Monday, February 19, 2018

Pop-Up Magazine, 'live magazine' and storytelling show, is in New Orleans Feb. 23

Posted By on Mon, Feb 19, 2018 at 2:59 PM


What if reading a magazine were more like watching a play — i.e., you could share it with a roomful of people? That's more or less the premise behind Pop-Up Magazine, which brings its winter tour to New Orleans Feb. 23.

The show, which bills itself as a "live magazine," adapts a variety of stories from writers, journalists and artists, adding multimedia elements and incorporating an orchestral score to create 3- to 12-minute storytelling pieces. The resulting performance is in a medium that is less curl-up-with-a-book night in and more collective outing, senior story producer Anita Badejo says.

"If you read an article or you listen to a podcast, that tends to be a very solitary experience," she says. "[With our show], people are experiencing it together, in a room ... as part of kind of a community."

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Books roundup: Five literary events in New Orleans in February

Posted By on Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 1:22 PM


We know, we know — it's not exactly the right time for this post. But as Carnival madness ratchets up to 11 with big night parades Wednesday evening, recall that there will be a time when you return to your regular life, or at least whatever passes for regular life in New Orleans.

Assuming that life includes good books, here are some literary events to check out this month.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Landrieu's Confederate monument book gets first review; March book tour taking shape

Posted By on Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 3:30 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Mitch Landrieu's memoir and reflection on race relations and the Confederate monument flap, In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History, will be published March 20, but the book's first big review was issued this morning by Kirkus, which called it "a powerful, welcome manifesto in the cause of a new and better South — and a 'better America":
Landrieu charts his family’s long history of racial fairness; his father, as he recalls, “voted against twenty-nine Jim Crow laws at the [Louisiana] legislature in 1960,” falling afoul of the segregationist leadership. The author concludes by noting that while the tide seems to be turning, the conflict endures, with “domestic terrorism” afoot as “part of the ho-hum racism that eats through our country every day.”
Dates began to be announced last week for a Landrieu book tour, including Mar. 26 in Atlanta, Mar. 28 in Philadelphia and Mar. 29 in Washington, D.C.

Gambit requested Landrieu's full book tour schedule from Landrieu's publisher, Viking Press, Louise Braverman, director of publicity for Viking/Penguin, said the publisher is "still working on a schedule."

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Monday, January 22, 2018

George Saunders, short story master and Lincoln in the Bardo author, is in New Orleans Feb. 20

Posted By on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 1:12 PM

George Saunders, whose short stories crystallize his signature blend of the literary, the eerie and the profound, will speak in New Orleans Feb. 20.

The author will discuss his recent novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. The book, a phantasmagoric reimagining of what happened after the death of Abraham Lincoln's young son, is narrated almost entirely by the ghostly inhabitants of a strange purgatory. It was lauded by numerous publications as one of 2017's most important releases and won the Man Booker Prize.

If you haven't used up all your free New Yorker articles yet this month, you can try Saunders' work on for size with "The Semplica-Girl Diaries," which somehow manages to be an electrifying piece of short fiction that is also about consumerism, human trafficking, economic inequality, adult compromises, kids' morality and the evolving English language. It was collected in 2013's Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award that year.

Garden District Book Shop hosts the reading at the New Orleans Advocate office (840 St. Charles Ave.) at 7 p.m. Feb. 20. Tickets are $10, which includes a $5 coupon for a book sold at the event.

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Books roundup: Five literary events in New Orleans in January

Posted By on Mon, Jan 8, 2018 at 12:00 PM


Happy (slightly belated) New Year, New Orleans book lovers.

If you're looking for something to read in 2018 — maybe a nice novel, or biography, or literally any other way to stop biting your nails as you scan Trumplandia push alerts? — we have a handful of readings and literary events to check out throughout the month.

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Meet the sociologist who lived among New Orleans squatters and street performers

Posted By on Fri, Jan 5, 2018 at 2:37 PM


Peter J. Marina is a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. But after a summer spent doing research for his book Down and Out in New Orleans, his resume now includes time as a bartender, a street poet and a mime.

Marina, who grew up eating Bunny Bread and mayonnaise sandwiches as a working-class kid in Gentilly, set out to spend time learning about life on the "urban social fringes" of contemporary New Orleans, where people find ways to live creative lifestyles while navigating the structural problems and economic difficulties of a changing city. From the people he met along the way, he learned how to work as a mime, how much money those tap-dancing kids make and what makes a good squat house (helpful hints: pick a spot not too close to occupied houses, with a front and back door in case there's a fire).

"[I was] just kind of hanging out with people who were living this downtrodden kind of lifestyle," Marina says, "[learning] how people carve out these transgressive lifestyles, on the social fringes of a postmodern kind of city."

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Amanda Lucidon, one of few women White House photographers, to speak at Keller library

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 9:46 AM


Amanda Lucidon, one of the few women photographers to work in the White House and who spent four years photographing former First Lady Michelle Obama, will speak at New Orleans Public Library's Keller branch Dec. 14.

Lucidon will talk about her recent book Chasing Light: Michelle Obama Through the Lens of a White House Photographer, which collects dozens of never-before-seen candids of Obama in a variety of settings, from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to the White House's South Lawn to a Liberian high school. The book also includes short narratives from Lucidon describing the moment pictures were taken, as well as her personal impressions of the famously fashionable first lady.

You can check out Lucidon chatting with CNN's Anderson Cooper about this book in this short video, which also includes a few sample images.

The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. It's free to attend. Photographs from the book also are on display at the library from Dec. 11 until Jan. 4, 2018.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Books roundup: Six literary events in New Orleans in December

Posted By on Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 2:49 PM


Happy holidays, y'all! We've (mercifully) arrived at the end of the year, and though 2017 certainly left much to be desired, that shouldn't get in the way of a little celebrating with your nearest and dearest book-loving friends.

Here are some picks and best bets among several interesting parties, readings and other events throughout the month. As always, BYO 'nog.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Landrieu writing a book on race relations, Confederate-era monuments

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 1:56 PM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Here's something for your spring reading list: According to an Associated Press report, Mayor Mitch Landrieu is writing a book "about his views on race and his support for taking down four Confederate monuments earlier this year."

In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History will be published by Viking Press in March 2018. Here's what the publisher has to say about it:
“There is a difference between remembrance of history and reverence for it.” When Mitch Landrieu addressed the people of New Orleans in 
May 2017 about his decision to take down four Confederate monuments, including the statue of Robert E. Lee, he struck a nerve nationally, and his speech has now been heard or seen by millions across the country. In his first book, Mayor Landrieu discusses his personal journey on race as well as the path he took to making the decision to remove the monuments, tackles the broader history of slavery, race and institutional inequities that still bedevil America, and traces his personal relationship to this history. His father, as state senator and mayor, was a huge force in the integration of New Orleans in the 1960s and 19070s. Landrieu grew up with a progressive education in one of the nation’s most racially divided cities, but even he had to relearn Southern history as it really happened.

Equal parts unblinking memoir, history, and prescription for finally confronting America’s most painful legacy, In the Shadow of Statues will contribute strongly to the national conversation about race in the age of Donald Trump, at a time when racism is resurgent with seemingly tacit approval from the highest levels of government and when too many Americans have a misplaced nostalgia for a time and place that never existed.
Landrieu's predecessor in office, Ray Nagin, wrote his own memoir, Katrina's Secrets, and former Gov. Bobby Jindal penned two books, Leadership and Crisis and American Will: The Forgotten Choices That Changed Our Republic-And Offer Lessons for Its Future.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Jesmyn Ward wins second National Book Award in fiction

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 10:09 AM


Jesmyn Ward, the Mississippi-born author and Tulane University creative writing professor, has received the National Book Award in fiction for her recent novel Sing, Unburied, Sing.

The award was announced at a ceremony in New York Nov. 15. Ward's book was selected from 394 publisher-generated nominees in the fiction category. It's her second National Book Award, which is one of the most prestigious prizes in American letters.

Ward joins William Faulkner, Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow, John Cheever and William Gaddis as a two-time winner in the fiction category. She is the first woman to win the fiction prize twice.

Other honorees at the ceremony included Masha Gessen, who won the nonfiction prize for The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, and the poet Frank Bidart for Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016.

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