Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Jazz Fest 2014 !st week

PO Boy Views


Phil LaMancusa

Festivus for the Restivus


Don’t Panic

”Step right up folks and see Little Egypt do her famous dance of the pyramids: she walks, she talks, she crawls on her belly like a reptile!”

Here we go again campers: it’s Fest time; or as out of towners, first timers, intelligentsia and the politi/socially correctly will say: The 2014 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The forty-fifth Fest, in fact: music, foods, crafts, culcha.  The Sun, rain, mud, dust, crowds, kids, confusion, commotion, dancing, drinking, delightfully delicious, saucy, spicy, sexy world famous clap your hands, shake your booty, sit in rapt attention or snooze in the sun extravaganza outdoing all extravaganzas universally or worldwide

And usually, in times and issues past, I have delivered advice, recommendations, directions, instructions and gossip as to the how, what, where, why and when’s of this wonder of orchestrated magnificence. Generally, I wax both poetic and profane about how New Orleans welcomes nearly half a million visitors, locals and extraterrestrials to the greatest show on earth; how any musician that can draw a breath (sober or otherwise) gravitates to our little township to play on, play on, play on. 

            Yes, this time of year I sweat and slave over a hot keyboard to bring you not one, but two Where Y’at articles full of sound and fury signifying all things Fest. This year I have yet another focus and slant on what has become the best times of my year and life.

            The other night my bedside rereading was The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and was reminded of the starship Heart of Gold with its Infinite Improbability Drive. If I wasn’t sure that everyone in the world has read this tale I would stop right here; and, if you haven’t read this wonderful work by Douglas Adams then you should stop right here, go get the book(s) and read them after sitting in silence for twenty minutes reflecting on where the hell you’ve been all of your life.

            Anyway, back to infinite improbabilities; the fact is, you are here, you are reading this and here is the Fest blazing with, teeming with, so very much alive with… life. Life without planetary distractions; I mean, here you are, on the ball or the bus; in your garage or the Gospel Tent; in café or at concessions stand; you are 1 of 7,114,000,000 bipeds that inhabit this rotating sphere that is in orbit at a speed of 67,000 miles per hour around a fiery orb AND that fiery orb is coursing through the Milky Way at a speed of 486,000 miles per hour! I mean, what are the f**king chances that you are here? Participating in or missing the Fest!

            You’re not in a forest fire, flood or place of famine. You’re not one of the thousands without power, or war torn Pakistan, Libya or Syria; you’re not in the frozen North, Nairobi, Nottingham or Nicaragua. It’s too early for the heat or hurricanes; no hassles, headaches or hazards. “ain’t no lions or tigers, ain’t no mamba snake; just sweet watermelon and the buckwheat cake”. You ain’t dead!

            And if you’re Festing: Rejoice! You’ve made it to the promise land; you’re in an impressionistic retrospective time frame. Not Caracas, Kiev, Damascus or Bangkok where they’re setting sh*t on fire and shooting eachother because of political differences. Here there are no political differences; we’re all here for the music, food and fun! Period.

            And while we’re Festing, let’s consider, just for a moment, the odds of you getting time with or finding that special person to share this with. Or how about the odds of running into a friend you haven’t seen in a while or making a new one? Or consider how fortunate are you to be above the ground, not under it, and reflect on how many of the unattending you wish you could have here with you. I mean, those ARE considerations.

Considering that, here’s what I do at the Fest every year and what I’d like you to consider doing as well:

            My first stop at the Fest is at the oyster bar; I grab a dozen and the tallest beer that I can purchase and go to a relatively quiet spot and commune with all the people (living and dead) that cannot be Festing. You can do this at any food and/or drink booths that you choose as your personal emblematic setting.

            I fix my cocktail sauce, open my crackers and squeeze some lemon and a dash of hot sauce on each oyster. I hold my fork in one hand and have my beer in the other and I close my eyes. I say (to myself) a ‘Fest Prayer’; something like “ hey you guys, I really wish that you were standing right here beside me, enjoying this day as much as I would enjoy your company. Y’all are and have been so special in my life and I miss you dearly. Amen.”

            Then I spill a little beer on the ground for good luck; just a little, it’s a sin to waste beer and you could go to hell for doing so. Then I open my eyes, take a sip of beer and put that first oyster in my mouth and enjoy the spiritual rush of the beginning of another day in paradise.

            Okay, enough of that. Liuzza’s by the Track is the one place that you need to go before and after your Festing. There you’ll see and be seen, mingle and be mauled, commiserate and become connected to the other bipeds that are just as fortunate, unique and special as you are to have made it to another Fest. After all, we’re all on this space ship ride together, at least in this moment. Happy Fest!  

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