The only local screening of Lily Keber’s award winning documentary of the life of James Carroll Booker III.
Bayou Maharajah explores the life and music of New Orleans piano legend James Booker, the man Dr. John described as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.”
A brilliant pianist, his eccentricities and showmanship belied a life of struggle, prejudice, and isolation. A wild genius with a style that combined elements of rhythm-and-blues, jazz, ragtime and classical music, he gained the nicknames "Piano Prince of New Orleans", "Black Liberace" and "Bayou Maharajah". Illustrated with never-before-seen concert footage, rare personal photos and exclusive interviews, the film paints a portrait of this overlooked genius.
Performance & Reading
Live New Orleans R&B beforehand on piano by former Leon Redbone pianist Tom Roberts, and a special reading by Terrance Hayes.
Hayes is the author of Lighthead (Penguin, 2010), which won the National Book Award for Poetry; Wind in a Box (2006); Hip Logic (2002), which won the 2001 National Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award; and Muscular Music (1999), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He has received a Whiting Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, three Best American Poetry selections, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Foundation.