In no particular order:
- I go to the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival every year, except when there is a cruel twist of fate and one of my work trips must come then. I think that has only happened once or twice in the last 20 years, but it seemed like a betrayal to my own spring routine. Clearly I never forgot it.
- I often pay for a panel pass but just as often I volunteer (and know to expect excellent volunteer supervision from Karissa) which means I get that pass for my (few) hours of work, which is so very much appreciated. I’d like to see the volunteer numbers beefed up a bit and some experienced folks given titled jobs ( I see some of the same people each year). And maybe volunteers can get free theater tickets or a panel pass to encourage those with different interests?
- One time I purchased a more expensive pass that gave me access to the Master Classes which just seemed like more panels, except held on Thursday. However, I often also purchase a single ticket to a theater offering or a special event; this year, I would have gone to see Poppy Tooker, but her event sold out early. Honestly, I think getting the panel pass and individual tickets is the only way to go, unless you rich or need to get your name on the thank you list.
- I often skip the Stella Yella (think its actually called the Stella Yell Off) on Jackson Square ‘cuz the crowd is HUGE now and unless you are on a balcony or camped out for hours, you cannot see it. And also, sometimes the yelling intensity is frightening and I start to get concerned for the actors. (Is there an ambulance nearby in case someone pops a vessel?)
- When I first started to attend the Fest (around 2000), I knew no one and happily sat there invisibly, listening, daydreaming and taking notes. Now, I know many of the attendees as my neighbors, and others from doing civic work around the city. I’m not sure I prefer one mode over the other; my time as a observer was sweet and now my time as a chatterer in the hallways is fine too. I just never want to be one of those people who only talk to each other. You know who they are.
- Williams Center @ HNOC has been a great addition to the venues. I think Kenneth Holditch’s Walking Tours have attracted new people to the Fest.
- Over the years, the effort to add new voices and different perspectives has worked reasonably well. The attention to POC and gender-fluid writers and performers has definitely grown and is treated with dignity and thoughtfulness. However, some panel topics have worn a bit thin (isn’t there a better way of offering indy publishing perspective than that one 3-person panel?) and yet the stuff about Tennessee and his work seem to be constantly updating and offering some new perspectives.
- What happened to the literary world panels? Am I wrong in thinking there used to be more literary agents, editors etc discussing the book publishing world?
- Why not more on simply the world of theater, either here in New Orleans or across the US?
- I do like the contests (one-act, poetry etc) , but think we can learn hear more about the process and the contestants during the regular panels.
- The Saints and Sinners programming is a welcome addition to supporting writers of more genres.
- Suggestions: I’d like to see some more (gasp!) TWO person panels or even straight interviews with one author/playwright. And why not show Streetcar each year in the Quarter on the last night, maybe projected in the Square?
- Master Class as actual classes? More programming outside of this weekend? theater offerings at schools? TW short story book club at area libraries? (although a shout out to the WriteNow program held during the fest is necessary…)
- More used books for sale? How about giving our front line folks (i.e. booksellers at the bookshops around town) a few free tickets to a single panel? so many of them are working writers and of course talk to many literate folks every day and so can spread the word about TWLF.
- and this is sort of self-serving, but I think TWLF should encourage more bloggers, tweeters, occasional writers to participate and to write about those on the panels, their works and the entire deal.
Still, in a hurried world of shouting candidates and Kardashians, Tennessee reminds us to care for our sensitive souls. So, knowing there is one more day is a pleasant way to end today: