Franz Kafka’s workout regimen, the linguistic history of ‘garbage person,’ classic fairy tales re-imagined by the NRA, and a chance to rip open your shirt and cry ‘STELLLAAA!’ to a throng of cheering spectators in the French Quarter.
“In the body’s own words, it cannot live like a vegetable in the country.” I am twenty-one and sitting on a bunk in a shotgun house in Mid-City, New Orleans, reading C.D. Wright. After a few conversations on the phone with a professor at the University of New Orleans, I have come here, weeks after graduating college, to help with an oral history project about the experiences of people who lived through Katrina.
“I think not enough people are writing about the Civil Rights Movement—those who lived through it are passing on, and many of them did not document their stories. But one person’s involvement in a period is just as important as an overarching history—I think there needs to be more of that. It encourages individuals to be courageous and work to correct what’s wrong in their countries, their lives. I think curious students and history buffs will read it, but above all, I hope it will empower African-Americans and women.”
The final, abbreviated season of the HBO television show Treme, airing now, is an opportunity to reflect on what that series has done better than any other recent television experience: depict the working life of creative people.
Inevitably when someone comes into New Orleans to visit, I have to roll them by the Banksys. But usually when I drag people into a larger conversation about street art, Banksy seems to be the limit of their familiarity. Because of this, I wanted to put together a brief introduction to seven other contemporary street artists you should know.