". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Interactive Sound Map of New Orleans

Created by Monsieur Quintron:

"Open Sound New Orleans."

Also, this:

"New Orleans Responds to BP With Song"

I can vouch that this is so, having heard some of these songs on the ground in NO.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

News From Haiti & Elsewheres

Two nights ago Mz called and said M had just called him, and all she needs to do is show the Haitian government a visa, two photos of herself and K, and plane tix, then she and K can go! In fact, she's supposed to get the kid out of Haiti by August 10th, they told her.

D said she was setting Zeffur to good luck purr-spin to cut M some breaks, and it looks as though it worked! Maybe this means they will be back BEFORE we have to be in Maryland. It's been a half year. It's been non-stop activity, action and agitation by so many people to get this far. Many thanks to everyone who has helped with everything from administration and bureaucratic navigation and hassle, to money. Most of all, for caring.


Other news: MSB has arranged a gig at this place in Baltimore " ... opening for a Bell & Cooper vehicle on Friday October 15. Place is called Joe 2, small club, good food and drink ...."

September and October calendar thus is filled for every weekend, with signings, academic presences, a week in the Dominican Republic, gigs like this one, and the one at Lincoln Center, plus others tba. Argh.


Writing for season 2 of HBO's Treme begins next week.


El V informed agent and publisher that The American Slave Coast is going to have both our names on it as writers, thus contracts need to be drawn up to reflect same.

I was /am most unsure about this, but he's determined it be so. I also thought everyone involved would go, oh sure, the bitch's been agitating blahblahblah. But the response was, "About time."

This means resigning from working, mostly, on my own project. But I'll be caught up working on this one, no matter what I resolve or do, because that's how it rolls in this house -- it's not as if I don't have a passionate interest in this history. I've already done a great deal of preparation research that has pointed us in the directions we need to go, the figures we need to look at, and so on. I've done this, on my own -- el V's too busy with the many other projects that are ongoing right now. So, with much trepidation, and much anxiety that I'm making a mistake, I've consented.
However, I am the first beta reader and editor. Like most writers I can't edit myself to best effect, so ... now what? Ah well. It shall all work out,  and it will be fun!

Monday, July 26, 2010


Our amiga, M, who went back to Haiti to protect her six-year-old daughter that isn't allowed to live here with her and her husband, until uncountable hoops have been leaped through and paid a fee for, each, and every, single, one, substantially, by people who don't have much money to start with.

Well, malaria. She has it.

The dna tests were successfully completed and the conclusion was that M was K's mom could not be ruled out by a factor that just missed 100% by some inthly fraction of a nano. That's how they do.

But now they have to file a 'translated' version of the test, plus fee, with the Haitian authorities.

M has been in Haiti now for 5 months. As someone with a U.S. spouse, with permanent residency granted to her -- if she's out of the country for six months, she loses that, and the process to get M back into the U.S. will have to start all over again too.

Mz's hopeful that she and K will be here by September.

He's planning our annual New Year's Eve rituals and celebrations even now. He says, "K is going to dance for New Year's."

Please, please, please, please.

We will be here, up from C-town, for New Year's with M, no matter what.

Mz wanted to help us celebrate our anniversary last night.  But his heart, o his sore heart, it is in Haiti.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

'Tis Our Anniversary Eve!

It is Hot.  Hot. Hot. Did I say, "Hot?"

And humid.


Nevertheless, we say the voyage is fairly begun. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Libraries: The Next Pop Culture Thang!

From the Library Link of the Day:

A local news story skeptically questioning whether libraries are "necessary" set off a response from Vanity Fair, and a later counterpunch by Chicago's Public Library Commissioner won her support from such diverse, non-library-specific outlets as The A.V. Club and Metafilter, and from as far away as The Guardian.

Call it a hunch, but it seems to me that the thing is in the air that happens right before something — families with a million kids, cupcakes, wedding coordinators — suddenly becomes the thing everyone wants to do happy-fuzzy pop-culture stories about. Why?

Libraries get in fights. Everybody likes a scrapper, and between the funding battles they're often found fighting and the body-checking involved in their periodic struggles over sharing information, there's a certain ... pleasantly plucky quality to the current perception of libraries and librarians. Yes, it plays a little ironically against the hyper-stereotypical buttoned-up notion of what a librarian is, but the sense that they're okay with getting mad in public — like Chicago's Public Library Commissioner did — gives library people a spark they might not otherwise have.

Librarians know stuff. You know how the words "geek" and "nerd" have gone from actual insults to words used to lovingly describe enthusiasts? Well, if we haven't gotten past venerating people who don't know anything, we've certainly reduced, I'd argue, the degree to which we stigmatize people for knowing a lot. This alone might not make libraries cool, but it takes away from the sense that they're actively not cool. More specifically, they live in the world of information, and are employed in part to organize and make accessible large quantities of data. If your computer had feet and a spiffy personality, you see.

Libraries are green and local. This is where there's a lot of potential appeal for the same people who like organic produce and reusable grocery bags. You can pretty easily position a library as environmentally friendly (your accumulation of books and magazines you are not reading is fewer trees for the rest of us, you know), not to mention economical (obvious) and part of your local culture. This is the part of the potential appeal that's anti-chain-store, anti-sprawl, anti-anonymity, and so forth.

Libraries will give you things for free. Hi, have you noticed how much hardcover books cost? Not a Netflix person? They will hand you things for free. That's not an especially hard concept to sell.

"Open to the public" means "some days, you really have to wonder about people." This is where you get the spark of an idea for TLC or somebody to do some goofball show called The Stacks, which follows a small local library through funding problems, trying to get book clubs started, whatever. When your building is open to the public, that means open ... to ... the ... public. And you know what's a little unpredictable? The public. This is where you might get your drama. (When I was in college, the information desk used to post the best questions it received, one of which was "How long do you cook spaghetti?" I suspect many libraries have similar stories.)

There seems to be a preposterous level of goodwill. Quite honestly, I feel like you can go on YouTube and act like a complete goof (in the best way), and if it's for libraries, people have that same rush of warmth that they used to get about people who had sextuplets, before ... well, you know. Before.

I don't know whether it's going to come in the form of a more successful movie franchise about librarians than that TV thing Noah Wyle does, or a basic-cable drama about a crime-fighting librarian (kinda like the one in the comic Rex Libris), or that reality show I was or that reality show I was speculating about, but mark my words, once you've got Old Spicy on your side and you can sell a couple of YouTube parodies in a couple of months, you're standing on the edge of your pop-culture moment. Librarians: prepare.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Orleans Again -- Television! Plus Autumn Capital Bookfest Appearances

SL's production is flying el V down to NO Friday to be interviewed re the BP Crime for If God's Willing and the Creek Don't Rise, SL's HBO sequel to When the Levees Broke. I've been agitating and agitating that el V get a hair cut. Guess he will do it, now. He can also finish the photo shoot for "Kiss You Down South," and give SL a second edition of the Postmamboist t-shirt.


Capital Bookfest Schedule:

September 18, Capital Bookfest, Harrisburg, Pennsylania, at the State Museum of Pennsylvania:
Appearance/Time: LIT CAFE/Panel: Reading Fiction/Book Signing – 12:50p.m. – 1:30p.m.
Partners: The Writers Wordshop, StateMuseum of PA, Penn Council of the Arts, Penn State, Harrisburg, Messiah College, State Library of PA, Smooth Jazz 92.7, Women Connect Magazine, Harrisburg Magazine, Orison Publishers, UTZ, Honest Tea (more to be announced).
Book Seller: Barnes & Nobles
Media Partners: The Patriot News, Clear Channel Radio Stations, WHTM ABC27, Comcast (more to be announced).

October 2, Capital Bookfest, Largo, Maryland (outside D.C.) at Boulevard at the Capital Centre:
Appearance/Time: LIT CAFÉ: BORDERS BOOKSTORE/ Reading/Talk: Southern Stories/Book Signing
Partners: Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, Prince George's County Parks and Recreation, Washington Post, Chick-fil-A, Radio One, Prince George’s Commission for Women, Washington Gas, UTZ, Honest Tea (more to be announced).
Book Seller: Borders Books
Media Partners: Washington Post, Radio One, NPR Radio, Radio One, WPFW 89.3FM Public Radio (more to be announced).

November 6, Charleston, South Carolina at Marion Square:
Partners: College of Charleston, Charleston County Public Library, The Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts (LILA), Avery Research Center for African American Research and Culture, Barnes & Noble, and Blue Bicycle Books(independent bookstore).
Programming: Five (5) program areas: Mainstage, Lifestyle, Kids, Poetry/lit, Writing Workshops and a Live Music stage .
Media Partners: Post and Courier Newspaper, Charleston Magazine, Channel 4 (ABC affiliate), SC Public Radio, Z 93 Jamz, Apex Broadcasting, (more to be announced).

We're going to take this opportunity to conduct some on the ground research in Charleston at this time.

Recording Studio ChitChat

Incarcerate in the same cell without a single call to their attorneys, no digital devices, no microphones, no reporters:

Camille Paglia, Ann Coulter, Mary Matelin, Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin and Michelle Malkin.

Take odds on whether they play Survivor or activate the cooperation gene -- lots of betting permutations to delight the audience.

Who would you add to the mix?

I still wouldn't pay to watch. Too, too dirty.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Home, From The Land of Rice and Red Beans

With mixed album, "Kiss You Down South," in hand.

Also returned plus many itchy welts on feet, ankles, lower legs and arms from mosquito bites. We left NYC in 92 + steam heat and went to ... 92 degree steam heat, and returned again to same. Yet, it's different.

Feline Update: Mz Minneola KittyKat Empress of the Universe, who never has allowed anyone but TR to pet her, or in any other lap as she ever deigned to sit, was petted by, played with and lapsat upon, by moi. Now, as keeper of the beefy feast cans and the kibble both, I had mucho leverage. TR's epression when he came home and found Mz KK sitting in my lap, being petted, while Elvis played on the house sound system and I was reading, was priceless. IOW, all was right in KK's world. "Who needs you?" she said. "You, who go away without warning, abandon and reject me, leave me nothing to rely upon but the kindness of strangers?"

Needless to add that she forgave him. Very quickly too. Besides, she was partly convinced we'd kidnapped TR, tied him up and locked him away from her. Or maybe not. We were still very good amigas by the time TR drove us to Louis Armstrong airport, blasting "Kiss You Down South" all the way (release date, 2011).

El V went to visit with the Hudson News Booksellers's manager and sign books. But again, they were all out, except for a single copy of The Year Before the Flood. She said this title was also a very good seller for them, and as of last month started out-selling The World That Made New Orleans. She speculates that is because there are so many repeat fliers coming through. They loved TWTMNO and wanted another New Orleans book by the same writer.

We had a bad flight home, the worst flight I've experienced in a long time. The weather, first. Thunderstorms all up and down the east coast canceled or delayed many flights and diverted many more. So our flight got packed with passengers from another airline that got diverted to LA airport. We ourselves sat on the runway and took off nearly 50 minutes behind schedule. But what was the worst is among the passenger that boarded us from a canceled flight was a preggers woman, her husband, their 5 month twins and three year old daughter. They complained that we were taking up too much room in the over-head -- i.e. el V's guitar kept them from stowing their strollers, car seats, etc. above our heads. Can we say breeders? They were seated right behind us. The kid in the middle who kicked my seat the entire time. The twins screamed in stereo the entire time. Who in their right minds was traveling with infants when they don 't have to? Evidently they were on their way to a conference - meet-up - something with Our Own Kind, targeting femnazis, commies, socialists, public school supporters and those who are pro contraception and family planning. I devoutly desired opium -- not for me, but to put in the milk, whatever, of ALL of these terrifying enemies of the nation. On our way to NO, all we had to contend with was the cutest tiny doggie, who was fed "Calming Doggie Treats" all the flight, and who only issued cute, tiny barks upon descent.

We lucked out at the end though. The latest thunderstorm didn't break until after we got into the taxi and were over the bridge. At home we'd cleverly had frozen pasta sauce beforehand, and had pasta on hand. I also had some more of Elizabeth's garden stuff which I'd cleverly stowed in my carry on, in which the produce weathered the flight admirably -- kept cold as in a cold case in the overhead.

It did take almost all night for our little a/c unit plus fans to cool off the apartment, in which over 90 + heat had not been dissapated or mitigated for 11 days.

This morning we learn the publishers don't want the short version of the Haiti book. It is unanimous with everyone with decision power at the comany that they want a full length book about Haiti instead. They are unanimous also about wanting the Slave Coast book. Which is all good. But when can the Haiti book then be finished? When can el V go to Haiti??????? Because we are committed to the American Slave Coast project while in Maryland, and then Angola in September 2011. I supposed it will get worked out. The upside is that there is more time for el V HERE, to work on moving.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Kiss You Down South" 8

Unsurprisingly, the MIXmixmixmixmix process is not finished.  Thus the activities originally scheduled for today such as photo shoot and dinner are canceled.

Gads, the stuff is gorgeous!

More rain and thunder, but not any of the crackers that announce the coming of god or the devil and the end of all things.

Spent most of yesterday working on the Maryland project while Turner Classics played.  The theme last night was Morocco.  Bing and Bob's Road to Morocco.  It's the first one of these I've ever seen.  This may be the fourth time I've seen, so to speak, as I'm not really watching carefully, The Wind and the Lion (1975) down here in New Orleans. Guess Turner Classics really likes this one. The Gary Cooper - Dietrich Morocco (1930), followed, as preposterous as it could possibly be, except for that terrific scene close  to the beginning in which Dietrich takes a flower from a giggling audience member's hair, kisses her in gratitude, and then throws the flower to Cooper.  I have seen this before and the ending annoyed me as much then as now.  But I was wrong!  There is something even more preposterous to follow -- The Desert Song (1953), a musical, starring Gordon MacRae who, an American mild-mannered wimpy anthropologist by day, leads the 'Rifters' tribe on raids upon the evile and stupid Legion and a sheikh plotting to Rule It All by night, while breaking into song and rebuffing the native nomad princess.  Somehow he's gonna hook up with the daughhter of an American general stationed in Tangier.  Or something. All while breaking into the most ridiculous 1950's American movie music. Is he Zorro? The Scarlet Pimpernel?  Robin Hood?  Not even Avatar - Airbender fail Hollywood would dare such a preposterous set up these days.

I do enjoy The Wind and the Lion as a strongly made romantic historical adventure movie drama, even though Sean Connery plays the courtly Berber, the great warrior, Raisuli, who kidnaps Candace Bergen and her children. Intentionally or not, the film presents a fine portrait of the perpetuated Teddy Roosevelt mythology of American Big Stickness, engineering and military unstoppableness and how we can do anything colonial empire building. I should sometime keep count of how often "Big Stick" is referred to in the film, and by whom. The movie paired very nicely with reading Vidal's Hollywood, which refers back to this era constantly during the Wilsonian administrations. When TRoosevelt suddenly dies, and Harding comes in people feel finally of him and his American abroad masculine adventurism of imperial colonialism. Now they can relax into the orgiastic '20's and make money, which is the actual point of the nation.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Kiss You Down South" 7

Another beautiful day, and I do mean B E A U T I F U L: sunshine, a sweet breeze, rioting vegetation.

MIX DAY, mixmixmixmixmix! Protools and so many digi audio-sound programs: you didn't sing this particular note quite in tune? Move the cursor just a teeny bit, like nudging your coffee cup, and voila! perfectly in tune! That wasn't something you could do in ye ancient of daze of tape and razor blades. This phrase in take 3 is an improvement on that same phrase in your generally favorite take? Drop in the take 3 phrase in its place. The other co-producer's currently in France. They send him the files of what they've done for his real time opinions. "More high hat!" That's a joke -- there are no drums on this, just el V's vocals the Ramirez guitar -- which el V says is the star and the point of the entire production; the guitar's finally getting its day in the sun, getting recorded, doing what it was made to do. Yet it's still the same long process of constant re-listening, focus and precise actions.

Tomorrow, session and dinner. Among the drop-ins last night was M, the photographer, 'doing my homework for the assignment,' he said. He was called by amigo, DC, photography curator of the New Orleans Art Museum -- very young, very pretty, very personable, and really on top of the game. A couple of nights ago el V asked me where they should do it. Earlier we were talking about the train track crossing above TR's house here on Royal St., which is where Homer Plessy, of Plessy-Ferguson separate cars for poc case, was arrested in 1892. So I suggested that as the location. El V loved the idea. It turns out that M. lives right there and has done shoots of the tracks for other projects, so he loved the idea too.

Go home Monday afternoon.

Mz KK is so much more relaxed today than any time so far. Why? Only she knows ... she did manage to sleep on the very corner down by my feet for a while this morning. We didn't even get back to the house until after 3 this morning. El V's so happy. When I woke up he was still sleeping, and sleeping so deeply, so happily. He wasn't snoring, but there was a little noise that came out of him that I swear was purring. I thought he was Mz KK!

PG's also very happy. Everybody here who has met him, just loves him. He's coming back the first week in August with K and now 17-year-old-friend.

It's going to be so confusing, getting back to my 'real life,' because this time around it means getting ready to go into another not 'real', but temporary life in Maryland.

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Kiss You Down South" 6

Yesterday E gave me some perfectly ripe local heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil from her garden, as well as perfectly ripe Alabama peaches. I happened to have a perfectly ripe avocado at home. Dinner, instantly! Or as soon as I could slice and dice and peel.

Tonight el V's doing the last of the vocal recording sessions. Now, to mix! MB's preparing a feast of shrimp and boudine sausage stew and I know not what else, othet than corn on the cob and steamed broccoli. Some friends are coming by. It's going to be a sing-along!

Overcast today, so even though it's very humid and 92 it feels less hot. The stink of oil was prevelant this morning too, though not necessarily from the BP Blowout. Since there's no light the city looks dismal and sulky today, just like Kitty Kat.

Thunder cracker woke us about 7 AM. Mz M KK EofU flipped every which way and inside out. Twitchy to start with, certain that we've got TR hidden away somewhere, that was the last straw. She began screaming. Which woke up el V, whereas the thunder cracker did not, so he's mighty PO-ed, as this is a long day and night ahead. He went back to sleep. I got up to try and soothe her. Maybe she's a somewhat autistic feline? She doesn't 'play' in the way other cats do; perhaps she doesn't know how to? Made tea and fixed her food. But she was so cranky. She wanted wanted wanted ... what? To be petted, but something else too, but what?

Yesterday afternoon and night she got very vocal and demanding, but what was she demanding? I think she wants attention but then she goes and hides in a corner, which effectively ends any interaction, silly cat. She wants to be chased, but chased just so, and then runs into her hidey holes and thus the chase ends, and then she sulks.

She also wants me downstairs, not upstairs, where I like to work at the New Thing, listen to WWOZ, or watch the local evening news. Not that she'll sit next to me when I am downstairs. No, I'm supposed to squat on the floor or the stairs and stroke her. Weird little kitty. I feel sad for her. Particularly today, as I'm going to be in the studio for the afternoon and into the night, so she'll be alone. There are more thunder crackers for today, tonight and tomorrow, poor thing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Kiss You Down South" 4

El V wasn't supposed to work yesterday or today. That was PG's time. But PG wasn't ready yesterday. He did a great session today though, with some local musicians on guitar and tuba, adding their parts to stuff he laid down and recorded years ago. Not only did PG transfer his two inches to digital, he got more tracks and now thinks he knows what he's doing with these pieces.

The plan for me today was to show up at the studio at the beginning of the evening or dinner time (M made another incredible feast), so I'd be around when he began singing again. I came ready to be audience and cheer leader, so left the computer at home. Silly me, forgetting this is STUDIO time, so naturally the singing time is still far away. El V ran back to TR's and brought my computer so I can be occupied for the next few hours.  ETA: People are starting to drop by ... to hang out with while he sings the repetoire down.   Such good friends, writers and musicians. K -- I feel so guilty.  The gossip sessions regarding a lot of the local musicians etc. that you really like -- you would surely appreciate this in exactly the way it should be!
I spent the day at home feeding the cat, cleaning the cat box, taking out garbage, making a most amazing soup out of dried stuffs in the crock pot, doing laundry, working out, watering the deck-garden ferns, elephant ears and other plants (the daily rains have quit as of yesterday -- also the Gulf is remarkably quiet, so that the good side of it). So I'm ready to just sit at a screen for a while.

Mz M KK EotU was much more relaxed this morning. She knows she will eat, I guess. Also, I insisted el V. allow the bedroom door be open when we slept. She won't jump up and sleep with us. But she knows we're there, and she can come in and sit in a corner if she gets nervous. It's all worked well.

The spell of New Orleans, its sheer loveliness, remains in full effect.  Why this is so I can't possibly comment, but somehow this is the exactly right place to be reading Gore Vidal's 1990 novel of Washington D.C., Woodrow Wilson, WWI, Harding and early Hollywood, Hollywood, which, natch, I pulled off TR's shelves.  Gore Vidal knows his history, though I really object to his characterization of Grant.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Kiss You Down South" 3

He laid down 30 songs in a marathon three and half hours last night -- without the click. Got home at two in the AM, wired as jack.  Listened down this morning.  Decided he needed to do it again, with click.  It felt too rushed, to him. Also broke two nails, so a visit to the Vietnamese nail place on Canal was in order today.

But is it too rushed?  PG and I discuss this.  It sounds with all the passionate intensity of his concert delivery without the click.  So ... well, PG agrees, that yes, some of the songs might be better with the click, but some without.  The wonders of digital editing and mixing, you can have them both.  They are re-recording and cutting both, now.

Last night Mz Minneola KittyKat Empress of the Universe spent a lot of time with me, talking and purring.  All fine.

But the night rolled on. And on.  No TR ....

After el V and I went to bed she cried for a while.

When I came down this morning she was curled in her hidey corner in the dining room behind the big chair.  She wouldn't even open her eyes.  She was a furry bundle of rejected, abandoned feline misery.

I talked to her for a while.  She wouldn't look at me.  Unlike usually, she'd eaten all the food in her bowl.

After I made tea and read a while, she came out of her corner and sat looking at me from a distance.  I got a can of her food and talked to her.  She came close.  I petted her a little bit.  Opened the food.  She ate, and then asked for tummy stroking.  So I guess things will be fine.  She has decided that el V is a monster though.

Ooofta it is hot and humid here.  I got mesmerized later in the afternoon by the tossing palms and ferns and the magnolia trees around TR's house.  Like Mz M. I just sat and stared fixedly at the botantical creatures morphing and transforming, yet staying themselves.  It's a lot of fun working in that big kitchen. It's a preview maybe of what it will be like in the Chestertown House. It's just lovely, really.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Kiss You Down South" 2

After el V came home last night we listened back via the burned CD to what they'd done in the session.

Omighoddessa of New Orleans, does that guitar sound fat, full, beautiful.  El V's playing is so authoratative one doesn't even notice how complex the music is.

He's also achieved his goal: that this sound -- guitar, voice and delivery -- just like what it sounds like, particularly to him, in our kitchen.  It really does.  When he's talking on the burn to the engineers and PG (PG and MB are co-producers with el V) I thought he was talking right there in TR's living room.

TR's house is from the late nineteenth century -- all wood.  The massive cabinent in which he has his CD player is from that era and all wood.

As PG understood immediately, "Now that I'm here I really get what N has always said about how the atmosphere, the moisture and the wood that are New Orleans is a big part of what allows New Orleans music its greatness and uniqueness."

It's really gorgeous and all it is is one guy playing his guitar and singing his songs.

So this is what it is through Saturday.  Sunday night friends are throwing a party.  Monday we go back to NYC to get ready for Haiti and then Maryland.  Oh, yes, and our anniversary is in there somewhere too.

TR left very early this AM for the week.  When I came down two hours later, Mz Minnie KK EotU was in her favorite sunshine puddle in the dining room.  She mewed to me, rolled over and told me to pet her stomach.  Last night she purred while I petted her, and she purred again this AM.  Then el V showed up and she went all skittish -- or perhaps all flirtatious.  You don't always know with her.

She was interesting last night during that listen back session:  We were all sitting in the front room.  She came to join us.  People sitting around reading, computing, talking, while music plays is her security and safety zone.  She sat in chair that was at the height all the rest of us were sitting.  Her ears were very busy, as busy as ours, with the tracks playing.  She did not go to sleep.  Toys are of no interest to her whatsoever.  One gets the feeling that she may well be a most intellectual feline.  But then, that's who her person is.  And, just as her person is a true gentleman, she's also a true lady.

In other areas: since MB hadn't time to shop he wasn't able to make the usual studio dinnertime feast he does for sessions.  So out it was, to Bacchanal.  It, like dba Saturday night for John Boutte was filled with uptown hipsters. At Tip's later (after the Moon Tour, which this time was depressing as we spent most of it driving past endless empty houses in MidCity), which was at least half 'ghetto' fro the benefit, white uptown girls watched the black girls dancing and carefully mirrored every move they made.  It was weird ads hell to watch, though it surely must have been more fun to do!

MB says that HBO Treme showed the uptowners where to go and how to learn the moves that are supposd to make them hip downtown. I dunno about that though, blessed as I was by an endless lecture by one of them about why Sade was the greatest musical artist of our time.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Recording "Kiss You Down South"

Has begun.  Blessings on the sessions, O Changó.

Rain periodically.  Perfume scented steam bath.  The vegetation riots.  Brunch at Satsuma's.

Mz Minneola KittyKat Empress of the Universe is extraordinarily friendly.

Surrounded by loving wonderful talented supportive people!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Down In New Orleans!

What a beautiful morning! It smells so good, at least it does today, though now the oil's in the Lake, the stink is hitting the town a lot more, TR says.

In an inexplicable reversal last night I slept as deeply at TR's as I did that first night back in NYC after leaving New Orleans. I cannot express how happy I am to be here. We are guessing that between HBO Treme turning the city into a television vision, and the BP Oil Blowout Crime, subsconsciously we'd come to think the city didn't really exist. But the city does exist, and among the development, real estate market and housing reno going on, even here in the Bywater and the edges of the upper 9th, it's jumping. But -- TR fears this may end in about two years, particularly if the Blowout doesn't get shut off, serious work on cleanup and restoration isn't done.

In the meantime PG gets in this afternoon. This is his first time here. We plan to take him to John Boutte, then on one of TR's magical moon drives, then on to Tippitina's. PG's a horn man, and there's a benefit of brass bands for the fishermen. I won't make that as Tip's is not friendly to people with back conditions.

Other news -- Mz Minneola KittyKat Empress of the Universe -- she remembers me. Or something. She started twining herself around my legs within a few minutes, threw herself over so I could be allowed to provide tummy strokes and just generally was very friendly for her. TR thinks she remembers me from earlier. Or -- I think she senses something in the air and knows I'm going to be the one who fills her food bowls ....

TR reminded me that this is the time of year she gets very clingy, and anxious that her food bowl have something in it at all times. He says she's got a deep memory of being alone and starving slowly in that house after the levees failed, in the weeks it took for him to get back and in to rescue her. As the residents of New Orleans get skittish and anxious at this time of the year too, and remember, why wouldn't Mz KittyKat, who also went through her own hell?

Last night TR gave us the installment from his Katrina journal that covers those first weeks back. What he went through makes Treme look mild, and what he went through was actually not that terrible compared to so many or even most who lost their homes or had extensive damage, and who lost their loved ones. But it was farkin' bad. Amply bad. Not to mention downright frightening and dangerous. I knew all of it before, but we've received this in pieces, over the course of five years. This was the first time he'd put it down in the smooth organization of a professional writer's account. He's a very good writer, as well as a good person / man. It was harrowing to read. I cried.

If anyone can't understand what the Gulf residents are going through now because of BP's crime, if they read TR's account of that time, they surely would. Unless they are heartless criminals, which of course BP and all our corporate masters are.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Vaquero!

You are my Hero!

He's been listening to his birthday present to himself, the CD Bing & Satchmo (1960). As well as loving the entire album, the "Dardanella" cut is one of Vaquero's all-time favorites from when he was a little kid., when he heard it on the radio often while growing up. He was reminded of this Phil Schaap played July 4th on Louis Armstrong's birthday broadcast and ordered it then and there.

And we mailed the taxes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Heat Crisis - Day 4

I had to go out and do things. Wore my stetson Panama hat and a sweat head band and was glad I did.

It broke 100 degrees again. Parts of NYC have lost power.  You see ConEd trucks everywhere in the streets and the heroic ConEd guys working to keep us connected.

Nevertheless the designer label stores and restaurants have their doors and windows wide open, pouring frigid air into the sidewalks and streets -- the sidewalks and streets almost as empty as the stores and restaurants.  This is against the law.  You go in and tell them and they miraculously no longer speak or HEAR in any language.  They will lie in your face: "There is no law against this.  There is no door open.  There is no air conditioning here."  The cops?  They say, "That's an obsession of yours."  I want those people put up against the wall and shot.

Even the library was nearly empty. Nobody wants to be on the streets. I feel pretty sick myself, even though I kept drinking water. I think it is the air quality.

Tomorrow's el V's birthday. He says too much work to do yet tomorrow night to do anything special. Eat at home, he sez. The party will be in New Orleans, he sez.  I hope the heat doesn't further break the electrical grid and keep us from taking off.

OK.  I feel somewhat less cranky and sick.  I ate my first ice cream of 2010.  I took a bath and washed my hair.  Letting it air dry -- not gonna turn on a hair dryer today!  I have the floor fan on, but am able to leave the a/c/ off for a while longer while the hair dries, a natural cooling move.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oil's Reached the Waters of Lake Pontchartrain

Yet we are not to be concerned at the amount of oil that has been detected. If not concerned now, then when should be concerned?

While here, currently it's 102 degrees, with ozone levels they aren't telling us, and the humidity is rolling in.

Nor has it rained since sometime in May.

Today's the day Queen Elizabeth came for her first viewing of Ground Zero.

How quickly we forget too, without a power outage here since 2003. I did laundry this afternoon, using both washers and dryers! The biggest pull on the power today isn't for another hour or two either. I should be disconnecting power supplies, not pulling more energy.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Louis Armstrong!

Happy 4th of July hot dog eating contests. In yesterday's contest here, the usual winner was defeated by an elephant.

We're such a democratic nation, we even allow elephants to overeat what isn't good for anybody to eat, in honor of democracy and independence.

Is there anything more representative of how fallen this nation is, that it is working to turn overeating into a competitve 'sport,' and classify the eaters as 'athletes?'

On a planet where over 1 billion go to sleep each night hungry?

I would be truly miserable but for this antidote: our American Treasure, Phil Schaap, is conducting his annual 4th of July WKCR all day and night Louis Armstrong broadcast. Let us recall that Louis Armstrong, though born in August, chose as his official birthday, July 4th.

In the meantime, here, all day, we have a heat advisory in effect, as well as advice to stay inside due to the levels of ozone in the air.

Tonight, though, tonight -- fireworks, then the Afro-Cuban All Stars at S.O.B.'s.

ETA: Though we are sitting here in the a/c sorting through our tax stuff (we need to file quarterly) -- we are in heaven: Satchmo and Bing Crosby, dueting an entire album!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Have Plane Tix

To New Orleans. Laptop acquisition to follow asap.

We'll be in New Orleans 11 days. We are staying in TR's house, which is a short distance from Piety Street Studios. He's going out of town. I will care for Mz KittyKat Empress of the Universe. One strongly doubts that she approves of this, but at this moment she doesn't know, nor shall she until it is too late.

But this means I can cook instead of eating out all the time. I shall have much room to workout. I will hump  a vast history each of Virginia, South Carolina and Maryland.

PG's coming down to do some recording of his own during this period. This may be the last chance for musicians who need to see and hear New Orleans as it still precariously is. The end may have arrived, though it will be slow rather than fast dynamite. NO's ass is hanging in the water now that the Wetlands are really destroyed.

I wonder if we'll need to evacuate -- will there be another hurricane during that period?