When I lived in New Orleans in 1996, I focused on writing fiction and magazine articles for Tribe magazine, a slick Raygun-style start-up covering the most urbane aspects of New Orleans culture.
This piece on absinthe was the first, and, because of my short tenure in the City that Care Forgot, only piece for the magazine. The second story that I pitched was a piece about snuff films, but after watching a couple Japanese toruture videos and reading Peter Sotos’ rants in Answer Me!, I decided that the less I had to do with that culture the better.
This article was loads for fun to write. It starts out as an homage to Kurt Vonnegut, and devolves into a Hunter S. Style description of a true, if embellished, account of how I brewed absinthe from scratch with the aid of two male assistants.
The editors of Tribe also gave me the opportunity to read fiction at the Insomniacathon in 1996, a fiction event celebrating William Burroughs and the beat poets with 48 hours of non-stop fiction readings.
Somehow Tribe editors unearthed Kim Fowley to emcee the event, who made a huge and lasting impression on me. The man was crazy tall and lanky, wearing a bright red carney suit with shocking white hair. He picked up on my stage fright and challenged me so that I volunteered to read first. After he walked away, I thought, “What the hell did I just do?”