In the late 1990s, Craig Klein and Mark Mullins decided that if one trombone can make a New Orleans funk band hot, four could light a fire and take them off the charts. Adding Steve Suter and Rick Trolsen on trombone, Matt Perrine on sousaphone, Bert Cotton on guitar and Eric Bolivar on drums, Klein and Mullins created Bonerama, one of the hottest brass bands in town. The group’s newest album, Bringing It Home, features special guest Stanton Moore on drums and 14 tunes that hit you like a shot of absinthe – strong but smooth and unlike anything else you’ve tried. The intro to “Cabbage Alley” will make you groove in your car on the way to work – even on a Monday – and the bass line supporting the infectious trombones on “Mr. Go” is as funky as it gets.
Fiction l Patty Friedmann, the author of Eleanor Rushing, Secondhand Smoke and Odds, has released a new novel entitled Side Effects. In the N.O. Drugstore, three pharmacy employees juggle the challenges of romance, family and of course, prescriptions. With a cast of characters as colorful and complex as the city of New Orleans, Side Effects gives readers a real dose of local life.
Non-fiction l Not just for tree-huggers! When the abundant waste filling the Mississippi River he cherished disillusioned Illinois native Chad Pregracke, he embarked on a down-river journey of fundraising and river cleaning. After a hopeful corporation donated $8,400 to Pregracke’s cleaning effort, he and a crew of nature enthusiasts began to collect debris of all shapes and sizes from the mighty Mississippi. As his project grew, Pregracke’s work extended not only into other rivers but also into educational workshops and even a tree-planting project. Pregracke co-wrote From the Bottom Up, the story of his river adventures, successes and mishaps with freelance journalist (and river paddler) Jeff Barrow.
Art/Non-fiction l “It is no use denying it. Whether owing partly to the rain or partly to negligence on the part of the city authorities, or partly to both, the streets of New Orleans are disgustingly dirty and horribly dilapidated.” Sounds like an everyday rant, right? Actually, this was written in 1880 by satirical cartoonist and writer Lafcadio Hearn, a Greek-born, Irish-raised immigrant who began his writing career in Ohio before being fired from his newspaper for marrying a black woman. Hearn and his wife moved to New Orleans, where he began to cartoon and muse on Big Easy Culture for the Daily City Item. He eventually moved to Japan, working as a journalist and teacher, even adopting the name Koizumi Yakumo. Now, Hearn expert Delia LaBarre has compiled 181 of his columns in The New Orleans of Lafcadio Hearn. LaBarre, founder of the Lafcadio Hearn/Koizumi International Center of New Orleans, has added helpful tidbits to the acerbically witty columns to place them in their historical context. – Karie Meltzer
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