I love NOLA. Even hunting for a job in this city is fun. I followed up a lead at Mila, a fancy restaurant inside the Marriott that just received the highest score of four beans in the largest newspaper. The interview went well and I received some friendly advice to “clean myself up” before I meet his boss for a final interview. Luckily, this gave my girlfriend Anh a chance to say “I told you so”.
I kept looking for work because ideally I want to be working as a bartender around live music instead of bussing tables at a fancy place to eat. I slowly walked down Royal Street, the chintzy antique section of the French Quarter. Annoying tourists wore feathered masks as they weaved down the street in loud packs with the ubiquitous giant plastic cups of booze. One guy balanced an almost full cup on top of a trash can and said, “Free booze” to no one in particular. He told me it was too sweet and never one to turn down free drinks, I dumped it into my Nalgene bottle for easy consumption. On the next block, I found a brass band playing some of my favorite old timey songs while a couple danced together with an easy grace. In between tunes, their barker touted their CD with a “recession special” discount. I settled back to enjoy while sipping on my free drink.
I soon ran into a friend that I met at the Landslide Farm Co-op in Pittsburgh, the lead singer from the Black Death All Stars, a band I have pushed on here before. Great deathgrass and Joseph’s vocals really hit the spot. Quite random to be walking the streets of New Orleans and run into him sitting on the street amidst a bunch of punks and their dogs. The band is on a month break now after recording their newest album and he’s rambling around with his girl. Unfortunately, they were hopping a freight towards Georgia that night so we couldn’t hang out. I’m excited to see them live for the first time when they tour through New Orleans next month.
I stopped in at the Good Friends bar to apply for a bartending job. I enjoyed the witty banter and coarse jokes that flowed as I filled out the application:
“Bitch, you keep it up and I’ll shove a Christmas tree up your ass.”
“That’s all you got. I wouldn’t even wake up for that. I’d prefer if you tapped me on the shoulder to let me know it was happening.”
‘That’s true. We’d need the whole building to make you feel anything.”
I soon found myself with a free drink and a few new friends. I love gay bars. Especially the ones with the neighborhood feel. I’d be happy with some shifts there.
It was getting late to be applying for jobs and the Friday night crowd started to thicken and stumble on Bourbon Street. I stopped by the Hustler Club to see Anh who works there as a cocktail waitress. I refused the free entry. Strip clubs usually just depress me. Especially because I most often find myself in the crappy little ones at highway interchanges with terrible looking harpys who obviously hate this life. Richard Feynman, one of my favorite scientists, used to work on problems in particle physics at strip clubs but I’m certainly not the genius that he was. It’s also harder to do molecular biology at a club. The girls tend to dislike all the beakers, Bunsen burners and plates of bacteria.
The free drinks continued with cans of Miller High Life at the screening of Koyaanisqatsi at the Canary Art Gallery. This compelling movie contained no conventional plot or dialogue, simply a series of beautiful shots by the cinematographer Ron Fricke. Using slow motion and time-lapse photography of natural landscapes gradually evolving to urban environments, the director Godfrey Reggio pulls together an indictment of humanity’s interaction with technology set to a perfectly composed score by Phillip Glass. These three masters pulled together a magnum opus.
The night starts to blur here as Anh took me around the town for a night of cheap drinks and free food. It’s great being with a girl who knows all the bartenders and cooks in town. We closed down the Balcony Bar and got home around five. I felt pretty good the next morning and spent most of the day working on my column before running errands with Tom.
We met some friends that night at the Julia St gallery openings where we guzzled free beers at a gallery ran by an acquaintance from BU. Anh and I finished off the night with a burlesque show set to Elvis covers and delicious french fries from Rallys, the local fast food chain. Not a bad weekend of job hunting and fun.