Paint Party Sunday to Benefit IYTI Art for Toys Swap

Tomorrow will be another beautiful day in New Orleans so take advantage of it and come by and create art to benefit ReX’s annual It’s Yours, Take It Art for Toys Swap. This will be the fifth year IYTI will gather donated toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program. (Click link for more information.) Be a good little elf and create for the kids!

the old XO STUDIOS
the PARK next to 2833 Dauphine Street
(Dauphine and Press Streets… Marigny/Bywater border at the train tracks… New Orleans)
SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 20th – 2011 – NOON until 4ish


NOLA Noteworthy

A random roundup of my personal picks of the best from local blogs and other NOLA-related news.

In Treme news, in response to the last episode, Sam Jasper at the Back of Town blog has written a beautiful and thoughtful post about the culture and tradition of  place and the inevitability of change, “It Just Don’t Smell Right Up In Here”.  Big Chief Albert Lambreaux is showing more of his cantankerous side while in New York recording Indian chants for a proposed record release. The title of the post comes directly from Big Chief’s mouth. Sam writes in part,

“His son has come around to the tradition in his way, but it’s not Albert’s way, and that’s mortality hitting ya in the face. Not just his own, but possibly the old ways, the culture he is so totally self-identified with and by. I know many elderly Native Americans who are terrified that their grandchildren won’t know any of the songs, traditions, creation stories, or medicine ways. In fact, several years ago, I believe it was the Shawnee who were given back sacred objects that had been held at the Smithsonian for a very long time. They let the Smithsonian keep them because no one alive knew what to do with them anymore.”

As an aside,in an earlier thread, Sam talked about the character Aunt MiMi, commenting as how she wanted to be Aunt MiMi. Huh. I’m acquainted with Sam and have heard a few of her stories. I think Aunt MiMi would be thrilled to be her. Sam is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. She’s a born teacher and storyteller who shares her knowledge and life experiences with an open heart, bypassing the need to instruct. I highly recommend her personal blog, NOLA Slate, although she doesn’t post nearly enough to feed this starving reader. (Check out this amazing post.)

Former mayor Ray Nagin released his self-published Katrina memoir last week resulting in a frenzy of blog posts, opinions, tweets and grumblings all over town. The best thing I’ve read hands-down is Michael Homan’s post, “Pharaoh Nagin”. No spoilers here – you must go read it.

Local indie designer Kerry Fitts was featured in the Times-Picayune last Thursday. (Sorry I don’t have a link.) After the earthquake in Japan Kerry allocated a portion of her sales from her Etsy shop to ArkBark, a non-profit group that was rescuing pets left behind in the radiation zone. Shortly thereafter she began exchanging emails about a possible fund-raiser and is traveling to Japan in July to participate in that event. She is donating her original designs for dogs and seeking additional donations from other local crafters. For more info about this amazing woman see my interview with her here.

One of my favorite local blogs is “NOLA Details” where the blogger Carla shares a NOLA-related photo every day. My favorite reoccurring theme on this blog is “Fun Porches” and we surely have plenty of those  here in NOLA so I don’t anticipate she’ll run out of candidates any time soon! Here’s one of  my favorites. Carla has another blog, “Watching NOLA Nature”, described as “Explorations in the urban oasis of New Orleans”. I really like how she zeroes in on the little things that go unnoticed in our every day lives. She reminds us of the wonder of nature and the beauty that is all around us. It’s a great little Zen moment everyday that I really look forward to.

Are you a tweeter? If so, my pick for Tweeter To Follow is @gadboiselensnola for informative up-to-the-minute reports from many of our city services department meetings including the City Council meetings, the City Planning Commission meetings and the Housing and Human Needs Committee meetings (all in the last 12 days!), among many others. Karen has made it so easy for us to keep up with what’s happening it would be a shame not to follow her.

Finally, I want to give a little shout-out to local blog “New Orleans Write Spot” that currently has one of my pieces posted. Susan Prevost (whom I interviewed here) publishes local talent and has the welcome mat out for local writers who are interested in publishing there. It’s a great place to read a bit of poetry and prose and support local talent.

Remember, you can follow us on Twitter and on Delicious to keep up with what we’re talking (also found in the sidebar) about or just wait for here for my random NOLA Noteworthy posts. Take care, y’all.

Update: I just want to add a post on NoLA Rising I read this morning (6/30) about the musical house that’s being created in  Bywater. Internationally known artist Swoon is involved along with many local artists. I recently viewed & photographed a scale model of the house from the street (seen below). Go to ReX’s website to read about it and view the video that details this community-minded event.

ReX Announces: Toys For Tots / It’s Yours, Take It

NoLA Rising has a long history of distributing artwork at no cost to the New Orleans area. After hurricane Katrina, it was a guiding mission of Rex to replace street signs and paint signs of hope for those who had returned to the city. One person made a movement of dozens of artists.
For the fourth installment of New Orleans’ It’s Yours, Take it, Rex would like to continue the practice of a holiday art swap. For the third year in a row, artwork has been created and sent in for a toy for art swap to raise toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. The premise is simple: Someone brings a brand new toy in a box to donate to children and they get to take a piece of art with them. The toys are then donated to the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program for their annual distribution.
Last year, we again had well over 120 toys donated for the cause and had a small garrison of Marines there to support the cause.
The exchange will be Saturday, December 11th from 12:00 to 3:00  pm at the HiHo Lounge, 2239 St. Claude Ave, New Orleans.

New Orleans = A Canvas For Art Post-Katrina

I photographed Rex & friend at a paint party in the St. Roch Community in March of '09

Rex Dingler, creator of NOLA Rising, is interviewed by Where Y’at Magazine on the rise of the activist Nola street art movement that arose post Katrina in our city.

Having access to the city so soon after the devastation caused a sense of panic in Dingler’s mind. A simple phone call from a friend became the starting point for what would result in a post-Katrina street art movement—a movement that would later be named NoLa Rising.

I have my own NOLA Rising art story. I lost my job after the storm when Tenet Health Systems didn’t come back and participate in the rebuilding of our city. In early 2006 I was hired by a local hospital uptown and drove to work everyday down the length of Tchoupitoulas St. On the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Napoleon Ave was a boarded up (as were most) building with a NOLA Rising sign on the door. It was a beautifully multi-colored sign that gave me hope each day as I passed through the streets of a still broken city lined with flooded-out cars and garbage. The day the sign was gone was a sad one for me – it had given me hope each day that one day our city would be back.

Dingler painted on any bit of scrap wood he could find. Thousands of signs were popping up all over the city. Most were simple road markers, but others were messages of hope.

I said it before and I’ll say it again. Thanks, Rex, for all you’ve done and continue to do for the people of New Orleans. You’re a pretty cool guy.

“To me, the most valuable thing in becoming socially visible through the artwork I put up is standing up as a voice of expression in our city when people are trying to take the artist voice away,” he later noted. “That’s when I learned that not only my voice is important, but everyone’s voice is important, no matter what the persecution is going to be.” ~~Rex Dingler