Odd Words November 17, 2011Posted by The Typist in books, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, Theater, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Bernadette Mayer, Fringe Fest, James Nolan, Philip Good, Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson, Writing The Edge
I think my last post, Blogging by the Book, is introduction enough for this week’s Odd Words. So let’s dive right in.
& This is the fourth year of New Orleans’ annual festival of experimental theater, Fringe Fest. I’m not going to try to tell you everything that’s going on. That’s what the Fringe web site is for. And if you haven’t started scanning the cubes already, you’re way behind schedule as performances started last night
I will call out one, Writing The Edge, a spoken word event Saturday night at the Maison at 7 pm and again at 9 p.m. There’s no complete list of performers on the Fringe site but I know that the fantastic Raymond “Moose” Jackson and Valentine Pierce are on the list. Last year all of the performers were incredible. Did I mention its free? Did I mention it was seriously SRO last year? Get there early.
&This week’s other big event is a visit to 17 Poets! by Bernadette Mayers and Philip Good. Mayer will be reading and signing Ethics of Sleep (Trembling Pillow Press, 2011) and Good will be signing his new book, Untitled Writings from a Member of the Blank Generation, new out from Trembling Pillow press. Mayer is one of the major poets of our generation, serving as director of The [prestigious] Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in New York, editing several influential journals and publishing ten books of poetry and prose. 7 p.m. at the Goldmine Saloon.
& If you’re already overdosed on Fringe by Friday night, stop by the Antenna Gallery and check out the [PANK] INVASION of New Orleans, featuring a rogue’s gallery of talented contributors to the literary journal PANK who promised “Propositions Sudden & Thereupon Poesy Contortions Verse Dynames Astounding Feats of Potboiling Fabel.” The participating writers include a Rumpus favorite and honorary Orleanian Antonia Crane among the 12 writers participating. Others include Tessa Fountaine, non-fiction editor of the Black Warrior Review; local Robbi Pounds, memoir/nonfiction novel Rubble Fever and M. Bartley Seigel (, founder of the journal PANK. You can check all the bios on Room 220 here. This sounds too good to resist even in the busy clutter of Fringe week. Check the flyer and stop into Antenna Friday at 7 pm.
& Late UpdateIf you’re reading this on your MacBook or iPad, you’re going to want ton consider stopping by Octavia Books tonight to hear Walter Isaacson lecture about Steve Jobs followed by a booksigning. Books may be pre-orded during store hours at Octavia Books, 504-899-7323, or anytime at octaviabooks.com/book/9781451648539. Tonite, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. Expect this one to be crowded with Jobs acolytes.
& If you miss Isaacson tonight, you can catch him again at lunchtime Wednesday at Garden District Books
& Also tonight is a chance to catch James Nolan reading and signing from his new book Higher Ground. For more details on that book, go read my write up of his event at the Words & Music Festival. Let’s just say I’m pretty sure this one is going up on the New Orleans canon shelf here at Toulouse Street after that reading.
& On Friday Maple Street Book Shop will be the bookseller at a reception celebrating the renovation of 1026 Conti Street, the site of the famous brothel operated by Norma Wallace. Wallace was the subject of Chris Wiltz’s highly praised biography, The Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld. Chris Wiltz will be the special guest at the reception. For additional information visit www.1026conti.com.
& Downtown Friday night at the Love Lost Lounge, the No Love Lost Poetry Reading hosted by Joseph Bienvenu kicks of at 5:30 p.m., just in time for the bar’s Jazz Happy Hourand opening time for the excellent Vietnamese kitchen in the back.
& Later Friday New Orleans premiere spoken word event Acoustic Fridays the Red Star Gallery, 2513 Bayou Road, hosted every week by Charlie V-Uptowns Illest MC. $7 cover, $5 with college ID
& This Saturday at Garden District, R. Reese Fuller will read and sign Angola to Zydeco: Louisiana Lives, a collection of creative nonfiction pieces about the lively personalities who call south Louisiana home. Originally published in newspapers based in Lafayette-Times of Acadiana and Independent Weekly-the twenty-five profiles and features provide intriguing glimpses into the lives of well-known Louisianans such as James Lee Burke, Ernest J. Gaines, Elemore Morgan Jr., Buckwheat Zydeco, Marc Savoy, Boozoo Chavis, Calvin Borel, Santy Runyon, and Eddie Shuler. Author R. Reese Fuller. Musical accompaniment by David Rogan.
& Also on Saturday at Maple street, Edward Branley will add to his string o titles on New Orleans landmarks, sharing and signing his latest, Maison Blanche Department Stores. Mr. Branley wrote a wonderful book about the Canal Street street car line as well as Brothers of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans. You can pick one up at the bookstore or if you look next time you’re in Walgreens his publisher, Arcadia Publishing, has managed to place point-of-sale displays of their titles right there in what probably used to be your Friendly K&B. Look for the stand-up diplay of their sepia-colored covers.
& On Sunday the long-running Maple Leaf Poetry Series will take a day off because of the expected crowd-crush of the Po-Boy Festival on Oak Street. In spite of these occasional interruptions (including a Katrina hiatus) this event–founded by noted New Orleans poet Everette Maddox- is the longest running poetry series in the South. You can contact Nancy Harris if you want to get on the mailing list, but you can always check Odd Words
& And of course this and every Monday Kate Smash will lead everyone in a rousing chorus of “Mercedes-Benz” after the Writer’s Block reading/performance event on the amphitheater steps across from Jackson Square. 9 .m. No list, no mic, all performers welcome. Bring your didgeridoo if that’s your thing. (I almost bought one at Jazz Fest two years ago; they were such things of beauty).
& Tuesday at Octavia there is a double-header featuring John Jeremiah Sullivan’s PULPHEAD & Nathanial Rich THE MAYOR’S TONGUE. In Pulphead, John Jeremiah Sullivan takes us on an exhilarating tour of our popular, unpopular, and at times completely forgotten culture. Simultaneously channeling the gonzo energy of Hunter S. Thompson and the wit and insight of Joan Didion, Sullivan shows us—with a laidback, erudite Southern charm that’s all his own—how we really (no, really) live. Rich’s debut novel, hailed by Stephen King as “terrifying, touching, and wildly funny,” the stories of two strangers, Eugene Brentani and Mr. Schmitz, interweave. What unfolds is a bold reinvention of storytelling in which Eugene, a devotee of the reclusive and monstrous author, Constance Eakins, and Mr. Schmitz, who has been receiving ominous letters from an old friend, embark from New York for Italy, where the line between imagination and reality begins to blur and stories take on a life of their own.
& One last note: after struggling for months to get a reliable contact at the 1718 Reading Series hosed by writing students at Loyola University, M’Bilia Meekers–winner of this year’s Words & Music poetry contest and a student at Tulane active in 1718, kindly sent me the list for this year which I will repost as the events come up. If you want to mark your calendars, here’s the current schedule:
December 6–Mark Yakich
January 17–Kristen Sanders
February 7–Tom Piazza
March 6–Oluwaniyi Osundare
April 10–Michael Lee
May 1–Julie Kane
P.S. If your event is not in here it’s because you didn’t send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I can only spend so many hours trolling the Internet trying to find out what’s going on.