whiter Shade of Pale” evoke blank stares from the assembled sixteen vestal virgins and their cohort of future high priests in the temple of literature. I have to assume they are graduate trackers. You’d have to be insane to take Chaucer if you’re only in English to go to law school.

(What? Really? It’s “As the Miller told his tale” in the chorus. Oh, just go listen).

It looks like I’m going to be working full-time on Fridays shortly, and what with 17 Poets back in session and a full day of classes Thursday, I don’t know when I’m going to get this column written, but I do know I will probably be eating something or performing some other useful function if I’m going to keep up with all this. Typing on the bus in New Orleans is definitely out of the question.

Enough with the kvetching already and go write up the listings why don’t you?

& I won’t get this out in time for tonight’s Octavia book event (listed last week) but just in time to remind you that tonight 17 Poets hosts a triple header featuring JOHN SINCLAIR, PIERRE JORIS and NICOLE PEYRAFITTE at the Goldmine on Thursday, Feb 23, 7:30pm). If Sinclair is not enough of a don’t miss show on his own, I caught Nicole Peyrafitt at the Goldmine last year and her performance poetry is also a must see. You’ve got an hour to get down there and park, so come back and read the rest of this later.

&Friday McKeown’s Books and Difficult Music will host a reading with author, David Wesley Baldwin. He is the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Fiction Award from Out Magazine and will be reading from several of his works. Wine/cheese will be served.

& Fridays also brings spokenwordnola.com’s weekly event at the Red Star Gallery on Bayou Road at 9 pm and the No Love Lost Poetry Reading at the Love Lost Lounge at 5:30 pm. Take you pick, or take two for the same price, as NLLP doesn’t charge a cover.

& On Sunday, Feb. 26 the Maple Leaf Reading series features poet and musician Jonathan Warren reads from his work and play his Native American flutes. His music is an ethereal wonder and you have to get a close looks at his flutes, which are amazing works of art themselves. All that and fine poetry, too. And beer or whatever. Well scotch is highly appropriate but not recommended if you have to work Monday.

& Monday of course brings The Writer’s Block to the amphitheater steps across from Jackson Square, unless of course Kate says it’s not. And everyone listens to Kate, except maybe Richard Burton.

& On Tuesday Octavia Books presents a reading and signing with Constance Adler featuring her just released memoir of life along Bayou St. John, MY BAYOU: New Orleans through the Eyes of a Lover. Octavia (or maybe the jacket copy) suggest “a vividly described and intensely personal memoir, My Bayou charts a personal and spiritual transformation along the fabled banks of Bayou Saint John in New Orleans.” This sounds like a book I would love. This sounds like a book I could get around to reading if I started buying Yerba Matte infused energy drinks by the case, but that does’t mean you should miss it. Ms. Adler will also be at Maple Street Books in Faubourg St. John on March 8 but that’s next week’s column.

& Next Thursday Octavia Books features historians Rebecca J. Scott and Jean M. Hébrard presenting and signing their new book, FREEDOM PAPERS: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation. FREEDOM PAPERS sets the saga of a Senegambia and her descendants against the background of three great anti-racist struggles of the nineteenth century: the Haitian Revolution, the French Revolution of 1848, and the Civil War and Reconstruction in the United States. Senegambia was the primary source of slaves to French (and Spanish) Louisiana, and their homogeneous culture is one of the reasons we have our rich Creole culture. (Show off.) (Yes, I’m taking History of New Orleans.)

& Have I mentioned that Maple Street Bookshop has a First Tuesday Book Club at the Uptown location? I haven’t? Sorry guys. Well, here is the next entry with a discussion date less than two weeks away so if it sounds interesting you had best get over to one of their three locations and get a copy before a week from this Tuesday. the next meeting is March 6 at 6:00 P.M.: Gather with the club to discuss Tea Obrecht*s book, The Tiger’s Wife. ‘Stunning . . . a richly textured and searing novel.’ Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times.

& Just so you don’t think Garden District Books was ransacked by a crowd of drunken Bacchanalians, they will get back into the swing the week of March 6 with Kit Wohl, Suzanne Peron and C.S. Harris, but that’s next week’s column. And an opportunity to discuss the Oxford Comma in the comments section.

I’m afraid I’m missing something hurrying through this, but send me an email at odd.words.nola@gmail.com if I did and you can have your very own “Oops, I screwed up (again)” announcement. Please try to send them to me in advance so we both look smart. I can use every advantage to impress my professors I can possibly muster.

Adiu Paure Carnaval February 22, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in Carnival, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
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At the conclusion of Carnival in Nice, France, an effigy of Monsieur Carnaval is burned, the ancient story of the burning man, the sacrifice in fire. As told by Mama Lisa’s World Blog, in that rite Monsieur Carnaval “is responsible for all the wrongdoing people do throughout the year. At Carnival time in France, Monsieur Carnaval is judged for his behavior throughout the preceding year. Usually he’s found guilty and an effigy of him is burned.”

Accompanying the ritual is a song, and I offer the lyrics collected by Mama Lisa below, both in Occitan (the language of the Troubadors) and in English. I suggest you click the link to open in a new tab or window so you can follow along as far as the MP3 goes.

And so, from New Orleans, Adiu Paure Carnaval.

Adiu paure Carnaval
(Occitan)

Adiu paure, adiu paure,
adiu paure Carnaval
Tu te’n vas e ieu demòri
Adiu paure Carnaval
Tu t’en vas e ieu demòri
Per manjar la sopa a l’alh
Per manjar la sopa a l’òli
Per manjar la sopa a l’alh
Adiu paure, adiu paure,
adiu paure Carnaval

La joinessa fa la fèsta
Per saludar Carnaval
La Maria fa de còcas
Amb la farina de l’ostal

Lo buòu dança, l’ase canta
Lo moton ditz sa leiçon
La galina canta lo Credo
E lo cat ditz lo Pater

Farewell, Poor Carnival
(English)

Farewell, farewell,
Farewell, poor Carnival
You are leaving, and I am staying
Farewell, poor Carnival
You are leaving, and I am staying
To eat garlic soup
To eat oil soup
To eat garlic soup
Farewell, farewell,
Farewell, poor Carnival.

The young ones are having a wild time
To greet Carnival
Mary is baking cakes
With flour from her home.

The ox is dancing, the donkey’s singing
The sheep is saying its lesson
The hen is singing the Credo
And the cat is saying the Pater.

All on a Mardi Gras Day February 21, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in Carnival, cryptic envelopment, Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras Indians, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
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“Don’t be fallin’ out of your house with no needle and thread in you hand.”

I heard that on WWOZ back in the early 1980s one Monday before Mardi Gras, before Lundi Gras and before Orpheus, when that night we stayed home and put the finishing touches on costumes. I don’t know who it was. It might have even been the great Tootie Montana. I like to think so.

I knew about Mardi Gras Indians back then, something that happened deep back in neighborhoods were we never ventured. I saw them first as a very young boy, young enough to remember watching Rex pass from my father’s shoulders. I think it was the corner of Galvez and Canal, but it could just easily have been the corner of Claiborne, back before the expressway. We saw them on the corner as we drove down to the French Quarter early to spend the day at my great aunts Gert and Sadie Folse in the 800 block of Royal Street. My father pulled over to the side in mid-intersection for a moment and to a boy that small they were something monstrously wonderful.

As I sit on my stoop and smoke a cigarette and the first neighbors come out. A young woman climbs into her car in tights and a tank top with a garbage bag of costume. A car pulled up at my neighbor’s. Jimmy said he has to cook 200 pounds of meat today down on Broad. I can hear the cars down on Gentilly Boulevard. I am tempted to jump into the shower and emerge a boneman just as the sun comes up, to go down to street to give the people on Gentilly a proper boneman greeting. I may yet head out the door and do just that. I don’t think most of my neighbors here on the sketchy edge of the Fauborg St. John understand it is a boneman’s role to wake the neighborhood on Carnival Day, but perhaps I could give some child in the back of a car riding up to Mardi Gras on Claiborne Avenue a memory they will recall some Mardi Gras morning when I am gone down the river.

[Musical Interlude] February 19, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
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Even imaginary radio is a one way medium, just between us and the stars. Radio Free Toulouse has closed comments on this video because it’s not me, so don’t worry.

Take your impulse to leave some sympathetic comment and share it with someone who needs it.

Because every body hurts. Sometimes.

Guilty! Life, I’m your beautiful man! February 19, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
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I am not Uptown.

I am not Downtown.

I am the sad clown charming
improbable cabaret balloons
in fantastic Fellini dreams*

And then . . . and then . . . something comes back to me.
A door opens & I walk into the brisk, invigorating night.

THE SENSE OF DECORUM IN POVERTY

I put on a shirt
with a couple of
gone buttons and a
pair of pants my wife
hates and walk into
the living room and
sit down in a dull
chair. In this way I
acknowledge nothing’s
going on. If I
wanted to really
suffer I could go
lie down in some shit,
but that transgresses
the fine line between
propriety and
masochism. If
I were any kind
of poet I’d go
stick up a Jiffy
Mart or, Say, the First
Bank of the Cosmic
Imagination.
Then I could buy a
red plaid jacket with
a rooster tie and
stumble out into
the clear autumn air
crowing “Guilty! Life,
I’m your beautiful
man.”

Mystic Order of Memories February 19, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
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” . . . MoM’s had always been one of my favorite things about Mardi Gras, a gathering of all who chose to live in the fabric of Mardi Gras and not just inhabit a costume for a few hours, a party only the resolutely dissolute can enjoy, or survive. MoM’s is what I hope Saturday night in Hell will be like, should I find myself stuck there between planes. But thousands in a shed did not hold up to the memories of hundreds in a hall in Arabi decades before. I don’t know if I will return to MoM’s, preferring this one true memory of carnival’s past. And then I can say well, I don’t go anymore, you know, but back when . . .”.
– ‘The Last Mardi Gras”, one of my contributions to A Howling in the Wires

I knew it wouldn’t be the same. I had seen the last MoMs with the Radiators as the band. I knew I didn’t have time to put together a proper costume last week. I knew I would likely be playing Daddy Taxi even though its not my week. I knew I had to get up only a few hours separated from the time I would likely get home, and clean house before my son comes over Sunday, at least vacuum and dust for his allergies, and clean the bathroom and probably mop the kitchen, too. I knew after I cleaned I ought to begin to type up my paper abstract for Chaucer, to see if I really had enough supporting material to write a paper on a subject that appears no where in the Annotated Bibliography of Chaucer’s The Knight’s Tale. I knew my responsibilities like the weight of of an elaborate costume.

I knew as I dropped off a car load of friends on Convention Center Boulevard I should have gone.

Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad

Krewe of Aeolus February 18, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in Carnival, Mid-City, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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I’ve never been that fond of Endymion, which on the stretch nearest my house is a festival of boorish suburban drunkenness and animal territoriality. I’m taking a class in anthropology and have to keep a journal and I’m pretty sure what the next entry will be about, but I’m not going out in this foul weather to refresh my memory. The spray paint marking vast swaths of the public neutral ground as private property began to appear Thursday night, followed by the rebar and caution tape. The tents and locked porta-potties came next.

If you want to see American culture at its basest selfish and aquisitorial level, the complete collapse of social comity one might expect in the Zombie Apocalypse, there is no better place than the Orleans Avenue section of the route. Hell, in most of the zombie films the survivors show more cooperation and camaraderie, which would I guess make the neutral ground hordes the zombies. The chief of police promised to enforce the ordinances against this behavior but if you believe that I have an imaginary prime stake on the Carrollton Avenue street car line I want to sell you.

The gods, it seems, are not pleased with this behavior. Drenching rain, howling winds, frequent lightening and the prospect of tornadoes is likely to dampen some of the enthusiasm of the villaging hordes. The only downside to this will be if Endymion is moved to Sunday night behind Bacchus, which will mean many of these same people will try to crowd themselves onto Napoleon Avenue tomorrow night.

Odd Words February 17, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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OK, I really should be at the library doing research since my Chaucer professor just reminded the entire class yesterday our final term paper abstract is due in three weeks. I really need to get over there before people start checking things out. I seem to be riding into uncharted territory which will make it harder than it ought to be, but I think I’m on to something and I can’t resist. Why go back to school at my age if not to challenge oneself? It’s not just the severance with retraining, to to try to find a place in my small apartment to hang a bit of framed sheep’s skin or wear some silly ring. The whole idea is to challenge my writing mind into new directions, which is why I’m also taking Writing American Nature, a Special Topics course one third of the students of which are graduate students. (The same is true of my Chaucer course).

The professor teaching the Special Topics course asked us to send him an email explaining why we chose the course. I gave him two reasons. The first was to understand the techniques of nature writing as I might employ them in my own writing about the urban environment. I sent him a few blog pieces and he said he enjoyed them very much, so there’s that. Then there is a desire to understand the American mind as separate from the Creole, Pan-Caribbean mindset of New Orleans. (I think I might have mentioned something about approaching the latter from the the point of view of a “die-hard New Orleans exceptionalist, with every bit of Gallic chavinism I can muster). At least he like the essays from here and Wet Bank Guide.

That said, onto the listings.

We are into parade listings and the bookstores mostly have their Carnival schedules posted and nothing coming up this week. I did a book signing at Maple Street Book Shop a few years back on the first weekend of Carnival and got a decent turnout, but this is the Big Weekend.

Friday night is the regular Red Star Gallery spoken word event, but you might want to check their web site later today just to be sure. On Bayou Road, doors open at nine with a cover.

Friday should also feature the regular No Love Lost poetry reading at the Love Lost Lounge starting at 5:30. Again, things may change because of Carnival but hey, it’s Jazz Happy Hour in front and he plays a lot of Thelonious Monk, so why not go check it out either way?

Miss Maureen of Maple Street will be doing her regular Saturday kid lit gig at 10:00 A.M. at the Healing Center location and at 11:00 A.M. at Fight the Stupids Central on Maple Street. I don’t normal do kids lit but its a slow week and you may have small children and not know about this regular Saturday morning event. If so, check the details here.

Update: Nope, there’s no meeting of the Haiku Society this week. I’m trying to find out if the New Orleans Haiku Society will be having their regular meeting on Lundi Gras and will update this listing if I found out they’re not. (The Latter Memorial Library is right on the parade route so my guess is probably not). If they’ve rescheduled, look for it here at the home of Odd Words.

I suspect that the Writer’s Block will go ahead Monday night at 9 p.m. on the amphitheater steps across from Jackson Square. If you show up and no one else does, don’t be afraid to declaim to the passing tourists, but watching for flying beads.

Octavia Books will get right back into the game next Thursday with a presentation and book signing with CNN weather anchor Bonnie Schneider featuring her new book, EXTREME WEATHER: A Guide to Surviving Flash Floods, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Snowstorms, Tsunamis and Other Natural Disasters. Which reminds me its time to start eating through my hurricane survival box or at least make sure the sort of dehydrated stuff in there doesn’t expire for a few years. (Yum).

Garden District Books is only a few blocks from the parade route and lying low until March, when they will really kick the chocks out so look for a lot of listings starting in a week or so.

Next Thursday 17 Poets hosts a triple header featuring JOHN SINCLAIR, PIERRE JORIS and NICOLE PEYRAFITTE at the Goldmine on Thursday, Feb 23, 7:30pm). Sinclair is always great to see but I caught Nicole Peyrafitt at the Goldmine last year and her performance poetry is not to be missed.

That’s it. I’m off to the darkest recesses of the Earl K. Long Library where the books on medieval drama and literature are kept. I probably should pop a Claritan before I venture into all that dust and spider web. I will keep this quote in mind to sooth and encourage me.

I venture to suggest this solution to the ancient problem: The Library is unlimited and cyclical. If an eternal traveler were to cross it in any direction, after centuries he would see that the same volumes were repeated in the same disorder (which, thus repeated, would be an order: the Order). My solitude is gladdened by this elegant hope.
THE LIBRARY OF BABEL
Jorge Luis Borges

Odd Words (Sort Of) February 16, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in New Orleans, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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I’m just running an errand between classes and will put up a longer version tomorrow on the new “official” day of Friday, but tonight:

Marigny Art and Books will host the author of IN EXILE, featuring history and lore of of New Orleans oldest gay bar and gay culture in general. 7 p.m. at Marigny Art & Books, corner of Frenchman and Charters.

I’m a die-hard Muses goer, but you could still catch this and the parade on Canal: 17 Poets will feature ELUARD A. BURT II, 75th Birthday Celebration) This special event is dedicated to New Orleans cultural visionary, teacher, jazz mentor and flute master Eluard Burt (1937-2007). Guest features include poetry & music by KICHEA BURT, ERIC B, LUTHER GRAY, CYRIL NEVILLE, GAYNEILLE NEVILLE, FELICE GUIMONT and many others. Complimentary refreshments including beer and wine, as well as light fare. Thursday, February 16, 7:30pm at the Goldmine Saloon.

Th-th-th-that’s all (for now) folks.

Backbreaker Mountain February 14, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in New Orleans, Toulouse Street, UNO.
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Sure, John Muir. Why not? Add him to the pile and stuff them all in the shoulder bag (formerly backpack; its convertible). Because disability is one of the best possible outcomes of a degree in English Literature.

There’s a half a ream of 20 lb. bright white (92) Writing American Literature in that binder. And that Chaucer books weighs what it looks like it might. He ain’t heavy, he’s a mother.

I’m trying to decide between one of those entirely too geeky wheelie bags and a Hoveround.

Toulouse Street, This is Houston February 14, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
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Toulouse Street, this is Houston.

Toulouse Street, this is Houston

[silence]

Odd Words February 9, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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OK, here’s a quick listing as I’m just back from class and off to Tai Chi and perhaps onto 17 Poets! which is why I may end up moving Odd Words to Friday. Thursday it just getting too hectic.

& 17 Poets! kicks off its Spring season tonight with a reading by Bill Lavender from his new book of poems MEMORY WING. I had the pleasure of hearing excerpts at the Black Widow salon a couple of months back and recommend it highly. Goldmine Saloon, 7:30 pm Thursday March 9, followed by open mike hosted by the peripetatic poet passer by on Fortin Street Jimmy Ross.

& And every Friday the Red Star Gallery hosts its spoken word performance. The Gallery is on Bayou Road just off Broad. Doors at 9 p.m. and show at 10 p.m. Admission $5 with a college ID, $7 without.

& If you prefer your literature taken with the owner’s selection of jazz during the Jazz Happy Hour at the Love Lost Lounge (which is fantastic) you can instead check out the No Love Lost Poetry Reading at the self-same lounge also starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10.

& Tomorrow night Maple Street Bookshop’s Bayou St. John location will feature John Barry, author of Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul, in the top floor of Fair Grinds (3122 Ponce de Leon). “For 400 years, two fault lines have both defined and divided America: the proper relationship between church and state and the freedom of the individual versus the power of the state. Both these fault lines first opened with the extraordinary thought and struggles of Roger Williams, who had an unparalleled understanding of the conflict between a government that justified itself by ‘reason of state,’ i.e., national security, and its perceived ‘will of God’ and the ‘ancient rights and liberties’ of individuals. In ROGER WILLIAMS AND THE CREATION OF THE AMERICAN SOUL: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty. Friday, Feb. 10, 6:00 P.M

& On Saturday, Feb. 11 Octavia Books host a special children’s book event for all ages. A WRINKLE IN TIME has been with us for 50 years! So we hope you will join us as we host a 50th anniversary party in honor of Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery Award-winning novel. We’re celebrating with fun giveaways, surprises for all ages, readings from the book, and an exclusive simulcast of the special Wrinkle in Time 50th Anniversary event streamed in from Symphony Space in NYC with readings, performances and exciting guests including Newbery Medal winning authors Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me, and Lois Lowry, author of The Giver.

& I haven’t gotten a February listing for the Maple Leaf Poetry Series but I imagine something fascinating will be going on at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

& Also on Monday The Writer’s Block meets on the steps of the amphitheater across from Jackson Square open to all writers and performers in any art. Once I get my Chaucerian pronunciation down, I’ll be there juggle chain saws and reciting. OK, maybe not juggling. Maybe I could manage to stand on one foot. For a while.

If I’ve missed you event, it is probably because you did not send it to odd.words.nola@gmail.com. And you can follow the Odd Words Facebook page for reminders on event day.

No more biology puns. I swear. My school week is done and I’d just assume leave it behind. Except that short paper I owe a professor Sunday night. And the two page proposal for my Chaucer paper I should be working on. And needed to keep up if not a bit ahead on the reading in two classes. Um. Yeah. Over. It’s going to be a long weekend, and I don’t mean three days.

Odd Words at Odd Times February 8, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Due to my school schedule, I may not publish Odd Words first thing Thursday morning but just as likely late afternoon. In the future, I will include Thursday’s events in the preceding week’s column. That said, here are tomorrow’s events so you can be certain not to miss them.

& 17 Poets! kicks off its Spring season with a reading by Bill Lavender from his new book of poems MEMORY WING. I had the pleasure of hearing excerpts at the Black Widow salon a couple of months back and recommend it highly. Goldmine Saloon, 7:30 pm Thursday March 9, followed by open mike hosted by the peripetatic poetic passer by on Fortin Street Jimmy Ross.

& Garden District Books will feature Constance Adler reading and discussing her new memoir MY BAYOU, a “vividly described and intensely personal memoir which charts a personal and spiritual transformation along the fabled banks of Bayou St. John in New Orleans.” Garden District Book Shop, 5:30 pm Thursday March 9.

Look for the rest of the week’s events sometime tomorrow. I should be re-reading Emerson, Thoreau and Chaucer (oh, my!) but after cramming for today’s biology exam–which suffered an unfortunate collision with Krewe du Vieux–my Golgi apparatus has me all packed up for exocytosis into the bedroom.

Rough Trade February 8, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
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Looks like I’m trading posting for the Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum, which I don’t like the sound of at all: something like the snapping of latex gloves right, um, behind you just before he reaches for the speculum.

That thing that looks like Blue Meanies might pop out of it at any moment is the Golgi apparatus, named after one Golgi whom I believe was one of Stalin’s most effective interrogators. The little coffee bean thing is a mitochondria. (Coffee bean equals energy. Coffee bean equals energy. Repeat until you fall asleep]. That big purple looming thing is the nucleus. You don’t want to know what goes on there. It’s really twisted. Those little round thingies are, um, vesicles [I think}, which dart around Cytoplasm City rather like George Jetson’s car doing all sorts of useful things, which is very unlike George Jetson. And they don’t fold up into a brief case.

How many times have I told you or them or someone not to cram, to which they grunted and asked if I could just run out to the all night store to pick them up some nasty tasting energy drink. I’m fond of the Guayana mate’ drinks at the Mardi Gras Zone if you’re offering.

The long and short of it is; Krewe du Vieux and biology of the non-reproductive sort (unless were talking about centrioles, mind you) do not mix. I can feel the Osmotic Pressure building. I think I need an Iso Gin and Tonic. And more 3×5 cards.

The Octo-poca-lips February 4, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in New Orleans, NOLA, The Odd, Toulouse Street.
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Mankind has paid for its Crimes Against Nature (leaving us at least the fun ones).

The Octopocalypse is upon us as the ancient calendar foretold.

We shall be among the survivors

It is eat or be eaten (or both which is particular fun).

Come with food or fuel or take your chances in the Go Down Under Dome for our perverse entertainment.

We are the Seeds of Decline which shall sprout in the wasteland, watered by the Holy Distillates

Float Eight. Don’t be late.

Octo-Hey-poca-wey.

6 6 6 9

Odd Words February 3, 2012

Posted by Mark Folse in books, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Sorry about the delay in posting but I attempted to write an entry yesterday during a class break and lost my connections (and all my work1) while posting. It was then time to read Chaucer before class. Chaucer is rapidly becoming one of my favorite classes, having forgotten from my survey course 30 years ago what a dirty minded bastard he was (or perhaps they thought it too racy for our tender, sophmore ears back then). An essential requirement to understanding Chaucer is a dirty mind so I do struggle a bit, which should surprise no one. Discovering the root of the work prick as used colloquially is traced back to “prikyasour” or horseman is starting to get fun in spite of Middle English.

I had two-finger pecked out such a clever lead yesterday about keeping up with things like this around schoolwork, but the quirkiness of the University of New Orleans wireless network (and my $79 Android tablet) foiled me. Anyway, I was up all Wednesday night until midnight catching up on my reading, in class most of the day and out on errands the rest so I didn’t get this posted yesterday, the first time in over two years I’ve missed a Thursday. As an old newspaper man the idea that you never miss an edition is deeply ingrained, so I apologize. And I had listed last night’s event at Garden District Books last Thursday, so no harm, no foul.

& Tonight at the New Orleans Museum of Art literature will join the visual arts for Artfully AWARE. Featured at this events are a literary reading organized by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, and a reading of original poetry and prose read by students from the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. 3 p.m. Friday, 1Oct. 3 at MOMA.

& And every Friday the Red Star Gallery hosts its spoken word performance. The Gallery is on Bayou Road just off Broad. Doors at 9 p.m. and show at 10 p.m. Admission $5 with a college ID, $7 without.

& If you prefer your literature taken with the owner’s selection of jazz during the Jazz Happy Hour at the Love Lost Lounge (which is fantastic) you can instead check out the No Love Lost Poetry Reading at the self-same lounge also starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3.

On Saturday the Milton Latter Memorial Library will host a poetry reading featuring Beverly Rainbolt, Kelly Harris and Hannah Baker Saltmarsh hosted by Gina Ferrara. Saturday, Oct. 4 at 2 p.m.

& I haven’t gotten a February listing for the Maple Leaf Poetry Series but I imagine something fascinating will be going on at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5

& Also on Sunday The Faulkner Society will present it’s program: My New Orleans: In the Crescent City, Gorilla Men East Steak as previously announced on Sunday, October 9. However, we have changed the time so that you all can watch the Saints beat the Carolina Panthers on TV and then come out to celebrate their victory with us.
The new starting time for the event is 4 p. m. 624 Pirate’s Alley on Super Bowl Sunday, Oct. 5.

& The monthly Black Widow Salon at Crescent City Books offers its 2012 Emerging Writers salon, including writers Ingrid Norton, Jenna Mae, M’Bilia Meekers, and Christopher Hellwig as our guests. Upstairs at Crescent City Books @ 230 Chartres St. Seating is limited. RSVP’s preferred (books@crescentcitybooks.com). 7-9 p.m. Micheal Zeel reminds us it will start promptly at 7:15 p.m.). Monday, Oct 6

& Also on Monday The Writer’s Block meets on the steps of the amphitheater across from Jackson Square open to all writers and performers in any art. Once I get my Chaucerian pronunciation down, I’ll be there juggle chain saws and reciting. OK, maybe not juggling. Maybe I could manage to stand on one foot. For a while.

& On Tuesday Octavia books remind us it’s carnival time; so, please join us for a reading, presentation and booksigning with Sherry Alexander featuring her recent book, COURTROOM CARNIVAL: Famous New Orleans Trials. She will be joined by one of the co-authors, Lyn Koppel (“Darleen Jacobs: Miss New Orleans, Larger Than Life.”) From Edwin Edwards’ outlandish antics to Chicken King Al Copeland’s romantic entanglements, this is a collection of stories about 10 of New Orleans’s most memorable high-profile litigants. Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m.

& Finally, an early shout out for the spring season of 17 Poets! at the Goldmine Saloon, featuring February Bill Lavender signs and reads from his new book Memory Wing (Black Widow Press, 2011). Next Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Gold Mine Saloon, doors at 7 p.m. with no admission. If you missed the spring schedule posting, it is in last week’s Odd Words.

If I’ve missed you event, it is probably because you did not send it to oddwords@gmail.com.

That’s about it, as the book stores really haven’t cracked up again after the holidays and soon carnival will be upon us in full force. Odd Words will be back next week. On . Even if I have to finger-peck it out on the tantrum-prome tablette using UNO’s quirky internet service. Maybe Bobby Jindal made them turn off half of their broadcast points to save money but what do you expect from a Dartmouth graduate in biology who professes a belief in Creationism? Perhaps he would prefer we stay home and study our Bibles. Having been raised Catholic long ago I was aware of this thing Bible, that big gold book that the priest and a few chosen lay acolytes read from on Sundays. I was not, however, allowed to read it myself until high school and the teacher’s did not explicate much less revel in the racy bits as my Chaucer professor does.

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