Thursday, September 12, 2013

Deja Vu All Over Again

S.S.D.D (Same song, different dance)
Wednesday was so much like Tuesday had been, it was uncanny.
After hearing from the Rebuild Center that the next available eye doctor appointment is 3 weeks down the road (October 2nd) I headed into the Quarter, thinking that; if I'm going to hang around for another 3 weeks, then I should also pursue getting my valid Louisiana picture ID, free of charge also, out of that organization.
The "poverty pimps" there seem more than eager to help me in that regard. It's a pretty good looking ID (and it would corroborate my "New Orleans Musician," claim anywhere I go).
I had 2 dollars and 25 cents from the night before.
Janis Joplin
I went and got 2 Hurricanes and walked Royal Street.
How I Amassed My Wealth
Getting to my spot, I set up and was working on "Crazy Fingers," by the Grateful Dead when someone put a dollar in my case, just like on Tuesday.
Then, I was working on Terrapin Station, by the same (and had the first section of it sounding pretty good) when a lady walked over and put a 5 dollar bill in with the one, just like on Tuesday.
Before I took a break around 9:30 (just like on Tuesday) I had gotten another buck and a half.
I came back and played more, bringing the total to 9 dollar and 50 cents on a Wednesday night.
The Girl Who Made 50 Cents More
By Sydneys on Decatur Street was a girl singing very loudly and playing a guitar in the little cubby hole of a business which has moved to Royal Street, but which didn't take its "anyone occupying this area is trespassing and police have been notified; see you in court" sign with them.
It hangs there with nothing but emptiness behind the glass to which it is stuck by suction cups.
Or it doesn't hang there.
Like an inconsistent parent; that business, when it was there, would sometimes stick the sign up and sometimes take it down.
It was as if they would have a change of heart and give the street performers one more chance to not leave urine (canine and human) in their foyer type thing, along with food which fell out of the fractured Styrofoam containers which are there (or out of fingers or just plain missed the mouths of some) and to not break any more windows during fights in which wooden clubs are employed by people with impaired skills.
They (the business) would sometimes unsuck the cups; and it would become a great place to play, both acoustically and by its location on Decatur Street (near Sydneys beer and wine store) but especially acoustically.
The business having gone to Royal Street and left the sign stuck there invites speculation.
That they left it there out of spite; having perhaps made their determination to move out of there and to a much nicer locale after they just couldn't take any more of the Decatur scene; and left the sign as a good riddance is one theory.
I will sometimes play there myself; feeling that they just left the sign as part of the building. Maybe it came with it.
It takes a bit of moxie to play there when officer Adams on duty (tr. the prowl) though.
He could always cite it and "I thought they've moved out, and wouldn't care" wouldn't work.
"They still own the building and pay insurance on it," or something, I can almost hear him saying, as he reaches for his pen and his booklet of blank citations.
Back To The Girl
Her lyrics were hard to distinguish, because she belted out such a series of long held consonants, so that when walk up on her, you don't know what the previous vowel was; so you don't know if she is singing the word "know" or "go," or "low," for example; or you've forgotten what the previous vowel was while she was bending a note up into a crescendo somewhere between opera and yodeling and being piercingly loud; like a siren, even.
When she did go a bit sharp or flat (which was when I thought that she was trying to be as loud as possible) her tone was shrill and chilling like having a screech-eagle too close for comfort.
A bit of vocal coaching and she would be fine; as long as they don't try to take the "twang" out of her lol.
She turned out to be very friendly and introduced herself and said that she had made 10 dollars; and I admired her humility and was quick to tell her about my 9 dollars and 50 cents.
She said that she was happy to have a pack of cigarettes and I think a beer out of it.
"Right on." ...nothing wrong with a simple country gal...nothing at all...
And I Forgot To Get A Pic Of Her; D'oh!
She looked a bit like Janis Joplin; but more (frighteningly to me, at least) like one of my former girlfriends.
She had big bones, but wasn't fat, and was wearing boots and had reddish curly hair and a button up blouse with a "country" look to it. I forgot to ask her where she was from.
She said that she is determined to learn "Me And Bobby McGee," by Janis Joplin after hearing it recently in a keroke (sp?) bar and thinking that that was an omen; and after I pointed out her resemblance to that iconic legend.
Yeah, There's Food In NOLA.
Then, I got a Steel Reserve and headed towards Rouses Market, where I found the remains of the cold cut meat which they carve into slices -tubes six inches in diameter and up to a half foot long, of chicken breast and ham and such; still tightly wrapped in their own original plastic and then double wrapped again in Saran Wrap. About 15 pounds of meat, still refrigerated, God bless 'em. Someone had taken the the trouble of wrapping them up tightly; maybe Helen.
"This is all I need. And some bread and some mustard...salt, pepper...maybe," I said to an older, thin black man who had walked up and told me "Why don't you wait for the good food; the good hot food comin' out in a half hour!"
I was just discovering the meat by a combination of feeling the outside of the bags for temperature and paying attention to which objects were in them which would be tell tale signs of which department the bag came from when he walked up.
After a while, you can read a black trash bag like a tea leaf.
"I'd be happy with just a sandwich," I said to the man, as I moved out of the way a bag in which an empty Coke can told me was from an in-store trash can.
I found the cold cuts in the next bag and grabbed about a 5 pound roll of chicken breast; which I put in my pack.
"All I would need is some bread and that's a lot of sandwiches, I said."
"Here you go, right here," said the man and pulled a loaf of bread out of one of the bags.
I Repent
I walked the length of Royal and, at one point passed the two girls, whom I had called dog skeezers and had been spit upon by one and who were on the opposite side of the street on the corner which is across from the museum where my friend Balil works.
They are usually right in front of the museum.
There was a resignation about them. They both had their heads down and didn't look at me; neither to glare derisively or in any other way; and they looked kind of sad.
I remembered Balil's words to me after the skeezer in the alley had attacked me, knocking my hat off my head and starting a fight between us (which I won, btw).
He had told me: "That's not going to happen again. You're connected; you've got some powerful friends."
I went and got a beer at Uniques and then changed my mind about the chicken bag and started back towards it; but took the next street over from the two girls; not wanting to provoke them or make them think I was trying to.
and r

1 comment:

Alex said...

Well, a guy sure won't go hungry in NOLA!

As I've mentioned before, there was a guy calling himself Panther who lived (still lives?) homeless in Honolulu/Waikiki and he found there were plenty of half-finished plate lunches and lots of half-finished drinks around. Not the kind of largesse as you're finding in NOLA but he wasn't going hungry.

NOLA's better because the street is just as much a place to party - and drink - as the interiors of the buildings, so there's more stuff.

You've kind of got the "life" mastered, and playing music is sort of a side-line. You could make "Authentic NOLA Bum Signs" and sell those for $5 each and probably make far more money. "Made Fresh Daily, All The Laughs, None Of The Germs" lol.

Another thing you could consider, is see if you can get a tambourine and set up some day to tap it with your foot. A tambourine or any kind of a small drum has a lot of possibilities because you can modify the sound by putting crumpled up paper in it, or pebbles, seeds, there are a lot of ways to customize the sound. There are foot drums commercially available but they're expensive while a tambourine or something you make starting with a tambourine is easy to replace.

I bought a clarinet but it turned out to have problems and I sold it today - only got my money back on it, lost the money I'd spent on extras I'd gotten for it. The guy who came to buy it actually knew something about clarinets! He brought a clarinet of his friend's, and put mine together and compared the two - mine had a bunch of key problems. And he didn't notice, but put together it wasn't even straight! Oh well there's just too damn much keywork on those things, at least with trumpet I only had to worry about 3 valves.

I'd gotten to the point where I was simply not having fun on the cornet, and I blamed it on the instrument. I've recently had an epiphony: Just playing stuff out of music books is like ... trying to teach yourself soccer by marching up and down. I have to listen to a lot of music, and I have to play with others all I can - even just CDs or the radio, but I have to play all the "live" music I can. Do the books, sure, but play tons *with* people and always *feel it*.

And this is why you drink so much beer. The only thing I've been accused of being really good at is precision pistol shooting. Beer's bad for that, it opens up groups. It's also an occupation where you try to *not* feel emotion. Music's basically opposite. You get paid according to how much you're feeling it, and you play good music by feeling it, and playing, a lot. Beer doesn't hurt, it probably helps as long as it's not too much. Music is a completely different game.