Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Treme - At The Foot of Canal Street.


Antoine perfectly captures the theme of tonight's 'Treme' episode (and, OK, the entire series so far) when he sings the line "I have roamed this whole wide world over, but New Orleans is still my home" while waiting at the E.R. It's the first post-Katrina Christmastime in New Orleans, and everyone is far from jolly: Albert is denied his insurance claim; Davis's car gets busted into; Creighton gives the entire country a "F--k you"; Ladonna still doesn't know where her brother is; and Janette is screwed by the utility company.

What was most compelling about tonight's story was the three men -- Delmond, Sonny, and Antoine -- who find themselves away from New Orleans for very different reasons. While Delmond lives it up in New York City with his girlfriend Jill (how funny that both he and his father were chatting up ladies in this episode) and has no intention of returning home, Antoine, the native son, and Sonny, the Amsterdam expat, are desperate to make a living in the city they call home but venture to Baton Rouge and Houston, respectively.

Delmond is clearly Antoine's foil, with Sonny the foreigner hoping for New Orleans cred. Antoine is so tied to New Orleans it takes a lot of convincing for him to visit his boys (and get his teeth treated by his ex's decent second husband). His entire stay in Baton Rouge was awkward, and the scenes with his chain-restaurant-loving kids incredibly bittersweet ("Can't you bring our sister to meet us?").

Whereas Antoine wants only to play authentic New Orleans jazz, Delmond seems almost offended when his agent (Jim True-Frost, formerly 'Prez' on 'The Wire') proposes a New Orleans-themed concert tour. Then there's Sonny, who sums up his devotion to New Orleans when he tells the curious "Texican" bouncer: "I came all the way from Europe, and you can't even drive five hours of interstate?" I hope we'll see the compelling "little" bouncer again.

Music-wise, tonight spotlighted John Boutté (who sings the theme song) playing 'At the Foot of Canal Street' and to Steve Earle (another 'Wire' alum who played Bubbles' NA sponsor and sang the final season's theme) and his son Townes Earle, who play with Annie. There's also a bunch of New York glitterati and musicians at the posh party Delmond and Jill attend (Stanley Crouch, Renee Neufville, and McCoy Tyner).

Speaking of musicians, Lucia Micarelli (Annie) is an amazing violinist. She's not going to win any awards for her acting, but the screenwriters don't make her do any heavy lifting; she says a few lines and then goes back to the "fiddle." The classically trained Micarelli plays with passion and sensuality that contrasts nicely with all the male musicians highlighted on the show. Where are the female New Orleans musicians? Surely there must be some worth featuring.

How fantastic was Creighton's epic YouTube rant? You could just see the wheels spinning as he's watching President Bush's message. All those F-bombs directed at what he deemed lesser cities (Chicago, that "overpriced cesspool with hills" San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta and even New York) were brilliantly delivered. Didn't Creigh seem pleased with his comped latte.But what really warmed this viewer's heart is how Davis got Creighton to agree to schlep him back to his car and then home to the Treme. Keeping fingers crossed those two become friends and have some unforgettable, obscenity-laced dialogue.

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AVI Files, 1.2 Gb -Video: 1280 x 720 - 2327 Kb average Bit Rate. Sound: 256 Kbps mp3.

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