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Odd Words: Best of the Tennessee Williams Fest Part One March 18, 2014

Posted by The Typist in Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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The annual Tennessee Williams literary festival runs this weekend from a gala opening Wednesday night through Sunday’s famous “Stella!” Souting contest. Headquartered at the Hotel Montelone, the festival offers four days of panel dicussions popular and scholarly, masters classes for aspiring writers and a host of other events including Literary Late Nights, walking literary tours and more.

twlogoOnce again Odd Words will be there live blogging selected events across all four days. In addition to the Odd Word’s pick for Best of the Fest, we will post daily event highlights and write-ups of selected panels, appearing here, on the Odd Words Facebook and Google+ pages, and on NOLAVie on NOLA.COM. Also be sure to follow @oddwords on Twitter for real time updates whie taking notes and balancing a cup of coffee on my knee. There is no extra admission charge to watch me do this. Just find the old fart in the young man’s hate.

This is a list of our own picks, but you can find the full schedule at the Festival web site.


Thursday is the annual Master Class mash-up, and Odd Word’s pick for the day is the first of the day. Copyright is a sticky wicket with the emergence of the Internet and changes to the copyright laws. Every aspiring writer who has waded into Social Media or just wants to understand modern copyright law better shouldn’t miss the Master Class at 9 a.m. MARIE BREAUX: COPYRIGHT FOR WRITERS With the growing consensus that the U.S. copyright law needs major revision and the emergence of alternatives to traditional copyrights. Copyright for Writers will sort out the history of authors’ rights (Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo play significant parts) and will try to make sense of a future where open source publishing and the Creative Commons will compete with the traditional copyrights asserted ed by authors and their publishers. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25 or included in Master Class series registration.

Other Master Classes on Thurday include:

  • ZACHARY LAZAR: DIALOGUE— A BRIEF HISTORY at 11 a.m. This class will start with a discussion of how Ernest Hemingway invented the template for how dialogue in fiction has been written for most of the last century, and cover elements such as the sound of spoken language, the use of indi- rection, subtext, and rhythm. We’ll also look at how other very different writers, from Lorrie Moore to Elmore Leonard, have adapted or tweaked Hemingway’s example; and,
  • Odd Word’s second personal pick at 3 pm ALICIA ANSTEAD: GOING MICRO WITH NARRATIVE. When we write stories and poems, we’re careful to craft each word for a powerful impact. That skill should continue to kick in when we jump onto social media, which is simply another form of creative expres- sion. In this hands-on workshop, editor-in- chief of The Writer magazine Alicia Anstead, will explore narrative technique as it applies to Twitter and Facebook. Show up ready to write. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25 or included in Master Class series registration. Sponsored by The Writer.
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    Thurday is also a big day for theater with a busy list of shows culminatingn in Thursday evening's Southern Rep production of Night of the Iguana. Others include A Gift of an Orange by award-winning playwright Charlene A. Donaghy, inspired by Tennessee Williams’ short story, “Gift of an Apple” (written in 1936). You can also catch another presentation of HOTEL PLAYS BY TENNESSEE WILLIAMS without the price tag and ironing required for Wednesday night’s gala opeing. The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival brings three short plays by Williams set in such rooms. Gather at the historic Hermann-Grima House and proceed from room to room to experience Williams up-close and person- al. See the Festival Web Site for a full description. Hermann-Grima House, 820 St. Louis Street, $30. Co-produced with the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.

    You can also check out VIVIEN BY RICK FOSTER. Judith Chapman’s portrayal of two-time Oscar-winning film star Vivien Leigh (A Streetcar Named Desire and Gone With the Wind) is, according to Backstage Magazine, “a bravura performance.”

    Thursday’s theater feature with a bullet is Southern Rep’s presentation of THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA. On stage together for the first time since the award-winning A Streetcar Named Desire, Mike Harkins and Aimée Hayes star with Idella Johnson and Bob Edes, Jr. in the famous confession drama considered to be Tennessee Williams’ last great play. Directed by Phil Karnell. Get tickets at http://www.SouthernRep.com or (504) 522.6545. Produced by Southern Rep Theatre. The Art Klub, 527 Elysian Fields Ave.


    Friday brings another line up of Master Classes, including Odd Word’s personal pick (because We the Animals is a fantstic novel)
    JUSTIN TORRES: THE SUPER SLEEK NOVEL. Torres’ debut We the Animals arrived on the literary scene at a slender 144 pages. Seductive and heart-crushing with its incantory style and first person plural gaze, the novel was embraced by critics, such as Michael Cunningham who called it a “dark jewel of a book.” In this master class, Torres will discuss word choice, minimalist crafting methods, and how to live while distilling blood of personal experience on to the page, with writer and Festival programming director, J.R. Ramakrishnan. The Historic New Orleans Collection, $25 or included in Master Class series registration.

    Other Master Classes include ANN HOOD: THE ART OF REVISION,
    DOROTHY ALLISON: A VOICE LIKE THUNDER, A TEXT A WHISPER discussing the performance aspect of reading off the page, and DANI SHAPIRO: SURVIVAL OF THE STORYTELLER.

    Friday presents an almost impossible to pick-and-choose line up of Festival panels, including:

    • READING WITH THE FICTION CONTEST AND POETRY CONTEST WINNERS Queen Anne Ballroom, Festival Panel Pass. 10:00 am
    • THE UNFATHOMABLE CITY SALON Pairing acts of rescue and of sabotage during Hurricane Katrina, migrations of the Houma tribe and erosion of the coast, antebellum plantations and present-day dialysis centers—and much more—Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas, edited by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker, is a reinvention of the traditional atlas that will forever change the way you think about place. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, Festival Panel Pass. Sponsored in part by University of California Press, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 11:30 am
    • THE DEVIL YOU DON’T KNOW: OTHERWORLDLY FORCES IN FICTION This panel will focus on how different writers repre- sent ideas of evil or horror and how the supernatural may be used and blend with realistic events in order to create a force which speaks to the power of evil in the world. Panelists: David Armand, Victor LaValle, and Valerie Martin. Moderator: Mary McCay. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, 1 pm
    • And, Odd Word’s pick for the day AN EXAMINED LIFE:
      THE MYSTERIES OF MEMOIR. Memoir writing requires the writer to stare into the abyss of a very personal past. Our panelists have addressed death, illness, familial quirks, and cultural identity within their works, and will discuss how they dealt with the challenges of delving back. Panelists: Blake Bailey, Ann Hood, Lila Quintero Weaver, and Emily Raboteau. Moderator: Nancy Dixon. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, Festival Panel Pass. Sponsored by the Collins C. Diboll Foundation. 2:30 pm
      • The highlight of Friday’s theater performances, which include A Gift of an Orange and The Night of the Iguana, for the first time in over a decade, the Tennessee Williams classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is brought back to thrilling life on the New Orleans stage by The NOLA Project theatre company. Beau Bratcher (A Truckload of Ink, Night of the Iguana) directs a starry New Orleans cast headed up by James Yeargain, Cecile Monteyne, Randy Cheramie, and Yvette Hargis. This special collaboration between NOLA Project and The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival at Le Petit Theatre is an event no theatre lover will want to miss! The TW/NOLF presents a NOLA Project production. Le Petit Theatre, 616 St. Peter Street, $30.

        You can also choose to finish off Friday with this intriguing Literary Late Night at 8 pm: LITERARY DANCE PARTY featuring SURPRISE INTERROGATION READING Spend Friday evening in the club with our literary dance party featuring a live DJ set and a brand new event of a speculative nature, the Surprise Interrogation Reading. Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver will read a short piece, and take his place in the hot seat for a Q&A like no other. His interrogator will be a mystery (even to Victor himself) until the grilling begins. It could be his high school English teacher, his worst critic, or best literary bro— and the questioner can ask him anything at all. Expect revelations and literary dirt. Hotel Monteleone, Queen Anne Ballroom, $15. Sponsored by Whole Foods Market. Ticket sales support high school outreach programs.

        I think that’s enough to digest at one sitting. Check Thursday’s regular Odd Words post which will lead off with Saturday and Sunday’s Best of the Fest. Be sure to follow @odd_words on Twitter for instant update, pictures, and the latest reports from the festival, or check the Odd Words pages on Facebook and Google+


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