Thursday, May 2, 2013

The NOLA Scowl

A Wake Up Call
People have told me that I always look so angry in the photos that they see of me (Alex in California)..
They have also said that I need to put on some weight (the Lidgleys of London), or "We need to get you a hat," (Tanya Huang) in reference to my hair "style."
I don't own a mirror.
I use my Dave Matthews Band CD as one, to make sure that I don't have barbeque sauce all over my face before I go to the ferry terminal.
Nobody in New Orleans would tell me if I had barbeque sauce or baked beans, for that matter, all over my face, as I walked the Quarter.
They would think that it was either my hustle: "Excuse me, sir, but you've got something on your face"
"Oh, thank you and, by the way, you wouldn't have a couple bucks you could spare, would you?"
Or they would think that it was my way of self expression, or "flying my freak flag," as the gays where I play on Bourbon Street would say.
Looking at the photo above, which was taken last night makes me wonder.
I remember not feeling angry at all when it was taken. I rather felt glad that my phone was working and I would soon be able to load photos onto this blog right from the street, like above...
Do I have to smile just to not look like I'm frowning; and then smile extra hard to crack a grin?
Now I have to appologize to all the denizens of the city who walk around with what I have called "the NOLA scowl" on their faces.
Maybe they are all just like me....

It is apparent to me that I need to start eating better; get some kind of hair style or a hat, and learn how to smile through the pain and laugh in the rain.
Straight To Bourbon
Yesterday, I left the library after the afternoons rains had stopped.
I was broke, but decided to busk totally sober, rather than to scavenge drinks off of Bourbon Street beforehand.
I still walked down that street though, and ran into a man who introduced himself as "Country," said that he had seen me before at the Rebuild Center, and who offered me some of what he was drinking.
I got to my spot to find that laying on the ground nearby was the remnants of a "Hand Grenade," which is the co-holder of the title of "strongest drink in the world" with the "Jester," of which the same claim is made.
Due to the design of the hand grenade container, it can be laying down and still retain about half of its contents, as was the case with this one, which was still cold.
So, in keeping with my habit of only drinking things with deadly sounding names (Hurricanes, Cobras, Colt 45's, Magnums, Earthquakes, etc) I was able to finish it before playing. If it were a Jester, I guess I would have just left it.
Still, I had a lot of trouble getting motivated.
I was so hungry that I felt light headed.
I had 7 cents.
I struggled through "Golden Slumbers," by The Beatles which produced a tip.
Then I struggled with "Comfortably Numb," by Pink Floyd, which produced a lady with a black Styrofoam container which she said was food from a fine restaurant and which she offered to me with the assurance that "We don't have germs, I promise..."
I already had the cold which I posted about yesterday, and it was making it harder to sing.
Then, as the one hour which I had to play before the curfew was winding down and I was playing "Franklins Tower," by The Grateful Dead and soloing extensively, I got my third and final tip as time expired.
Eat Your Heart Out
I went and got a Hurricane Lager at the Unique Boutique and then sat down to eat what turned out to be very good baked catfish with sweet potatos and green beans, but no germs, across the street from where CBD (which is Christina Friis and Brian Hudson) were playing.
On the way there, I had passed Stoker, who was sitting on his motorcycle and playing his amplified electric blues in the key of D.
In between Stoker and CBD the sounds of the two blended into a cacophony which couldn't have been good for either one of the performers.
Like the old Reeses Peanut Butter Cup commercial; He was getting Howling Wolf in their Adele, and they were getting Adele in his Howling Wolf.
I wanted to mention that to Stoker and suggest that he move down another half block, but I couldn't think of a way to say it without possibly angering him and provoking him to say "Why don't you tell THEM to move down a half block!" ...because they're right on the corner but you're just in an arbitrary spot...
Eating Out Of Their Hands
So, I finished my food from a fine restaurant and then went across the street to talk to Brian and Christina.
While I had been eating, they had played certain songs which people seemed to eat up themselves.
A song by Leonard Cohen called "Hallelujah," I think, and the Adele songs seemed to be like tourist magnets.
Brian With A Silver Man
I saw more than one couple walk past, and then the lady stop and grab the guys arm, turning her head back as if she suddenly recognized the song. The guy would make a motion to continue walking, but the lady would stand pat, or even move closer to the Adele, seeming to say: "Wait, this is that song that I love.." and, finally the guy having no choice but to return to her side, hold her closely and then fetch a bill from his wallet for the tip basket.
I was really impressed with the power of "the right song at the right time done the right way" (to quote Chris the recorder player from Saint Augustine, Florida) in action.
There is a charisma about Christina Friis, who is from Denmark, combined with Brian, who is from Austin, Texas, which is hard to quantify.
Christina With (to be fair) A Silver Man
Tip Jar Envy
Of course, I had tip jar envy, which I had to shake off telling myself "They've got it together, so of course they will be successfull; otherwise, why should I be trying so hard to get it together myself..."
Plus, I had forgotten that Christina had promised (on Facebook) to buy me a beer if I were to show up, and thankfully they had made enough in tips to be able to follow through on that, and I soon was on my way back to Unique Boutique and past Stoker, who said that he was starving...
I then told him that he was probably in a bad spot, that the sound of Christinas voice fading out and being replaced by his blues was just too drastic a contrast, like going from a gorgeous spring day into a dungeon (I didn't say "dungeon" but he saw my point and decided to move down a block) Poor Stoker, starving; and with all the equipment that I would need to become a "player" on Royal Street myself....

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