Maple Street Book Shop is closing its Used and Rare Shop this weekend and consolidating its used inventory with the new books next door. It's a sad thing, but it also means there are a number of deals to be had for booklovers, like $1 paperbacks and $2 hardcovers till Sunday.
Owner Gladin Scott says employees picked particularly sellable used books from the piles at the used store to bring next door, but the selection of pre-owned titles will be smaller in the remaining shop, so the difference is being sold off at low prices.
Matt Carney, who's been behind the counter at the bookstore since the Bayou St. John shop closed earlier this year, says there are still gems to be found among what's left. A selection of books from each genre remains, though hardcover art books are in particularly abundant supply, along with mysteries and histories.
Even though used books will be sold next door, the closing of the used and rare shop is bittersweet. "Some items are so wonderful to have in a used shop," Carney said over the phone. "Even books no one will probably buy. Right now I'm looking at a book called Steamboats Come True. It's good to know things like that exist. This is an understanding space for that."
Maple Street is cutting down on space to reduce costs, says Scott. A new tenant for the building has yet to be found. That building was the original Maple Street Book Shop, which opened in 1964. It became a used bookstore in 2009, when Maple Street Book Shop bought 8,000 new and used books from the inventory of the closing deVille Books and Prints.
Besh will be greeting fans and signing copies of his most recent book, Cooking From the Heart: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way, which pays homage to the chefs who inspired him through countless kitchens in his rise to fame. The signing is sponsored by Octavia Books. The bookstore's owner, Tom Lowenburg, says Besh's appointments at the market are always a hit. "He's always so affable," he says. "It's a beautiful book, and he says it's his favorite so far. He does a lot of storytelling."
Separate from Besh's book, Shaya, who's a CCFM board member, will be preparing Cavatelli with lamb Bolognese and basil, with tastes for shoppers. The market's new Executive Director, Kathryn Parker, will be his sous chef. Parker took up the post Dec. 1, and the event is a way to welcome Parker to the market family and meet and greet with market regulars.
There's also plenty for the kids of book buyers and lamb tasters. The market will host its monthly Marketeers activity Saturday, with holiday crafting for the little ones.
The 2014 Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con will feature Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Jon Bernthal and Michael Rooker — stars of AMC's The Walking Dead — as well as Robert Englund (aka Freddy Kruger in A Nightmare on Elm Street), Marvel publisher Stan Lee, Terminator's Linda Hamilton, Cheers star John Ratzenberger, Henry Winkler, Dean Cain, Cassandra Peterson (aka Elvira) and Pam Grier, among dozens others at the event celebrating pop culture and comics.
The event is Feb. 7-9 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The three days of events include celebrity Q&A sessions, costume contests, film screenings, dozens of vendors (from vintage toys and rare movies to collectibles, comics and costumes), as well as dozens of comic artists — including Spider-Man and Punisher's Mike Zeck and Hellboy's Mike Mignola, among the more than 50 others.
Show hours are 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9. Single-day tickets are $40-$50, and weekend passes are $75. Tickets are available online.
Tuesday, Matt Sakakeeny reads and signs his new brass band book Roll With It at Octavia Books, starting at 6 p.m.
Words and Music hosts a plethora of workshops and readings, mostly taking place in the Hotel Monteleone, starting Wednesday and continuing through the weekend. T. Geronimo Johnson, whose debut novel Hold it 'til it Hurts was a finalist for this year's PEN/Faulkner Award, will read, along with David Armand (his novel, Harlow, is set in Louisiana), Christina Sneed (Little Known Facts, set in New Orleans) and George Bishop (The Night of the Comet, also set in New Orleans). Literary all-stars Ron Rash and Moira Crone also dot the list of talents. A "Literature and Lunch" discussion on the relationship between visual, literary and musical arts will feature best-selling poet and non-fiction writer Rodger Kamenetz, President of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Michael Sartisky and Josephine Sacabo and Dalt Wonk of Luna Press.
A jazz concert, additional readings in poetry and non-fiction and master classes on subjects ranging from the novella to the memoir fill the schedule.
New Orleans noir writers Chris Wiltz and Bill Loehfelm will be behind the counter of Garden District Book Shop this Saturday, ringing up books for holiday shoppers. Though the titles of their most recent books might not intuitively align them with holiday cheer - Wiltz's last books is Shoot the Money, Loehfelm's is The Devil in Her Way - the writers are volunteering to give back to the bookstore as part of Small Business Saturday. The event is nationwide and aims to celebrate a dedication to shopping local.
At Octavia Books, six writers will be signing and recommending books, including Carolyn Kolb, Rebecca Snedeker, George Bishop, Tom Sancton, Sylvaine Sancton and Lawrence Powell. For a schedule of when to find them, click here.
Indies First, the campaign started by author Sherman Alexie that helps promote Small Business Saturday, encourages authors around the country to be "superheroes" for independent booksellers by dedicating a few hours to working in the aisles.
In response to a question about whiskey in an interview with The Paris Review, William Faulkner said, "I ain't that particular. Between Scotch and nothing, I'll take Scotch."
In that reappropriation of one of the author's most famous lines ("Between grief and nothing, I will take grief") Faulkner might as well have been referring to the Tennessee Williams Festival's newest event, "Books and Booze," which takes place this Friday. It's a scavenger hunt through the French Quarter for book lovers and trivia geeks, and it's laden with alcohol at each stop along the way. Local authors will be on hand to ask questions (and also to serve as clues), and teams will race around bookstores and literary landmarks to answer questions, pick up clues and complete challenges.
The grand prize is a $500 all-access pass to the Tennessee Williams Festival this spring. Second, third and fourth place prizes are also up for grabs. Tickets range from $30-$70 and are available at the event's website. Pedicabs are available for hire for those looking to gain an edge on their competition, or who just don't feel like walking, and can be rented for the entire event.
Local novelist George Bishop, who's on board to ask questions during the scavenger hunt, says the opportunity for a good literary excuse to drink and run around the quarter could not be passed up. "It celebrates the literary heritage of our city in a fun, entertaining and alcoholic way," he says.
Pat Brady, a local biographer who is helping out with both this event and the March festival, says the Tennessee Williams Festival gets better every year, and this spring's line-up is particularly impressive. "We have such good people this year," she explains. "It's a chance for people to appreciate the New Orleanians here and our wonderful culture."
The book fair, which will feature more than 50 exhibitors, from comic book enthusiasts to independent literary presses, is free and open to all ages at the Contemporary Arts Center tomorrow from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. One aim of the mini-festival, says McGovern, is to give people doing cool things in print a chance to show off. "The goal," he says, "is to give the public a place where they can find some new ideas and things they haven't seen before."
More established bookslingers, like Maple Street Book Shop and The Historic New Orleans Collection, will have booths Saturday, but they'll share space with some perhaps not as well known presses and distributors like the Trembling Pillow Press and the Honeybee Press.
Authors will be on hand at many of the tables to talk books. The Alternative Media Expo, organized by the local music magazine Antigravity, merged with the bookfair last year shortly after Hurricane Isaac.
This Thursday, when you're all alone, there's a number you can call. No, not that kind of number, but for the verse-inclined, one no less intimate: Every week, The New Orleans Poetry Brothel's poetry hotline invites curious callers to dial (504)-264-1336 for a personal poetry reading over the phone, free of charge, from 8 p.m. to midnight. Poems range from traditional ballads to free-verse yarns, with a mix of influences depending on which poet you get on the phone.
The hotline, like most everything the Poetry Brothel does, invokes a degree of sexuality in how it's framed, though Director and poet Jordan Soyka says he hasn't gotten any heavy breathing on the other end of the line just yet. The Poetry Brothel was born at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and appropriated as a sustainable event by a group of New York poets a few years ago. A New Orleans chapter formed last year (which is fitting, since the whole concept was modeled after Storyville to begin with), and the group regularly holds events at different venues around the city (recently Crescent City Books and the AllWays Lounge). At the events, so-called poetry whores, who all read under pseudonyms, can be hired for a sliding fee, and they will take you to a dark corner and...read you an original poem (or a few if you play your cards right).
The Brothel and its other gigs, from the hotline to an upcoming performance at the New Orleans Fringe Festival, to posting unlabeled QR codes around the Bywater (which linked inquisitive smartphone users to screens revealing poems), are all part of an effort on Soyka's part to make poetry accessible without dumbing it down. "People are sometimes intimidated by poetry," he says. "We're trying to present it in a more approachable way." For more on the poetry whores, upcoming events and the Brothel itself, visit the website.
Tulane University ethnomusicologist Matt Sakakeeny is emphatic that his book Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans (Duke University Press) is not a post Hurricane Katrina book. His primary research straddles the storm and the levee failures, and it’s a very interesting window for the brass bands he focuses on, including the Rebirth Brass Band and Hot 8 Brass Bands.
"The Hot 8 and the Soul Rebels — they were struggling for local gigs live everyone else when I first started hanging out with them,” Sakakeeny said in an interview. “They were first starting to get calls to tour the U.S., Europe and Asia. So the book chronicles their assent. Rebirth was already at that stage, but they’ve since grown bigger and won a Grammy.”
The Rebirth Brass Band will perform at two upcoming book release events. There’s a release party from 8 p.m. to midnight Friday at Sweet Lorraine’s, and Sakakeeny’s band Los Po-Boy-Citos also will perform. Sakakeeny will read from the book and the Rebirth will perform at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Garden District Book Shop.
Roll With It is one of very few books exclusively about New Orleans brass bands, and it’s the first with a contemporary focus. The early chapters focus on specific second-line parades and jazz funerals. Sakakeeny marched in the funeral for legendary Olympia Brass Band leader Harold “Duke” Dejan while he was working for the radio program American Routes. He also attended notable second-line parades following Hurricane Katrina, and the book addresses the deaths of musicians including Dinerral Shavers, who played for the Hot 8.
Leora Madden, the owner of Pearl Wine Co., and Candice Huber, the founder of the New Orleans literary blog Fleur de Lit, aren't afraid to liken fine wine pairings to compatible book choices. "When I have a wine tasting, I don't just serve one wine," says Madden, a self-professed "book nerd" who worked in publishing for nearly a decade before opening her shop. "It's the same with authors. It's important to show people the different flavors of novelists."
The friends will merge interests in a new monthly reading series, Reading Between the Wines, which launches Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Pearl Wine Co. (3700 Orleans Ave., 483-6314). The monthly event will feature $5 glasses of wine, food from the pop-up restaurant Indochow and readings and signings from three or four authors at a time. It will be held on the first Wednesday of each month, with a set of authors chosen to reflect a particular theme. Wednesday's kickoff will be a little bit of everything, with George Bishop Jr., who will read from his second novel, The Night of the Comet, David Armand, who will read from his book, Harlow and Chuck Hustmyre, author of The Axman of New Orleans. December's theme will be cooking and entertaining, and January's will feature New Orleans histories.
Huber had the idea to start the series, she says, because most of the literary events in New Orleans were clumped together at Uptown bookstores. After the Mid-city Maple Street Book Shop closed earlier this year, Huber wanted to reinvigorate the neighborhood's literary scene. She says she also wants to let people in on conversations between writers, the way that book festivals do. "They'll be able to see the perspectives of different writers on form and process," she says. "There will be something for everyone."
God's speed, Rodrigue
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