Treme Lightens Up

I’m behind on Treme blogging but not on Treme watching. As I’d hoped, HBO’s Tremehas given us a break on the gloom and doom, finally  – “It’s Carnival Time!” Surviving the near-relentless darkness of the season made it crystal clear why parades are so important. If it was hard to watch post-Katrina New Orleans once a week for an hour, it must have been nearly unbearable to survive in reality. I get to hear people’s Katrina stories here and recently met someone who’d been in the Dome. As the pieces of the puzzle come together in my head through all the stories, it becomes undeniable that the experience hit every sense and is truly a you-had-to-be-there thing. But Treme tries and I continue to enjoy it.

Watching the footage of the Muses parade with all the shoes, I realized I’d watch them film those scenes across the street while we were catching beads on St. Charles. I’m so glad the producers took a chance and filmed the actual parade rather than attempting to duplicate the energy of Muses rolling by.

And they thought to include so many version of Carnival. There was the parade version of Carnival and the costumes in the streets of the French Quarter, but the episode also showed the Mardi Gras Indians, so pretty in their work-of-art suits. As they did the Coming Out the Door, one of my favorite songs, My Indian Red, played. Feathers, beads, percussion and chanting – I was in heaven. They even included a Cajun Mardi Gras.

It was fun to see the Zulu coconut tradition (though they don’t throw them anymore – only hand them over) and bittersweet to see the recently shuttered Mother in Law Lounge. Pictures being worth thousands of words, I was glad to see they captured the precision and majesty of the Saint Augustine Marching Band.

Yes, the episode attended a funeral for John Goodman’s fatally depressed character, but even saying goodbye was uplifting. I can think of few endings sweeter than being danced through the French Quarter on Mardi Gras Day and released into the mighty Misssissippi.

This week’s episode kicked off with Davis’ (Steve Zahn) greeting his band’s audience as, “Hello, music lovers!” There are a few local performers who address their crowd in this way and it’s always struck me. Yes, I am a music lover, most New Orleanians are, but I don’t think I would have identified myself in that way. It’s another one of those labels like “local” that I feel needs to be earned somehow. Yes, I’ve seen more live music since moving here in late 2009 than in my entire lifetime, but I guess I thought it should cost more, take more from me to be called a “music lover” than to just show up and enjoy. Good thing I’m not in charge of such things.

Susan Cowsill singing in the House of Blues sequence was amazing. I keep missing her in concert so it was good to finally see what all the fuss was about. Dr. John was not only a delight as a musician, I really enjoyed his acting, or rather the lack of it. He was just plain cool.

But my favorite song of the show was Annie, the violinist’s, attempt at songwriting, After Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras can be like New Years, a time for resolutions, endings and beginnings. I liked how the song captured that and am sorry to say that it has not yet been recorded by Lucia Micarelli and Steve Earle.

I’m sure there was a plot and lots of things happened to lots of characters, but for me, this episode was all about the music. Guess I’m a music lover after all.

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Filed under Concerts, decorations and costumes, Mardi Gras 2011, parade

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