Falling November 27, 2012Posted by Mark Folse in A Fiction, cryptic envelopment, Memory, New Orelans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It was not the burr oak across the street, the only tree I know of that reliably turns gold and red come November. It was not the ridiculously sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner, or sitting with my oldest friend the next evening on a screened porch feeling the shift in the wind that brought the first real cold snap. It was the sight of them, squirrelly in the first cool afternoon, each knot of Catholic plaid or khakis energetic as particles of a textbook atom but drifting home as slow as dust motes. Those are the days cemented in memory as the first of Fall, the irresistible urge to be outside in the cool air, an hour to cover the dozen blocks home, goofing and never breaking a sweat, the blanket of summer lifted and the holidays ahead not quite a conscious thought but somehow simply present like the warming patches of afternoon sun between the trees.
Great Gutenberg’s Ghost November 5, 2011Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, lyric essay, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odd Words, Toulouse Street, Writing.
Tags: Lettera 22, Olivetti, typewriter, Writing
Click to open image and read.
P.P.S Yes, I misspelled Gutenberg. I think the careful exercise of typewriting will ultimately do much to break me of lazy computer habits.
Manoir de Mes Reves July 29, 2011Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Jazz, music, New Orelans, The Narrative.
Tags: K. Balewa, Leigh Kamman, MPR, The Jazz Image
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Do you have any Gerry Mulligan? my son asked. His school band leader asked him to pick it up last year because he wanted one in his orchestra, and it took. He’s going to have to give Franklin’s back (which he was allowed to keep all summer) and you don’t want to know what a barri costs. I said I only had one song, and it’s one I’ve had for a very long time. (I now own a couple of records through the magic of the Internet and he has copies of both).
Through all my years in Fargo Leigh Kamman’s The Jazz Image on Saturday nights was a lifeline to a larger world, a window into the past of jazz, an education it would be hard to duplicate anywhere else. He always opened his show with this song, and all of Saturday’s chores and the long week’s labors would melt away in Gerry Mulligan’s soaring baritone. The closest you can come to approximating the tone color and cadance of the voice of the now retired Kamman, the small hours of morning club cool, is to listen to K. Balewa’s Morning Set Wednesdays on WWOZ, but while Balewa’s is raspy brushed snare and the low register of the trumpet Kamman’s was all horns, the baritone in the lead, the sound of the opening choruses of this song.
R.I.P Snooks February 18, 2009Posted by Mark Folse in 504, blues, music, New Orelans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Snooks Eaglin
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Another cutout figure at the Fairgrounds come April. Too many already, too many, and every year takes a few more. My wife loves the blues and that I hadn’t taken her to see Fird “Snooks” Eaglin yet and well, I don’t have many regrets but the list just got one longer.
Beyond Jena January 8, 2009Posted by Mark Folse in Bloggers, New Orelans, NOLA.
Local blogger Bart Everson is organizing Beyond Jena, a conference on social media and social justice at Xavier University on Saturday, January 31.
Rising Tide, the annual Blogger’s conference on the recovery of New Orleans, is a community sponsor of this forum.
The details are below. I encourage you to attend.
A Forum on Bloggers of Color, Education and Social Justice in New Orleans
January 31, 2009 — Xavier University Center Ballroom
The 2007 demonstrations in Jena, Louisiana, were “a civil rights protest literally conjured out of the ether of cyberspace, of a type that has never happened before in America” [Chicago Tribune]
Nearly a year and a half after these cyber-driven protests, this innovative forum will continue exploring the relevance of social action initiatives like Jena, as well as the blogosphere and grassroots media as vehicles for social justice. Convening diverse panels of bloggers of color, faculty, students and activists, the forum will also focus on the rise of the blogosphere in New Orleans and the unique ways that grassroots media can be utilized to enhance pedagogical practices as we seek to realize the Xavier mission within the classroom and beyond.
How can we merge new technologies, pedagogy and grassroots media to realize the Xavier mission in unique and innovative ways? We’ll address this and other topics through two exciting panels:
PANEL ONE: The Rise of Blogging and Grassroots Media as Tools for Social Justice in New Orleans and Beyond
PANEL TWO: Using Blogging and Grassroots Media as an Educational Tool to Realize the Xavier Mission: A Discussion of Best Practices and Student Reflections
Beyond Jena: A Forum on Bloggers of Color, Education and Social Justice in New Orleans will be held Jan. 31, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom at Xavier University of Louisiana. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. Admission is free and open to all, but registration is required.
Hail ReX of NoLa Rising May 23, 2008Posted by Mark Folse in New Orelans, Toulouse Street.
Tags: art, CitiBusiness, City Council, grafitti, Micheal Dingler, New Orleans, NOLA, NOLA Rising, public art, vigilante
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CC: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: NoLa Rising (Micheal Dingler) and Fred Radtke
I was disappointed to learn that Micheal Dingler, founder of the public art movement NoLa Rising, was still forced to both pay a fine and to agree to stop posting public works of art to escape the municipal charges engineered against him by Fred Radtke and Radtke’s allies in the NOPD. While Mr. Dingler is relieved of the threat of a large fine it is not the outcome many would have wished, which is for all charges to be dropped.
Meanwhile Mr. Radtke remains free to continue to deface public and private property and to intimidate anyone who questions his authority to do in his self-anointed crusade, with the blessing of a prior city council and local civic leaders, and the open collusion of the N.O.P.D. in his own municipal violations
I propose that the ordinances governing NoLa Rising’s activity (which amounts to posting bills) be amended to make a clear exception for the transient (easily removed; take it down and pull the nails) installation of non-commercial works of art on utility poles and similar locations where they in no way impede the function of city government, the utilities or endanger the public safety.
Here is the CitiBusiness article on the outcome. The T-P did not cover the story that I can find on line.
“It’s After the End of the World. Don’t you Know That Yet?”
Toulouse Street – Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans
Catching Cabbage March 16, 2008Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Irish Channel, New Orelans, NOLA, parade, Toulouse Street.
Tags: 504, beads, cabbage, Irish Channel, New Orleans, NOLA, parade, St. Patrick's Day, throws parade
I caught almost two sacks of cabbage (the fullest of which, also packed with potatoes, carrots and the odd onion, was stolen), but this was the real treasure of this year’s Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday.
All of my food went with my son’s friend, whose mother the social worker shares it with her clients. I figure there was nothing I was going to do useful with 10 head of cabbage, so that worked out well. As for the stolen one, well, if you’re going to steal someone’s parade-caught food you probably needed it more than I did, so best-of-luck go with it.
We were showered with beads and other throws but the two pair of these, handed down to usein a bag by a co-worker of my wife’s, may be the single best throw I’ve gotten from a parade bar-none. It is certainly the best imaginable catch of the day at a New Orleans St. Patrick’s weekend parade.
Thanks to Celcus for the wee bit of fine Irish whiskey and general hospitality. We ran into Adrastos and Dr. A, and liprap and her spouse there as well.
Sun Ra Does Disney February 17, 2008Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Jazz, New Orelans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street, Uptown.
Tags: Dumbo, free jazz, Pink Elephants on Parade, Sun Ra
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By all reports, neither Sun Ra nor Frank Zappa did drugs. Some people clearly did not need them to get to that special place. Anyway, no apologies necessary to Mr. Disney for whoever synced up Sun Ra playing “Pink Elephants on Parade”. Consider it revenge for my inability to listen to certain pieces of music without Mr. D’s cartoon intruding. (Not that I diskliked Fantasia, but if you had small children in the era of the VCR or later and watched it a couple of hundred times…..
Space is the Place January 18, 2008Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, home, Hurricane Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, quotes, Rebirth, Remember, Sinn Fein, Sun Ra, Toulouse Street, Uncategorized, We Are Not OK.
Tags: New Orleans, NOLA, parade, poem, Poetry, Rebirth, space is the place, Sun Ra
“The first thing to do
is to consider time
officially as ended.
We work on the other side
— Sun Ra
I want to march like Sun-Ra
in glittering alien threads
into an Oakland pool-hall
and declare our intention to embark.
New Orleans, as ruined as the pyramids,
rising up majestic in the air
on howling trombone notes of joy
to launch another crescent in the sky.
The sun will strike us colorblind
once we’re beyond the atmosphere.
We’ll cast the last debris off over Kansas
and shower them a carnival of stars.
Together like stranded astronauts
who’ve exhausted the last of our air,
we’ll lift off the mask at last
and dare to breath together.
We’ll claim our place at last
in the ancient parade of zodiac
where Bayou Andromeda
brushes up against the Milky Way
Cross-posted from Poems Before Breakfast.
You’re In Bad Hands with Allstate January 8, 2008Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Hurricane Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: Allstate, BCS Championship, criminal, football, fraud, Katrina Gulf Coast, Louisiana, New Orleans, racketeer, Sugar Bowl
Welcome to New Orleans, courtesy of the ongoing criminal enterprise that is sponsoring the Sugar Bowl and BCS champsionship game. Watch the lovely pre-game d cememonies, the sanctimonious adds on the diamondtron I endured at last year’s Sugar Bowl. Try to tell yourself, America, that if you’ve been gullible enough to fork over tens of thousands of dollars to Allstate that they won’t cheat you out of any settlement should you dare to file a claim. Good luck with that. Just ask Michael Homan. Here on the Hurricane Coast, we know better.
They have systematically tried to cheat their way out of paying out fair claims to Gulf Coast victims, and made record profits in the year of Katrina. They stand accused of systematically falsified engineering reports to cheat their customers and bilking the Federal government out (that’s you, Mr. and Mrs. You-Think-You’re-In-Good-Hands) out of millions. They have made their business model denial of claims. You pay them; they don’t pay you. They are not businessmen. They are racketeers. They are criminal scum. If you work for Allstate, you are scum. You are no less a predator than the drug dealers in central city.
Next year I propose we dispense with the niceties, and simply have the Medellin Drug Cartel Sugar Bowl.
Better yet, let’s make sure that next year, their is no more Allstate. As I proposed last May:
…consider this: Allstate proudly lists $157 Billion in assets. They’ve already lost one $2.8 million judgement based on one of their fradulent “engineering” reports. We could build a lot of levees and houses with $157 Billion. All we need is an attorney general with some balls…
Dylan on the Ghosts of New Orleans December 28, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, ghosts, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: Bob Dylan, Bob Dyland, ghosts, New Orleans
This is an interesting thing I haven’t come across before, from Bob Dylan’s autobiographical Chronicles, Volume OneChronicles, Volume One.
The Ghosts of New Orleans
by Bob Dylan
The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds – the cemeteries – and they’re a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay – ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who’ve died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn’t pass away so quickly here. You could be for a long time.
The ghosts race towards the light, you can almost hear the heavy breathing spirits, all determined to get somewhere. New Orleans, unlike a lot of those places you go back to and that don’t have the magic anymore, still has got it. Night can swallow you up, yet none of it touches you. Around any corner, there’s a promise of something daring and ideal and things are just getting going. There’s something ly joyful behind every door, either that or somebody crying with their head in their hands. A lazy rhythm looms in the dreamy air and the atmosphere pulsates with bygone duels, past-life romance, comrades requesting comrades to aid them in some way. You can’t see it, but you know it’s here. Somebody is always sinking. Everyone seems to be from some very old Southern families. Either that or a foreigner. I like the way it is.
There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better. There’s a thousand different angles at any moment. At any time you could run into a ritual honoring some vaguely known queen. Bluebloods, titled persons like crazy drunks, lean weakly against the walls and drag themselves through the gutter. Even they seem to have insights you might want to listen to. No action seems inappropriate here. The city is one very long poem. Gardens full of pansies, pink petunias, opiates. Flower-bedecked shrines, white myrtles, bougainvillea and purple oleander stimulate your senses, make you feel cool and clear inside.
Everything in New Orleans is a good idea. Bijou temple-type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side. Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace. Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain. Roman Catholic art. Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast-iron balconies, colonnades- 30-foot columns, gloriously beautiful- double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn’t move. All that and a town square where public executions took place. In New Orleans you could almost see other dimensions. There’s only one day at a time here, then it’s tonight and then tomorrow will be today again. Chronic melancholia hanging from the trees. You never get tired of it. After a while you start to feel like a ghost from one of the tombs, like you’re in a wax museum below crimson clouds. Spirit empire. Wealthy empire. One of Napoleon’s generals, Lallemaud, was said to have come here to check it out, looking for a place for his commander to seek refuge after Waterloo. He scouted around and left, said that here the devil is damned, just like everybody else, only worse. The devil comes here and sighs. New Orleans. Exquisite, old-fashioned. A great place to live vicariously. Nothing makes any difference and you never feel hurt, a great place to really hit on things. Somebody puts something in front of you here and you might as well drink it. Great place to be intimate or do nothing. A place to come and hope you’ll get smart – to feed pigeons looking for handouts. A great place to record. It has to be – or so I thought.
Excerpted from ”Chronicles, Volume One” by Bob Dylan. Copyright © 2004 by Bob Dylan.
Home December 25, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in Dancing Bear, home, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: believe, faith, Federal Flood, home, Katrina, Levees.org, Louisiana, Matt Faust, New Orleans, NOLA, repatriation, right of return
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That people are forced to live elsewhere is not just a shame, it is a crime against the laws of humanity.
One way or another, it’s time to bring everyone Home.
You just gotta have Faith that it can be done.
The dew upon their feet shall manifest. December 24, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Xmas.
Tags: agnosticism, Christmas, god, happy, holiday, Jerry Garcia, joy, merry, music, pagan, peace, Poetry, Sunday Morning, The wheel., Wallace Steves, Xmas, Yule
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Not everyone in this nation is a Christian, and so many struggle with this season. For those who’s own world view does not tend toward the religious, I offer this gift of a favorite poem that has carried me through many a churchly holiday and more than one family funeral.
If this seems too solemn, then let all of the gods and spirits and sons of men join together and dance. The faster we go, the rounder we get.
Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.
Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.
Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.
She says, ‘I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?’
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven’s hill, that has endured
As April’s green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow’s wings.
She says, ‘But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.’
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.
Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.
Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky;
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feel shall manifest.
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, ‘The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.’
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.
Voodoo, cannibalism, witchcraft in NOLA December 23, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
Tags: California, cannibalism, chaplain, exorcism, government, idiots., military, New Orleans, NOLA, vodoo, witchcraft
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“New Orleans is also very ingrained in voodoo, cannibalism and witchcraft”
–Unidentified Army chaplain on a TV news report out of San Francisco
What precisely is the point of this video? Does the military actually employ exorcists? Did people in California really believe that people in New Orleans are cannibals?. Do I have to pay for this crap with my taxes?
Having lived away for almost 20 years and found myself taking my family through the entire tourism trip on visits to New Orleans, I missed out on the cannibalism tours.
As for the tax-payer financed exorcism by this frightening example of government-sponsored and -financed superstitious ignorance: In the name of every spirit in and of New Orleans, I command that the spirit this asshole chaplain, all like him and the god they worship–Begone. Jump up a pig’s ass and go drown yourself.
Big hat tip to American Zombie.
Peace Out, Man December 23, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Cheech and Chong, Christmas, Santa Claus, Xmas
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Happy Holidays from the Burning Pit December 20, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, parody, Toulouse Street.
Tags: crucifixion, dancing Jesus, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, parody, Toulouse Street, Xmas
Somebody stop me, please.
I am so going to hell. December 20, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in Dancing Bear, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, parody, Toulouse Street, Xmas.
Tags: Christmas, Hell, holiday, Jesus, Xmas
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I wonder what they do down there on Xmas eve? Roasting chestnuts? I do miss having a roaring fire at the holidays and those little pine cones covered with heavy metals that make the pretty colors…
The Rebel Jesus December 19, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in Chieftans, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK, Xmas.
Tags: aetheist, agnostic, Bells of Dublin, Chieftans, Christian, Christianity, Christmas, heathan, Jackson Browne, Jesus, justice, music, pagan, peace, rebel, Xian, Xmas, Yule
I tried to answer Bart’s question about how to deal with Xmas when one is not an Xian as best I could. I think, however, that Jackson Browne kicks my ass.
So here, Bart, is at least part of the answer you are looking for:
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.
The Rebel Jesus
The streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tales
Giving thanks for all God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus
They call him by the “Prince of Peace”
And they call him by “The Saviour”
And they pray to him upon the sea
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worshiped in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus
We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus
But pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.
Tunnel of Love December 16, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, Xmas.
Tags: Big Al Carlson, New Orleans, NOLA, Snow Tunnel, Xmas
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I took my wife and son down to Fulton Street to see the Xmas spectacle Harrah’s Casino and Hotel have put up there, in part from my own foggy memories of the snow tunnel at the Fairmont Hotel, the place old-timer’s still think of as the Roosevelt.
The tunnel of light was dark when we arrived around six, even though the published times are 4-8, so we wandered around and found the bar, where the pours were generous enough to keep the evenings encroaching chill at bay. At the far end of that block of Fulton right off Poydras, Big Al Carlson and the Bluesmasters were set up on stage and getting ready, so we settled in. Rebecca has been interested in seeing him, although I have an aversion to all bars in the busy strip of Bourbon except the Absinthe House, and always make a point of entering from the Conti Street side. I remarked walking up that I hoped to pass the rest of my life in New Orleans without darkening the door of Harrah’s Casino, and I tend to feel the same way about the tourist bars on Bourbon. The last time I had a drink on Bourbon was at the Famous Door and more than 20 years ago, when it was perhaps the last venue for trad Jazz, before it had become a karaoke bar (shudder).
Big Al is a consummate showman who works the drunks and out of towners the way his tight, Chicago-style blue band works the familiar repertoire. Given the setting (and that, like any working band in their circumstance they have a set of Xmas songs at the ready), they traded off a Robert Johnston for a Rudolph, a Muddy Waters for a Silent Night.
At one point in the show, Big Al sent the band off, and said there was one song he wanted to do on his own. He spoke about his band being a local band, and about the people of New Orleans, those who were home and those who were not, in whatever circumstance. He dedicated the song to the latter, those who have not made it back. He then launched into a throaty “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, his normally strong vocals cracking a bit as I had to rub away the hint of tears behind my own glasses.
Thanks for that, Big Al.
During the breaks, the tunnel was lit and the bubble “show” began to fall and my wife had her own, slightly teary “home moment”. After ten years (for me) and much of a life for her in the north, seeing even something that looked sort of like snow was enough to pluck at the heartstrings.
Xmas in Hell (aka You Tube) December 13, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in Bloggers, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, parody, Xmas.
Tags: Cryptic Enveloment, Xmas Christmas Parody carols
There, you’ve gone and ruined Xmas for all the little kiddies. I hope you’re satisfied.
We tree king in orient car December 10, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, Xmas.
Tags: carols, Christmas, lights, parody, Xmas
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“We tree king in orient car
smoking a Jamaican cigar.
Make you lazy and so crazy:
Man dig that crazy star, -ar…”
Ah, the sounds of a man hanging his Xmas lights, singing stupid lyrics as a defense against the deathless earworms of traditional Xmas Muzak. There’s just something about dripping sweat on a chilly day while untangling icicle lights up on tippy toe on the porch railing right where the power lines enter the house that brings out the stupid in all of us.
“We wish for some figgy pudding.
We wish for some figgy pudding.
We wish for some figgy pudding and a cold glass of beer.
Good tidings to you, so what’s here to eat.
Some nice figgy pudding and a piece of cold meat.”
My wife comes to the door and glares at me in jest (I hope), then turns up the Charlie Brown Xmas album and closes the door. The lamps on my beloved plastic ivy that decorates the door go out. I leave off filing the orientation tabs off of grounded plugs by rubbing them on the cement steps and starting wiggling bulbs.
“Jingle Bells, Rudolph smells.
Santa broke the sleigh.
Mrs. Claus is a mean old broad
who drinks a quart a day, -ay”.
“If you need something productive to do, you can come inside and help,” my wife suggests. Have to remember the unplug everything before I water the plants, I remind myself. Never had that problem in Fargo, but can’t say I miss climbing that 24 foot extension ladder on a windy, 10-degree day to string up the giant triangular arrangement that made a tree. I left half a kilowatt of lights behind with friends up north, where battling the darkness seemed even more important when twilight is at 4 pm and it’s dark when you get to work at 7:30 in the morning.
“Im’a mimute,” I mumble, cord clamped firmly in my teeth (uh, is this thing plugged in?), as I stretch around the triple columns at the corners of my Craftsman porch, reaching to stretch the last string of icicle lights to the last nail. I must have left these strings up last year while the neighbor was having his roof redone, as there’s a certain Dickensian black grit covering the white wires of the icycles.
Ah, done at last, my own little Folse Drive in Mid-City.
Two Landscapes December 8, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Fargo, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Fargo, ghosts, god, landscape, New Orleans, poem, Poetry, Wallace Stevens, Wallace Stevents
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I have known both these places, have walked in emptiness and felt that which fills the emptiness like water rushing into a bowl. In some places we call this god, and in others we call this ghosts. At the dark of the year, I struggle to see the difference.
1) I have heard the inevitable noise in the signal called silence, the crisp, static rustle of snow falling upon itself in perfect stillness far below zero.
2) I have seen what some call ghosts, the emptiness that outlines the shapes that make a place in a landscape, the space without which there is no form. I have felt the haunting when there is nothing in the landscape but the shape of a place and its essential emptiness.
Mr. Rundgren on Line 6, Sir December 7, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Todd Rundgren, Toulouse Street.
Tags: House of Blues, New Orleans, NOLA, Todd Rundgren
An evening with Todd at the House of Blues. It was good. First, dinner with good friends in the Foundation Club, which has remarkably good food. Then the show.
The vocal audio sucked at HoB. I don’t know if it’s just too small or poorly wired or if a show that’s all mike off of amps just sounds like that. My host the long-ago soundman-roadie gave a detailed critique after, but the guitar lines were fine, and I knew the words for almost every song as well as the band.
Nice mix of the old (as far back as as Broke Down and Busted f Runt, and two songs off of Something/Anything) and the new (the No World Order-era t Christ). I’d be lying if I said I knew his new work as well as the old, but I always enjoy hearing it because the man is a master song writer and producer. He just doesn’t do much bad work.
I first saw Todd Rundgren at McAllister Auditorium for the Wizard a True Star tour, and a half-dozen shows since them. I’m now 50 old, and TR is pushing 60. I may be as likely to see George Harrison as Todd again. Who knows what the hell might happen between Now and Next Time. I’m damn glad I went. Who do you love? Mr. Aykroyd asks on the wall above the stage. I say rip the Maharashi’s picture out of that frame, and put in TR’s.
Here’s the group that played New Orleans, on one of the songs from over three decades ago delivered just as we heard it the other night.
Mr. Bingle December 2, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Christmas, Maison Blanch, Mr. Bingle, New Orleans, NOLA, Xmas
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Thanks to the New Orleans Radio Theater website of local broadcast memorabilia for this snapshot of of our long-ago childhoods. Picture are Al Shea, a stalwart of Golden Era local television, along with Mr. Bingle and Pete the Penguin. The website tells us Shea was the voice of the Penguin, while the Mr. Bingle fan site tells us that Edwin Harmon “Oscar” Isentrout was the voice and puppeteer behind Mr. Bingle
Mr. Bingle was the star of an extended advertisement for the long-departed Maison Blanch department store chain which ran on late afternoon television back in the early 1960s. Those of us of a certain, late-Baby-Boomer age remember Mr. Bingle as one of the touch points of Christmas in New Orleans. In addition to the television show, Mr. Bingle was the start of the store windows at the Canal Street store.
Here’s a scratchy but listenable audio-only recording of an long ago Xmas Eve broadcast of the Mr. Bingle show.
Where I want to be November 19, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Flood, flooding, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: Donovan Atlantis
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Way down yonder way back when November 18, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in French Quarter, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
Tags: history, New Orleans, newsreel
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This old newsreel seems to focus a great deal on the river. It’s interesting to see cars driving past the Cabildo, and in fact how little traffic there seems to be in the French Quarter
Fellini’s beached monster November 16, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in Debrisville, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Remember, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Dante, Divine Comedy, Fellini, film, La Dolce Vita, New Orleans, NOLA
Sometimes at night the darkness and silence weighs on me. Peace frightens me. Perhaps I fear it most of all. I feel it’s only a facade, hiding the face of hell. I think of what’s in store for my children tomorrow; “The world will be wonderful”, they say; but from whose viewpoint? We need to live in a state of suspended animation, like a work of art; in a state of enchantment… detached. Detached.
— Divine Comedy The Certainty of Chance Lyrics
as a speech by Steiner in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita
No, I am not about to violently snap, like Steiner in La Dolce Vita. The speech always struck my differently, perhaps the way it struck Marcello in the film before the tragic murder-suicide, not as advice but as a framing for a life in a seemingly pointless universe. Isn’t that the way Marcello chooses to live in the end, almost in a state of suspended animation?
I have always found a strange sort of solace in what others might find depressing. I do not seek the peace which passeth understanding, except perhaps in despair as one might seek solace in drink or in death. Satori seems tempting, but strikes me as ultimately dehumanizing. I am not ready to surrender up my self and my suffering for an empty bliss. Instead I need to learn to survive in this world where the first noble truth is inscribed like scar tissue somewhere deep beneath the skin.
Here in the original land of misfit toys we call New Orleans we need to find the truth hidden in Dante’s speech as filtered through Fellini’s Steiner, not as Marcello did by embracing the emptiness but in our own way; not precisely in a state of suspended animation but instead isolated from the sterility of late American culture; by defining our own space, “like a work of art; in a state of enchantment…. detached”; defining our own fourth noble truth, our own Way of celebrating through the darkness that leads us to the light; leads us not to Fellini’s monster on the beach, but to the innocence of the girl on the strand.
We must not detach from our world, but from theirs, must insistently be ourselves at whatever cost.
Still waiting, still dreaming… November 11, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in 504, cryptic envelopment, Debrisville, Flood, flooding, Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, Rebirth, Recovery, Sinn Fein, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: 504, Beckett, Gentilly, New Orleans, Ninth Ward, NOLA, Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
Since all of the tickets for the Theater of Harlem’s outdoor production of Waiting for Godot were long gone by the time we arrived, we decided not to wait around under the tree at Pratt and Robert E. Lee and debate, but instead withdrew for more drinks, starting back on the porch at Chez Folse and ending at the Circle Bar for Gal Holliday.
I heard (from someone who asked last night) that there would be no Sunday show added as they did last weekend. So tonight instead of seeing Becket’s play, I am–after a prolonged episode of absurdest, existential angst in my friend’s club level seats at the Dome–reduced to watching bits of video.
I had read the script through online during a business trip this week. There is something essential in it to the current experience of so many in New Orleans, the discovery that we are not suffering from post traumatic stress disorder because we are not past the thing but instead in the very midst of it, in a landscape and a plot as bleak and confusing as Beckett’s, on a road of dubious prospects in a landscape swept clear of familiar geography and of hope, no prospect that over a hill or beyond a wood there is something different, something better.
Nothing to be done.
And yet we came in the hundreds last night, into the thousands, turning our back on the well-lit streets of the sliver by the river, forgoing the restaurants of Magazine and the lively nightclubs of Frenchman to try to sit through this difficult work, a comedy as black as the streets were for months in this part of town, as dark as the picture windows remain in so many of the empty brick boxes that line the streets. We came because all of us are so like these characters, lost in a landscape from which familiar references have been erased, clinging to the one thing that keeps us all from dropping over the brink: each other. We know Godot will not save us, that the Pollo’s of the world care not a whit for the outcome.
The careful fictions we have erected like pyramids in this country were all swept away by the flood, were taken from us as cataclysms of the Twentieth Century destroyed the illusions for Beckett’s generation. We have peered into the abyss, an abyss where many waded or swam in desperation and too many drowned, while the newsreaders stood puzzled on dry streets and the relief trucks stopped at the edge of town, waiting for word that it was safe to come, waiting for instructions from Godot. We were not simply ignored or abandoned by America. Instead we tasted the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, and were driven out of the garden of mass marketing, ashamed of our nakedness. We have peered into that abyss and come away filled with uncertainly and angst, equally incapable of trust in god or government. What is left? What reason is there to live here, to live at all?
And still we come home, even as we came to see Godot. The ticket rules changed without announcement, more turned away than admitted, we left the site of the play not confused but affirmed in the life we have found here. We left that open air stage, but we can no more leave this place, this city than these characters can hang themselves: not because we are incapable, but instead because it is beyond our human nature to surrender this life we call New Orleans. Perhaps Godot will come. Just as likely he will not. All we can be certain of us ourselves: Sinn Fein. In the end, however bleak the scene, we will not give up hope.
Well? Shall we go?
Yes, let’s go.
They do not move.
Deja vodoo over Tabasco November 9, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Flood, flooding, Hurricane Katrina, Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, Tabasco, Toulouse Street.
Tags: , flooding, Katrina, Mexico, New Orleans, Tabasco
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If you know my story of homecoming and how and why it happened, you will understand why this quote from Root Coffee’s blog, talking about the massive flood in Tabasco in Mexico, gives me (and Ray) shivers:
My husband means well when he tells me I should get some sleep and gather strength to keep helping tomorrow; but the anguish eats at me, I can’t feel comfortable, it’s my hometown, my people, the place I grew up in, I can’t just let it go.
You will understand why I will be here tomorrow night, to hear these words:
…So there you are again.
I’m glad to see you back. I thought you were gone forever.
Meanwhile, donate to Tabasco relief.
And never forget, never surrender. We can all rest in the grave.
Fire on the Bayou October 26, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Hurricane Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
Tags: California, fire, Katrina, San Diego
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Hey, Mr. Blakely: I found your cranes October 20, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in Cranes, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, New York, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: , Cranes, Ground Zero, levee, New York
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I found them towering over Ground Zero, what our esteemed mayor once referred to as “a big hole in the ground”.
think only this of me September 28, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Everette Maddox, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, poem, Poetry, quotes, We Are Not OK.
Tags: Everette Maddos
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…Oh if this moment
should indeed prove
to be the corner
I’ve spent 35 years
painting myself into
think only this of me
That one more cheap camera
against the world’s beauty.
— Everette Maddox
Shelton Alexander–When the Levees Broke September 28, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Flood, flooding, Hurricane Katrina, Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, poem, Poetry, Rebirth, Recovery, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: Shelton Alexander
Update: I talked to Shelton via MySpace mail and he has no idea who put this up or why it was taken down. Sorry.
Ground truth has a face. It is Shelton Alexander’s.
I have found a new version. It’s a crappy capture but it’s Alexander’s interview and the entire speech.
I told you I would be here.
It was important that I came.
The Man Who Sold The World September 15, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Toulouse Street.
Tags: David Bowie, Nirvana, Prometheus
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This 1970 David Bowie classic has always touched me in a way I never clearly understood. Perhaps it was just the Lovecraftian otherness of a chance meeting with a mysterious other overlaid on such a simple melody, its almost-a-story of a chance meeting that opens a portal into an entirely new world. I hadn’t heard this song in perhaps 30 years until the Nivana cover of it popped onto the radio a few weeks ago. Suddenly, upon hearing it again, I saw the lyric in an entirely new light, understood at last the relationship between the man of the first verse and that of the second.
Who was the mysterious stranger on the stair? An immortal? One of the forgotten gods of the distant past? Or just an image of the artist in a passing mirror?
It need not have been a god. What were gods without the men who sung them, without whom the gods would have been merely immortal. The singers made them larger than life, larger than the world through which they strode. The speakers of their names were the makers of the gods, the artisans of their world. Homer begat Hesiod begat Aeschylus, through the Romans and all the way to the Romantics of two centuries ago: the story and its telling are the real immortality of those gods and Titans.
Who then is the man who sold the world? The devil of the Old Testament? Or the Satan of Milton, rebellious Prometheus with the gift of fire? Sold the world at what price, to what gain? I had always like to think that he stood outside that dichotomy, an agent neither of the old god or his antagonist, someone or something at once beneath and behind the stars, one who has traded Maya for–what? Something those who have not passed that point cannot understand.
Hearing this song again at this point in my life, I feel I have entered into it at last. I have followed the enigmatic stranger of the first verse into the perilous journey. I have left behind the world as American knows it, have sold it gladly in exchange for the chance to come home, into the mystery of New Orleans: the strangest and most comfortable place I have ever known. In surrenduring to that irrational instinct I have become that stranger, become the person of the end of the second verse and chorus: the man who sold the world.
This insignificant post in cyberspace is my own chance to close the circle, to circle back and play the stranger of the first verse , to pass a spark of the flame to another, perhaps to lead them here. Listen: there is no price on the world, no thing to be accepted in exchange, and so everything to be gained in the transaction. As Don Juan’s disciple discovered, at the face of a precipice the choice is not binary, to step back to safety or to fall: one can jump.
We passed upon the stairs,
We spoke of was and when
Although I wasn’t there
He said I was his friend
Which came as a surprise
I spoke into his eyes — I thought you died alone
A long long time ago
Oh no, not me,
We never lost control,
You’re face to face,
With the man who sold the world
I laughed and shook his hand,
I made my way back home,
I searched for form and land,
Years and years I roamed,
I gazed a gazely stare,
We walked a million hills — I must have died alone,
A long long time ago.
Who knows, not me,
I never lost control,
You’re face, to face,
With the man who sold the world.
Here’s Bowie’s acoustic version:
and Nirvana’s excellent cover of the song (embedding not allowed by publisher).
Josef Zawinul passes September 11, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Jazz, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Josef Zawinul, Miroslav Vitous, Weather Report
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No, this has not a damned thing to do with New Orleans, but the passing of a great jazz man is always worth noting.
Here is an early Weather Report appearance on German TV. Peter at Adrastos has an amusing Weather Report/Zawinul story. The clip he posts has one of the later bassists (I’m not sure if it Pastorius or someone else) doing their signature version of Birdland. Here’s something slightly more out there with the larger Weather Report ensemble of the earliest days, including Miroslav Vitous on bass.
I need New Orleans more than New Orleans needs me September 2, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in art, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: John Scott, Ninth Ward, NOMA, sculptor, sculpture
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Noted sculptor, Xavier professor and of course Orleanian John Scott, interviewed on June 29 from Houston as he struggled with the illness that took his life this week:
“That’s the only home I know. I want my bones to be buried there. I belong there. I need New Orleans more than New Orleans needs me.”
Remember August 29, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in Corps of Engineers, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Flood, flooding, Hurricane Katrina, Katrina, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Redneck Riviera May 29, 2007Posted by Mark Folse in New Orelans.
Tags: beach, destin, Florida, ocean, redneck riviera
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Yes, I know that’s Alabama and I’m in Destin, Florida. Still:
• In the south there are people with the accents we associate with Blance du Bois and the characters of Designing Women. They must all go to the beach in the Carolinas.
• Why does a man with a confederate flag tatooed on his back have a woman so tan she couldn’t pass the paper bag test?
• Why is all the crab at The Crab Shack overlooking the Gulf of Mexico Alaskan and Dungeness?
Really, I have no right to complain or to condescend, In spite of the building down the beach which looks barely boarded up since Ivan in 2004, it’s lovely to sit on my balcony staring at the moon’s track on the water nad listening to the constant rumble of the surf. I have b een away from the sea too long.
– posted via Blackberry