I suppose I was in denial, at least until the Sunday before I was supposed to leave for NOLA, in regards to this film project, I'm presently working on.
I'm excited about the movie itself, as well as several of the people with whom I'll be working.
I'm also excited to be back in New Orleans.
I think the prospect of packing up and moving again was what I was not looking forward and the cause of my being in denial.
We were finally getting settled in our new digs in Atlanta and I was in a flurry of strengthening our infrastructure there, ranging from reconnecting and making new connections in the local set dressing/decorating community, to involvement in community gardens and the local food networks, to making more time to hang out with my Burner and Circus fellows, as well as jumping back into my Brazilian jujitsu training.
And all of a sudden out of the blue, I have this great work opportunity in NOLA and everything gets put on the back burner, indefinitely. Because this show goes until June which is when we typically head out West and ramble around sharing Skye's birthday with friends in LA, then hanging in Mammoth as much as we can with Skye's Shakespeare camp there in mid-July and then figuring out what to do until Burning Man in late August.
This game plan made sense when we didn't have a home-base. Now it will take some rethinking, much of which will be on jobs that we don't have yet and don't know where they'll be.
I've gotten used to packing up everything we have to go to the next place we'll be. However, now that we have a home base, I could pack a lot less. Which should have made it easier, but I was in denial, like I mentioned before, so rather than concentrate on packing for where I was going, I spent the lion's-share of my time trying to tie up loose ends and finish off looming projects in Atlanta.
So that when the day before leaving for several months came, I had not packed a thing.
I scrambled to load up two suitcases full of essentials.
I forgot some important things.
Like warm clothes. I was going further South where it was really hot.
Except it wasn't and isn't. So I have been layering what I have and cold on a regular basis, especially because my office and new apartment aren't heated well.
Usually this kind of planning is my forte. Not on this particular venture.
When I arrived in NOLA, ladden down with two massive suitcases, I got to the numbered parking space where my rental car was and had to look twice to make sure I was in the correct spot.
Sure enough they had rented me a car I could barely fit in, let alone my massive bags. I would deal with it in the morning. I reconfigured seats and such, crammed my bags in and made my way to the hotel.
The circus theme continued when I checked into my hotel and was meet with a lot of bright orange circles and such.
New Orleans had already started its Mardi Gras season when I flew into town.
Visits to the prop-houses would be determined by their various Mardi Gras commitments. As my first week neared its end, much of everyone's attention turned to the weekend, starting on Thursday and rolling all the way to Fat Tuesday. Schedules, parties, parades, costumes, and on and on.
And throw in the Academy Awards on Sunday, why not?
We would be working everyday besides Saturday and Sunday.
It was an interesting challenge to be sure.
Too Many Tales to Tell
I hit my first parade Thursday night, meeting friends from the last show I did in Louisiana. Over the course of the next festivities, I would see several more parades, see a lot of people I've worked with over the last 20-plus years, not see people I had made plans to see. I would get some beads and other stuff that was thrown out to the crowds. I put together a costume I wore out the first night and that was it.
I walked a lot, around 8 miles one day.
I was hot and sweaty and cold and miserable.
I moved out of clownville to a cool place between the Warehouse and Garden District, or at least I think that's where I'm at. I'm still getting the lay of the land.
And I did make it to all of the local prop-houses.
And to a restaurant/bar that had the Academy Awards playing.
That's in a nutshell my experience thus far down in the Big Easy.
Or at least the tip or the iceberg.
Let the Festivities Proceed
So glad to be out of the extended-stay "suite" clown-colony and into my new place. It's a little rough around the edges and the heating is quite an issue which shouldn't be a problem much longer. Hopefully the cooling is a little better, from the looks of it, it's more geared to cool things down than heat it up and for good reason.
I was able to meet the cable guy Saturday morning before the city shut-down. My apartment is a block and half from several of the parade routes that cruise down St. Charles. So it got a little crazy over the weekend. There was no way I was driving anywhere over the weekend. I was already dreading getting to work and back on Monday and Tuesday.
Fortunately, I was able to mostly evade the traffic and got lucky with parking.
I actually have never been to a tail-gate party, but it felt like what I would imagine one to be like, at least sort of down the medians of several major New Orleans' streets that would serve as parade routes.
It was unlike anything I had ever seen.
A party that the whole city goes to for days on end.
On this particular occasion, I wondered over to the local pizza joint, thinking that I had timed things well, so that I could grab a slice and a beer and get back to apartment before the upcoming parade blocked my escape route.
I was wrong and ended up hiking several blocks down to where the parade ended. Giving me a brief opportunity to dart across the street before the next parade started up.
I hunkered down in the office for most Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras, or Monday and Tuesday to the rest of the country , but I still managed to get out before and after.
I've seen a lot.
Dug through the prop houses, been to a couple dozen thrift-stores, to some head-shops, a variety of interesting retail and antique shops.
I'm sure I've just scratched the surface.
It's going be a fun and very interesting few months.
I'll leave you with one of my best resources on my last show, The Maze Runner and one of the most colorful prop house owners I've had the pleasure to do business with, Lawrence Barattini of Sideshow Props at his new warehouse.
An amazing series of vignettes displaying his very diverse collection of odds and ends and peculiarities.