#abolishICE protest graphic

i literally whipped this up last night after a very long day of work and finished it this morning before i went to work. i wanted to have SOMETHING that i had created for this big immigration-themed protest tomorrow, though i’m now realizing i won’t have time to cut it as a stencil and make any posters. but i will try to print at least one out on my fancy new large format color printer and see what they look like, just so i can have one to carry.

this one above is the rectangular version, the original version. but then when i went to put it up on facebook as my profile pic, i realized it needed to be square so i stretched it out and made a low-res square version as well (below). i think it actually looks better as a square but for printing purposes i think the rectangle will probably work better.













if i can figure out how to upload a high res file to my website, i will offer it as a free download. stay tuned. feel free to snatch and/or share one of these versions for online use. i’d appreciate credit or a link back to this site or my fb or insta profiles, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

lots going on.

it was a busy weekend.

first things first: can i just say how relieved and happy i am that susan guidry won the city council district a race against jay batt? i am THRILLED! makes me proud to live in a district that has some common sense. (yes, i know only 13,000 of them voted, but thank god those that did chose guidry almost 2-1.) now if we can just get rid of david vitter….

yeah you right!

one of my newest stencil signs

saturday was of course the freret market and also one of the most gorgeous spring days ever. the market was very busy and i got to see lots of friends and acquaintances i haven’t seen for weeks or months. i felt like i had finally come out of winter hibernation. sales weren’t all that great – though i did sell a ton of $5 clearance t-shirts, so that was good – but i had a lovely time hanging out with my friend rachelle and just generally enjoyed being outdoors in such beautiful weather.

also, my friend kerry had organized free cholesterol/glucose/blood pressure screenings for all the vendors by touro, in memory of regular freret market vendor rudy rowell, who so tragically died on his way home from the december freret market in a car accident after suffering a heart attack. i’d never had my cholesterol checked, and i’m relieved to report that all my readings were within the acceptable levels. some were close, so i shouldn’t be too cavalier, but i was expecting worse. my blood glucose, also good. my blood pressure, however, was high, which is strange for me, as my entire life i’ve always had low blood pressure. but it could have just been because i waited to get mine checked until i was done setting up and i had been physically exerting myself. and also, i don’t like the sight of blood, which they had to take for the glucose and cholesterol readings. so i’ll keep tabs on it. but it was a really awesome service for the vendors, many of whom are artists who don’t have health insurance, like me, and don’t have regular access to health care. i’m really grateful.

after the market and a quick trip home to unload my stuff, i went to the big easy rollergirls season opening doubleheader. wow, was it crowded out there at uno! i’ve never seen the parking lot so overflowing. i hear they sold out (1200+), which is a helluva way to start the season! both bouts were really riveting, too. BERG’s b-team, the crescent wenches, beat huntsville handily, but the a-team/travel team lost to northwest arkansas. they were neck and neck at halftime and pretty much halfway through the 2nd period, but then they lost steam and the killbillies pulled ahead. it was still really fun to watch, though, and the pussyfooters, rolling elvii and 610 stompers kept everyone entertained in between the action. i love the roller derby!

last night’s oscar’s also deserve a brief mention, namely that kathryn bigelow and “the hurt locker” won for not only best picture, but more remarkably, for best director. it’s the first time a woman has won that category in the 82-year history of the awards, and only the fourth time a woman had been nominated for it. what a great way to celebrate international women’s day today, right? (i was not amused, however, that the oscar’s orchestra played helen reddy’s “i am woman” after she accepted the award – seemed a bit cheesy if not downright condescending.)

today i will work on my next music column, which is already late (again) – there was no way last week to get any writing done with fae sick as a dog and neither of us sleeping properly. and cross your fingers for me, will ya, that i get a focus group gig i’m trying for. it’d be nice to be able to pay my bills this month without so much stress.

more later when i take a break.

lundi gras is for catching up…

wow, what a whirlwind it’s been.

when last i wrote, it was a few days before the mayoral election and the superbowl, and much anticipation was in the air. well, obviously, a lot has happened since then in new orleans.

first, rachel maddow came to town do a live broadcast of her show from the french quarter, the friday before the superbowl. i went down with d to check out the scene, only to find there really wasn’t much of a scene at all. when we arrived, there were about 20-25 folks hanging out on the corner of iberville and dauphine, chillin. there was a big boom camera in the middle of the street, the traffic was blocked at the corner so only iberville was passable, a big flat screen tv was set up showing the live programming on msnbc, and a small table was set up in the entrance of the ritz-carlton with many cocktail fixins on it. it took us a while to figure out that the majority of the show was actually to be shot on a balcony above us; they were shooting out the balcony doors with an msnbc logo projected onto the building across the street as the backdrop.

rachel did come out to take some photos and check out the set downstairs before the show went live, but she didn’t really address the audience. she is, however, just as dorky and cute as she appears to be on tv. when the show started above us, the crowd had grown a bit, and we all began chanting “who dat” and screaming rachel’s name; at the beginning of the show you can see she is amused and bewildered by our revelry below. every now and then they’d cut to live shots of the crowd down below via the camera on the street. i did manage to make it onto the screen a few times, as i was standing up on a ledge in front of the hotel across the street. (my friend diane in atlanta made this cute, silly video where you can see me and some of our other friends!)

rachel maddow show in the french quarter

at the end of the show, rachel came downstairs and did a segment with ti martin, proprietor of commander’s palace, on how to make a sazerac. that’s them above, in the pic. that was my view of the segment from the back of the crowd. i’m glad i made it down there for it, though it didn’t turn out to be what i expected at all. i got nowhere near rachel herself, but it was still fun to hang out with all the other dorky rachel fans and drink beer while watching the show. it was a great kickoff to superbowl/mardi gras weekend.

BERG in adonis

saturday of that weekend, fae rollerskated with the big easy rollergirls in adonis, a parade on the west bank. i had to drop her off at 9:30am way the hell down general de gaulle, and then kill a few hours before going back to watch the parade later in the afternoon. poor thing – it ended up being an eleven mile slog on a cold, windy, sunny day. she was so exhausted by the end, and got incredibly sunburnt. but it was fun to take in a west bank parade, something i’d never done in all my years here.

saturday was also our mayoral election, which largely got lost in all the superbowl/mardi gras hoopla. as everyone now knows, mitch landrieu won with a commanding 66% of the vote, winning all precincts except one in the city. though i knew my progressive candidate, james perry, wouldn’t probably win, i was sad and a little disappointed he didn’t get more votes. (he came in fifth.) but i am happy to know mitch is looking to bring james in to his administration. though i didn’t vote for him this time (i did the last two times he ran!), i am happy with mitch being our new mayor. i think it signifies a new era in the city’s political landscape, and i look forward to seeing what he can accomplish.

sunday was, of course, the superbowl. two weeks of raucous anticipation all came down to this day. after a quick (and cold!) scooter ride out to old metairie to eat some etouffe at my friend theresa’s tailgating party, fae and i headed to ponce de leon stadium to get our places for the big game. we arrived two hours before kickoff, so the game is a bit blurry to me, frankly, except the bigger plays and the last few minutes. when tracy porter intercepted manning for the touchdown that sealed the deal, i think we were all in shock. the last few minutes of play i was in disbelief, and then, it was over. we won!

it really happened!

after screaming and running around outside for ten or fifteen minutes, we finally managed to collect everyone in the back of my friend heather’s truck and we followed mac in her convertible, also filled with friends, downtown to join all the crazy who dats. we started down canal but soon turned around because traffic was at a standstill, heading back to claiborne and winding through the treme to get to the marigny. it was so much fun to drive through all the neighborhoods and see everyone out on their porches and in the streets, screaming “who dat!” and high-fiving and hugging. folks kept running up to the truck to high-five all of us, sometimes hanging on to the tailgate of the truck, riding with us for a while.

who dat!

that pic above was actually on our way out of the quarter, but was pretty representative of our night. i shot some really short videos of us on canal street, on bourbon street, and when we were leaving the marigny that night, that do a decent job of capturing the energy. it was magical and beautiful and i’m so glad i was here and able to witness it all.

amidst all this chaos, the new orleans craft mafia was afforded an amazing opportunity to do a one-week pop-up shop at 2038 magazine street (former home of winky’s, which abruptly went out of business and pulled out of that space). nocm members unique products have their permanent shop in the upstairs loft of that building, and so offered to the rest of us to do the one-week market in that space for mardi gras/valentine’s shopping, as the new tenants wouldn’t be coming in until the 1st. so monday morning, after the superbowl win, with hangovers, of course, we all schlepped our stuff down and set up in the space.

new orleans craft mafia's mardi gras market

today is actually the last day we’ll be open there, 12pm – 5pm. i’m heading over there in just a bit to help out. i was there a lot at the beginning of last week but haven’t been back since thursday so not sure how it’s been through the busy mardi gras/valentine’s weekend, but the beginning of the week was slow but steady. makes me wish we had a retail outlet all the time.

back to the recap: tuesday night was the saints superbowl parade, which was absolutely crazy. i went with our friend dave who was in town from louisville for a few days; he got to be here for the superbowl and the saints parade, but missed out on muses due to the weather-induced rescheduling. he and i had to park on canal street at galvez and WALK down to girod at st. charles in the cbd to watch the parade. the traffic was insane (estimated at 800,000 in the downtown area for the parade), but i was sure glad on the way out that we had done that. as parades go, the saint parade wasn’t much to speak of – not many throws, nothing exciting, borrowed floats from all the other crews. but it was exciting to welcome our football heroes back to town after gracing us with that spectacular win, and it was just yet one more magical moment in a season of magical moments that i was glad to be part of. (i forgot my camera that night, and cell phone pics didn’t come out, so no photos.)

we skipped the wednesday night parade due to exhaustion, and then everything was cancelled on thursday due to the bad weather. i was actually relieved to have a night off from the cold and some down time at home. but then friday night was a marathon. four parades! i dropped fae off uptown, as she was walking with BERG again in muses, early around 6pm; came back home for a while to kill time and then headed back down when the parade tracker told me the first parade was nearing our girod street location. the parking gods smiled on me and i got a spot two blocks from our viewing spot. despite the biting cold, it was a fun evening of parades, with hermes and d’etat being great lead-ins to muses. (morpheus kinda sucked, but three outta four ain’t bad.)

endymion captain's float

saturday was endymion. it’s been a long time since i watched endymion over on orleans, but this year, thanks to d, we had a private yard that was fenced in to hang out in, on the corner of david street. so fae scootered and heather and i rode bicycles and we had our lawn chairs and some adult beverages and a port-o-let and it was all very civilized. i didn’t catch a whole lot but it was still fun and nice to not be stepped on by the crazy mobs of parade-watchers and bead-catchers.

we skipped parades on sunday in favor of a relaxing valentine’s day devoid of mardi gras.

and that brings me up to date. today i must go work a bit in the shop and then break down my stuff and bring it home, and also figure out if i’m to have a costume for tomorrow. (it’s not looking like it – no time!)

thanks for reading, and i’m sure i’ll have a post-mardi gras update in a few days. happy mardi gras everyone!

saturday’s mayoral forum

mayoral forum

i’m a little late in posting this, as saints-fever kinda took over on sunday and i forgot to finish this post. but i’m gonna post it anyways, since there doesn’t seem to be any other coverage of this forum i can find online.

saturday, i attended my first mayoral forum.

i’ve followed many of them either on tv, on radio or via twitter, but this was the first one i managed to actually get to in person. entitled working families candidate forum, it was sponsored by several area non-profits, including: stand with dignity, the new orleans workers’ center for racial justice, and members of first grace united methodist church, where it was held.

the topics ranged from homelessness, affordable housing, local hiring, day laborers’ wage theft, nopd priorities, racial and economic equity and others.

only four candidates were in attendance: nadine ramsey, james perry, rob couhig and troy henry. mitch landrieu and john georges did not attend. (surprise, surprise.)

the first half of the forum was in a question and answer format, with questions coming from various community members and answers limited to two minutes each by the candidates. the production of the forum was kind of low-tech, with candidates having to share one microphone between them, and a spanish-language interpreter sitting in the pews translating rather loudly, which was distracting and made it hard to hear. (i’m supportive of the fact that there was a translator, but there needed to be a better way to do that so everyone could actually hear what was going on.)

i can’t say i heard anything new from any of the candidates, frankly; at this point in time, those who have been following the campaign season and forums/debates have pretty much heard it all from the candidates. the audience seemed almost asleep throughout the first half of it, with only james perry getting any applause or reaction out of the audience. when the format changed to a yes/no answer format, the crowd seemed to wake up and started clapping for every answer by every candidate that they agreed with.

my overall impression was that there wasn’t any clear “winner” amongst the candidates. certainly perry was well-known by many there, as the head of new orleans’s fair housing organization, and his answers were largely in line with what the audience was hoping to hear. surprisingly at least to me, so were nadine ramsey’s, and many of troy henry’s, as well. and while rob couhig should at least be commended for showing up – his republican core values not very much in line with this audience’s – much of what he said could probably be categorized in the “pandering” department.

henry and couhig also spent a lot of time taking swipes at landrieu in particular for not being there, and a few were lobbed in georges’ direction as well (particularly about him having to pay volunteers to wave signs on street corners). couhig repeated a few times his favorite attack on landrieu, about how the taxpayers are footing the bill, paying his salary as lieutenant governor, so he can run for mayor. and even perry called them both out for being absent, when a question about race and equity was asked, saying that dialogues like this one were the first step to changing many issues that plague our city and that landrieu and georges should have been there to partake.

all in all, it seems it was one of the tamer mayoral forums that has happened. and as best as i can tell, there was no substantial coverage of it in the mainstream media, probably due to the fact that it happened on saturday afternoon, before the big saints playoff game. but i’m glad i went, and i hope i can make it to a few more before the election.

as for my personal opinion, i remain committed to the feeling that james perry best represents my own personal political views and vision for the future of the city, and i am satisfied he has enough managerial experience to pull off the position of mayor. i am not someone who believes you necessarily have to have political experience to be in politics, and frankly, i find the concept that he is not a career-politician refreshing. i do still have questions about how he thinks he can accomplish some of his goals, but i am willing to trust he can find a way and see what happens. i will absolutely be voting for perry in the election on february 6th. should it come to a run-off between landrieu and anyone but perry, i will vote for landrieu. but if it’s perry vs. landrieu, i will likely stick with perry. i don’t dislike mitch as a person, but i do think his lifetime in politics is more of a con than a pro, and i generally do not support the concept of political dynasties, even if they are democrats.

as for the other candidates, from the first time i saw troy henry speak, he seemed smarmy to me – and it’s only gotten worse through the campaign. it has been my experience in my lifetime that i am a very good judge of character and am almost always right when i have a gut feeling about someone, particularly negatively, and henry just gives me that “stay away from him” vibe. i don’t really need to say anything about rob couhig, except that he is a republican and that that is enough reason for me not to vote for him. he seems like a nice enough guy, but no. and please don’t even get me started on john georges; there are a million reasons why i don’t like him, but my one and only personal interaction with him was enough to cement the gut feelings i already had. (he basically “squatted” in my booth at the elysian fleas market in december with his body guards, and aggressively inserted himself in the middle of a transaction fae and i were trying to make, selling one of my handmade goods to a customer, to try to talk us into voting for him. he literally got up in fae’s face to try to engage her, even after she said she would not be voting for him. arrogant, ignorant and rude is how i would describe him based on that one interaction alone.) as for ramsey, i will say that i actually agreed with much of what she said at the forum on saturday, but her constant god and jesus references and reliance on faith-based communities for everything is just not for me. nothing inherently wrong with it, but too much jesus for me.

i’m sure i’ll have more to say on the mayoral race before the election, but this is a good start. and don’t forget, you can vote early until saturday if you are worried about not being able to vote on election day, what with all the mardi gras and super bowl hysteria.

thoughts on the mayor’s race, pt. 1

those who follow me on twitter, facebook or read my more private livejournal (or just know me and talk to me regularly) will recall that i participated in a focus group last week on the issues in the mayor’s race. as i am currently/constantly underemployed, i jump at any chance to make additional money, and a daily look at craigslist has yielded a few focus group/market research type gigs in the past few months. so yes, i was paid to do this. but i don’t think that affected my – or any participant’s – answers, honestly. it was pretty straightforward.

today in new orleans city business, the results of that focus group research were published in an article, with a download link to the full report. in all, 40 randomly selected voters and “opinion makers” were brought together in four different sessions last week, and many commonalities existed between the four groups. the overall theme of the report, based on participants’ responses, is that mayoral candidates are not talking enough, and in enough detail, about the issues that voters think are most important, and are not matching voters’ passion about this election in their presentations at various forums and debates. you can read the article and download the full report for more detail about what folks feel and think – it’s pretty interesting.

for my own part, i tended to agree with the groupthink on most things, which is surprising, as i don’t usually. my particular session’s demographics were evenly divided between white and black, male and female, and with diverse respresentation from various city council districts as well as age. the james perry cheerleader in me often wanted to stand up and disagree with others’ answers to some questions asked, or cite planks of his platform, but we were asked not to refer to specific candidates but instead to speak generally about all of them and the tenor of the campaign thus far. they were trying to get at the issues and our general opinions. so i tried to be as objective as i could, and reel in my pompoms. (i did chat some of the participants up on our way out, however, about james’ merits as a candidate, just for the record.)

the realization that i had was this: that even though i could argue that james and even other candidates have, at times, offered some details for their various campaign platforms and many of the issues cited in the focus group research, or have exhibited a passion that i feel is appropriate to the magnitude of this election at this point in new orleans’ history, the reality is, the rest of the folks in the room weren’t hearing it. and weren’t feeling it. only one out of ten voters (me) was hearing some of what they want to hear in this campaign. so even if james or others think they are getting their message across, something is being lost between point a, the candidates, and point b, the voters.

what to do about? i don’t know. but hopefully something will change in the remaining 18 days before the election. i can only pray that one of my top two candidates – james or mitch – wins, and the electorate realizes what a mistake it would be to vote john georges or troy henry into office.

interesting related links:

james perry’s campaign a success or failure?

dr. john’s endorsement goes to james perry