Tuesday, April 27, 2010

First Weekend at the Fest

It's Jazz Fest time again! Fresh off a plane and still recovering from a bout of jet lag I spent the entire first weekend at the Fair Grounds helping my friend Ginger Kelly in her booth in Contemporary Crafts. Since we weren't totally slammed the entire time I was able to walk around a bit every so often and take some photos and even catch a minute or two of a variety of different performances.

We were situated between the Blues and Gospel tents so I had the opportunity to hear Kipori Woods while we were working as well as Little Freddie King early in the day on Friday but the rain put an end to my plans to see Leroy Jones and Maurice Brown later in the afternoon.

My friend Linda Lesperance was also out there in Contemporary. She had called a couple months back and asked me to create a couple poses for two paintings she was working on. One was a woman holding a basket and the other was a woman walking away and swinging her hips. I didn't see the paintings until Friday at the fest because I was out of the country when they were completed.

Because of their subject matter, color palate and overall compostion the two paitings turned out very differently and while they were both terrific, my favorite by far was the one of the sassy woman walking away. The facial expression of the other woman sitting on the bench is priceless! One was done in an outdoor urban setting and one in an outdoor rural setting. The urban one borrowed its theme from a popular blues song. I am happy to say both paitings now have new homes.

We were fortunate on Saturday to have the weather forecast change and see the rain clear up early on. It was muddy and windy but at least the music was able to continue. I caught a little bit of Bleu Orleans and Terence Blanchard as well as Dr. Michael White. I happened to be passing through Economy Hall in between sets and said hi to Roger Lewis before he performed with the Treme Brass Band.

On Sunday I was able to pass through the Jazz tent briefly for Jeremy Davenport and then later for Irvin Mayfield's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. I caught a glimpse of the Blind Boys of Alabama and passed through Economy for Lionel Ferbos and even managed to see a little of the "Wonderful World of Louis Armstong" set with Victor Goines, Wycliffe Gordon, and James Andrews.

There is so much music going on between the ten stages that there is just no way to get to even half of it. Even if I had been able to spend more time listening I would have had to spend twenty minutes at this stage and fifteen at that one and ten at another.

After visiting my favorite regular food stops (Vietnamese Bun, fried eggplant, shrimp flautas from Taqueria and spinach and plantains from Benachin) by Sunday I was looking for something new. I discovered a spinach bisque with seafood over near the Acura stage that was absolutely yummy!

Of course there is also the social aspect of Jazz Fest for all of us locals who attend year after year. Even though we live right here in town there are a number of people we only see annually at the Fair Grounds.

Coming soon... highlights from second weekend.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring is here!

The trouble with blogging about New Orleans is there is just way too much going on at any given time so that before you can organize your thoughts to type up something about an event or experience it has been replaced by five others and before you know it several weeks have passed.

This is exactly what it has been like the past couple months. Just this last week for instance I attended the Edible School Yard Fund Raiser at Green Charter School (where I teach), had dinner at Hori Noya (delicious!) in the CBD and then checked out Curly Taylor at Rock 'N Bowl on Thursday.

I went to Women and Wine on Wednesday the day before at Rio Mar in the Warehouse District for a bit as well as dress rehearsal at the opera (saw and enjoyed the Flying Dutchman) and then caught the incomparable Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra at Snug Harbor.

Tuesday I was at Whole Foods on Magazine for Rob O's Wine and Cheese 101 with the meetup group which had been rescheduled from the week before and naturally coincided with the rescheduled Italian wine tasting with Antonio Molesini at Swirl! (I made there too!)

Monday evening I had shared a wonderful bottle of wine (Les Copines, 2007) with a friend and Sunday it was Brunch at Martin's on Veterans (delicious crab and brie quiche with a delicate mushroom soup and fresh fruit!) and dinner at Cafe Bamboo (Rice bowl sampler: mafe, mole and vindaloo - yum!)

By Friday I was exhausted, naturally. I would have slept in if I had not been slated to give a tour at the Odgen that morning. Before heading back home to hibernate for the weekend I met a couple friends for lunch at the Chill Out cafe on Maple. I did venture out once on Saturday afternoon to First Cup Cafe on Calhoun for a long overdue visit with my friend Artemis Preeshl who is getting ready for her next directorial project at Loyola.

The spring weather has been great and I am glad the current chill is only expected to last a couple days!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Who Dat Fever Still Going Strong

The Saints won the Superbowl, Mardi Gras is over and now things have calmed down enough for me to start to catch up on posting and everything else. I watched the game at home alone (See my Associated Content article) in peace and quiet where I could be comfortable and not have anyone talk to me through the game. Of course it was an awesome contest and I was absolutely thrilled when the Saints won.

Scott Fujita being traded away and the situation with the other free agents doesn't make me hopeful for next season but that's too far away right now to be overly concerned. French Quarter Fest is coming up soon followed by Jazz Fest and a long hot summer of potential hurricane concerns has to pass before we can focus on football again.

I for one look forward to the day (or should I say decade?) when post Katrina life can return to somewhat normal, and by normal I mean the ability to navigate through the city without road blocks, detours and all manner of construction simultaneously taking place all over town as well as the ability to make reference to time with something other than before K and after.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Orleans is gearing up for Mardi Gras, not exactly my favorite time of year, but at least there is king cake to look forward to. For now though, everyone is fixated on whether or not the Saints will make it to the Superbowl. It's been a long and stressful road with many heartbreaking years to get to this point, but we have FAITH and this could indeed be the year.

I haven't been home much on Sundays to catch the games the past few seasons but something finally clicked in my brain a few months ago and I have been catching the games on the radio and I must say it is a lot less stressful to listen without watching. I was so excited last Friday at the return of Deuce McCallister and I now I feel he and the Saints organization are one big fat collective tease! Disappointed is an understatement. All I can say is they had better have something really good up their sleeves! We have waited a really long time for this and endured decades of taints and putdowns.

Who knows, maybe Kermit Ruffins will get his 2009 Christmas wish after all.