Sunday, December 27, 2009
(Reposted from Face Book - 12/27/09) First and foremost, let me say thank you for the many kind words and condolences sent to me regarding my mother’s passing away. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for so many caring people in my life. It may seem odd that I would discuss this openly on a social networking site, like Face Book, but there is reason there, too. Since August of this year, there has been the death of two of my very close friends, barely a week apart, following closely on the death of another ‘acquaintance’, I shall call him, although our friendship was slowed only by how infrequently we crossed paths. Shortly after this series of sad events, a young and attractive local bartender, so quick to laugh and easy to speak to, took her own life. This sad, sad, news was simultaneous with the senseless death of my father, as an errant driver ran into him and killed him as he returned from visiting my Mom. She remained in nursing home these past four months, where she had gone for a broken hip and been found too ill to leave. She entered in to a coma on Christmas Eve, and finally passed the day after. My mother suffered from Vascular Dementia, as disease that cripples the blood vessels feeding the brain, causing symptoms not unlike Alzheimer’s. She made little sense day to day, and spoke mostly in whispers, to herself or others she imagined. She rarely recognized those who came to see her. Due to these conditions, the nursing staff was never told of my father’s death, as any slip would cause her undue torment, which she would then forget, and have to re-experience, again & again. They assure me, she was never told. About ten weeks ago, in a moment completely out of character, she clasped my brother-in-law’s arm, and looked him dead in the eye, speaking in a very clear voice; “My husband was in an accident. He’s dead and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. He’s with my mother and they’re coming to get me.” The knowing of his accident, alone, gives me chills. She was never told of these events, nor was it gauged within her abilities to speak so clearly or convey so sensibly. But there’s more. .. She went on to say that “…they’ll be coming for me in about two months.” Ten weeks later, here we are. So what has this to do with condolences and social networks? Everything. It is my belief that we are, all of us, connected. That the Universe around us is divided into two simple parts: Matter & Energy. And that all of that matter is an interchangeable field of atoms, made up of swirling sun-atomic particles, spinning in a sea of unified energy. I believe that this unified field has a collective consciousness, and that we, through our paltry human senses, catch glimpses of reality that we learn to use to fumble along, getting laid, sleeping, eating, starting wars, playing football, making art and some times praying to a personal god who’s name we happen to like, or whom we expect to give us our rewards for praying to them. There are times we see past the veil. There are times, perhaps, when someone gets so close to the edge of this reality we cling to, that they can see over that edge, where All Things Are True At Once. And they spill the beans for moment, causing, perhaps, philosophers to harangue each other, for generations, selling books and launching coffee houses, if not terrorist cults and churches. Then they are gone. This seems highly unnecessary. In the old days, we talked it out over the back fence. In these modern times, we do it here. This IS our back fence. Except it isn’t. It’s a network that reaches around the globe, and is generally unencumbered & uncensored (although I know there are exceptions). It’s a place where I can talk to my friends from anywhere this network reaches, or leave pictures and messages for their perusal. More often, it’s a place where people come to share their paltry, puny mortal human lives. Why? You might think it’s because we all have one. It’s also because that’s all we really have. Our lives. Our pain and love. Our pride and foolishness. Our success stories. The birth of children & ideas. And the loss of our families & loved ones. Everybody who responded to my post had one thing in common; Understanding loss and love, and offering that understanding. This is a place where reaching out is the lesson. Reaching out to see that we are too fragile, too isolated, too strong, too integrated… That we are all too human. This social network is a substitute for that unified field of connected consciousness. I hurt, and someone responds, because they, too, know this hurt. I love, and someone responds because they, too, have known love. I am alone, and someone responds because they, too, have known loneliness. Yet we are not alone. We are all connected. And by staying connected, by reaching out, by understanding that no matter what the language, the gender, the sexual orientation, the bank balance, we are all humans, living through the insane reality that we are able to see, we make our lives here a finer thing. We ad some elegance to the meat hook reality of birth and death. We learn. And if we really dig down deep, we love. Another Mad Poet once said these words: “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” Nothing could be clearer. And nothing could be clearer to me than the love. Through all of these tragic events, so many have been here for me. And I for so many. Through heartbreak and salvation, a new union is formed. On screens & blackberrys, multitudes have reached out to one another to offer condolences, counseling, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to bend, a partner to drink with. It has been nothing short of amazing. Thank you all. You’ve made this so very much easier. And I do so very much hope that by leaving this out in the open, that one day, someone who needs this same comfort might stumble through here, as I have, and find what I have found. So again, thank you for The Love. And I don’t believe there’s a short supply, either. Sometimes, it’s just hard to know how to deliver it. I say, spread it around wherever you go. In any way you can. Because we’re all out here, living, just the same. So here’s to you. I love you all. Each and every one. Lord David Skull Club New Orleans
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
All our behavior, all of our emotion & logic, arise from one of two sources. Whichever one you allow to motivate you becomes the larger part of the nature of who you are. Choose wisely, as this fork in the road comes not once or twice but continuously until it becomes an automatic response. Then it is a part of you, long and hard in the changing. Everything we think or do, all the things we think & believe, arise from the basic emotions of Love & Fear. Choose Fear and one will never truly love. Choose Love and one will never truly fear.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sometimes it presents such beauty as to bring a tear to one's eye, or innumerable horrors that chill to the very marrow, a sense of wonder beyond wonder as though everything were redefined, and sadness, so deep that aching is not enough, so that even death, itself, could not end it. Stand tall and fearless, you, so fragile and full of life, and when The World tells it's true name don't you dare fucking blink. LD November 2007
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Last year saw the first Fringe Festival in New Orleans. From the originators of this local franchise (Kristen Evans & Dennis Monn), to the venue perveyors, like myself (Skull Club), nobody knew what to expect. The expectation that a few fans of alternative theater & performance art might show up (in large enough numbers to scrape by) were smashed by sell-out shows and performers from as far away as New York & Paris, followed by stunning reviews from the Times-picayune to the New York Times. Truly, this second season of New Orleans Fringe Festival is not to be missed. With 45 performance groups and over 100 shows, from experimental theater to aerial acrobatics, there is certainly no shortage of entertainment here. Please, take a few hours out of your life to run away with the circus, as it were. The Fringe Festival 2009 promises to transport your heart and soul and have you home in time for dreams of your own. Let the wide eyed kid in us all come out to play, won't you? New Orleans Fringe Festival Skull Club at Fringe Festival 2009 Performance Schedule I hope to see you out & about; Lord David Skull Club New Orleans
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I have written here, on more than few occasions, about the difficulties with my neighbors, the 5th District Police Headquarters. I have complained about the off duty cops driving the wrong way up a one way street, and about the noise factor as they party in the parking lot, whenever they change shifts or whatever it is that makes them come outside and blast the stereos. I have talked to them personally and pleaded for understanding and neighborly behavior, all to no avail. Today, about 6pm, two officers hung out by their cruiser, making noises that resembled video game gun shots, through their patrol car’s PA system. It was so loud it rattled my windows. That lovely experience of a nice Fall day, and open windows, was crushed as they began to blast Bad Boys, the theme from the TV show COPS, at ear splitting volume. I was out side on my balcony, and during a brief break in the music, I shouted for their attention. “Is that really necessary?” I yelled. The officer outside the car looked directly at me, and pulled out his hand gun. He removed the clip, and set it on the hood of the cruiser. Then he checked the barrel for a round ( I guess there was none) and, still staring at me, began to pull back the slide and pull the trigger, releasing it, over and over, to the music. I find this to be disturbing and threatening behavior. I wrote the following eamil to 5th Dsitrict Commander Bernadette Kelly, with a CC: to Arnie Fielkow, Jackie Clarkson and James Carter. Commander Kelly has responded with concern and promised an effort to get to the bottom of things. Mr. Filekow has responded, saying that if true, these events can not be allowed to stand. The officer in question knows exactly who I am, what I look like and where I live. I am not kidding when I say I fear for my safety. An on duty police officer who will brandish his weapon, even empty, in response to a noise complaint (what the hell were they doing that for, anyway?) might become much more dangerous, say after dark and a weeks’ suspension. Should I turn up with a toe tag, I want somebody out there to know why. My email follows: Dear Commander Kelly; (email@example.com) My name is David, and we’ve met at many of the Nonpac meetings at your station house. I live across the parking lot from you, as do several other tenants in the building. I was one of many who were more than happy to see the 5th District relocate to the Universal Building. Unfortunately, some issues have gotten out of hand. I have asked many times, over the phone and at meetings there, that the officers in the parking lot be aware that there are a dozen or so tenants with doors and windows facing that lot. Yet the noise level, at all hours mind you, has only gotten worse. From ‘testing’ sirens at 2am to the blasting of car stereos at 11:30 pm. They have actually backed the car in to the corner and opened the trunk, to make it louder, like they were tailgating at a game. Today, at about 5:45 pm, two officers were using the car PA system to make ’shooting’ noises, and blast the theme from ‘COPS” ( bad boys) over the PA system. During a break in the noise, I asked them if it was really necessary. The officer already out of the car, looked at me, and then the music came back on., He then took out his pistol, pulled the clip, and set it on the hood, then pulling back the slide and releasing it over and over to the Theme Song. What is that supposed to mean? Is it a threat? Are they just playing cop and playing with their guns to amuse themselves? Is it necessary to do this at such loud volumes? Are we, as neighbors to be ignored by gun waving people with blasting car stereos? How is this different than the public nuisance they are supposed to be controlling? Who does one call when the loud, armed, delinquent neighbors ARE the police? There is also the issue of the one way Street I live on. Spain Street runs towards the river from St Claude Avenue. Yet cars come out of the 5th District lot entrance on Spain, and head the wrong way on to St Claude, many times a day. In the beginning, it seemed to be patrol cars in hurry to get somewhere. Then it became a common occurrence. Now, officers do this when out of uniform and in their private vehicles, coming and going. This happens off and on around the clock. I have had to screech to a halt when entering Spain Street from St Claude, because a private vehicle was coming the wrong way, and fast. This happens with alrming frequency. Two days ago, one patrol car was on the way out, and one on the way in, when they stopped, driver’s window to driver’s window, and completely blocked the intersection for over five minutes. I could not hear the conversation, but I did hear intermittent laughter, as if jokes were being told. Were any of the neighbors to behave in such a manner, we would certainly be ticketed or arrested. Yet this goes on unchecked, and is getting worse. I mentioned it to you, and to Lt Rattler on more then one occasion, going back over six months. Lt. Rattler discussed putting an end to this behavior when he attended our anticrime meeting, just after Wendy Byrne was shot, last winter. So far, there has been no discernable improvement, in fact, quite the opposite. I suggest to you that this sort of ‘We do what we want’ attitude from the local police, an open flaunting of disregard of the law, gives the impression that those who have the guns do as they please. Is this the message you wish to send to the neighborhood kids? To the neighbors around you? That the Police can break laws we must obey, whether they are on duty or off? That they can blast their music day & night without concern for those who live and work on these blocks? That any complaint is to be answered by the suggestive cleaning of a gun? Why is a trained police professional cleaning his gun in an open parking lot in the first place? Finally, I came home from work the other day, to have a man in prison uniform, standing on the 5th District drive way on to Rampart St. ask me for a cigarette. I refused to answer. He then began calling out to a passing girl on a bicycle to ‘come one over’. She fled. Why are inmates, trustee or otherwise, wandering around in the parking lot, hooting at girls and begging for cigarettes? Is this evidence of the safety level to be expected in the 5th District? While I would love to hear that these issues will be dealt with, I’ve heard it before. What would be great to hear is the reasonable respect that a neighborhood can expect from the police officers that their tax dollars pay to employ, rather then the thug behavior of indolent neighbors.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Becoming a Member of Skull Club is something I get asked about a lot. How does one do it? What does it entail? What are you people DOING up there? It’s really quite simple; Skull Club Members are creators or fans of The Arts. From fine oil painting to live Rock n Roll. We enjoy each other’s creative company, and works,in the privacy of one of the coolest spaces in New Orleans, the Loft at Temperence Hall, built in 1847, and developed as an Art Space, by yours truly, Lord David, over the last decade. Skull Club has developed over time from an Alternative Gallery Space and Speak-easy, in to a full blown Performance Venue and Private Social Club, hosting such events as the New Orleans Fringe Festival, Apocolypstick Fashion Shows, CD Release parties, New Movie Screenings, Cabaret Music Performances and Costume Balls. The Second Saturday of every month the Skull Club holds Open Gallery Night,(in association with http://www.scadnola.com/)and offers the general public free admission to see new works by local artists and a chance to hang out in this wonderful space that many of the rest of us take for granted. By purchasing a Skull Club Membership you not only support The Arts, (a noble cause), but gain admission to world apart. There are at least two events every month that are for members only, or have a cover charge for non-members. At the Event Membership level of $40 a year, you pay only $4 a month for the 10 months a year we are open. This is less then one cover charge, and certainly worth the discounted prices at our Cash Donation Bar. You’ll probably break even in the first hour of each visit. Active Members are also encouraged to take part in performances, show approved work, bring mp3 players for open DJ events, volunteer as staff and invite non-member friends to share in the Skull Club Experience. Then there is the private VIP room.... Check the options here, and see what suits you. The doors are, at long last, open to New Members. Join us, won’t you? The Skull Club wants You. You know who you are... http://skull-club.com/members.html
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
In the mid-to-late nineties, after running the gambit of art gigs to little financial avail, I made the move back in to bartending. As it so happened, a very good friend, and fellow artist, Jimmy May, had taken over the bar at 626 St Philip Street, across from where Flanagan's is today. It was called Sin City. He took me on as full time bartender, and, within short order, I was managing the place for him. Inside, it looked like a Biker Club House/OpiumDen/Bordello/Pirate's Hold/Seance Room. Only more insane. Christmas lights and ladies under garments hung from the ceiling like stalagtites. The music blasted everything from Monster Magnet & AC/DC, to James Brown & Elvis, to Sammy Davis Jr & Tom Jones. Thick curtains were hung to keep out the light, some days, and it was often midnight in to the late afternoon, inside that decadent world. And it Rocked Like Fuck, 24/7, for almost five years. When it eventually closed, we were mostly amazed we had gotten away with so much for so long. We worked together at other places, off and on, for many years, bringing each other in, wherever we wound up, as gypsies, artists, pirates and rebels often do. Fear & Loathing in the French Quarter, we called it. As time went by, Jimmy worked the Apple Barrel on Frenchman street, being one of the first to skate the 'caberet laws' and bring in live music, anyway. From Coco Robicheaux to Mike Hood, they came and played. And played and played. I sat in with Coco & Mike many times, getting yanked from my drink & chair to have a guitar stuck in my hands, and we were off and running. Jimmy sometimes sang from behind the bar, or on it, occasionally jumping over it, in to the crowd, microphone and cocktail in hand. Jimmy and his wife, Michelle, were married at my house, The Skull Club, with Coco Robicheaux conducting the ceremony, just as Jimmy, himself, had conducted my wedding there, about a year before. We were all each other's family, spiritual guides & healers, musicians and friends. The band that played the night of Jimmy & Michelle's wedding was stellar beyond even New Orleans standards, with each player being a band leader in their own right, gathered together for something bigger than just music. We gathered together for love, New Orleans style, as true a family as this Island Of Misfit Toys can ever hope to have. And that family continues to this day. We share memories of the Fear & Loathing parties, complete with full costumes and our own 'additives' that often raged for a day or more, leaving even some French Quarter regulars with eyebrows raised. Memories of escaping a city filling with water, and finding each other on the road, returning together in that old Mexican Ford Van, stopping first for beer & Ice, and then just stopping, slack jawed at how little was left behind for us to rebuild from. We went on. This morning, Michelle awoke to find Jimmy dead, a thing no one can possibly understand the impact of, unless they have done it. May you never have that chance. Ever. His ongoing illnesses were, we thought, coming under control, and when I last saw him, a couple of weeks ago, he was laughing, joking and seemed healthier than I'd seen him in years. I suppose that looks can be deceiving... Those who knew him, by encounter or deed, know that a brilliant Jester in the Court of Life has left us. One of those rare people who would stop their world, and stay talking to you, all night, if need be, to help put your troubles in perspective, is no longer there for counsel. Perhaps one of the most hilarious and devious pranksters and instigators I have ever had the pleasure of stirring the pot with, is no longer available. The world has lost another of it's brightest sparks. Rest in peace, Jimmy May. We rocked our corner of the world together like maniacs. Your leaving will make for some still waters, my friend. As your attorney, and in your honor, I promise to stir things up from time to time. love, LD
Saturday, August 29, 2009
My mom is ill. She's hospitalized and we are all aware that she will never leave that place alive. While we, as a family, are also aware the she will get better care and comfort there than anywhere else she could be, it is difficult, at best, to deal with final phase of her life. On Thursday, August 27th, my dad, and my brother, who was visiting him to help out, were returning from her hospital visit, when an allegedly drunk driver hit their vehicle, broadside, at about 60 miles an hour, killing my father. I won't go into the emotions and thoughts that come with such an incident, at such a crucial time. They are too vast, too fleeting, too personal and too raw to discuss. Nor will I pontificate on the subject of drunk drivers, or any other of a million selfish acts humans mindlessly commit, taking each other's lives. It is all sad beyond reason. Like many strong willed young men, and their fathers who forged a family out of post World War II America, with young children & wives to support, my father & I had our difficulties. Those born to Art & the Avante Garde are frequently at odds with the regime that spawned them. These things are part of life. Our reconciliation over the following years is also a fairly common thread, as the youth enters the Machine of American Life, and understands the death defying circus one must master to accomplish this. And master it, my father did, raising a family of four children and a stay-at-home mom for decades on end, moving us from the hellish Langley Park Projects of Washington DC, to respectable working class neighborhoods of New York and beyond, and creating in us all a fiercely independent and pioneer spirit that crossed all lines and social barriers, teaching to simply Do The Right Thing. Finding out what that is makes life's journey worth living. Of any & all accomplishments I have, or will make in my life, the greatest one of all is this: Making sure, as uncomfortable as it may have made him, to tell my father exactly how much I loved and appreciated him, again, only two days before his death. I would encourage each and every one of you reading this to consider doing this to those who really matter in your life. It may be your last chance. You never know. Letting those who love you, however they express or do it, that they are loved in return, that they are appreciated for singling you out as worthy of such a deep and strong emotion, well, it's The Right Thing To Do. It just is. I miss you already, Dad. And I love you. Still. And wherever you are, I know that you know. We're taking good care of mom, too. Rest now, in peace. You've done more than enough. Thanks.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
My friends love me. They gave me things for my birthday. I especially liked the chocolates. Telling me they were packed with mushrooms might have come up, though. Just a thought. After all, I had a very long, long night to think about this...
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Really. It is. I get emails from barrckobama.com from time to time, as many of his election supporters do, I imagine. Today's message was encouragement to contact my local government administrators about Health Care Reform. Instead, I responded. In fact, I sent this through the White House web site and printed out a hard copy, which I signed and mailed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That's the White House, for all you chatroom twitter junkies. The actual physical address.... I hope he reads it. I hope somebody does. Because we're getting run over like the villagers after a coup, down here. We don't even seem to matter anymore, and they don't even try to hide it. Anyway, here it is. Dear Mister President: While I applaud your efforts towards unilateral health care reform, I suggest you take a closer look at what is happening in Louisiana, particularly New Orleans. Our Governor is closing the only juvenile mental health care facility in New Orleans, as junvenile violent crime skyrockets off the charts. Our Superintendent of Police, Warren Riley, is on an extended trip to Australia on 'police business' while almost a quarter of a million dollars in cash has been looted from Police Evidence under his supervision. Murder rates make us the Murder Capital of America, yet he is unable to keep track of his own evidence, or be aware that these things must reported to State Officials. He claims ignorance of the law, and no serious investigation is under way. Five NOPD officers conspired to dangerously beat a city RTA worker, only because he is black, further conspiring to plant a stolen weapon on him, and coerce a civilian in to filing a false report. The District Attorney's daughter, also a N.O. Prosecutor, is dating one of these officers, was on the scene, and said nothing. Only the civilian came forward, causing formal charges to be filed against the NOPD officers in question. Mayor C. Ray Nagin has urged US citizens to commit fraud on their 2010 census reports, so that the City of New Orleans can "get more money" as a result of their false claims to living here. He, too, is under federal investigation. Sir; I live in a city run by a corrupt and racist regime, looting the city coffers and even police evidence lockers, stealing city vehicles for their own use, and hiring each other under shallow corporate disguises to attain rich city contracts that then go unfulfilled. When I see signs that this deplorable and feudal System by Regime is brought to a close, I will consider turning my attention to the problems of National Health Care you mention. Until that time, I put it to you that we have been excluded from The American Dream you hold in such high regard, and been left to founder like a small Third World nation, tossed about on the whim and profit of racketeers. Best Regards, Lord David New Orleans
Monday, June 15, 2009
From time to time, someone asks me what this means, usually with a nod & a wink, as though they understood some secret covert agenda that I, too, was aware of, and dared to expose here, on this unfettered and easily available site. This always unnerves me a bit, as I'd hate to think there were some shadowy revolutionary group, waiting for ME to offer guidance. There are days when it's a challenge to drink water without spilling it. So much for Fearless Leader. The Truth is, and I can say this with all honesty and conviction, because I've seen it, that everything we know is a lie. Everything. Now I'm quite sure that there are those who find this humorous, and are breathlessly waiting for the punchline to the joke. I'm not kidding. I'm equally sure that there are those who find this irritating, and are wondering just who in the hell do I think I am, telling them that their own beliefs are lies. I'm still not kidding. But these people are closer to the answer. Or maybe not. Think about that statement; Everything We Know Is A Lie. The first problem is the 'we'. There is no such thing. Then of course, there's knowing, which is probably the realest concept in the bunch, but not in the way this statement intends it. So please allow me to offer an explanation, a differing viewpoint, if you will, about THINGS IN GENERAL.... On close inspection, I am not a human. That title accurately categorizes me in to a group of animated objects that others can recognize and associate with preformed thoughts and expectations, and that group of animated objects can be reduced to a smaller set by adding 'male' and 'American' and 'Caucasian' and even 'musician' (although their humanity is often questionable, I'm told). What I am, just like everything else in existence, is a collective of sub-atomic particles, (protons, neutrons and electrons for those who slept through science class)in motion, suspended in a field of energy. These thin out as we move from one field of mass to another, but the collective field of energy is, how shall I put this, the Fabric of the Universe, the canvas on which these particles are painted, so to speak. There are those who even say this Unified Field has it's own consciousness, and rules for our behavior and punishment in a hot place if we break it's rules. I have my doubts about all that, but not here, not now. I tend to gravitate towards the belief system that this collective energy does have an awareness, and that awareness is plugged in to multitudes of collective particles, and gleans perception out of each and every one of them, to make up the entire collective awareness. Except most of these collectives of energy & sub-atomic particles start to believe that THEY are the begin & end all of awareness and perception, and then they start to make up rules as to how everybody should behave, and la dee daa, that's how we wind up in this mess we're in now. Here's a thought, next time someone says something ridiculous like, "We're the only intelligent life in the Universe!" We're fucking blind. We can't even see other objects, never mind other lives. All we see is light reflected. That's right, like in magician's show, or images coming out of a TV set, light from the Sun, or some artificial device, bounces all over the place, finally hitting some object or surface, and bounces in to our retinas, gets received by the brain and recognized by our trained monkey of a mind set to be accepted as what we're told to believe it is. But all we really see is light reflected, like bats use the bounce of their own high pitched squealing to learn where walls and openings are. And in this perceptional state, we see light bouncing off a collective group of sub atomic particles in motion, and call it Jack. Or Jill, whose particles are much more appealing to Jack & myself. We are trained from birth to believe in these images, in things like Death, as the particle collective dissolves back in to the universal energy and matter pool, and as the perception we receive is shut down and returns to the collective consciousness, to observe a greater consciousness on a different level. There are a multitude of these trained beliefs, like that people of different colors or languages are 'from out there', or that some of these collectives are more deserving or more pious than others. How very silly, you say, I know, but somehow, it does happen. From time to time, these ideas catch fire with one mindset or another, and they give it a name, and hold up some representative particle collective with a name, and declare this person The One & Only who can perceive this entire concept at work. Yeah, I know, that's even more ridiculous, but it happens, too. A lot. Sometimes, these different mindsets will try to prove that they, and only they, really see how connected we all are by killing some of the collective off, and proclaiming it the Will Of The Everything. I wonder how my foot would feel if my hand shot it for not being a hand, all in the name of making me a better human. I'm guessing the ensuing limp would not be the results I was looking for. Anyway, my alarm goes off in the morning and sings a little song. It sings that we are all the same great spirit, dreaming that it is billions of planets and solar systems and people and a whole bunch of other stuff. It looks out through as many eyes as there are that day, and answers to as many names (except the mean bad ones. Nobody answers to those, I hope) as there are, and continues to Spin The Great Wheel around the Great Magnet, or whatever self contained universal consciousness does all day. I get up from my soft pile of molecular pillows, and drag my representative collective of sub atomic particles to the bathroom mirror, and look at a reflection of a reflection. The mirror shows me light bouncing off of a bazillion collective particles that some have come to know as Lord David. I stare at this and review the thoughts and beliefs that I've trained my mind to accept since birth, the ones I learned along the way, and the ones I'm going to encounter today, which may change the whole shootin' match. I struggle to recall the Book Of Lies that we use as our guide posts through life, and wonder if that day, like many other days, I can carve a bit more of that book loose from my thoughts, and let some more light in, make some more room, remember a bit less, and believe a bit more. I often think of returning to my molecular pillows, to dream of free floating in the Universe, watching galaxies spin and explode, stars burning in different colors of light that go shooting through space for millions of eons after they cease to exist, of concepts so grand and wonderful that they could never fit inside our tiny human heads without pushing out all of the lies that we tell ourselves we know to be true. And I think that might not be such a bad thing, after all.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
It’s the 2nd Saturday of the month this weekend, kids. That means it’s Open Gallery Time in the St Claude Art District. Check it out at www.scadnola.com, or just come down and get started at the St Roch Tavern or the Yellow Moon. They’ll tell ya where it’s at. Joining the festivities this month are the newly showing Bywater Art Lofts, who just delivered a smashing opening, featuring the work of many residents and other contributers. Their compound is at the intersection of Burgundy & Pauline Streets. From 6 to 9pm. After you’ve made your complete tour of the 6 to 9 gallery spaces, stop by the Skull Club, at Spain & Rampart, in the Marigny. Doors open at 9pm, for an after show Art Show. Cheap cash bar and DJ included. Some great stuff by local artists. Well, just read the flyer below, and it will all become clear. As clear as an unmuddied lake. As an azure sky of deepest summer… You Are Invited! Lord David
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
It’s true, New Orleans has many problems. And many critics, including, at times, myself. There is a tendency to bitch about the bad, because, well, it’s bad, and to not talk so much about the many great things that happen here, because, quite honestly, we’re too busy enjoying them. Or at least, I am. Never in my life, which is a long, varied and checkered marathon of mad experience, have I seen so much music, art & creative spirit spilling over the top in just one place. It’s simply amazing. In celebration of that, The Skull Club joins the St Claude Art District in the Second Saturday of the Month Gallery Shows, with a Reception, this Saturday Night (May 9th) from 9:00pm until Midnight (at least) after the others have closed down. Please come join us for a few cocktails (cash donation bar) and unwind among other creative minds, surrounded by the works of local artists. They may be sitting right next to you, for that matter. It happens. A lot. While many great American cities host galleries and art shows, music and theater, New Orleans is unique in that the writers, performers, artists and actors are among us, all the time. The line between creativity and existence here is long gone. Each and every one of us is part of the endless pagent that is New Orleans, perhaps the Greatest Show On Earth. How can you not love it? I hope to see you there. Your invitation follows. Lord David Skull Club New Orleans Click on image to enlarge.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
As the president has come out in the press putting an end to water boarding and other horrible experiences offered by the Bush/Cheney regime, Dick Cheney, himself, has piped up loud & clear about the Wonders of Water Boarding, and all the benefits gleaned thereby. What Mister Cheney seems to be missing is that this mentality and method of Prisoner Treatment, including holding suspects for 'espionage', sometimes for years on end, and without charges or legal council, is not restricted to his Realm of Power. Or what was, anyway. (You're out of that job now, dude. And nobody asked you to run for the Big Chair.) Perhaps Dick has not figured that this, too, could happen to Americans abroad, or worse, he just didn't care, thinking of them only as 'collateral damage' in his ongoing war against Human Rights. I offer you the current case of journalist Roxana Saberi's imprisonment in Iran, also for espionage. While folks in her hometown of Fargo, North Dakota, tie Yellow Ribbons to trees and put magnets on their cars in support of her plight, are they aware that Private Citizen, Dick Cheney, is publicly extolling the Wonders of Water Boarding? "Roxana Saberi, who grew up in Fargo, was convicted of espionage in Iran last week after a one-day trial behind closed doors and was sentenced to eight years in prison. Friends and colleagues maintain she's a political pawn and not a spy." I have no doubt that this scene has played out in villages all over the middle east, and in fact, in western europe, where the CIA kidnapped the wrong guy from the roadside, in Italy, mind you, a popular vacation spot, and held him for two years before admitting their mistake and setting him free, without any recourse for action. No Morris Bart law suit, no apology for stuff 'that never happened', nothing. My question is simple: How the fuck do you sleep at night, knowing that by shooting off your big fat mouth to the press, you condemned this woman to years of torture, probably at the hands of those who's relatives you've been torturing? One American 'suspect' was water boarded 183 times in one year. I'm guessing that if he didn't give up the truth after the first 50 or 60 times, it just wasn't there. Is this how you're making the world 'safe' for Americans? The America I know, since it's inception, has been a beacon of truth and safety to the world. A bastion of freedom; in movement, beliefs and ideals. Even Superman stood for Truth, Justice and the American Way. I can't imagine him standing with his cape in the wind, saying; "Oh yeah, and if we think you're a terrorist or spy, you'll lose all your rights, and be held without charges or legal council until we prove your guilt by torturing you in to a confession." Freedom has many interpertations. Try this one on for size, Dick; It includes freedom from tyranny and oppression, freedom from the fear of reprisals for horrible acts of inhumane suffering, freedom from false inprisonment, to name a few. As long as we are guilty of these crimes against freedom, we are, as a society, Not Free. It's one thing to be huge and powerful and stand up for human rights. That's a really tough call to make, but admirable to a point. Once this huge and powerful entity starts torturing and kidnapping, it becomes nothing but the biggest thug on the block. It then has no leg to stand on when the other, smaller, thugs gang up to bring it down, and not a friend left in the world to help. It has no freedom left to offer, only a Nation of Slaves, too addicted to money, TV and fast food to care or do anything but obey their masters and vote for American Idol, as thier Thug Rulers decimate every shred of humanity and good will we've ever had. When some of us are slaves, none of us are truly free. And I know there are those who will disagree, rattle their sabers and cry out, "We have to do this to be safe!" Really? Did it save Roxana Saberi? Is she safe now? Or should we all stay hidden under our collective beds as the Dick Cheneys of the world cast a pall of torture and doubt across our Nation? For those who would demand that this kind of 'interogation' go on unchecked, picture Roxana getting the full measure of your request, for the next 8 years of her life. Live with that in your partiotic mind's eye. For eight fucking years. If someone truly deserves to meet the full measure of this horrible, horrible crime, I suggest it is not Roxana Saberi, or even some of those detainees we've heard so much about, who have still not been charged. I think it's you, Dick Cheney. Let's keep the world safe from you. Lord David Skull Club New Orleans ROXANA SABERI
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I love watching Coco Robicheaux play by The River. It just seems like the most natural place in the world for him to be, standing up there, dressed like a cross between Johnny Cash and Steven Tyler, arms raised to heaven, singing to the world. He was joined today by the usual suspects, including Irene Sage, Mike Hood & Dave Easly, as well as the standing members of his club band (sorry about the names, guys) and much of the material I have heard before.At the same time, that’s a lot of what brought me here, the prospect of hearing the stories, the testimony, the blessings that fall from Coco like water from a rain cloud. At one point a couple next to me turned and said, “He ought to be a preacher.” “He is”, I replied. “He’s performed weddings at my house”, I told them, a true fact. “But are they legal?” asked the man. “Everything is legal here”, I answered, “as long as you don’t get caught.” While my joke about New Orleans may be untoward in certain company, it is true New Orleans. Just like Coco Robicheaux. By the time he got to playing Walk With the Spirit, from his Spirit Land album, a landmark of hoodoo blues and swampy rock and roll that set him apart by a distance too great to measure, well, let’s just say that Church was in session. The offerings here are as diverse as the cultures that bred them, and as the paths that have led Coco to this time & place. There is, in the collection plate today, old time soul music, and the R&B of the Chitlin Circuit, the gospel known only to the rural south, and the blazing guitar interplay, sounding much like Jerry Garcia and Muddy Waters, mixed madly in the same cocktail. There is pain & truth, suffering and salvation, the voice of mortality and the wisdom of ages. So there he is, standing before the mighty Mississippi, arms raised to the heavens, growling to the sky about the purity of spirit that carries him, me, you, all of us, through the world we think we know, and we are transformed by his presence, as he is transformed by ours. Something Is Happening Here. The band moves along like a giant rippling muscle hidden deep beneath the Spanish moss, the guitars and keyboards swelling and voices filling out the cloying jasmine and humid air, as we are led Back Home, wherever that may be, by this growling preacher’s somehow lilting words. As the song rose to a fever pitch near the end, a large flock of birds began circling over the stage, flying in tighter and tighter patterns. I turned to my friend and warned him then; “This is either turning in to a chapter from The Stand, or somebody dropped their fries.” In the end, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we were there the day that Coco sang by The River. ——————————————- IF there were such a thing as real pirate music, it would be The Zydepunks. There are many great Zydeco players in southeast Louisiana, too many to try to name here. Somehow, the Zydepunks transcend that genre, and open the doors to other lands, from Klezmer music to eastern European gypsy jazz, Mediterranean dance music and beyond. The combination of accordion and violin is not uncommon in The Peoples’ Music, as it appears in smatterings across the globe. The uses of electric bass and drum kit are not that far removed from the stand up bass and trap kit that one might find in a strange underground cabaret, or around a gypsy fire. The fervor with which it is embraced here is the key. Passion is given melody, and mania a rhythm. The Zydepunks do not transform themselves to accommodate the crowd or room they play to. They transform the crowd to accommodate the music that they play. It becomes impossible not to shout to the choruses, or stomp the rollicking beats, and the swell of the accordion and violin join the song until one realizes it is their own voice they hear shouting with it. This is the song of freedom, of wild hearts and passionate abandon. This is a language all it’s own, that will speak to anybody willing to listen, telling them to throw off their coil of propriety and dance madly, long into the night. This is the sound of the Zydepunks. ——————————————- R. Scully is either a complete fucking idiot savant or a mad genius. There may be no difference between the two, and if there were, would it matter? Having spent a decade as part of the driving force behind the Morning 40 Federation, a new band had some staggering shoes to fill, and the Rough 7 does just that. Like the two previous bands listed above, this show was all about the passion. But this time it was no sermon or gypsy camp fire, but total abandon that poured out on to the floor of Cafe Negril. Somehow, Scully squeezes truth out of wrangled phrases, often disconnected, even if one were to try to understand them. But why bother? Each is an emotional touch stone, creating a network of images and feelings, one by one, letting you in on the complexities of the simple truth. “A sledge hammer can break your heart.” - R. Scully These simple words, having very little literal meaning, speak volumes about the lives we lead. What is the sledgehammer in your life, and what is it that stops one’s heart from breaking? The images they conjure are different for each of us, but somehow the same. Chances are, before you can ponder them, another phrase of meaningless truth has caught you and the stringing together of emotional images makes you FEEL IT in ways that understanding lyrics could never do. And then there’s the band… Somewhere along way, a potion was mixed, of Sam & Dave and Hank Williams, of the Replacements and The Clash, of the late night howling from a lost asylum and the screams of a roller coaster crowd on a down hill run. This is no less a drunken Malay than Morning 40 Federation, but a more mature, perhaps jaded vision, chiseled, perhaps, out of a decade of on the edge performances, skulking on the verge of success, the bitter fruit of seeing the edge so close, and the glorious satisfaction of knowing you didn’t quite slide over. I have seen R. Scully perform with Morning 40 since it’s inception, and seen his solo shows since he began doing them. What’s most interesting here is his obvious inclination to Let It Happen. To let the musicians he’s chosen for this new brand of musical talking-in-tongues speak for themselves entirely, knowing they somehow share the message of these messy and brilliant emotions, poured out on the barroom floor. They all Let It Happen. And it does. Let it happen to you. Go see R. Scully and the Rough 7. This, my friends, is a band to watch grow and evolve. Along the way, hold on to your fucking hat. Lord David Skull Club New Orleans
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I am a fan of National Public Radio, commonly know as NPR, and available in New Orleans at 89.9 FM. I enjoy classical music in the mornings often enough, and when I can’t yet think or function, there They are, and there It is. I trust their news reporting well enough, too, in that they often broadcast news from other countries and distant lands by rebroadcasting the actual reports from those same places. In dealing with conflicting information or theories, especially in the political arena, they always seem to let me hear from both sides, and do so without drawing their own conclusions. This, and the fact that they draw most stories from the Associated Press & UPI, who deal with news globally, make them an acceptable listen to me. (I must point out here that I urge double & triple checking before doing anything hasty, like evacuating) The other day, it was put to me by someone I know, that they’d “stopped listening to NPR since they went liberal.” I was very surprised to hear this, since I think of them as a ‘Fraiser Crane’ sort of station, with lots of Lake Wobegone sagas, Theater & Ballet news, Cadillac advertisements, shows about Priceless Veneer and English Gardens, and of course, there’s the Mozart. Christ, they sometimes even slip in some Rachmaninoff, those wild devils. Anyway, I thought I could trust their news to be middle of the road enough to gleen some truth from it. I went back and listened again, and hearing nothing untoward or anything that was not eventually reported everywhere else, I returned to my friend and told him so. “Oh, no, ” he replied. “It’s not at all what’s going on. I get the news somewhere else.” And that someplace else is…wait for it…..we’re almost there…… Rush Limbaugh. My dear friend; National Public Radio has not ‘gone liberal’. It reports the news as acurately as it ever did. I know you like sending me messages endlessly lampooning Barack Obama, and you’re worried, like most Americans, what the New Deal is going to cost each and every one of us. Remember that G.W. Bush was 8 months in to office before doing anything except embracing the Ultra Right Wing Christians & taking more vacations that any other President had in their entire first year, when he sat reading My Pet Goat as 3500 Americans were killed by a terrorist attack he should have known about. I’d say that sets the bar pretty low to begin with, but still, most of what we’ve gotten from Barack Obama is ideas, so far. Except maybe when he ordered the shoot that saved the American Ship Captain from pirates, killing 3 of them. Hardly the wimp Rush says he is, I’m thinking… Anyway, my message is this; NPR hasn’t changed, you have. You don’t want any good knews from our President’s handiwork, because you don’t like him. You’ve chosen a serial liar with an ‘entertainment’ talk show (previously feuled by illegal narcotics his illegal alien maid scored for him) as your ‘News Source’. Now you tell me things are bleak, we’re all doomed, the President is a Socialist and he stole your wallet and now he’s after mine. The Real News is this: It’s not as dark as you think it is. We’re coming up on four months, and life looks possible, albeit at a distance. What’s dark is your choice of immersion therapy in a delusional realm of hate. There is no eclipse in progress, with the sun fading away as we all prepare to die. No, not even close. You’ve simply climbed in to the back of your closet and turned out the light. Lord David Skull Club New Orleans
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Mayor Nagin is convinced he's done nothing wrong. He only took a trip paid for by technology firms who had huge city contracts. For cameras that still don't work. And ran $4 million over budget. But he didn't know. He took lies at face value. Greg Meffert also had private contract employees running his department at City Hall, representing themselves as City employees, even having their own City of New Orleans business cards printed. This is fraud, of course. But C. Ray didn't know that either. Peoples' houses have been torn down illegally. City Hall even has a form to fill out for this, it happens so often. Because they didn't know. The Feds are now looking into the Mayor's missing emails. Mister Nagin doesn't know what happened to them, or why the City Council's emails were still on the server he claims was erased. He also doesn't know why owning 40% of a counter top company who gets contracts from Home Depot, at the exact time when Home Depot got tax breaks and a big piece of property from the city at below market rates, would be wrong. He says he didn't do business with that particular store. I guess he doesn't know that Home Depot stores are connected. I suppose he thought they just happened to have the same name. I haven't heard anything yet, but I'm guessing he doesn't know his brother-in-law, who collected funds from NOAH for work that was never done, and is now under investigation. He probably thought it was just some guy who hung around his wife's family. "Brother-in-law? I don't know where you get that..." I can almost hear him say. Now this kind of Not Knowing is contagious. Veronica White doesn't know where millions of dollars of Trash Department money went. She also didn't know she shouldn't steal city emails without contacting the City Attorney. Or give them away without checking if they contained legally confidential information. But that's okay. The Mayor doesn't know if she'll be disciplined. I wonder if we could find her missing millions in there? Probably not. That would involve Knowing Something. Now Police Superintendent Warren Riley has caught The Bug. Council Woman, Shelly Midura has been asking him what his plan is to fight crime in New Orleans. He says he has one, he just doesn't know what or where it is right now. The Mayor says that Riley talks to other police chiefs, from other cities, all the time. So he must have a plan. Perhaps Warren Riley should be talking to the City Council and the Citizens of New Orleans who are getting shot down at an alarming rate. While they're still alive, anyway. They actually live here and pay his salary. Maybe he doesn't know that. Like the Mayor, Mister Riley seems very concerned with his political future, how he is seen on a National Stage, and how many boards he can sit on. Perhaps he, too, can get his developer friends to give him an award for Bravery in the Rebuilding of New Orleans. The Mayor did. But maybe Riley doesn't know about that, either. Mayor Nagin & Superintendent Riley recently boasted that there had been only 42 murders in New Orleans in the first quarter. Mister Calculator says that's 168 by years end, assuming the Summer Heat doesn't spur an outbreak, like it does every other year. Anyway, that's down by about 20 from 2008. I guess that twenty random people in Orleans Parish have reason to celebrate. I wonder if the families of the other 168 people will be there to cheer them on. I don't know. I do know this, however. One of you rotten bastards better start knowing something soon. You've robbed us. You've almost completely destroyed our city, hopes and rebuilding efforts to further your own greed. You've made backroom deals with all your friends and given away the farm for your own profit. You've blamed the Times-picayune, WWL-TV, Lee Zurik and Stacey Head. You've hurled the name 'RACIST' at anyone who stood up to your criminal bullying. And now the Federal Government is going to know stuff. About you. And your friends. And all of the things you've done. As for Knowing Stuff, you'd better know how to spell INDICTMENT. And if we're at all lucky, INCARCERATION. So tell me, punk; Do you feel lucky? I do.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I flipped the channel, and there he was. All dressed up and vamping like the band was gonna go nuts. Except there was no band. It was all digital back ground music. He opened with a speech about how he was the be all and end all of all music everywhere forever. Then he mused how 'poignant' his own words were. The paid audience seemed very pleased. Of course. As Mister West vamped some more and began to 'sing' the obvious Auto Tune thing on his voice ( Think Cher -Do You Believe in A Life After Love) was so strong it sounded robotic. Why? Because the beginning and end of all everything everywhere Music God, Mister Poignant CAN'T FUCKING SING. Welcome to the delusional ego maniac show, loser. Go home.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
These ancient narrow streets, once dark with mad legend, now crawling alive below twisted, cursive wrought iron. Looking down into chaos and falling through the long hall back to memory of her, sitting late at the bar, saying, how could I miss it, the smorgasbord of pleasure. I spoke words of leaving to her smile and her eyes told me that my words were lies. Below my feet are spirits of many worlds and faces, dragged up each time to meet in this weird pageant like the drunken contents of lost sepulchers spilled together onto littered streets. The howling of tears and song, of laughter and of minds lost, of lovers found, to be forgotten. Wine and spirits pour like blood at some fantastic mass communion, the wafer of our very flesh consumed on altars of desire. All ghosts are holy here and vestments, glorious and vain, tatter in the pulling hands of the blessed and the damned, falling together into bliss or to burn in eternal flame. The call rises to fever pitch and turning back, I step inside to find my feet upon the stairs. Treading down deep into dark, I see a light that lies ahead. Following my walking feet, the iron gate is all that holds the street back from this inner sanctum of sanity and calm repose. Swinging open the bars and stepping out into the crowd, immediately I am lost and swept away by relentless current, feet no longer touching ground, laughter ripped from out my mouth so loudly, yet I cannot hear it nor can I recall my name or where I was before this time of twitching orgiastic dance or why those balconies look safely down with distant faces like I once knew, when just below them hunger reigns and I have fed myself, at last, into the mouth of the beast. - Lord David
Sunday, February 15, 2009
There was a beautiful woman, refined in every way. She kept a gallery in which she hung the heads and faces of strange anecdotal creatures. She would light a candle beneath them from time to time and they would amuse with wonderous songs, stories and rhymes. But after a time each would grow weary and reflect back on distant memories. Their tears would extinguish the waxy flame with a sputter and she would leave them there in the dark, locking the door behind her until they once again forgot to remember. - Lord David
Friday, February 13, 2009
Andrew Arrasmith, 27; Oil on canvas. Originally from Texas, currently resides in Savannah, GA where he recently graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design. His work has been showcased in Los Angeles and has had several successful shows in Savannah. The Skull Club is Andrew's first New Orleans venue. Allison M. Termine; Oil on canvas. Born in 1978, Bronx, NYC. Fine Art oil painter for over 14 years. BFA; Parsons School of Design. Living and exhibiting in New Orleans since 2007. Shows include Barristers Gallery, X/O Studios, L'Art Noir, Babylon Lexicon New Orleans Book Fair & Side Arm Gallery. Amie Davis; Hand colored black & white photographs. "Through hand coloring with Marshall photo oils and pencils in select areas, I control, highlight, enhance and create a mood within the image, while the blacks and whites remain the pure natural tones of the print." Working and exhibiting in New Orleans since 1985. Shows include X/O Studios, L'Art Noir, Contemporary Arts Center & Alternative Media Art Expo. Amie has received over 97 awards, including Best of Shows, since 1985. Isabelle Rene Peltier; Pen and marker on paper. Isabelle Peltier's recent work on paper appropriates images from magazine, news paper and book sources, in pen and marker. Isabelle has shown extensively in New York, including: 187 in the Bowery, Commons, No. 34 Stuyvesant St., Rosenburg Gallery, Team Awesome Presents: 'I Drink When I'm Thirsty', and a group show at Old Tower Video and Tower Books Building. The Skull Club is her debut show in New Orleans. Lord David; Victorian Shadow Boxes, with assemblages & found objects. Born feet first with teeth, stolen by Gypsies & raised by Pirates. Captured during the War with the Giant Rats of Sumatra, during which he escaped by drawing a window-seat third-class bus ticket to Cleveland on a cereal box top, and jumped ship in New Orleans. Lord David has been living and exhibiting in New Orleans for about 15 years. Exhibits and showings include Barristers Gallery, Poets Gallery, Hi Ho Lounge, & Schiros Upstairs Gallery.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Lately, the TV has been full to the brim with faces of French Quarter residents, expressing their outrage at the murder of Wendy Byrne. They should be outraged. They should speak out. At the same time, I’ve seen more than a couple of those faces that have been thrown out of most of the local bars, enjoying the hungry press as they rant to a full audience, instead of cornering some hapless tourist in the back corner of a dark barroom. The press is, indeed, covering everyone & anyone who has something to say about this, myself included. They’re all about the sound bite, not the news. That’s what they do. When I started writing about this trend, right here on humid city, it began with a cop, at a desk, not interested in taking a clue that could have led to these killers before they went on their final rampages, shooting Wendy mere minutes after robbing another man just a block away, and robbing as many as four people in a two hour Marigny Stint, only a day later. Just like the Press, Superintendent Riley wants to focus on this awful crime, the murder of an innocent, and tell us about how his new software did the trick. It was actually the witnesses who sat down to give descriptions, and the young lady who turned in private crime camera evidence, but hey, who’s counting? The cops who were supposed to be patrolling there were busy doing god-knows-what, and have been disciplined, but let’s not talk about that. The criminal apathy of the 5th district has been swept under the rug, and once again, all we Marigny/Bywater residents hear is French Quarter, French Quarter, French Quarter. Sure they need protection, too, but most importantly, that’s where the money is. And so it goes. While pundits from near and far chime in about walk-outs and demonstrations, downward spiraling school systems, the War on Drugs and family values, the issue that signaled this current apocolyptic wave was Police Misconduct, plain and simple. Riley says that foot patrols are inefficient. Of course, when he promised them right after Katrina, they were the fix-all. But now, not so much. I suppose the cop blasting his own private car stereo in the 5th district parking lot on Tuesday night, about 11pm, was much more efficient. He rattled my windows and we couldn’t hear the TV over his R&B selections for about 25 minutes. I’m sure that will keep crime off the streets. Just like the cops there who speed recklessly up the one way street the wrong way, causing traffic on St. Claude to come to a screeching hault as a vehicle comes to the intersection, only to find a big ass Tundra rolling headlong at it’s grill. But these are smaller issues. Just like the Quality Of Life Officers warned us about. “If we start with the small stuff, it will reduce crime. If we let it go, they will only get bolder.” And bolder they have become. I recieved the following story and from a reliable source. It could be any of us. “I was driving behind a police car down St Phillip St. towards N Peters. The officer, William Torres, ignored the stop sign at that intersection and began to make a right turn onto N Peters without ever stopping. As a result he ran into a pedestrian who was trying to cross the street. Fortunately, he braked hard and avoided injuring the guy. When the pedestrian put out his palms (as if to say “What the hell?”), the officer got out of his car, grabbed the man, and made him put his hands on the hood of the police car. He started yelling at the guy and reaching for his handcuffs as if he were going to arrest him. I got out of my car and started walking towards them. When Officer Torres saw me coming towards them, he shouted “What’s your problem?”. I said I saw him run the stop sign and run into the pedestrian. He immediately let the pedestrian go (he walked quickly away) and started yelling at me. He again asked what my problem was. I told him I saw what happened and that the pedestrian was not at fault so there was no cause to harass him. He asked me “Do want a ticket?” I replied “A ticket for what? I didn’t do anything”. He said “It’s a simple question: Do you want a ticket- Yes or no?” I said “I’m getting back in my car. I have nothing more to say to you.” I got back in my car and started writing down the officer’s name. He said, “Give me your license. You want to write down my name? I can write too. I know who to harass.” He wrote me a bogus ticket for not wearing a seatbelt (I had been wearing my seat belt, but he couldn’t have know one way or the other because the first time he saw me i was out of my car).” We are living under thug rule. They have badges and guns and a City of New Orleans paycheck, but still, muscle and weapons, kidnapping in handcuffs, hit and run, you name it; There’s a crime spree going on. Focus on the French Quarter avoids dealing with neighborhoods where the crime doesn’t make the news. A Bywater woman stabbed to death in her home, as yet unsolved. A hit and run victim, still crippled, and no arrests made, athough the driver and vehicle were found and identified. NO cops on the beat, whatsoever, and there’s that refusal to act on clues that could have saved Wendy’s life. Warren Riley’s commitment to bragging about his new software has nothing to do with fighting crime. His dropping the French Quarter name, over and over, is a hard sell to the media, to tourism, to play The Hero in this totally aviodable nightmare, while his minions go unchecked. If there were cops not on their patrol beat that night, and he didn’t know it, what else is running amok without his knowledge? A lot, I’m guessing. Now a story of extortion and bullying in the French Quarter, to avoid the awful truth that a cop ran a stop sign and grazed a pedestrian. Bullying a citizen to avoid penalty for wrong doing is a criminal act as sure as any mob threat. Harrassing or intimidating a witness is a Federal Crime. Until we get our own police force under control, and behaving like police (remember ‘protect & serve’?) no amount of civil demonstration or revamping the Family Unit is going to make a spit ball’s worth of difference. Why would street robbers obey laws when those laws are just the rules of a bigger gang with guns of their own? We, my friends, must watch and document. Give the press something else to talk about: Police Misconduct. Get Riley off of your TV screen and back to work. Get your story out there. Lord David Skull Club New Orleans
Monday, January 26, 2009
Somebody asked me; "Hey! You think you can change the world or something?" I replied; "We all change the world, simply by being in it. After that, it's a matter of direction and impact." Every moment of every day, choices are made. In each of those moments, great potential lives. Define your life by the ones you make, rather than by the ones you do not. You are not just living. You are life, itself.
NOCAC - New Orleans Citizens Against Crime, will hold a meeting Saturday, January 31st, at the Skull Club Alternative Gallery, in the Marigny, corner of Spain & Rampart Streets. Meeting to start at 3pm. The purpose of this meeting is three fold: 1) To bring local citizens together with the intention of creating better contact, higher awareness of community action, and a forum in which those things can and will occur. 2) To collect and share information necessary to take action against crime, to contact and be heard by City Hall, the New Orleans City Council, the NOPD, and the use of citizen support programs, such as the Text Alert Service, recently implemented. 3) To create a functioning model of a New Orleans Citizens Against Crime neighborhood group, with the hopes of members starting their own independently run groups, throughout the City of New Orleans. While initially designed to deal with crime in the 5th District, this meeting is open to all citizens of New Orleans, in the hope that attendees will take the information, and suggested model offered here, to their own immediate neighborhoods, and form independent NOCAC groups of their own. This meeting is NOT open to City Officials, NOPD or the Organized Press. These institutions can & will be informed of any activities of interest once the platform for action is established. As citizens, we wish to exercise our right of assembly in a private setting, to discuss our situation. For more information, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Lord David Skull Club New Orleans
Sunday, January 18, 2009
It’s Sunday, a little past noon and I just got the call. Wendy, the bartender at Aunt Tiki’s on Lower Decatur, was shot and killed in an armed robbery at Governor Nichols and Dauphine Street last night, about 8pm. This is above the ‘Bourbon Street Safety Line’ it’s true, but this neighborhood is where the dog park is, a residential area, a block or so from Cosimo’s. It was 8 o’clock on a Saturday night, a time when couples should be walking out to dinner, and locals are heading home from work, or out for the evening. Apparently, Wendy walked up on a friend who was already being robbed at gun point, and was robbed as well, and then shot.In the back.She died shortly afterwards, on the way to, or at, the hospital. While all of us who knew her, myself among them, are horrified at this terrible, terrible murder, it doesn’t end there. I’ve posted a series of columns here, triggered by Bill Sothern’s editorial about getting robbed in the Marigny, relating how some young black kids with a small semi-automatic pistol robbed him and his wife and friends. Upon finding out the next day that the robbers were using his wife’s cell phone, he went to the police. He says in his post that; ” I was barely able to hold the attention of the police officer at the desk as I explained the evidence that I had discovered and suggested that, so long as the phone was on, maybe they could even locate the user. She took a message but again, no one called me. I called again and again over the following days and left messages for the detective assigned to the case and even called the district lieutenant when those went unanswered. As of this writing, no one has called me to follow up on the calls made from the phone or, as far as I know, made any efforts to investigate the two potentially lethal armed robberies that occurred that night.” When a friend of mine was robbed New Years Eve by junior thugs matching this description, I called for an outcry to the NOPD, hoping to make them act before this went to much farther. Wendy’s killers also match this same description. There we have it. A direct link and patheticly sad story of inaction, followed by continued robbery and now the death of a young local woman. Had the 5th district jumped on the cell phone number and the number called, perhaps this would have led to an arrest, or at least left the perpatrators less bold, less likely to be drunk with horrible power and ready to kill. There is no bringing Wendy back. Her life was ended brutally on an outing, relatively early on a Saturday night. She was robbed of every minute of every day, forever. They took all she had or ever would have, everything she would ever be. The thought that this occured because somebody was too fucking lazy to do their job, too politically oriented to do real police work, too interested in “keeping the New Olreans Brand out there”, makes me so angry I can hardly control myself. Warren Riley and C. Ray Nagin, you were warned. Bill Sothern told the city about this first incident with a story in the Times-picayune. I’ve been hammering away at Humid City, and sending letters to any newspaper or periodical that will listen. Now a local friend is dead, shot down in the street like an animal. What’s it gonna take? How many more New Olreanians will die this year, because some cop just had to take a call on their cell, or stand around the parking lot, showing off their new car stereo, because another citizen was treated like a criminal for trying to give the police some information or report a crime, because the Police Superintendent is on the board of so many quasi-political groups that he can’t or won’t do his fucking job? I don’t want to see a news sound bite of Warren Riley in perfect make-up, talking about imperfect family problems and better education to prevent crime. Billy Sothern showed up at the Station House with a solid clue and was ignored. Now Wendy is dead. I want to see Warren Riley’s resignation, I suppose, and it would be nice to go out for coffee and ice cream after dark without worrying about getting fucking killed, but mostly, I’m sure Wendy’s friends and relatives would like her to be around for Sunday Brunch. She won’t, however, because she’s dead.You let this happen, you rotten sons of bitches.We’ve seen your absolute failure in absolute clarity, and at the cost of a life.There’s nothing more to say, right now.And besides, we’ll be mourning the Death of Another Friend. Rest in Peace, Wendy. And I’m sorry. I’m sorry that some stupid, lazy bastards let this happen. You are not forgotten. Lord David New Orleans
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I was just writing to an old friend. About The Creator of the Universe. And nail guns, for that matter, but that's another story. As for The Creator, and His Name, and all that, I've come to accept that a divine intelligence that could create the entire universe would be so complex that the mere concept of it would never fit completely in to my psyche. I could see only glimpses at a time. And that's no fun. I'm sure there is one, if no other reason then the fact that I'm sure of it. As to the details and miracles and all that, I can get lost for hours just admiring the opposing thumb. Thanks, Charlie. I love these little chats.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
On the second of January, 2009, I wrote a post for Humid City regarding the failure of the 5th District Police station to properly do it’s job, spurned on, mainly, by another column. Written by Billy Sothern for the Times-picayune, it describes his experience with getting robbed in the Marigny, reporting the robbery, and also alerting the 5th District cops that his wife’s stolen cell phone was still being used, and offering them the number it was calling, after said theft. They never responded. This robbery was about 4 weeks before New Year’s Eve. I am writing today to follow up. This is not merely a case of bureaucratic failure in fighting crime. It’s not enough that the Police Superintendent goes on camera to blame citizens and failed families, a bad school system, et al. The crooks are still out there. And on New Years Eve, approximately 27 days after Billy & his wife & friends were robbed, a very good friend of mine was held up at gun point, mere blocks from the original scene, by two young robbers, fitting the same description, down to the gun itself. These guys are still out there, still robbing and still waving a gun in people’s faces. And I’ll bet hard cash that the 5th distrcit never got back to Bill Sothern to get that number, or investigated that robbery in any serious way. “We can’t predict crime”, they always say. How about two robbers making calls on a stolen phone, and the victim bringing you the number they call? Had you looked into that, perhaps my buddy wouldn’t have started his New Year laying face down on the street with a gun to his head. After he was robbed, my friend went to look for his car, since they had taken his keys, too. Of course, it was gone. He went to the Royal Street station to report it, since it had been parked across Elysian Fields, in another district. The lady cop on duty gave him her raised palm to look at, known as ‘giving the hand’, while she had a lengthy & personal conversation on her cell phone. In fact, she finally stopped another officer to talk with him, so as to not have to interupt her private and personal conversation, being held as she worked the report desk. He told me he could hear other phones ringing, unanswered, as she chatted on. Silence is Violence recently held a ’strike’ or something like it, asking locals to wear red or put up “Crime Happened Here” signs in the Marigny. While I support the huge and ongoing efforts they have made, I found this a little to little and a lot too late. For instance, nobody put one in front of Helen Hill’s door, because other people live there now, I suppose. I drove around the Marigny Bywater area a bit and saw a couple of signs. What this is supposed to accomplish, I have no idea. Those of us who live here already know. The cops don’t give a shit as they ride around looking for free Wifi, single girls, and a place to talk on their cell phones undetected. I respondedto this ‘Strike’ by suggesting that those who have been robbed or otherwise violated, and subsequently ignored or blown off by the NOPD, especially at the 5th district, get together and create a list of these incidents, and present it, en masse, as a ‘failure to perform’ memo, both to the NOPD, at the 5th district and City Hall, and to the local news, perhaps Mister Zurik at WWLTV. Let’s see how they respond to a hundred citizen complaints at a time. I offered to do this at my home, next to the 5th district station, fully aware of the ire I might recieve in return. I even offered to video tape the whole shebang for the media and the protection of those involved. You know how many responses I got back? One. One person was willing to come forward and rally as a citizen, rebuking the Police Who Won’t Help. Still, my offer stands. Email me. email@example.com Go on. Try me. In the meantime, I’m sure we’ll all hear lots of noise about “Those bastards don’t care” and read lots of blogs about “If this city wants to survive…” You know what? Put up or shut up. The police don’t care how many people wore red arm bands last week. The robbers don’t care how many signs you put up on your block. The police will continue to use their power and priviledge to abuse traffic laws and intimidate citizens to get to the front of the line. And the local citizens will continue to bitch about ‘fairness’ and ‘making a statement’. And sooner or later, one of these new young thugs is gonna fucking kill somebody. You could help stop it right now. But will you? Until we stand up for ourselves, in large numbers, and tell these public servants, in no uncertain terms, to do their fucking jobs, expect to live in fear and under someone’s boot. If you are afraid to walk in to your local police station and state your mind, even with back-up, then you have already lost. Everything. And the only way to get it back is to stand up and look it directly in the eyes. But will you? Will you ring your hands at the end of 2009 when the list is another 179 people dead? Will you say to yourself, I went down there and gave them what for, along with dozens of other people, and it’s not fixed yet, but it’s getting better. Or will you shed a tear for another dead innocent, one whose murder was preventable, but you just didn’t have the time to get involved. It’s your city. If you want it back, take it back. Lord David Skull Club New Orleans
Friday, January 2, 2009
I’ve written before about the 5th district station outside my window. The cars (personal & official) that drive the wrong way out the one way street in to St Claude traffic, the loud music blasting from personal cars in the parking lot, the groups of cops (military & NOPD) who stand around chatting in the back parking lot… The first act they commited after having an Open House for the neighbors, was to ticket half the cars in the neighborhood. The ticket on my car (legally parked in front of my house) had my vin # and plate number, but showed an address several blocks away. The next day my car radio was stolen in broad daylight as the ‘parking lot party’ was in full swing. Then beat cops walked around for a few days and gave up, showing the Fight Against Crime was over. I rode my bicycle up next to police cars whose drivers didn’t notice me, being completley focused on their laptops. As many as half a dozen police cars at a time would park behind my building, jamming up my WiFi by stealing my signal, until I encrypted it. Citizens came forward and identified the driver of a visicous hit & run, only to be told they’d have to identify him in front of his ‘crew’ so he could be issued a mere ticket. No suggestion was made about how to deal with this group of thugs after pointing the finger, except to ‘trust the department’. Now Billy Southern, a guest columnist at the TP, tells his story of getting robbed outside Mimi’s Bar, a well known and busy Marigny hot spot, and trying to turn valuable clues as to the identity of the robbers over to police at the 5th district station. “Hours passed without any word, so I drove downtown to the 5th District. I was barely able to hold the attention of the police officer at the desk as I explained the evidence that I had discovered and suggested that, so long as the phone was on, maybe they could even locate the user. She took a message but again, no one called me. I called again and again over the following days and left messages for the detective assigned to the case and even called the district lieutenant when those went unanswered. As of this writing, no one has called me to follow up on the calls made from the phone or, as far as I know, made any efforts to investigate the two potentially lethal armed robberies that occurred that night.” Read the entire story HERE. It’s time again to call these people out in public. “All that is required for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke Lord David Skull Club New Orleans