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louis mayeux
A journalist, poet and all-around handyman in the literary trades, I've been publishing the Bookman for a decade.
Interests: sports, theater, poetry, fiction, journalism, piano, music, writing, movies. My favorite poets include Robert Lowell, John Keats, William Matthews, Turner Cassity. Favorite writers are F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, William Shakespeare, William Styron.
Recent Activity
British actor Jeremy Irons' readings bring new dimensions to T.S. Eliot's poems. I recently ordered the four-CD set of Irons' performance of Eliot's poems. Knowing the poems, I felt a strong sense of recognition from Irons' reading, like encountering a dear friend after a long absence. Irons also made the poems seem new and strange. The recordings were originally made for BBC's Channel 4, which indicates the cultural gap between public broadcasting in Britain and here. Irons' interpretation of my favorite poem, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock," was disappointing. The poem on the page has a distinctive voice,... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Southern Bookman
America has a great tradition of home-grown piano players, ranging from jazz to country, boogie-woogie and Western swing. Ace Texas pianist Floyd Domino gives encyclopedic tutorials of the instrument's traditions and playing techniques in several You Tube videos. The Internet abounds with piano lessons, but Domino's are the most useful and entertaining I've found. Domino, whose real name is Jim Haber, made the videos with Lawrence Wright, author of the recent book "God Save Texas," an autobiographical portrait of the Lone Star state, reviewed in Southern Bookman earlier this week.Wright, who plays in a band, takes piano lessons from Domino.... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Southern Bookman
Can Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong save the Los Angeles Times? Soon-Shiong this week closed his purchase of the troubled newspaper from the Chicago-based Tronc Corp., returning the Times to local control. He immediately hired former Bloomberg, Time and Wall Street Journal executive Norman Pearlstine, 75, as executive editor. With no previous newspaper experience, Soon-Shiong had turned to Pearlstine for advice after making the purchase. Soon-Shiong also spoke with former L.A. Times chief Dean Baquet, now running The New York Times, and Washington Post editor Marty Baron. Pearlstine will be a steady hand, calming the newspaper's staff that grew so agitated under... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Southern Bookman
This is the art of the deal. A child crying for her father. Another child begging to call her aunt. She's memorized her aunt's telephone number. "Papa, papa," the first child keeps screaming. This is the art of the deal. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Southern Bookman
Once a separate republic, Texas boasts that it's bigger, better and friendlier than the rest of America. Texas native Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and New Yorker staff writer who has chosen to live in Austin rather than New York City or Los Angeles, examines his home state in "God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State." Heralded for his book on Sept. 11, "The Looming Tower," and reviled by Scientologists for his expose of their religion, Wright in "God Save Texas" takes an affectionate look at Texas, blending his impressive reporting skills with... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Southern Bookman
D.J. Fontana was the drummer for the Louisiana Hayride's house band when a young Tennessee sensation named Elvis Presley appeared on the Saturday night radio show broadcast from Shreveport, La. When Presley performed at the Hayride in 1954, he had made his first ground-breaking recordings for Sam Phillips' Sun Records, backed by guitarist Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black. Presley liked Fontana's backbeat, and after the Hayride performance, asked Fontana to join the band. As with drummer Ringo Starr and the Beatles nearly a decade later, Fontana's drums were a shot of rocket fuel. Backed by Fontana's beat and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2018 at Southern Bookman
I think about William Styron's "Sophie's Choice" when I watch reports of immigrant children being removed from their mothers on the southwestern U.S, border. Styron's book revealed the horror of a Nazi officer forcing a mother to make the choice of which of her children to save. Now, the officious inhumanity envisioned by Styron defines U.S. policy. Families must decide whether to leave a repressive Central American society or risk losing their children in a country once known as the home of the brave and the land of the free. One of the great inhumanities of American slavery was the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2018 at Southern Bookman
U.S. Open week has come around again. The championship concludes each year on Fathers' Day, but for me it's Christmas in June. This year, I'll be watching with one eye after completing the first fairway of cataract surgery Thursday as the boys begin play at dear old Shinnecock Hills. The prevailing theme as the open returns to the historic course on Long Island is that the USGA needs to "get it right" after several disasters that have hurt the tournament's prestige. Lamentable experiments at Chambers Bay and Erin Hills, newer courses that fell short of open standards, dismayed lovers of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2018 at Southern Bookman
After years of listening to Village Vanguard recordings, especially Bill Evans' 1961 "Sunday at the Village Vanguard," I finally made it to the intimate New York City jazz club in the frigid first week of April. I looked around to see if Lorraine Gordon were there. I didn't notice anyone who matched my mental picture of the woman who'd nurtured the club like a small, beautiful garden. In my mind's eye, I imagined her sitting at her customary place at a corner table, moving her head to the music's beat. Gordon died at age 95 Saturday, following a stroke. Until... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2018 at Southern Bookman
The Tonys honored the quiet and emotionally complex "A Band's Visit" Sunday night over the tourist-bait glitz of "Mean Girls"and "Sponge Bob Square Pants." The numbers from "Mean Girls" and "Square Bob" were among the worst ever broadcast on the show. Watching the horrible Broadway schmaltz, I wished for the stage to open up and swallow the performers. Katrina Lenk's beautiful singing to the inscrutable Tony Shalhoub in the "Omar Sharif" number from "A Band's Visit" showed theatrical subtlety, imagination, and lyrical complexity. Lenk's words and Shalhoub's emotions playing upon his face illustrated the shared humanity of Arabs and Israelis... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Mired in a traffic jam in the heart of Buckhead, I had doubts about ambitions to make the area a walkable urban oasis. The effort to turn Buckhead into a mini-Manhattan is lurching forward with construction of another high-rise near the triangle where Buckhead supposedly was founded. Near the traffic chokepoint where Atlanta's signature Peachtree Road veers away from Roswell Road and West Paces Ferry juts in, the new colossus rises where low-rise buildings once stood, housing longtime Buckhead businesses like Chuck's Firearms, Hi-Fi Buys and the Fish Hawk. The new building abuts San Diego developer OliverMcMillan's shops of Buckhead,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2018 at Southern Bookman
The media industry's turmoil has now ensnared the New Yorker. Copy editors, web designers and other staffers at the venerable magazine are joining the New York Guild, the journalistic union that represents workers at a range of publications, including The New York Times. Rival New York magazine reported that the union petition sent to editor David Remnick was caused by wrenching changes at Conde Nast, the New Yorker's parent company. The accompanying image of New Yorker icon Eustace Tilley comes from New York's article. Conde Nast has cut staff at once ad-rich magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue. The cost-saving... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2018 at Southern Bookman
The Wall Street Journal's abrupt change of top editors has journalism followers wondering what the future holds for Rupert Murdoch's prestigious business newspaper. WSJ veteran Matt Murray will replace Gerard Baker as editor, the newspaper unexpectedly announced on Tuesday. Murray takes over Monday, while Baker will write a weekend column and host a TV show and special events. In an article on the shakeup, chief WSJ rival The New York Times noted that Baker had upset the WSJ newsroom with claims that articles were unfair to Donald Trump. The Times noted that a number of reporters had left the newspaper... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2018 at Southern Bookman
A mild June morning. Voices from the condominium swimming pool. A mother and children, laughing. Summer sounds of swimming. The blueness of the water. Sign by the road at the nature center: Critters crossing. Small children at camp walking in line through the woods. The young man leading the hike, carrying a walking stick, calls out names as they reach the top. A girl with blond hair, wearing a turquoise blue cap. A tiny bird hopping to a puddle. The surprise of a lone butterfly, rising and falling above the overgrown foliage. Young black woman in an orange vest, delivering... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2018 at Southern Bookman
I started watching "The Americans" with the series finale. The FX series starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as undercover Russian spies in Washington, D.C., had tempted me from the beginning. But I kept resisting the show. The immense media attention given the series' end bade me to leap in and watch the last episode on "On Demand." Knowing little or nothing about the characters, I still found the finale compelling. Then I decided to watch the penultimate episode to try to discover what led to the Jennings' leaving the United States for their home in Russia. Now, I've backtracked... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2018 at Southern Bookman
The publication of Seymour M. Hersh's memoirs on Tuesday will jolt the publishing/journalism world. Hersh, who gained fame for uncovering the Vietnam War's My Lai Massacre, is the model for American investigative reporting, inheriting the mantle from I.F. Stone. Adding to his renown, Hersh also broke another big story of American war atrocities in the Third World, exposing the Abu Ghraib torture in Iraq for the New Yorker. The buzz surrounding Hersh's "Reporter" rose with an article in Monday's New York Times, which for some reason ran on the Business page rather than in the Arts section, where book features... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's campaign to remove Confederate monuments from the Crescent City thrust him into the national spotlight. Landrieu's recent book "In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History" gives his account of the legal and political battle to remove the monuments against intense conservative opposition. The book also offers autobiographical details of his youth and political career as a state legislator, Louisiana lieutenant governor and two terms as mayor. Here are some take-aways from the book: Winning case: Landrieu demolishes conservative justifications for the memorials with unassailable moral, legal, historical and political arguments. The... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2018 at Southern Bookman
The Great Barrier Reef is dying. Environmental activist Bill McKibben sounds the death knell in a piece for the New Yorker's web site. The huge coral system's rapid demise is the most acute warning system for the Earth. Yet, as McKibben details, political leaders considered environmentally conscious are acting to increase carbon emissions. Canada's Justin Trudeau recently announced that his government will develop a pipeline to transport oil from Alberta's tar sands to the Pacific Coast. California's Jerry Brown has boosted his approvals of drilling permits. As the Great Barrier Reef bleaches away, Australia takes ineffective action, as McKibben details.... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Studs Terkel gained national fame for his best-selling oral history books, including"Division Street," "Working" and "The Good War." In his home of Chicago, Terkel was known as an actor, and radio and TV personality. For 45 years, Terkel did an hourly interview show on the Chicago station WFMT-FM. Tape recordings of Terkel's interviews, ranging from ordinary people throughout the world to major artists, writers, musicians, actors and political leaders, are now available for free online. The deteriorating tapes are being preserved in digitized form. At present, 1,800 of the recordings have been released. Eventually, 5,600 shows will be available for... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Basketball was once a beautiful game. Now, even the NBA conference finals have deteriorated into a quagmire of missed shots, turnovers, and bad passes. In Golden State's ugly win over the Houston Rockets in game 7 of the Western Conference finals Monday, Warriors coach Steve Kerr complained to a TV reporter about his team's bad play in the first quarter. The Rockets built up a good lead, even with their lauded point guard Chris Paul out with a hamstring injury. Then, the Rockets fell apart in the second half, missing an unbelievable 27 straight three-point attempts. The Warriors began looking... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Maybe I'm being too much swayed by the adoring national media, but I'm beginning to think that Stacey Abrams can win the Georgia governorship. The AJC reported that Abrams and challenger Stacey Evans together drew only 50,000 fewer votes in the Democratic primary than several GOP candidates amassed in theirs. That was even more impressive considering the Republicans had a more competitive race, leading to a runoff between former Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and former Secretary of State Brian Kemp. A win by ultraconservative "Jethro" Kemp might push moderate, business-oriented Republicans to vote for Abrams, despite her progressive program. That... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Clint Walker's portrayal of the lonesome wandering cowboy Cheyenne Bodie gave me some of my strongest childhood memories as a steadfast watcher of early TV. Walker, who also performed in a number of movies, including the "Dirty Dozen," died at age 90 in Grass Valley, Calif., according to a New York Times obituary. Other sources said he was 91. The laconic 6-6 Walker gave Bodie an engaging gentleness, although like the similarly strapping and gentlemanly Lucas McCain in "The Rifleman," Cheyenne often was forced to mow down a bad guy or two. Or many. When possible, Cheyenne resolved conflicts with... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Philip Roth died Tuesday night at age 85, about a week after Tom Wolfe's death. Roth was a pure novelist and masterful short story writer whose work stands among the highest achievements of American literature. As with Wolfe's journalism, Roth in books like "Portnoy's Complaint" and "Sabbath's Theater" expanded the American language and the possibilities of writing. Like great American writers from Mark Twain to William Faulkner, Willa Cather, John Updike and Saul Bellow, Roth found in the small culture in which he grew up universal stories significant to a range of readers. Like other great writers, he invented comic,... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2018 at Southern Bookman
Billy Cannon will receive a hero's farewell Wednesday from the city and university that raised and revered him. LSU's Heisman Trophy winner, whose 89-yard punt return against Ole Miss on Halloween night in 1959 will be replayed as long as college football exists, will be honored with a public visitation and funeral at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. After news of Cannon's death spread across LSU's global community Sunday morning, Cannon's family said his service would be private. The outpouring of community love must have been too great. His life of fame, disgrace and redemption was like a Greek tragedy.... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2018 at Southern Bookman
The nationally watched Two Staceys governor's race in the Georgia Democratic primary comes to a close Tuesday, with black candidate Stacey Abrams expected to win over white challenger Stacey Evans. An Abrams victory will draw attention to the size of her turnout, and its racial/gender composition. An unusually large number of primary voters will indicate an even bigger showing in the fall and whether she has any shot at breaking the Republicans' hold on the governor's office. While Evans has followed the usual Democratic strategy of appealing to moderate white suburbanites, Abrams has pitched her campaign to black/Latino voters she's... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2018 at Southern Bookman