Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jazz Fest 2010 – Day 2

Jazz Fest Day 2 was much different from Day 1.

A few days before our “second Friday” Jazz Fest day, I had been getting sick. Not feeling sick, but sounding it – including harsh chest congestion. The Thursday night that Jason, Jason, Carlos and I saw David Sedaris live was the night that my throat hurt the worst. (On the way home, Carlos stopped at Walgreen’s for me and bought me all the correct drugs for my symptoms. Dating a hypochondriac has its benefits.)

I slept great Thursday night, but woke up Friday morning almost completely hoarse. By around 1 pm, right about the time Carlos and I hit the New Orleans Fair Grounds (where the Jazz Fest is held), I had totally lost my voice. I could either whisper or have Carlos read my lips. We quickly worked out some basic hand signals (and I still remember A through G in sign language – which turned out to be not much help) and were off to…

Fleur de Ladies Brass Band at the Jazz & Heritage Stage. They really grooved! I searched around for a video of them, but came up with nothing. Picture the Hot 8 Brass Band – but as women with attitudes.

Besides the music, Carlos and I love the food. I was really looking forward to a (highly recommended) Duck Po Boy. Carlos thinks that no one should eat a plate of shredded duck on a piece of French bread. I ate that and a plate of Crab and Crawfish Sushi. Both dishes tasted odd. I think because of my sickness. Or maybe Carlos is right.

We then listened to The Dixie Cups ("Chapel of Love") for a bit on our way to...

John Boutté at the WWOZ Jazz Tent. We arrived one song into his set and so asked around if he had played "the hit". Apparently, we weren't the only ones there for "the hit". As more and more people swelled the Jazz Tent, each new arrival asked if he had played "the hit". John Boutté's music runs from blues to gospel, all of which he sings really well - and we all loved. I really hope that his "hit" gives him more exposure.

I went to Amazon to see about buying one of his CD's. They're all expensive Imports. Spread the word: Let's get his music released locally.

Here's the "hit", the theme to HBO's current show "Treme"...

The Nicholas Payton Sextet followed John Boutté. After John Boutté finished his set, the Jazz Tent cleared out. I bet that's never happened to Nicholas Payton before.

Carlos and I then listened to Allen Toussaint...

on our way to...

"Unfinished Blues with Harold Battiste, Ellis Marsalis, and Karen Celestan with interviewer Kalamu ya Salaam"

The Music Heritage Stage, where older musicians are interviewed, is inside the club house (read: the air conditioning). That was our original motive for going there. We stayed for the entire show. Hearing how these mid 20th century jazz musicians got together was fascinating.

From Ellis Marsalis: "I remember in high school skipping my bus stop and riding one more further with Harold so we could jam together. He didn't want to play piano so that's how I ended up playing it."

From Harold Battiste: "I helped Sam Cooke compose 'You Send Me' and ended up playing on it."...

A book based on their experiences is coming out in June.

Here's a quick NPR Jazz story about the same.

Carlos and I then met some friends of his from school and caught almost the entire Earth, Wind & Fire set...

They were a last-minute replacement for Aretha Franklin. After the Unfinished Blues session, we were talking with one of the employees of the Fest. She told us that Aretha was "scared of the oil spill". I added that I saw on her Biography that she is scared of flying. Our employee friend told us that, since this is her second time canceling at the last minute, she won't be ever asked back. Too diva.

We did leave before the final two EWF songs. Apparently even though the band was a last minute replacement, they were able to track down Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind & Fire's original/best known singer)...

...and have him sing the final songs with the band. Carlos and I heard those as we were walking out of the Fair Grounds back to my car.

Overall, another great day.

Job Update

A quick update on my job.

I am the Manager of the Duplicating & Graphics Department at one of the universities here in New Orleans. Our department handles the copying, printing, graphics, and copy machines for the entire university, as well as some other associated departments around the city and the state. Think of us as an on-campus Kinko’s – with the addition of overseeing 120 copy machines around the campus/city/state.

I got a (sort of) promotion at work. I say “sort of” because my boss gave me more responsibility, but no more money.

I am now also Manager of the Warehouse and Delivery departments. The Warehouse orders and delivers (via many vendors) all the cleaning products used by every janitorial department on every campus (and it’s a shit load!). The Delivery department handles those deliveries, plus the deliveries for all other departments under our larger umbrella department (17 total).

The Manager who formerly handled Warehouse and Delivery is a good friend of mine so we are having an easy transition. It is still tough to take on all these new responsibilities, while still trying to maintain our current customers - and more importantly, increase our sales.

It’ll all work out, but for now it’s really stressful at work. [Sound of me popping open a third beer.]

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day

A few years back, my sister Christine and her girlfriend Karlie took over the Mother's Day Crawfish Boil from Aunt Mary and Uncle Greg. As always, the crawfish and the company were perfect.

Carlos and I caught up with, among other people, my 41-year-old cousin Paul who is battling colon cancer, which has also somehow attached to his liver. He seems very upbeat about the whole thing - even though he is about a month into chemotherapy. We'll see. I think it'll turn out okay.

My parents were in Eldora, Iowa for my dad's cousin's wedding. My mom hated to miss Mother's Day, but she said 45+ years ago, when my parents first got together, that since my dad was willing to move to New Orleans for her, she would attend all his family events. (My dad grew up in Clarendon Hills and Hinsdale, Illinois - and his parents are from Iowa.) I bet the wedding was on a farm.

Christine and I were discussing the fact that mom wasn't at today's event.
ME: Did you call mom today? I called her right before I got to your house.
SIS: No, but I will right now. I sent her a Mother's Day card next day air so she'll get it tomorrow in Milwaukee, where they'll be.
ME: I bought her a card - and Carol Burnett's new autobiography, which I will leave on mom's coffee table for her to see when she returns.

Sibling rivalry never truly dies.