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Local Bookstores December 5, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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7 comments

Two quick notes on local bookstores. With the opening of the new Borders on St. Charles Avenue, its more important than ever to remember the local stores that have continued to serve the city when all chain bookstores chose to locate exclusively in the suburbs.

First, there is this note from Stay Local, calling out this Saturday, Dec. 6 as a day to celebrate our local bookstores. It you haven’t finished holiday shopping yet, there is no better present than a book. (My Xmas list for this year was short, and my book is The Maximus Poems by Charles Olson.) (No dear, don’t buy it from Amazon. Have someone local order it. You can walk to deVille from work.) And if someone wants to get me that $225 copy of the Everette Maddox song book, you can find it on Amazon.

On a related note, one of my favorite local bookstores (because it’s just around the corner from work) is hosting some of my favorite local artists/activists. This just in from the deVille Bookstore mailing list:

We are pleased to invite you to the opening reception for Galerie deVille, located in the deVille Books store at 134 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., on Saturday, December 6, 2008.

The exhibit is entitled Inside Out/Outside In: A Celebration of New Orleans Street Art, featuring the work of Rex, Paint, Scott M., Ellipses, and Bullet-Tooth Maggie, among others.

In conjunction with this event, all “Art” books will be available at a 30% discount during the reception.

For additional information, you can go to http://devillebooks.blogspot.com.

Rex and company. Art books, 30% off. Sounds good. Did I mention that books make great gifts? (Did I mention “Carry Me Home“? Oh, my. I meant to).

Yeah, jewelry and power tools are nice (perhaps not in the same way to the same people, but still nice), but it’s just not a holiday break without a big new gifted book to dig into.

So what are you waiting for?

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Come On Now We’re Marching To the Sea August 18, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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I have no set theory to go by. I have not worked out the science of satyagraha in its entirety. I am still groping. You can join me in my quest if it appeals to you and you feel the call.
— Gandhi

What will another crime march do?

A better question: What will happen if we do not march?

Nothing.

I’m with ReX and UNITED FOR PEACE.

I say we march. A march for all the victims. Not just for Helen Hill or Dinerral Shavers or Jessica Hawk or Nia Robertson. For No. 37. For George Hankton. For Chanel. For all the others people come to this blog every day to search for some trace of. For the famously remembered and the almost forgotten.

For ourselves.

(For some background on the picture above, see Child of Desire on Wet Bank Guide from December, 2005.)

The Whole World Is Watching July 1, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Today I received an envelope written in a careful but fluid hand, and started to open it before I noticed it had no return address, except for this:

Inside, I found a “zine”, a small self-published chapbook of artwork and writing by Micheal Dingler a.k.a. Rex of NoLa Rising, founder of New Orleans’ insurgent public art movement. Inside are various montage of words and line art expressing his take on New Orleans, war, corporate America, and Top Reasons Why I Love New Orleans. It is titled (I think) “He Dreams In Widescreen”; at least that phrase appears on the cover.

I don’t know why but the booklet immediately put me in mind of the Yippies. Perhaps it had something to do with listening to Allen Ginsburg singing William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience while I scanned these pictures (something I once owned a vinyl copy of, but like many cool things it vanished in late 1986 while I was out of town. Long story. Some other time). My mind started to wander to Jerry Rubin’s Steal This Book, and an image of Ginsburg and friends carrying pictures of vegetables marching around the Pentagon.

The artwork in particular reminds me of the insert booklet from Blows Against the Empire, the Paul Kantner concept album released under the name Jefferson Starship. (No, not the band that made “We Built This City” and other dreck. This record was four years before that, with Stills and Nash along with Garcia, Kruetzman, and Hart and some other folks sitting in. Have You Seen The Stars Tonight?) “It’s a fresh wind that blows against the empire”, that album booklet tell us. Almost 40 years later, Rex has the same message.

You may think all of that 60’s stuff was silly nonsense. Perhaps it was, if you were expecting the Dictatorship of the Stonertariat as the outcome. And yet it was a time full of actions and ideas entirely consistent with the founding premises of a country created by guys who sat around drinking rum-and-water out of quart tankards, who thought after a couple of rounds that it was a Swell Idea to dress up in Indian costume, break-and-enter then toss other people’s tea into the harbor all as a dress rehearsal for committing High Treason in the defense of Liberty.

Crazy Bastards.

There is a bit in Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:

“And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. …

“So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”

Thompson was wrong. The wave did not simply break and retreat. It broke into a thousand rivulets and left behind uncounted pools filled with strange creatures. What happened was a small transformation inside the heads of a large number of individuals. Those tiny transformations produced the world we live in today, the people many of us are. A lot of other people who had very little fun back then or missed it entirely and resent it greatly have gone to great lengths over the last generation to try to put that genie back in the bottle, shredding the constitution and generally fucking up the country and much of the world in the process.

I’m sick of them, of it, of the IT the U.S of A. has become. I’m sick about what was allowed to happen here in New Orleans, and what continues to happen. And after reading this zine I would have to say so is ReX. Are you?

My favorite page in the zine is near the end. At the top of a largely blank page it reads, in broken Courier type, “THIS PAGE HAS BEEN LEFT INTENTIONALLY BLANK FOR ADDITIONAL ARTWORK”.

I think you know what to do.

If you have any hesitation about that consider this:

The revolution will not be televised. The whole world is watching.

Inside the place where those two statements are not inconsistent is the answer. When you get there you can borrow my Sharpie.

Hail ReX of NoLa Rising May 23, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orelans, Toulouse Street.
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1 comment so far

To: smidura@cityofno.com
CC: jbclarkson@cityofno.com; afielkow@cityofno.com

Subject: NoLa Rising (Micheal Dingler) and Fred Radtke

I was disappointed to learn that Micheal Dingler, founder of the public art movement NoLa Rising, was still forced to both pay a fine and to agree to stop posting public works of art to escape the municipal charges engineered against him by Fred Radtke and Radtke’s allies in the NOPD. While Mr. Dingler is relieved of the threat of a large fine it is not the outcome many would have wished, which is for all charges to be dropped.

Meanwhile Mr. Radtke remains free to continue to deface public and private property and to intimidate anyone who questions his authority to do in his self-anointed crusade, with the blessing of a prior city council and local civic leaders, and the open collusion of the N.O.P.D. in his own municipal violations

I propose that the ordinances governing NoLa Rising’s activity (which amounts to posting bills) be amended to make a clear exception for the transient (easily removed; take it down and pull the nails) installation of non-commercial works of art on utility poles and similar locations where they in no way impede the function of city government, the utilities or endanger the public safety.

Here is the CitiBusiness article on the outcome. The T-P did not cover the story that I can find on line.
http://www.neworleanscitybusiness.com/UpToTheMinute.cfm?recID=17471

Mark Folse
“It’s After the End of the World. Don’t you Know That Yet?”
Toulouse Street – Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans

NoLa Rising

NoLa Rising Founder Escapes Worst of Trumped Up City Charges May 22, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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2 comments

Updated again on 5/23 11:00 am

No word yet on NOLA.com but NoLa Rising founder and artist Micheal Dingler reports on his own site he triumphed over city-sanctioned graffiti vandal Fred Radtke (a.k.a. The Grey Ghost), who had used his connections to the NOPD to have municipal charges filed against Dingler for the posting of public art at sites in New Orleans.

This is good news for Dingler, whom Radtke arranged to have charged with 1,100 counts of unlawfully posting signs, charges that could have resulted in $50,000 in fines. Dingler reports in his brief post that Radtke stormed out of the courtroom when charges were dismissed.

Now, to get the real public menace–Radtke–off the streets and in court where he belongs.

Update:The outcome, as reported by New Orleans CitiBusiness (but not by the Times-Picayune or NOLA.Com) is not as good as I had hoped. Dingler had to agree to pay $200 in fines and to stop posting his artworks in public places.

Radtke, as the series of stories in CitiBusiness points out, remains free to deface public and private property with impunity and the support of the N.O.P.D. The net outcome is that Radtke has won. NoLa Rising is no longer free to post free public art in public places. This is ridiculous.

I encourage you to write to the City Council and encourage them to amend the graffiti and bill posting ordinances to grant a clear freedom for groups like NoLa Rising to post transient artworks in public places If Radtke can have the city’s blessing, then so should NoLa Rising.

N.B.– I’ve changed the headline a bit to be more realistic

Update No. 2–Michael Dingler gives a detailed account on the NoLa Rising blog.

Mailbox Mama April 21, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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3 comments

Mailbox Mama 1

Here is a fantastic piece of street/folk art I found in Mid-City, painted on an unfortunate canvas. I’m glad the authorities didn’t catch this artist decorating this communal mailbox, but these things are such an abomination. They have no place in neighborhoods of historic housing stock, and they rob parking spaces in areas where there is little or no off street parking.

Mailbox Mama 2

One possible benefit of this is that someone may catch Fred Radtke, the infamous vigilante Grey Ghost, a self-appointed one man war on graffiti and street art, the in act of slapping his signature smear on federal property. I think a trip through the central government’s justice system might cool is ardor for trespassing on private property to cover graffiti or any sort of street art that offends him.

Tales of Grave Ulysses February 28, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, literature, New Orleans, NOLA, postdiluvian, quotes, Toulouse Street, Uncategorized.
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1 comment so far

joyceart_nolarising.jpg

….O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gilbraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

— James Joyce’s Ulysses

Soon it will be June and where then shall we meet, and who shall read? I have never done a Bloomsday and have always wanted to. The last hereabouts looks to have been June 2005 and then, well, you know. So, who’s in?

.

P.S.–It’s hard to see online, but this has a NoLa Rising tag painted down the left side.

Legalized Vandalism and Vigilantism in New Orleans January 21, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Citizen Journalism, Debrisville, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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10 comments

What a mean spirited little golum is this Fred Radtke? A vigilante who dashes gray paint over public and private property wherever he spots graffiti or advertising posters, who is allowed to roam the streets with impunity and deface public and private property at whim, sometimes covering public safety signs (stop signs, for example) in his demented quest to cover all of the city’s graffiti.

An interesting turn of urban life is all it was, until Radtke took off after folk artist Michael Dingler and his NOLA Rising project. Today’s Citibusiness weekly reports that Radtke initiated a complaint and resulted in Dingler be charged with 1,100 counts of unlawfully posting signs on telephone poles that could cost him more than $50,000 in fines.

Dingler explains his act of civic art making on the NOLA Rising blog in a June 2007 posting. This is a public art installation, not criminal activity. Sadly, the N.O.P.D. seems to agree with Radtke, who’s own clearl acts of vandalism of public and private property they condone and even encourage.

The New Orleans Police Department, however, condones Radtke’s actions. NOPD often calls him directly to cover graffiti and spokesman Sgt. Joe Narcisse said they have no intention of charging Radtke with any crimes.

Here’s an interesting response from street artist unknownparts which found on Flickr.

radtke.jpg

I can’t believe that the city has given tens of thousands of dollars to some mean-spirited freak so he can spread his own form of ugly paint-based vandalism all over public and private property at his own whim. I have no problem with the city removing or covering obvious gang tags. However, by going after street artists like the NOLA Rising group or even unknownparts and his sort–artists who appropriate public space for what is arguably art–Radtke is no different than the tagger thugs.

This is insane. I just fired of a letter to my City Council Person Shelly Midura demanding Radtke be required to return the tens of thousands of city tax dollars he’s been given, that all charges against Dingler be dropped, and that the N.O.P.D officers who colluded in Radtke’s vendetta against Dingler should be required to apologize, if not in fact be fired for their collusion in Radkte’s own campaign of vandalism.

What NOLA Rising has done is a tremendous work of civic betterment, one tiny poster at a time, contributed to by tens if not hundreds of people. It is a bright spot in the gray landscape of our continuing disaster, a landscape not improved one bit by Radtke’s own gray tags. It is not Dingler that should be stopped and punished but Radtke, and everyone in city government–in City Hall or the N.O.P.D–who has supported him