This is an open-ended blog ranging from news about my latest gigs and publications
to ruminations about politics, world affairs, culture and whatever piques my interest—or ire.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


How the mighty have fallen! Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 62, the director of the International Monetary Fund and, until this week, front-runner in France's 2012 presidential election, now sits in a jail cell on Rikers Island, accused of attempted rape, sexual aggressions and unlawful imprisonment allegedly committed against a New York hotel maid last Saturday. This incredible, improbable scenario has thrown the French political landscape into chaos, with the unpopular incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy rubbing his hands over his suddenly improved chances, far-right leader Marine Le Pen gloating over Strauss-Kahn's "pathological" behavior, and the defendant's Socialist Party colleagues scrambling to see who will replace him as their standard bearer--all the while preaching an innocent-till-proven-guilty line. It all sounds like the plot of an international thriller. And what if it is all a fiction?
Read my commentary on this point on Vanity Fair's website:

Friday, May 13, 2011


For those of you who missed the "world premiere" at Tulane's Dixon Hall one year ago, Le Chat Noir theater is presenting a reprise of the stage show based on "Song For My Fathers." The multimedia show features readings and narration by yours truly; music by the Preservation Hall All-Stars; and projections of rare archival photos and videos depicting the legendary jazz players—George Lewis, Sweet Emma Barrett, Punch Miller and many others—who taught me about their music and their humanity nearly a half century ago. Show dates: May 13-15; 21, 22

Online reservations on the Chat Noir site:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


On Tuesday, Director Ron Rona ran us smoothly through a full rehearsal of our "Song For My Fathers" stage show at the Chat Noir. Those who saw the premiere at Tulane's Dixon Hall last spring should enjoy it even more in the intimate setting of this well-known cabaret theater in downtown New Orleans. The front tables practically touch the edge of the compact stage. At one point, the band weaves through the tables in a second-line parade that brings the audience right into the action. As in the original show, I am seated on a stool stage right, narrating the story of a young boy's magical apprenticeship with clarinetist George Lewis the other jazz greats at Preservation Hall. The Preservation Hall All-Stars band occupies center stage and delivers musical interludes that bring my memories to life. On a screen mounted at right of the stage, vintage videos and still pictures from the 1950s and 60s present dramatic images of the unforgettable people and places described in the narrative. One touch that I find particularly
intriguing is the young man who plays me circa 1963: journalist and clarinetist Zach Young. Watching "myself" sit in with George Lewis at the Hall for the first time is, for me, an eerie and strangely moving experience. But you have to see it for yourself. Le Chat Noir, 715 St. Charles Ave., May 13, 14, 15, 21, 22; 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 6 pm on Sundays.