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You Don’t Hafta Game the System

September 30, 2012

It’s already gamed for ya. Ya just gotta know the rules.

It’s an Open Thread for Episode Two!

  1. September 30, 2012 10:26 pm

    easily. hands down.

    to date!!!!

    Quintron! Little Freddie King! Meischa Lake!

  2. September 30, 2012 11:26 pm

    This is a surprising turn for Hidalgo. We picked this thread title from a list, and I had to watch on HBO GO after 10 but I think we nailed the surprise on this episode. I’m sure he has made some enemies that will come to haunt him but who ever thought we would see him using his oily skills to do the right thing. (Oily? That’s good in a manager, right?).

    And that closing scene. Before I shut down HBO I had to roll back and screen capture the look on Chief Albert’s face after his son brings the room to attention. Such an incredible story arc from the Chief’s transcendent emergence from the dark to the moment his son stands up and commands the room, the first look of real approval I think we’ve seen from father to son.

  3. October 1, 2012 1:48 am

    Just a great episode; even Sonny seems to be on the comeback trail, if he doesn’t get shot by his chick’s daddy…hey…who was the artist Antoine was schooling his student with one-on-one, before the trip to The Hall?

  4. October 1, 2012 7:33 am

    Random thoughts:
    I don’t know what the difference is between this and the first episode, but this time I enjoyed every cameo and every musical number. Nothing felt contrived or forced.

    Mark, I totally agree. The final scene with Albert and Delmond was incredible. Perhaps my favorite of the show thus far, and that is because of how far they have come.

    Dexter, I am terrified for the fisherman and his daughter. I have very little faith in Sonny if he goes back into the world of musical performance.

    Now, before I continue, please know that I am not trying to give anyone an aneurysm. What I have written below is the way Treme, the show, affects me, impresses me, on certain aspects of Nola and the people living there. Consider it similar to the way that you can have two different people reading the the Old Testament and one person will say it is all about love, and the other will say it is all about hate. Furthermore, I wrote this because I want to be put right where I am wrong.

    Ok. So here goes.

    When Toni was out on the porch with Colson and she found out about her hairstylist being murdered, I wanted her to just say “I’ve had enough. Fuck this town.” and leave. We know she won’t. My impression I get from this show is that New Orlenians can handle absolutely any amount of shit from within (we’ve seen it: rape, ravaging corruption, murder, extortion, even suicide), but watch the finger pointing fly when something bad comes from without. What is the bad that comes from without, by the way? A lack of financial support, and a President’s “not one fucking word”. (The lack of Oil Rig royalties truly is BAD) Still, how does that stack up to the crap going on within the city itself? Would more federal funding help, or will it just line the pockets of a few, leaving the situation unchanged? I ask in sincerity, because what Treme is showing is that it probably wouldn’t help.

    We are shown New Orleanians who talk down about their neighbors (cities and states) as if they are classless, cultureless, barren desert wastelands and yet the only honest politician/contractor trying to do some good for them, like a white knight in shining armor, is the Texan (or the church from Milwaukee, of all places). How ironic is that? Every time Nelson exposes a scam he has me marveling at the extent to which “they do it to themselves”. And again, interesting that it is the outsiders (the volunteers from a church in Milwaukee) who are actually helping to repair New Orleans, not the native contractors or politicians or even the residents themselves (doing so in volunteer groups without getting paid). Again, this is what we are shown in the show. (By the way, the Texican, Nelson’s cousin, was also honest and worked hard, got held up 3 times and left “got tired of being a walking ATM”. )

    As regards the criminal aspect of life in the cities, this is where Baltimore in the Wire and Nola in Treme seem different. There is a sense of helplessness in Baltimore – a baby that cannot take care of itself, change its own diaper as it were. It truly is so bad (in the neighborhoods depicted) that they need outside help – a complete change in all institutions. Nola in Treme, on the other hand, isn’t helpless. It is filled with gifted, capable, wonderful people, who …accept the bad as the price for the good?

    How can the federal government (and the individual States) help New Orleans?

    How do you get rid of the bad, without throwing out the good, too?

  5. October 1, 2012 10:38 am

    @Dexter that was Papa Celestin’s Marie Laveau. This episode was one of my favorites, for sure. In addition to the moments pointed out here, you basically have characters deciding what they want and going after it. Rather than the plot driving the show, the characters are driving the plot, and I really really like that.

  6. October 1, 2012 12:30 pm

    Driven not by the plot so much as no longer driven by what I believe Chris Rose first called The Event, beginning to take back control of their lives. For the longest time the signboard at Center for thr Education of Adults on St. Claude at Pauger had the letters rearranged to read 2005 GALE CEASES TO CAGE US and I think that is just where we find them at the start of Season Three.

  7. dexterjohnson permalink
    October 1, 2012 12:45 pm

    Thank you. I love that old-style music. I’ll research Papa.

  8. dexterjohnson permalink
    October 1, 2012 12:47 pm

  9. October 1, 2012 12:56 pm

    @MarkFolse An important distinction, thank you.

  10. October 1, 2012 1:20 pm

    Talk about gaming the system, I hope they put something in the story about workers being ripped off by carpetbaggers. My husband drove a truck hauling debris for pretty good pay, then the fly-by-night owner of the shifty company didn’t pay the drivers all they were promised, and skipped out back to Florida. Talk about adding insult to injury. My husband pressed charges and pushed the issue, and amazingly—an assistant DA called us two years later. They found the guy and were making him pay restitution. We were glad to get the money, but . . . a lot of people never did get paid. And, when we were ripped off, was when we needed it more than ever. This happened over and over again in the city. I’ve heard plenty of talk from folks who never got paid for work they did after the storm.

  11. October 1, 2012 5:59 pm

    3Suns, if only we knew the answer to your questions. We elect someone like Landrieu, and suddenly that the man who championed Louisiana culture and tourism start shutting down small things, a costume bazaar, and now is moving onto clubs with “unlicensed” music. What exactly is “unlicensed music?” If the government cannot license churches or newspaper, why should they think they can license the performance of music? Live music isn’t a nuisance. If you move into a neighborhood where there has been live music for years, for decades, and then complain: you are the nuisance.

    I get off topic. One former local blogger stood up at the Rising Tide conference and offered a substantial reward for anyone who could accuse the Landrieu family of corruption. I learn in a cab ride the other day that among the new regulations for taxis is that they all offer credit card service. They must all buy their credit card servicing machine from the same vendor.


    From the same vendor.

    (Pause. Dangerblonde, are you listening?)

    New Wave Councilmember Kristin Palmer is working to push a noise ordinance that would ban drunks singing at a table with the door open.

    “”You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

    “Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

    “But,” saiId Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

    “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?: — Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

    I don’t believe that people in New Orleans are any more corrupt, or intentionally tolerant of corruption, than people anywhere else. It has been a fact of life here, one of the last bastions of machine politics in America for so long. If you grow up where one eats grits, that’s doesn’t make you any better or worse than someone who did not. (If you grew up eating Cream of Wheat, gods have mercy on your soul).

    There is certainly a strong tendency here toward tolerance of everything, what my anthropology texts calls “transgressive”, and with that view corruption takes its turn. Gods forbid we should ever lose that tolerance, or I will help to drill the sandbag the dynamite emplacements in the levees.

  12. October 1, 2012 6:51 pm

    Mark, thank you very much for the insights and general info about what is currently going on. It almost sounds like politicians are blaming the music and the pubs for the crime, and thus legislating them out of existence. Throwing out the baby and keeping the bath water?

  13. October 1, 2012 9:49 pm

    It’s more a matter of the city trying to eliminate business which don’t pay permit fees and taxes. It’s about money, and about the “class” of musician and artist they would like to see in the city: musician’s playing fully licensed clubs and artists with permitted galleries. It’s about money but it’s also about “monetizing the culture in a smart and civic way” or words to that effect. They want to turn us into a respectable, historical destination with public drunkenness and properly permitted nudity for such tourists as want that. sort of redneck Amsterdam-lite wrapped in a cocoon of antique-shop respectability. They listen, no doubt, to their “artistic” contributors. Irvin Mayfield is a small-time political player in town. But they don’t understand the culture of the city half as well as they pretend. Mitch Landrieu has been living in Baton Rouge too long.

  14. dexterjohnson permalink
    October 1, 2012 11:34 pm

    I find this discussion fascinating, and it makes me wonder if harassment and pressure are what shut down the New York Jazz scene which flourished around 51st Street even before Pops went to New York in the mid-1920 , to the Roseland Ballroom. We were led to believe the reason Jazz died in places like NYC and Chicago (in Chicago, Gerri’s Palm Tavern on 47th Street hosted all the Jazz greats and the Big Bands all through the 40s and 50s and 60s. ) was because “people’s tastes were changing, Rock and Roll was coming in …and Jazz was dying…but I wonder if any of this is true now, because Jazz sure as hell never died in your town. Looking back at what happened to the great Jazz clubs in NYC and Chicago ( I drank a few beers in Gerri Oliver’s Palm Tavern a few years before the wrecking ball claimed it, and I saw the great signed photos on the walls, and I visited Theresa’s club at 48th & Indiana before it was levelled, also, and I would hate to see pressure by the authorities put the music scene in New Orleans in any sort of jackpot.

  15. October 2, 2012 6:15 am

    That’s a complicated question, and I’m not sure I can get back here from work anymore and I have to be in the office today, but I’ll try a quick answer.

    Modern Jazz died here with Rosie’s on Tchoupitoulas, a hobby business run by a wealthy young woman. The major touring acts no longer come here except for Jazz Fest.

    Traditional and brass band jazz nearly died here. Popular dance-band trad jazz was saved in part by the resurgence of interest in dancing, but the number of clubs offering trad jazz was rapidly dwindling from the 1960s on. Tastes were changing. My parents listened to Al Hirt and Pete Fountain and you couldn’t think of a worse recommendation for kids growing up in the 1960s.

    I wanted to interview Mark Braud (scene on trumpet at Preservation Hall in Ep2) for a school project, but his schedule kept getting in the way. I imagine growing up in a musical family (grandson of the legendary trumpeter John “Picket” Brunious, Sr. and nephew of internationally acclaimed jazz trumpeters Wendell Brunious and John Brunious, Jr) that he had a lot of early exposure, but he was growing up in a generation where guitar players ruled, with saxophone the only woodwind in site and a brass section next to the backup singers.

    Jazz bands were dying until Danny Barker started a band with the Fairview Baptist Church with birthed the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the second coming of traditional brass bands. which have morphed entirely into their own thing, playing popular music in brassy, jazz arrangements alongside the traditionals. It is the direct descendant of traditional jazz, but it almost never happened.

    What’s going on now is peculiar because of its impact on musicians and other artists, but it is all about the money. It’s the reason the city has suddenly found the records of every moving violation scofflaw in the city. I had to go pay my son’s ticket in person and everyone in line was there with a pre-storm ticket they thought they could skate on believing the records lost (or forgot about with other things on their mind. They only take your license for serious offenses now). The city is broke, and forcing an inherently non-compliant city into compliance is just another way to collect the fees. If you don’t think fees are big money, look into where retail banks make their money.

    What is irksome is that they are doing this without concern for the impact on the culture of the city (or, as I suggested, they view the culture of the city through the lens of the cohort of the arts community that can afford to attend fundraisers), but an almost Leninist disregard for the consequences of their Five Year Plan is a hallmark of the neo-liberalism that infects all mainstream politicians in this country.

    Whew. Man are we way off how cute Lucia looks seriously under-made up for a morning scene? Don’t you hate these vapid fan sites?

  16. October 5, 2012 10:52 pm

    Finally got a chance to catch up to this episode. I enjoyed it immensely.

    I pegged that music agent guy as being hot for Annie the first time he showed up last season. She’ll have to bust ass if she wants to play SXSW in the spring, though. Demo tapes are due the first week of November and it’s already Halloween.

    Albert has COPD, just like my old man, only mine has six different other things to go with it and he makes Albert look like the model of patient compliance. Loves his fried food though. Every time I go to New Hampshire it’s clams this, scallops that, haddock, meatloaf, chicken…

    Guitar Lightnin’ Lee with Stinky Paul on drums. Lightnin’ played my daughter’s 15th birthday party a couple months before we moved away.

    David Warren shot Henry Glover from the second floor of the same strip mall where I had my first shitty job in high school, the Showbiz Pizza on DeGaulle (now a Chuck E. Cheese). I used to have to sweep that parking lot, in July, before opening, ’cause my boss was a dick.

    Miss y’all.

  17. dexterjohnson permalink
    October 6, 2012 12:27 am

    Hi Ray…I have had COPD for nine years so if Albert manages to find an inhaler and a couple pills that work he’ll be fine. It does for me anyway. I wonder what kind of breathing exercises Albert was prescribed. Here in Ohio no one can smoke in bars or restaurants. I don’t know what the rules are in New Orleans, but I hope Albert doesn’t smoke and he gets a filtering mask for work. Fried foods are good for everybody! That’s why we all take our statin drugs!

  18. samjasper permalink
    October 9, 2012 6:52 pm

    As Mark said, a lot of it IS all about money. There are currently meetings being held at Kermit Ruffins’ Speakeasy in hopes of easing some of the crackdown in the near term (and to our delight, after the first meeting a moratorium was put in place which allowed two local clubs to get up and running until everything else in their paperwork is straightened out), and in the long term we hope to get reasonable ordinances put in place. What we have now is a mess and utterly un-Constitutional. Today I wrote the Mayor a letter. I am hoping that he sees it. It’s an open letter. If you’re interested it can be found here:

  19. machine permalink
    October 15, 2012 9:54 pm

    @3Suns pretty much nailed it, re the show’s depiction of outsiders to NOLA.

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