Sunday, May 15, 2016
Every year, I attend a popular music festival here in New Orleans. I buy my tickets as soon as they go on sale and count down the days until I can pack my bag for the day and go. I’m sure someone out there is thinking… Why would a person who can’t see or hear well want to go to a music festival? I get asked this question all the time. After all, the tickets aren’t cheap, and the conditions at the festival can be problematic with weather that can range from unremitting heat to violent rain storms. So let me tell you why I go. Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived two lives. There was the life before, and then there is my life now. Dividing these two lives is an event I like to call “The Big Quiet.” AKA when I lost my hearing. I grew up blind and hearing. I had one goal and one only— to be a musician. I played in the band, I sang in the choir, I took music lessons and when I was not singing, or thinking about singing, I was listening to other people singing. Obviously, I don’t do that any more. About ten years ago, I moved back to New Orleans after being evacuated to Memphis, TN. after hurricane Katrina and the subsequent failure of the federal levee system. Six weeks after my return to New Orleans, I became profoundly deaf. There was quite a bit of mold in the city at this time, and my immune system didn’t handle that so well, and my body basically ate itself— damaging my inner ear which is responsible for both hearing and balance. So, obviously things changed for me… Back to Jazzfest… As part of an effort of accessibility, a person who is deaf— or deafblind can request ASL interpretation for performances. I wait with great anticipation for the announcement of who will be performing at Jazzfest. This year, I went for two days. On Friday, I was going to see Irma Thomas and Paul Simon. Saturday was Big Fredia and Stevie Wonder. I have been going to this festival for so long that I know most of the interpreters. I arrived on Friday and went to chat with folks at the access tent. After grabbing lunch— half of the fun of Jazzfest is the food, I went with one interpreter to the stage where Irma Thomas was performing. I sit right next to the stage, in front of a small table, upon which my interpreters and I can rest our elbows. Soleil had a tarpaulin to lay on which kept her out of the mud. Irma was great as always and Soleil had a nap. Thankfully, her snoring could not be heard over the music. Next came the highlight of my experience— Paul Simon. I grew up listening to his music— if my childhood can be said to have a soundtrack, a great deal of the music on it would be his. The interpreters don’t just interpret the music. They describe the artist, the stage, the audience, and anything else that is happening. He sang all of the good old songs, and during the concert, with my hands atop those of my interpreters, I felt like I stood upon a bridge connecting my former life to my current one. I can be deaf and still have music. Here are three videos showing me with my interpreters: 50 ways https://youtu.be/g80oOYmgLGc The Boxer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YCVDZlh5Ko The Sound of Silence https://youtu.be/WGMJDLbLrQk It’s not just the interpreters that make the experience for me. There are smells— food, perfumes, and of course someone’s joint. The wind blows and I can feel the sun upon my face. All of these things together make a wonderful sensory experience. The next day was scheduled to pour down rain. I packed my bags again and headed to the festival. The first event of the day was a trip to the art exhibits with one of my interpreters. There were so many things there to touch and I bought some items to send home to my family, so I can’t write about them here! Needless to say, there were many different kinds of art and artists, from sculpture to clothing. Then of course, more food! By that point, it was time to head to the stage for Big Fredia. I didn’t know who that was before attending the concert so read the Wikipedia article about him. My coworkers said I would need to learn to do the Twerking dance which I learned, involves much shaking of your rear end. My SSP, always up for a challenge, decided to teach me this dance… I really should have gotten a video of this because it was hilarious. We arrived at the stage, got Soleil comfortable on her tarp, and then it began to rain. One of my interpreters, thinking quickly, took a heavy duty trash bag and turned it into a poncho. I was in high bag lady fashion, let me tell you. It started to rain even harder, so my braille display, iPhone and Apple Watch all went under the trash bag on my lap. This prevented me from trying out the twerk dance moves I had learned! It rained and rained and rained some more. My hands got all wrinkly— like they do after a bath, or a load of dishes. I said it was the Deafblind version of singing in the shower. After the performance finished, we took shelter in the grandstand because there was a great deal of lightning. While we were there, we learned the rest of the day’s acts had been canceled, so no Stevie Wonder for me! I went home early, and had to do a massive load of laundry including Soleil’s harness, all my soaked clothes, and my backpack which is thankfully waterproof, but which got muddy on the outside. Over all, it was a great experience, and Soleil did amazing outstanding work. I’m so proud of her. I should give her trainer a raise! (her trainer is me!) Now, only 50 more weeks until the next Jazzfest!
Friday, January 1, 2016
1. Control Unleashed by Leslie Mcdevitt 2. Crescent City Connection by Julie smith * 3. . Lovers and Beloveds: an Intimate History of the Greater Kingdoms by MeiLin Miranda * 4. Lacey Luzzi: Sprinkled by Gina LaManna * 5. Death by a Honeybee by Abigail Keam * 6. Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn * 7. Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher * 8. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'dell * 9. Dog On It by Spenser Quinn * 10. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg * 11. The Defiance by A. G. Henley * 12. Whisky Sour by J. A. Konrath * 13. Sing the Four Quarters by Tanya Huff * 14. The Notorious R.B.G.: The life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik 15. The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson * 2015 January 1. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas 2. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling 3. Saving Ben by Ashley H. Farley 4. Jazz Funeral by Julie Smith 5. A Mixture of Madness by Andrew Levkoff 6. Blood of Eagles by Andrew Levkoff 7. Courage to Dare: A Blind Woman's Quest to Train Her Own Guide Dog by Julie Johnson 8. Death Before Facebook by Julie Smith 9. House of Blues by Julie Smith 10. Control Unleashed by Leslie Mcdevitt 11. Kindness of Strangers by Julie Smith 12. Crescent City Connection by Julie Smith 13. 82 Desire by Julie Smith 14. Mean Woman Blues by Julie Smith 15. Louisiana Hotshot by Julie Smith 16. Louisiana Bigshot by Julie Smith 17. U-haul Diary by K. D. Draper 18. Anathema by Megg Jensen 19. Oubliette by Megg Jensen 20. Severed by Megg Jensen 21. Louisiana Lament by Julie Smith 22. The Best Man by L.A. Witt 23. The Passion Thief by Anne McCarthy Strauss 24. Garden of Lies by Eileen Goudge 25. Run, Clarissa, Run by Rachel Eliason February 26. Lovers and Beloveds: an Intimate History of the Greater Kingdoms by MeiLin Miranda 27. PI on a Hot Tin Roof by Julie Smith 28. Son and Sorrow, an Intimate History of the Greater Kingdoms by MeiLin Miranda 29. Kindergarten Baby by Cricket Rohman 30. A break in the Clouds by Cricket Rohman 31. The Road Trip by Cricket Rohman 32. Domes of Fire by David Edddings 33. Obsession in Death by J. D. Robb 34. Accounts by MeiLin Miranda 35. Highschool witch by Elaine Babich 36. Lacey Luzzi: Sprinkled by Gina LaManna 37. Lacey Luzzi: Sparkled by Gina LaManna 38. The Way the World is by Yael Politis 39. What Ever Happened to Mourning Free by Yael Politis 40. Initiate by Megg Jensen 41. The Shining Ones by David Eddings 42. Lacey Luzzi: Scooped 43. Breath to Breath by Carrie Maloney 44. Sleepers by Megg Jensen 45. Famous by Kate Langdon March 46. Awakening by Megg Jensen 47. The Sundering by Megg Jensen 48. Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace 49. Betsy In Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace 50. Betsy was a Junior by Maud Hart Lovelace 51. Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace 52. Betsy and the Big World by Maud Hart Lovelace 53. Betsy's Wedding by Maud Hart Lovelace 54. When I was a fucking Mormon by Bailey Jones 55. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins 56. The Herbalist's Daughter by Karen Anna Vogel 57. Changing Plans by L. A. Witt 58. The Duff by Kody Keplinger 59. Yes, Mistress by NJ Cole 60. Guards, Guards by Terry Pratchett 61. Confessions From a Coffee Shop by T B Markinson 62. Yes, Master by NJ Cole 63. Eric by Terry Pratchett 64. Tales from the Crib by Jennifer Coburn 65. Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder 66. Death by a Honeybee by Abigail Keam 67. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead 68. Death by Drowning by Abigail Keam 69. Death by Bridle by Abigail Keam 70. Death by Bourbon by Abigail Keam 71. Death by Lotto by Abigail Keam 72. Death by Chocolate by Abigail Keam 73. Death by Haunting by Abigail Keam April 74. Panther Prowling by Yasmine Galenorn 75. The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde 76. Crystal Singer by Anne Mccaffrey 77. Killashandra by Anne Mccaffrey 78. CrystalLine by Anne Mccaffrey 79. The Shadows by J. R. Ward 80. Is this All there Is? by Patricia Mann 81. Is this What I Want by Patricia Mann 82. Theodore Boone: The Activist by John Grisham 83. Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn 84. Lacey Luzzi: Salted by Gina LaManna 85. THE Star Scroll by Melanie Rawn 86. And One Last Thing by Molly Harper 87. Turn on the Light So I Can Hear by Teri Kanefield 88. The Perfect Family by Kathryn Shay 89. Naamah's Kiss by Jacqueline Carey 90. Naamah's Curse by Jacqueline Carey May 91. Stepbrother Untouchable by Colleen Masters 92. Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey 93. How to run with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper 94. Sunrunners Fire by Melanie Rawn 95. 3500: An Autistic Boy's ten-year Romance with Snow White by Ron Miles 96. Stronghold by Melanie Rawn 97. For the Living by L. A. Witt 98. Raven's Choice by Harper Swan 99. Xiao Xiao and the Dragon pearl by Joyce Chng 100. Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel 101. Keep Austin Weird by Mary Jane 102. The King's Choice by Mandy M. Roth 103. The Valey of Horses by Jean M. Auel 104. Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh by Katie Hamstead 105. Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher 106. Saint chnything by Sarah Dessen 107. Midnight Caller by NJ Cole June 108. The Mammoth Hunters by Jean M. Auel 109. Midnight Eternal by NJ Cole 110. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry 111. The Dragon Token by Melanie Rawn 112. How to Knock a Blavebird from her Perch by D. Bryant Simmons 113. The Plains of Passage by Jean M. Auel 114. The Queen Gene by Jennifer Coburn 115. Finders Keepers by Stephen King 116. All My Love, Detrick by Roberta Kagan 117. You are my Sunshine by Roberta Kagan 118. The Shelters of Stone by Jean M. Auel 119. Time to Upsize by Graeme Aitken 120. Witch Song by Amber Argyle 121. Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen 122. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'dell 123. Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher 124. Double Dutch to Sharon M. Draper 125. Grey by EL James 126. Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper July 127. Skybowl by Melanie Rawn 128. Because you'll never meet me by Leah Thomas 129. Bad Karma by Douglas Clegg 130. Lacey Luzzi: Sauced by Gina LaManna 131. James Potter and the Hall of Elders Crossing 132. Cursor's Fury by Jim Butcher 133. Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher 134. Unreachable by Katie Leone 135. Reaching Home by Katie Leone 136. Worth Fighting For by Katie Leone 137. Howls Moving Castle by Diana Wyn Jones 138. The Girl from Ithaca by Cherry Gregory 138. The Walls Of Troy By Cherry Gregory 139. The Battle of Jericho by Sharon M. Draper 140. November Blues by Sharon M. Draper 141. Just Another Hero by Sharon M. Draper 142. Castle In The Air by Diana Wynn Jones 143. House of Many Ways by Diana Wynn Jones 144. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling 145. Dog On It by Spenser Quinn 146. A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews 147. Thereby Hangs A Tail by Spencer Quinn 148. To Fetch a Thief by Spencer Quinn 149. The Dog Who Knew Too much by Spencer Quinn August 150. Harry Potter And the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling 151. A Cat was Involved by Spencer Quinn 152. A fist Full of Collars by Spencer Quinn 153. The Eagle and the Nightingale by Mercedes Lackey 154. Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings 155. Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings 156. The Sound and the Furry by Spencer Quinn 157. Pray the Gay Away by Sara York 158. Sending Jack Off to Jesus by Sarah York 159. My Big Fat Southern Gay Weedding by Sara York 160 Billy by Sara York 161. Magician's Gambit by David Eddings 162. Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings 163. Aaron's story by Mason Dodd 164. X by Sue Grafton 165. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling September 166. Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn 167. Afflicted by Brandon Shire 168. Princeps Fury by Jim Butcher 169. Anastasia: The Life Of Anna Anderson 170. Heads or Tails by Leslie Gordon 171. Behind Iron Lace by Mercy Celeste 172. I'll Fly Away by Kelly Nielson 173. Enchanters Endgame by David Eddings 174. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg 175. Guardians of the West by David Eddings 176. The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg 177. King of the Murgoes by David Eddings 178. Devoted in Death by J. ;%D. Robb 179. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas 180. Demon Lord of Karanda by David Eddings 181. The Liar by Nora Roberts 182. The Master Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg October 183. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling 184. Death by Derby by Abigail keem 185. Lacy Luzzi s'mored by Gina LaMana 186. Hooked by Catherine Greenman 187. The Sorceress of Darshiva by David Eddings 188. Nightblade by Garrett Robinson 189. Mystic by Garrett Robinson 190. Darkfire by Garrett Robinson 191. Lamb to the Slaughter by Karen Ann Hopkins 192. Whispers from the Dead by Karen Ann Hopkins 193. Secrets in the Grave by Karen Ann Hopkins 194. The Handmaids's Tale by Margaret Atwood 195. Closer to the Heart by Mercedes Lackey 196. Dragonflight by Anne Mccaffrey 197. The Key by Jenniferanne Davis 198. The Seeress of Kell by David Eddings 199. Summer Confessions by Lynn Vroman 200. Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham 201. Laycey Luzzi: Spooked by Gina La Mana 202. Scents and Sensability by spenser quimn 203. The Scourge by A.G. Henley 204 The Defiance by A. G. Henley 205. The Fire Sisters by A. G. Henley November 206. Belgarath the Sorcerer by David Eddings 207. White Trash Zombie Gone Wild by Diana Rowland 208. Whisky Sour by J. A. Konrath 209. Bloody Mary by J. A. Konrath 210. Rusty Nail by J. A. Konrath 211. Dirty Martini by J. A. Konrath 212. Fuzzy Navel by J. A Konrath 213. Cherry Bomb by J. A. Konrath 214. Shaken by J. A. Konrath 215. Stirred by J. A. Konrath 216. Polgara the Sorceress by David Eddings 217. Midnight Magick by Katerina Martinez 218. The Rule of Three by Katerina Martinez 219. Forged by Moonfire by Katerina Martinez 220. Sing the Four Quarters by Tanya Huff 221. The Notorious R.B.G.: The life the times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik 222. The Necromancer by Katerina Martinez 223. Forged in Darkfire by Katerina Martinez 224. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling 225. Tricky Twenty-two by JANET Ivanovich 226. Woderment in Death by J. D. Robb December 227. Baby Please Don't Go by Frank Freudberg 228. The Scam by Janet Ivanovich 229. Girl Tripping by Gina LaManna. 230. Inside Charlotte by Jo Hayden 231. Red by Jennifer Anne Davis 232. War by Jennifer Anne Davis 234. Santa 365 by Spencer Quinn 235. First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher 236. Waiting by Bonnie Dodge 237. The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson 238. Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey 239. Arrows Flight by Mercedes Lackey 240. Arrows Fall by Mercedes Lackey 241. Tears of the Silenced by Misty Griffin 242. Lacey Luzzi: Seasoned by Gina LaManna 243. Exile's Honor by Mercedes Lackey 244. Zaria Fierce and the HEART of Gloomwood Forest 245. 18 Things by Jamie Ayres