Last week, I wondered if Dinneral Shavers had been sufficiently set up as a presence to make his death carry the weight in the show that it did in life, but there’s no doubting his sister Nakita’s sobbing, incapacitating breakdown during eulogy. Musicians I could spot at the service: Glen David Andrews, Paul Sanchez, John Boutte, Martin Krusche, Kermit Ruffins (late) and J. the Savage/Jamie Bernstein (outside).
The start of this episode explores how people deal with death—wrecked emotional breakdown and symbolic gestures at Shavers’ funeral; detachment and distance, though not as much as it seems (Sofia) and smug indifference (the detective at the second crime scene).
Speaking of, I wonder if the first visit to the Helen Hill crime scene played as chillingly outside of New Orleans as it did for me and—I assume—anyone who realized the crime that the cops were investigating. It was made worse by one of the themes of this season: the sad shape of the NOPD, which is depicted as stubbornly wrongheaded and bogged down in petty, internal squabbles when not engaged in illegal activity.
Davis, Aunt Mimi and Don B are listening to Ballzack’s “Wine Candy” when Don B points out that nothing on Davis’ sampler has national appeal. Despite Davis’ big talk, it’s clear that his idea of thinking big is including the West Bank, and that for all of his bravado, the big fish/small pond model is sunk more deeply in his psyche than he realizes. It’s to the credit of the show that everybody’s not musically great. Conventional television would have Davis’ collection be a hit and make a star of somebody (which might still happen) and confirm his vision (which is unlikely to happen). Similarly, Sonny has proved to be a perfectly adequate guitar player for Antoine’s band, but he hasn’t blossomed in the gig into June Yamagishi. Annie similarly craps out on her first try at songwriting, rewriting Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” by accident.
Two last Davis/Mimi thoughts: I found it hard to follow the exchange between Mannie Fresh and Don B about Aunt Mimi, but if I got the gist of it accurately, it’s nice to know that there’s more to Aunt Mimi than it has seemed so far. Also, the heavily tattooed rapper who followed spoken word artist Gian Smith onstage is Ace B. (also identified in different places online as Ace Boogie and Ace Boggy) a member of Don Bartholomew’s Bang’ N Records crew with Don’s brother, Ron.
Media watch: Times-Picayune writer and former OffBeat contributor Katy Reckdahl got TV time this week, getting a few lines with Oliver Thomas and a little screen time in court with the T-P‘s Ramon Antonio Vargas. Reckdahl’s covering the NOPD’s attempt to raise second line fees – a story she covered for us in November 2006.
When C.J. Liguori marks off the boundary on a map, it’s the footprint for the still-yet-to-be-built Charity Hospital.
It’s great to see sax player Tim Green in Antoine’s band, but Antoine gets the line of the show. As he wrestles with the New Orleans problem of getting the same band on the show that so many local bands genuinely face: “We’re a nine-piece band with 54 fuckin’ pieces.”
It looks like Delmond may face the social consequences of his growing desire to find a contemporary expression of his musical roots, though that version of “Milenberg Joys” would be a good place to start. It looks like his relationship to his New York girlfriend is going to be tested not by Janette but by the class issues associated with the trad jazz/contemporary jazz divide.