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Odd Words July 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Tuesday at 7 pm Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego hosts Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts John E. Wade II and The Bipolar Millionaire and the Operation. John E. Wade II, author, investor, and millionaire, reveals in his memoir, The Bipolar Millionaire and the Operation, his personal struggle with bipolar disorder and his experience being the focus of an all-encompassing and benevolent entity he calls the Operation. Wade takes the reader through his family experiences, political aspirations and beliefs, spiritual journey, relationship trials and errors, battle with mental illness, and how he feels he has been cured of the detrimental aspects of bipolar disorder. With the help of a unique and powerful network he calls the Operation, and through religious beliefs, personal perseverance, and the help of friends, family, and his mental health professionals, Wade lives an active, creative, and successful life. His memoir doesn’t end with contentment at achieving a balance in his life, however. Instead, Wade expresses a determined vision for the future, aiming to assist humanity in finding lasting peace and prosperity through his writing, political, and spiritual endeavors, as well as through being the focus of the ever-pervasive Operation

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a reading and signing with New Orleans author Mary Helen Lagasse celebrating the release of her second novel, NAVEL OF THE MOON. A freelance writer and journalist, Vicenta (“Vicky”) Lumière has moved beyond her upbringing in the diverse Irish Chan­nel neighborhood of New Orleans. But a visit to her childhood friend Lonnie Cavanaugh in the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women brings back a flood of memories.In Navel of the Moon, the follow-up to her acclaimed debut The Fifth Sun, Mary Helen Lagasse turns to the 1950s and 60s, where a young Vicky learns that the complicated people that we become as adults and the complicated world that adults create are shaped by events in childhood. The adults around her, beginning with her Mexican grandmother, Mimy, the family storyteller—who says she is from the “navel of the moon”—often confound and sometimes trouble Vicky. Yet Vicky’s strength of character is pro­foundly affected by the complexity of life, and in particular that of her troubled childhood friend Lonnie and of Valentina Dreyfus, the Holocaust survivor who becomes Vicky’s closest confidante.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Friday at 5:30 pm Octavia Books hosts a Find Waldo Party! Now, come join us for fun, games and the drawing of The Grand Prize (and lots of other prizes) for everyone who found Waldo in New Orleans this July Regardless of your age, you are encouraged to come in costume. The famous children’s book character in the striped shirt and black-rimmed specs has been hobnobbing all month at 25 different independent local shops all around Octavia Books – from ice cream parlors, snowball stands, chocolate shops, and eateries to toy stores, hobby shops, movie theaters, and bike shops. Those who spot him can win prizes, including buttons, book coupons and great gifts contributed from all of the participating local businesses, with the grand prize being a six-volume deluxe set of Waldo books. Collecting store stamps or signatures at 20 or more businesses will entitle diligent seekers to entry in a grand prize drawing at the Waldo party. There is no charge to participate. And the hunt is still on.

Here are the participating businesses:

Angelique Baby & Kids – 5519 Magazine St.
Art & Eyes – 3708 Magazine St.
The Bead Shop – 4612 Magazine St.
Blue Frog Chocolates – 5707 Magazine St.
Canine Culture – 4920 Tchoupitoulas St.
Clement Hardware & Variety – 6000 Magazine St.
Creole Creamery – 4924 Prytania St.
Crescent City Comics – 4916 Freret St
Dat Dog – 5030 Freret St.
Dat Dog – 3336 Magazine St.
Dirty Coast – 5631 Magazine St.
Feet First – 4122 Magazine St.
Hansen’s Sno-Bliz – 4801 Tchoupitoulas St.
Jefferson Feed – 6047 Magazine St.
Magic Box – 5508 Magazine St.
Mike the Bike Guy – 4411 Magazine St.
National Art and Hobby – 5835 Magazine St.
Octavia Books – 513 Octavia St.
P’s & Q’s – 5720 Magazine St.
Plum – 5430 Magazine St.
PrytaniaTheatre – 5339 Prytania St.
Rye – 4223 Magazine St.
Scriptura – 5423 Magazine St.
Toast – 5433 Laurel St..
Weinstein’s – 4011 Magazine St.

& On Friday July 31st, Tubby & Coo’s, in collaboration with By the Clock, will be hosting a birthday party for the boy who lived! Join us from 6:30 – 8:30PM for food, games, crafts, and fun, all in the spirit of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Register soon – this is a limited availability event with only 24 open spots!

& At 9:30 pm Friday the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center hosts Moroccan poet and singer El Habib Louai and his band perform at New Orleans’s longest-lived alternative theater. $10. Sponsored by 100,000 Poets For Change, New Orleans and Surregional Press. El Habib recites original in English, Arabic and his native Amazigh plus Arabic translations of major Beat poets. Supporting local musicians include Will Thompson, keyboards and Ray Moore, saxphone.

& At 2 pm Saturday the Latter Memorial Library hosts Join us the monthly Poetry Buffet Reading. Poets Steve Beisner, Christian Champagne, David Cook, and Mary Emma Dutreix Pierson read from their work.

& At 4 pm Saturday the Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens at the Nix Library. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

Who Needs Sleep? July 21, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Who needs sleep
when you’ve got
a double shot
a double shot
a Starbucks’ double shot?
Who needs sleep
when you’ve got
a double shot
and an aerosol
can of oxygen?1

Yes folks, this is the chorus to the first song of Moloch!, the musical version of my service to Big Bank America so closely based on the Three Penny Opera the ink will dry on the papers from the Brecht estate before the paste dries on the show’s posters.

These are the sort of things that go through what P calls The Mind of Mark when it’s over winding the spectrum spring until every damn thing runs too fast, spectrum being a Disorder in the Disorder Service Manual Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in which, at the deep end of the spectrum pool we find, balanced by the toes up on the high board, Manic Depression (sing it, Jimi). Yes, there is High Anxiety Disorder when the second hand is a blur and on a good day at work, when I am whacking them into the stands like it’s a home run slugging contest at mid-season break, I think: King Kong Fucking Superman. Then the roller coaster goes into those dizzying spiral loops before the last few dull humps and drags to a dead stop, the ticket man leering over his cigarette as he pulls the brake so tight nothing is right. It’s time to leave the park and go sit in the dark, alone out in the car, smoking (again).

If anyone needs some ironic musical comedy in his life, it’s me. With a chorus of just-like-me henchmen, a rousing “Seeräuberjenny” in the middle, and a Big Finish where I get to walk away from it all just like Mackie. That and a Blu-Ray remaster of Little Murders so I can finally perfect my Alan Arkin scream, which I think will come in very handy at work these next few weeks.

1. Oxygen for Energy the stuff is called, but I call it Hangover Helper, a little trick I picked up from my college mentor who was an alcoholic flight line washout in the Air Force and got transferred to the base newspaper. He told us that back in the day the cure for the prior night at the Officer’s Club was Full Oxygen in the mask. He was right. It also comes in handy when you’re sleep deprived and about to go face plant on the keyboard. And at least one highly aerobic activity which late middle aged smokers are not quite ready to give up on yet. If ever. Ask your reflection if you maybe need a can of Oxygen for Energy.

Odd Words July 19, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& The New Orleans Haiku Society shares Haiku on the third Monday of every month at the Latter Branch Library, 5120 St. Charles Ave., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All are invited to attend. For more information call 596-2625.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop features David G. Spielman’s The Katrina Decade: Images of An Altered City. The book includes 125 stark, black-and-white photos of New Orleans in the years after the storm. Acting as a window into New Orleans in the last ten years and providing an extention of the work done by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Farm Security Administration (FSA). With images whose simplicity evokes the work of FSA photographers Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks. In the ten years since Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge overwhelmed New Orleans’s levee system, the catastrophe has lived in the public imagination as a parade of dramatic images. Often overlooked are smaller, more gradual changes. For years, David G. Spielman has documented these inconspicuous changes. The photographs depict the devastation and despair of the storm, but also have a quality of the haunting melancholy beauty that has befallen the city.

& Tuesday at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center at 7 pm it’s the latest entry in Teatro Sin Fronteras is a series of Seven Movable Feasts to engage the community at large with interdisciplinary theater events, music, & food to celebrate the contributions of LATINAS/LATINOS to the post-Katrina Rebirth of New Orleans in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the storm.

& On Wednesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shops hosts Laura McNeill and Center of Gravity. The truth could cost her everything. Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is wonderful. Or is it? Her husband’s behavior grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Thursday at 6 pm at the Rosa Keller Library founding members of the Peauxdunque Writers AllianceMaurice Carlos Ruffin, Terri S. Shrum, and Tad Bartlett will read their works in a no-holds-barred, 21-and-over show at the Rosa Keller Library.

& Meanwhile, the Mid-City Branch Library hosts an Author Night featuring Nancy Dixon, author of N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature, who will present highlights of 200 years of local writing.

& This event has been cancelled: Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop presents Veda Stamps’s Flexible Wings. Stamps’ critically acclaimed novel, Flexible Wings, is a fictional exploration of the lives of military children. This book, written for preteens, delves into themes of sports, community support and volunteerism as a way to help children and their families through difficult times. In Flexible Wings, an eleven-year-old girl of mixed race uses competitive swimming to navigate her fears of her fighter pilot mom’s impending military deployment.

& At the East Bank Regional Library of Jefferson Parish the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at 7 pm. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Friday at 6 pm Harrison Scott Key stops by Octavia Books to share his wildy funny memoir, THE WORLD’S LARGEST MAN. Key was born in Memphis, but he grew up in Mississippi, among pious Bible-reading women and men who either shot things or got women pregnant. At the center of his world was his larger-than-life father a hunter, a fighter, a football coach, “a man better suited to living in a remote frontier wilderness of the nineteenth century than contemporary America, with all its progressive ideas and paved roads and lack of armed duels. He was a great man, and he taught me many things: how to fight and work and cheat and how to pray to Jesus about it, how to kill things with guns and knives and, if necessary, with hammers.” Sly, heartfelt, and tirelessly hilarious, The World’s Largest Man is an unforgettable memoir the story of a boy’s struggle to reconcile himself with an impossibly outsize role model, and a grown man’s reckoning with the father it took him a lifetime to understand.

& Friday at 6 pm Garden District Books presents Webb Hubbell’s Ginger Snaps. Attorney Jack Patterson returns to Little Rock, Arkansas after an old acquaintance, Dr. Douglas Stewart, is arrested for marijuana cultivation, possession, and distribution. Jack is no expert on drug cases, but meets with Stewart to fulfill a promise to his late wife, Angie, who was close to Stewart. Expecting to wrap up his involvement in an hour and enjoy the rest of the weekend golfing, Jack hears from Stewart that his arrest isn’t about the marijuana. Teaming up with his bodyguard, Clovis, and defense attorney Micki Lawrence, Jack begins to investigate why this highly-respected scientist was growing marijuana. He learns that Stewart had alerted the government about the existence of his marijuana garden years ago. Why the arrest now? Why are the Feds claiming terrorist involvement? Stewart’s wife, Liz, claims it has to be about her ginger snaps which are laced with marijuana to help ease the pain of cancer patients. As Jack delves deeper into the case, he discovers that both Stewarts and the federal government are hiding secrets, secrets that connect to a past Jack and all involved would rather forget.

& Saturday at Maple Street Book Shop at 11:30 AM the store also hosts Veda Stamps and Flexible Wings.

& At 4 pm Saturday the Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens at the Nix Library. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

Odd Words July 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans is going to move to Sunday-to-Saturday, as work is not working out to have it done by Thursday. I’ve missed several weeks of a weekly listing, only just barely getting up daily postings on Facebook. Remember Odd Words is a labor of love, but love is sometimes a struggle and you can always help me get it done by chipping in a little something. Become a sponsor and buy the poor Typist a beer and a poboy, won’t you?

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& On Wednesday at 8 pm (doors at 7) Esoterotica’s local provocateurs are again going without a theme and that means no hold barred. An evening of surprising and unfettered original erotica in a variety of styles to pique your variety of desires. Original Erotica from: Panzachual, Otter Goodfellow, Paul Oswell, Aime’ SansSavant
and More to be Announced! Interested in joining our sexy party on stage at Esoterotica? Our Unthemed shows are a great time, and we love to experience new voices. Just drop us a line and/or submit writing to info@esoterotica.com

& At 6 pm Thursday the Garden District Book Shop presents Tony Dunbar’s Night Watchman: A Tubby Dubonnet Mystery. In this EIGHTH entry in the Tubby Dubonnet series, the laid-back New Orleans lawyer finds himself caught in a twisted trip down memory lane, distracted by a luscious new love, and, as usual, surrounded by screwball denizens of everybody’s favorite city. But he’s also caught in someone’s crosshairs, and so are half the cast of crazies and screwballs. Which makes for a delicious mix of danger and humor (with a dash of romance!), best consumed with a tall cold one and a bag of Zapp’s Spicy Cajun Crawtators.

& At 6:30 pm Thursday The EJ Writers Group meets at the East Bank Jefferson Parish Regional Library. The group is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the alternate Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.

& Every third Thursday of the month the All People Open Mic Poetry Circle occurs at Playhouse NOLA, 3214 Burgundy between Piety and Louisa. Rooted in principles that empower the individual’s creative and intellectual growth, this creative venture particularly invites immigrants, people of color and those who identify the class system as being anti-human and benefitting a small percentage of society are encouraged to join.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& At 4 pm Friday at Octavia Books Mark Shulman, author of over 150 titles, presents two books that play with words, MOM AND DAD ARE PALINDROMES and its sequel, ANN AND NAN ARE ANAGRAMS.Shulman doesn’t just mix up words. Everyone loves A IS FOR ZEBRA and AA IS FOR AARDVARK, two pictures books that “picture” the alphabet in a whole new way. If you think these books are fun, wait until you meet the author who dreamed them up. He’ll leave you laughing

& Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

He Taught Me To Sing A Song July 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, Poetry, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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My prolific and talented friend* Ray Shea just had a few of his poems from the online journal Revolution John nominated for Best of the Net, a signal honor in these days of the web-only journal, much better than a Pushcart nomination which has become as common as author copies and so a bit ridiculous when cited. Tell me when you win one.

I know he posted these before when first published but I don’t remember reading “Sing It For Me”, perhaps because of slowly burying own my cold mother, waiting so long until she was both cold and still, the sarcophagus pose, the blue veined marble skin, my own erasure until the only word left f was forget. “Sing It For Me” conjoins that signature scene in 2001 in which Dave is forced to turn off Hall 9000 with the decision on when to pull the plug on a parent, in this case his father (it helps but is not necessary to know his father was a Coastie). The poem is just so fucking beautiful and perfect, a simple yet intricate machine of words with all the beauty of a music box. You want to open the lid again and again, watch the works turning as the song plays out.

This time I promise not to reach for the blemish cream. This poem leaves a scar I will keep and proudly show my children someday, when my life is mostly read outs on the machine, and as we cry I will remind them I left some beauty in this world, a handful of poems and a couple of forgotten blogs, their own lustrous mirrors.

* Can I still say friend when we never speak, constantly miss each other when he comes for Carnival, each on our own trajectories not so much divergent as impossible to calculate an intersection through the massive traffic of parade days. Journalists and former journalists, my friend Victoria (again, how long?) noted, make the worst correspondents. I like to think you don’t lose friends so much as shelve them sometimes, like the books that stack precariously two deep on my book shelves, waiting for happenstance or an inspiration to dig them out to reconnect.

Coffee Zombie Wants Brains July 4, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Well, one would do. Mine. I think it is near where I left my coffee cup, the collision of ADHD and exhaustion. That’s quite enough, Brother Coyote, I mumble under my breath.

Another six hours sleep, divided by pointless wandering around the house from sixish until about 7:30. I will find out before long if the UI for SleepBot can handle a sleep debt in three figures.

I am so fucking tired. It should be a good tired. I climbed out of a hole of sloth and cleaned, mostly, the front room and bedroom. Nothing piled on the coffee table, most of the floor of the bedroom clear enough to vacuum, many boxes of indecision finally sorted and collated into a single, plastic container,  hours of work.  Spilling hole punch dots  in the living room on my way out from the bedroom to the trash was a high point, leaving  me on my knees picking up the tiny bits and some carpet burn in the process.  So much left undone: the wall near the ionizing fan, a bad idea for smokers, the thin-film of tar capturing the zapped clumps which then cling to the wall.  I know it’s the tar because of the two dozen screen wipes coming away brown from the television screen. The kitchen and bathroom of one-and-a-half men still to do, the boxes of not going to happen garage sale stuff to haul out to Goodwill. An A/C unit for the front so I can finally avoid a repeat of Satan’s Private Cellar Special Reserve Heat Rash with Fungus for Exceptionally Unrepentant Sinners, punishment for deciding to walk in the morning for exercise when I was cutting it so close to my 6:30 am meeting I didn’t take time to shower or change.  And Monday spins over the horizon, sucking up the energy of its slaves until an eye wall forms and the storm winds blow, the Eye of Moloch which watches over us all.

Eye of Moloch

Creepy.

I need a long weekend but not this. I need the fresh air of mountains and an unseasonable fire, the cool breeze blowing down the  moonlight road on the ocean, beer with lunch and a long nap in a hammock or sling chair, bar-b-q from a shack down the road or a dozen Oyster Corexit and a pitcher of  thin Mexican beer.

Sadly, what I need is a new mop. And that tiny, rattly A/C unit I found on the Home Depot web site, which will draw just few enough amps to allow it to run on the outside wall circuit with two others.  And the joy of throwing open the window long enough to install it, with heat indexes over 100. I don’t think I’m so wicked I deserve to be reduced to a puddle by that exercise, but sadly the world thinks otherwise. No rest for the wicked, hah. As if lounging with a hookah smoking black tar in company with comely courtesan were hard work. Instead, it is no rest for the diligent, or at least for those of us who put up a Potemkin front of diligence, propped up by coffee and an irrational send of duty, just sturdy enough to last the week.  I can leave the kitchen as it is (sandals recommended, like a gym shower, to avoid the loose bits and stickiness) and go fix my sister’s computer and printer. Or go out and get a mop. Or get the mop after.  Going back to bed is not an option.

And then the question remains of what to do tonight, on the Fourth of July in this year of Our Founding Father Who Art In Heaven 2010, also  the 207th anniversary of the sale of my people to the United States, the descendants of the  paternal ancestor who arrived on a ship uncertain but who was married in Lafourche Parish in 1721, two generations before 1776. What little patriotic excitement I could once muster was washed out to sea by Katrina, and sunk under the blood-red waters of the Deepwater Horizon. How to feel that stirring  at tonight’s rocket red glare after all that? As I concluded years ago, the American Experiment is ended and the results are in. It failed.1

Do I know how to put on a cheerful face?  Or what.

I do know how to put a flag on my flagpole. I didn’t have time this latest, crazy week to go get a new flag of Orleans, so I will have to fly the faded and ragged one I have, the sort the flag over Fort McHenry probably looked like after all those mortar bombs bursting in air. I never much liked the Star Spangled Banner anyway. I much prefer the Marseille and its bloody honesty.

I keep forgetting: how would one say “we will armor the levees with their skulls” in French?

Ah, yes, coffee zombie is rambling if not babbling again.  That is how the mind of The Typist works on a good day, the rambling turning into babbling under the influence of coffee and exhaustion. Coffee zombie clearly needs another cup, because brains are so hard to come by these days. Just spend five minutes on Facebook if you don’t believe me.

1. If you find my opinions offensive, as my people were here first, feel free to go back to where ever you came from. As if they’d have you. 2

2. “It’s the straight dope peddler, spreading joy where ever he goes.”

The Broken Road July 1, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointness, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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As the statistics dwindle and more and more followers of this blog are simply hoping for a reflexive return on my part, to build their numbers for whatever racket they are running–probably blogging hollow consumables for a penny a word–I wonder what I am doing here.

Here is not even here. I have not lived on Toulouse Street for most of five years. I cling to the tenuous position of having once, long ago, beat out the Doobie Brothers on Google. Toulouse Street is broken with the marriage, the beautiful Craftsman house sold, and all that remains is the banner picture above these words and a street sign my daughter’s kleptomaniac friend once brought to the house,  which once graced my office and now hangs in the kitchen on Fortin Street. The ex- is now No. 2, intended as the least emotionally charged term I could come up with, no scatological pun intended. The children are grown. Others walk the halls of Toulouse Street. All I have are ghosts, Dickensian visitations of Christmas Past.

20150418_144246

Perhaps the statistics dwindle because Toulouse Street has lost its way, lost it purpose to capture Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans. Now it is the Odd journal of The Typist (and so long since I used a capitalized Odd). Perhaps I am just become a whinny old man, and no one cares about the sidebar description: “the life of a man of late middle age racing frantically towards and away from death.”

Perhaps my words have lost their power

Perhaps all words have lost their power.

I don’t believe that.

“You got to be a spirit! You can’t be no ghost.” Words of power, from a movie most people have forgotten, a cautionary tale from a decade or more ago of where America is today. Bulworth was ready to kill himself until he discovered what it means to speak truth to power.

“and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive”
― Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn: Poems

Words are powerful. What is lost is the audience for words, even words spoken on a screen, particularly uncomfortable words. And Toulouse Street has become an uncomfortable place, a reflection of the uncomfortable world I (we) live in.  Oh, there is discourse civil and uncivil enough on places like Facebook, which has largely supplanted general purpose blogs, but the discussions there occur in the echo chambers we have built for ourselves. We talk to each other when we agree, past each other when we do not, and admire the kittens and the side show characters. One can spend hours on Facebook drowning in words and learn a few things. You can hear a thoughtful explanation of the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement and the death of human democracy, or the news that America’s trillion-dollar fighter being built in as many Congressional districts as possible to ensure its survival is a piece of junk. You can also learn by the simply arithmetic of counting Likes and Comments that most people do not care for such things. They care about the Confederate flag, as if the flag itself matters to Black lives. Flags, like guns,  do not kill people. People kill people, often because of the power of words amplified by the echo chambers. What is more important: removing a single statue, or removing a single sociopath (be they an isolated hater or a commissioned police officer) from the streets? Which will save more lives?

If I have grown weary and turned inward it is in part that the external, public world of words makes less sense, seems to serve no good purpose, more and more so every day. I believe my ramblings here have their purpose, even if you think me narcissistic and a bit unhinged. I am Surplus Labor Incarnate, and I rant against my job because my service to Moloch is to facilitate our enslavement. Hey, I tell myself: I am only in it for the Benjamins. A daughter in New York at Columbia, well launched in life, is a considerable expense. I have bills to pay, the cost of stepping away from Moloch for nine months to finish a generally useless degree in English Literature. I hoped to be an example to my son. He is doing exactly what I did at his age, stepping away from college to figure out what he wants from life. My return to school, and my voyage to Europe are not so different from the decision he has made. I abandoned my degree thirty years ago, and so did his grandfather, and we managed to push our way through life to comfortable middle class positions. Still, both my father and I received considerable education before we walked away. I want him to understand that college is not a stupid recapitulation of everything he learned in high school. That’s just the freshman year price of admission to the real learning.

The price of admission. That’s what I am working for, the descendant in one branch of slavers from Haiti, slaving for Moloch to enslave us all in hopes my well- and liberal (arts)-educated children can escape enslavement, to equip them to have a chance to be a little more free, to give them choices.

Irony is an immutable law of the universe.

If there is a purpose to my navel-gazing ramblings here it is to make a record for posterity, even though I know how transient and impermanent electronic words are. The Typist struggles against Irony with it’s own sword with the diligence of Prometheus, and if you find that boring I am sorry, I can’t help you. You have lost touch with the power of words, traded that magic for the magic of toaster Jesus or imaginary vampires. It is OK if you do not care to hear about my Fridays or Mondays, the book ends of a very minor tragicomedy, the struggle against ancient humors and modern entries in the Diagnostic Manual that are like pervasive allergies: reflectively symptomatic of a diseased society. If I have lost the power to enchant you, perhaps another’s words in the very same vein might.

“They say there is no Fate but there is. It’s what you create.” I will go on creating, chronicling the consequences of my own choices good and bad, and the occasional moment of joy, in the hope that someone out there is listening. “No one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own.” Of course they do. I just want them to know they are not alone.

Amen.

Don’t Look Down June 29, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Monday: that moment when the path narrows to a goat track of uncertain rock which every few steps sends tiny landslides into the precipice.  Don’t look down and don’t look ahead, where the bottom of the precipice opens into a verdant, river-threaded place of distant calm. You have gotten up too early, and are not clear enough to remember if the path leads there, or further into the icy granite heights obscured by clouds. Or whether the path just continues on like this forever.

Crabapple Lane June 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Happiness is for saps.
You see them paired in
matching polos and shorts,
their fat pink squealing children
on even, green lawns.

Science we find is wrong.
The universe does not rush into
their vacuous block
to fill the gaping void yawning
in formless boredom.

There is this skulking skunk.
He squats inside my chest
sullen, hungry.
I want to yank him out, toss him
butt first in their yard.

Going In Circles June 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Odd Words June 25, 2015

Posted by The Typist in authors, Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 6 pm Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with photographer John Rosenthal featuring AFTER: The Silence of the Lower 9th Ward. He will be joined by Lolis Eric Elie who wrote the preface. Published in the tenth year after Katrina, John Rosenthal’s photographs of the Lower 9th Ward were taken some time after Katrina. In 1998 a collection of Mr. Rosenthal’s photographs, Regarding Manhattan was published by Safe Harbor Books, and in 2005 his work was included in Safe Harbor’s Quartet: Four North Carolina Photographers. In August of 2008 an exhibit of his Lower Ninth Ward photographs, “Then, Absence,” was displayed at the New Orleans African-American Museum and Boston’s Panopticon Gallery. Mr. Rosenthal was awarded a 2008-2009 North Carolina Arts Fellowship.

& Thursday Garden District Book Shop features Richard Collins’ No Fear Zen: Discovering Balance in an Unbalanced World. No Fear Zen presents an approach to Zen practice that focuses on concentration and sitting (shikantaza) as a discipline that can be practiced in everyday life with the dedication of the samurai. And in a world that requires bravery and decisive action in addition to generosity and compassion, we can learn much from the now-extinct samurai in creating a new kind of warrior for peace in the twenty-first century. While some practices focus on compassion and mindfulness as the goals of Zen practice, No Fear Zen contends that these are outcomes that occur naturally, spontaneously, and automatically from right practice without any goal or object whatsoever.

& At 7 pm Thursday the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Bank Regional Library. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Saturday it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at 11:30am at Maple Street Book Shop. This week she’ll read The Skunk by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. When a skunk first appears in the tuxedoed man’s doorway, it’s a strange but possibly harmless occurrence. But then the man finds the skunk following him, and the unlikely pair embark on an increasingly frantic chase through the city, from the streets to the opera house to the fairground. What does the skunk want? It’s not clear—but soon the man has bought a new house in a new neighborhood to escape the little creature’s attention, only to find himself missing something. . .

This slyly hilarious tale brings together picture book talents Mac Barnett and Patrick McDonnell for the first time.

& Saturday at 4 pm the Nix Library hosts a Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

& Tuesday at 7 pm The Louisiana State Poetry Society features the winners of the Louisiana State Poetry Society Spring Poetry Contest reading from their work at the East Bank Regional Library,

& Also at 7 pm Tuesday at the Old Marquer Theater the ALIENS Taco Truck Theater Project presents “Teatro Sin Fronteras / Theater Without Borders,” a series theater events or “tertulias” in Spanish with music & food to celebrate the contributions of LATINAS/LATINOS to the post-Katrina REBIRTH of New Orleans in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the storm.

& Wednesday at 8 pm the Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater conclues their month of poetry in June with readings by Sarah Xerta and Kia Alice Groom.

& Also on Wednesday the New Orleans Jane Austen Society hosts a night of all things Jane trivia at the Pearl Wine Co. Test your knowledge of Austen’s novels, her life, love interests, manners, films and more! We’ll have prizes for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

Enter title here June 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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If not exhaustion then running on fumes, as if huffing fumes, stumbling more like it, threading the obstacle course of too much stuff of a life squeezed into too small an apartment with a ragged disregard for my personal safety. Sort of a swashbuckling exhaustion if your idea of swashbuckling is Johnny Depp mimicking Keith Richards on Quaaludes, and if you don’t like Jack Sparrow there is something deeply, disturbingly normal about you.

The spring water bottle drips and coughs like some sad Dicken’s character. So: Winn-Dixie, an archipelago of unimaginably distant, mythical aisles and all I really need is a bottle of spring water. The Kentwood cooler which no longer cools (but thankfully still pours hot enough for tea) will have to stand totemic and emptyfor a day.

No tea tonight, anyway. Not night meetings. So certainly no coffee. When one’s body goes into shutdown mode at 5:30 in the evening clearly sleep is the necessary medicine. Perhaps it is the new medicine, warnings of somnolence and such, in the absence of mania. My lifelong ADHD is compounding my complete lack of investment in the current job, and the job has to stay for now, so I can’t afford this medicine not to work.

I can make it to Canseco’s riderless (good horse), threading the overhanging plants and managing the rippling brickwork. There are, however, cigarettes at Canseco’s, and winded pumping up the bicycle tire argues both for the bicycle and against cigarettes and untold other things a laptop-bound, post-amitryptiline fat man should not be allowed to even consider.

Consider Fig Newtons. It’s Real Fruit. Says so right on the package. Unlike the chocolaty peanuts which contain no fruit whatsoever and an adjective masquerading as an adverb pretending to be chocolate. Fig…Newtons, the last bit a soft and savory mouthful of vowels, with just a hint of the seedy crunch in the t and ending in the s of satisfaction.

So, glass of water in hand and a plate of Fig Newtons (not the bag, oh my god, don’t bring the bag) and all I need is something to read. Preferably with large type and small words. Or at least something on the Kindle, so I can blow up the type to some ridiculous size. Let the words pass by large and slow like a ship on the river which will certainly loose control and crash into my chest (“they are still dredging the carpet looking for the remains of several Fig Newtons missing after the disastrous collision”) before I can turn off the light.

Odd Words June 22, 2015

Posted by The Typist in books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, Toulouse Street, Writing Workshops.
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Coming up this week in literary New Orleans:

& Tuesday Garden District Books hosts the book launch of Laura Lane McNeal’s Dollbaby, A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans—a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets.

& At the East Bank Regional Library on Tuesday the Louisiana State Poetry Society hosts the winners of the Louisiana State Poetry Society Spring Poetry Contest reading from their work. Free of charge and open to the public.

& In Westwego the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at he Edith S. Lawson Library.

& Wednesday Amanda Emily Smith, Donney Rose and Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore read at Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater.

& Thursday Octavia Books hosts a presentation and signing with photographer John Rosenthal featuring AFTER: The Silence of the Lower 9th Ward. He will be joined by Lolis Eric Elie who wrote the preface.Published in the tenth year after Katrina, John Rosenthal’s photographs of the Lower 9th Ward were taken some time after Katrina.

& Thursday Garden District Book Shop features Richard Collins’ No Fear Zen: Discovering Balance in an Unbalanced World. No Fear Zen presents an approach to Zen practice that focuses on concentration and sitting (shikantaza) as a discipline that can be practiced in everyday life with the dedication of the samurai. And in a world that requires bravery and decisive action in addition to generosity and compassion, we can learn much from the now-extinct samurai in creating a new kind of warrior for peace in the twenty-first century. While some practices focus on compassion and mindfulness as the goals of Zen practice, No Fear Zen contends that these are outcomes that occur naturally, spontaneously, and automatically from right practice without any goal or object whatsoever.
& Thursday at the East Bank Regional Library the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels

Moonlight On Vermont June 19, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I have 10 hours sleep total over the last two days, a Speaking Tequila Skull and my new CD copy of Trout Mask Replica (no more annoying scratchy ticks or other cicadaian interruptions; the record he almost dead, a penny for the old stylus).

What could possibly go wrong?

Arabella and I have this covered.

20150619_153901

(It’s Just) Another Day June 17, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Hi Gemini,
There’s simply nothing you can’t do if you’re armed with patience and perseverance…

What my horoscope doesn’t tell me is where I can acquire these things. I am the poster child Gemini, flighty, garrulous, of two minds about everything but insistent when my mind is made up.

Patient, not so much. Perseverance? Really?

I think I will arm myself with patience and persistence. Mañana.

For now, there is coffee.

[rewind]

I had a good night’s sleep, by the clock. It started probably around 7:30, perhaps a quarter to eight. I know I woke just before ten with half of the beer I opened for dinner clenched in my first, my vape fallen into the sofa, my old Kindle lying on the floor. I had slid into a position that made the space between my toes hurt, my body gradually slumping while my rubber-bottom sandals remained planted in place, cutting into my feet. I went straight to bed, and plugged in the phone but forgot to turn on Sleepbot. I may have snored like a warped board saw and tossed and turned all night, but have no way of knowing. By five my brain decided it wanted to get up, although my body is exhausted.

I sit down with the microwaved dregs of yesterday’s coffee, and light a cigarette. I was determined last night not to buy cigarettes and did not. As I draw on one of the last ones in what was to be the last pack, I can feel Death’s hand squeezing the tops of my lungs. They are not icy but warm. Still, I can sense the cold bones underneath. Death whispers “emphysema” with each exhale, and gives a little squeeze. I look in the box at the last two smokes, and contemplate running to the sketchy store before works starts at seven.

Does contemplating going out for smokes in this condition constitute suicidal ideation? I will have to ask the expensive but empathetic psychiatrist.

[rewind]

I believe insistently logging into VPN at the current incarnation of Moloch before 6 a.m. constitutes suicidal ideation.

Memo to self: un-hide the resume on Monster, Dice and CareerBuilder. Let my boss’ next check-in call go to voicemail as if it were an accident. Let her hear the greeting that tells why I don’t answer unrecognized calls, that if you are yet another recruiter that I am currently employed and thank you for your interest. Change the arrangement; tip the scales in my favor.

For now I am one hour away from “protected time,” the arrangement by which a multi-national Moloch manages meetings between New York and Singapore. Next week it will be 7 pm until. And then I will start again with a two-hour morning meeting at 7 am, and another at 9 pm.

So it goes.

[rewind]

I need an attitude adjustment, but grow weary of pills. I can’t afford the psychiatrist I sought out to get away from them and a therapist. I missed the first class of Tai Chi yesterda, because work did not give me a moment to call doctors to make sure I got my new medication and made arrangements to not run out of my blood pressure medication. I should be practicing the mindfulness technique my psych and I practiced on Monday, but feel compelled to write, and the compulsion to write calls for the “seer in front” with a cheering section deep behind him, and the lizard brain hiding beneath the stands swilling coffee and contemplating cigarettes.

[rewind]

All along Moss Street they walk, they run, they bike. They walk their dogs, or run with their dogs, and sometimes (but not this morning) let their running dogs pull their bicycles. I drive, entombed in my car, a new pack of cigarettes safely in my pocket. (Emphyyyseeeemaaaa.) A clearly homeless man, wearing a dirty yellow safety vest, is hand-lining for breakfast, his distant but pleasant expression places him more at peace with his world than I am with mine. (Work: T minus 33).

If I had more time, I should have jumped on my recently repaired bicycle and forced myself to ride to the sketchy store for cigarettes. If I had more time. Today’s calendar hangs from my tiny whiteboard by a magnet, a cryptically colored, solid block of no-time, of not enough time even to do what is written.

Coffee. Emphysema. Cigarettes. Work.

[rewind]

Tonight is date night. Hopefully I won’t be exhausted.

My side of the bed at my girlfriend’s house is what I call my “happy place”, the one spot in the universe where I feel truly relaxed and at peace. I don’t dare go there tonight, and risk falling into a restful slumber. I have a meeting tomorrow.

At 7 am.

[rewind]

“I heard another beep. Who joins?”

[rewind … flap … flap … flap … Krapp]

1. The title comes from the irrepressibly cheerful Paul McCartney, the one who should be dead. I fucking hate Paul McCartney. [2]

2. A working class hero is something to be. [3]

3. Listening to George Harrison’s “Wah Wah” on the car stereo while in a hypomaniacal state, I might as well be cranking it while swilling straight from the Speaking Tequila Skull while doing donuts in front of the police station. This is what I believe the mania index quiz calls “risk taking behavior.”

The Slow Noon Burn of June 16 June 16, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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As I am not making it to Bloomsday (again), republishing this.

Canal Street in the slow noon burn of June. Thin dribbles of tourists pass up and down, hug the narrow ledge of shade along the buildings as if some abyss yawned at the curb. A handful of hotel workers in dull uniforms colored maroon and dark blue shuffle unhappily toward work or tiredly toward their bus stops and home. There are few suits on the street, no conventioneers with plastic badges swinging from their necks our for lunch. Two men in wilted jackets, ties-loosened, pause outside the Palace Café; they consult the burning blue sky, one’s watch, the cool, dark windows of the restaurant and decide to slip inside. I imagine the spicy fried oysters nestled in a bed of cool greens and blue cheese, a sweat-beaded glass of tea besides. The café tables on the street are empty; pigeons huddled under the canopy pick at the crumb-less pavement. The birds outnumber the people passing by.

Canal passes like a diorama: the peppery aroma of Popeye’s Fried Chicken is followed by powerful cloud of patchouli coming from the Hippie Gypsy shop, then the more delicate smells of browning butter out of the Palace Café; music passes like the tuning of a radio, bars of Cajun from one and jazz from another of the progression of tourist shops with names like Gumbo Bayou and Jazzland and Dixie Market with their racks of tacky t-shirts and windows garlanded with beads; in between ageless Levantine gentlemen stand stiff and mute in the doors of electronics shops like sentinels in crisp cotton shirts and slacks, windows blazoned with No Tax! 220v! PAL Format! waiting patiently for sailors who no longer get shore leave from the mechanized container ships. They watch the masts slip past just over the floodwall up the block and wait.

By midday the sun has warmed everything until the heat no longer comes from above but radiates from every direction: down from the sun and up from the pavement and off the sides of passing windows and we pass in the middle like loaves through some mechanized oven, perfectly browned on all sides. In the distance a church chimes and as if part of the clockwork the last thin ribbon of shade slips under the buildings and there is only the harsh glare off the pavement. I stop and listen to the fading echoes from a dozen buildings, try to think: which church, St. Louis Cathedral to my left or the Jesuit Church behind me on Baronne Street?

I remember as a child my grandmother and I catching the old green Perley Thomas cars at Cemeteries for the trip down Canal. She would shop and we would eat lunch at the K&B Drugstore counter or the lady’s cafe’ in D.H. Homes Department Store but my clearest memory is Immaculate Conception; the dark, narrow Jesuit church filled with flickering red glass candles, my grandmother lighting a taper to Mary while I studied the procession of men who stood, heads bowed and murmuring prayers with one hand on the foot of Saint Joseph. To this day every time I see a status of Joseph I study its feet, notice how generations of hands sliding on and off have worn the wood.

I don’t remember it being this hot when I was a child. I study the parents leaning heavily on the handles of strollers, the women’s sun dresses collapsed damply over their bodies as toddlers skip happily away over the roasting pavement toward traffic. To a child this weather is as natural as the damp warmth of the womb, they see the sweat on their bodies as beautiful dewdrops, tiny sunlit jewels. I stop and mop the inside of my hatband and then my brow, watch anxious parents corral the children back into the stroller and set off grimly for the Aquarium and the promise of air conditioning and the cooling illusion of immersion. I squint over my shoulder back toward Baronne Street and imagine for a moment stepping into that dark nave, into the cool innocence of my own childhood, then turn back to continue my trudge toward the river.

I am not on vacation. I have no lunch date. I am walking away from work but only for a while. I have, frankly, no good business being out in the mad dog sun except to walk and watch and listen. It is June 16, and I am taking my own advice, spending Bloomsday not reading about Dublin 1904 but setting out on my own ramble through New Orleans, to capture a snapshot of this city in June 2009. There is little to see except the street itself. The heat has driven all but the desperate indoors, and those who are out in the sun don’t waste their energy talking. I walk on.

The first and last real crowd I pass stands in the plaza of the last tall high rise before the river, the office tower disgorging lunchtime smokers onto benches. They stand alone or in small knots, and I wander in and through the crowd but there is not much conversation. It is all they can manage with a full belly in the noon sun to get the cigarette up to their lips and back down to their sides, blowing smoke up into the sky to carry away the extra heat. I bum a light to excuse my intrusion and perhaps pick up a bit of conversation but all I get are grunts of assent, and a flame held at arm’s length. I puff, nod and walk on.

The last block to the river passing the humming utility substation is empty except lone vendor eyes me excitedly, waving dripping bottles of water in my face for only a dollar, coldest on Canal he promises and the last chance, he throws in. I smile back (his the only smile seen today on the street, and my reply is equally forced). No, I manage through my pleasant grimace and head up toward the place where the streetcar and Public Belt Railroad tracks both cross Canal. I stop and look both ways but there are no cars or trains in site, the empty tracks remind me that the river is no longer the city’s big business. The Aquarium across the tracks and it’s tourists are now our stock and trade, the stores where my grandmother once browsed are now Gumbo Bayou and the Hippie Gypsy.

Here on the plaza another vendor paces up and down shouting his own cold drinks, water a dollar and Powerade available, but he’s on the wrong side of the square. I walk alone into the middle of the plaza while the scattered tourists make directly for the shaded overhangs of the Aquarium where they huddle under the arcade, lining up to escape into the promise of frigid air.

I head straight for the railing along the river, hoping to find a consoling breeze there. I can see it out on the river where the wind stirs up a tiny, rippling chop amid the swirling flat water where the confused current prepares to make the hard bend at the Gov. Nicholls and Esplanade wharves before heading down through St. Bernard and Plaquemine to the Gulf. I light another cigarette and watch the wind but it stays over the main stem away from the riverfront. I pull off my hat and mop again, then start walking along the water’s edge. Usually you can smell the river but today is so hot the creosote is oozing out of the timbers that edge the dock and its aroma overpowers everything. I am alone on the promenade.

There is no traffic on the river. I crane my neck to look upstream but nothing moves. Even here where tourists often congregate it’s deadly quiet; no buskers out playing or liquor-loud knots of bead wearing young people in from the dry north. The riverboat calliope is silent. I am startled when the ferry hoots its horn, ready to cross. Usually the pigeons that swarm here for the lunch leavings would launch themselves into disturbed whorls at the sound, but they are nowhere to be seen, have found shade somewhere else. Realizing I have less sense than a pigeon, I turn and start to head back to work.

The only action is a woman who poses in front of the aminatronic dinosaur advertising an exhibit at the Audubon Zoo and starts hollering, “Help mommy! Help mommy!”. A small toddler grabs his father’s hand and starts tugging him. “Help Mommy, Daddy, help Mommy”. Then the plastic raptor lifts it’s head and let’s out a roar and he freezes even as mother squeals louder, “help me, help mommy”. Not yet two and already he’s torn, facing his first betrayal: the woman and love or his own skin. You don’t get to save a pretty girl from a dinosaur every day and if you don’t you might wind up a lonely pair of eyes, one of the solitary watchers of the world walking alone at lunch, instead of one of the heroes.

I root for innocence and heroism but I need to find the water man, coldest in town and only a dollar, before I start my march back to the office, before the wriggling lines of heat invade my head and start to spin like disturbed birds. I need to replace the bucket of sweat the day has taken out of me, and to wash out the taste of cigarette and creosote. Before I turn the corner I look back to see how things played out but the boy and his parents are gone, into the aquarium where the monsters are kept behind thick safety glass.

All The Way June 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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                I’ve had enough. I’m going to
pull myself up over the side, and get
all the way out of my mind.
From “JUST NORMAL” by Everette Maddox

Another long week at Moloch stuffing screaming debtors into the flames, and it’s time to just get fucking weird again. Just another Friday night at the Fortress of Squalitude…

Smile, my mother whisper-hissed, as I tread up the aisle many years ago..

Where Are the Snowden’s of Yesteryear? June 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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yossarian tree

“You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You’re dangerous and depraved, and you ought to be taken outside and shot!”

Odd Words June 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, literature, Louisiana, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, reading, spoken word, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

Tuesday is Bloomsday! Details below.

Joyce in New Orleans

& Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop presents Robert S. Brantley’s Henry Howard: Louisiana’s Architect. Few nineteenth-century architects ventured far from the pattern-book styles of their time. One architect not constrained by tradition was the Irish-born American Henry Howard, who started as a carpenter and stair builder in 1836 New York and arrived in New Orleans the following year, soon establishing a reputation for distinctive designs that blended American and European trends. His career gained momentum as he went on to design an extraordinarily diverse portfolio of magnificent residences and civic buildings in New Orleans and its environs. Henry Howard is a lavishly produced clothbound volume featuring hundreds of contemporary and archival images and a comprehensive analysis of his built work. The first book to examine the forty-year career of the architect, Henry Howard establishes a clear lineage of his aesthetic contributions to the urban and rural environments of the South.

& At 7 pm Thursday the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Bank Regional Library. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Saturday it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at 11:30am at Maple Street Book Shop. This week she’ll read There’s a Lion in My Cornflakes by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Jim Field. If you ever see a box of cornflakes offering a free lion, ignore it! This is the hair-raising story of two brothers who didn’t- and then ended up with a grizzly bear, a cranky old crocodile, and a huge gorilla! Now if only they could get a free tiger…

& Saturday at 4 pm the Nix Library hosts a Spoken Word Weekly Workshop for Teens. Studying the work of contemporary poets and spoken word artists, teens will focus on imagery, metaphor, narrative, and other important devices as they create their own written work. The workshop is led by Sam Gordon, a spoken word artist and educator based in New Orleans.

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features Poet/songwriter, Mike True performs his work, followed by an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

& Tuesday June 16 is Bloomsday, the day in 1904 on which James Joyce’s Ulysses takes place. Bloomsday in New Orleans will be observed upstairs at The Irish House from 6-8 p.m. Reading from the celebrated novel will include featured readers Brian Boyles, Yuri Herrera, Mwende “Freequency” Katwiwa, Benjamin Morris, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, and Katy Simpson Smith. Members of the public will be invited to join in and read brief passages of their own selection from the work.

& The East Jefferson Great Books Discussion Group will discuss Sanctuary by William Faulkner at 7 pm. Psychologically astute and wonderfully poetic, Sanctuary is a powerful novel examining the nature of true evil, through the prisms of mythology, local lore, and hard-boiled detective fiction. This is the dark, at times brutal, story of the kidnapping of Mississippi debutante Temple Drake, who introduces her own form of venality into the Memphis underworld where she is being held.

& Wednesday at 6:30 pm the Latter Library hosts an Author Night: Historic New Orleans Cemeteries, featuring Dr. Ryan Gray, University of New Orleans faculty member, sharing his research on our local graveyards.

& Wednesday at 8 pm the Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater continues their month of poetry in June with readings by Russel Swensen and Nikki Wallschlaeger. Wallschlaeger is the author of two chapbooks, Head Theatre (2007) which etched itself out of her palms unexpectedly & “I Would Be The Happiest Bird” (2014). Her hands continue to talk, which is why she writes. Publications include Esque, Nervehouse, Coconut Poetry, Word Riot, Pirene’s Fountain, Burdock, Spork, DecomP, Shirt Pocket Press, Horse Less Press and others. Her book “Houses” was just released by Horse Less Press. She is currently working on her first full-length manuscript of poems called Crawlspace. She is also the Assistant Poetry Editor at Coconut Poetry. She lives in Milwaukee with her spouse and son.Swensen earned his MFA in fiction from the California Institute of the Arts and his doctorate in poetry from the University of Houston. His poetry chapbook, Santa Ana, was the winner of the Spring 2011 Black River Chapbook Contest. His full length collection, The Magic Kingdom, will be released by Black Lawrence Press (January 2016). His work has appeared in Black Clock, Pank, Quarterly West, Prick of the Spindle, The Collagist, and elsewhere.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

Odd Words June 4, 2015

Posted by The Typist in authors, Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, library, literature, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, signings, Toulouse Street.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Room 220 is pleased to present a Happy Hour Salon celebrating two excellent New Orleans music books: Spirit of the Orisha by Janet “Sula Spirit” Evans and Talk that Music Talk edited by Rachel Breunlin and Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes. The event, featuring readings, discussion, translation, and live music, will take place from 6 – 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 4, at the Press Street HQ (3718 St. Claude Ave.). Spirit of the Orisha is a book-music combination meant as a teaching tool to connect new generations with traditional Orisha music. It features a selection of song lyrics compiled and annotated by Janent “Sula Spirit” Evans, translated into English by Omoba Adéwálé Adénlé. The book’s accompanying two-CD album features performances of the songs by the Zion Trinity, of which Evans is a member. Talk That Music Talk: Passing On Brass Band Music in New Orleans the Traditional Way is the latest major offering from the wonderful Neighborhood Story Project. Editors Rachel Breunlin and Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes spent years compiling oral histories, photographs, and documents that tell the story of how brass music in New Orleans has remained alive and thriving for more than a century. Breunlin is co-director of the Neighborhood Story Project and Barnes is a veteran park ranger at New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park

&Thursday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Bill Hancock and Riding With The Blue Moth. After the death of his son, Will, in the 2001 airplane crash that took the lives of nine additional members of the Oklahoma State basketball team and support staff, survival became a common word in Bill Hancock’s vocabulary. Bicycling was simply the method by which he chose to distract himself from his grief. But for Hancock, the 2,747-mile journey from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast became more than just a distraction. It became a pilgrimage, even if Hancock didn’t realize it upon dipping his rear tire in the Pacific Ocean near Huntington Beach, California in the wee hours of a July morning. On his two-wheel trip, Hancock battled searing heat and humidity, curious dogs, unforgiving motorists and the occasional speed bump-usually a dead armadillo. Hancock’s thoughts returned to common themes: memories of his son Will, the prospect of life without Will for him and his wife, and the blue moth of grief and depression. That pesky moth fluttered around Hancock as if he was a beaming lamp pole in an empty parking lot.

& Also at 6 pm The East Jefferson Writer’s Group meets at the East Bank Regional Library. the group is a critique group for serious fiction writers of all levels who want to improve their story development skills. This group focuses on discussing story development and writing elements and applying critiquing skills in romance, adventure, mystery, literature (but not genres of SciFi, Fantasy, Horror of the alternate Thursday Sci-FI Writers). Short stories, novels, screenplays, plays, comics are accepted; however, non-fiction, such as poetry, biography, autobiography, essays, or magazine articles is not. Free and open to the public. No registration.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336

& Saturday it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at 11:30am at Maple Street Book Shop. This week she’ll read William & the Missing Masterpiece by Helen Hancocks. Debonair cat-detective William finds himself at the center of a mysterious theft when the Mona Cheesa is stolen from a Parisian gallery. Can William put the clues together and solve the crime? Fans of Helen Hancocks’s Penguin in Peril won’t be disappointed in this hilarious tale of cat and mouse.

& Saturday at 2 pm the Poetry Buffet serves up its monthly reading at the Latter Memorial Library. This month features poets Ralph Adamo, Carolyn Hembree, Brad Richard and Mark Statman reading from their work.

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an Open Mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

& Tuesday at 5 pm Crescent City Books will be home to a poetry reading hosted by Thaddeus Conti featuring noted local poets Megan Burns, Joseph Bienvenu, Nancy Dixon, Bill Lavender.

& At 6 pm Tuesday the West Bank Writers Group meets at The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& Tuesday at 7 pm “TEATRO SIN FRONTERAS” is a community arts initiative of the “ALIENS Taco Truck Theater Project” supported with funds from Alternate ROOTS’ Partners in Action Program. José Torres-Tama & ArteFuturo Productions in partnership with Puentes LatiNola have launched a series of 7 “Movable Feasts” and “Theater Without Borders” events to engage the community at large, and gather around food, theater, & music for sharing of stories & ideas to celebrate the contributions of LATINAS/LATINOS to the post-Katrina REBIRTH of LA NUEVA ORLEANS for the 10th Anniversary of the storm. Featured artists at this event are Featured Artists: Veronica Isabel Giraldo-Puente, poet/performer, Antonio Garza writer & performer, Ecos Latinos & Carlos Valladares short films, and Margie Perez & Guitarist performing original songs.

& Wednesday at 8 pm the Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater continues their month of poetry in June with readings by Joseph Bienvenu & James Blanchard. Bienvenu is the author of Atom Parlor (BlazeVOX 2010), Cocktail Poems (Hobby Horse, 2011), and Pool Hall Quartet (Verna Press, 2008). His translation of the poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus was published by Dialogos (2013). Joseph is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, where he lives and teaches Latin and English at a local high school. He received his B.A. in Classics from Loyola University of Chicago and his M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Blanchard is a writer, spoken-word artist, poet, bartender residing in Lafayette, Louisiana.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) May 31, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The End, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointness, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Out of my brain on the five fifteen.
— “5:15″, Quadraphenia

Train songs for the cigarette apocalypse, at the hour of the conjunction of the Third Klonopin and the Second Beer, your jittery teeth the tight shot  black-and-white of the piston and the driving wheels.

Love & Loathing May 30, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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La Dolce Vita 7

“The day that you understand you love Marcello more than he does, you’ll be happy.”
— Steiner, La Dolce Vita

Fallin’ Ditch May 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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When I get lonesome the wind begin t’ moan
When I trip fallin’ ditch
Somebody wanna’ throw the dirt right down
When I feel like dyin’ the sun come out
‘n stole m’ fear ‘n gone
Who’s afraid of the spirit with the bluesferbones
Who’s afraid of the fallin’ ditch
Fallin’ ditch ain’t gonna get my bones
How’s that for the spirit
How’s that for the things
Ain’t my fault the thing’s gone wrong
‘n when I’m smilin’ my face wrinkles up real warm
‘n when um frownin’ things just turn t’ stone
Fallin’ ditch ain’t gonna get my bones
‘n when I get lonesome the wind begin t’ moan
Fallin’ ditch ain’t gonna get my bone
— Don Van Vliet

Hey, Mister May 22, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointness, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Another week booked and billed, another chapter lived but unwritten, another beer opened on Eastern Time and I want a fucking cigarette. How else, then, smoke rings?

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

— Bob Dylan, “Mr. Tamborine Man”

This completely unnecessary attribution is dedicated to the handful of patient professors–Gery, Marti, Hazlett–who tolerated (just) my rambling sentences of intricate internal logic unbound from the shackles of Latin and Aristotle, and my irregular conjugations of the MLA handbook, which was no larger than Strunk and White when I started out on that road. Why does English in any usage or situation adhere to something like the MLA? Rules? In a knife fight?

Odd Words May 21, 2015

Posted by The Typist in authors, Biography, Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, library, literature, memoir, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Poetry, publishing, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Writing Workshops.
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This coming, quiet week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 7 pm the Nix Branch of the New Orleans Public Library hosts An Evening with Performance Artist & Poet José Torres-Tama. Immigrant Dreams and Alien Nightmares is a debut collection that documents twenty-five years of José Torrest-Tama’s poetry in his unique bilingual voice.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336

& Saturday at Maple Street Book Shop from 11:30 AM to 1PM features Berthe Amoss, author of the new book Mischief and Malice. Set in New Orleans on the eve of World War II, Mischief and Malice is a brand new work from an iconic figure in young adult literature. Following the death of her Aunt Eveline, fourteen-year old Addie-who we first met in Berthe Amoss’s classic Secret Lives-is now living with her Aunt Toosie, Uncle Henry, and her longtime rival cousin, Sandra Lee. A new family has just moved into Addie’s former house, including a young girl who is just Addie’s age. Meanwhile, Louis, the father of Tom, Addie’s lifelong neighbor and best friend, suddenly returns after having disappeared when Tom was a baby. Between school dances, organizing a Christmas play, fretting about her hair, and a blossoming romance with Tom, Addie stumbles upon a mystery buried in the Great Catch All, an ancient giant armoire filled with heirlooms of her family’s past, which holds a devastating secret that could destroy Louis and Tom’s lives. Once again, Berthe Amoss has created an indelible portrait of a young girl coming of age in prewar New Orleans.

& Saturday at Tubby and Coo’s Book Shop frojm 2:30 – 4:30 PM local poets and writers from the MelaNated Writers Collective, the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance, and UNO perform.

& At 1 pm Sunday Garden District Book Shops hosts Dr. Leong Ying and his book From Newton, Einstein, to GOD., Dr. Ying’s family memoir written uniquely in rhyming poetic verses following his history in six chronological parts from his birth in 1961 up to 2012. The book will have readers laughing at his antics when childhood pranks were his specialty in his birthplace of Singapore, and feeling compassion toward his challenges as the only non-white student in Liverpool (UK) where his family emigrated and his struggles with dyslexia and the language-barriers but excelling in numbers and evolving into his groundbreaking scientific research. But it is his writing and scientific research that takes center stage in Dr. Ying’s life, mostly focusing on his exploration of the Twin Universe theory, which combines science and religion to prove the existence of God and answer many of the formerly unknown answers about the world such as Dark Matter and Dark Energy. He developed the Universal Laws of Thermodynamics to prove God’s existence in 2002.

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features an Open Mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

& Monday is Memorial Day. All regional libraries will be closed.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop Amy Conner discusses and signs her book, Million Dollar Road Eighteen-year-old Lireinne Hooten has always been on the lowest rung of the ladder. Abandoned by her mother, Lireinne lives with her stepfather in an old trailer on Million Dollar Road. Every day she walks the long mile, through a canopy of live oaks, to her job at the world’s largest alligator farm. Shy and overweight in high school, Lireinne has become lean and resilient from months of hosing out the huge cement barns. And just like Snowball—the enormous, all-white alligator she feeds illicit treats every day—she’s hungry to be free. Lireinne’s boss, Con Costello, is powerful, attractive, and used to getting exactly what he desires. Now that he’s noticed Lireinne’s haunting beauty, he wants her too. But unlike Con’s needy second wife, Lizzie, or Emma, his still heartbroken ex, Lireinne isn’t interested. Undeterred, Con’s growing obsession will upend all their lives—compelling Lizzie to confront the hard truth about her marriage, pushing Emma past her self-imposed isolation and back into the world. And for Lireinne, it will lead to an unexpected chance to redefine herself, far away from her past and from Million Dollar Road.
Amy Conner discusses and signs her book, Million Dollar Road.

& Tuesday at 7 pm the Westbank Fiction Writers’ Group meets at the Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego. Writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& At 7 pm Wednesday Science Fiction and Fantasy Club meets at the Old Metairie Library. This month’s discussion will be on the book, Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber.

& At 8 pm Wednesday Blood Jet Poetry Series at BJ’s in the Bywater welcomes poets Clare Harmon and Charles Garrett followed by an open mic in the poetry living room. Harmon trained and worked as a classical musician. In the fall of 2012 she wrote her first poem and it’s been a delighting hell ever since. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and her poems have appeared in Quaint and PANK Magazines. Her first book, The Thingbody: A Hybrid Verse Memoir, Sounding & Illuminated, is available from Instar Books. Garrett, has published no books; has no published collections for you to buy or pretend to care about. He has no stake in making you like him or his words, but you will undoubtedly love his voice. He loves cooking for his son, and learning the extremes of his own tolerance. He is not a “teaching artist” nor a professional one, but will gladly talk and share with anyone, willing to listen. He believes poetry is in the way we bleed, not how much we do so.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& ! Coming Up… June 16 in Bloomsday in NOLA, from 6-8 pm at The Irish House Pub and Restaurant. Mark your calender for this annual public reading from James Joyce monumental work Ulysses, which takes place over the course of a single day-June 16–in Dublin . Time to start your annual, biennial (our choice), quinquennial or maybe your first time tackling this amazing work. If you are this far down the list, you know it is on your To Do list. Follow the link under the title above, and let Indie Bound find you a copy now!

‽ A confession… Toulouse Street, and the blog Wet Bank Guide before it, became an affiliate of The Evil A long before Odd Words started. In coming up on ten years of blogging with Evil A Affiliate Links I have referred many readers, but not earned a penny. So goes the The Evile A. The link above to Ulysses will take you to Indie Bound. All book links in the future will take you to the Indie Bound site for the book, which features a helpful search box for your closest Indie Book Store.

You’re Only Coming Through In Wave 1 Release May 15, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, Moloch, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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This week has been more fun than pulling cactus spines out of your hide, but not as much fun as falling drukenly into the cactus. I am listening to the solo works of Syd Barrett VERY LOUD while sipping a beer as I finish up work. There is an unopened bottle of the sugar skull tequila, intended initially as decorative, staring at me suggestively (cut that out!) from the mantle.

This is certain to end well.

The madcap laughed at the man on the border
Hey ho, huff the talbot
The winds they blew and the leaves did wag
And they’ll never put me in their bag
The seas will reach and always see
So high you go, so low you creep
The winds it blows in tropical heat
The drones they throng on mossy seats
The squeaking door will always creep
Two up, two down we’ll never meet
So merrily trip for good my side
Please leave us here
Close our eyes to the octopus ride!

Odd Words May 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in authors, Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, literature, New Orleans, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street, Writing.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& At 6 pm Thursday Garden District Book Shop presents Patty Friedmann’s Do Not Open for 50 Years. The world turns upside down when Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, blasting apart three generations of women in the final installment of the The Cooper Family Saga. Darby Cooper, the daughter of Bernie and Letty whom we met in Too Jewish and came of age with in Too Jewish: The Next Generation, has become a bestselling New Orleans author, drawing on the tragedy of her father’s life.

& At 7 pm the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at th East Jefferson Regional Library. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public.

& This and every Thursdays call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel and they will read you a poem 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336

& Friday the Freedom Writing for Women of Color group meets at a movable location from 7 pm to 10 p.m. Contact poetryprocess@gmail.com for more information.

& Get ready to be Infused and join Octavia Books for a Saturday morning at the Crescent City Farmers Market featuring Annelies Zijderveld signing and giving samples from her new cookbook, STEEPED: Recipes Infused with Tea, bringing the flavors and fragrances of tea to the table in 70 freshly brewed recipes. Get your oolong on! From morning eats to evening sweets, Steeped infuses your day with the flavors and fragrances of tea. Romance your oat porridge with rooibos, jazz up your brussel sprouts with jasmine, charge your horchata with masala chai! Annelies Zijderveld’s deliciously inventive tea-steeped recipes include: Matcha Chia Pudding Parfaits, Earl Grey Soba Noodle Salad, Green Tea Coconut Rice, Chamomile Buttermilk Pudding with Caramelized Banana, and Earl Grey Poached Pears with Masala Chai Caramel Sauce.

& Saturday at 10 am The Monthly Meeting of the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America occurs at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The meeting features guest speakers who discuss all aspects of writing, editing and publishing. Topics frequently explore topics other than romance writing though they focus on subjects that make writers better at their craft.

& Saturday it’s Story Time with Miss Maureen at 11:30am at Maple Street Book Shop. This week she’ll read The Dullards by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. Meet the Dullards is a clever and irreverent picture book about a comically boring family, from bestselling author Sara Pennypacker and illustrator Daniel Salmieri. Their home is boring. Their food is plain. Their lives are monotonous. And Mr. and Mrs. Dullard like it that way. But their children—Blanda, Borely, and Little Dud—have other ideas. Never has dullness been so hilarious than in this deadpan, subversive tale.

& Saturday from 11am – 1pm Deborah Burst signs copies of her books Louisiana’s Sacred Places and The Hallowed Halls of Greater New Orleans. The first blurs the lines between the sacred and the profane. Author Deborah Burst combines her love for art, history and architecture into a poetic trail of churches, cemeteries and Voodoo ceremonies. Explore Louisiana’s most solemn and revered locales. From New Orleans’ most telling portraits of eternal architecture to St. Roch Chapel’s chamber of miracles with relics of pain and suffering. Burst brings readers inside Voodoo ceremonies with vivid photography and a detailed history on the religion. Moving north along the cypress bayous learn the mysteries of the Creole tradition in lighting the graves on All Saints Day. Follow the trail west along the muddy Mississippi where country chapels whisper tales of survival against the river’s mighty floods. Inside the Feliciana Parishes, nineteenth-century

& At 2 pm at Octavia Books Margret Aldrich presents and signs THE LITTLE FREE LIBRARY BOOK. In 2009, Todd Bol built the first Little Free Library as a memorial to his mom. Five years later, this simple idea to promote literacy and encourage community has become a movement. Little Free Libraries—freestanding front-yard book exchanges—now number twenty thousand in seventy countries. The Little Free Library Book tells the history of these charming libraries, gathers quirky and poignant firsthand stories from owners, provides a resource guide for how to best use your Little Free Library, and delights readers with color images of the most creative and inspired LFLs around.

& Please join us at Pistil & Stamen Flower Farm (1900 St. Claude) on Saturday, May 16th at 7 pm for a “GAY/GARDENS”-themed book release party in honor of Jenn Marie Nunes’ AND/OR, winner of the the inaugural Queer Voices Contest from Switchback Books. We will have flower-themed cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, copies of AND/OR for sale, and readings by Jenn Marie Nunes, Anne Marie Rooney, Megan McHugh, and Kristin Sanders. Please note that the rain location is Baskerville

& Sunday at 2 pm visit Octavia Books for a Sunday afternoon reading & signing with Megan Braden-Perry (author) and Lyn Brantly Vicknair (illustrator) celebrating the launch of their very cute debut children’s picture book, ALLEN THE ALLIGATOR COUNTS THROUGH NEW ORLEANS. “One alligator named Allen, wearing a silver medallion, boarded the Elysian Fields bus. He greeted the driver, paid his fare and spotted his good pal Gus.” What follows is a day full of fun and adventure, from eating classic New Orleans cuisine to stopping bullies and touring a police station.

& Sunday at 2 pm Garden District Book Shop features Eleni N. Gage’s The Ladies of Managua. When Maria Vazquez returns to Nicaragua for her beloved grandfather’s funeral, she brings with her a mysterious package from her grandmother’s past-and a secret of her own. And she also carries the burden of her tense relationship with her mother Ninexin, once a storied revolutionary, now a tireless government employee. As Ninexin tries to reach her daughter, and Maria wrestles with her expectations for her romance with an older man, Isabela, the mourning widow, is lost in memories of attending boarding school in 1950’s New Orleans, where she loved and lost almost sixty years ago. When the three women come together to bid farewell to the man who anchored their family, they are forced to confront their complicated, passionate relationships with each other and with their country-and to reveal the secrets that each of them have worked to conceal.

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features poet James Robinson will read from his new chapbook, The Caterpillars at Saint Bernard from Mule on a Ferris Wheel Press. The Maple Leaf Reading Series is the oldest continuous reading in the south (making an allowance for Katrina), and was founded by noted and beloved local poet Everette Maddox.

& The New Orleans Haiku Society shares Haiku on the third Monday of every month at the Latter Branch Library, 5120 St. Charles Ave., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All are invited to attend. For more information call 596-2625.

& Tuesday at 6 pm Garden District Book Shop hosts Amy Conner and Million Dollar Road. Eighteen-year-old Lireinne Hooten has always been on the lowest rung of the ladder. Abandoned by her mother, Lireinne lives with her stepfather in an old trailer on Million Dollar Road. Every day she walks the long mile, through a canopy of live oaks, to her job at the world’s largest alligator farm. Shy and overweight in high school, Lireinne has become lean and resilient from months of hosing out the huge cement barns. And just like Snowball—the enormous, all-white alligator she feeds illicit treats every day—she’s hungry to be free.
Lireinne’s boss, Con Costello, is powerful, attractive, and used to getting exactly what he desires. Now that he’s noticed Lireinne’s haunting beauty, he wants her too. But unlike Con’s needy second wife, Lizzie, or Emma, his still heartbroken ex, Lireinne isn’t interested. Undeterred, Con’s growing obsession will upend all their lives—compelling Lizzie to confront the hard truth about her marriage, pushing Emma past her self-imposed isolation and back into the world. And for Lireinne, it will lead to an unexpected chance to redefine herself, far away from her past and from Million Dollar Road.

& Tuesday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library Great Books Discussion Group chat about “Catcher in the Rye”. Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with “cynical adolescent.” Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he’s been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists.

& Wednesday Jenn Marie Nunes and Kia Alice Groom read at Blood Jet Poetry at BJ’s Lounge at 8 pm. Nunes is the author of five chapbooks, including HYMN: An Ovulution, a collaboration with poet Mel Coyle, from Bloof Books. She lives in New Orleans where she co-edits TENDE RLOIN, an online gallery for poetry, and performs as [Bi]Nary with the New Orleans Poetry Brothel.Her first full-length collection, AND/OR, selected by Dawn Lundy Martin as winner of the Queer Voices Award, was just released from Switchback Books. Groom is a writer, poet and professional cagreenhairt lady from Perth, Western Australia. She currently resides in the United States, where she is an MFA candidate at the University of New Orleans, Louisiana. She graduated from Edith Cowan University in 2011 with a First Class Honours in Poetry. She enjoys writing about the intersection between the grotesque and girly, and can often be found asleep, or covered in glitter.

& Wednesday will be Esoterotica’s Debaucherous Duets third year, and that means you get to see your favorite local provocateurs do it again, together, on stage. Yes, that’s right, Wednesday, May 20th, it’s an evening showcasing entirely collaborative and group erotica. Of you are curious (in any color) this is art not smut, and an Odd Words recommended event.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

Do you remember the future, Dr. Memory? May 13, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointness, The Typist, Toulouse Street, WTF.
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I’m sorry, Clem, but you’re making The Doctor unhappy happy.

wavy-gravy-header

Someone get the lizards out of my guacamole May 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointness, The Typist, Toulouse Street, WTF.
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11:30 No, it’s actually 10:21 Central River Time but I put my last task entry in about 20 minutes ago and logged off, and that was today’s total. Now I’m sitting here wondering if I can make it to the Sketchy Store for cigarettes before two mood stabilizing agents, two melatonin, valerian and various hippy weed caplets and this Negra Modelo kick in. I think I had another hour in me but the fucking lizards would not stay out of the guacamole, and I had to stop and do something about that.

So instead its Visions of Johanna (the ghosts of electricity crawl through the bones of her face), a fine late night song when you’re out of guacamole and you don’t care for lizard canapes. This could quite possibly flow into Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, at a moderate volume playing in the next room, a much younger man than either Dylan or I am serenading me across the decades slowly into Mirtazipine-enhanced dreams of a badly synced technicolor convergence trembling at the edge of coherence in the mildly psychedelic shades of South Pacific.

Did they mean the film to look like that, or are the psilocybin tints a fortuitous accident like that transcendental fuzz on an overloaded mix channel in the guitar part of the Kink’s See My Friends?

Some things are just meant to happen. Escher falls up and grasps a railing that accidentally yanks everything back into a rational perspective. Tomorrow will bring its own set of incidents in search of coherence, and once again I will go dredging through the barrage of emails and the contentious spreadsheets, navigating the meetings alternatively panicked and authoritarian, until I drive the last nail into the finely crafted coffin of another day.

Monday May 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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half done and I am waning fast. Still night meetings to go. By Woden’s Day I should be hanging upside down by the ankle from a nearby tree. Eye gouging optional.

Freya, Lady of the Vanir,
come swiftly to our aid
and we shall hail You,
always.

Handbill art by K Switzer  for the play CRAVE for The Catastrophic Theater, found as I cleaned out old papers

Handbill art by K Switzer for the play CRAVE for The Catastrophic Theater, found as I cleaned out old papers

HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME May 8, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Moloch, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, WTF.
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New Orleans: 4:39 pm
New York: 5:39 pm
Poland: 11:39 pm
Malaysia: 5:42 pm
India: 3:12 am

Monday 6 am: 61:14…61:13…61:12…..

Odd Words May 6, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, library, literature, New Orleans, novel, Odd Words, Poetry, Toulouse Street, Writing, Writing Workshops.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

& Thursday at 6 pm Crescent City Books hosts a reading by poets John Amen, Brett Evans, Jenn Marie Nunes, and Christopher Shipman read from new books. Bio details for Amen and Shipman are below on Sunday’s Maple Leaf listing.

& Also at 6 pm Thursday Garden District Book Shop features Christophe Pourny’s The Furniture Bible, Booksigning & Demonstration. Pourny learned the art of furniture restoration in his father’s atelier in the South of France. In this, his first book, he teaches readers everything they need to know about the provenance and history of furniture, as well as how to restore, update, and care for their furniture—from antiques to midcentury pieces, family heirlooms or funky flea-market finds. The heart of the book is an overview of Pourny’s favorite techniques—ceruse,vernis anglais,and water gilding, among many others—with full-color step-by-step photographs to ensure that readers can easily replicate each refinishing technique at home. Pourny brings these techniques to life with a chapter devoted to real-world refinishing projects, from a veneered table to an ebonized desk, a gilt frame to a painted northern European hutch.

& At Octavia Books Thursday at 6 pm the shop features a presentation & signing with Matt McCarthy featuring his new book, THE REAL DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU SHORTLY: A Physician’s First Year. “It’s just you and me tonight…and eighteen of the sickest patients in the hospital,” medical intern Matt McCarthy’s second-year resident adviser told him on his first night as a physician at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. “These patients should all be dead. Almost every one of them is kept alive by an artificial method. And every day they’re going to try to die on us. But we’re going to keep them alive.” For McCarthy, this task was sobering. Just two weeks out of Harvard Medical School and with only a few days of medicine under his belt, he could recite pages from a journal article on kidney chemistry and coagulation cascades, easy, but he hadn’t yet been schooled in the practical business of keeping someone from dying. How do you learn how to save lives in a job where there is no practice?

Jimmy Ross

Jimmy Ross

& Thursday at 7 pm poet Jenna Mae has organized a 30th Birthday Party for Jimmy Ross’ Dreadlocks! Jimmy is a poet, playwright, actor and raconteur extraordinaire and the most beloved and colorful figure in New Orleans’ contemporary literary world. You won’t want to miss this.

& Also at 7 pm Thursday the Alvar Branch of the New Orleans Public Library will host an author event featuring illustrator, Mon, and writer, Jinks, will discuss their project of creating an abridged and illustrated adaptation of Silivia Federici’s text, Caliban and the Witch. This book offers a history of the body in the transition to capitalism.

& Friday the Freedom Writing for Women of Color group meets at a movable location from 7 pm to 10 p.m. Contact poetryprocess@gmail.com for more information.

& New Orleans will celebrate Independent Book Store Day this Saturday (delayed a week by Jazz Fest because that’s just how we roll down here. Activities in New Orleans will take place at three independent stores across the city: Tubby & Coo’s, Garden District Book Shop, and Octavia Books. The three stores have joined together to give away a limited number of Blackbird Letter Press New Orleans City Notebooks (printed in Louisiana) to customers who purchase a limited edition IBD book or item or who spend $25 or more on May 9th.

Store-by-store highlights include:

  • At Octavia Books in the morning, there will be coffee and Rebecca’s famous carrot cake chip cookies, brownies and a blueberry coffee cake to go along with a discussion of The Golem and the Jinni by the Science Fiction Book Club. In the afternoon, New Orleans piano man Armand St. Martin gives a solo performance, and we’ll have special author visits by Irvin Mayfield presenting NEW ORLEANS PLAYHOUSE, Carrie Rollwagen discussing THE LOCALIST, and Sarah J. Maas reading A COURT OF THORNS & ROSES. We are also featuring some exclusive literary-themed art and gift items you will want to have to remember this special day.
  • Maple Street Book Shop will celebrate Children’s Book Week Saturday with a party with children’s authors Kenny Harrison , Marti Dumas, and Alex McConduit who will be reading and signing, 11:30-1PM. At 1:30PM, Big Class students will read from their work.
  • Tubby & Coo’s will have Taylor Made Wings on the Geaux food truck, giveaways, exclusive items, and fun activities going on all day, including: a Celebrity Death Match style write-off between local authors for charity; authors reading bad reviews of their books; on the spot personalized poems from local poets; story time for the kids; and, exclusive items available only on IBD, including a Finders Keepers broadside from Stephen King and a signed Hyperbole and a Half broadside.
  • Garden District Books hosts David Eugene Ray and The Little Mouse Santi at 1 pm. Meet the little mouse Santi—he may be small, but he has a big dream! This beautifully illustrated story explores one of the most important aspects of a child’s life, the search for identity. Santi wants to be a cat, and even though all the other mice laugh at him, he follows his dream. This timeless story ends with a whimsical twist as Santi learns a valuable lesson about self-determination while also learning he is not the only dreamer

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features poets Chris Shipman and John Amen will read from newly published books. Amen is the author of four collections of poetry: Christening the Dancer, More of Me Disappears, At the Threshold of Alchemy, and The New Arcana (with Daniel Y. Harris). His next collection, strange theater, will be released by New York Quarterly Press in early 2015. Shipman is the author or co-author of five books and three chapbooks, most recently a book of poems co-authored with Vincent Cellucci, A Ship on the Line (Unlikely Books 2014), Cat Poems: Wompus Tales and Play of Despair (forthcoming from Kattywompus Press), and a book of poems co-authored with Brett Evans, The T. Rex Parade (Lavender Ink, 2015). The Maple Leaf Reading Series, founded by poet Everette Maddox, is the oldest continuous poetry reading series in the south.

& Tuesday at 6 pm the Hubbel Branch of the NOPL in Algiers hosts an author event featuring a discussion of Jyl Benson’s Fun, Funky and Fabulous: New Orleans Casual Restaurant Recipes and Kit Wohl’s New Orleans Classic Creole Recipes.

& Also on Tuesday at 7 pm the West Bank Writers Groups meets at The Edith S. Lawson Library in Westwego, featuring writing exercises or discussions of points of fiction and/or critique sessions of members’ submissions. Meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Moderator: Gary Bourgeois. Held in the meeting Room.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

Bunker 3036 May 6, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, FYYFF, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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            I can hold out for ten minutes
With my sergeant and a machine-gun.
            And they rebuked him for levity.

— E.P., Canto XVI

you May 5, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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You Are Beautiful

Fortin Street Stage April 30, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Jazz Fest, je me souviens, Memory, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Odd, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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by the time I stop drinking and start thinking about sleep
by the time we’ve eaten the last of next-door jimmy’s hot meat
by the time my feet have shuffled their last hussle
on the public blacktop ballroom of Fortin Street
and the hustle has all gone downtown to Bourbon
and the bustle has all gone downtown to Frenchman
and the last of the one-song, school-kid bands
and the last of the weary ice-cold water men
have carried themselves home weary to the bone
and one sad bicycle hangs abandoned on the fence
and the can picking man passes on his sad, last round
i will stand on Fortin Street and glisten to the sound
the last frantic arpeggios vibrating in the silence
attenuated into memory, a faint flow of the distant glory
like the milky way backdrop to the asterism’s story–
then, yes, then and only then will I go to bed
with tempered brass angels at foot and at head

Odd Words April 30, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Book Stores, book-signing, books, bookstores, Indie Book Shops, library, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street.
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This coming week in literary New Orleans:

Through this weekend the New Orleans chapter of the Gulf South Booksellers Association will run the Jazz Fest Book Tent. Proceeds go to literary programs supported by this group, so buy a book. Do you really need another rayon shirt you’re a little embarrassed–as a local–to wear?

& Jazz Tent Book Signings Week Two of Jazz Fest.

  • Thursday:
    Bill Loehfelm, 1, 1-2PM, Doing The Devil’s Work; Leif Pederson, 2-3PM, Adventures of Swamp Kids – A Zoo Ta-Do; Richard Campanella, 3-4PM, Lost New Orleans.
  • Friday:
    Bernie Cook, 1-2PM, Flood of Images; Guy Lyman, III, 3-4PM, A Big Easy Childhood; Dennis McNally, 4-5PM, On Hwy 61: Race, Music and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom.
  • Saturday:
    M. O. Walsh, 12-1PM, My Sunshine Away; Cornell Landry, 1-2PM, Good Night Cajun Land; Michael Pitre, 2-3PM, Fives and Twenty-Fives; Troy Andrews & Brian Collier, 3-4PM,Trombone Shorty.
  • Sunday:
    Brian Boyles, 1-2PM; New Orleans: Boom and Black Out; Johnette Downing, 2-3PM, Fifolet.

& Thursday nights, call the New Orleans Poetry Brothel TONIGHT & they’ll read you a poem! 8pm-Midnight CST. 504-264-1336.

& Thursday at 7 pm the SciFi, Fantasy and Horror Writer’s Group meets at the East Jefferson Regional Library. The purpose of the group is to encourage local writers to create works of fiction based on science fiction, fantasy and horror themes. Participants submit manuscripts to be critiqued by others in the group. Open to all levels. Free of charge and open to the public. No registration.

& Friday the FREEDOM WRITING for WOMEN OF COLOR (NEW ORLEANS) group meets at a movable location from 7 pm to 10 p.m. Contact poetryprocess@gmail.com for more information.

& Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm it’s that time of year again: Free Comic Book Dake. Stop by Crescent City Comics, 4916 Freret St., for free comics (www.freecomicbookday.com/Home/1/1/27/981) and a to-be-decided-later sale

& Sunday from 2-5 pm come out and celebrate the work of those who graduated from the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop in Summer and Fall of 2014, and Spring of 2015. Everyone and your mother is invited (particularly your mother)! At the reading, thesis committee directors often introduce the readers with what is usually a heart-warming and/or hilarious spiel. You don’t want to miss this. Then we will all have the pleasure of hearing readers share parts of their thesis for about 10 minutes each. Readers include: Tad Bartlett, Dana Glass, Dawkter Marvelous, Brendan Frost, Cynthia Davidson, Andrea Panzeca, Ross Peter Nelson, Zil Nagoh, Roxy Seay, Kia Alice Groom, Christian Coleman, Benjamin Sines, and Eirc Mac Dillman. The reading will take place in Kirschman Hall Auditorium (room 122), on the UNO campus at 2000 Lakeshore Drive. Come for the reading, and then consider heading over to our celebration banquet where food and drinks will be provided for a cover charge of $25 (please note: the reading itself is free).

& This Sunday at 3 pm The Maple Leaf Reading Series features poet Trevor Tingle will give a farewell reading before leaving New Orleans, followed by an open mic. The Maple Leaf Reading Series, founded by poet Everette Maddox, is the oldest continuous poetry reading series in the south.

& Sunday at 4 pm in Baton Rouge it’s the annual LSU MFA Third Year Reading. Baton Rouge Gallery – center for contemporary art, 1515 Dalrymple Dr, Baton Rouge.

& Tuesday at 7 pm the East Jefferson Regional Library hosts an Author Event featuring The Darkness Survives by Sally Michelle Jackson. Hank Heilsing and his new bride had really planned this honeymoon to New Orleans as a duo but soon after their arrival a few ‘incidents’ require that the whole team assemble in the Crescent city. While New Orleans is a tourist mecca with swamp tours being considered to be great fun, it takes on a different feel when you are touring on foot through a restricted area battling with a deranged adversary, his henchmen and a swamp creature or two.

& If you missed Sunday’s graduation bash, Wednesday at 7:30pm New Orleans Professor Carolyn Hembree’s UNO MFA poets will read at the Bayou Beer Garden.

& Wednesday night from 8-9 pm, come drink some coffee and make your voice heard at the Neutral Ground Poetry Hour, 5110 Danneel Street.

& Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop presents Reading Between the Wines featuring e K.L. Owens, Jade Hurter and Maurice Ruffins, at Pearl Wine Co. inside of the American Can Company from 7:00-8:00 pm/

Why The Fuck Are We Not All In Lafayette? April 24, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, FYYFF, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, WTF.
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My tax refund (first in years, and a nice one) has come, and I say: fuck it, and start looking at the cubes. The Jazz Tent. Congo Square. Where are the big names in Jazz that tour the rest of the country and never come here? I love Terrence Blanchard and he’s New Orleans to the bone but couldn’t we book just one, big name, never gonna see them hear otherwise act? And Congo Square? Where is the Afro-World music? Mannie Fresh and Big Freeda and Kermit and What. The Fuck. Why am I not in Lafayette where the real festival is? The price of the ticket is nothing. But I can’t find a day I wouldn’t be going in just to eat. The Blues Tent looks the best and well, folks, I’m listening to it now. It’s right across the fucking street. Elton John and The Who and all I can think of is that British tabloid with the pictures of Jagger and Richards with the Night of the Living Dead headline. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga? OK, I think Tony’s desire to do duets with pop stars has finally jumped the intergalactic warp-powered mothershark. Phone 042415 001

Just: Fuck you New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival​. Fortin Street is still the best place to be, here at the Fortin Street Stage VIP Seating Area (King and Queen Seating Only)​ at the Fortress of Squalitude​. And if I can’t resist closing my eyes and imagining Roger Daltry isn’t pumped up on some sort of steriod–B-vitamin–Peruvian Pure cocktail straight out of Jim Carroll with autotune in both ears, I can hear the Wheeling Crash of Beautiful Doom one last time from the Secret VIP Section. If Townsend’s rotator cuff is still up to it.

Like the MoM’s Ball, I still have my memories, and I can take a pass. And at least on Fortin Street, I can still Be There, Hovering Just Above on a Cloud of Righteous Fuck You-ey-ness. FYYFF. The Shrine of Jazz and Heritage is up. Time to run the speaker out the window for between acts.

At least please keep the shirts ugly. Hollering WATERMELON at the people not unfortunate enough not only to buy them but to turn around and wear them the next day was the height of last year’s Festival. All my tax-related file are mixed with work and a week’s mail on the board that spans the easy chair behind my desk. I’ve been sick all week. I haven’t cleaned the bathroom. The carpet in front of the couch is full of Cheez It and tortilla chip crumbs. There are no Vegetarian Heaven Red Beans. But you know where I at. Maybe I can pass the vac, clean teh toilet and clear a path through the bedrooms. Just ping me if you’re coming in case I’ve wandered off. And if I have, see what Jimmy’s got cooking and get a beer from him till I wander back.

Let A Hundred Congas Bloom April 21, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I’ve just gone from six hours of dark apartment contractor hell starting at o’fuck:thirty no Herman Miller chair can redeem, the house surrounded by packs of voracious two-stroke monsters which no amount of O.K. Computer at any volume can subdue, into in-and-out of Canseco’s on a blindingly blue day with a pack of no-you-don’t cigarettes and a pack of Wholly (Unnecessary), Guacamole while on the balcony above Fair Grinds a circle of pickers work through You Can’t Always Get What You Want, holy banjo notes on a beautiful afternoon.

If you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.

Very Tasty Boudin April 19, 2015

Posted by The Typist in music, New Orleans, Odd Words, Theater, Toulouse Street.
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I did not set out to opening night to write a review of BOUDIN: The New Orleans Music Project at Southern Rep. I took no notes during the performance or when I got home last night, and thoughtlessly left my program on my seat in my hurry to get to the bathroom after the show. I went to the show out of a certain pride of ownership, having submitted and had accepted into their online collecion an old Wet Bank Guide piece on the project’s theme of How New Orleans Music Saved My Life. Whether you think this masterful piece of musical stage craft is one of the great musical tribute reviews, a rightful heir to Vernel Bagneris’ On Mo’ Time or the must see Monolithic Mouse musical theater attraction in the emerging Theme Park at the End of the World We Knew as New Orleans, BOUDIN delivers on its conception as story project, tribute and a night of theatrical delight.

One look at the Panel of White Privilege that conceived and created the project, before the first word was spoken at the pre-show panel discussion set off every alarm in my (white, once privileged) New Orleans Exceptionalist, Chauvinist self. I was prepared for the worst when I finished my tour of the “altar” art dioramas, although some were quite good. When the Ashe Cultural Center loudly whirring A/C shut off just before the lights went down, I had my preconceptions all lined up like a display of tourist carnival masks in a French Quarter shop window, and this amazing cast knocked them all not just down but across the room, back into the box and onto a ship back to China. No matter how cynical you enter this theater you will leave walking on air, a smile on your face and the hum of a song resonating in your head.

Accomplished musician turned actor Phillip Manuel and Dorian Rush denominated the stage with an easy grace and amazing power, taking us from Allen Toussaint in the studio to five nights a week singing happy hour to early drunks on Bourbon Street, but there is not a weak link in this cast. Josh Smith’s hip-hop microphone vocal rhythm machine antics and Clint Johnson on Banjolele were all the live accompaniment the show required, and Johnson’s tale of a stutterer who was cured by the music of Louis Prima was as powerful as a visit to the ex-votos of St. Roch. Brittney James was equally comfortable bringing gospel sweetness or Etta James raunchiness to center stage. While Natalie Jones seemed to carry the wistful air of the theater nerd she proclaimed herself at one point all through the show, her sweet voice and the story of the girl who came to the music after being tossed out of Catholic School choir and her tale of salvation from evacuation by an old spiritual felt, if a bit practiced, sweetly genuine.

The few slightly off notes in the selected stories swept by almost unnoticed as the talented ensemble kept the almost full house enthralled. It was a shame a seat went unfilled. Perhaps it was eyeballing the producers that sent me into the theater smelling a faint whiff of paint from an expensive but loving restoration, but this show wiped that sin of self-important, St. Claude hubris away and left me feeling as redeemed as by an honest confession. This is a show that should plant itself in the Quarter and run as native and concierge recommended institution until the last tourist packs their bag to board a vaparetto out of town.

At 5 o’clock in the afternoon, or perhaps 7:45 April 18, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, Fortin Street, fuckmook, FYYFF, ghosts, je me souviens, New Orleans, postdiluvian, Remember, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Metairie encroaches from the East, swallows Carrollton Avenue. Brooklyn comes from the west across the Industrial Canal in a pathetic, staged white second line. We lost the north when they made  Lakeshore Drive the private dog park of the of  Lake neighborhoods along Robert E, Lee. To the south loom the gas-flare, metal islands  of BP, Mobile, Exxon.Sucking the black ghosts of marshes long past was not enough.The water must run  red as blood.

There is no retreat, no defense.  When America erupted in flames and east Detroit held off the National Guard for two days,  nothing happened here. Riot is not our style.  Its too damn hot and a lot of work.

You are left only one choice, to chose the place, the once familiar  corner with its shuttered store, and the moment (Esplanade in the rare, painterly  golden light of late afternoon, perhaps) when New Orleans dies inside you.

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