LETTERS READ is a series of live events in which local performing artists interpret personal letters written by culturally vital individuals from various times and New Orleans communities and is an ongoing series presented by stationer Nancy Sharon Collins and Antenna.
LETTERS READ: Veterans Day strives to find the little moments where lives of military service members and civilians intersect.
Saturday, November 11th, 2017
6:30 to 8:30pm
1901 Mirabeau Avenue, New Orleans
Admission is free and open to the public.
Readings focus on love letters from The National World War II Museum, letters from United States Army Air Force officer Francis I. Cervantes (courtesy of THNOC Williams Research Center) to his mother while training for and serving in WWII and courting his new bride, and correspondence between the all-woman World War I initiative that organized, administrated, and served in the Newcomb Relief Unit overseas.
The evening features emcee Chris Kaminstein, Co-Artistic Director of Goat in the Road Productions (GRP), with original music composed and presented by Peter J. Bowling, also ensemble member of GRP. Readers include Ashton Akridge, Thespian and burlesque historian, and another GRP ensemble member, Mack Guillory III.
LETTERS READ gratefully presents the Veterans Day event at Bastion, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the intentionally designed community for returning warriors and families in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans.
*The above image shows a child’s miniature replication of U.S. Army wool, roll collar overcoat similar to the original “olive drab” outer garment first issued 1927, revised 1939 and 1942, and issued to every soldier along with their service uniform through and after World War II. This coat, and accessories, were made in approximately 1945 by the wife of an army officer during WWII for their young son in a time when patriotism was a strong American sentiment.
LETTERS READ: Letters of Regret celebrates the visual form of human rejection, giving public voice to those words that can be most difficult to write or read.
Wednesday, September 13th
6:30pm at Antenna Gallery
3718 Saint Claude Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70117
Admission is free and open to the public.
This evening features regrets from the personal correspondence of:
Christopher Louis Romaguera
Nancy Sharon Collins
Barbara Hammond (read by Ryn Wilson)
During the evening we will also celebrate the release of the new book by Antenna’s Press Street Press, entitled Letters featuring the personal correspondence of Barbara Hammond to her niece, New Orleans based photographer Ryn Wilson. The book pairs the letters with Wilson’s photos of the era.
*Transcription of the photo-montage at the beginning of this article reads as follows:
I am on my way to California[.]
[P.S.] I have no ideas as to what to say.”
Thursday, June 29th, 2017, 6:30-8pm
30 Guests Maximimum
Letters Read: The Hermann & Grima family letters
Hermann-Grima House, 820 St. Louis Street
Tickets at the door are $10 Regular Admission / $7 Seniors / $5 Members
June 29 readings are by thespian and burlesque historian Ashton Akridge, Big Easy Award winner Richard Mayer, along with a relative newcomer on the New Orleans theatre scene, Aaron Richert, currently performing in Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre.
This event gives a special glimpse into the personal lives of a few, well to do, French Quarter residents from the antebellum era to battlefield accounts during the Civil War. Readings also include: a love triangle resulting in a duel, antiquated healthcare techniques such as blood letting with leeches and home made small pox remedies—and—the occasional personal request (heavily paraphrased here) “dear brother…while you’re out and about during your Parisian stay, would you mind picking up for me a little opium?”
In addition to Hermann-Grima+ Gallier Historic Houses (HGGHH) staff, several institutions and individuals are instrumental in making this Letters Read segment possible: Jenny Dyer, Education Director, HGGHH, Nicole Horne, Tulane University doctoral candidate for translating, editing, and notating some of the letters, Tulane University Howard-Tilton Memorial Library and The Historic New Orleans Collection Williams Research Center (WRC) where some of the letters are housed. Thanks also to M. L. Eichhorn, Senior Reference Associate at WRC, and Dr. Adrienne McFaul helping formulate the evening’s introduction.
For the inaugural event, we are excited to present a program with the letters of Lafcadio Hearn. The evening will feature sociologist Dr. Adrienne McFaul providing some context for the letters, with readings from Ashton Akridge and Big Easy Award winner Richard Mayer.
Hearn is often credited with popularizing New Orleans in the late 1800’s through articles in Scribner’s, Harper’s Weekly, Cosmopolitan, The Century Magazine, and Harper’s Bazaar, describing the mystique and intrigue of the city to the rest of the world. Hearn wrote of New Orleans:
“There are few who can visit her for the first time without delight; and few who can ever leave her without regret; and none who can forget her strange charm when they have once felt its influence. To a native of the bleaker Northern clime—if he have any poetical sense of the beautiful in nature, any love of bright verdure and luxuriance of landscape—the approach to the city by river, must be in itself something indescribably pleasant. The white steamer gliding through an unfamiliar world of blue and green . . . the waving cane; the evergreen fringe of groves weird with moss . . . as though one were sailing to some far-off glimmering Eden.”
The letters also provide an unedited glimpse into Hearn’s world, which contains language and thoughts that may offend. A special thanks to Loyola University New Orleans Special Collections & Archives, for providing letters from their Lafcadio Hearn Correspondence Collection, and to Michael Zell for hosting the event at Crescent City Books.
The series premiered during Antenna::SignalsNo.5
Wednesday, May 17 at 6:30 PM – 9 PM
Signals No. 5: Loss & Found
at A Studio In The Woods
13401 Patterson Road
$10 (Free for Signals Subscribers)
For more information, call Antenna: 504-298-3161
As part of this Signals event, Letters Read will be introduced with a reading of one of the Lafcadio Hearn letters. Also presented will be a letter from A Studio In The Woods founder Lucianne Carmichael to sculptor Lin Emery.