The Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens will be hosting a book party at two p.m. on January 9 to celebrate the publication of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong. The party will take place inside the home where Armstrong lived during the last quarter-century years of his life, and I’ll be reading from Pops and signing copies of the book.
Here’s what I wrote about the house when I last visited it in 2004, just as I was starting to write Pops:
I rented a car and headed for Queens, accompanied by Stephanie Steward, my research assistant. We’d been planning for weeks to spend a day visiting the Armstrong house and archive–an orientation tour for Steph, so to speak. The house was opened to the public as a museum last October, but as I turned the corner onto what is now Louis Armstrong Place for the first time in three years, I saw that nothing much had changed but the street sign. The block was still shabby but respectable, a textbook example of a working-class neighborhood, and except for the garage, which has been turned into a reception center and museum shop, the house looks the way it did in 2001: the same gaudy wallpaper, the same gold faucets, the same touchingly elaborate furnishings, right down to Tony Bennett’s oil painting of Armstrong. Steph’s eyes were as big as hubcaps. As for me, I felt like laughing and crying at the same time….
I can’t wait to go back.
The party is open to the general public, but space is strictly limited, so if you’re interested in stopping by, call 718-478-8274 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org now to make a reservation.
For more information, go here.