Category Archives: New Orleans

Bayou Brief: A Tale Of Two Tones

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. The writing process was somewhat unusual. I had a mostly humorous piece ready to go when the exposed corpse at the Hard Rock Hotel collapse site story exploded. I kept the first segment about the aftermath of LSU’s national championship intact. I ripped apart the TFC segment and toughened its tone considerably; hence the title A Tale Of Two Tones: Of Tigers and TFC.

FYI: TFC stands for This Fucking City.

I did a phone interview with Richard Fausett of the New York Times for a story he co-wrote with Katy Reckdahl about what could be called Tarpgate. I was even mentioned. The way to get a mention when you’re interviewed as background for a story is to get the reporter laughing. It works every time:

“Peter Athas, a political blogger and columnist for The Bayou Brief, an online news site, has accused Ms. Cantrell of clumsily handling the disaster, and aligning herself too closely with the developer.”

Thanks for indulging that bit of egomania.

There will be a protest march this afternoon against the city’s mishandling of this disaster. Mayor Cantrell’s team is circling the wagons and lashing out at critics. The proper approach would be to distance the administration from developer Praveen Kailas and his partners. A bit of humility is in order but it’s in short supply on Team Cantrell.

This tweet concisely sums up my attitude about the Mayor:

I have a new sign off as the 13th Ward Rambler. I stole it from Walter Cronkite’s closing during the 1979-1980 Iran Hostage Crisis. I only steal from the best. I might as well use it here today:

And that’s the way it is on the 104th day since the Hard Rock Hotel collapse.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Save It For Later

Rain, Steam and Speed by JMW Turner.

The weird weather continues in New Orleans. I’ve compared it to a yo-yo or a rollercoaster in the past. This week’s analogy is a pendulum only with fog. Fog is the only constant. January skies are on the gloomy side: gray, overcast, and depressing. If only it were overcast in August when it’s blazing hot. So it goes.

We’re in throes of preparing for Krewe du Vieux.  It’s early this year: February 8th, a mere 3 weeks away. This strikes me as a good time to link to last year’s Bayou Brief piece, Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member.

This week’s theme song was written by Dave Wakeling for the Beat’s 1982 album, Special Beat Service. It, in fact, has a beat and you can dance to it. Uh oh, I’ve morphed into Dick Clark in my dotage. What’s next? A gig hosting a game show?

We have two versions of Save It For Later for your listening pleasure. The original studio version by the English Beat (the Beat to me) and a live version by Pete Townshend.

Before jumping to the break, another song with save in the title:

All that saving made me feel like Mariano Rivera. OMG, a Yankee reference. I’m going to hell but on the way, let’s jump to the break.

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Bayou Brief: TFC

My first column of the year for the Bayou Brief is online. TFC stands for This Fucking City. I say it every time something goes haywire in New Orleans. This column adds The Good, the Bad and the Ugly to equation. To see why CLICK HERE.

Speaking of Haywire, the last word goes to the Jayhawks:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: So It Goes

Spellbound set design by Salvador Dali.

Carnival and Paul Drake’s gotcha day loom. We adopted the dear boy on Twelfth Night in 2018. I guess that means we must consume King Cake on Monday. Poor us.

I said all I have to say about the latest mess in Mesopotamia yesterday. Suffice it to say that I don’t think it’s an Archduke Ferdinand moment but it’s some serious shit,

This week’s theme song was written in 1976 by Nick Lowe for his kinda sorta solo album Jesus Of Cool, which was released in America as Pure Pop For Now People. I said kinda sorta solo album because it featured Nick’s band Rockpile on all the tracks. More about them later.

We have two versions of So It Goes for your listening pleasure: the original studio recording and a live medley with Heart In The City.

Both Nick Lowe and I picked up the phrase “so it goes” from Kurt Vonnegut. So it goes.

Before jumping to the break another Rockpile tune. This time the guys are backing up Nick’s then wife Carlene Carter:

Now that we’ve got all that crying out of our systems, let’s dry our eyes and jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Swinging On A Star

Tchoupitoulas Christmas House photograph by Dr A.

We’ve been on a weather yo-yo all month. There have been several days where the drop in temperature was so drastic that the high was at midnight. It’s not Wisconsin cold but it’s damp and humid, which exaggerates how chilly it feels. It’s fucking cold, y’all.

New Orleans is an old city with an aging infrastructure. It seems to have rebelled this week: we’ve had collapses, explosions, water main ruptures, and a literal shit storm. The citizenry are getting cranky and blaming the current Mayor for decades of neglect. It’s unfair but she makes it worse by speaking in jargon. Mayor Cantrell actually said that she was “leaning in and being intentional” to help solve our infrastructure woes. It would help if we understood what the hell she means.

This week’s theme song was written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke in 1944 for the Bing Crosby movie, Going My Way. It was one of the biggest hits of the year and won Oscars for best picture, actor, and supporting actor. Der Bingle was the show biz king that year.

We have three versions of Swinging On A Star for your listening pleasure: Bing Crosby, his frenemy, Frank Sinatra, and an R&B version by Big Dee Irwin and Little Eva.

I’m a bit dizzy from swinging on that star so let’s pause before jumping to the break.

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Talking Turley

I only watched bits and bobs of the Con Law seminar on the Hill yesterday. Watching Louie Gohmert Piles causes my blood pressure to spike and Gym Jordan gives me a headache, so I need to ration my exposure to them. I am, however, acquainted with the GOP’s witness, Jonathan Turley who, as far as I know, is not a Republican and didn’t vote for Trump in 2016. I was relieved to hear that.

Turley was for impeachment before he was against it. It was a repeat performance: He testified before the Judiciary committee during the Clinton impeachment inquiry as did Michael Gerhardt, I’m not sure why they missed Professor Karlan back then. Perhaps their premonitive powers told them she’d make a joke about a future president’s* then unborn child. The Barron flap was right up there with Barack Obama’s tan suit as a phony “scandal.” It was barren of genuine outrage, but everything is phony about the Trumps.

Back to Jonathan Turley. I knew him when he was a baby law professor at Tulane, and I was a student. He was among the friendlier and more approachable faculty members. I can’t say that I knew him well, but I socialized with him in groups because of the POPS program. When I was a 2L, Tulane Law instituted a community service requirement, that’s when Turley launched the Program for Older Prisoners.

The premise of POPS is that older prisoners have mellowed with age and are unlikely to commit crimes upon release. It’s pitched to conservative pols as a cost-saving measure and to liberals as a humanitarian policy. Law students were dispatched to prisons to interview candidates for the program, reports were prepared, and passed on to the authorities. It’s more involved than that but, as you’ll soon see, my personal experience with the process is limited.

I made two trips to Angola State Prison to meet with prisoner/candidates. I seem to have drawn the short end of the straw: both convicts were convicted rapists and pedophiles. One was a very muscular, heavily tattooed 65-year-old who was unrepentant about his perverted predilections. I asked him why he’d applied given his lack of remorse. He hadn’t a visitor in years and wanted someone to talk to. The other guy was a repentant perv, but a poor candidate for early release. Suffice it to say I didn’t recommend either of them. My skin crawls recalling the first guy whose name I’ve withheld to protect the guilty.

Turley was a surprisingly subtle choice for committee GOPers to make. His position is not that Trump is a good guy who should never be impeached but that Congress should wait for the courts to rule on the pending witness and document cases before proceeding. In the abstract, there’s some merit to this argument BUT given the Trump regime’s relentless stonewalling it’s a terrible idea in the real world. The reason for the expedited process is a genuine concern that Team Trump will stage an encore performance of 2016 in next year’s election. Two stolen 21st Century elections aren’t enough; they want to complete a trifecta in 2020.

Unlike the House Republicans who called him to testify, Jonathan Turley is neither a bad nor venal person but he’s wrong about the Trump impeachment inquiry. I would, however, be remiss if I didn’t link to Dana Milbank’s hilarious takedown of the Turley testimony in the WaPo. I can’t resist quoting Milbank quoting Turley:

“I get it: You are mad,” he testified. “The president is mad. My Democratic friends are mad. My Republican friends are mad. My wife is mad. My kids are mad. Even my dog seems mad — and Luna is a goldendoodle and they don’t get mad. So we’re all mad.”

Damn right we are! But nowhere in the Constitution does it state that a president shall not be impeached if people — or their dogs — are mad.

I’ll be doggone. Lawyers say the darndest things.

The last word goes to Aaron Neville and the Neville Brothers:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Time Won’t Let Me

Hummingbirds by Walter Inglis Anderson.

I hope everyone had a festive and gluttonous Thanksgiving. We had a double header: first in Red Stick with the surviving outlaw, then in the evening with our friends Will and Jennifer. Will is the King Cake Baron of New Orleans. I just wanted to prove that I don’t hate *all* royals, certainly not those that may involve royal icing. I’m not sure if that joke made any sense but when did that ever stop me?

This week’s theme song was written in 1966 by Tom King and Chad Kelly in 1965 for their band, The Outsiders. It was a big hit, reaching #5 on the Billboard charts.

We have three versions of Time Won’t Let Me for your listening pleasure: The Outsiders original, a 1981 version by Iggy Pop, and a 1994 version recorded by The Smithereens for use in the movie Timecop.

Time for another timely tune; hopefully time *will* let me post it:

Time’s a wasting for us to jump to the break.

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Waiting For The Spank Electrician

I need a mental health break from writing about the bottomless pit of Trump scandals until next week. Hell, the country needs a mental health break from thinking about them. That’s why I decided to do a bit of storytelling. The world needs more tall tales even if they’re about short people in small houses. No hobbits were harmed in the writing of this post.

The post title is inspired by the comedy album Waiting For The Electrician Or Someone Like Him. It was the debut album by hippie Dadaists, The Firesign Theatre. The album cover is above and if you click on this link, you can hear the whole damn thing. It’s electrifying.

At long last we begin our story:

We had electrical problems a few weeks ago. One of my Spank krewe mates is a crack electrician so he came over to solve the problem, which turned out not to be as bad as feared. While I waited for him, I began a tweet with the line “Waiting for the Spank electrician.” One of my faithful readers and twitter pals, Al Dunn, said it was the line of the day that day. I decided to see if lightning would strike again at First Draft.

While the Spank electrician worked on our circuit breaker box, I regaled him with stories of our former across the street neighbor, the Polish Electrician. I’ll call him PE for short, which works because the Spank electrician goes by TS. I’m also acronym-ing him because the story I’m telling is strictly from memory, so I changed the names to protect the innocent, not me. I am rarely, if ever, innocent.

We moved into our house in the 13th Ward in August of 2000. In that pre-gentrification era, one encountered the neighbors almost immediately. One of the first neighbors we met was PE’s charming wife Miss V (hereinafter MV) followed in short order by her equally charming husband, PE.

The couple lived across the street in the smallest house on the block. It was a perfect fit because they’re both petite people. As Dr. A liked to say it was “a sweet little house just right for sweet little people.”

They’re both immigrants: MV is Mexican and PE is Polish. They mostly spoke to one another so their mutual accent in English was a mélange of Mexican and Polish. It was simultaneously endearing and hilarious. I’m uncertain whether I should call their patois Mexi-Pole or Pole-Mex. Probably the former, the latter sounds too much like poleaxe. Mexi-Pole it is.

PE’s New Orleans origin story is an interesting one.  It happened during the Cold War. He was then a sailor, hey. He was in port, jumped ship, and defected. In those days, we encouraged skilled workers to come to America and defect from Communist countries. It was long before Tucker Carlson bragged about rooting for Russia. Nobody rooted for Russia then, especially not Poles. Lech Walesa weeps.

PE moved into one side of a double occupied by Polish sailors. The other side was essentially a crack house. It was converted into a single-family home at the end of the previous century. We live there now, unaccompanied by Polish sailors or crack dealers. As recently as 2010, we received mail for one of the crackheads, usually overdue bills or parking tickets. We tried returning them to sender, but they kept bouncing back to us, so we gave up. It’s what I get for taking advice from an Elvis song.

PE could fix anything. In addition to being a skilled electrician, he was a licensed HVAC tech. It was great having a neighbor who would come over at a moment’s notice to help and at family rates no less. It’s hard not to miss a neighbor like that.

A few years after Katrina and the Federal Flood, PE and MV moved. It was a sad day on our block. I miss chatting with them in their Mexi-Pole accents. It was always an adventure. They left behind a legacy of kindness and neighborliness as well as a good story. It was time to share it with my readers.

I gave myself a pair of earworms as I wrote this so the last word goes to Yes and Bob Weir:

Rex Meets The Greek Pretender

Elite New Orleans loses its head over royalty, fake and otherwise. That’s why a big deal was made about a recent charity soiree at Antoine’s:

Greek royalty was welcomed to New Orleans Saturday by New Orleans Carnival royalty during an elegant dinner at Antoine’s restaurant.

Prince Pavlos and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece were greeted with a proclamation by the reigning Rex, King of Carnival, Robert S. Boh, during the dinner, hosted by John and Dathel Georges.

The Greek monarchs were visiting to commemorate the 1953 visit of King Pavlos and Queen Frederika, Prince Pavlos’ grandparents, to New Orleans. The dinner also served as a benefit for the Prince’s Trust, which helps needy children in Greece.

A monarch is one who either reigns or rules. The Greek royals do neither. The proper term for Pavlos is pretender. The Greek royal family have not reigned since 1967 when the pretender’s father, Constantine, connived with the Colonels in a coup against the legally elected government. Constantine’s attempt at a counter-coup failed and he was sent into exile.

This Greek-American is a small r republican when it comes to my ancestral homeland. It’s in the blood: I’m distantly related to President Eleftherios Venizelos who was instrumental in abolishing the monarchy in 1924. It returned in 1935 as the hand maiden of military dictatorship. I will, however, give them credit for not collaborating when the Nazis conquered Greece. They went into exile instead. They’re good at going into exile.

The monarchy was formally abolished by referendum after the fall of  the junta in 1974. Even most Greek conservatives excoriated the royals at that time. Deposed King Constantine was in exile until 2013. The chances of a restoration are slim and none.

I originally planned to write a funny piece mocking two fake royals: Rex and the Greek pretender. When I reminded myself of the bloody anti-democratic history of the Greek monarchy that became impossible. I’m glad that money was raised for a good cause but pumping up the ego of the Greek pretender in the press is creepy.

The host of the event was vending machine and media mogul John Georges. He’s the sort of Greek-American who still calls Istanbul, Constantinople. He seems to fancy himself local royalty when he’s merely a rich guy with a media megaphone. I wonder if he’s hoping to become a fake count or phony duke some day that will never come.

I’ll take the honest fake royalty (if such a thing is possible) of Rex over the pretensions of a pretender any day. Besides, the family name is Glucksberg. Does that sound Greek to you?

The last word goes to Jackson Browne:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Behind The Wall Of Sleep

Sleeping Girl by Pablo Picasso.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the impeachment hearings ate my week. It wasn’t a snack, it was a tasting menu of scandal, malakatude, and heroism. Democrats have found their mojo: I was proud of their performance in the face of Republican shouting and conspiracy theorizing. That was down to Chairman Schiff  who refused to take any shit from committee GOPers. I’m less confident of the performance of Judiciary Chairman Nadler but the ball will soon be in his court. Stay tuned.

This week’s theme song was written by the late, great Pat DiNizio in 1986 for The Smithereens debut album, Especially For You. The band had been kicking around New Jersey for years before hitting the big time with this great rock song.

We have two versions of Behind The Wall Of Sleep for your listening pleasure: the original video and a 21st Century live version.

There’s a Black Sabbath song with the same title but metal is not my thing so I’ll pass.

Now that we’ve caught up on our sleep, let’s jump to the break.

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Gret Stet Goober Race Wrap Up

The Gret Stet of Louisiana dodged a bullet last Saturday when Governor John Bel Edwards defeated know-nothing nitwit Eddie Rispone. The latter proved that you need more than TV and internet ads to win a statewide race. The incumbent proved that you can overcome primary overconfidence and win if you mobilize the Democratic base instead of depressing it. That’s what happened in the first round. As you can tell, I’m simultaneously relieved and underwhelmed. Team Edwards should have won this in the primary. That should not be overlooked.

It’s been forgotten that six months ago, Louisiana Republicans could not find an A-list candidate to take on Edwards. Senator John Neely Kennedy preferred going on TV to spout Neelyisms in defense of President* Pennwyise and nobody else of any stature was willing to run against the conservative Democratic Governor. That’s how they ended up with two nobodies like Doc Abraham and Eddie Rispone as their standard bearers.

As always for any Democrat in any state, the key to Edwards’ win was turnout. In the primary their GOTV operation was lousy, let’s crunch the Goober race numbers.

PRIMARY

Democrats:   636,993

Republicans: 696,399

RUNOFF

Edwards:  774,469

Rispone:  734,128

Repeat after me: TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT.

I see the footprints of the Trump effect in those vote totals. The Trump rallies during the runoff seem to have backfired. Note that the GOP vote only increased by 38K whereas Edwards’ total went up by 138K; much of that in Orleans Parish. New Orleans saved John Bel Edwards’ ass, let’s hope he shows some gratitude.

In other Trump effect news, Edwards carried heavily Republican Jefferson Parish next door to New Orleans 57% to 43%. It’s jam packed with the sort of educated suburban voters who Trump repulses nationwide. Edwards even got 40% of the vote across the lake in St. Tammany Parish; one of the richest and most Republican parishes in the Gret Stet.

I should pause to thank Rispone and Trump for my most seen tweet ever:

Those were the voters mobilized by Trump’s rallies. This is the kind of backlash I could get used to, y’all. In my own 13th Ward precinct it was Edwards 217 Rispone 11.

One of the best quotes about the Trump effect came from anti-Trump GOP strategist Tim Miller in the Failing New York Times:

“If you had any doubt that Trump was a human repellent spray for suburban voters who have a conservative disposition, Republicans getting wiped out in the suburbs of New Orleans, Louisville and Lexington should remove it.”

Let’s move on from the Insult Comedian.

This tweeted graphic by New Orleans native and Larry Sabato right-hand man Miles Coleman shows the shifting voting patterns in Louisiana:

Acadiana aka Cajun Country in Western Louisiana *used* to be the Gret Stet’s swing region. That’s no longer true. Rural and oil patch voters seem to like Trump, which means they supported his hand puppet Rispone. I suspect this is as permanent a shift as anything in politics. Of course, a Democratic candidate of the caliber of Acadiana natives Edwin Edwards, John Breaux, or Kathleen Blanco could change that in a heartbeat.

Is there any national message in the 2019 Gret Stet Goober race? It was largely decided on Gret Stet issues, but the key was TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT. Plus, there’s gold in them thar suburbs. It’s refreshing to know that there are still conservative leaning voters who think POTUS should be presidential instead of an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head.

I’m just glad it’s over and that my Eddie Rispone impression is now moot. No more TV ads from sleazy PACs supporting Rispone and slandering his opponent. Huzzah.

The last word goes to Frank Zappa and the Mothers:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Still Learning How To Fly

Der Vogelmensch by Max Ernst.

It’s been colder than hell in New Orleans this week. It’s not Wisconsin cold but it’s fucking cold. We had some electrical issues that one of my Spank krewe mates fixed. It’s good to know “people who need people” I understand they “are the luckiest people in the world.” I cannot believe I just went there. In order to salvage my cool cred, here’s some Oscar Peterson:

It’s election day in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. I’m cautiously optimistic that Blue Dog Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards will be re-elected. I hope the voters will remember that Coach O wants them to vote for the Governor. Geaux, Tigers. Geaux, Team Blue.

This week’s theme song was written in 2003 by Rodney Crowell. It’s the opening track of his Fate’s Right Hand album and features one of his finest couplets: “Life’s been good, I guess. My ragged old heart’s been blessed.”

We have two versions of Still Learning How To Fly for your listening pleasure. The original with a full band and a live acoustic rendition.

While we’re in mid flight, how about a song with a similar title by an equally great artist?

It’s time to land. See you on the other side of the break.

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Paul Barrere, R.I.P.

1984 album cover.

Little Feat guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Paul Barrere has died at the age of 71. Paul was not a founding member of Little Feat but joined in 1972 and brought his passion for New Orleans music to the band. He thrived as co-lead guitarist first with  Lowell George who died in 1979 and later Fred Tackett.

When Little Feat reformed, Paul was the co-leader of the reborn band. I saw their comeback show on the Riverboat President in New Orleans. Both the boat and the band were rocking so hard that I thought we’d sink.

I met Paul several times over the years. He was just as good a person as a musician. Our longest encounter was when I went to Tipitina’s to be an extra in Little Feat’s Things Happen video. We later became Facebook friends and traded the odd message. He was even known to read First Draft and comment to me on occasion. I was honored.

The last time I heard from Paul, he thanked me for placing his song Rad Gumbo at #8 on my Louisiana Tunes list for the Bayou Brief.

Paul Barrere was a nice man and a great musician. He will be sorely missed.

The best tribute to any musician is to play their music. We’ll start off with the aforementioned Things Happen. It’s an audio only track since the video is not online:

Hunting for that video made me hungry:

Next up is Little Feat’s first single after they regrouped:

This tune was written by Paul and keyboard player Bill Payne. It comes from the Dixie Chicken album and features Lowell George on lead vocals:

As a self-confessed weather obsessive, how I can resist posting Texas Twister? Besides, the best Feat is live Feat:

Finally, the Paul and Fred Acoustic duo. Fred Tackett is the fella with a full head of hair:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Things We Said Today

Circus Sideshow by Georges Seurat.

Fall has finally fallen, fuck yeah. The AC is switched off since it has been in the low to mid 70’s all week. Autumn is a short season in New Orleans so we have to enjoy it while it lasts. I even wore a sweatshirt the other day. Not a big deal where many of you live but after the hottest September on record, I am giddy

In honor of the season, I’m growing a beard for the first time in several years. But if it gets too itchy, I’ll shave it off. Perhaps I should try some hipster beard oil or some such shit. I draw the line at a man bun; not that I have enough hair to have one but if I did, I wouldn’t.

The big local story continues to be the Hard Rock Hotel collapse. They imploded the cranes last Sunday, which made things less bad. We’ll take less bad, y’all.  I’m hoping that City Hall will learn a lesson from this mess and stop letting developers run over them in the future. Real estate developers are the worst.

This week’s theme song is credited to Lennon & McCartney but it’s more Macca than John. It’s one of my favorite early Beatles songs, yeah, yeah, yeah. Or as Paul would say, WOOOOO.

We have three versions of Things We Said Today for your listening pleasure: the Beatles original, Dwight Yoakam’s 1997 cover, and a more recent version by New Orleans singer, Debbie Davis.

It’s time to stop talking and jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Begin The Beguine

Masks by Emil Nolde.

It’s been a long week in New Orleans. The collapsed Hard Rock Hotel sits there like a dagger pointed at our municipal throat. That’s led to concerns about damage to the beautifully restored Saenger Theatre across the street and other historic buildings.

There’s also been some serious conclusion jumping and finger pointing. It reminds me that *all* Americans love to jail people, liberals and conservatives just want to jail different people. TFC. What’s that spell? This Fucking City.  I’ve created a Fish Cheer for 21st Century New Orleans.

In addition to my acronymic exploits, I have a new catchphrase via the Insult Comedian: “They have a lot of sand over there; a lot of sand.” Believe me.

Cole Porter wrote this week’s theme song in 1935 whilst taking a Pacific cruise. It debuted in the Broadway musical, Jubilee.

We have two versions of Begin The Beguine for your listening pleasure: Artie Shaw and his orchestra, and Sheryl Crow from the 2004 Porter bio-pic, De-Lovely.

A quick note about bio-pics. Cary Grant played Cole Porter as a manly heterosexual in the 1946 movie, Night and Day. In 2004, Kevin Kline played Porter as what he was: a gay man in  a “lavender cover-up” marriage with a woman. There was no sex in the first movie, way too much in the second. Neither movie did a good job depicting Porter as a genius songwriter. That’s why we remember Cole, not who he slept with.

Let’s jump to the break whistling, You’re The Top. That’s bound to guarantee a smooth landing unless we land on the Tower of Pisa. In that case, we’ll just have to lean into it…

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Dwight & Me

People who don’t read First Draft are always surprised that I like country music. I am emphatically a city boy, one might even call me urban or urbane. The second U-word is a value judgment so I’ll pass on that.

I don’t like all forms of country music but I like the real deal for the songwriting and singing. That’s why I like Dwight Yoakam who I saw live for the first time last night.

I’m notoriously stingy when it comes to concert ticket prices so I hadn’t planned to attend. I’d entered a contest but did not win freebies. On the day of the show, I received an email from the Fillmore informing me that two free tickets awaited at will-call. I was so skeptical that I called the box office for confirmation. Apparently, they were papering the hall because it wasn’t sold-out but it was my lucky day.

As someone who grew up in the Bay Area attending Bill Graham Presents shows, the name Fillmore is tinged with magic. I was too young to go to the Fillmore West but more or less grew up at Winterland, its successor concert hall.

I loved the venue. It would be a great place for a certain carnival krewe to hold its ball: hint, hint, hint. The Fillmore is spacious, well-ventilated, and attractive despite being attached to Harrah’s Casino. We did not gamble before or after. I didn’t want to press my luck.

I had high expectations but they were exceeded. Dwight Yoakam’s set was great. Dwight and his crack band played for two hours at a breakneck pace barely stopping for a second. It’s probably why Dwight’s sidemen are all younger than the star. They’re great musicians and rocked like crazy. It goes without saying that Dwight is one of the greatest singers to have ever walked the planet, with or without cowboy boots.

It was a night for doppelgangers. Dr. A spotted a guy who resembled Gret Stet goober candidate Eddie Rispone. Mercifully, it was not him. A guy who was a dead ringer for our pal the Bear Jieux danced with Dr. A as the band played Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down. Initially, she thought it was him but it was not: the doppelganger was equally hairy but too short.

You’re probably wondering about the post title, Dwight & Me. We had tickets to see him in Biloxi in September of 2005. The show was hurricaned out and we were in exile in Dallas in any event. It was a long time coming but I finally saw Dwight Yoakam. It was well-worth the wait.

I wrote about last night because I needed a respite from all crazy in the news. A post called Talking Turkey can wait until Monday. That crisis will still be there.

The last word goes to (who else?) Dwight Yoakam with his set closer and encore:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: New Orleans Uncensored

This week we go to the movies with New Orleans Uncensored. It’s a tawdry bit of pulp cinema from William Castle who is better known for his horror movies. This flick isn’t horrible but it isn’t great either. The best thing about it is seeing the city in 1955.

Here’s the whole damn movie:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Something’s Gotta Give

Piazza d’Italia by Giorgio di Chirico.

It’s election day in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. As I stated in my last Bayou Brief column, I plan to affix a clothespin and vote for Governor John Bel Edwards. Here’s hoping that we don’t have a run-off with more visits from the Trumps and Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire. They’ve held events in small-ish venues but there have still been empty seats. A good slogan for Pence’s next event would be: Empty Seats For An Empty Suit.

We’re having our first cool front of the year. Fall hasn’t exactly fallen but we’ll take what we can get. The only seasons you can depend on in New Orleans are summer and carnival. I forgot football season: LSU and Florida are squaring off tonight in Red Stick. Here’s hoping the Tigers feast on Gator.

I have a new motto: Surreal times call for Surrealist art. This week’s featured image is by the Italian Surrealist, Giorgio di Chirico who was originally a Futurist. That gives me an excuse to quote Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto: “Oh, maternal ditch.”

If you expect me to explain that quote, you’re out of luck. I’m feeling cryptic like a proper Surrealist if there is such a thing. There were more than a few improper Surrealists if you catch my drift.

The title of this week’s theme song aptly describes our current national situation: Something’s Gotta Give. It was written by Johnny Mercer in 1955 for the Fred Astaire movie, Daddy Long Legs.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: Fred Astaire from the movie, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Lets make like Daddy Long Legs and crawl to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: You Win Again

The Sources of Country Music by Thomas Hart Benton.

It was the hottest September in recorded history here in New Orleans. It’s still fucking hot: we had record highs the first four days of October. I complained about it in the Bayou Brief the other day so I thought I should here as well. We’re allegedly getting some relief next week but I’ll believe it when I see it.

We went to an event at the fancy new-ish Picvocate/Gambit HQ to see local pundits and Adrastos friends Clancy Dubos and Stephanie Grace. I considered heckling but Dr. A wouldn’t hear of it. They talked local and statewide elections. I’m still having a hard time deciding who to support for State Rep since there are 4444 candidates running in our district.

They only took questions via Twitter so I was unable to do my Eddie Rispone impression on the live stream: “Hi, I’m Eddie Rispone. I’m a conservative outsider and Trump supporter.” It’s their loss, y’all.

For the non-Louisianans out there here’s one of Rispone’s ads:

Moderator and Paul Drake fan Kevin Allman moved the questions to the Tweeter Tube because he did not want to have long-winded questions. A wise choice since I was in the audience. To placate me, he asked one of my tweeted questions and Clancy dropped my name so I guess I’ll survive.

Here’s the video of the live stream:

This week’s theme song was written by Hank Williams in 1952. We have two versions of You Win Again for your listening pleasure.: Hank’s original followed by the Grateful Dead. I discovered this and many other classic country song because of them. Thanks, Jerry

Let’s pay a visit to Disambiguation City and meet up with singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter. Her You Win Again was written and recorded in 1990:

Guess what? There’s also a 1987 Bee Gees song with the same title:

Now that we’re three-time winners, let’s jump to the break again and again and again.

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Bayou Brief: Of Second Lines, Clothespin Votes & Jacques Chirac

My latest 13th Ward Rambler column is up at the Bayou Brief. This time I talk about the beastly hot weather, Gil Homan’s memorial service and second line, the Gret Stet Goober race, and the passing of former New Orleans cabbie Jacques Chirac.

Jacques Chirac was Mayor of Paris for 18 years. I gave Joni Mitchell the last word at the Bayou Brief, here’s another ode to the City of Lights: