Hot Reads 9/28/14

Today’s line up of Hot Reads begins with three New Orleans stories featuring the good, the not-so-good, and the really, really horrible.
Then a few pieces I enjoyed about and by women writers and one about a man. The man. Anthony Bourdain. (sigh)

Enjoy!

From Invade: 13 Live Shows in New Orleans You Don’t Want To Miss This Fall
Well, that title says it all. Go read!

From The New Orleans Advocate: Experts ask if New Orleans’ “Exceptionalism” masks grimmer reality
Tagline: Skeptics say exceptionalism masks many problems
Favorite quote: “When Reed hears his hometown described as exceptional, he said, the speaker generally goes on to cite a litany of cultural images that Reed sees as over-used: Mardi Gras krewes, St. Charles streetcars under a canopy of live oaks, brass bands, Creole cuisine and the Saints.

Often unmentioned are the things that can make life in New Orleans more difficult and more like life in any other struggling city: a low-wage service economy, rising rents, sky-high incarceration rates and gaping income and educational disparities.”
Note: Good piece.

From NOLA.com: Billing for rape: Louisiana sex assault victims often face hefty bills for medical care
Tagline: In Louisiana, victims of sex crimes often are billed for forensic medical exams and related care even though state and federal guidelines require many of these services be provided at no cost to the victim. An advocate and victim spoke with the Times Picayune l NOLA.com about this issue.
No favorite quote. This piece is sickening and disgraceful.

3036090-inline-i-2-190-bourdain-we-wil-have-what-he-is-havingFrom Fast Company: Anthony Bourdain Has Become The Future Of Cable News, And He Couldn’t Care Less
Tagline: The host of CNN’s Parts Unknown (starting again on Sunday) wants to make a great show–and challenge some cultural assumptions.
Favorite quote: “I’m not looking to rule the world,” he says. “I’m not looking to create a permanent brand. It’s a quality-of-life issue with me. Am I having fun? Am I surrounded by people I like? Are we proud of what we’re doing? Do we have anything to regret when we look in the mirror tomorrow? Those things are huge to me.”
Note: I loved this piece. Full confession: In a parallel universe I am the ultimate Tony Bourdain groupie.

From The Economist: Fare Ladies
Tagline: A new car service offers lifts for women, from women
Favorite quote: “A study in 2010 found that 80% of crashes in New York City that kill or seriously injure pedestrians involve male drivers. Women drivers are simply better.”
Note: I think this is a super idea. I always feel uneasy in a cab alone with a male driver.

From The Rumpus: The Rumpus Interview with Jane Rosenberg LaForge
Favorite quote: “There’s just a lot of different scenes here. I mean, when I lived in Los Angeles, there were also a lot of literary scenes, and I wasn’t part of any of them, I just sort of watched. It’s sort of the same thing here. There are a lot of different literary scenes, and I just sort of watch them.”
Note: I love that quote because I could say the same thing. All of her answers were so honest and, sometimes, endearingly awkward that it made me feel an affinity with her. Her answers – way more than the routine questions she was asked – make me want to read her book. Thanks, Rumpus, for introducing this writer to me.

The Fall Issue of Olentangy Review is out and it is just great with some really great flash fiction and poetry. I especially enjoyed Susan Tepper’s three pieces: A Tree in My Sink, White to Blue, and Lake Trees which are all parts of a series of micro-fictions under the heading “Dear Petrov”, set in 18th century Russia. A tidbit: “My skin dry to the touch has dampness between its layers that no amount of petticoats or fires can warm.” AND, I have a little poem in there too. I am very excited to be in OR for the second time and to be included with such talented writers. In the next few weeks an audio version will be up in their Virtual Reading Room. This will be my first mp3 and I’m a bit nervous about it as I don’t much like my voice but…it is what it is. Sometimes it’s good to do things that make you uncomfortable, no? Please do click over and enjoy the wonderful variety that is Olentangy Review.

dollbaby-bookImgBook list of the week is the 2014 Summer Okra Picks: Great Southern Books Fresh Off the Vine from SIBA

Poem of the week is one of my favorites and it’s beautifully illustrated on YouTube. Diving Into the Wreck by Adrianne Rich.

Have a great reading week and don’t forget to check out our Hot Reads Pinterest board!

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Bourdain: How To Appreciate New Orleans

bourdain-layover-final-season“There is no other place on earth even remotely like New Orleans. Don’t even try to compare it to anywhere else.” ~Anthony Bourdain

New Orleans is a huge tourist destination so it’s often featured in various travel media. Trouble is, usually it’s all about the French Quarter and not so much about all the other areas of the city. Not so on the latest episode of The Layover, Anthony Bourdain’s newest travel-foodie-culture show on The Travel Channel. The French Quarter is visited but so are Bywater, Uptown, Bucktown, Gretna and other areas. The next time I’m feeling the NOLA Blues like when another politician is indicted, or when it’s another swimming-in-the-humidity hot-ass summer day or by one more incident of an innocent bystander shot in the street, I’m gonna whip out this show on my DVR to remind myself why I stay and why I love it.

I confess to being a Bourdain fan who’s watched almost every episode of No Reservations but I also will confess to snarky skepticism when he was involved with writing a couple of Treme episodes. What’s a celeb from New York know about New Orleans? I kinda take it back. This in-depth episode proves he doesn’t just skim the surface of NOLA culture and cuisine; he digs deep and reveals the real New Orleans. The whole production was beautiful and I especially loved the clips of locals giving tourist advice and opining on New Orleans colloquialisms and eccentricities. In between and during segments vignettes of street life, neighborhoods, parks and architecture are featured in all their splendor both shiny and shabby.

So here are a few tantalizing tidbits from the show which should make you run to the website to watch this episode. I don’t want to totally give it away.
“New Orleans. The French Quarter. Yeah, yeah, yeah and go right ahead – it’s fun. But the outer neighborhoods of New Orleans are where you should be going.” ~Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain prowls the city with several locals including Davis Rogan, Lolis Eric Elie, John Besh, Donald Link and his favored cabbie, Elliot Flood. (Next time also seek ye out a woman to hang with, Tony!) Davis Rogan talked about being a native, life here, music and, of course, food. I want to meet this guy one day – he was a kick. bourdain and rogan

Favorite quote:

“Then I went away to college, I went to Portland, Oregon and I discovered how terribly white the rest of the world is and that The Grateful Dead is an organized f***ing religion and I just ran screaming for my Professor Longhair and my Meters records and never looked back.” ~Davis Rogan
Yeah, you right.

I loved, loved, loved the rapport between Bourdain and Chef Besh, who I think is so ultra cool, at Pho Tau Bay (yay, Wank!) and I love hearing him talk about NOLA. Favorite quote:

“Hurricane Katrina hit and it changed everything for me. Prior to the storm, August was about winning awards, having my name in the newspaper and, in a way it was really just all about me. Just cooking for my ego. Then after the storm it became a quest to rebuild, make a difference, do good where we can….” ~John Besh

“Be a traveler, not a tourist. Drink heavily with strangers” ~Anthony Bourdain

Down the hatch. Drinks and bars were heavily featured and all looked amazing. bourdain in kingpin

A list of bars visited or mentioned:

Sazerac Bar
French 75 Bar
New Orleans Originial Daquiri’s
R Bar
The Kingpin
Le Bon Temps Roule
Three Muses Jazz Club
Snake and Jakes

“The main thing is, we drink to have a good time. Drinking is not the end. Life is supposed to be fun. You don’t have to turn off your senses in order to suddenly have fun.” ~ Lolis Eric Elie

Food, food and more food. I always marvel at how much food Bourdain appears to eat on his shows. Where does he put it?bourdain-layover_210_new-orleans_ss_007_596x334

A list of restaurants visited or mentioned:

The Crab Trap
Cochon
Cochon Butcher
Dookey Chase
Borgne
Pho Tau Bay
Atchafalaya
Satsuma Cafe
R & O’S
Big Fisherman’s Seafood
Taceaux Loceaux

Music. Bourdain loves Rebirth Brass Band. Music venues visited or mentioned:

The Maple Leaf
Tipitina’s
One Eyed Jack’s
Rock n Bowl

All in all a very satisfying whirlwind of a visit that was sweet, sassy and satisfying. Thanks for getting it right, Anthony, and come again.

“New Orleans is a glorious mutation.” ~Anthony Bourdain

All photos via The Travel Channel.

PS – Via a Taceaux Loceaux tweet, here is a petition to change the food truck laws in  New Orleans.