Sunday, August 31, 2008

NOT Evacuating

Ok, last-minute change of plans. We ARE staying in New Orleans, riding out the hurricane in a big 3-story mansion on Coliseum square. Gloria's daughter and husband invited us to stay, plus another couple. 6 in all. We're on natural high ground, have a generator, lots of food, water, and fuel. Plus, the weather reports are looking a "bit" less threatening for New Orleans proper. But it's still anybody's guess.

Me, I'd feel better if we all left. But these are the best circumstances if we're going to stay. And we'll all be together. So I had a valium and took a swim. Feel a lot more optimistic now.

Thanks for all the great messages. Frederick

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Evacuating New Orleans

Despite attempts by the alarmist local media and our cover-your-ass mayor to frighten us, my housemate Gloria and I have decided to evacuate New Orleans anyway, in the morning. Hurricane Gustav does look serious and quite a risk. I was actually looking forward to riding it out, but when Gloria, the Katrina veteran of the household says it's time to go, it's fucking time to go.

She and I and her two large dogs are packing into the van and heading north to Memphis. Gloria's grandmother's house has 3 bedrooms and is vacant. We'll do a bit of site-seeing in the surrounding country, like Oxford Mississippi, etc. More like a mini-vacation with a lot of traffic going our way.

Fortunately, I can work from the road, assuming Internet access, at least at a Starbucks or Barnes and Noble in Memphis. From there, who knows. Maybe I'll keep on moving. I have a job in DC at the end of the month, and was planning to travel slowly across country to the creative residency near Seattle. Guess I'm starting that trip early.

Packing list:
my novel-in-progress
my Bible
a new book to read
hand lotion
summer clothes
light business clothes
extra socks
the plays of Robert Chesley
ATM card
tax records

I put my family photos on a high shelf, and raised other things I'd be sad to lose in case of flood water. Who knows? This may all be for naught, but right now, leaving is the prudent choice.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Return of Butch


"If you haven't seen it, do so...a knock-out audience winner with an astonishing performance by Frederick Mead." Patrick Shannon, Ambush Magazine

Frederick Mead returns to the Voodoo Mystere Lounge in David Schein's critically-acclaimed one-man comedy, Out Comes Butch. Presented by DecaFest and the Bienville Foundation, a portion of all ticket sales are granted to local LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations.

$15 Advance purchase encouraged. Bring an attractive friend.

FRI Aug 29 10 pm (late nite show for adult audiences.)
SAT Aug 30 7 pm
SUN Aug 31 5 pm (after the Decadence parade!)

Join Butch on his hilarious search for identity, watching and listening for clues to his many transformations. "Butch is a kaleidoscopic individual. He's change incarnate," says Dalt Wonk in the Gambit Weekly. If you missed the 7-week run earlier this summer, come see what all the fuss was about! David Cuthbert in the Times-Picayune says that Out Comes Butch is "insanely engaging. When you're not laughing, you're watching with your mouth agape!"

"A whale of a performance!" Al Shea, WYES TV

Voodoo Mystere Lounge
On the Edge of the Quarter
718 N Rampart (at Orleans)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Creative Residency

I was awarded a 2-week creative residency at the Centrum Arts Center in Port Townsend, Wa. About 45 minutes from Seattle, on the coast. I'll be an artist-in-residence, with a bunch of other artists, including writers, musicians, and painters. Two weeks of uninterrupted focus on the novel, in a beautiful locale, with other artists nearby.

Centrum was formerly a military base, now public land, and commands a stunning view of the Puget Sound, Whidbey Island, and Mount Rainier on clear days. In late October when I go, there should be mostly clear days, but we are talking about the Pacific Northwest.

is a dubious word because I still have to pay for it. Not much though. Only $300 a week for an entire house on the coast, officer's housing, fully stocked with linens, pots and pans, etc. I just need to bring food and booze (also known as creative juice). Accepted is probably a more appropriate term, or perhaps selected. There is a selection committee. I submitted a writing sample, a novel summary, CV and letter of intent in which I dropped Dorothy Allison's name heavily, and made reference to reading at the literary journal, Zoetrope All-Story, and for the William Saroyan Prize awarded by Stanford Univ Libraries.

Well, I'm pretty proud of this. And I'm grateful for the time away from New Orleans, quiet time alone with my novel. I'm also proud to report that I am almost finished with another chapter. I need to print it and read it aloud. Make a few more touches, then print the final-final date-stamped copy for the binder. Mail a copy to Dorothy, then move on to the next chapter.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Poem So Far...

This is what I have so far. Actually, 2 poems are coming, or maybe one. They share common phrases and ideas, but the sentiments are different. More to do..
original impulse
new text

We've been sloppy with our bodies,
two boys playing scandalous games inspired by the Bible games,
Jonathan and David,
Ruth and Naomi,
Jesus and his beloved John.
My favorites were Ruth and Naomi.
Whither thou goest.

Remind me
to But me, I should stick with things I know how to hold onto:
the certainty of outrage,
the moral stamina to write the worst love poem
ever, to say “fuck you” with a smile on my face.
Damn! The craziness of the flesh!
It stops you. So beautiful. I mark it.

Come on, Alright, I am listening.
tTell me something sideways again, hint at need
in the oblique ways that you and I communicate.
W Or write my fate in the margins, leaving volumes
leaving volumes unsaid between the lines. I can read.
Besides, it's August in New Orleans, a hard time
to write a love poem anyway
with when all my ink pens keep explodingeing from the heat.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Speak Its Name

I'm coordinating a queer open mic for Labor Day eve. Speak Its Name: a Southern Decadance event. I hope to encourage local gay authors to read, and also encourage new writers to read their own poetry or the work of a gay poet they admire. Sure are plenty to admire: Frank O'Hara, Hart Crane, Mark Doty, and the spiritual Big Daddy of us all, Walt Whitman.

7pm Free to the public
Celebrate DecaFest with queer literature.
Drink, listen or sign up to read your own work
or the work of a queer writer you admire.
7 minute limit. Any form. One drink minimum.
Hosted by Frederick Mead and featuring local
queer New Orleans writers.

Voodoo Mystere Lounge
On the Edge of the Quarter
718 North Rampart at Orleans

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Another Poem Coming On...

For some reason, lately I'm remembering old poems I wrote years ago. There's not a lot of them. I complete about one poem a year, usually when I'm in love or heartbroken (the 2 are hard to distinguish.) Several years ago I wrote a love poem for another young man. I can't quite recall it now word-for-word, but I'd like to recover it, update it.

I would lie in your yard until the leaves
pile around my face.

I feel a new poem coming on, not a love poem per se. Something to do with longing, which all my poems seem to be about, or despair. Longing and despair, what a cheerful guy I am. Ah but there's more. It think anger is peeking thru, in the smart-alecky, falsely frivolous posture of Frank O'Hara.

We've been sloppy with our bodies,

The craziness of the flesh!
It stops you. So beautiful. I mark it.

I should stick with things I know how to hold onto:
the certainty of outrage,
the moral stamina to write the worst poem
ever, to say “fuck you” with a smile on my face.

Tell me something sideways again, hint at it(?)
in the oblique ways that you and I communicate. Write my fate
in the margins, leaving volumes unsaid
between the lines.