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A Spell To Help Haiti February 26, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Pogues singer Shane MacGowan enlisted a group of alt-rock musicians — and one famous actor — to record Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ 1956 hit, ‘I Put a Spell on You,’ to raise relief money for Haiti…The new version of ‘I Put a Spell on You’ will be available via digital release on March 7 but can be pre-ordered from 7 digital. Proceeds from single sales will go to Dublin’s Concern Worldwide, which has been aiding Haiti for 16 years

God Bless & Keep You, Shane MacGowan.

Except I can’t buy it here. It’s only available in Ireland (and I presume the UK, since the online price is in Pounds not Euro). As Shane might say, what the fuck is up with that? Anybody who will get me this MP3 I will PayPal One (1) Pound Sterling (it costs 0.79) . Just promise me to buy me a copy so the money gets to Dublin’s Concern Worldwide.

Pirates will be punished by Concerned Haitian Supernatural Parties With Roots In Africa With Whom You Don’t Want To Fuck.

A Letter to Kendrick February 26, 2010

Posted by The Typist in 504, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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I got another memorial on my last posting of the murder victims of 2008, which reminds me (again) that I did not post a list for 2009. I will get to that shortly.

I went and saw a reading by the excellent young poet Sandra Beasley from Washington, D.C. last night and it reminded me of my own time in that city in the very early 1990s, a time when something in society just cracked and we entered the world of Clockwork Orange. I remember talking to my wife about a trip to Ireland. She was afraid to go to Belfast, and I had to remind her she was in much greater danger in Washington, D.C. going to the corner for cigarettes that she would be standing in the most dangerously partisan pub in Belfast.

And now I live in another routine contender for Murder Capital of the U.S.A.

I really need to get that list up.

I spent some of my time around and right after the holidays working on a vaguely related project that I thought answered the call that lead me to post the lists for 2008 and 2007. I think now I need to go get a cleaned up list posted and call for memorials again, but until then, here’s a tiny excerpt of what I spent early January working on in lieu of the list, a small piece of something tentatively titled Murder Ballads:

II. Dinneral

A man ought be able
to pick up his kid in
5 o’clock broad daylight
without some fool
drawing a nine
or a .40
in stupid fury,

people scattering on the street
slugs shattering the windshield
blood spattering the seats

A boy ought not
have to watch
his father bleed out
in a shattered car
on Broad Street
at five o’clock
in the afternoon.

Empty Mirror February 25, 2010

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, oddities, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.

On rare occasions I find myself wandering the an empty upper floor of the Counting House tower, looking for the mail room. It’s a hidden window back down a disused corridor lined with disheveled training rooms I have only seen in use once. I usually find the mail drop without too much trouble, even if I’m forced to stand for a while in the lobby and wait for someone who routinely deals in antiquated paper to come by so I can follow them in. While I’m waiting I study this painting that graces the elevator lobby. At least I think it is a painting. It looks like the sort of vacuous abstract a corporate decorator would select, something intended not to unsettle the cattle. Some days at work, I wonder if it’s a window into something, the tabernacle of some secret Vision Statement known only to the Upper Floors. Or a mirror reflecting the interior landscape of the Counting House. And if it is a mirror (and I often think it is) why I am not in it?

Odd Words February 24, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Note: I’m posting this week’s Odd Words a day early so I can get out a link to Dan Baum’s book signing at Octavia Books Wednesday night. I can’t make it. Let me know if we wears the pink hat. Update: Added Jimmy Ross as the featured reader at thsi week’s Maple Leaf Poetry Reading.

An interesting story on the coming generation (X? Y? What’s next: Z?) and it’s view of copyright. Frankly, this is plagiarism but I suspect there are people in the “information wants to be free” world who would disagree.

The publication last month of [17-year old Helene Hegemann’s] novel about a 16-year-old exploring Berlin’s drug and club scene after the death of her mother, called “Axolotl Roadkill,” was heralded far and wide in German newspapers and magazines as a tremendous debut, particularly for such a young author. The book shot to No. 5 this week on the magazine Spiegel’s hardcover best-seller list.

For the obviously gifted Ms. Hegemann, who already had a play (written and staged) and a movie (written, directed and released in theaters) to her credit, it was an early ascension to the ranks of artistic stardom. That is, until a blogger last week uncovered material in the novel taken from the less-well-known novel “Strobo,” by an author writing under the nom de plume Airen. In one case, an entire page was lifted with few changes.

As other unattributed sources came to light, outsize praise quickly turned to a torrent of outrage, reminiscent of the uproar in 2006 over a Harvard sophomore, Kaavya Viswanathan, who was caught plagiarizing numerous passages in her much praised debut novel. But Ms. Hegemann’s story took a very different turn.

The author plagiarist claims ““There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.” You want authenticity? Try using your own words.

§ Former New Yorker writer Dan Baum returns to Octavia Books (513 Octavia St.) to promote the paperback release of his book Nines Lives, which is described as a multi-voiced biography of a dazzling, surreal, and imperiled city, told through the lives of nine unforgettable characters and bracketed by two epic storms: Hurricane Betsy and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Baum has written some silly things about New Orleans, but I think if I can manage one more Katrina book without finally coming to Katrina literary fatigue this is probably the one. (No, that’s not right. I haven’t gotten to Dave Eggers Zeitoun yet. Two more, and one more crack at David Brinkley’s enormously horrible hack job Deluge, then I’m probably done.) Anyway, I won’t make this event but be sure to let me know if he’s wearing the pink lid.

§ There’s a new trailer up for the forthcoming Walker Percy: A Documentary Film. (Hat tip to Maud Newton for the trailer link). The trailer will be screened at the opening of Loyola University’s new Walker Percy Center March 10. You can follow the film on Facebook if you’re into that sort of thing. (I am).

§ After a couple of delays (a canceled featured reader, the galloping Crescent City crud and Carnival, 17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series returns at the Gold Mine Saloon following a holiday break with featured poet SANDRA BEASLEY, author of Theories of Falling (New Issues Poetry & Prose 2008) and I Was the Jukebox (W. W. Norton & Company 2010), followed by Open Mic hosted by Jimmy Ross. Admission is free and open to the public.

§ I have an abiding interest in architecture (my father was one), so I have to admit this looks interesting although I’ll likely be at 17 Poets: Author Roulhac Toledano discusses and signs A Pattern Book of New Orleans Architecture. 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Garden District Book Shop, The Rink, 2727 Prytania St., (Uptown), 895-2266.

§ OK, you almost certainly won’t find me here, but it was too funny not to post: Jackie Collins will be signing Poor Little Bitch Girl. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Harrah’s Casino (Masquerade), 8 Canal St. I’m not dissing Jackie Collins (OK, I am. I just prefer my trashy novels to have lots of hot inter-species zero gravity sex and tentacled aliens). It is one of my life goals to never set foot in Harrah’s and now I have another reason not to go.

§ Local poet, fiction- and play-write and Jimmy Ross will be the featured reader at this week’s Maple Leaf Reading Series, The South’s oldest continuous poetry reading series. Free admission. 3 p.m. Sunday. Maple Leaf Bar, 8316 Oak St. Update: I figured out who the featured reader was because Jimmy told me last night. He is the MC for the open mike at the weekly 17 Poets event, and is a long-standing fixture at local literary venues. I think I definitely need to make this one to present for Jimmy, who says such kind things when he introduces me. And because he is one of the most interesting characters and voices on the local circuit.

§ I also recommend Dinky Tao Poetry a weekly free poetry reading (drinks extra) with open mic. 9 p.m. Tuesday, in the back bar at Molly’s at the Market, 1107 Decatur St. New Orleans. The most relaxed event I’ve ever been to and cheap PBR to boot.

§ I still haven’t been to this one, but I promise to check it out soon: Loren Murrell hosts a weekly poetry and spoken-word night with free food. Free admission. 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Yellow Moon Bar, 800 France St., (Bywater), http://www.yellowmoonbar.com. And I have it on good authority that there is in fact free food.

Pedestrian I February 19, 2010

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, oddities, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.

…and there is no sharper point than that of Infinity.
— Charles Baudelaire, Paris Spleen

What use syphilis and opium if the supreme derangement of the senses is as simple as a stroll into work, the sensation I have standing at the entrance to Union Street that the diminishing buildings are not an optical illusion but instead a part of my daily progression into the office, that to walk down this street will gradually reduce me to a size appropriate to my beige cell in the corporate cube farm. How much larger my little box with its cloth lined walls will seem then, and my own insignificance in the trackless ant farm of the Counting House will be not a symptom of the modern disease but just a fact of what I become when I enter the building, a transformation as easily accomplished as putting on a tie.

If the fools had never given me a cell phone with a camera, none of this would have occurred to me.

Odd Words February 18, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Oops. Post Carnival delirium led me to forget to post an Odd Words this week. All I’ve got is an Odd Word which seems appropriate to the last few weeks:Pandemonium. Origin: 1660–70; after Pandaemonium, Milton’s name in Paradise Lost for the capital of hell; see pan-, demon, -ium.

If you’re looking for a list of literary events, visit Nordette Adams New Orleans Literature Examiner. I’ll be back next week.

Adiu Paure Carnaval February 17, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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I think I was rehearsing the role of Monseiur Carnaval from that ashen taste in my mouth and the gritty feel to my brain this morning. I must save my energy for eight hours of meetings at work so here is last year’s Ash Wednesday post (which I think I will just schedule to auto-post every Ash Wendesday until the end of time.

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

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

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.

Baron Samedi Gras February 13, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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A patron for our annual Begindymion Bacchanal here in the middle of Samedi Gras Endymion madness, the loa Baron Samedi is “…a sexual loa, frequently represented by phallic symbols and is noted for disruption, obscenity, debauchery, and having a particular fondness for tobacco and rum. Additionally, he is the loa of sex and resurrection, and in the latter capacity he is often called upon for healing by those near or approaching death, as it is only Baron who can accept an individual into the realm of the dead. Baron Samedi can also be depicted as figure who crosses traditional gender boundaries, either through cross-dressing or by exhibiting bisexuality.”

See you at the appointed time and place. If you’re drinking rum, tip your glass as you enter and leave for the Baron, and leave him a cigarette. Or something.

(H/T to Bart of B.Rox for this excellent picture, which now adorns our door to keep the Kennerites at bay. Photo taken from CevilyDevil’s excellent collection of Voodoo art here.

Odd Words February 11, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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No, I didn’t forget exactly but between the Superbowl and Carnival things are a bit of a mess here on Toulouse Street. In fact, largely due to parades all weekend, there’s nothing much going until after Tuesday. Or, rather, there is way too much going on, but nothing to list here. (Incoherently cogent example here). Ah, well. 17 Poets is canceled for tonite, and so is the fabulous Muses parade. Maybe I’ll get something written. And decide what to wear Carnival Day.

Until then, I leave you this:

–Bob Kaufman

What Has Happened Down Here Is The Wind Has Changed. February 10, 2010

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA.
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Some thoughts on our recent election are up on Humid City.

One Flood. One Team. One City. One People. We need to prove ourselves equal to our own opinion of ourselves, to the standard set by this election and by the Saints. Out football team has shown the world. Now it’s our turn.

Remember Haiti February 10, 2010

Posted by The Typist in je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street.
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As I slowly crawl out from under Saints in the Superbowl fever and contemplate Carnival, I want to note that the number one search bringing people into this blog is Haiti. I know everyone in New Orleans is terribly distracted right not but it’s important we not forget. Their recovery (as well we know) will not be a matter of weeks or months, but years and decades.

Take a minute to stop and catch up on the news from our island sister. If you haven’t donated yet (or you only pissed away $10 on the entirely worthless Red Cross), stop to give a few dollars. I suggest International Medical Corps, which I’ve been following since my nephew Will was hired by them. He is now the logistics leader on the ground for IMC.

The bonds between Haiti and New Orleans run deep. Remember.

HOO DOO DAT February 8, 2010

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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After they took away my mini-Bring The Wood Bat (“you’re going to hurt somebody”) I grabbed this voodoo doll off of the food table and applied it as shown through the late fourth quarter. The rest is history. I’m either donating the doll to the Smithsonian or auctioning it off on eBay.

If you look closely (it’s burned out by the flash) the doll has Peyton Manning’s face after the on-sides kick.

More when I make a second pot of coffee. Or have a beer. I’m leaning toward beer.

Cool Runnings February 5, 2010

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, New Orleans Saints, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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It’s bad form to quote yourself, but three years later it seems enough time has elapsed and it’s the perfect way to begin this post:

A few years ago at work, the almost entirely female office crew where I worked put up one of those silly white board quizzes that the office morale officer is in charge of. The question: what movie makes you cry.

I knew I had to post up an answer: Cool Runnings.

Any guy who watches this film and doesn’t start to tear up when the Jamacian bobsled team stand up after their crash and carry their shattered sled the final yards down the run, and the hard-assed European team leader starts clapping, is either suffering from a tear duct disorder, or something slightly more fatal.

I wrote the Cool Runnings piece in January 2007 after we lost to the Bears. I wanted to remind everyone, most of all myself, that sometimes in defeat there is victory. I wanted to remember that imaginary moment when the four outsiders picked themselves up from defeat and near death and carried their broken bobsled across the finish line. I want to remember that was the moment in which they became Olympians.

I wanted to remember that sometimes its is OK to cry for joy.

I don’t know what will happen Sunday on the field and in the end I know it will only matter to those who live and die by sports talk radio and the betting line. For most of us, for those of us who remember why they are called the Saints, who parked at Ursulines and walked into Tulane Stadium long ago, who have seen it all come and go over 44 years, I know what will happen in New Orleans and in a hundred thousand rooms around the country where people who lived here in early August 2005 live today: a moment that will eclipse VE Day, the moon landing of Apollo 11 and Obama’s election. Grown men will weep in front of their wive and children, the dying will gladly give up the ghost late that night because they made it to that day, and thousands of children will be conceived who will all be named after Saint’s players.

And people in Miami at the game shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here.

Odd Words February 4, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Carp. Between work, a cold and the collision of Carnival and the Super Bowl, I completely forgot to write up an Odd Words column this week. So quick before the day gets any later:

§ 17 Poets ends its holiday absence and resumes its weekly run tonight at The Goldmine Saloon at 8 p.m. with a reading & party for poet and author Rodger Kamenetz on his 60th birthday.

§ A bit of random fun: a Java Haiku generator. And to go with it, what I was thinking while I was having a cigarette right before I remembered I needed to write this post:

The way the rain falls off the fascia,
fat pillow-mint shaped drops
float down slow as snow.

§ And finally, a helpful list of publications that regularly publish from the slush pile, courtesy of TheRumpus.Net.