From the Publisher
"Tony Fitzpatrick's drawing collages are the talismanic residue of a modern flaneur's journey through streets where the past and the present, the prosaic and the cosmic, coexist in a perceptual time-space continuum.”- Inside Art New Orleans
"The stories [in This Train] are humorous and touching. There are few great storytellers in this day and age, and Mr. Fitzpatrick has an undeniable gift to engage an audience. This Train is a rare piece of theatre that is not to be missed." -Chicago Critic
"Tony Fitzpatrick tells stories in the manner of his hero and friend, Studs Terkel, and I would gather that Studs is looking down on him with a big s--t grin on his face and having some great laughs.” -SteadyStyle Chicago
Read an Excerpt
"Everything in New Orleans is a good idea.”
-Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One
This is a sad one for me. We in Chicago lost Koko Taylor this week. She was one of those genuine articles-a sturdy,
bewigged, gold-toothed tough girl who made a name for herself on grit, guts, and talent. A voice that sounds like something preserved in amber or dirty honey, a voice that can be cracked road and ether at the same time-Koko was a wrecking ball of heartbreak. I saw her often in Chicago and always got that chill one gets when bearing witness to the real thing. I get it a lot in New Orleans when I hear John Boutté sing, or Leroy Jones play "Soft Shoe,” or watch Paul Sanchez weave story and song as seamlessly as a mockingbird building a nest. They don't do it for money-they never did. They do it because they haven't any other choice. They are the thing they do. When you hear Koko sing, or Leroy play, or Paul perform, they are music itself-a long, continuing narrative that shifts the shape in voice, or instrument, of whoever is letting it free.
It was good being in New Orleans last week. I spent my whole visit without anyone, even once, bringing up the storm. What people are buzzing about is what's next. Prospect.2 is a short fifteen or so months away. New galleries are popping up,and there is a new and renewed optimism about this place.
As much fun as Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras, and Voodoo Fest are, I love New Orleans off-season in its quieter times. With its half-asleep, hazy beats slowed to a stroll, the place becomes more visible and strange, like a De Chirico cityscape of the imagination. Frenchmen Street and Bourbon are still hopping at night, but the rest of the Quarter is quiet like a Sunday morning before church services start and after the drunks have stumbled home. I like that New Orleans, too. If you get up early, or stay up late enough, you can see the oysters delivered to the Acme Oyster House in big burlap sacks, fresh every morning. You can drift by Croissant D'or and smell the baked bread from a block away. You can wander to the corner on Decatur to the Cafe Envie coffeehouse and see the walking wounded play chess, smoke, and try to keep from nodding off in the heat. A stroll down Royal Street is a history lesson with all of the antiques silently telling their own ghost stories in the shop windows.