The How I Learned Series features writers, storytellers, comedians, and other raconteurs holding forth on a different theme. It all happens every last Wednesday of the month, and sometimes more than that, which basically means you will have the best night of your life on those nights, repeatedly.



JFK -> MSY -> JFK

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Dear Everyone,

So, have I mentioned that I did How I Learned in New Orleans? It was pretty awesome. Let's talk about it using the magic of still photography.

This is the stellar lineup of NOLA locals, plus me. Don't we look good together?

(Hugh Ryan, Ken Foster, Me, Dorian Rush, Brick Bishop, Campbell Robertson, Jack Long, Colleen Kane)

My super talented and ever-modest friend Richard Read has lived in NOLA for over a decade. He is the co-founder of Running With Scissors, a well-loved theatre group for which he also writes, produces and directs see-it-to-believe-it productions such as Valley of the Dolls and, one of my all-time faves, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I asked him if he thought we could collaborate on a How I Learned show in New Orleans and he was all, "Yeah. Totally." I asked him what he thought the theme should be and he was all, "Sex. Obviously." And then he simply tapped my reading series on its little head with his magic wand and turned it into a sold out two-night event at a cabaret theatre with real tickets, a sound booth and some fabulous queens in the front row. He produced the shit out of How I Learned, and for the first time since I started this series back in January, I actually didn't have that much to do except emcee, look pretty and get nervous.

The venue was Le Chat Noir. There was a real stage and everything--not to mention a green room with makeup mirrors framed by lightbulbs. It was pretty much my childhood dream come true. The first night was nearly bought out by the magical Mystic Krewe of Satyricon, one of NOLA's largest gay Carnival krewes.

Tickets were twenty-one dollars, people. I'll just let that sink in for a minute.



BRICK BISHOP, concerned about the measure of his member as a child, made a very important (and fantastic) Christmas list for Santa one year: "#1.) PINO size extra-large...". I have a feeling Chris Cringle came through.

KEN FOSTER not only authors books and other things, but he saves the lives of dogs all over the city. He's kind of a superhero. Here he is on important childhood lessons involving wife-swapping and a statue of a naked woman, who may or may not have been his mother, but also looked a lot like Meryl Streep in French Lieutenant's Woman. (I'm sort of obsessed with that detail.)

COLLEEN KANE is an excellent lady. She shared "How I Learned About Sexual Degenerates" by relaying her experience as an editor at a naked man magazine and sharing readers' letters. (Keywords: wedgie time.)
Queue The Great JACK LONG: "I figured sex was something I could deal with the same way I dealt with gym class. I'd simply throw up and claim that I had a stomach virus." Enough said.

Here, I'm probably swearing a lot and talking about my childhood obsession with my stuffed cows. The obsession was biblical.

CAMPBELL ROBERTSON is dreamy. He told us about Jeremy, the kid down the street who introduced him to the world of pornography and taught him what all the bad words mean. It's very important to have a friend like that. I still don't really know what a three-eyed turtle is, though.

HUGH RYAN, a How I Learned alum superstar, had just moved to New Orleans from Brooklyn--lucky for us--and he brought his excellent "cunty" story with him. But now that I'm back home in Brooklyn and he's still in NOLA, I'm living vicariously through his Facebook status updates. Pathetic!

Lady Miss DORIAN RUSH sings The Penis Song, after showering us with a medley of popular sexual ditties from the '70s and '80s interspersed with childhood anecdotes, and all I know is I'll never think of turkey giblets the same way again. Awesome.



Guys, I can't believe I got to do a show in New Orleans. How I Learned could be blowing up. It could be coming to a town near you. Thank you to all the New York friends of How I Learned. If it weren't for your support and enthusiasm, I never would have had the balls to try something like this. I just would have talked about it a lot. A million thanks to the seven spectacular NOLA readers, to the people of New Orleans who came out to see our little show, to Satyricon, Le Chat Noir, and, of course, to Richard Read. I can't wait to do it again.

Thank you to my dear friend, the one and only John d'Addario, and to the "handsome and sentient" Andrew Zarou for the photos you see here.

xoxo Blaise

PS. Hope to see you at Happy Ending on April 28th for How I Learned Once was Enough! Stay tuned for details...