Good news: BookWoman in Austin is hosting a reading/signing event for the book Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans on Saturday, May 27, at 8 pm. Ray Shea and David Rutledge and I will be reading excerpts from our essays included in the book. My essay is about New Orleans-area movie theaters and the experiences I had there when I was growing up.
If you’re living in Austin and you’re reading this, you’re going to be there, right? And if you don’t already own the book, this is a fine chance to buy a copy from an independent bookstore and get it signed by some of the authors right then and there. It’s a lovely little book, beautifully designed and put together, and well worth owning. The writing ranges from poignant to hilarious. Ray’s essay on working as a Mardi Gras float grunt is truly funny and you shouldn’t miss a chance to hear him read parts of it.
Ray and David and I were also part of the group that read excerpts of our essays during a Baton Rouge reading/signing in April. It was a crazy weekend: on Saturday I saw my baby brother play an ugly stepsister in a lavish ballet of Cinderella (he and the other stepsister nearly stole the show), and on Sunday I stood up and read an essay about my family right there with my parents in the front row. I was a little nervous about reading in front of my parents, as though they would stand up in the middle and point and exclaim, “Now that is not true!” I could hear my dad laughing a lot, which was a relief. My mom said later that she does not clearly remember banning us from seeing movies that had Morally Objectionable ratings listed in the Clarion Herald (New Orleans’ weekly Catholic newspaper), but I know my brother will back me up on that one.
The Baton Rouge reading was a lot of fun. I got to meet some of the other authors and see Toni again. Sitting at a table, seeing a long line of people waiting to have us sign their books, and then signing them, felt weird. But even sitting there signing dozens of books for the local Barnes and Noble afterwards was fun. I can’t wait for the Austin reading at the end of this month.
I am having to give up the chance to go to a big outdoor preview screening of Nacho Libre with live midget wrestlers and the film’s director in attendance, which is scheduled at the same time as the reading, but it’s totally worth it. Besides, every time I see the trailer for Nacho Libre yet again, I become less interested in seeing the movie. The trailer is overplayed and grows lamer on repeat viewings. It also reminds me more and more of Napoleon Dynamite, which I did not exactly love. I am not sure if my fondness for Jack Black will be enough to tempt me to a theater. I can tell you all about the Nacho Libre event because it’s sold out, so you can’t skip the book signing to see the movie.
Anyway, one more time: come to the book signing, it’s free, it’s going to be a blast, and while you’re at it, buy the book if you can. If you want the whole New Orleans experience in Austin, go to Gene’s beforehand and get yourself a po-boy and a Barq’s root beer. (I’d join you, but there is no way I am going to eat a po-boy before I stand up in front of a group and read.)