Thank Grog It’s Firday!
The world continues to sputter along with a cough, a sneeze and a wheeze, depending on where you are. Oregon continues to deal with containing wildfires, the residual smoke, and an uptick in Covid cases…so we kind of have the “misery trifecta,” as the kids are going back to school…without actually going to school. My wife, as a school counselor, who actually had to deal with a couple of their staff members getting Covid, is playing more roles than Peter Sellers in “Dr. Strangelove.” (look it up…great movie for the current state of the world). Not a happy camper…mostly because she’d rather be camping!
But, hey…WE GOT AN UPDATE!
EA hasn’t forgotten about us. And while I am just a few clicks into it (OK…so yes…I rushed it a bit…), I can tell you that with the world doing its best to come apart at the seams, we could all use a little more traditional jazz!
I know. I know. Jazz isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But, hear me out. There are almost as many kinds of jazz as there are musical tastes. And as Lisa and her “saxamaophone” are a standard in every show opening, it’s nice to see the music get a bit more sophisticated beyond “Band Practice” with Dewey Largo, in every opening montage.
I think Homer said it best, in the opening dialogue of this new update…
“Newspapers are weird…no sports page and several pages of obituaries.”
‘Nuff said. Let’s just leave it by saying, music calms the troubled heart. And we could use a lot of calming these days.
But I have to admit, although we’ve had fires and all sorts of weird wind in the West, I get a knot in my stomach every time I see another tropical storm ramping into a hurricane, and pointed at the gulf states…and particularly New Orleans. One of my favorite cities in the world, New Orleans, was just getting back on its feet after Katrina…and now this. Ugh.
No…Really...they have it all.
Funk, Trad Jazz, Big Band, Fusion, and my favorite, Dixieland…
And it is everywhere...or at least it was before COVID.
Dixieland Jazz at its best at the Spotted Cat (yes it is a real place) Music Club
Funk and Fusion Jazz/Rock at the RBar and Royal St. Inn
And live brass bands on almost every other street corner…
These were all shots taken from our amazing trip over the New Years Holiday…over just a few hours. There was that much music.
Because even now, 7 months after Covid virtually shut down the city…the primary music opportunities for these musicians are still shut down.
As of 9/20/2020…the entire French Quarter is still in Phase 2.
What Types of Businesses Are Closed During Phase Two?
The following operations and activities remain closed or prohibited during Phase Two:
- Bars, breweries and distilleries (with or without Louisiana Department of Health food permit)* Note: some bars continue to offer food service as take out under a special permit, but no to-go alcohol sales will be permitted at this time.
- Amusement parks
- Music/concert halls
- Fairs and festivals
- Trade shows
- Indoor live performance venues
- Second lines and parades
I am heartbroken at what this means to the musicians…most of whom were barely eeking out a living on tips, small paid gigs and specialty parties and conventions. The map shows just how many historic jazz venues on Frenchman St. (the real heart of New Orleans music…not the drunken frat party vibe of Bourbon St) have been decimated by Covid closures.
So…did I blow a ton of donuts on the Premium Content?
Hell2theYes on that!
And YES…I built an homage to New Orleans, complete with a sea wall to help protect it from storm surges. (pic appears later in this post).
EA/Gracie got a couple of things very right…and a couple of things alarmingly wrong, even for the Simpsons.
What they got pretty much wrong?
Making the Jazz station, KJAZZ. Can’t be. Sorry!
The FCC allows 3-4 Call Letters per station. Not Five. So while they got the K part correct, if it is in the REAL Springfield (which is in Oregon), with all radio stations West of the Mississippi starting with a K instead of a W…the rest was kinda off. But, I wanted it anyway, as it reminded me of the REAL New Orleans Radio Station (the one featured in the amazing HBO series “Treme”)
And I could also complain that the music that plays when you tap the Band, is a lick of Big Band…and not the kind of Brass Marching band depicted (often in Second Line parades and Mardi Gras). But, I won’t.
Again…for a taste of real life in New Orleans for musicians, cooks and servers…watch the amazing HBO series, “Treme.”
I didn’t complain..Because I was able to create a very happy homage to my favorite music town, using the items I won and bought, to make something that would make the New Orleans Visitor Center proud…or at least adding a bit of positive energy for the possible re-opening of more than just their NFL franchise.
I let it all slide…when I came to the final frames of this update (yes…for the 50th time, I rushed it with farmed donuts). The exchange between Lisa and Bleeding Gums Murphy brought a tear to my eye.
The fact is…I’m not a huge believer in the traditional sense of the hereafter. I believe that people continue on…in some form of energy, and we are able to bring them back for glimpses of love and connection through memory and intention. If we remember someone…they continue to be real, and not just a puff of smoke that depletes into nothingness.
I have lost a great number of friends over the past couple of years. I’m at that age where it is inevitable. 200,000 lives have been lost to Covid since the end of February. But, all who mourn, find themselves struggling with the same fervent desire to feel their loved ones with them again.
Music is a touchstone to that “other world” where inspiration, joy and love reside…outside of this space time and the constant barrage of negative information. The musicians who have dedicated their lives to their art in New Orleans have faced more challenges than most…and yet, their art perseveres. It is eternal. It is needed. It is healing…
I leave you this week with a video from Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses…the band was formed and is fronted by Jazz phenom, Aurora Nealand…who we had the pleasure to see live at the Spotted Cat (that’s her under the big fedora in the picture of the Spotted Cat above).
Enjoy. Smile. Pray for this kind of joy to come back to New Orleans again soon.