Posts Tagged ‘NOLA’


October 30, 2009

I am presently in New Orleans for the Voodoo Experience. This year it happens during Halloween weekend, and I thought, what better place to be than in New Orleans for Halloween, a city that definitely never needs an excuse to dress up in costume, nor any reason at all to party.

And the headliner for Halloween? KISS, the penultimate dress up costumed band.

But already, last night, Thursday night, I have accomplished that which I came to this city for. I went to a dive bar where the drinks are so cheap, I couldn’t resist getting a few, staying well within my budget, and heard a band play I had accidentally thought I would get to see at their CD release party at a bar I had been to last year. Alas, I mis-read the schedule, but when I got into town, saw they were playing at The Saturn Bar, mere blocks from the place I had mistakenly thought I would see them. The band, I, Octopus, fits into my favorite genre of Post-Rock Instrumental, and were excellent. I even bought their CD and am now listening to them as I type this.

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I, Octopus

But the other two bands I saw before they played were excellent too. They were The AcropoLions and The Dives. I am sorry to say that I left as the fourth band took to playing, Sista Otis, but having only gotten a few hours of sleep in the previous 48 hour span with a 3 mile walk back to my hotel, I thought it best to leave. I know, against my policy of staying for all bands because you never know what new gem you will find, but I was really tired.

I say this is what I came to accomplish, and it is true. I got to rub shoulders with the locals, hear local bands, walk and breathe the local area, take lots of photos, have fun! And the total cost? $8 cover charge, $14.50 for the drinks, including tip, and $5 for the CD of the band I wanted to hear live. Plus I got to hear 2 and a half other bands in the bargain, and get hit on by a drunk person who I had no idea what language he was speaking. What a great night! Let’s forget about the Voodoo Fest ticket, plane fare, the hotel price and any meals I consume here, and just call it a bargain. As it is. A unique, once in a lifetime experience is always priceless, isn’t it? The Voodoo Experience and Halloween are just added bonuses.

And walking out of a drug store at 3 in the morning, with something to eat because I was starving, and having my glasses fog up because of the difference in humidity from air conditioned store to the outdoors at the end of October just made me laugh. Only growing up with winter time in upstate New York had me experience the fogging of the glasses before, and I just wasn’t expecting the humidity to still be so high here in the bayou, when it is nearly November.

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Condensation Due to Humidity in the Bayou

There is so much to enjoy about New Orleans, and even though I can’t enjoy its famous cuisine, being seafood heavy not amenable for a vegetarian, I get to enjoy it on my terms. I walk back, taking pictures of random things, scare the numerous cats out for strolls, get whistled and talked to by random males of all types, and avoid the lurching tourist drunks also returning home. This is a city full of life, full of decay, and is entirely exquisitely intoxicating in its contradictions. This is what I came to New Orleans to explore more, and can easily see myself coming back for years to come.

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Abandoned Church, Oozing Gothic Intrigue

Two More to Go

October 9, 2009

I am starting to mentally get ready for the remaining two music festivals on my plate for the year. And no, I did not go to rainy Austin City Limits of last weekend. Rain definitely seems to be the theme for the majority of music festivals I attended this year. Let’s hope it doesn’t continue! 

Next weekend (October 17 & 18) is Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco.

I will be volunteering there, which should be great, at a little two stage festival, no possibility of missing the bands. What a great place to get a volunteering gig! I still have to work out the details of getting to the festival once in SF via public transit (limited parking allowed on the island, which actually has a really cool and varied history involving visions as a transportation hub with airport/marina and realities as World’s Fair site and military installation), what is the actual address of where it is that I will be staying, and finally, making arrangements to get back to LA. That’s what the next week will consist of, making sure those details get handled. But I am definitely looking forward to the lineup. I am looking forward to hearing Murs, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Passion Pit again, Grizzly Bear again, Beirut, MSTRKRFT, The Decembrists yet again, Girl Talk always, and finally, The Flaming Lips. That’s about half the lineup, so I should be happy, no matter what. The other half are just bands I’m not familiar with yet. But I’m looking forward to it.

Fortunately, the festival that closes out the season has all its details handled, since I went to the same fest last year, and already know the lay of the land. I’m actually not as thrilled about the lineup, but bought the ticket to see two bands in particular, and to experience Halloween in New Orleans. I can’t think of a city more conducive to dressing up as a character and no one thinking a thing of it. (Besides Black Rock City.) Yes, I’m talking about VOODOO Experience, in beautiful NOLA. I have ticket, plane fare, hotel, and know where to go buy the three day pass to get around on the street cars. Just add meals and I am all set. In fact, I even get a paycheck before I leave, so I will have some spending money to take in the sights, say a swamp tour. Or the Botanical Gardens. Or actually visiting the Art Museum that the festival grounds sit next to.

The two bands I am eager to see? Kiss and Eminem. Yes, you read that right. Sure, I’ll enjoy The Knux, Silversun Pickups, Gogol Bordello, The Pogues, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Meat Puppets, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, MarchFourth Marching Band, The Flaming Lips again and whomever else I stumble across, but Eminem and Kiss were the bands that had me buy the extremely inexpensive 3 day pass. I am neither a Kiss nor an Eminem fan, not fan enough to ever buy a ticket to their own shows or even buy their albums, but Kiss on Halloween? In New Orleans? C’mon. I just expect it to be a very memorable experience, if only how colorful I expect the actual fans to be. And Eminem just makes me laugh, some of his song lyrics and even his persona. I actually own an album of each of these artists. But I’m not what I would call a fan. Really. Just curious enough to see their live shows, given the opportunity.

And, I come with plans for disguises. I wouldn’t call them costumes, just alterations of my existence. The first is I found one of my masks. I can’t wear it for very long, since it is latex and makes everything around it moist, and steams up my glasses. But here’s an old photo of me wearing it, actually taken on a Halloween years past.

The Long Beak Mask

The Long Beak Mask

Sorry for the crappy quality, it’s actually a scanned 35mm photograph, digitized. My old antique Japanese 35mm camera there, RIP.

I just went to Robinson’s Beautilities on Venice in Mar Vista, an LA landmark, and bought a wig. Long, black, straight hair. For some reason, I’ve never yearned to be a blonde, but a black-haired, green eyed woman has interested me. So now I have a mask, and a wig. I intend to dig out some old contacts I have, get my eyes used to them again, so I can ditch the fogging eyeglasses.

And what would be really cool would be to do this sort of simple makeup, and have that be the whole thing:

However, Fever Ray‘s Karin Dreijer Andersson has professional make up artists, and more importantly, someone else to do this to her, so I don’t think I’ll quite be able to manage it. But it would be awesome! Imagine walking anywhere in a city with that face.

So, as you can see, there is much to plan, the all important what to pack, and the actual what am I allowed to pack? What to wear, and what parts of a costume should I take with me?

And I’ve started hunting for things to do while in New Orleans, and one of the dive bar/off the beaten path venues I found is hosting a CD release party of a band that sounds interesting: I, Octopus. I hope to go check them out while there.