Sunday, September 28, 2008

Last Blog. It’s dark/stark.

I have a lot to cover and my attention span has been hampered by a severe personality disorder called weakness of self worth and hygiene. I tread lightly.

The Mckenna Museum of African Art had an exhibition of local artist, Ayo Y. Scott, son of the late John T. Scott. The museum is in a beautiful Antebellum house in a quiet neighborhood Uptown. The place is worth checking out for it’s other installations alone, including a series of pictures from Africa during the 1960’s.

Ayo’s work was a lot of fun, much of the time not taking itself to seriously, which was nice, unapologetically bright colors and very recent pop culture references made for a casual viewing. He did have more serious work, as seen in this piece about the overall rebuilding process.

The curator of the museum, was excited about the opening and was drumming up support for future shows the gallery is planning on having. Keep track of the rotating exhibits, as this one was a clear success, and worthwhile investment of time.

Amelia, a fellow UMASS student has just moved to New Orleans, increasing our alumni viola presence 700%. She has been hired by the LA Philharmonic, pretty impressive stuff if you like music or the word viola. She was generous enough to invite me to the season opener at Loyola this last Friday. The place was packed, sold out I’m told and the grand opening of their old venue, which has been in a rebuilding phase since Katrina will be opening in December, that show is already sold out as well, but worth noting. So look out for the philharmonic, riding a wave of momentum with Amelia firmly in there somewhere.

Nate and I got back a little early on Thursday night, so he decided to meet up with a friend for some quality socializing time; this invitation was not extended to me. I sat in the house, tipsy and annoyed with lack of doing something, I have a habit of getting furious with myself if I feel I should be doing something as a young man on a Thursday night. Parlaying this aggression, I grabbed my camera and walked around the neighborhood, snapping pictures as I clumsily walked through the dark streets.

It was hot that night and I had left my pants at home, opting for boxer briefs. Ironically the pictures were not that great, and I can’t help but feel the best picture was the one not takin, me in my boxer briefs terrorizing the locals with my bright flash and slurred speech, but who knows?

Friday, the presidential debate party; which, after much fuss thanks to the Senator from Arizona, ended up happening. The event was at LePhare, a trendy, pricey bar in downtown New Orleans. Two projectors presented wall sized images of the two candidates in all their former glory.

I’d say about 200 people showed up, donations at the door were either directed to the Obama or McCain movement, and while I won’t divulge the end count, McCain would have trouble if he had to go buy something from the Gap.
Lot’s of people who are paying attention, it’s a scene.


Megan (above), one of the good guys.

The next day we were invited to a funeral service in the French Quarter. There was a second line parade that marched through the streets, picking up stray tourists like an interesting-thing-to-take-pictures-of snowball, present company included.
This was amazing. It was.

end second line.

Ate at Theo’s last night, had a Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil pizza, it was very good. I mean, it’s pizza, you know? Hard to mess up and hard to reinvent the wheel here, but this was definitely on the better end of the limited pendulum I allow for pizza places. Also helps if you’re starving.

National day of action at Lafayette square. They're trying to promote the increase of "green collar" jobs in New Orleans and beyond.

My plane leaves from Louis Armstrong International at 11:10 am this Monday, it’s a non stop flight on jet blue to Logan International in Boston, the place were I grew up. It’s perfect really, I’ve been away long enough that the time lapse in itself is reason enough to be welcomed like a hero.

But I am kind of a hero, after all I spent a month in New Orleans. The place that had Katrina, I went through a hurricane myself in Gustav. What are heroes? I don’t know the exact definition, but I’ve gotta be close. Taking pictures, going to parties and dealing with second hand smoke, I’m not going to win any awards or accolades apart from the ones I make for myself, but the story will grow in its fantasticism with time, the parties getting ever bigger, the second hand smoke ever thicker and you are in there somewhere I'm sure. thanks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rebirth at Maple Leaf

Hello. Things have been a little calmer in my daily life, so things I feel are interesting enough to parlay, have decreased, but last night I had a pretty amazing experience seeing Rebirth at the Maple Leaf.

The night didn’t start well. The red sox blew a lead in the ninth to the devil rays and dropped to 1.5 games back in the A.L. east, on top of that I discovered there was a cover of $12 at the door to Maple Leaf. Having not heard the band yet, I was irrationally annoyed with having to spend money to get a stamp that is a reminder to everyone today that 1. I went out last night and 2. I didn’t bathe since then. But I digress.

The bar is surprisingly big with a cast of characters to match. This woman was posing in front of the fan, almost daring me to take her picture. As you can see I didn’t have a problem with that.

Rebirth took the stage and the sound was instant. It filled the room and my head with a force that didn’t allow for any other reaction then to listen and dance.

I won’t try and describe it anymore, but I strongly suggest if you haven’t seen them (Nate is telling me everyone has) see them.

This guy was cooking outside, I didn’t catch his name, but I think he calls the operation, “Meat For Your Mouth”, at least that’s what it said on the back of his shirt.

He puts all late night sausage stands to shame, to SHAME. An open grill filled with quality sausages, chicken, hamburgers, pork chops and turkey legs have people from surrounding bars congregating and shelling out beer money for the stuff. I had a spicy sausage and it was amazing. I was surprised these weren’t dotting the city, the price was comparable to other late night portable setups but the quality was far superior. The owner informed me he had been doing this for 12 years, and he didn’t feel comfortable putting that hard work and reputation behind someone that wasn’t him. I can’t argue with his conviction, but for the sake of drunk people everywhere I hope he changes his mind and sends these things to Los Angeles while he’s at it.

Currently I’m at yurp headquarters doing some flyer designs for upcoming events. Hope to see you there.

Monday, September 8, 2008

days in new orleans increasing

Erez daily blog day 10 3:35 PM September 7, 2008

First day at work. I do not have a job so it wasn’t so bad. Nate and I put in some hard hours at the YURP headquarters before heading over to Mona’s for lunch.

Mona’s serves up Mediterranean fair, and while it isn’t quite a chain, there are several of them dotted around the greater New Orleans area. At the location we went to, there was a Mediterranean supermarket, owned by the same family in the adjacent building, pretty convenient if you decide to try this stuff at home.

Atmospherically this place is a little forced. The ‘cabanas’ that surround the booths are a little cheesy and the fountain in the middle of the dining room doesn’t help either. What I’m trying to say is, I wouldn’t recommend it as a date/dinner spot, the vibe just doesn’t add anything to the experience. The food however was pretty good, I had the chicken kabob plate, Nate took the gyro plate. Both came with salad and hummus as well as a plate of pita to be shared. The salad was good, light dressing but generous with vegetables that weren’t lettuce. (wicked annoying when you’re just chewing on cabbage patch pieces of green)

The chicken was well seasoned and tasty, some pieces being moister then others, but overall a solid job. The hummus was average, most definitely better than anything you could buy in a supermarket, but not exceptional. Pita was also just average, seemed like it had been frozen and then thawed as parts of the bread were harder than others.

The price was very reasonable and the service was casual but attentive. Overall I’d recommend it for business lunches and take out if you’re in the mood for solid Mediterranean food.

Walked back to YURP’s offices to inspire good digestion. Lot of people outside, cleaning up doing what needs to be done.

Ended up on Frenchmen Street for the night. Couldn’t really tell you which bar was which, kinda jumped around a lot. All I know is we started at Apple Barrel, and was treated to a gritty, down to earth blues trio. They were damn good, the guitarist/vocalist rasping out a good variety of well known and obscure blues covers. If someone knows who these guys are please let me know, they deserve credit by name.

Woke up late, and went to Stein’s deli. It was a cool Saturday, a strong breeze combined with overcast skies made for a very comfortable temperature, I think I might have inspired more people (including us) to get outside and clean up some of the debris from the forgotten gustav.

Stein's did not disappoint on any level. The place feels like it’s been there forever (even though it has only been open for a couple years) It feels like a much more accessible and down to earth version of St. James CafĂ©, a place I went to earlier in my trip. Half sandwich place half ethnic supermarket, it’s the best kind of Jewish deli, a non kosher one.

Fancy (and expensive) meats and cheeses sit behind the glass counters.

Super informal, walk up, order, pay and pick up when name called. We both got Bagel egg and cheese sandwiches, me with tomato, Nate with Bacon.

Mine was good, fluffy egg, surprisingly good bagel, but needed a dash of salt and pepper. Nate’s was perfect, the bacon giving it the salty kick mine lacked. The place got crowded around ten, with a spread of locals and college kids.

The baby sat next to us and wouldn’t stop staring at the camera, probably a future ham.

Will be coming back here to try some of the lunch menu which sounded amazing as well. Good place for a laid back, community atmosphere with no attitude.