Monday, May 05, 2008

Lesson Learned From a Stranger

We ate in a little spanish tapas restaurant. It was over a 2 hour wait at Jacque Imo's, so that was pretty much out of the question. Dinner was delicious, again. As we ate, we hemmed and hawed over what we were going to do in the evening, where to listen to music, again. The reason for this is, we went to some great performances one of which was Glenn David Andrews and he was playing along with Jon Cleary, Bonerama, and Kermit Ruffins, at the Rock n Bowl, promising to be a rockin' good party.

But we also had a Michael Franti & Spearhead "experience". Let me tell you a bit about the Micheal Franti experience. We were hanging around the Conga stage waiting to see Micheal Franti & Spearhead, a group we had not seen or heard before but heard good things about. As we waited, Eric found a small group of people passing a soccer ball around and proceeded to play with them. Every once in a while someone would ask to have their photo taken with this guy, wearing a tam holding his dreads, no shirt, tattoos. The game broke up after a while and the stage started showing some action. Who walks out? The guy with no shirt, tam, and tattoos. Who was he? Michael Franti. He sang of peace, love, happiness, against war and violence, finding yourself, he sang while it rained and we stood and danced in the rain, he came out in the rain and joined us in solidarity, allowing himself to be lifted. He sang to us and with us. And he promised to be at the Lower 9th ward giving a free performance. When it was over, Li'l Sis and I looked at each other, waved to MF, and said we felt like we needed to say goodbye and thank him for inviting us. It was one of those shows where the musician has a true connection with the audience.
While we were finishing up with dinner, 3 women walked in for dinner, and one asked My Handsome Prince, "Are you secure where you are?" I think she meant physically, but then again, you never know. And that opened up a conversation. We talked about the festival and then went on to talk about MF. She urged us to go see him again in the Lower 9th Ward, that it would be a mind blowing event, could be life altering. But we hesitated, feeling a bit intimidated, going to a desolate area, reputed to be dangerous. We inquired directions from two taxi drivers, one of whom thought we were crazy for even thinking of this. So... we went to Rock N Bowl. While Eric parked the car, the three of us got in, but it was to capacity before he was able to get in. They wouldn't let him in or refund our money so Li'l Sis and Eric left and made the journey to the 9th ward, arriving after the music ended. While they did not see the music, they were glad they went, took the chance. I should have gone. It would have been a chance to see the healing power of music, working to unite, a better understanding, a good thing. I should have taken a chance, I should have followed my heart. My sister says sometimes you just have to do something that rocks your world. I believe this would have shaken it up a bit.

In the end, My Handsome Prince and I stayed at the Rock n Bowl. We got to see Glenn David Andrews jazz the crowd up, we saw Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, and we watched the opening 30 minutes of Bonerama. It was 1:30 by then and we had been going strong since 9am. I danced until my feet ached, I made everyone who wanted to squish by me dance with me, for they were not going to get in front of me unless they were groovin'. I bought my children bowling shirts with their names embroidered on them. Never got to see Kermit Ruffins, so I guess next year I'll just have to go to Vaughn's, get some barbeque and listen to him there. It was a party, a good party. It was what I wanted to do...originally. And we had a great time.

We arrived back at our hotel in time to witness it being evacuated for a fire alarm had been set.

This trip was truly a self indulgent trip. My daughter has gone to New Orleans for rebuilding, a friend of hers/ours has gone 3 times, a friend from the gym just went a few months ago. I have wanted to go to work but have only gone to party. Now I'm looking for my mission. I'm looking for something to shake things up a bit.
There are no regrets. There is just too much going on in New Orleans to have regrets. There is always something you will miss. Next time, though, I will listen to my heart. And Anders, I'll be seeing you soon.

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