Citywide sunburn and a long, satisfied sigh: Jazzfest '07
So, Jazzfest is over, leaving behind a citywide sunburn and a deep, but satisfied, fatigue. This year was weird for a few reasons, one of them being that a larger proportion of out of town visitors was comprised of people who lived here pre-Katrina, so it was a bittersweet reminder of the days when you could still take population density for granted.
The other major weirdness factor came thanks to a flash flood last Friday that tied up traffic on both banks of the Mississippi River, ruined several hundred cars and reminded me and everyone else (how many of these reminders will we need??) of the inevitability of evacuation this summer. We got a pass last year, and I will admit that I have since embraced the denial required for living below sea level. But every time I see a seagull fly overhead, I am reminded that even if I can't see the shore or swim in it, I live on it and I'd better get ready for when it tries to up and swallow us whole again.
I'd better buy lots of bottled water.
A few of the finer moments of THE Jazzfest (no one around here says just 'jazzfest' - it's earned the article):
*Seeing Ludacris and Lucinda Williams on the same day (where else could that happen?).
*Meeting the father of one of the Pine Leaf Boys from Lafayette while we were both in line for the port-a-john, and as we were standing in the middle of the Fairgrounds on a sunny day with music blaring and 60,000 people happily milling around, he asked me in a voice filled with doubt, "Do you think New Orleans is ever going to recover?"
"I don't know," I told him, "but things sure feel pretty promising today."
*Not finding a friend in the Gospel Tent but knowing she was there for Irma Thomas' unbelievable tribute to Mahalia Jackson. Seeing someone like Thomas, whose utter fabulousness is matched by so much genuine humility, moved just about everyone under that tent to tears.
*Recognizing that at each stage at least 10-15 percent of the crowd bears an eerie likeness to the people performing, so when you scan the crowd you immediately know who came to Jazzfest for this show. I found this phenomenon to be most entertaining at Ludacris, most annoying at Joss Stone, and most disturbing at Dr. John.
Of course, when my friend Charlotte and I went to see Lucinda Williams at the House of Blues -- she wearing a trucker hat and me in my cowboy boots -- I had to crack up, as clearly Lucinda was "our" show.
AJ BlogsAJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Rebuilding Gulf Culture after Katrina
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Elizabeth Zimmer on time-based art forms
Public Art, Public Space
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog