Search
| ,
| RSS | |

SECTIONS:

 

Arts · Politics · Crime
· Sports · Food ·
· Opinion · NOLA ·
Lagniappe

 
THE

Defender Picks

 

MERCREDI

March 22nd

Arsenic and Old Lace

Prytania Theatre, 10AM

A murderous screwball comedy classic, starring Cary Grant

 

The Bubble Lounge

The Tasting Room, 3PM

Sparkling wines from Spain, Italy, and France ($10)

 

NOFW Top Design Competition

Civic Theatre, 5PM

Gulf region's top designers compete for the ultimate prize

 

Poetry Reading

Maple Street Book Shop, 6PM

Featuring Anne Babson and Alison Pelegrin

 

NOCCA March Magic Dinner

Press Street Station, 6PM

Chef Frank Brigsten and oyster aficionado Beck Wasden, plus NOCCA culinary students host a 5 course dinner

 

NOFLAG Discussion: Bathrooms, Bodies, Technocracy

Peristyle in City Park, 6PM

NOFLAG discourse on gender nonconforming, female, trans, and intersexual rights 

 

Book Release and Poetry

Blood Jet Poetry Series, 6PM

Featuring Jessica Fiorini, Prairie M Faul, and Elle Magnuson 

 

Art After Dark

Newcomb Art Museum, 6:30PM

Museum tours and art projects, plus live music for uni students

 

Rosé at the Museum

American Italian Cultural Center, 7PM 

A showcase of the best rosé wine on the market 

 

Tincture Making 101

Rosalie Apothecary, 7PM

Learn the history and practice behind herbal tinctures 

 

New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra

Marigny Opera House, 7PM

Two-step in the Marigny at this show 

 

H Jon Benjamin

Tulane University, 8PM

The voice of Bob from Bob's Burgers & the can of peas from Wet Hot appears in corporeal form

 

Snake and the Charmers

The Carver Theater, 8PM

Seven piece band performs, with Urban South craft beer and La Cocinita food trucks on hand 

 

Film Screening: Indians A Comin' 

Bar Redux, 8PM

Outdoor screening of three documentaries about Mardi Gras Indians 

 

Dikembe and Expert Timing

Gasa Gasa, 8PM

Featuring All People and Hestina in support

JEUDI

March 23rd

NOFW Runway Shows

Civic Theatre, 5PM

Fashion shows for the gulf region's top designers

 

Top Taco NOLA 

Spanish Plaza, 5:30PM

40 chefs compete for top taco prize

 

Ogden After Hours

Ogden Museum, 6PM

Feat. Bob Malone

 

Painters Painting Painters

NOCCA, 6PM

Local artists celebrate each other in their work

 

Books and Beer with Friends

The Courtyard Brewery, 6PM

To benefit the Friends of New Orleans Public Library

 

Micah McKee and Little Maker

Blue Nile, 7PM

Folksy local singer-songwriter

 

Holy Yoga Gathering

Big Easy 'Bucha, 7PM

Worship and yoga in one

 

Classical Mystery Tour

The Orpheum Theater, 7:30PM

Music of the Beatles

 

Julie Odell / Luminais / Elizabeth McBride

Hi-Ho Lounge, 8PM

A night of angelic sounds

 

JD Hill & the Jammers

Bar Redux, 8PM

NOLA funk, trad and electric blues 

 

Comedy Gumbeaux

Howlin' Wolf, 8PM

Red Bean hosted stand-up show

 

John Papa Gros Band

Chickie Wah Wah, 8PM

Papa grows funk and so much more

 

Willy Gantrim / The Lostines / Ester Rose

Saturn Bar, 9PM

Country-blues 

 

Soul Project

Café Negril, 9:30PM

All genres of NOLA music fused

 

The Soul Rebels

Le Bon Temps, 11PM

6th Ward brass mixes funk, soul, jazz and hip-hop

VENDREDI

March 24th

Basic Buddhist Meditation

LIFE Yoga, 7AM

An intro course from Zen teacher Thich Thien Tri

 

Book Signing: Robert Wagner

Adler's New Orleans, 11AM

Hollywood legend signs copies of 'I Loved Her in the Movies'

 

Bourbon Festival

Marriot Convention Center, 6:30PM

Day one of the inaugural Bourbon Fest

 

DumbSmart Industries Showcase

The Broad Theater, 7PM

Short film showcase 

 

Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers

Blue Nile 7:30PM

Friday nights with Kermit on Frenchmen 

 

Matisyahu

House of Blues, 8PM

Hebrew hip hop

 

Varla Jean Merman Sings? 

Cafe Istanbul, 8PM

Preview of Merman's new show "Bad Heroine!" 

 

Flogging Molly

Joy Theater, 8:30PM

Celtic punk, feat. Skinny Lister

 

Edwardian Ball Circus Soirée

One Eyed Jacks, 9PM

Artist mixer before Saturday's Edwardian Ball

 

Kanye's Universe

Maple Leaf Bar, 10PM

Chapter Soul hosts a Kanye West dance party

 

Anglo a Go-Go

Bar Redux, 10PM

All-British dance party

 

Relapse 80s/90s Dance Party

Hi-Ho Lounge, 10PM

Party like it's 1999

SAMEDI

March 25th

Brunch Fest

Crescent Park, 10AM

Eat to benefit LA/SPCA

 

Princess, Ponies & Superheroes 

Fair Grounds, 12PM

Family day at the grounds

 

Tank and the Bangas

The Yum Yum, 6PM

NPR faves come home from tour

 

Movie Screening: But I'm a Cheerleader

St. Mark's Church, 6PM

Caravan Cinema screens this Natasha Lyonne comedy

 

Charlie Wilson

Smoothie King Center, 7PM

Feat. Fantasia and Johnny Gill

 

Chris Rock

The Saenger Theatre, 7PM

Comedy superstar brings his "Total Blackout" tour to NOLA

 

Biz Markie

House of Blues, 7PM

80s vs. 90s - decades collide

 

Fleur de Tease

One Eyed Jack's, 8PM

FdT stages "Alice in Wonderland" 

 

Pancakes and Booze Art Show

The Howlin' Wolf, 8PM

NOLA's underground art show, plus free pancakes

 

The Rock and Roll Extravaganza

The Willow, 9PM

Masquerade ball with live music

 

Mod Dance Party

The Circle Bar, 10PM

Sweat to the oldies with DJ Matty

 

Daria & The Hip Drips

Le Bon Temps Roule, 11PM

Free show to move and groove

DIMANCHE

March 26th

Bloody Mary Fest

Howlin' Wolf, 12PM

Over a dozen NOLA spots offer their best bloodies, plus food

 

Alternative Medicine Symposium

Magnolia Yoga Studio, 1PM

Free female-led discussion and open house

 

Red

Playmakers Theater, 2PM

Final staging of drama about painter Mark Rothko

 

Jamie Galloway Crawfish Boil

Maple Leaf Bar, 3PM

5th annual boil commemorating the life of the beloved chef and musician

 

LGBT Spring Fest

Woonderland Production Studios, 3PM

Live music, drinks, water slides, more

 

Music Under the Oaks

Audubon Park, 5PM

LPO Woodwind Quintet performs

 

Palmetto Bug Stompers 

d.b.a., 6PM

Local trad jazz masters

 

Board Game Night

Tubby & Coo's Mid-City  Book Shop, 6PM

Bring games, or join one at the store

 

Hot 8 Brass Band

Howlin’ Wolf Den, 10PM

Mix of brass standards and funky covers

 

Pat Casey & the New Sound

Spotted Cat, 10PM

Boundary pushing fusion jazz

 

Joe Krown Trio

Maple Leaf, 10PM

Krown on the B3 with Russell Batiste and Walter “Wolfman” Washington


Digital Publishers Summon Spine, Square off Against 'Big Six' Backers


Mark Folse of ToulouseStreet.net provides the post-mortem on a publishing throwdown at last week's Words & Music Fest

Will Murphy, executive editor at Random House was the nominal moderator until the fist chair flew. It was billed as “New Designs in Publishing in the Digital Age, just another equanimous panel discussion at the staid Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society’s annual Words & Music Festival, until e-publisher John Oakes came off ropes like a glory-hungry luchador going for the title belt.

 

Oakes, a graduate of the Big Six before he started alternative e-publisher OR Books, started softly. “I don’t think [e-publishing} is going to be the only way, but it's going to be one way." His tag team partner Julie Smith, Edgar-winning mystery novelist turned e-publisher of BooksBnimble, started out equally calm. "I was published by Big Six publishers for a long time but it became something very different for fiction writers."

 

Things continued calmly for almost 20 minutes with Oakes and Smith talking about their decision to enter the e-publishing field, and a long lecture by Chris Ruen, author of a forthcoming book on the digital music area titled Freeloading, on the lessons of the perils and opportunities of e-publishing he took from his study of the music industry.

 

That's when Murphy, as politely as possible, inadvertently opened a can of whoop ass. "I'm afraid the two esteemed panelists to my right are going to have to answer for what they said. I'd like both of you to say what's wrong with traditional publishing and why are you the solution and what's in it for writers."

 

"First of all, let me correct what I said," Oakes answer prompting scattered nervous laughter in the audience. "I don't think traditional publishing is breaking down. I think it's broken and has been for a number of years, in tatters and a smoking ruin."

 

Oakes outlined the traditional process of agent, editor, editorial board and sales force proceeded to outline outlined the current publishing paradigm he described as "guesswork on top of guesswork on top of guesswork. "Let's say everything's gone well, you have have some great blurbs. You didn't plagiarize the the book. People are really excited about it. You have good advance orders. The stores pack it all across the country, they pack stacks of the book in. Such a tiny percentage actually sell through. A reasonable return rate for a front list book is 40 to 60 percent. So these books come streaming back. The stores hurt because all this shelf space has been taken up by a book that didn't sell. The environment, which I think is worth mentioning, [is hurt] because all these books were printed and have to be transported back to warehouse. The publisher has to pay for all these books. Its a disastrous, antiquated system that does not benefit [anyone].”

 

Smith challenged Murphy in return. “One of the things that always bothered me, the reason I named my company Books Be Nimble, is I don’t feel that big pub is very nimble. Say you brought that you bring a 40 page meditation book [published as an e-book by Books Be Nimble] to a publisher in New York, they might very well say: you know what, there’s no way you can sell this book. My answer is, why don’t you figure it out. You know it was always just book stores and not to much willingness to go outside that to find other ways to make that work.

 

“There’s a lot more to the question, Will, but I’d like to give you a chance to defend big pub,” Smith

 

“I’m the last person you want defending big publishing. Traditionally the alternative to big publishing is self publishing,” he answered, starting the real battle royal. “I think there is a pretty heinous process in getting a book to market traditionally. There are a lot of steps, but I don’t know they’re the wrong steps.”

 

“But we’re not self publishers,” Smith quickly retorted. “Yeah,” Oakes chimed in before she finished her sentence

 

“The question for you guys is what differentiates you from self publishers,” Murphy offered, trying to get back on a civil track.

 

“I can’t say I don’t publish my own books because I intend to publish my own back list. I’d be crazy not to. And I publish people who are not me, for openers. Here is how I operate. We don’t offer an advance. I offer a 50% royalty and what I do for the 50 percent royalty I do what Random House does, and I hope as well : I edit the book, I have the cover designed, I market the book.”

 

The temperature rose another notch when Oakes suggested that the major publishers are charging authors to promote their books by encouraging them to hire independent publicists. “If you are a new author at a major house you can confirm this. The publisher and editor say: how are we going to market this book. In my opinion its the publisher’s job to market the book, but I don’t expect an author to hire a publisher so I could make very good case that major publishers are indirectly charging authors because {suggesting an author hire their own publicist] is a standard way to work with people–unless your name is Steven King–and I’ve always understood and I have heard this from friends who have contracts with major publishers, that you are expected to hire your own publicist.

 

“This is wrong,” Murphy answered heatedly. “We have a fully staffed publicity department. We never encourage this, the hiring of independent publicists…”

 

“Maybe Random House is the exception,” Oakes offered.

 

“Because we have people who are paid to do that job,” Murphy continued, “and in every case when an author of mine has gone outside and brought an independent publicist in to the team, that independent publicist has done nothing that we wouldn’t have done ourselves.

 

“That wasn’t my experience at Random House,” Smith said.

 

Well, you didn’t work with me,” Murphy said. “It’s certainty not the status quo.”

 

“I’ve not heard that said about you, Will,” Oakes offered, trying to take the increasingly testy tone down a bit.

 

“We disagree,” Murphy answered sharply, trying to bring the scuffle to a close.

 

Ruen jumped in, pointing out that the difference between the self-publishing and the emerging digital publishers are editing and marketing. But on top of that, any publisher, even if its a small digital publisher, is providing a platform for an author. “Editing?” Ruen asked, “if you’re self-publishing, who’s editing the thing?”

 

Then he brought in Amazon’s move to change its vanity press operation into a larger model of the upstart short run digital and e-pub houses.. “One of the huge things for self publishing, Amazon announced their venture to release their own books and pay small advances.”

 

“They’re playing with the big boys,” Murphy agreed.

 

“That puts the burden of proof right on traditional publishers, emerging digital publishers, all of them, because it comes down to the question of what is the value of editing,” Ruen said.

 

“What I tell people who are thinking of publishing with Amazon is: go for it. And time will tell if traditional publishers know anything. I do know that the environment that I’ve worked in is a cultivating and cultivated one and I’d been surprised if within two years if Amazon were producing prize winners or best sellers.”

 

“What do you mean by best sellers?” Smith asked. “Amazon is publishing best sellers every day.”

 

“What do you mean by best sellers?,” Oakes asked.

 

“I mean on Amazon,” she said

 

“Amazon is an eco-system. What percentage of your e-sales are on Amazon and are tabulated to Amazon best seller list? Amazon is a very powerful retailers, probably the most powerful one in American today. They want to publish books. What they really want to do is sell. Their focus in the consumer, not the creator. They remain first and foremost a retailer, not a publisher.”

 

Smith tried to take the discussion off the playground and back into the ballroom “I think Random House is terrific and we haven’t really talked about the parallel universes that exist today. I think that we sound a little adversarial but we all exist together. I really don’t understand the hostility to e-books. I don’t actually see any sign at all that paper books will go away.” Conference organizer Rosemary James of the locally iconic Faulkner House Bookstore and a founder of the society had started out introducing the panel by expressing her abhorrence for e-books.

 

Oakes disagreed. “Here’s a statistic from the pages of Publisher’s Weekly.”

 

“Oh, the bible,” Murphy quipped drily.

 

“It’s a bible…still the industry newsletter. It came out a couple of months ago, but it compared a significant portion of this year 2011 to last year f 2010, and the sale of adult trade paperbacks was down 65%. That’s not a decline. That’s a precipitous drop. Now e-books, and that number I don’t remember, but they are shooting up like this. That said, paperbacks are starting at such a higher level and e-books are just starting. There’s no point to discussing whether e-books are a good thing or a bad thing. They are happening.

 

“I actually now agree with you both. Yeah, paperback sales have declined because e-books are simultaneously published simultaneous with the hard cover edition,” Murphy pointed out. “They are the low price alternative.”

 

Having gotten his moderator’s groove back on and brought things back on an even keel, Murphy took a question from the back of the hall, but bringing the audience in just raised the temperature in the room as the audience’s own prejudices on e-books and dire prophecies of the collapse of the traditional publishing model re-ignited the atmosphere.

 

‘It’s not paperback versus e-book. We already know people like their electronica. I fight is quality control versus free for all, and how do they decide that?” a woman in the back asked. “We have sort have glossed over the fact that newspapers and magazines are in decline. That’s a bigger thing than all that stuff you’re talking about. If you care about literary fiction, where do you think we find out what to read? That to me is a bigger problem that what you’re talking about. I read the New York Times Book Review. The Washington Post has folded their separate publication. What’s going to happen when the newspapers cut their editors. These are the arbiters of taste that we all rely upon.”

 

“Not all of us,” Oakes interrupted. “I stopped reading the Times Book Review years ago. I think that’s something you have to decide for yourself. Do you have to rely on the Book Review to tell you what to read?”

 

“Well then tell me how you decide what to read,” the woman interjected over Oakes’ answer.

 

“I read things like N+1, The Millions, Rumpus. [There are] online literary journals. How books come to me they always have when I ran a traditional press. They come from agents, they come from authors.

 

“I think you’re talking about, what are the filters,” Murphy offered.

 

“I don’t know who those people are,” the questioner answered.

 

“For the point of the Times, I published a great little book, a biography of H.G.Wells. The Times Sunday Book Review does this little square of a little nasty review. I had never heard of the person before. I found the person who wrote this review–and me being semi-crazy because I thought this book was fantastic–I found this person and called him up. The guy was either a sophmore or a junior in college. The arbiters of taste are not so infalible.”

 

“The bottom line is: somebody has to be out there, with the plethora of books, saying you have to read this book,” the questioner asserted.

 

Another audience member jumped in, any pretense of going around the room by raised hands lost in the heat of the moment. “We think we have choices in the market and we don’t. We have just a very slim piece of the pie. We have all these small presses that we don’t talk about [at the festival} that are still doing regular books. When you talk about best sellers when you have a rare exception [like the Tinkers", they'll never make that mistake again because it created all this hostility.

 

"We used to have adults in the playground,"another audience member suggested. "We used to have Alfred Kazin and [John W.] Aldritch and they were vilified then because we didn’t like them telling us what to think but at least they were thinkers telling us how to read,” another audience member offered. “There is no culture of criticism anymore. It’s not criticism. Its a lot of mutual back patting” in book criticism. “Without it we might as well all be self-published.”

 

“If you’re looking for an arbiter, read until you find someone [on the internet] you respect,” Oakes answered.

 

“We’re gatekeepers, too,” Smith said when asked what was the difference between small e-publishers and self-publishing. “The big difference is editorial,” Murphy chimed in. “And its the publisher’s job to bring the book to market,” Oakes added. “Its the job of your publisher to reach out to your readers and say, we’re interested in good writing and you should read this thing.”

 

Asked about whether e-publishers would become the logical home of literary fiction, Smith said “I think there’s a lot of room in e-publishing for manuscripts that cannot make it in Big Six publishing. I have a really nice memoir that ought to be published and Random House would not be able to sell it. It would sell six copies for them and I think I can sell it.”

 

Another audience member expressed a concern about the impact of e-publishing on independent bookstores.

 

“We made a decision not to deal with stores unless they come to us. And they come to us. Instead of buying ten or twenty copies they buy two or three, then they sell them and buy another two or three and sell it. But it’s true that when we have a front list title, it will not reach all the stores,” Oakes said. “I think this new model is good for authors, for publishers, the environment and readers, frankly I don’t think its good for independent stores. I agree with you: the independent stores is a beautiful thing and I don’t have the answer for that.”

 

“The giant chain store that banks on having everything is clearly threatened by the internet which has more than everything,” Ruen added.

 

“So let me tilt your answer toward what I think to be an interesting evolution of this conversation, that the independent side of table is envisioning the demise of the indie book store,” Murphy suggested.

 

“I’m not,” Ruen said. “One thing that the Internet cannot replace is the physical sense of community and only an independent bookstore can deliver that. And they’re selling books.”

 

“This has been a fascinating, exciting and fireworks filled panel,” Murphy closed out, ” and this is an artisan profession that is in transition. And great people such as the people to my right are tinkering and prematurely aged people like myself are done in, and that’s an exciting world to have.”

 

Here’s a complete podcast. I apologize for the variable volume but there was only one microphone for the panel and none for the audience. I also apologize for my occasional loud interjections. It was that kind of a panel discussion: PODCAST




Excellent piece of reporting,

Excellent piece of reporting, Mark. I thought it was a fabulous panel--maybe the liveliest I've ever been on. and we barely scratched the surface! Here's one thing I wish I'd brought up when we talked about Amazon making best-sellers--since the NYT best-seller list has begun to report ebooks and print books together, you can really see how well certain ebooks are doing. Lat time I looked (a week ago), there were three self-published ebooks on the list.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
view counter
Follow Us on Facebook
view counter
view counter
French Market
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter


Contributors:

Evan Z.E. Hammond, Dead Huey, Andrew Smith

Listings Editor


Photographers


Art Director:

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor:

Alexis Manrodt

Published Daily

Editor Emeritus:

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus



Stephen Babcock