It’s Open Thread on BoT!
Three open threads or so back I called out Hawg Jaw vis a vis the local sludgecore scene so I hope y’all noticed the t-shirt in this ep.
What was that soul food joint where Hidalgo impressed Delmond’s dad? Two Sisters?
Where they going to have practice now?
That’s what a community is, it’s all connected. One piece goes out, it takes a toll on all the rest.
Everything is being taken.
Some parts are able to fight back.
But other parts?
I felt every main character was at a crossroads. Colston: stay or go from his unit, the NOPD, maybe even New Orleans with his kids elsewhere, still in a trailer with his jaw busted up. LaDonna: rebuild Gigi’s or give it up? Toni: almost giving up out of fear, telling all her witnesses it’s dangerous, talking to the eyewitness anyway. Annie: definitely trying to decide. Davis: giving up music, confused, feeling defeated, and seeing the writing on the wall with Annie. Sonny: at the table not understanding a word, loving Linh but looking like he’s wondering if he can ever really fit in and join that family comfortably. Antoine: committing to his students and possibly rethinking his move toward modern jazz. Delmond: the obvious one with his choice to stay or go. Janette: with her cookies and booze dinner wondering about her choice to come back under these circumstances. The entire episode seemed full of some things being out of control for the characters but each one facing down a choice.
Loved the interconnectedness of this episode.
Sam, very good comments. The whole episode was sad and tension-filled as all these decisions were coming to a boiling point. What made me reflect back on my life and the lives of many people I knew as a young boy and man was when Antoine sat his student down to try to understand why she was missing so much practice, and chastising her with the magic word “potential”. Yes, we all have potential, and what a shame so many of us just never find that open door to walk in to…success! For example, being a lifetime baseball fan and player years ago, I saw so many great amateur players who just never got the chance…and then my cousin actually played one year for the Chicago Cubs big club…same , and more prevalent I am sure in the music world…how many good and great horn players never make it past busking?
Hell, those weren’t even cookies. They were Kame rice crackers. I’m beginning to feel like this story line is played out. We all have a good layman’s idea of how a kitchen works, of all of the challenges. I think I’m just getting bored with it, as if it were a bit overplayed. Yes, i know what Chowhound is, but we’re getting further and futher into a very inside baseball place. And it leaves me wondering if that is how some of the outside viewers of this show feel, particularly those who have been critical. More on this thought later.
Both Janette and Davis are on a path to disappointment, with the difference being Janette’s in her return home, as called out by the visit by her first suitor to her restaurant.
Davis won’t sell out his vision and is left behind. Annie, with some trepidation, takes a song credit form Harley if that’s the price of moving to the next level. And Davis is clearly not along for that ride.
The big thing for me was waiting for the Pelecano’s moment, and it should have been clear as day from Mr. Match what was going to happen. I was pretty sure going in but Pelecano’s has that reputation as the hit man. This time he was the arsonist.
As a viewer I felt like the Toni/Carlson rift, the big one where she suspects him, was closed to quickly.I’m not sure where the writers might have taken that. Perhaps that was effected by the proximity of the end of the season. Almost everyone is arcing toward some closure. The mystery out of this week is how the last episode of Season 3 is written, given the vagueries of renewal. It seems clear why Simon went to the mat for additional episodes, as there is no way to wrap up so many open story lines in one more episode.
What seems to require closure is Colson’s situation. He can’t stay in the N.O.P.D. with no one at his back. I think the way Ep 10 plays out is we see the reallignment of characters: Davis and Annie, Toni and Colson (why does one always want to call police characters by their last name?), LaDonna and Larry, LaDonna and the Chief, Delmond and the world. I think we already see Antoine’s story played out in his involvement with his students, and his dabbling in modern jazz. I think he has about matured into the player to whom teachers will one day bring promising students to see at the Palm Court.
Just some early morning thoughts. I’ll certainly have more to say soon,.
It seems the two characters whose central core of being have been hit the hardest, hit in their central core by their bodies being hit, violated by others and, now, disease, are LaDonna and Albert. Neither of them will or can bow down, and they are both downed. Without the the filtering angles of vision of spouse, lover, child, parent, they see each other true. They reach out to each other. It breaks your heart.
In another way, this seems to be Toni and Colson. But with them there may be the added comfort of lovers. They have future whatever it may be, we know that, whether together or not.
Delmond is within his family and cultural matrix; he’s the son of a chief. One has the confidence that he’s achieved the confidence to negotiate his way among his world, even unto the satisfaction of his manager. He’s the one who can stand tall and strong with a foot in each world, because, well, maybe his daddy and mom brought him up right? A heritage of the Indians? That is one close, loving family.
Antoine and Desiree — they are the backbone of New Orleans, its culture and its activism, generation from generation. Both of them are passing it on to the next generation in so many ways.
Janette is solitary — she’s not having fun, thus turned into a harpie in her own kitchen, hates everyone including herself. She’ll sort it out though, because she’s got what it takes. And she’s still young enough for the restaurant world.
Nelson — is sleazeballing his next conque$t and eye candy.
Davis is solitary — having a tantrum because he is refusing to admit what is true — he ain’t got it.
Annie is solitary — surrounded by takers, becoming one herself. Her life’s highest point of elation may have been that jumping on th bed, which she did, alone.
Sonny — he thinks he’s going to marry Lyn, and after all that time on the boat, why in hell hasn’t he learned himself more Vietnamese than hello and thankyou?
L.P. is solitary — likely wondering what his next gig will be.
Sofia — is away from her, for her own safety.
Gotta disagree with Mark on Toni/Terry<–note use of first name. As soon as he got beat up I said, "He needs to call Toni or he's gonna get Serpico'd."
I am also patting myself on the back big time. Our niece lives down the street from the place that is used for Gigi's. She happened to see the shoot the night they shot the fire scene and this was way back there, before this season started. Bless her heart, she posted something about it on FBook and I asked her to take it down because it was such a monumental spoiler. So I knew from jump that Gigi's would burn. That knowledge made it doubly hard to watch LaDonna this season as I knew what was in store but I was really impressed with the way the writers led up to it. (Pelecanos as arsonist, good line, Mark. We need new tshirts with flames coming out of the pen this time.)
A quick story. One of those lovely New Orleans moments we are gifted with here: One night I was on my bike on Decatur Street. I was on my way somewhere when I saw Uncle Lionel coming out of Palm Court dressed in one of his dapper suits. I hollered a hello to him and he beckoned me over. We talked for a bit, he told me he'd just come down for his "transmission fluid"–what he called his white wine generally taken at Palm Court. An older man came out and joined us, leaning against a car. Uncle Lionel introduced me to him, Mr. Lionel Ferbos. Both men's voices were very soft so I really had to listen closely to hear them. I said hello, not having any real clue who Mr. Ferbos was. Uncle Lionel told me that this was one of the men who could answer some of the questions I'd been asking him about the old days. At that, Mr. Ferbos started reminiscing with Uncle Lionel adding to the information. "I played once with. . ." "Yeah, do you remember . . ." I didn't say a word, just put the kickstand down on my bike and listened to them. Then Uncle Lionel gave me a hug and left. I spent the next hour talking with Mr. Ferbos, idiotically not taking a single note, and as a result have forgotten most of what he told me but I was spellbound. Finally he headed home and I went on to wherever it was I was going that night knowing that I'd just spent time with a remarkable man. He told me to call him if I had questions. I never have, probably lost his number by now, but was just awed by what had just happened on a street with cars rolling by not knowing that they were passing a living treasure. Seeing him in last night's episode reminded me of that moment, that hour, spent with him and reminded me how lucky I am to be here.
BTW there’s a great piece on Mr. Ferbos here: http://www.nola.com/treme-hbo/index.ssf/2012/11/irvin_mayfield_explains_lionel.html
Match Boy certainly was broadcasting the threat often and clearly, so I was afraid for GiGi’s — though I think I was more afraid LaDonna and / or other people would be inside. Shudder.
Concerning Mr. Ferbos — He, and all the musicians of that era get at least one opportunity to speak, the team makes sure, which means more pay. Wonderful. In one way you could say they are producting what Davis dreamed his opera would do.
Recall the ep before this in which IM is not praised, so to speak? That was pretty ballsy too.
It’s good that Sam got her niece to take down the Facebook post about the “Gigi’s” fire. The season opener trailer showed a building burning. The voiceover was Toni saying “He’s left a trail of fire” and they also showed the murdered hair stylist (although we didn’t know who he was at the time). I think that there was a feeling that it was going to be Gigi’s, but was hoping it wasn’t.
I suppose the Indians will find someplace else to practice or else Gigi’s will be rebuilt (the trailer for next week indicates a fund raiser). That would be good because if we’re going to lose the Chief (Pelecanos may not be finished yet), then Delmond will have some continuity assuming his father’s role in the culture.
I feel that the restaurant story line, in its current incarnation, relates to the difference between New Orleans’ tourist trap restaurants (or foodie tourism, a notch or two above) and the ones the locals like. It goes along with the insider/outsider theme of , for example, Nelson’s story, that has been discussed on this blog with regard to the show and with regard to the blog! The show, Frank’s Place, has already been made, so having the restaurant be something like that, a soul food kitchen in the Treme, cannot be duplicated. Besides, LaDonna did serve some food at Gigi’s. That was a very communal bar.
I agree about Sonny learning Vietnamese. He is not dwelling in reality. I don’t see his marriage going through.
When would a Dutch crackhead have time to learn Vietnamese? I lived in Vietnam for a year and only picked up a few words and phrases. It’s a tonal language and requires much study and practice to discern the exact tone for each word…one printed word alone can have six meanings depending on the tone and length of the hold on each syllable. It’s kind of like Antoine trying to make it to the next level…he tries and he has the heart…he just can’t make that ‘bone sing. I am hard as hell on Sonny but on learning Vietnamese, I give him a pass.
Beth, if I eve win the lottery one of the first things I want to do is buy up the rights to Frank’s Place and then move on to the music rights, so the world can see it again. I get the difference between Janette’s first restaurant and On The Avenue, but they really need to pull a bus up with FOODIE TOURS on the side and have every last person come in and order the crawfish pasta if they want to make that clear to the outside world. The chat with Emeril helped but perhaps is not enough. Fargo, ND has more tops per capita than New Orleans but with a few exceptions they are all national chain restaurants. (My theory is Fargo has something to do with getting out of the house in the winter). People there have no idea what it’s like to live in a place where people can name at least two Brennans. And someone needs to ask Janette if she’s been to Pascal’s Manale and noticed how many people don’t order barbequed shrimp. This too shall pass.
The New York episodes make more sense now, although at the time they were starting to annoy me. Janette had her experience with the uber creative chef and the plate nazi, and the visit from her first suitor brought that all into focus. She had her chance to have things her way and missed it. The only really weak spot was what I call the Bunny Turducken episode. I would much rather have watched something like Nelson and the banker’s visit to Mosca’s interwoven with another character set at a sumptuous meal in humbler circumstances, with even a bit more food dialogue along the :this reminds me of the time we ate at” and “if you like this, we have to go to”. The Mosca’s dinner was the only scene that comes readily to mind that captured New Orleans’ food culture from the diner’s perspective.
What’s the deal with Albert? I have a feeling the writers and a lot of the viewers think there’s something heroic about the way he acted at that meeting with Hidalgo and Ligouri. It’s right in line with people cheering on Creighton’s assault of the English reporter, Delmond’s outburst at the jazz nerds in New York, and Janette’s throwing a drink on Alan Richman. I know David Simon has a histrionic bent but this “I’m as outraged as you are!” line of pandering is kind of pitiful.
There are a lot of ways to learn another language, and on the job is one the best and the fastest. That’s why it’s so hard to believe Sonny — who has demonstrated an ability to learn a language that he wasn’t born into already — hasn’t learned more Vietnamese than that on the boat.
Also he’s a musician, and musicians learn with their ears — they remember with their ears. Learning languages is a lot easier for them than many. I am speaking from personal observation — my husband is fluent in at least three languages, and has picked up casually basics in more than that.
Another example, a recording engineer who went from no Spanish, zero, nada, to speaking it very well (though totes with American rather than any kind of Spanish pronunciation — but he’s an engineer, not a musician) within three months, when brought into a Cuban recording studio to engineer a great Cuban band’s album (at the time due to many circumstances, Cuba didn’t have great engineers). You start with a common vocabulary. Also I know guys who served in Vietnam and came home speaking Vietnamese very well.
It doesn’t seem to be the case, but Sonny from the Netherlands probably speaks more than one other language besides his own and English, because that’s how the schools there are. It could very likely be French, and perhaps Lyhn’s family also knows French — which is not unknown to be spoken by various people in New Orleans as well.
I understand about picking up languages from everyday contact. I speak un poco espanol and just a few French words, but I find myself injecting Latin phrases into my text and I never studied Latin, just kept seeing terms like “caveat emptor” and many others ,just from reading, and finding out what they mean, and just using them.
But…I know a lot of Vietnam veterans from the American War and none of them ever learned more than a few phrases, and the only ones who learned fluent Vietnamese were the guys who studied it in Monterey at the Defense language Institute and then became interrogators , Navy Seal assassins, or just regular old CIA spooks. Now, some guys kept extending for tour after tour, and those guys frequently married Vietnamese women and lived in the cities and yes, I am sure they picked up the language, slowly at best.
The American involvement in Vietnam had some strange quirks. I knew a guy named Hancock who knew everybody and kept getting extensions for new tours…he had been there for quite a few years. He had his own private Jeep, he had a house in downtown Nha Trang, and he had a few children. He had no intention of ever leaving. I have no idea what happened to him. But…he knew very little of the Vietnamese language other than a few phonetic epithets .
I know guys who were in combat who learned Vietnamese — and they weren’t Special Forces. They were guys who loved the culture that they were introduced to, including the food.
I’ve been sick for awhile now, so I’m not always communicating clearly, surely.
What I was trying to say, that the guys I know who learned Vietnamese while they were in the U.S. army, were grunts. (Down the line, I also met Other Guys who were Very Special, but these were not those guys.) These were the guys who grew up where I did. Pulled out of their birth habitats into another world — something happened. This too is part of war. Wars are huge cultural churns. People can learn things they would never consider learning, never knowing what these things are at all before hand — and their lives change.
Sometimes they even get married to someone in the culture they were shooting at, and who shot at them.
I hope this makes more sense. I am pretty whacko-ed from whatever it is that grabbed me four days ago!
Mark, I hope you or someone does that. I never saw Frank’s Place.
Didn’t Janette’s backer say that his other restaurants were not anything special but that they made money? So he was looking for prestige and now his drunk friends are eating at the jewel in his crown. I dined once at Gabrielle’s where there was a party of drunks who were annoying. I think they had a spat with the next table over it. Not pretty, but the meal was great.
As a foodie type (especially with regard to New Orleans) and as opposed to the general food-centered nature of folks in NoLa, I enjoy the Janette storyline although after viewing the episode again, she does seem whiny. I don’t think she understood the difference between having an undercapitalized (or low cash flow) chef-owned restaurant and being part of a restaurant group that is not like Emeril’s empire, which is large, but that are all Emeril restaurants. Janette is modeled on Susan Spicer, who has or had several restaurants and bakeries and a partner or two in them, but who retained control, from what I know. Janette is a creative person who doesn’t know much about business. She is learning the hard way.
Maybe Sonny can’t be expected to have learned Vietnamese, but he overestimated how easily he would fit into his fiancee’s family.
DexterJohnson, Hancock sounds interesting, like a potential subject for a book/film.
Is Foxessa a combo of Foxy Contessa?
“Is Foxessa a combo of Foxy Contessa?”
Nope! The handle, just, well is. Mostly because I am so envious of a fox’s spine and capacity to jump, leap and slide through tiny spaces and disappear in plain site. Quite like a cat, but — not a cat. :)
Way late to this party. Great episode, great comments.
Just a couple more small observations:
On the boat, Sonny’s father-in-law-to-be foreshadowed the difficult road ahead for Sonny. Love is easy, marriage is very hard (sorry, can’t remember the line).
The only way Janette can get out is to give up her name, and maybe not even then. One thing is certain, she ain’t happy at all, and I felt badly for her star waiter who is stuck with freeloading non-tippers. Mark, regarding her crackers and beer(?), it was a bit ham-fisted, but thinking back, it demonstrates that her plight is almost worse than it was when she was burning bananas in her flood damaged home.
I recognize the significance of LaDonna’s bar getting burned down, and though understandable, it hurt that she went to Albert for support. The scene was brilliantly performed.
I actually thought she and Larry might get killed when they headed out the door to “lock the shop”. It was like one of those horror films – don’t go into the basement!!!
Terry darn near cried when he saw Toni on his FEMA trailer doorstep. Toni was beaming with joy to see him. No pouting on his part, and just deep mutual respect and admiration. It may have been a bit quick in resolution of her doubting him, but it was believable (sometimes we do experience small graces) and very satisfying. I love both those characters, especially Terry.
Apparently, Mr. Simon wanted more than just “half” a season 4. I really wish that HBO could find the money to help him end this the way he wants to. Once it is finished, there is no going back and adding – and the DVD sets will sell for years.
I just thought people here would enjoy this. In the Pay it Forward concert this last week to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy a nice heartfelt moment happened. Our mayor Mitch Landrieu joined, by Susan Cowsill, sang “This City” from “Treme”. He certainly should not give up his day job, but what a wonderful moment.
I went out and bought a six pack of Turbodog after watching Delmond and his manager, The Wire cop/teacher, share a few. I prefer Abita’s Restoration Pale Ale but it’s hard to find in my parts. One beer store always has like one bottle on its “make your own six pack” shelf. I think next time I’m gonna offer to buy that one bottle, unless the rest of the selection is good enough to make the $9 six pack.
I liked the look on the faces of Albert and Delmond when Hidalgo said he knew about Gigi’s.
DJ Davis’ house looks different from how it did during, what was it, Season 1? Before, the homosexual men’s house was close on the right as you are looking at it; but, in this season, it looked like it was by itself, with an empty lot and some water, maybe? behind it. Of course, there could have been a tear down next to it, thanks to NOAH.
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