Friday, August 14, 2020

Iris Martin Cohen's "Last Call on Decatur Street"

Iris Martin Cohen grew up in the French Quarter of New Orleans. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and studied Creative Nonfiction at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of The Little Clan (2018).

Here she dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Last Call on Decatur Street:
I always think about movies when writing my books, I’m a pretty visual writer so that kind of daydreaming usually follows. My book takes place in the early 2000’s but is totally informed by my time as a young adult in the nineties so I think as a movie it would be a total nostalgia trip.

Last Call on Decatur Street The Movie is definitely directed by Jim Jarmusch, Down by Law meets Mystery Train.

My book follows a sad burlesque dancer named Rosemary over one long night as she moves through the streets and dive bars of New Orleans. Along the way she encounters a whole series of characters – bartenders, strippers, rockabillys, teenage punks – people on the margins, who are wry and funny and kind of sad and who love to hold forth on barstools.

The soundtrack is all Tom Waits songs and rare fifties R&B.

Since I am casting the 90’s indie movie of my dreams, Rosemary, the burlesque dancer hiding her sorrows in booze and men and bad choices, is played by Winona Ryder, trying to be cool but breaking at the seams with desperate vulnerability.

Christopher, the angry, but romantic and lost young punk she befriends is clearly Basketball Diaries–era Leonardo DiCaprio.

Her more straight-living best friend, Gaby, is Gabrielle Union. Steve Buscemi obviously makes an appearance, John Doe, Rosie Perez, Marisa Tomei, Heather Graham, maybe some real bonkers cameo by Johnny Depp.

It is definitely a small budget movie, full of style and great music, a slice of southern life, darkly funny, atmospheric, that slowly leads its way to something unexpected and profound.
Visit Iris Martin Cohen's website.

Q&A with Iris Martin Cohen.

The Page 69 Test: Last Call on Decatur Street.

--Marshal Zeringue