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June 26, 2011

Y’all get these comments reconstitutionalated

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69 Comments
  1. open0thread permalink
    June 26, 2011 10:10 pm

    Finally got some Hurray for the Riff Raff up in this joint!

  2. June 26, 2011 10:13 pm

    If you didn’t use that word for the open thread, I was gonna be sad.

    Show opened with a train whistle, true to form.

    And that must have been one of them magical Bud’s Broilers, because the City Park one didn’t reopen til 2009.

    I have to watch it again before I have anything smart to say, I’m blissed out on cold medicine at the moment.

  3. Anita permalink
    June 26, 2011 10:13 pm

    It matters a difference.

  4. June 26, 2011 10:16 pm

    Train whistles all over this ep – had the closed captioning on and kept seeing “[train whistle in distance]”

    It was almost “Transparency has its Place”- I must have felt yr sadness vibes just in time

  5. melittophily permalink
    June 26, 2011 10:47 pm

    I’m calling Harley’s fabrication turning out to be inspiration for Annie rather than the betrayal she felt in the moment. But I’m a bit of a fan of fakery and hoax in the arts. Though unknown to most people, I think F for Fake was Orson Welles’s best film.

  6. June 26, 2011 10:50 pm

    Damn

    Leah Chase – Rosie Ledet – Jon Cleary – Rock n Bowl…

    The nonstop breaking of Davis, reckoning of the Soul Apostles, ………yea

    Allison (Toni’s assistant / Cornell’s girl ~ teacher from S4 of the Wire)? Uh, I dunno….I hope not

    Great episode

  7. Kevin permalink
    June 26, 2011 10:51 pm

    That was the best episode in many, many weeks.

    Latoya Luckett is drop-dead stunning. The camera loves her.

    Phyllis Montana LeBlanc can act, and very skillfully, without saying a word. I hope this show gets her work in other TV/movie projects.

  8. June 27, 2011 12:24 am

    lede photo: now I know what wtf means.
    I always love to see Coco show up, and his eulogy was legit.

  9. 3Suns permalink
    June 27, 2011 7:05 am

    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” Einstein

    A sigh of relief as the episode starts with Annie. I want to deal with this. Oh, good, it is the funeral, and the gang’s all here! Nobody actually knew him! Well, neither did we!

    Davis on the guitar, he got showed up far worse than Antoine ever did by Shorty. Later a song has to get cut for Truth. Dang! Maybe y’all were right. Maybe his talent lies in disc jockeying.

    Antoine tippin’ the taxi – someone must have died! LOL

    LaDonna: “I should’ve known. First time I laid eyes on you. Shiftless motherfucka with a horn and a hat cocked just right.” …
    Antoine: “This’s your family’s! Been fuckin’ people up since before I was born”

    “Frenchman Street Blues” – great, great song!

    When Sonny entered the room with the guitar and the amp, I thought he was sneakin’ out with them, not bringin’ them back. I swore under my breath.

    Delmond really did sell his soul. Even I could tell the difference between studios, and the resultant music.

    Janette, swingin’ her hips, cookin’ for the chefs! Everything is getting better and better, …and then she is reminded that she is away from home.

    Live music in a bowling alley; I’ve seen everything.

  10. June 27, 2011 8:55 am

    By a large a good choice of musicians for the memorial, a true Frenchman Street corner and tip jar crowd. (Ingrid Lucia could be a step above that, but I can entirely see here stopping on her way back to her car to listen to Harley). Who’s the clarinet player who regularly works Royal?

    I need a re-watch myself tearing up Antoine and Davis like that one episode out is going to leave us hanging and wondering, although I can see Antoine on the corner with his kids like the Baby Boyz fellow (forget his name; have his card somewhere). Janette coming alive in a place where she’s allowed to be a Chef again and not just carry the title, and Colson pulling back from helping Toni. (I have to re-watch that scene but there was something about him shuffling those papers that gave me the impression he did find something, but he needs to go by the book and save his career).

    And 3suns: I swear, both Indian Blues sessions were pretty much note for note. The only change was in the Chief’s demeanor and performance, but bless Mac for getting it. I’m also going to have to re-listen to Indian Blues again today. One person at my house says the only songs she thinks are really an Indian/jazz fusion are the ones featuring Dr. John. Maybe I’m too down with straight-ahead jazz to have noticed that before, just digging the record for what it is. Time to put on my Sun Ra decoder ring for a very close listen. I picked up New York Second Line by Harrison and Terrence Blanchard after reading about it on NOLA.com and the fusion there seems pretty thin after one listen as well.(Only 6 used left on Amazon if you’re curious).

    Just got up and day-off chores to attend to, but I’ll have more to say about the music as I drive around and give both of those records a close re-listen.

  11. brueso permalink
    June 27, 2011 9:57 am

    Great musical vocal affectations: early Dylan from the Dust Bowl, Exile on Main Street-era Jagger from Alabama, Nebraska and later Springsteen from Oklahoma, Robert Pollard f/Guided By Voices- from England? Pollard copped to the affectation, saying he just thought the songs sounded better sung that way. It was a nicely unexpected plot detail to come up with for Harley!

  12. brueso permalink
    June 27, 2011 9:58 am

    (and a nice little nod by Eric O to his own Pacific NW roots!)

  13. June 27, 2011 10:01 am

    I have been waiting for the Hurray for the RiffRaff kids to show up on this show since Day 1 (though technically, according Dave W, Alinda Segarra and Yosi Perlstein are sitting in with Loose Marbles in the two scenes we see them in) Hurray for the RiffRaff’s Youngblood Blues was a major part of my personal Treme soundtrack during Season 1. Excellent album-go buy it if you haven’t.

  14. Carolyn Long permalink
    June 27, 2011 10:08 am

    While Janette is coming into her own as a chef in NYC, and Davis is all-over-the-place with his band and his upcoming CD, they’ve both seemingly forgotten about Jacques, one of my favorite characters. Is he gonna languish in jail til next season?

  15. melittophily permalink
    June 27, 2011 11:22 am

    http://www.spinner.com/2009/10/07/fake-accents/

    Sometimes the effect is tedious, and sometimes it’s as much a natural part of the “instrument” as someone from central Europe playing slide guitar in the Delta style. I guess it’s notable that Harley’s SPEAKING voice was pretty much Steve Earl’s standard drawl too though. We have to step into invented persona land to explain that.

  16. adrastosno permalink
    June 27, 2011 11:48 am

    @Mark: Ingrid got her start as a street musician so she fits in quite well even if she doesn’t have to do it any more.

  17. June 27, 2011 11:57 am

    So I’m curious about how one goes about writing dialogue for Dr. John. Do they write it in standard English and let him improv his own translation? I mean, I got to ax how they dialogically textualate it on the page.

  18. DSimon permalink
    June 27, 2011 12:39 pm

    You write what you think Mac might say if he had to say what you need him to say for the scene. Mac then looks at it and takes it to another whole level.

    And later, we watch the dailies with shock and awe.

  19. NickTheChiller permalink
    June 27, 2011 12:41 pm

    Mark Folse: Is the clarinet player Doreen from Doreen’s Jazz? I want one of those Sun Ra docoder rings. Rocket Number Nine…

    Good seeing Alex McMurray playing. Is Davis about to get squeezed out of his own band? I like the parallel between him and Antoine as band leaders, and neither are having the best of time at it.

  20. June 27, 2011 2:51 pm

    Nick, I’m busy with my decoder ring, but you can borrow one of my Annotated Scores to Bitches Brew. Do you want the one in Coptic or the original Sanskrit?

    Ray, that was diabolistically clevericious. And no, I was not kidding about driving my son around listening to Mos Scocious (the Fargo library had a copied I burned, along with two of the four disks of Crescent City Soul. Wonders never cease) trying to teach him the words to Tipitina and various Dr. John songs.

  21. Anita permalink
    June 27, 2011 2:54 pm

    @Raynola: “I got to ax how they dialogically textualate it on the page.”

    Best line ever at BOT!

  22. 3Suns permalink
    June 27, 2011 6:17 pm

    melittophily – hilarious link with some real surprises (to me). Funny seeing some of the big names up there.

    Mark, you could be right, and my impressions based entirely on the visual. Seeing the Chief happy made the song so much better. In any case, they were pretty stupid to fly everyone out to New York when they could have just flown a few of them to New Orleans and avoided all the wasted time and money.

  23. Anita permalink
    June 27, 2011 9:39 pm

    There was a wonderful shot in the studio just as the Chief and the band were gearing up to record of a dog settling down, very slowly, one leg at a time, getting comfortable and looking expectantly toward the camera. Then we see and hear the musicians. I just love that shot.

  24. June 27, 2011 9:59 pm

    Just popped in to say that I love Canada and all, but this nice hotel doesn’t get HBO & my snazzy HBOGO app & login works for all of shit over Canadian IPs. What the loon is all this aboot, eh? Any of you Canadian viewers have a workaround? I’m in Quebec (the nation wrapped in a nation with nation on top) until the end of the week. Help a sister out, s’il vous plait sacre bleu, etc. etc.

  25. June 27, 2011 10:27 pm

    I disagree that “it was stupid” or in general that Delmond’s was wrong. Here’s why:

    This was Delmond’s record. Delmond’s vision. Over and over, we saw Delmond trying to define what he was looking for. We saw this in more rhan one episode. They took a lot of care to set this up.

    Then we had a scene where he explained it to Harrison.

    The we had a scene where they explained it to Dr. John.

    Put yourselves in Delmond’s position. You have an idea you’ve chased down, you have a plan to express YOUR personal artistic vision, which involves your NOLA heritage and your father but is rooted in your own vision.

    This is your creation. You are an artist. You should be able to create it in the way you decide.

    Imagine that, then imagine having wrenched out of your hands. You are a grown ass man and a master of your art but your elderly parent takes complete control of your project.

    What would you do?

    Why does everyone sympathize wiith Davis when it happens but is either pretty much completely ignoring the same thing happening to Delmond or calling him out for being stupid? I’m not asking because Delmond’s my favorite character or to villainize Albert but to try and generate some convo about Delmond’s part in this, other than someone with a Kick Me sign on his back.

    Think about that. Think about why these two different but parallel creative efforts (Delmond and Davis) are being shown to us the way they are. Is Delmond less sympathetic than Davis? Is Delmond less important to the story than his father, is he a character with his own arc, or like his sister, just a supporting character?

  26. 3Suns permalink
    June 27, 2011 10:57 pm

    Maitri, as you said, Quebec is a country within a country. Good luck! (My parents were threatened with arrest when the attempted something in English, there.) lol

    Virgo, good post. Sorry for calling him stupid. I am just simply too pragmatic (and flexible) to have ever even tried to get the Chief, were he my father, to work in a studio in New York when it was at least as doable (and probably less costly) in New Orleans. I actually thought that even just the attempt last week was strange planning almost to the point of stretching believability. Wanna discuss this further, but I gotta go. Cheers!

  27. Dexter St. Jacques permalink
    June 28, 2011 9:46 am

    I understand how you see it, Virgo, but maybe Delmond and Davis are starting to find out that having a vision and being able to make it come to fruition are two different things. I thought Chief was dead right about moving the session to New Orleans. You could tell he was really feeling it in that session. Having that fine brown frame around between takes don’t hurt nothing, either.

    I got REALLY homesick when Wanda cursed Antoine out. Like, I had an instant flashback to standing in line at a corner store or gas station when an argument breaks out. Funny shit.

  28. June 28, 2011 10:50 am

    There are real reasons why music sounds better in New Orleans. First atmospheric, due to the moisture, and being in a bowl set in water. Second, because the buildings — like Piety Street Studio itself where they are working (and that’s their dog) — are made of wood. Wood, set in water — sound conducts beautifully. You know like how a guitar works because of that holed body, the resonator? The whole town is a resonator.

  29. June 28, 2011 11:06 am

    The opening sequence was just right, and brilliantly edited, not too long, but unrushed — it was soul satisfying. Harley was surely pleased.

    Setsuma plus Piety Street Studio just around the corner!

    Sonny’s arc this season was my personal favorite. This episode contained a Wire kind of mirroring — after Annie tells Sonny she saw a photo of him at theOgdon, pulling people from the Katrina flood waters — she learns Harley was not who he represented himself to be. It’s as though Sonny getting himself back on track brings back the Sonny that perhaps Annie fell in love with, and she can see him again, though she has moved on — and so has he.

    Both Sonny and Annie have become a part of New Orleans with the help of people for whom NO is their soul and in their dna: Sonny, with the help of Cornell Williams, and Annie from Davis. Harley, with his song-writing, made himself a part of New Orleans as well. That’s how it works.

    These people who came from elsewhere to New Orleans, show that the city is open to new people, as must be anyplace that is going to stay vital instead of becoming a museum. Irish and Italians came in large numbers in the 19th century. That the show is willing go out of New Orleans, to the boat and the fish market, the Vietnamese community, is another way Treme is a different kind of show all together from The Wire. (It seems that too many people still think Treme should be The Wire all over again, just with different clothes or something.)

    Young, creative and passionate people come from all over come now to New Orleans. It is a dangerous place, yes, but it is alive-O! and exciting. The worlds of Treme are not closed systems, not the necessarily claustrophobic communities The Wire. Our Treme characters are not trapped by the corner, by jail, by cul-de-sacs, deadends, as were so many of the inhabitants of The Wire (though Toni might want to let go some, so she doesn’t Go There).

    That’s the tragedy of the ‘knuckleheads.’ They don’t feel a part of this place and they are trapped in their pathology. Their pathology even pushes out those who are most deeply rooted in the city, like LaDonna, perhaps.

    That final vignette was sad. Yet, you saw Larry’s hand touching LaDonna, even as she’d turned over and away from him, almost spitting, “We’re just out of practice, that’s all.” Last week he didn’t dare touch her. I am worried about her sons though, particularly as Antoine starts working with the other kids ….

    I wonder what will happen next year. Hopefully Janette is going to come home, we’ll get to know more about Toni’s background and why they are so isolated, and everyone else is going to keep on keeping on. And there will be someone who will become a new friend. I’m already missing everybody.

    Love, C.

  30. NickTheChiller permalink
    June 28, 2011 11:29 am

    Mark: I can understand why you would not part with an extremely rare extraterrestrial artifact of that caliber. I’ll take one of the BB scores, but only if the score is read from right to left.

  31. June 28, 2011 11:56 am

    Maitri,

    Try this page:

    http://www.sidereel.com/Treme/season-2/episode-10/search

    you can choose megavideo or videobb- they always work for me.

  32. June 28, 2011 12:00 pm

    Dexter and Foxessa, good points, not arguing.

    But my point was that Delmond is the artist. It’s HIS creation. If there is a right or wrong way to do it, they are his to decide. His mistake or his success. If Dr. John was making a record in New Orleans, and wanted to have a quintessentially New York musician play on it, had brought them down there, and that musician said, “you know what, I am not doing this here, you’ll have to come to New York because this place doesnt’ speak to me” it would be considered OUTLANDISH. (And don’t even try to tell me New York doesn’t have its own considerable musical tradition.)

    But that’s exactly what the Chief, who is only one part of Delmond’s vision, did. He took complete control of Delmond’s project, costing Delmond money and time that he had little of to spare.

    The point of all this is to emphasize that there is still a very very long way to go by both the father and the son. The Chief simply does not see his son as a man of his own. And he’s likely not ever going to. Like someone said to me when my father was aging, “People this age don’t do a lot of changing.”

    Delmond’s journey is to what extent does he want to, and need to, continue to concede to his father’s will of iron. Can he do this with good humor and patience and continue to be a creative healthy adult, or will he have to go back to distancing himself in order to be his own person? Also, the well-intentioned subterfuge of the adult child behind the back of the aging parent for the benefit of that parent has already begun in this family. As anyone who’s survived an aging parent’s eventual decline can attest to, there is a point where roles of who’s in control become reversed. If Albert and Delmond both survive this season and we continue to follow their story, I’m thinking this might be the journey we’ll see them take.

    Just because it’s in NOLA doesn’t mean it’s right for Delmond. And just because the Chief said it doesn’t mean it’s true for Delmond.

    I called this a tragedy the other day and I still think it is. For all his pride and glory as an Indian Chief, Albert doesn’t really know his son. All he seems to know is that Delmond isn’t an Indian.

  33. June 28, 2011 1:36 pm

    Another point, V: when does the Chief realize he will drive his son away and ruin any hope of succession as Chief if he keeps up that behavior? Yes, he wore Delmond’s patch proudly on the front of his suit but if he really wants to keep Delmond in the tradition he will have to bend or lose him.

  34. June 28, 2011 1:40 pm

    There’s a whole lot of the kind of father-son dynamic that went on between Tootie and Daryl Montana in the documentary Tootie’s Last Suit. When a father is used to demanding things be done his way, it’s hard to break out of that pattern and acknowledge when something being done a different way is still really really great work.

  35. June 28, 2011 5:53 pm

    Foxessa, thank you for those two comments. I had never heard the reason why music sounds better in New Orleans, and the next comment moved me and would be a worthy post all by itself.

  36. June 28, 2011 6:57 pm

    virgotex — No arguing with you either.

    Some people are not capable of being anything but the boss. Albert’s a Chief and he’s a boss, and he’s got something going on there with his son. He’s naturally secretive, and the Indians are a secret society. What I am seeing more than anything is the depth of Delmond’s love for his father. He didn’t blow up at him. Instead, he borrowed money.

    Love, C.

  37. June 28, 2011 7:01 pm

    Sophmom — It’s not me being smart — I just listen to the musicians and the sound people talk about why it sounds so much better there. And I can hear it. That house we had in New Orleans — it was a double camelback. It was set above ground — i.e. you could (yuck!) crawl under the house. It was made all of wood. Those high ceilings, those hardwood floors. The Viewing Partner and other musicians sat around wood tables, on wood chairs — and the difference in how it all sounded in that house vs back in NYC was astounding. Since Viewing Partner is a classically trained guitar player and his favorite personal instrument is his Spanish guitar, which he got in Spain, and which he’s had even longer than he’s had me — I have heard a lot about the history of the guitar and how they work over the years. :)

    Love, C.

  38. 3Suns permalink
    June 28, 2011 9:05 pm

    Back. Virgo, I’m trackin’ with you. The studio issue aside, here is in part, how I feel about the relationship between Delmond and his father.

    I find many of the Chief/Delmond scenes raise my blood pressure. I don’t believe there is a person who does not desire the approval of their parents, perhaps the father’s approval especially. As a son, father, and teacher, I believe that witholding approval (and Delmond is certainly worthy of approval on so many levels) mentally and emotional affects the child in very negative and brutal ways.

    I am not pig-piling here, but of all the things the Chief has done to tease or disrespect Delmond, the act that affected me the most, of which Delmond isn’t even aware, is when Delmond on the radio dedicates a song to his father, and his father completely ignores it (leaving the worksite in the middle of the tune). Were it not for other scenes in which we see some tenderness between them (and the fact that Delmond isn’t a wreck), I would say that his father has no love at all for him. Albert certainly demonstrates very little respect. After that scene, I realized that nothing at all could be expected of him as regards Delmond. As an aside, being Chief to Albert is not unlike an addiction. It seems like the only time he is kind to others is when they are helping him get his fix – when they are helping him be Chief.

    In our world, we need the strength that people like the Chief have, but dang, it can be devastating and infuriating when not directed towards positive ends. Elders, by their life experience alone, deserve to be heard and respected. They don’t however have the right to throw tantrums and treat others disdainfully.

    Very tangentially, I have often observed that when people are confronted with a selfish, cruel, arrogant person who on occassion does something kind or loving, they say of him/her: blah, blah, blah, but deep down inside he/she is a teddy bear. Conversely, if confronted with a generally selfless, generous, loving person who on occasion acts selfishly, rashly, or out of anger, they say of him/her, blah blah blah, but deep down inside he/she is a fake, not to be trusted. lol

    Cheers!

  39. CalliopeJane permalink
    June 29, 2011 11:40 am

    It was set above ground — i.e. you could (yuck!) crawl under the house.
    It may be yucky under there, but that space was the only reason I didn’t get a houseful of water in 2005! Had 2-3 feet in the yard, but the house is a good 4 feet off the ground.

  40. June 29, 2011 11:53 am

    CalliopeJane — Yes, indeed!

    That’s how more houses need to be built these days, including Minot, North Dakota you might think.

    Love, C.

  41. June 29, 2011 11:55 am

    But further, as far as music is concerned, that empy space under the house, also contributed to the splendid acoustics.

    Also — great for dancing!

    Love, C .

  42. June 29, 2011 11:57 am

    And one more thing! were you all delighted by Chef Chang addressing Janette as ‘Gator.” I jgot a big grin from that. It said so much about him ‘getting’ and appreciating Janette as a person and as a chef.

    Love, C.

  43. June 29, 2011 5:57 pm

    I loved that, too, Foxessa. I can’t believe I haven’t written about it. It’s a nickname given not out of laziness but rather because it is earned. It just rolls, too. Hey, Gator!

  44. June 29, 2011 8:28 pm

    This is off subject but has anyone else noticed the reoccurance of the word “knuckleheads” by NOPD characters? One of Nagin’s often repeated terms for criminals, I used to grit my teeth every time I heard him say it. It’s a wonder I didn’t give myself TMJ.

    I wonder who tapped into that little bit of Naginism. I think it’s pretty brilliant.

  45. 3Suns permalink
    June 30, 2011 7:41 am

    Rereading the comments for missed tidbits.

    Carolyn, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get one more quick peek at Jacques in jail before the season ends. However, have no fear that he will be developed further. Just last week, I was looking back at season 1 and marveling how far all the characters had come since then. Seems like years ago not just xx months.

    Foxessa, am I reading your posts wrong, or do you think you just watched the season finale? Cause there’s one MORE! (big smile) And yes, I like that we are not limited to the Treme neighborhood, but are following these characters all over the place. I, too, am really enjoying the brief excursions to the Vietnamese community. I am hoping that it will come into prominence when the oil spill is reached on the timeline, if not sooner.

    I missed Larry’s touch in the final scene, and “gator”. Thanks for the heads-up, and for the insight on the acoustics of the local architecture. (My house is on stilts, hidden by a skirt, and has a wooden floor in the kitchen…rice mats in some of the other rooms.)

    I am surprised that everyone seems to want Janette to come home. I am kind of excited for her opportunity to bring New Orleans to New Yorkers. Also, any way in which she went back to New Orleans would be a step down career wise as she wouldn’t be able to afford her own place, and would almost certainly have to work for someone else.

    Maitri, lookin’ forward to hearing your thoughts once you’ve seen it.

    What can we expect in the season finale? Last year we got the heart-wrenching, PTSD-inducing flashbacks, and confirmation that indeed, Creighton didn’t just quickly run to the washroom on the ferry when the boat man wasn’t lookin’ (as I had hoped against hope).

  46. CalliopeJane permalink
    June 30, 2011 10:31 am

    Oh, Jacques will be out next episode — remember this pic that someone referenced a few weeks ago on this site: http://photos.nola.com/tpphotos/2011/05/new_orleans_jazz_fest_thursday_17.html

  47. June 30, 2011 11:22 am

    I am surprised that everyone seems to want Janette to come home.

    Not surprised people want it or expect it but we don’t know for certain she will. As I mentioned before, I think the experience of those living ‘in exile’ after Katrina is part of this story.

    If she stays, I could do without the celebrity chef cameos. I love Bourdain, Chang and Ripert, but for me, it just jerks the narrative out of place into “real life” and not in a good way. It doesn’t happen that way with the musician guest stars- they have something to do and it fits in the narrative better, imho.

  48. June 30, 2011 11:39 am

    3Suns — I did think this was the finale. Thank you so much for putting me straight. It’s hard to find this info, I find, when I went buscando. Yay!!!!!!!!! Because they are coming back one more time this year, and because it seemed a very odd way of ending a season also.

    Maybe it’s Janette who wants to come back, and we’re merely empathizing with her? Her characters really illustrates the sudden diaspora of New Orleans cultural heritage blown throughout the land post Katrina. Mardi Gras beads are everywhere now, unlike Before, is another symptom. We sure do hear a lot more New Orleans musicians up here than we used to, even though a lot of them still hate leaving town, like John Boutte or Kermit.

    Love, C.

  49. Harris permalink
    June 30, 2011 11:50 am

    Wait just a minute. New Orleans isn’t the only places where houses are built on piers, have high ceilings, or hardwood floors. Virtually all houses built before WWII have those features, at least in the South.

  50. July 1, 2011 1:21 pm

    As the season draws to a close (I KNOW the final episode will only leaving me wanting more) some things I figured may be worth taking a deeper look during its break.

    #1 – Musicians – I’m not sure this has really ever been acknowledged or maybe I’m more impressed than I should be, but there has GOT to be something to be said about the heavy reliance on musicians to actually “act” (though many are acting as themselves), delivering lines and emotion throughout the body of work of this series. You have musicians as CENTRAL CHARACTERS, pivotal to the series on par with classically trained actors. I suppose the short vignettes / scenes subdue the work the work they have been performing, but Michiel Huisman, Jon Cleary, Kermit Ruffins, Cornell Williams, John Boutte, Allen Toussaint, Wilson Savoy, John Magnie, etc on and on and on (I intentionally left off Lucia)….. is there something to be said about the ability of direction to conjure natural performances out of every single one of these individuals?

    #2 – Nelson Hildago, Carpetbagger. As a self-acknowledged carpetbagger from the north, haven’t we been too hard on Nelson? Is it his fault he isn’t a native? From everything we’ve seen thus far, he is only guilty of being a for-profit businessman. Who else is going to infuse cash into the economy if not for this business man? We haven’t yet seen any sinister intents (other than gentrification born out of ignorance) and by rights, he seems to be taking to and absorbing as much NOLA culture as possible. I find it completely conceivable that this character isn’t as one-dimensional as many have made him out to be this season.

  51. Anita permalink
    July 1, 2011 4:34 pm

    “From everything we’ve seen thus far, he is only guilty of being a for-profit businessman.”

    @brophy: Oh, my. What about the little stack of bills to tip OT for the introductions. Is all that direction and assignment of contracts just good business? What about the “insider trading” he’s implementing with his pious friend? He hasn’t done one lick of work, nor any business, either, that we’ve been shown. He has used connections and hired other people to do the work while skimming off half of the profits before they ever get paid at all. All of that backbreaking debris removal earned the guys doing the work the same amount of money as he made for doing nothing. Maybe that’s just business, but I think he’s ripping off both the taxpayers and the workers. He is portrayed as a leech. Doubtless, if he sticks around, we will learn other things about him and nobody is just one thing. We are all complex and contradictory and complicated. But just a for-profit businessman? Not in my book.

  52. July 1, 2011 8:30 pm

    well, there was tons of work to be done after Katrina [.........where do you think...S....D....T....came from?....]
    Who was going to do it? What evidence do we have to believe that Nelson out-hustled a waste management contractor from Algiers? From what S2 has shown us, he came down to NO because he smelled opportunity by way of his cousin. That has been the story of the wealthy for the past few decades in America…..pull up to the trough of the flowing cash of corporation (dot coms, housing market, derivatives market, ME contractors, etc). Isn’t Simon and Overmeyer making a broader statement about wealth in America today?

    Do we believe Nelson is truly trying to victimize the people of New Orleans or subvert its culture? Maybe in season 3, but right now its been a lot of ‘get along, go along’ – standard schmoozing of business whether he was in New Orleans or Nebraska or Seattle…..

    What is the difference between the hustle of Antoine (hustling cabbies and cutting corners with the band) and Nelson?

  53. July 1, 2011 8:43 pm

    I just haven’t found any evidence that displays Nelson perpetuating intentional evil on New Orleans’ recovery. He isn’t a hero here, merely ignorant and blinded by greed. Liquori, just like Thomas, is a means to an end.

    Louisiana is a remarkable state because of the people, culture, and history. Unfortunately, leadership, government, and corruption comes right along with it.

    During Katrina and the recovery afterward, leadership was sorely lacking in all areas of the state (I came down in ’06 unrelated to the storm). There is something to be said regarding the line in S1, “no offense, ma’am, but y’all have a dysfunctional work ethic around here….”

    Leadership has always been a problem because it has primarily taken a back seat to the incentive of easy (corporate/industry) money. Whether it is serving the interests of a cash crop or natural resources, Louisiana has been a victim of its own blessings. The things plaguing the state, and ultimately the city of NOLA, is absolute power corrupting. As good as this state can be, it can be a Trotsky-esque downer when you have visibility of how it perpetuates a continual state of haves and have nots.

  54. July 1, 2011 9:41 pm

    You may say it was the half-week-long anticipation but I finally watched the last episode and think it’s one of my top two or three of the season. Stuff of interest:

    1) All y’all knuckleheads who say Treme lacks action and there isn’t anything going on, do you even watch the show? Whose standards of television do you judge this by? The people who liked the Starsky & Hutch car chase scenes and would prefer Khandi Alexander in white D&G suit cutting up cadavers that until-recently-washed-up David Caruso drags in? Think about it. Every show I watch moves my mind and memory and makes my heart race. Give it up.

    2) When Harley talked to the kid who killed him, I said, “You shouldn’t have said anything” from survival instinct. Lo, it comes out of the mouth of the guy who should be investigating Harley’s death as an excuse not to continue investigating his murder.

    3) “gold plated silver lining” – I want to kiss whoever writes the interactions between Antoine and LaDonna.

    More later as I digest.

  55. Anita permalink
    July 1, 2011 10:05 pm

    I agree that the S1 line “no offense, ma’am, but y’all have a dysfunctional work ethic around here…” is telling. It is not just a lack of leadership. The economy in this state, like the society, has always been fundamentally, deeply and deliberately unfair. There has never been an level playing field. There is not now equal opportunity any more than there ever was a separate but equal educational system. The system is so monumentally deranged that I don’t think it is possible to straighten out any part of it. That Simon can actually make stories that give us insight into some of these dysfunctional institutions amazes me for I can hardly bear to think about how bad it actually is.

    Characters like Nelson simply see the system and decide to do whatever it takes to be on the moneyed side.

    It’s the idea that making money unfairly on the labor of people who are being systematically cheated, or figuring out how to split off percentages of government money just by brokering deals that leave the people who do the work with only part of the pay for doing it and enrich the broker at the expense of the taxpayer–this is the mindset that I abhor. This is not acceptable to me. This is the mindset that has ground up and spit out generations of of peaceful people and angered their children. I think society has been so antisocial that a life of crime seems to many a rational alternative to a life of despicable poverty.

    We, who find ourselves privileged simply because of where we are born, do not think of ourselves as unjust, yet we cultivate injustice with our political systems.

  56. Anita permalink
    July 1, 2011 10:16 pm

    @Maitri: “I finally watched the last episode”

    I, too, think this was a great episode. I just saw a trailer for the season finale and I am afraid, very, very, afraid. Before it gets here, please tell us more. I’ve been waiting for you to comment and hate that you had to wait!

  57. July 1, 2011 11:09 pm

    Anita, I think Harley is The Pen Of Pelecanos Pick Of The Season but something else is going to happen.

    Another thing: Toni flinching when the Vernel Bagneris judge character asks “You know who else isn’t with us here this year?” Loved the Pampy Barre – city council – Oliver Thomas references. It was like being in a wayback machine show that sorta knows the answers.

  58. Anita permalink
    July 1, 2011 11:56 pm

    @brophy: “He isn’t a hero here, merely ignorant and blinded by greed. Liquori, just like Thomas, is a means to an end.”

    But I have been looking at Nelson as being used by Liguori, rather than the other way around.
    Have I been seeing that backwards?

  59. July 2, 2011 9:49 am

    * sidetracked thought goof – Tolstoy, not Trotsky….oy (long week)

    Is Nelson slimy and conniving? Likely. Being a developer doesn’t necessarily make him a bad guy, though. My point about carpetbagging was to attempt to look at the situation from a less fixated and emotionally-tied perspective.

    We want people to support NOLA, we want people to visit and contribute to the economy but on who’s terms? We don’t want ‘outsiders’ moving here, we don’t want them running businesses down here, we don’t really want them participating in the goings on…..yet we have a hard time getting anything done by our resident leaders.

    At what point could Nelson redeem himself to viewers? Stop buying up land? Stop cavorting with Liquori (he is, just a banker, y’know)? Nelson has been pouring (what appears to be) a ton of money into the economy just as a wanton consumer ( your typical FQ tourist ). With that, he is finding the business necessity to assimilate himself to the culture (so its not like he’s thumbing his nose at the city and the good things it represents). I believe Overmeyer/Simon have purposely crafted Hildago to be organic and using Seda’s personality to be more likable (he can project a certain naivete to the culture that disarms critics) .

    That being said (I’m not very articulate so it takes a lot of words to convey my thoughts)…..one of the things I most enjoy about ‘Treme’ is how the story consistently raises a big “F You” to the consumerist, soulless, bullshit of corporate industry music. You could do this series without some of the things / story arches ‘Treme’ includes, but they intentionally are refresh the undercurrent of how much music, namely in America, is a complete joke and continues to be a rudderless art form. Much like how S4 (or was it 5) of “The Wire” subtly exposed the same with print media, “Treme” is highlighting the facade of all commericial music genres (that reveal the bigger fraud of consumerism in America).

  60. July 2, 2011 10:34 am

    “Nelson has been pouring (what appears to be) a ton of money into the economy just as a wanton consumer ( your typical FQ tourist ).”

    Why yes! It’s notorious among sex workers how badly paid and overworked NO hookers are. Thank goodness for the Nelson Hidalgos who so usefully stimulates the economy of New Orleans, to trickle down into the pockets of criminals, politicians, cops and thugs.

    Irony hat on, pulled firmly down to the eyes.

    Love, C.

  61. July 2, 2011 11:40 am

    Have been reading all this with an amused smile. I don’t find Hidalgo to be one dimensional. I thought the look on his face at the dinner where he was asked to UP his price was wonderful. It’s clear to him that the city doesn’t care about saving money. That said, Brophy, what I remember being so angry about during that time was the fact that all the millions making headlines across the country weren’t getting into regular New Orleanians’ hands.

    When we first encounter Hidalgo he’s flashing a card, obviously with some mover/shaker’s name on it, giving him entree. Then as he puts together the hauling business, the actual company with the contract is in Florida. So we had Texas and Florida, no Louisiana. That’s what stuck in our craw here at this house.

    Our favorite “anyone but Louisiana” story is: The abandoned cars in the city after the Federal Flood numbered 50,000. A year later, most were still there, with some people living in them as their homes were gone and FEMA trailers were in some areas still not being released. (If I remember right there were lots of them locked up at Six Flags not being dispersed, nevermind the ones that sank in Arkansas or somewhere in the mud.) Auto salvage people from Louisiana and all over the country offered to take them out of here, free, no charge, nada. Just give us the cars and we’ll haul them and salvage them. Instead, I believe the contract was given to DRC Emergency Services (I need to look that up, but think I have that right), a huge conglomerate, certainly with good political connections and we PAID them 100 bucks/per if memory serves.

    It’s that kind of thing that makes Hidalgo hard to take. People with no money, no homes, no jobs, could have benefitted by having been employed by the people who wanted to haul them outta here FREE, but instead money was paid to people not from here. Well, not even people. A corporation with connections. (Just looked them up, had the name in my notes here but looked them up. They are based out of Alabama and do work worldwide.) Not saying they’re utterly nefarious, just saying that there sure were a lot of folks here who could have used a paycheck.

    And that’s just one of the contracts that went to “anyone but Louisiana.” Thus the hard feelings and distrust of Hidalgo. I am, however, very curious where he’s gonna lead. I still maintain that while he’s definitely in all this for the money, I don’t think he’s as callous as some think. Again, that look at the table over the “up your price 50 cents a unit” is gonna be important in terms of his character down the road.

  62. dpb732 permalink
    July 2, 2011 3:07 pm

    Sam, thank you for bringing up the car removal insanity. I had somehow forgotten about it or willfully blocked it from my memory to avoid having an anuerism. Now I’m pissed off all over again… http://www.snopes.com/katrina/politics/carcrush.asp

  63. July 2, 2011 4:02 pm

    well, I’m all about this up and coming episode after last weeks. my fave parts were seeing desiree, and that look on her face. man… that was some real stuff there, and the other is seeing jeanette, hookin the kitchen up with some nola love. When is she coming home? AND finally, I think its all going to break lose for ladonna, and I think we’re going to see her roots come out, after seeing her give some attitude this week behind the bar while “cleaning it up for sale”… yes indeed. I think we’re about to see her wake up. Does she leave the husband? I dunno, or does she lay the law down with the husband? or does she indeed sell? I think the final answer to all these questions? are going to surface tomorrow night, and I think in her heart? it won’t be healed until she takes on her fears… then we’ll see the strength of her character… its comin… its surely comin.

  64. July 2, 2011 5:31 pm

    Accck, dpb, yeah, that’s it. Now I’m pissed all over again. :::::::::muttering:::::::::Nagin::::::::::idiot:::::::::::arrrrrggghh:::::::::

  65. rickngentily permalink
    July 3, 2011 4:09 pm

    @ sam. american zombie did some nice reporting about the cars on his blog. check it out if you get time.

  66. 3Suns permalink
    July 3, 2011 6:02 pm

    @ dpb and sam, Thanks for the heads-up on the story. That is the kind of thing for which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I want the “blame” to be spread more liberally to other well-deserving candidates.

    As for Hildago, many good points made above. The Texican’s look of disgust at the thought of tearing down a beautifully restored home, whose roof he had just replaced, mirrored my own emotions regarding Hildago’s plans and executions. I just want to emphasize as mentioned above, it was Hildago that was fully surprised about being asked to charge more than double for the cables that he was selling. Hildago was the outsider trying to save them money while the insider was selling his countrymen out. For this reason, Hildago isn’t nearly the “bad guy” that the local politicians and bureaucrats were/are.

    In contrast, at some point, there has to be personal accountability. Also as touched on above, even beyond the gray areas and downright illegal actions that seemed to be taking place in order to secure certain contracts, had Hildago sliced his piece of the pie just a little thinner, he could have gotten at least another third of the work done (and people employed) with the money he received, and yet still made off with hundreds of thousands for luxury cars, hotels, and hookers.

  67. July 3, 2011 9:44 pm

    awwwwwwww sheeeeet

    this last episode is TOO MUCH……..ahhhh

  68. July 3, 2011 9:47 pm

    the Vietnamese Boat Captain is THE MAN…..his monologue summarizes everything talked about above about Louisiana resources

  69. July 3, 2011 10:33 pm

    new open thread upstairs

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