Ann Wehner has just completed her second stained glass rendition of a children’s book by local author Eloise Huber. The book — “The Goose With The Golden Legs” — is Huber’s second.
Wehner says she was “excited and challenged” by the particular difficulties posed by this new stained glass work.
“How to handle [the goose’s] eyes, with long, black eye lashes and sun glasses, and the long, braided pig-tails, required a bit of thought. The pig-tail problem was resolved by combining some of the loops (meaning that instead of using lots of little pieces of glass, Wehner cut a few longer pieces with rounded edges and covered these edges with copper foil).
“The sun glasses required small but do-able pieces, which I chose to do in an irridized glass (that is, glass with a reflective quality, similar to the inside of an oyster shell), hoping to make them flash and glitter in various light sources.
“But those eye lashes? No way! [Eventually] I found a black paint that could be painted on glass and baked in an oven to retain the small lines [that look like] ‘painted-on’ black eyelashes.”
Huber’s husband commissioned Wehner to do this second work for the couple’s wedding anniversary at the end of July. The project was made to be the same size as the earlier work; thus the two stained glass projects can now hang side-by-side in the Huber’s kitchen window.
The Goose with the Golden Legs is Huber’s second children’s book. It’s a rhyming story about Miss Goosie Galore, a goose who learns to use her super-fast talent to be a good friend.
The illustrations for the book were created by local artist Robbie Austin, who is the Fine Arts Survey and media arts teacher at St. Louis Catholic High School.
You can pick up Huber’s books in Expressions, Gordon’s, PaperSmith, Mae Mae’s and The Paisley Peach in Moss Bluff.
Even in a place with a small town atmosphere, it’s possible to find the rare and exotic thing if one stays on the lookout for it.
You may or may not know that the Calcasieu Parish Library has an enormous collection of documentaries. Among the collection are works by such renowned documentarians as The Maysles, Errol Morris and Werner Herzog. A few weeks ago, I ran across an obscure little number titled The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press (2007) by director Wayne Ewing.
The documentary tells the story of modern-day bohemians Jon and Gypsy Lou Webb, who took up residence in New Orleans’ French Quarter in the 1940s and started publishing the avant-garde magazine The Outsider there in the 1960s. At the time, The Outsider promoted itself as a “no-taboo quarterly.”
During the day, Gypsy Lou sold her paintings on Royal Street. At night, she typed out the pages of The Outsider.
The first issue was made up of 125 pages of experimental writing, including poems by such “beat” writers as Lawrence Ferlinghetti and William Burroughs. The Webbs sold 3,000 copies of the magazine.
Jon Webb had previously done time for robbery. When he was in jail, he worked for the jail’s printing office, where he learned about printers that worked without electricity. The Webbs hand-printed each page of all 3,000 magazines in their first run. After the first issue, they acquired a wrought-iron press than was operated with a hand crank.
These days, the Webbs are probably best known for being the ones who introduced the writings of Charles Bukowski to the world. Their Loujon Press published the first two volumes of Bukowski’s poetry. Sales were brisk.
Bukowski lived in N.O. at the time and hung out and drank with the Webbs. (When Bukowski wrote his famous novel Post Office — which presented his meditations on the horrors of finding and keeping full-time employment — he was writing about his experiences of working in the New Orleans Post Office.)
The Webbs devoted their fanciest and most experimental printing to works by Henry Miller. Their first Henry Miller book, Order and Chaos, included pages made out of such materials as Mexican bark and cork paper. Many pages were of varying sizes and in varying hues of bright colors. The work came in a hand-made box. Critics loved it. But some in the public thought the production was too artsy and elaborate for a literary text. The original work sold for $60. One copy can bring as much as $850 today.
The next big book from Loujon was an even more elaborate production of another Miller book, Insomnia. This time, the book came in a foam rubber bed that lay inside a large handmade wooden box. Prints of four of Miller’s paintings came with the book. Miller was among those who thought the production was just too much for a literary book. (When the properties of Gypsy Lou and her sister were seriously injured during Hurricane Katrina, the remaining copies of this special editions were among the items auctioned for $150,000 to raise money for the sisters.)
The strikingly beautiful Gypsy Lou was the inspiration for many creative figures, including Bob Dylan, who wrote his 1963 song “Gypsy Lou” about her. Bohemian or not, Gypsy Lou was a one-man woman, and got in the habit of turning down proposals when Jon died in 1971.
Gypsy Lou was in her 90s when The Outsiders of New Orleans was filmed in 2007. She showed director Ewing around the French Quarter, pointing out who lived where. Occasionally, she ran into old timers who remembered her tales of beatnik glory. But, sadly, even in 2007, she and her old friends reported that most of the players from the N.O. beat days were long dead.
I can’t find any record of Gypsy Lou’s death on the internet. If she is alive today, she is 101. There’s a Facebook page from six years ago titled “Celebrating Gypsy Lou Webb on her 95th Birthday.”
As I mentioned, you can get the documentary right here in the public library. If you want to know more of the story, try the book Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press by Jeff Weddle (published by University Press of Mississippi in 2007).
Won’t Get Fooed Again
A few weeks ago, some in Lake Charles were taken aback when it was announced that the Foo Fighters were performing at a Lake Charles venue on a certain night. I was one of them. When I saw the announcement, I quickly assigned a writer to do a piece about the Foo Fighters. Thank goodness I found out in time that the Foo Fighters were performing in Belgium the night they were supposed to be playing in Lake Charles. The band that showed up at the Lake Charles Venue was just some cover band that played Foo Fighter songs.
That wouldn’t be worth mentioning were it not for the fact that the same thing just happened in Baton Rouge. One LSU law student Tweeted “JDiCharia says Foo Fighters coming to BR. But it’s only a FF tribute band.” He joked about the matter, calling the announcement of the band “fake news.”
We’ll see whether this trend goes on. But for the time being, if the act you’re planning to see in Lake Charles sounds too good to be true, it might not be a bad idea to determine in advance that you’re really going to see what you think you are.
Cassidy Lucks Out
Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy pulled off quite a coup when he co-authored an anti-Obamacare health bill with Sen. Lindsay Graham. Graham is one of the oldest and most powerful people in the Senate. There must be a reason he decided to work on such high-profile legislation with a newbie (or noob, as the young gamers say).
Also important for Cassidy is that he’s learning at the feet of the master of straddling the fence; buttering both sides of the bread — whatever you want to call it. Graham strokes the anti-Trump people by screaming at a bunch of reporters about how horrible the anti-Obamacare bill is. Then he strokes the pro-Trump people by walking right into the Senate and voting for the anti-Obamacare bill. He gets to be an independent rebel and a true believer at the same time. Sweet. Cassidy should be so lucky.
Cassidy probably won’t become famous because his name is on this bill. This bill will very likely go down in flames like all the others and for the same reason — it makes huge cuts in federal funding for Medicaid.
Americans have a love/hate relationship with government entitlements. They hate entitlements that other people get, but they love the entitlements they get. Everybody knows that even super-rich people refuse to give up a penny of their Social Security entitlements. If you don’t believe that, and you’re a politician, try voting against funding of Social Security and see what happens.
Make Immigrants American Again
Down at Trey Trey’s Mud Bogging Emporium in Wagon Rut, everybody’s talking about this new immigration proposal. They say the basic idea is that in the future, immigrants should only get into the U.S. if they know English and have a fair amount of money. It sounds like the short and long of it is we’re only going to let in people who are basically Americans already.
But will this new policy really accomplish that? Take the new English requirement. Any good student can learn English by studying hard and going to good schools — even schools in Iran or Qatar or Venezuela. But is it enough just to know English? Is the kind of English those people know really American English?
I suspect it is not. What we need is an immigration policy that requires immigrants to prove they know English phrases that only Americans use. New immigrants need to demonstrate they understand the meaning of such turns of phrase as “I been knowin’ him,” “up side head,” “up crick” and “djywanna” [“Do you want to?”].
Does the would-be American know what a “ground rule double” is? Does he know what a “nose tackle” is? Hell, does he even know what a “tackle” is? No? He only knows about soccer? Put him back on the boat!
As for the money part — is it really American just to have money? What in the world is the point of letting in some guy who has money but isn’t spending it on American stuff?
We need to determine that the immigrants buy exactly the same stuff real Americans do. And what do real Americans buy? Well, they buy big bags of Doritos, extra fries, 52-ounce Styrofoam cups of Coca-Cola (but they don’t call it “Coca-Cola” — watch for that red flag!), Hot Pockets, Baconators, Triple Whoppers, Cookie Dough Dream Master Blasts, anything with ranch dressing, any canned drinks from Monster, Steel Reserve, Swisher Sweets and Galaxy cell phones. All of that is American.
If a guy has money but he isn’t buying any of that stuff, why is he pretending to be an American? Could he be a threat? What’s the point of letting in some guy who seems to have a lot of green but spends it on “halva” or “hummus” or “baklava” or other stuff with funny names that no self-respecting American would think about tasting? I say put a Krispy Kreme stand in the immigration office. If they don’t drop money there, put ‘em back on the boat!
Funniest Tweet Of The Issue
“How old am I? Let’s just say: old enough to see @TheB52s go from New York avant-garde to @Gretnafest.” That was Tweeted by N.O. Gambit editor Kevin Allman Aug. 4. I think maybe the B52s were more Athens avant-garde than New York avant-garde, but the point was well taken. I also saw that Kiss was playing at Gretna Fest. The connection between Kiss and Gretna is obvious.
“‘Game of Thrones’: Get your newsletter, ‘Postcards From Westeros’
“Signup to get all the news from the Seven Kingdoms every Monday. No ravens required.” — headline and subhead from USA Today, Aug. 4.
“What ‘Game of Thrones’ tells us about trauma” — headline from CNN, Aug. 7.
“Spoilers: ‘GoT’ characters collide in battle royal” — another headline from CNN, also on Aug. 7.
“Fate of key Thrones character left in Limbo” — and, finally, believe it or not, a third Game of Thrones headline published by CNN on Aug. 7. The network did have some news on other topics that day.