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Arts & Culture

Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

Tennessee Williams Festival
The Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival takes place March 25- 29, 2020.(Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

It is only right that the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival take place in New Orleans, the “spiritual home” of Tennessee Williams, the man who made some of my favorite plays: A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

The festival will celebrate its 25th year this year and Tennessee Williams’ 100th birthday, with five days honoring the legendary Tennessee Williams and the extraordinary literary talent found in New Orleans. This will definitely be a celebration like no other, filled with classes, performances, and talks.

The festival includes eight Master Classes for writers and readers, special events for literary buffs and food lovers, music programs, theatrical performances and more.

The “Stella! Shouting Contest” at Tennessee Williams/ New Orleans Literary Festival (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Writing About New Orleans

This year’s festival brings many interesting sessions to get you excited about exploring the strong connection the literary community has with New Orleans culture. One class I’m particularly interested in is “Play Me Something, Mister: Writing about New Orleans Music”.

This panel will take a look at three new books about New Orleans music called Traditional New Orleans Jazz: Conversations with the Men Who Make the Music, The Memoirs of Harold Batiste:  Unfinished Blues, and Preservation Hall. This is definitely one session that will have you hearing music as you read each line.

Bringing Tennessee Williams’ Words to Life

If you are more of the type who needs to see the words in action, don’t miss the University Of New Orleans Department Of Film, Theatre, and Communication Arts Graduate Program perform The Glass Menagerie. You can also catch 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, Bright, Beautiful, Things: A World Premiere of Tennessee Williams One Acts, Native Tongues 5: The Food Edition, Outside Sitka and more.

For more of  an environmental touch, you don’t want to miss Where the Wild Things Are: Writing about the Gulf, where you can find discussions about environmental law legal cases, and much more. If you need something to feed your stomach along with your mind, check out Chef John Besh: Quintessential Brunch, where my favorite Chef will share some of his recipe secrets and demonstrations.

If you need a little break from the literary, move over to the art with a look at the exhibition, Drawn to Life: Al Hirschfeld and the Theater of Tennessee Williams. The Historic New Orleans Collection exhibition takes a look at the Al Hirschfeld drawings from most of Tennessee Williams productions.

The artwork comes to life soon as you step into the exhibit. You also get a chance to see many other Tennessee Williams holdings that helps tell his life story. For those living  like the princess Claire Standish of Shermer High School, you don’t want to miss the Breakfast Book Club events which will explore the Memoirs of Tennessee Williams.

All Around the French Quarter

There are so many events happening this week, you definitely don’t want to miss your chance to enter the literary world of New Orleans. Expect special guest such as Bryan Batt from Mad Men, Jazz Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, Grace Zabriski, and many more. Most events take place in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, including such sites as Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, the Royal Sonesta Hotel, Palm Court Jazz Café, Muriel’s Jackson Square, and many other places to explore.

New Orleans is more than food and music, but a culturally diverse community rich with creativity and the arts. Explore New Orleans through its writing, food, and music at the Tennessee Williams/ New Orleans Literary Festival.

Tennessee Williams/ New Orleans Literary Festival
March 23-27, 2011

Are you going to attend any of the events? Let us know in the comment section.

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