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Odd Words November 18, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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Odd Words: Reading The Rumpus, HTML Giant, TheMillions, Maud Newton (sigh), and LitDrift for you so you can keep up with your busy life.

A friend told me about a long conversation she had with an Irish writer in a local bar about James Joyce Ulysses, she arguing she could never manage to get through it and had come to the conclusion that it was essentially a man’s book, the story revolving around men and their lives. They speak of women, encounter a few but these these characters are not developed with the exception of Molly Bloom and then only through Leopold (until the end, of course). It is, in a sense, a book concerned with men’s relationship with women (Stephen with his mother, Bloom with his wife) but the men are the central characters and actors of each section until Molly Bloom’s extended soliloquy. This itself is a man’s ideation of a woman’s thoughts and feelings and those all revolving around men (but not all complimentary, comparing her lovers in her mind and fantasizing about Stephen). My friend is not the first woman who’s found the book not to their taste, but in the end Molly Bloom gets the last words.

Your mileage, of course, may vary. I’m not particularly keen about this this idea. The voyagers of the Odyssey were all men, so why not the principle characters of the book?

If we want to even entertain the premise that it is a man’s book, then what could be more fascinating than the well preserved tobacco scent of Lawrence of Arabia’s own copy of Ulysses? Getting a chance to visit and smell that aroma is going on the bucket list. Why do I feel the desire for a cigar coming on?

What? Oh don’t pay any attention to me. (Puff, puff). Read the rest of this instead.

This week is Fringe Fest, New Orleans’s edgy annual festival of theater arts. There are some strongly literary entries, all of which are on my list if I can manage them.

§ At the top of my list (and I should just be getting home from this tonight but I’ll catch it later): Du Fu, Mississippi–The poems of the 8th Century Chinese poet Dufu transported to a front porch in the town of Dufu, Mississippi. Three locals chew the fat about war, wild flowers, spring floods and more while raising glass after glass to the sad beauty of it all. With a live band featuring banjo, guitar and washtub bass! This one includes Nick Slie, the fantastic actor who brought the Loup Garou to life and is presented in part by ArtSpot which produced that work . Repeats 11/20 9:00 pm and 11/21 7:00 pm at Party World.

§ Something’s Gone Wrong in the Dreamhouse–Listed by Genre as Cabaret – Performance Poetry, this show looks at the rise of fascism, the credit crisis, the aftermath of war and the role of women. The 1930s saw a decade of political extremism, economic chaos and racism set against a backdrop of international revolution. The ripples of all these are reflected in our world today. However, the show is delivered with a slice of Irish charm and humor and a side order of bawdy, catchy sing-a-long tunes. Shows: 11/18 7:00 pm, 11/20 9:00 pm, 11/21 7:00 pm at the NOLA Candle Factory

§ Shut Up and Fly, performed by Asia Rainey who I heard read at the Alvar Library once and was tremendously impressed with. This one-woman show written and performed by Rainey is a poetic journey in the spirit of Sankofa, a theatrical glimpse of three generations striding their paths. Rhythmic voices from a survivor grandmother and a no-nonsense mama blend with the voyage of their defiantly artistic daughter as she approaches her own crossroads. Shows: 11/18 7:00 pm, 11/20 5:00 pm, 11/21 9:00 pm at Skull Club. Shout out to LD for being the venue for a featured local artist.

These are just the bookish shows. There’s so many to choose from you may go mad trying to puzzle out your schedule, but wander on over here and get a least a five show pass.

§ This week Octavia Books partners with the Jewish Community Center to present the 11th Annual “People of the Book” festival, at which authors from around the nation visit the New Orleans JCC to read from their work and talk about their ideas. The annual “People of the Book” Festival is the centerpiece of this effort featuring Jewish authors and authors of books with Jewish content.

§ 17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series recently expanded its mission this Fall with a sharp focus on cross-cultural exchange, transnational poetics, and global collaboration between poets, artists, writers, environmental activists, and social workers throughout the world community.

In conjunction with this mission 17P is working toward securing a week-long sojourn to New Orleans by prominent Sierre Leone poet and social activist Syl Cheney-Coker in the Spring of ’11. Additional programs in ’11 will feature Algerian poet Habib Tengour translated by American/Luxembourg poet Pierre Joris, as well as an in-depth presentation of Mexico’s Infrarealist Movement featuring the works of poet Mario Santiago Papasquiaro among others. (I am looking forward to that one; Viva Belaño!)

Another new feature that will repeat every six weeks, is “New Voices in Poetry” showcasing emerging poets, writers & artists who live and work in the New Orleans community; as well as emerging international voices whose works have profoundly influenced their communities abroad. This week’s program at 17 Poets! Literary & Performance Series proudly offers the inaugural presentation of “New Voices in Poetry” showcasing five emerging poets from New Orleans: Kelly Clayton, Alfredo Rodriguez, Joesph Collier, Eric Rodrigue, and Amanda Punch.

The feature will be followed by Open Mic hosted by Jimmy Ross.

§ Satirist extraordinaire Chris Champagne will continue his presentation of DIS AINT GAWLAND–FRIDAY NOV 19at 8 pm at FAIR GRINDS COFFEE HOUSE 3133 Ponce de Leon . Cover: $10, and Saturday is the final performance of SEASON OF THE MITCH AND FAMOUS at Bud’s Broiler by Delgado

§ No feature at the Maple Leaf; just an open mike but hey, there are few better places to pass a lovely Fall Sunday afternoon than on the patio. Threeish, depending on the Saint’s game, rounding up everyone from the bar, etc. Someone please help Nancy in with the mike stand and amp because I’ll be at Fringe.

§ On Saturday 11/19 at 6 p.m. Octavia Books hosts author Liza Bakewell, author of Liza Bakewell – MADRE: Perilous Journeys with a Spanish Noun. The blurb is too tempting not to excerpt at length. “While studying in Mexico in the late 80s and 90s, linguistic anthropologist Liza Bakewell became obsessed with Mexicans’ use of the word madre in all its forms—un desmadre, a major disaster; de poca madre, great; vale madre, worthless; dar en la madre, give it in the mother (the weak spot)…Why can’t a bien educada lady in Mexico say the word madre without raising eyebrows? How could madre mean whore as much as virgin? What happens to the ninety-nine madres when one father enters the room and they become a group of padres? How is it that parto (childbirth) is masculine, not to mention el love, el marriage, el sex, el pregnancy?”

OK, back to trying to solve the puzzle of the Fringe Fest schedule. See you out there. As usual, I’m the guy in the hat.

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