I've had a great time in New Orleans, going to parties and meeting new people. Hanging out with various queers, crusties, and hobos. I'd forgotten how nice it is to hang out with people who are pozy, which is the majority of folks Ben and Dziga surround themselves with. I'm also realizing how small the world is. My tourmate Dziga had not only heard of Camp Butchinson, the movie I extra'd in back in August, but knows some of the actors. And who do I see at a party in New Orleans, but one of the founding members of the hippie house I used to live in. And who did I read with on Wednesday but Ben Kopel. He toured this year with Kim Vodicka, who I toured with last year. The United States is starting to feel like a city block. No wonder I've been getting the travel bug.
New Orleans has fast become one of my favorite cities. It's so beautiful, and I love that there's MUSIC everywhere. I was just walking around a lake today, passed by one of those gorgeous old-time houses and heard trumpet coming out the window. Or those kids I saw in the French Quarter, singing Christmas carols with trumpet and tamborine. It's been a nice stay, but I'm ready to hit the road. We finally--FINALLY--booked Atlanta, so starting in Pensacola it's going to be a reading per day.
The reading at Fair Grinds was easily the best-attempted reading I've ever done. Standing room only. 40+ people. My book launches in Pittsburgh and Oakland might have been as well-attended, but I doubt it. It was also one of the most effortless shows I've ever done. No hitches. Smooth transitions. I read from "When the Law Come," and found out I have a large amount of the story memorized. Once again, smooth. Dziga's friend Gorgios was good. Ben Kopel was good. Everybody was good. It's interesting doing shows on the other readers' home turf. Even though I'm the headliner, nobody came there for me. It kind of inspires me to step up my game.
At some point, an audience member asked about the title of the tour. As I came up with the title, I gave an eloquent explanation as to why the blues is still relevant in this day and age, maybe more than ever. After which, New Orleans literary luminary Jules Bentley yells out, "What about Dusty Rhodes?" After which, I not only admitted I took the title "Hard Times Blues" from a Dusty Rhodes promo, but began to act out said promo.
Speaking of eloquence, at one point Dziga, who was MCing, spoke about why he wanted to do this tour so much. He told how people, when asked about our respective fields--poetry, comics, and fantasy--speak about them as something that other people are into. And maybe, in seeing our shows, they'll feel comfortable saying that poetry, comics, and fantasy are something they're into as well. Deep.
After the show, we hung out with Ben, and a few of Ben and Dziga's friends, and the nice chaps from Maple Street Books, who sponsored the event. We went to a bar. I learned that a deep fried jalapeno is just that. A jalapeno. Ouch.
For more depth from Ben and Dziga (I can't speak for myself), here's our interview with Savannah Now: