This self-made documentary on the traditional jazz band the Last Straws has much of the same charm as a Peggy Scott Laborde-produced documentary on WYES. The camera pans lovingly across clippings, photos, bits of Mardi Gras memorabilia with recordings of the band’s music under Last Straw Bobby McIntyre’s narration. The writing doesn’t take you inside the group or give you any sense of who these people are and why they keep playing together; in fact, more than anything else it is a recitation of the group’s high points. That’s a weakness, but at 25 minutes, it’s not until the last few minutes when everybody’s aging and dying that you realize the first 15 or so minutes aren’t simply a preamble for more in-depth sections to come.
It’s hard to imagine who outside of Last Straws fans would want to see this, but watching the DVD has the same pleasure as leafing through someone else’s scrapbook. There are moments that make you wince—photos from the 1950s of the group in blackface, for instance—but you also watch 50 years of time pass by in 25 minutes.