NOLA BOOK AND LITERARY NEWS

from Nathan C. Martin and Friends.

Though it’s intended for a worldwide audience, this recent piece by Press Street co-founder Anne Gisleson in the Cairo Review of Global Affairs presents a more clear-eyed, comprehensive personal assessment of the city than any other I’ve recently encountered. It’s the city from Gisleson’s individual perspective, and like the rest of her work, this piece pretends no objective authority. But her synthesis of the major issues confronting New Orleans in a voice tinged at turns with bravery and dread makes the essay hit home in sentiment as much as in fact.

Being the subject of intense media attention for years can change your relationship to the news, and make you appreciate how hard it can be to get a story right. In July, there was a local outcry when National Public Radio (NPR) referred to New Orleans as a “blank slate” after Katrina, implying that young creative types from all over the country could come scribble on it and create something anew. It was an astoundingly wrong line, contradicting years of NPR’s own coverage, but it did manage to stir up the old defensive feelings about “our” culture and who has rights to it. The New Orleans brand, with its Mediterranean-African-Caribbean influenced music, food, and architecture, draws people to the city and sometimes keeps them here, but its “authenticity” has been compromised by tourism and outside interests for ages, subject to the same global and corporate infiltration as everywhere else. Jazz Fest is now officially the Louisiana Jazz and Heritage Festival Presented by Shell Oil. Mardi Gras beads and carnival throws are shipped by the container load from China. Jazz is rarely heard on Bourbon Street anymore and many of its infamous nightclubs are not only corporately owned by out-of-towners, but have been cited by the Louisiana Landmark Society as damaging their architecturally significant eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings merely by doing their raucous tourist business in them. On the more subtle higher-brow, we even have our own quality Home Box Office (HBO) series. David Simon’s post-Katrina Treme films in my neighborhood often, and it’s an odd feeling to see the light trucks and crews and messes of cables snaking into our bars and corners stores, knowing that a parallel post-storm narrative, albeit a few years behind in chronology, is being created. Lately, heading over the Judge Seeber Bridge which spans the Industrial Canal near the breach that killed hundreds in the Lower Ninth Ward, I pass a billboard for the show’s new season, its somber, sepia packaging compliments the drawbridge’s rusty trusses and makes for a strange meta-moment; our difficult reconstruction processed through the creative machinery of cable television and then advertised back to us.

Read the entire essay at the Cairo Review of Global Affairs.

Hand-in-Glove Conference Guide

Hand in Glove Conference Guide
Essay by Amy Mackie, edited by Bob Snead, designed by Erik Keisewetter

This beautiful book, designed and printed by Erik Kiesewetter of Constance for the Hand-in-Glove Conference, includes a guide to all of the conference happenings Oct 17-20, 2013, an informative map of the artist run spaces on and around St. Claude Ave, and an extensive essay by Amy Mackie about the history of self organized contemporary art [...]

Photo by Sophie Lvoff in WE'RE PREGNANT

We’re Pregnant
Words by Nathan Martin. Photography by Akasha Rabut, Sophie T. Lvoff, and Grissel Giuliano.

We’re Pregnant is a chapbook of short fiction by Room 220 editor Nathan C. Martin along with photography by Akasha Rabut, Sophie T. Lvoff, and Grissel Giuliano. The book contains three of Martin’s short stories—which explore in morbid fashion anxieties related to sex, disease, marriage, and childbirth—with images inspired by the stories from each of the photographers.

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The People Is Singular
Poems by Andy Young and Photographs by Salwa Rashad

The People Is Singular, by local poet Andy Young and Egyptian photographer Salwa Rashad, is a personal response to the Egyptian Revolution. Rashad’s vision includes everyday people—Muslims and Christians, young and old, the foregrounded and the peripheral. Her perspective is from inside the events as they unfolded. Andy Young, a New Orleans poet married to [...]

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Curtain Optional
by Brad and Jim Richard

In both poetry and prose, Brad Richard explores the influence of his father’s work on his own, as well as the experience of growing up as the son of an artist while becoming an artist himself. Jim Richard is a professor of painting at the University of New Orleans and has exhibited at the Solomon [...]

howtorebuild

How to Rebuild a City
Edited by Anne Gisleson & Tristan Thompson w/ design and artistic direction by Catherine Burke

Beautifully designed, sometimes fun, always informative, How to Rebuild a City: Field Guide from a work in Progress, is a reflection of the many ways that New Orleanians have realized our way towards recovery, actively and creatively engaging with our communities.

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Bitter Ink
by Brian Zeigler & Raymond “Moose” Jackson

BBoth originally from Detroit, cousins Brian Zeigler and Raymond “Moose” Jackson began collaborating while Brian was harboring Moose in Vermont during Katrina evacuation. While their doodling proclivities may have made them rustbelt exiles from the rest of their autoworker family, together they produce seductive aphorisms of wit and weirdness that provoke, confound and celebrate a [...]