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Waiting for Godot on the Road Home October 17, 2012

Posted by The Typist in Back of Town, Gentilly, je me souviens, New Orleans, NOLA, Treme.
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A new post up at the Treme blog Back of Town, on the scene from Waiting for Godot and my own experience of the play.

I thought it was my house. A left-side double with a carport on the right attached to the next door neighbor’s single-level ranch. My stomach knotted convulsively. The panic bands tightened around my chest. A wave of Permanent Traumatic Stress Disorder, the tension of being transported into a scene I didn’t quite remember, being among the hundreds turned away every night from the Gentilly production of Waiting for Godot in 2007 but I knew the play, knew the text, knew the essential and painful rightness of it like a necessary amputation. I had only been there in spirit but had gone home the last night and after dispirited drinks at the Circle Bar I wrote in the small hours of the morning my reaction to a play I had just not seen.

That could be my house.

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Keeping the Beat on the Street September 24, 2012

Posted by The Typist in Back of Town, New Orleans, Toulouse Street, Treme.
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A new post is up on BackOfTown.com Treme blog discussing Episode One, Season Three. See y’all over there.

Countdown to Treme Season Three September 21, 2012

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, Treme.
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Don’t forget Back of Town for all you need to know about the show. OK, you’ll probably go read Dave Walker first and you probably should but BoT rolling come Sunday night.

It’s A Living Tradition April 25, 2011

Posted by The Typist in music, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, Treme.
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Back of Town, you one stop shop for everything you need to know about Treme, is back in business with Episode 11. Cross-posting my first Season Two pieces here.

As I asked a year ago when the Chief appeared out of the darkness I wonder how many people outside the city caught the signature feature of this episode: the young boy with a horn who bookends the episode, the one the Chief observes with signature arched eyebrow walking past St. Louis No. 2 struggling to learn to play. That and Delmond’s jazz version of Second Line, so significant after his conversation with Donald Harrison, Jr. at the fundraiser in Season One, were for me the defining moments of Episode 11.

In the weeks just before All Saints Day 2006 I asked the same question the Chief asks all through Season One: what will it take to bring people home, and what might be lost if they do not return:

Until we solve the problems of bringing people home, it remains a critical question: if the overwhelmingly African-American working class of New Orleans cannot come home, will the culture be transmitted? Or will it merely be preserved by well-meaning fans as a thing under glass, taken out and paraded once a year around the Fairgrounds at Jazz Fest like the relics of a saint. What will happen to the children of New Orleans in Houston and Atlanta when there is no role model up the street to make them want to learn trombone, or the intricate rhythms of New Orleans funk? Will all the future Nevilles and Trombone Shorties be left to aspire to be, instead, 50 Cent?

The boy with the trumpet and Delmond’s impassioned answer are Treme’s response to that question. The unintentional irony of the Katrina morgue at St. Gabriel comes back to me, the archangel with the trumpet hosting our ghosts. When the crowd was cheering and aw-ing over Davis and Annie and the show was busying arranging the characters for the second act, I was thinking: blow that horn, son. Blow it for the memory of the ancestors at St. Gabriel. Blow it for the now. Blow it for the future, boy, blow it for that mother-fuckin’ future.

That’ll Work April 12, 2010

Posted by The Typist in 504, New Orleans, NOLA, Treme.
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First thoughts on the first episode of Treme are up on Back of Town, from myself and the whole crew. While that tab opens and until next week, how about a little Louis Prima?

I have to wonder how well some of the subtlety will play in Peoria. Who in the room under 50 will understand the segue from talking about the Mafia to Louis Prima? How many will know who how big he was, that he was a New Orleans boy and the white Louis Armstrong in the profoundly segregated world of jazz music?