Improvisation: New Orleans’s Gift to the Modern World – A Tricentennial Conference
November 30 - December 3
November 30 – December 3, 2018
Join The Fertel Foundation for a dynamic conference bringing together internationally known performers, artists and scholars in an exploration of improvisation across the arts – cuisine, music, literature, visual arts, politics and oral history.
The Fertel Foundation in close collaboration with The New Orleans Jazz Museum (NOJM), the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA), The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation (NOJH), the Historic New Orleans Collection (HNOC), and The New Quorum (TNQ) present an inaugural conference Improvisation, New Orleans’ Gift to the Modern World.
As part of the close of New Orleans’ Tricentennial year, the 3-day conference will explore connections New Orleans musical improvisation shares with other arts – theater, literature, cuisine, storytelling and visual arts . A critical exploration of the nature and influence of New Orleans’ improvisation is long overdue – 300 years.
The conference is an outgrowth of Randy Fertel’s book, A Taste for Chaos: The Art of Literary Improvisation . The central idea of the book is also the lead idea of the conference that Improvisation
involves a tension between structure and anti-structure, form and apparent formlessness, reason and some form of unreason (intuition, the muse, the unconscious, etc.). Whether in literature, usic, theatre, or the White House, improvisation challenges mainstream norms and calls for new ways of seeing/being in the world.
“Our team has assembled an amazing cast of presenters and performers from diverse fields to explore improvisation and to consider New Orleans’s role in making improvisation a household word,” said conference organizer Randy Fertel.
Confirmed speakers include Chef/entrepreneur Alice Waters , (Chez Panisse and the Edible Schoolyard); Radio producer/oral historian Davia Nelson (NPR’s Kitchen Sisters); Ben Burkett (Mississippi Cooperative Farmer/Activist); Musician/academic Rob Wallace (author of Improvisation and the Making of American Literary Modernism ); Stephen Nachmanovitch , author of Free Play: Improv in Life and Art ; Internationally acclaimed conceptual visual artist Mel Chin (Prospect New Orleans); Composer/pianist, Courtney Bryan (Tulane University); Actor , writer, and director Chris Kaminstein (Goat in the Road Productions); Musician/educator Jenna Sherry (Birdfoot Festival); Musician/educator Paul Goussot (Abbey of Sainte-Croix); Politico’s cartoonist
Matt Wuerker, Music Inside Out’ s Gwen Thompkins ; Slow Food USA’s Richard McCarthy ; Ham Fish , former head of the Nation Institute and cofounder of the Ridenhour Prizes for Courageous Truth-telling; and Randy Fertel, scholar /philanthropist/founder of the Fertel Foundation and author of A Taste for Chaos: The Art of Literary Improvisation , the inspiration for the conference.