Hey Pocky Way by The Meters
Feel good music, I've been told
Good for your body and it's good for your soul
My favorite moment, one that I think summed up New Orleans as a music town, happened when we were leaving Rebirth. My friend Charles and I called an Uber. When it arrived, the first thing our driver asked was, “How was Rebirth?” This was actually odd, since ever Uber driver before said they don’t go out and see live music. Then our driver, Javon, said he plays with Rebirth sometimes. Then he told us he co-wrote the last two songs on their album. Javon said his main band is the Stooges Brass Band. I told him I’ve seen them three times. Twice in Philly and once at Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Festival in New Jersey. Then we both, at the same time said, “When you/we invited the kid on stage.” A little backstory: when we entered Crawfish fest that year, there was a kid named Mason playing a homemade percussion set at the gate. When we went to the stage to see The Stooges, Mason’s set was on stage. He played the whole show (un-miced), they even invited him to the merch table afterwards to sign stuff. That’s where I met the band afterwards and had them sign a copy of Street Music. When it was Mason’s turn to sign it, one of the guys in the band asked, “Do you even know cursive?” Mason laughed and said, “Of course I do.” He then proceeded to print his name and add a large squiggle in the middle to make it look like cursive :-)
I had two takeaways from this night: first, New Orleans musicians realize the importance of education. The older musicians are always teaching younger ones, as they were taught when they were younger. And second, sometimes talented musicians still need to drive an Uber to make ends meet.
There was an optional outing to Studio Be. I’d heard chatter about how amazing it was, but knew nothing. I didn’t even know what it was. I decided to go on this blind date, and was really moved. I’m usually the type that finds art museums boring. Nine out of ten times they are. B Mike took over an abandoned Treme housing project and turned it into a gallery. He spray painted right on the sheetrock. The project grew in popularity and was shut down. Then B Mike opened Studio Be. It included some of the original sheetrock pieces for the housing project and more new pieces. I really can’t add commentary that will do my experience justice. One idea that was clear throughout B Mike’s art, is the Civil Rights Movement is not over.