Thursday, August 18, 2011
And the President said, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
Intro theme song by John Boutte (accent on the "e")
We just finished watching season one of the HBO series, Treme on DVDs from Netflix. The title is pronounced treh'may. On cable, the second season has finished, its ETA on DVD unknown. The story is set in New Orleans some six-months after Hurricane Katrina, beginning shortly before Mardi Gras. I have never been there but my heart broke then and I found that it is a long way from healed these several years later.
Trying hard for no spoilers, what I can say is: music, family, food, music, tradition, injustice.
Indifference as a life theme recently insinuated itself into my consciousness. We do, shockingly, perpetuate what we know. That is a flaccid segue to my continuing, reignited, fury at the response of government on every level to the catastrophe in Louisiana. We do not even possess instruments to measure a system's indifference to the city and people of New Orleans in Katrina's wake.
The show was recommended by a friend, kindred spirit and also great fan of The Wire, whose creators are responsible for Treme. When Angella shared her recent NO visits in narrative and photos, I hadn't seen all the episodes. I didn't know what was coming nor how I would weep. By the way, the link will take you to one day's post but if you go to the her main blog address and scroll down, you will find others, as well as additional subjects worth exploring.
I, in turn, recommend the show, which gathers force over time. Throughout, the music and musician characters seem to be surrogates for the place itself, which stands outside time, tragedy and bureaucracy in some respects. Mythic and misbegotten. The sound becomes richer with each episode, the stories deepen and darken. I soon recanted my wish for some unspecified sad fate to be visited upon Steve Zahn's scruffy DJ, Davis.
In other posts, I've said I am not a reviewer. When something get hold of me, I'll tell you about it. What's not to love about a show with all that brass? The trombone has as substantial a part as some of the actors.
The season's final episode includes an extended sequence of mourners taking part in the second line behind musicians who play - I could not find a comparable version on You Tube - "I'll Fly Away." But over the closing credits, Steve Earle, who appears in the series, sings "This City," composed for Treme.
Apropos of nothing I can point to, this quote turned up in my email today. It may become my mantra.
"Rilke said it best. 'We must assume our existence as broadly as we
in any way can; everything, even the unheard-of must be possible in
it. This is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to
have courage for the most strange, the most inexplicable.'"