Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Some Hollis Brown for your post-holiday listening...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Some live music of interest comin' up....

Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA:
  • Jun 6 (Wed)- Kinky Friedman
  • Jun 19 (Tue)- Tab Benoit
  • Jul 18 (Wed)- The Hold Steady
  • Jul 28 (Sat)- Alexis P. Suter Band
  • Aug 9 (Thu)- Cowboy Junkies
  • Aug 16 (Thu)- Anders Osborne
  • Sep 29 (Sat)- Sonny Landreth
  • Oct 22 (Mon)- Rodney Crowell
Calvin Theatre, Northampton, MA:
  • Jul 27 (Fri)- Iron and Wine
  • Oct 7 (Sun)- Ben Harper, acoustic
Mountain Park, Holyoke, MA:
  • Jun 8 (Fri)- Bonnie Raitt w/ Mavis Staples
Cafe Nine, New Haven, CT:
  • Jun 19 (Tue)- Kinky Friedman
  • Jul 13 (Fri)- Lake Street Dive
  • Jul 21 (Sat)- Spampinato Brothers
  • Nov 1 (Thu)- Jonathan Edwards
FTC Stage One, Fairfield, CT:
  • Jun 2 (Sat)- Delbert McClinton
  • Aug 7 (Tue)- The B-52's
  • Aug 19 (Sun)- Anders Osborne
  • Aug 23 (Thu)- Glen David Andrews

Friday at Bushnell Park...

BANDS FROM 5:00 TO 11:00 PM

(Listen to Elvin Bishop's Juke Joint Jump, a song he wrote about the legendary Shaboo Inn in Willimantic back in the day.  Didn't see Elvin there, but saw Bonnie Raitt, Jonathan Edwards, Jimmy Spherris, etc.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Everybody's working for the weekend...

R.I.P.  Disco Queen - Although never a fan of disco, I can admit to the occasional humming along to She Works Hard For the Money, Hot Stuff  and Last Dance.  Donna Summer always claimed to be more rock n roll than disco, rejected her sultry disco past when she found religion, then eventually managed to balance the two.  Never (at least in her lifetime) made the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, despite prominent backers like Elton John.  There have been much lesser lights chosen.

Jack White and Alabama Shakes team up for a couple of killer dates next Mon/Tues in NYC:
(NY Times) Mr. White, the White Stripes-Raconteurs-Dead Weather chameleon, celebrates the release of his satisfying first solo album, “Blunderbuss” (Third Man/Columbia), by nudging another extraordinary retro-soul act into the spotlight. Alabama Shakes’ earthy warbling rattles the Southern-rock firmament of their debut studio album, “Boys & Girls” (ATO). At 8 p.m., Roseland Ballroom, 239 West 52nd Street, Manhattan, (800) 745-3000, roselandballroom.com; $49.50. (Anderson)

Sad news that another record store is closing its doors - Cutler's Records on Broadway in New Haven will sell off inventory starting today. (story)

Daniel Wayne - he's good!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day...

Perhaps I'm late to the party, but Bob M, friend of Kenny/Kip and  Mark/Lisa from Jazz Fest, recommended the tres cool iPhone app Shazam, which identifies any music at the push of a button.  "Shazam is quick and easy to use. Just hold your phone up to the music or TV and within seconds you’ll get more information like the name of the track and artist, streaming lyrics, videos, special offers, exclusive content and more – straight to your smartphone."

G-man's Daily Nuggets album reviews of Jack White's  Blunderbuss and Alabama Shakes' Boys & Girls have been featured in SurgFM and Concert Blogger.  G & Yvette liked, but were left hoping for more of Norah Jones in concert in Brooklyn last Friday night. (concert review)

Offered to take The Reet to the Mothers Day gospel brunch at Blackeyed Sallys, but she declined.  Oh well.

Recent new music acquired:
Mia Borders- Southern Fried Soul (from Louisiana Music Factory)
Honey Island Swamp Band- Good To You (from Louisiana Music Factory)
The Lumineers- The Lumineers (from G-Man)
Jack White- Blunderbuss (from G-Man)
Ray LaMontagne- Trouble (from G-Man)
Alabama Shakes- Boys & Girls (from G-Man)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday pre-game trail mix (Go Celtics!)...

EGAD (Freddie Hubbard)  Live at Fat Tuesday's
Precious Time (Van Morrison) Back on Top
Tell Me the Truth Baby (Fats Domino) Fats Domino Collection
Flower (Amos Lee) Mission Bell
Feelin' Alright (Joe Cocker) The Big Chill Deluxe Edition
The Horses (Rickie Lee Jones) Naked Songs
No Dancing (Elvis Costello) My Aim Is True
Si Amanece Nos Vamos (The Iguanas) Sugar Town
Redneck Friend (Jackson Browne) For Everyman
When I Fall In Love (Doug Sahm) The Last Real Texas Blues Band
Fun (Sly & the Family Stone) The Essential...
Absolutely Sweet Marie (Bob Dylan) Blonde On Blonde
Tipitina (Professor Longhair) The Big Easy
Subcity (Tracy Chapman) Crossroads
High Flyin' Bird (Richie Havens) Mixed Bag
Three Cigarettes (Patsy Cline) Patsy Cline

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Chill Day...

Busking for tips in the French Quarter
Monday after Jazz Fest is a day to wind down from the frenzy of the Fest schedule - hear some great music at the hourly Louisiana Music Factory concerts or just hang around.  We've got another sunny, not oppressively hot day.  After a lengthy morning walk around the Quarter, I meet up with Peter at LMF just after noon for the Creole String Beans, who sound really good.  Big crowd jamming the store's aisles, lots of CDs being purchased as the band plays.  Peter wants to chat with the band's sax player, family friend Derek Huston, about a party on the river to which Derek had invited us.  However, Derek had to hurry off right after the concert and details are a bit sketchy, so we will see.

We meet up with the Pool Hall Studs at Ryan's.  Did someone say pool?  I feel a PHS challenge and run across the street to see if their pool table is still there.  Sorry, pal, we took it out a couple years ago 'cause it brings an undesirable element.  I nod knowing what he means, crossing back to just that element.  So, instead, after a try at Stanley in Jackson Square (too crowded), we settle in at (name to come) for a great lunch of crawfish, shrimp and lots more.  Off to Pat O'Brien's (no Hurricanes for us, though) to soak up some sun along with an afternoon cocktail.   The stars don't align for the river party, but we gather for our traditional Jazz Fest Monday night dinner with the Shoe Ladies entourage, this year at Mat & Maddie's uptown.  Spectacular dinner (fried chicken w/ waffles, lamb chops, more).  Barry makes sure to mention that he is wearing the shirt that I spilled a full glass of red wine on several years ago.  I try to think of how to do it again, but I'm too far away.  After a crazy cab back with a paranoid driver, nightcap in the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Another Jazz Fest closed...

It's Sunday already?  And, after a couple hours of blogging with a bright sun blinding me through the hotel lobby windows, it has started to POUR!  Peter and I cross over St. Louis to the Gumbo File store to purchase some cheap rain ponchos just in case we will need it at the Fest today.  But the clouds start to clear, the rain slackens and we are off on our morning walk, choosing the Riverwalk route.

Atchafalaya Cafe
Around 11:30, once the Pool Hall Studs have arisen, we cab out to the Atchafalaya Cafe on Louisiana Avenue for some breakfast and Bloody Marys (you make your own), but all we get is a round of liquids for we had no reservations.  Too bad, cool place.  Undeterred, we walk down to Gott Gourmet Cafe on Magazine.  Boy, am I in the mood for some hash 'n eggs over easy!  Our waitress delivers the bad news- breakfast ends at noon, boys - sorry.  We immediately launch into our best Five Easy Pieces-era Jack Nicholson  'chicken salad sandwich' routine that gets us a smirk, but no breakfast.  No problem.

Dancing to the country swing
of Asleep at the Wheel
Out to the Fair Grounds. I notice that ELS is playing at Congo Square, but I assume it is not the golfer Ernie Els (although he IS known as the Big Easy).  The Studs rave about Glen David Andrews at the Blues Tent, while Peter and I have a very enjoyable chat with New Orleans sax player Derek Huston about his gigs with Gregg Allman, Elvis Costello & Nick Lowe (where they played each other's songs), James Hunter and more.  He will be playing at noon Monday with the Creole String Beans.  We say goodbye 'til tomorrow and head over to Acura to meet up with Peter's long-time family friend Laura, where we are graciously greeted with hugs and beers.  We stay for the opening of the Foo Fighters, but I'm not a big fan, so we make our trek to the opposite end of the Fair Grounds for Bonnie Raitt, stopping briefly to sample the Rebirth Brass Band.  I must admit that Bonnie is a bit disappointing starting out, lots of the middle of the road 90's (very successful) stuff.  Get out the slide, Bonnie!  One nice slow blues number.  A big sigh.  C'mon, Peter, let's check out Asleep At the Wheel over at Fais Do Do.  Great choice!  People dancing around to their western swing.  Great stuff.  A text from the Studs that they are at Bonnie, so we get back there in time to see her with the ubiquitous Allen Toussaint - and they both are great.  Nice recovery, Bonnie.

We plan to close with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band extravaganza, but I want to sample Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings at the Blues Tent.  We do.  From the right side of the tent, we have decent viewing, but the sound mix is really bad and we leave.  The Preservation show is a great finish, lots of guests (Steve Earle, Bonnie, Allen Toussaint, Ani DiFranco, etc.) and they are energetic and talented.  Perfect close.  A quick Abita at the Seahorse with a number of Jazz Fest friends as we exit, then back to the Quarter to clean up, get a bite to eat (I get my hash n eggs!), a nightcap at Laffite's and to bed.  Another Jazz Fest in the books.


Sadly, a reader has commented that I am down here in New Orleans for Jazz Fest acting like a 30 year-old (and implying worse).  I suppose I could take that as a compliment, for I know a number of bright, responsible people of that age, but I'll just respond by saying that this blog is a hobby that I share with family, friends and other music lovers.  It is not a chronicle of my life.  There is no obligation to read.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

It's another Tequila Sunrise...

Up late, for me, this sunny Saturday morning - it's past seven.  Peter beats me downstairs and tries to at least save me a chair in the hotel's small reception area,  The concierge guy lets me again use the desk. Once I've completed my Fazz Fest ramblings, Peter and I take a walk around the French Quarter.  It's hot already, but a brief shower, just sprinkles really, cool things off until the sun reappears.  (The same three hotel staff are watching me do this, wondering "What the hell does this guy do here for an hour every morning!")  ANYWAY, after about an hour walk, Peter heads back to the hotel for some reading and relaxation.  The Studs are later risers, then they run around the neighborhood just enough to look sweaty.  We are not fooled.  I continue my walk out by Esplanade at the east end of the quarter, phoning The Reet to inform her that all is fine and dandy.  Then a call to say hi to Peter's daughter Kay, owner/creator of A Curated World (shout out, Kay).

Menu at Mahoney's
Once we are all organized, we cab over to Mahoney's on Magazine for some po-boys.  This place has received some noteriety since being featured on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives and the Shoe Ladies were raving about their recent meal.  Barry orders food enough to keep us there until early evening.  Great stuff, tho'.  I'm going on memory (and limited knowledge), but there was an amazing concoction of fried oysters, fried green tomatoes, cole slaw and more; a fried chicken livers (I passed, but the others thought a bit overcooked); a honey ham; and a roast beef.  Oh - and they're HUGE!  Thank god he didn't order sides!!!!!  I can't move!

It's now about two and we can't find a cab to the Fest.  We walk.  We search.  We walk.  We call.  We walk.  CAB!  Whew!  We pick up a couple to make a full cab, which triggers a can-u-top-this golf course dialogue amongst Mark, Barry, New Couple beginning with Pebble Beach (yes, Pebble is nice, but Spyglass is soooooo much harder).

Allen Toussaint in crowd
By the time we get to the Fair Grounds, we've missed Allen Toussaint (and I'm sure he missed us too), but catch a taste of Anders Osborne finishing up at Gentilly.  There are A LOT OF PEOPLE HERE!  We all agree that the Eagles set will be viewed from afar as people are already camping on the race track.  Over to the Blues Tent for a few Carlos Santana-like guitar riff from Bombino of Niger, then to the Jazz Tent for John Boutee's wonderful take (with awesome chorus) of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.   Very cool.  I love this guy.  He finishes with the theme to the HBO series Treme. Peter and I run into the always impeccably attired Allen Toussaint as we make our way around the track.  Just a touch of Irma Thomas while going to Fais Do Do for Steve Earle.  The Pool Hall Studs have opted for the 'sample everything in the place' approach for today.  A text from Mark says that Aaron Neville (who can be cloying at times) is awesome in the Gospel Tent.

Shoe Ladies at Steve Earle
We find some shade on the fringe while waiting for Steve Earle's set, but then decide to bore our way closer, making enemies as we proceed (sorry, buddy, didn't mean to step on your spread-eagle leg that blocks the path.  Oh yeah, yours too!  We are stymied.  Damn.  Hey, JK, over here!  The Shoe Ladies call us over to their little blanket island in the sea of humanity!  PERFECT!  They are here for Earle and then for favs Lost Bayou Ramblers for the close.Steve Earle & the Dukes w/ special guest The Mastersons (whew!) are really good; nothing revolutionary (except some occasional rhetoric), but solid and thoroughly enjoyable.  Well, I want to see some Eagles; I don't care.  Peter is game, so we thank the SL for their hospitality and walk the track into the crowd at Acura (estimated at about 65,000- just there!).  Peaceful, Easy Feeling, Witchy Woman....the hits keep coming.  But kinda boring, playing everything note for note.  Plodding.  Come on, guys, you're really good- take some chances!  It will be a long set and Mark says Warren Haynes is killing at the Blues Tent, so I drag Peter over there, where we see Mark (without Lisa), Kenny and Kippy.  Where are the Studs?  Hey, we're now over at The Eagles at Marshall's spot at gate 4.  You idiots!  Back to Acura where we squeeze into Marshall's camp for the finale.  Joe Walsh saves the day, playing a bunch of James Gang stuff (Rocky Mountain Way, Funk #49, etc.) and just being the band stud.  Encore at 6:45??  WTF?  There are no encores here, just play the songs!  They come back for Jackson Brown's Runnin' Down the Road and closed with (I guessed wrong with Tequila Sunrise, Mark, the bastard, guessed right) Desperado.

The Studs have their annual dinner event with Marshall, so Peter and I grab a beer at Crescent City, then a forgettable dinner at the Corner Sports Bar.  Peter still has life and goes off on his own, but I'm in bed at 10:30.  I've been out ridin' fences for so long now.  Night.
65,000 estimated crowd at Acura Stage for the Eagles

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Take a load off Annie...

The Gumbo event puts us behind schedule a bit.  We are off to Willie Mae's Scotch House for what is rumored to be the world's best fried chicken, but when we arrive, the line is way too long.  A quick walk gets us over to a much shorter line at Dooky Chase.  Cool looking place inside, obviously a favorite for the politically connected, with pictures of George Bush and Barack Obama prominently displayed, not to mention lots of handshakes and backslaps going around.  We get the buffet - a very good choice.  The fried chicken is awesome.  We eat WAY to much!

We get to the Fair Grounds around two-thirty, too late for Wayne Toups and Barry's fav, Theresa Andersson.  The Studs go off on their own; it's hot as hell, so Peter and I decide to get out of the heat, up to the grandstand for a Little Anthony interview.  As we settle in, Peter notices that the interviewer is none other than his friend, Derek Huston!  Anthony is quite entertaining.  At the close, Peter says hey to Derek and we are off to Acura for Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, passing the Yvette Landry Band at the Lagniappe Stage as we exit the grandstand.  We find the Shoe Ladies camped out in the crowd at Acura for a good spot to hear Grace, who was channeling her inner Heidi Klum, with bared legs up to her armpits and tossing her roots-exposed blond mane all over the place.  She sure has glammed it up lately!  Sounds pretty good too.

A text from the PHS says that Bonerama is fabulous at Gentilly.  Peter and I join up with the Studs at Congo for a taste of the about-to-go-back-to-jail Mystical, thenover to the Gospel Tent, where Mavis Staples is up at four-fifty.  I was really looking forward to Mavis's original pairing with Levon Helm.  The place is overflowing; we find a place outside the tent (sides are rolled up) along the chainlink fence.  Not a bad spot.  The oppressive sun goes behind the clouds, so it's quite pleasant.  Mavis is in great voice.  Peter likes that she does hit you with an over-the-top approach (he felt Grace Potter did that too much).   Staples introduces a guest Glen Hansard; the band doodles a familiar line and suddenly the crowd is on its feet as Staples starts - Pulled into Nazareth, feelin' 'bout half-past dead..... A great Jazz Fest moment!  Everyone standing, cheering, singing along.  At the completion, Mavis yells out "Levon Helm!  Levon Helm!  Levon Helm!  Priceless.

Now for the closers (ouch, makes me think of Mariano).  Zac Brown Band  at Acura, the much buzzed-about Rodrigo y Gabriela at Gentilly, Bunny Wailer at Congo, Little Anthony & the Imperials at Blues Tent.  On the way to Zac Brown, we catch Tears On My Pillow.  Decent.  Big crowd for ZBB.  I think I'm wearing Peter out a bit with all the walking, but he's a trooper.  Over to Congo Square for some Bunny Wailer, then reunite with the Studs for Zac Brown cover of Rage Against the Machine.

Pretty tired at this point.  Back to Ryan's in the Quarter to catch the 2nd half of the Celts win over the Hawks.  Finally, a quick shower, something to eat at the Crescent City Pub around the corner with Peter and the tardy Studs, one of whom with a very strange stride (inside stuff, sorry).  Peter decides to call it a night, but the rest of us walk over for a nightcap with the Shoe Ladies in the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt.  I'm tapped, guys.  Bedtime. We're at the halfway point, guys! (more pics on Twitter)

Friday, May 04, 2012

Eulogy for the late Johnny Gumbo at Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar...

It was a large, emotional crowd of friends and not-so-friends that gathered on what once was Piano Shirt Friday to pay their respects to the iconic Johnny Gumbo, who passed on after last year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.  It was left to Johnny K to deliver the eulogy, and you could sense that he was having difficulty keeping it together. 

"Johnny Gumbo was an iconic character born years ago at Jazz Fest of bad behavior and a few Lucy’s Bloody Marys.  With his charming, over-the-top personality, he made friends easily, and pissed them off just as easily.  Gumbo touched each and every one of us here today, sometimes inappropriately.  That we all took time out from our busy schedules to be here at Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar for this occasion is a testament to our feelings for you – that and the fact that they really do have great Bloody Marys here!  So, on Piano Shirt Friday, we raise our glasses to salute you, Johnny Gumbo – you ugly bastard, we love you.  Cheers!"

Pool Hall Stud Mark, teary-eyed and husky-voiced, announced that the after-party was to be held down the street at Mother's, where the food and service was superb.  In honor of Gumbo, no tip.

Not a dry eye in the house.

Thursday at Jazz Fest...

Peter finally awakes, so we walk up to French Market, where Peter purchases a fashionable fanny pack for the Fest; then over to Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets.  Mark appears, so we decide to lunch on the fabulous stuffed chicken wings, along with tasty Bloody Marys, at Emeril's Nola just around the corner.  A very weary Barry drags himself in to join us sometime later.

A quick cab ride and we are at the Fair Grounds.  First up, Mia Borders is finishing up her set at Gentilly and she and her band sound great.  A good funky beginning.  Over to the Blues Tent for the Little Freddie King Blues Band.  Freddie is sounding good as ever and Gumbo's buddy is wailing on the mouth harp.  We are two for two!  But the best is yet to come - The Honey Island Swamp Band kicks our asses!  With hints of Lowell George-era Little Feat and a first rate horn section that includes Peter's friend Derek Huston on sax, this band is unbelievable.  Never heard of them, but we are mighty glad we found them.

PHS Barry, Lisa & JK outside Blues Tent
Mark/Lisa and Kenny/Kip are in the house!  Hugs all around.  Henry Butler is great a Congo Square, but we cut him short to ease over to catch Ani DiFranco at Fais Do Do.  Ani, while good, gets a bit preachy toward the end.  The Shoe Ladies are also in the house over atGentilly, waiting for Florence + the Machine.  A Quick hello, then back to Congo Square for Esperanza Spalding, a performance I am eagerly awaiting.  Problems - I wait.  What the hell is going on?  Is she going to play?  I wait some more.  I lost Peter and the Pool Hall Studs at Ani DiFranco so I text Mark.  He's back over at Florence with Marshall's Krewe, so I say the hell with Esperanza and go back through the big crowd and find Mark.  Florence is in top form.  Great show.  When she finishes we cross the race track over to the Blues Tent to meet up with Peter and Barry in time for the finish of James Cotton's Superharp Band.  James is a bit long in the tooth, but still can play!  Whew!  Very good, if unspectacular, first day.  The clear winners were Florence + the Machine and the Honey Island Swamp Band.  Esperanza was the big disappointment.

We clean up and take a cab out to The Joint for FABULOUS ribs, brisket, sausage.  Jersey Mark/Lisa show up just as The Joint was closing but they were able to talk their way into a big ol bag of take out, which we watched them eat outside.  A couple blocks down to Vaughn's, Kermit Ruffin's place, where we pay a $15 cover for one song before he takes a half-hour break.  Bad timing, indeed.  Taxi back to The Quarter and it's bed time!

Friday of the second weekend is traditionally PIANO SHIRT FRIDAY, but since Johnny Gumbo passed away, there will be a brief, tasteless gathering of his friends at Lucy's Retired Surfer's Bar instead.  Night all.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A turbulent beginning..

Garland w/ PHS Mark
No, not the new dynamic with Peter and the Pool Hall Studs, but in our 2nd leg of the plane trip to the Big Easy, Barry almost having to choose between his scotch and his winning card hand; I rescued the drink in time. A bit late on the arrival, Garland waiting for us with the traditional chicken and beer for the ride into town.    Garland tells us he just picked up Dr. Lonnie Smith prior to picking us up.We make a quick stop at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to get Jazz Fest tickets at a discount (saved $40), then over to Decatur to our hotel.  Hmmmm.  We are led through some courtyards and alleys just to get to our rooms!  Our room is small, windowless, but it's all good. We meet the Studs in the lobby and catch a cab Uptown, while Mark misremembers the initial pool match, trying to say that the Studs beat Gumbo and me at Polynesian Joe's back in the day.  Sorry, boys, those red asses were from the Gumbo and me.

It's raining some as our cab pulls up to Delachaise, a trendy little wine bar with a noticeably younger clientele.  We order up several small plates of food - beans, rice and pork chops; stuffed frogs legs (really good); I forget the rest (note to ask Barry and update).  Cool poster of the Rat Pack in the men's room, prompting Mark to declare that ours (meaning his) generation is the last to know who the hell the Rat Pack was).  Then off to Oak Street Bar for a forgettable stop, then over to the Maple Leaf to possibly see George Porter Jr.'s late show.  First, we pop into Jacques-Imo's, which bustles with activity inside and out.  Drawings of Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp on the back wall, you walk through the kitchen to get to the dining room.  Peter and I down one Abita, then decide to call it a first night.

Up at six-thirty to walk around, needing to locate a wi-fi spot, since the hotel literature says it has none.  However, they do!  In the lobby, so I'm sitting here at the concierge table (no, buddy, I won't call you a damn cab).  Got to go.  Thursday at the Fest coming up - Esperanza Spalding, James Cotton, Florence + the Machine, Iguanas. Hoping Peter enjoys.  Later.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Prelude to Jazz Fest...

Good morning, people!  Everything is done.  I think.  No, I'm pretty sure it is.  Whatever isn't, won't be, so let's just concentrate on the task at hand - IT'S JAZZ FEST TIME, BABY!  Our afternoon flight from Hartford gets us into Louis Armstrong Int'l Airport around six, where Garland (you remember Garland, the best Fest driver you'll ever have!) will meet us for the drive into town with fried chicken and beer!

We'll have the usual cast of characters: the ever-obnoxious Pool Hall Studs, the Shoe Ladies and their extensive entourage,  Mark & Lisa from Jersey with friends Kenny/Kippy (aka Maureen) from Cali, maybe even a Scarlett O'Hara sighting.  And new characters join us all the time.  Notably absent will be the iconic Jazz Fest character Johnny Gumbo (a brief, tasteless ceremony will be held on Piano Shirt Friday, possibly at Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar, to acknowledge his passing), but Peter is joining us to lend some dignity in his stead (this is not necessarily a commentary on Peter, just about anyone would be a dignity upgrade).  Gumbo, as you followers may know, sleeps in the nude; I will not miss the daily early morning view of "a bad moon a-rising" from across the room.  Just kidding, Big Guy, wherever you are, don't go around tonight, it's bound to take your life, there's a bathroom on the right.

So, join us, won't you?  Our culinary theme this year is diners, drive-ins and dives.  We've got some preliminary ideas, but we're always open to suggestions (hit us in the comments).  And, in an effort to be more efficient with the photos and short, up-to-the-minute shit, I'll be posting some stuff on Twitter, so check it out there, too.  But most importantly, wish us luck - we'll need it!  See you there!