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Odd Words’ Tennessee Williams Festival Preview Part 2 March 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in books, literature, Louisiana, memoir, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, The Typist, Theater, Toulouse Street, Writing, Writing Workshops.
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Here are some highlights of the weekend activities for the Tennessee Williams Festival. For the complete list, visit the TWF website for the electronic program.

& First, to get your full on fill of Tennessee:

  • TENNESSEE WILLIAMS’ EUROPEAN INFLUENCES Williams was both a product of and a muse for Europe over the last half century, and their mutual exchange of themes, ideas and images altered the artistic landscapes of several post-war nations. This panel of Williams specialists discusses the early Williams and the uses he made of various European sources in his theatre; the late Williams and the promise European theater afforded him with his
    experimental plays; and the posthumous Williams and his influence on late 20th and early 21st century European theater and cinema. Panelists: John Bak, Michael Hooper, and Barton Palmer. Moderator: Robert Bray. Williams Research Center Saturday at 10 am.
  • TENNESSEE TODAY: HIS CRITICAL REPUTATION AND POPULAR IMAGE “Snatching the eternal out of the desperately fleeting is the great magic trick of human existence,” Tennessee Williams wrote in his essay “The Timeless World of a Play.” In the 32 years since his death, Williams’ plays continue to be produced, his critical reputation grows, and his influence on today’s playwrights is undeniable. From many productions of his works on Broadway, London’s West End and beyond, to the hundreds of references to Streetcar in every form of popular culture including Woody Allen’s film, Blue Jasmine and in TV shows such as “The Simpsons” and “Modern Family,” Williams’ genius not only endures but continues to captivate global audiences. Williams experts and friends discuss the playwright’s hold on our contemporary cultural reputation, and how the future may view the resonating worlds he created. Panelists: Kenneth Holditch, David Kaplan, and John Lahr. Moderator: Thomas Keith. Williams Research Center, Saturday at 11:30 am.
  • TENNESSEE TODAY: HIS CRITICAL REPUTATION AND POPULAR IMAGE “Snatching the eternal out of the desperately fleeting is the great magic trick of human existence,” Tennessee Williams wrote in his essay “The Timeless World of a Play.” In the 32 years since his death, Williams’ plays continue to be produced, his critical reputation grows, and his influence on today’s playwrights is undeniable. From many productions of his works on Broadway, London’s West End and beyond, to the hundreds of references to Streetcar in every form of popular culture including Woody Allen’s film, Blue Jasmine and in TV shows such as “The Simpsons” and “Modern Family,” Williams’ genius not only endures but continues to captivate global audiences. Williams experts and friends discuss the playwright’s hold on our contemporary cultural reputation, and how the future may view the resonating worlds he created. Panelists: Kenneth Holditch, David Kaplan, and John Lahr. Moderator: Thomas Keith. Williams Research Center, Saturday at 11 am.
  • A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN LAHR Interviewed by Robert Bray How do you chronicle a life that defies illummation? John Lahr, the longtime senior drama critic for The New Yorker, has emerged victorious in this task. Lahr’s critically-lauded biography, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, is a triumphant weaving of Williams’ journeys as an artist and as a man. The mammoth undertaking involved a decade of research and writing, and illuminates Williams’ works and life, giving readers the added gift of titillating insight into the lives
    of the theatre greats who were Williams’ contemporaries. Join Lahr as he discusses his book, a 2014 National Book Award finalist, with Williams scholar Robert Bray. Sunday, 10 am.
  • And of course: Shouting Contest Contestants vie to rival Stanley Kowalski’s shout for STELLAAAAA!!!!” in the unforgettable scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. Women are welcome to try a little
    role reversal and yell for Stanley. Free and open to the public. Prizes will be awarded. Jackson Square, 4:30 pm.

& Also, in addition to the numerous stage productions around town, don’t forget about LITERARY LATE NIGHT: MIXED COMPANY “There’s a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go.” ― Tennessee Williams The 21st century moment is an exciting and uncharted time in literature and publishing with new and traditional media forms both co-existing and duking it out to create new avenues for artists to get their work to the public. Mixed Company is an independent publication featuring the writing, art, and photography of women of color currently based in New Orleans. This late night offering will highlight the interplay between tradition and innovation and the syncretic results of a culture of diaspora. “Mixed Company” will be a multi-media presentation of literature, art by artists of color based in New Orleans, film, and music that will expand our notions of reading and seeing into the present, past and future. Location, TBD, 8 pm.

& Saturday and Sunday means panels, panels, and more panels featuring exciting writers and topics. Odd Word’s picks with a focus on panels for writers. All events are by admission, and in the Hotel Montleone unless otherwise noted.

SATURDAY:

  • CRAFTING MEMOIR: OURSELVES AND OTHERS Memoir–You writing about you. But you are not a deserted island. How do memoirists portray themselves in the context of significant and non-significant others? Outside the personal sphere, a writer’s own perspective is set against larger realities—race, gender, sexuality, and nationality. How important is the recognition of the writer’s point of view—and position in the world—in memoir? Can a reconciliation between the You and the many Others happen on the pages of a memoir? Or are memoirs just fine as single and singular stories? Writers on this panel have taken on love, race, and activism in their works. They’ll be considering these questions and more in this panel. Bring your own for the Q&A. Panelists: Molly Crabapple, Jim Grimsley, and Mac McClelland. Moderator: Lauren Cerand.
  • MIGRATING WORDS: HOW POETS INFLUENCE AND ADAPT TO LANGUAGE The rules of the English language are always in flux— from assimilated words to idioms born from social media. Poets are the shepherds, more than the arbiters, of language. Panelists Vijay Seshadri and Saeed Jones write poems that manage to acknowledge the traditional form while simultaneously innovating its use. They will discuss how language came to them and read from their pioneering works. Panelists: Saeed Jones and Vijay Seshadri Moderator: Ava Leavell Haymon. Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant,
  • THE TRANSNATIONALISTS: AMERICAN WRITERS ON BORDER CROSSINGS The U.S. literary landscape has always been a transnational space—America goes on excursion into the world and the world comes in—as seen in works of authors from Faulkner on to the many multiply-hyphenated, diasporic writers. In this panel of consummate border crossers, authors will discuss what it means to be an American writer in the world today, at home and abroad. Phil Klay, an Iraq veteran and author, Molly Crabapple, an activist, writer, and artist, and Laila Lalami, a Moroccan-American novelist and linguist, will discuss point of view, writing from within (and about) the U.S. borders and looking inward from abroad. Panelists: Molly Crabapple, Phil Klay, and Laila Lalami. Moderator: Pamela Paul.
  • STORM AND STORYTELLER, TEN YEARS ON: TWO WRITERS AND A PHOTOGRAPHER REVISIT KATRINA In recognition of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, this panel brings together three of the storm’s most eloquent narrators: Dan Baum, Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death, and Life in New Orleans, Cheryl Wagner, Plenty Enough Suck to Go Around: A Memoir of Floods, Fires, Parades, and Plywood, and photographer Ted Jackson, Hurricane Katrina Then and Now. The panelists will reflect on their Katrina work, consider the responsibilities of journalists and writers in such crises—both as reporters and as storytellers—and share their perspectives on the city of New Orleans ten years after the storm. Reporter, writer, and New Orleans native Lolis Eric Elie, most recently of HBO’s “Treme,” will
    moderate the discussion. Panelists: Dan Baum, Ted Jackson, and Cheryl Wagner. Moderator: Lolis Eric Elie
  • CONVERSATION WITH RICK BRAGG In his biography of aging music legend Jerry Lee Lewis, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rick Bragg has dared readers to “find one boring page in this book.” Indeed, the life story of the Louisianaborn music sensation known as “The Killer” is one that keeps eyes bulged and mouths agape. The son of Delta sharecroppers, raised as a “holy roller” Pentecostal, Lewis would go on to earn a reputation as a hell-raising rock ‘n’ roller who would shake the music world with his outlandish piano-banging theatrics and offstage scandals. David Johnson, editor of Louisiana Cultural Vistas and KnowLA, The Digital Encyclopedia of Louisiana, will interview Bragg and discuss Lewis’ life and times. Williams Research Center.
  • LADIES WITH AN ATTITUDE Women have come a long way in the crime world from the days when they were either femme fatales, damsels in distress, or simply the murder victim. Where do things stand in the modern day world of crime writing? Join three successful women crime writers as they discuss the state of the art for women in the world of crime fiction. Panelists: Laura Lippman, Annamaria Alfieri, and Rebecca Chance. Moderator: Greg Herren. Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant

SUNDAY:

  • A CONVERSATION WITH JOHN LAHR Interviewed by Robert Bray How do you chronicle a life that defies illummation? John Lahr, the longtime senior drama critic for The New Yorker, has emerged victorious in this task. Lahr’s critically-lauded biography, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, is a triumphant weaving of Williams’ journeys as an artist and as a man. The mammoth undertaking involved a decade of research and writing, and illuminates Williams’ works and life, giving readers the added gift of titillating insight into the lives
    of the theatre greats who were Williams’ contemporaries. Join Lahr as he discusses his book, a 2014 National Book Award finalist, with Williams scholar Robert Bray.
  • A BYLINE OF ONE’S OWN: WOMEN IN LITERARY LIFE Where are the women on the page? Apparently not very many places as counts of magazines bylines by VIDA Women in Literary Arts have revealed. What does this mean for writers, readers, and the intellectual landscape of our time? Join us for a conversation about women as authors, critics, and readers in contemporary literary life with author Pamela Paul, who edits the New York Times Book Review, Brigid Hughes, founding editor of A Public Space who was formerly at the helm of The Paris Review, and independent publicist Lauren Cerand. Panelists: Lauren Cerand, Brigid Hughes, and Pamela Paul. Moderator: J.R. Ramakrishnan
  • BUILDING STORIES: A PANEL WITH A PUBLIC SPACE In a piece for the Brooklyn-based literary journal A Public Space, now collected in Best American Essays 2014, Yiyun Li wrote that “there are many ways to carry the past with us: to romantize it, to invalidate it, to furnish it with revised or entirely fictional memories.” But how can writers begin to shape experiences into engaging sentences, and what role can editors and mentors play in bringing
    stories to life on the page? Li will be joined on stage by A Public Space founding editor Brigid Hughes and APS Emerging Writer Fellow Vanessa Hutchinson for a candid discussion of fatalism in fiction, the importance of revision, and how writers – like their stories – can emerge in unexpected ways. Panelists: Yiyun Li and Vanessa Hutchinson.
  • NEW ORLEANS: CRAFTING A MYTHICAL CITY New Orleans looms large in the popular imagination, a city envisioned as a peculiar bohemian outpost, loosely attached to the United States in locality and mentality. Tourists seeking a foreign experience within America are drawn to this exotic metropolis, and many arrive with a perception shaped by a long literary tradition of writers who have played off the city’s reputation for eccentricity, debauchery, mystery, and corruption. From Mark Twain and Anne Rice to Tennessee Williams, Frances Parkinson Keyes, and journalists covering the Katrina disaster and its aftermath, this panel will examine how such writers have molded the image of the Crescent City and inadvertently commoditized it as a tourist destination. Panelists: Brian Boyles, Rien Fertel, and others TBA. Moderator: David Johnson

If you hear a cry of Stellaaaaa!!!! in the distance before Sunday, that will be me taking a break from a weekend long special project for the day job that pays the bills that lets me pay Mr. Zuckerman to make sure you see this post on Facebook.

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