Saturday, April 30, 2011

How I Almost Got to Jazz Fest 2011

It's that time again- the 2011Jazz and Heritage Festival in AGC, New Orleans, LA started yesterday.

Back in 2009, in this very blog, I wrote about what I considered the commercialization of Jazz Fest (as it's called) and how I wasn't attending. It was a kind of sour grapes review, where I made the point of disparaging such acts as Bon Jovi, a group of singing hairdressers from New Jersey.

Two years later, of course, everyone loves New Jersey. We are inundated with views of the New Jersey culture through television, that noble window on the world of Reality with a capital "R". They have real housewives there, and an upstanding group of young people living on or near the scenic Jersey Shore, among others. I've never seen these shows, but I'm sure they are excellent or they wouldn't be on television, which must maintain a standard of quality in broadcasting, as mandated by the ever watchful and incredibly discerning American public.

Finally, someone is always available to pump your gas in New Jersey, and the gas prices are still low, lower than they are here in Washington, DC, a town whose real housewives were not quite real enough for television.

Okay, enough about New Jersey. This is about another "new" place: New Orleans. And it's also about the power of dreams.

The last time I went to Jazz Fest was in 2008. I stayed with my friends, the Freeland- Archers (not their real names) in their baronial mansion in the Garden District. The Freeland- Archers (ntrn) had moved to AGC fr/ New Jersey (coincidence?) right after Katrina and have made a wonderful home there. They have  opened their doors to their old friends and at the same time they have immersed themselves in the rich culture of New Orleans, which, in any other city in America would be regarded as counter culture.

When I stay there, I always sleep in the same room on the second floor of their turreted home.  The main window, across from the bed, looks out on the sunrise. At first I tried to make the curtains blot this out, but after a few mornings I began to like it. Sometimes I go back to sleep, but other times it seems like a perfect way to wake up. The bed is large, and very ornate and the walls of the room are covered in a padded cloth material, a kind of brocade. In fact, the whole house looks like something out of Storyville, except that it is miles away from Storyville and also (I'm guessing) more tastefully decorated.

That's New Orleans for you: most people want a storybook house, but in New Orleans you can get a Storyville house.

Yesterday morning I was dreaming away in my own bed here in Silver Spring when I had a strange and curious dream. I dreamed I was in the bed at the Freeland- Archer house in New Orleans, surrounded by the plush cloth walls. It was one of those very real dreams and, for a moment, I thought I was really there, about to wake up and head to Jazz Fest with the Freeland- Archers. Then, suddenly, I was back in my own bed, but that was a dream inside the dream, because I woke up and, to my relief, was in New Orleans again. The sun had risen, the birds were singing and the dogs were barking. Then, just as suddenly, I woke up again and I was in Silver Spring, and the sun was shining and the birds were singing. (No dogs, though.) And just as I thought I was home, I woke up again in New Orleans!

I've never had a dream quite like this. For a long moment, I was lost between locations, caught up in a dream slipstream, like an astral traveller who has lost the astral map. I teetered between New Orleans and Silver Spring for a dream moment then finally came to in Silver Spring, where I am now.

Did I actually truly get to New Orleans, even for a tiny nano- moment? I think so, but I'll never know for certain. Just as I'll never know for certain whether I'm really back in Silver Spring.

One thing is for certain though- I won't be going to Jazz Fest again this year.


Archer-Freeland said...

Johnny Bongiovi says he misses you!

Bret Littlehales said...

I miss him too- my hair is a mess!

Chris G said...

Perhaps you aren't aware of the DC/NOVA area connection to those singing hairdressers from NJ-actually South Jersey which is different than North NJ- the producers of the big Bonjovi elpees at the Warehouse in Philadelphia were Lance Quinn and Obie O'Brien, once based in metro DC.


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