Surveillance Pelicana Chapter Twenty-Five: ‘Igor Comes to Town’

SURVEILLANCE PELICANA

BY

DAN WEISMAN

The entire book appears at this link with chapters added after appearing online:

Chapters 1-10: https://www.escondidograpevine.com/surveillance-pelicana-full-book-chapters-added-as-they-appear-online/.)

Chapters 11-20: https://www.escondidograpevine.com/surveillance-pelicana-part-ii-chapters-11-to-20-chapters-added-as-they-appear-online/)

Chapters 21-30: https://www.escondidograpevine.com/surveillance-pelicana-part-iii-chapters-21-to-30-chapters-added-as-they-appear-online/

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

Igor, a startling performance artist

from New York, visits the gang. Igor makes the usual splash upon

arrival and his story is told. He supervises the creation of

Snack Rack, a discarded postcard tree filled with rotten food and

crawling insects that is unofficially entered in a local art show

with resulting mayhem. On July 4th, Igor and the gang attend a

lame performance by the New Neanderthals in the French Quarter.

 

CHAPTER 25

“IGOR COMES TO TOWN”

 

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Igor. The very name strikes fear in the heartless souls of

art philistines everywhere…

Igor. Armor’s good art buddy lately of the Arcosanti Commune

near Flagstaff, Arizona; more recently performing the herculean

task of cleaning the stables at Belmont Park Race Track at

Elmont, New York.

(He helps with renovations at Carnegie Hall in his spare

time. His picture even made it into the New York Times on that

score.)

Igor. Master of modern primitive painting and weird frog art

as well as the odd performance piece between engagements.

Igor. Igor. Igor. The crowd chants his name rising in a

nitrous wave above these distant shores. All hail the great

artist of our time. How about dropping into our planetary hell

hole some time?

Yes, comrades in art, the July 4th weekend is heating up as

if that were possible given the 92 degree plus temperatures

accompanying humidity fit to soak one’s soul in sweat. Igor’s

body lies over the water yet.

Armor’s receives the call eagerly. Igor has decided to get

 

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away from the city — that’s the Big Apple y’all — over the

weekend. He believes it high time to commune with his friends in

New Orleans. Cognoscenti are excited.

Two events coincidentally distinguishing this year’s

Crescent City, shall we say, celebration also call quite vividly

for Igor’s rapt attention.

Firstly, the Contemporary Arts Center — on “this used to be

Camp Street” as they once advertised during a street fair thrown

to rid the area of street derelicts in favor of their pseudo-art

derelictions is having an art exhibition and contest. The

winner receives bogus recognition, theoretically.

Secondly, that well known purveying group of doom, the New

Neanderthals, have somehow gotten their shit together long enough

to play an equally bogus July 4th gig in the French Quarter

courtyard of a sort of hip collectibles shop.

They say they are going to make a music video. We will have

to see about that. Hopefully, so will Igor.

Igor, of course, will stay with Armor’s and his cats at the

petting zoo. The controversial by design great artist is due for

a Saturday morning arrival and Tuesday evening departure.

That should give him more than enough time to wreak havoc on

 

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what used to be known as the Big Crescent City that Care Forgot Easy.

Let us see what they call this place after Igor is through.

Armor’s drives out to New Orleans International Airport at 7:30 p.m.

He is his usual rambunctious self, passive-aggressively tempting death

while playing in fast moving traffic.

Thankfully, as Tyger clutches the lap belt

for dear life, no more surveillance for this

pelicana. Armor’s number is retired.

The Mercury Capris makes it safely to the short-term parking area

by act of a higher power’s caprice.

The boys head for the Delta terminal

at this used to be called Moisant Field.

Not surprisingly, they are late, they are late for a very important date.

Welcome to Armor’s world already.

The official gang greeting committee

cascades up the elevator, leaping steps in a series

of long bounds, mini-supermen — or

stupormen, your call — passing a startled

security guard. Lucky for him they

are not in the mood for a skyjacking.

Regular jacks will do.

(The uninformed, incidentally, always ask for the proper definition

of the local slang use of the word “jack,”

that can be used grammatically as verb, noun, adverb, or adjective

being a most descriptive term. Mr. Milty summed it up

perfectly with his classic ink drawing of an angry man

pounding a pinball machine inside a

 

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picture of an angry man pounding a pinball machine inside a

picture of an angry man pounding a pinball machine inside

etc…. )

The welcome to N’Awlins this is your life ad hoc Igor society flies

across the busy airport concourse O.J. Simpson pre-murder style.

They hear a voice ring out as all traffic stops like

in the old Dean Witter commercials.

“Ho ho ho there boys,” a far figure enthralling,

drawing Armor’s and Tyger like shades towards his shadowy

denouement of arrival strategy. “I’m all Ho’d out.”

Wearing a Davey Crockett coonskin cap with a long blonde

pony tail sticking out for good measure, Igor walks confidently

towards his steering committee. “Ho ho ho there boys,” he

repeats for effect and halts just before reaching Armor’s

outstretched hand.

Then, what do you know comrades, he flips his trim lean body

over in an acrobatic handstand and walks a few feet with his feet

in the air. That lad always knew how to attract a crowd, kind of

like Jelly Roll Morton without the extreme verbal histrionics.

Igor rolls to a stop in a sitting position as Tyger, Armor’s

and a small crowd of curious bears break into applause. “Thank

you. Thank you. Thank you all very much,” Igor acknowledges as

the crowd quickly disperses. Maybe they have heard about him.

Meanwhile, airport security guards are quickly scrambling

 

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like rats after cheese in the opposite direction. They know

trouble when they see it.

“That was great,” Armor’s finally comments.

“Great to see ya Igor.”

“How is everything in the Big UnEasy?” Igor asks.

“Same old same old,” Tyger states.

“We have been looking forward to seeing you.”

“Got a couple of awful activities on tap,” Armor’s reports.

“Goody,” Igor notes with pleasure. “Goody gum drop.

That’s what we all came for.”

Tyger grabs Igor’s duffle bag as the orange tinged artist

walks along with Armor’s to the escalator. Tyger and Armor’s ride

the automatic steps. Igor tries to slide down the railing

alternating between sliding a few feet and falling off.

Good show, old chap. Everybody finds this game quite

amusing. Igor laughs uproariously more like a happy lion

than silly rabbit.

Tyger and Armor’s are now officially in the Igor zone and

loving it. They can feel the karma level rising rapidly.

The three artists become imbued with a sense of heightened

artistic energy. They break the sound barrier near confused,

possibly frightened, beautiful rent-a-car chicks sitting in their

ridiculously colored uniforms at respective corporate

commercialism counters. Armor’s immediately and excitedly bee

lines to a bank of black telephones.

 

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“What you doing there?” Igor inquires. “Have to cal 1 Mac,”

Armor’s replies. “Everybody at Mac:Land wants to see you as soon

as possible.”

“Yes. Let us stop there. Mac’s a great guy. We can reminisce

about our adventures through the wilds of Arcosanti.”

Armor’s mutters a few words into the phone and hands the

apparatus to Igor. “Heeeeeeey Mac:! How is it going?!?” Igor yells

nearly undressing the phone mouthpiece. “Heeeey Mac! Hip Hip

hooray you dirty dog.”

A few additional nonsensical pleasantries exchanged. Mac

gives Igor the proposed Saturday night agenda. Igor agrees to the

proposal with one amendment before breaking off the commas line.

“Let me drop my duffel bag at Armor’s house and wash up,”

Igor appends. “I feel quite grungy after the airplane ride and

three margarita cocktails.”

Igor apprises the greeting committee of the upcoming meeting

schedule. “Your wish is my command sir. Yes,” replies Armor’s

with his best Ed McMahon imitation.

(Was Armor’s consciously imitating the Johnny Carson second

banana? He will never tell. In any event, lucky for Ed McMahon

breath, Armor’s is not interested in hosting “Star Search.”)

The boys float on the wings of uplifted consciousness to

Armor’s awaiting chariot. They Ben Hur Uptown narrowly missing

 

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identified driving objects who have the misfortune of blocking

Armor’s way at that particular point of space and time.

Hey, you lousy driving dharma bums, no one promised you a

rose garden on the interstate. Make way for real art royalty and

we don’t mean no carnival klutz.

Armor’s wildly honks his horn while Igor sticks his head out

the window making weird faces at other vehicular units. All the

while, Igor’s pony tail sways madly in the speed breaking highway

wind. Beats the roller coaster of defunct Ponchartrain Beach for

excitement any day of the week.

“Next time,” Igor tells Armor’s as they decelerate towards

the South Carrolton exit, “let me do the driving.”

“You don·t have a license though. Do you?” Tyger asks if

memory serves him well.

“Don’t need one, dear boy,” Igor replies. “I just want to drive. I

don’t use identification.” “Oh. Sorry for asking.”

“Uhh, O.K,” Armor’s adds. “Want to drive now?”

“Nah. Remind me later.”

Tyger feels like the personification of his Lurch imitation,

but bites his tongue. First chance, he vows, he is retreating to

his own car. He will meet up with Igor and Armor’s

traveling show later at Mac’s pad.

Scene dissolve. Stage left as hours pass like seconds. Igor

and Armor’s curtsy. Then they disappear courtesy of the hands of

 

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time. They re-emerge 9 p.m. at MacLand followed by Tyger, the

semi-great art hunter-detective.

An interesting discussion ensues as Mac, Armor’s, and Igor

recall a journey they took in 1986 when the former rescued the

latter from his less than free state at Arcosanti, a self-contained

commune theoretically dedicated to the positive

advancement of humanity’s consciousness.

Igor lived in a cave in the Arizona high desert wasting his

considerable artistic talents by engaging in whatever commune

practices were en vogue there. Anyone can be a flunky, but the

great shaman artists of an age are few and far between. (Such is

the grinning Igor Buddah seated cross-legged on Mac floor.)

Mac and Armor’s somehow sensed that Igor was becoming

disillusioned at the commune. They showed up at his cave doorstep

in the Nick Bowers of time, apparently. Igor’s attitude was

beginning to run afoul of commune authorities.

Igor’s cavalry packed his few belongings in Mac’s old car.

They charged northeast to Colorado and a “Jack Kerouac: On the

Road Again” conference. Picking up a female hitchhiker called

Flora along the way, the art soldiers happily careened across the

great Southwest taking slightly obscene photographs of the

willing young girl and stopping along the road for red-green hot

Mexican chili dinners and cold drinks.

A good time was had by all. At least, that is their story

 

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and they’re sticking to it.

Attention spans to another topic.

Armor’s has a bit of current news update for the ·visiting performance artist.

“Those lame assholes at the CAC are having an art show,” Armor’s reports.

“They are so fucking stupid that they give true artists a bad name.

We need to teach them a lesson.”

Igor laughs in his trade-marked vaguely sinister manner.

“Remember the bird scout cookie.s?” he asks, alluding to an unforgettable instance

in which he filled up empty girl scout cookie boKes with decaying dead birds;

then went door to door “selling” them.

Predictably, no buyers although a particularly rabid off-duty Houston policeman

threatened to arrest Igor on the spot, thereby ending, for the day, the infamous art project.

Yes, it was a pleasant way to the pass that particular day.

Of course, the boys remember the bird scout cookies incident

immortalized in the ongoing memory of man

a related from generation to generation at life’s wonderful way stations

such as this Mac’s house bullshit seance.

Reminiscences such as these reverberate far louder

than the roar of MacLand’s huge fans beating the heat senseless.

“Tell me more about this so-called show,” an interested Igor asks,

his mind click clicking instantly formulating a secret game plan.

“Uhhh, uhhh,” Armor’s stutters, coming to  a pot hole chasm in the road.

 

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Tyger jumps in noting, “Tomorrow night.

They have the Slimes-Picayune art critic and a couple of

others judging the exhibits. All the entries

must have a theme relating to the culinary arts since this is

after all part of New Orleans fake claim to fame. Winner gets

screwed or something.”

“Screwed, eh?” Igor contemplates. “I could use a little

screwing.”

Igor pauses to consider further, then turns to.Armor’s

Tungsten. “What was that I saw abandoned outside the hardware

store on the corner?”

“Uhh. The postcard rack?”

“Ah-huh. The snack rack.”

“Snack rack?” Mac repeats.

“Ah-huh. Let’s retrieve it.”

What the hey-line. The boys walk down the street to where

sits discarded an old postcard rack. Mac picks it up like a

christmas tree and lugs it back to the pad.

“Let us get to work lads. We have some serious art to make,”

Igor announces, as he — whomp! — captures a large roach under a

plastic cup. “I believe we have our first subject.”

Thus begins the making of Snack Rack so christened. Igor

tapes a paper bottom under the cup thereby preserving the roach

forever in time. He places roach-in-a-cup on one of the lower

branches of the soon to be art wracked tree.

“What have we in the kitchen,” he announces as Sarah goes to

 

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the back of the house. “You want something” she says, “gross?”

to which Igor replies, “Grosser the better,”

laughing maniacally as per his peculiar style.

A mad scramble ensues as each of MacLandia’s citizenry

scours the property for the most awful, horrible, preferably

crawling live or rotting dead objects, to place on a particular

rack.

A wild assortment of indigenous insect life .combines with

decaying foodstuff to form the core of the proposed exhibit.

Every now and then cries of “Ooooooh,” or “ahhhhhh, disgusting,”

escape as the racks quickly fill  to overflowing with,

dare we say, snacks.

Disgusting work, comrades,

but an artist must do what an

artist must do, damn the consequences. “I feel a little like

throwing up,” Sarah comments to which Igor appends, “Please do.

We have a spot for that on the lower right arm left.”

“Maybe I’ll hold it in,” she notes after careful

consideration.

Odor most foul stinking i:o high heaven; insects most fair

crawling in their plastic cages, fighting to no avail to exit the

evolving exhibit. “Is this how Picasso got started?” Tyger asks.

“I don’t believe he dealt much in food art,” Igor replies.

“Of course one never knows about a person’s inner passions.”

 

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Igor continues to supervise as he whips the upper right rack

in shape, literally, with a healthy serving of chill-and-whip.

“Looks good,” he notes, “and tastes good too. Yum yum.”

Tyger and Armor’s pick over the remnants of the evening’s

last supper producing the odd piece of fruit and leftover

vegetable garbage for Igor to consider.

“Good. Good,” he approves. “I think that putrid banana adds

a very nice touch.” He smells it. “Hmmmm. Pungent aroma. This

will definitely do. Any more lying around, preferably for days?”

Even the cats pitch in as one drags a chicken bone into the

room which Igor eagerly fetches. He accompanies that motion with

the wonderfully evil laugh as eternally trademarked.

“Yes, yes kitty,” he says petting the purring animal

contributor. “Go back into the yard and see what else is

appropo.”

The cats might not know much, but they seem to intuit

what makes great art.

They immediately withdraw to follow Igor’s further instructions.

“Oh, how lovely,” he notes as with a flourish Armor’s hands

him a particularly disgusting brown object.

“Don’t tell me what it is. It will ruin the surprise.

“Good idea,” Sarah adds as she looks on with an air of

suspended disbelief that always forms the basis of appreciation

of true art. Don’t believe I want to know either.”

Armor’s is well pleased with his contribution. He returns to

 

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the bathroom area for more raw art. He, too, knows a good Snack

Rack object when he feels it.

This activity, accompanied by a long-playing tape of the

latest Macland bongo associative productions for Igor’s benefit,

continues for an hour or so until every branch of the snack rack

tree is filled with the most vile and perplexing of subjects.

Everyone stands back, well back at that, because the

horrible aroma is overpowering, admiring the latest creation of

the great Igor, supervising artist.

“I think we have something here,” Igor concludes. “I think

we truly have an inspirational, magical special representation of

man’s inhumanity to man and the immediate environment.”

Everyone appears quite impressed. “Awesome,” Tyger utters.

“Uhhh. I like it,” adds Armor’s.

“Awful, accent on the first syllable;

art of the highest order,” according to Mac.

“This stinks,” Sarah opines.

“Yes. Yes. That’s good,” Igor states.

“Let us go with that. Life stinks.”

“It seems quite alarming,” Sarah continues. “Yes. Yes,” Igor

is well pleased. “I think the girl has got it. Life is alarming.

We are ready for the show.”

So it comes, so it goes. The CAC show is scheduled for

8 p.m. to whatever on Sunday July 3, 1988.

The regular submissions already have been numbered and

installed around the large space at the center of the gallery

floor.

 

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They represent the standard local crapola like grass skirts lined

with plastic Mardi Gras type fruit beads, and stupid gingerbread

houses with small carefully crafted, equally insipid, figurines.

What an ugly mess it forms.

All the local artists think they have outdone themselves, of

course. The 7 p.m. exclusive reception crowd sit around

immersed in idle self-promoting chatter like a bunch of monkeys

at Audubon Zoo. “Eeeh-eeeh-eeeh-eeeh-eeeh.” “Oooh.”

Looks ripe for a Snack Rack rotten banana attack

Snack Rack has spent the

night marinating outside Mac’s house,

It acquires a well rounded buoyancy as well as an

unique and unsubtle aroma through a 95 degree afternoon until

presto perfect ’tis ready for prominent public display.

About the time the paying CAC art consumers are horsing

down hors d’oeuvres; gangway critics, here comes the ultimate

exhibit. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Igor and Armor’s carefully unload Snack Rack from Mac’s

minivan, carrying it like a traveling pre-revolutionary French

monarch on a small carriage through the red brick building’s

unlocked back doors,

“Excuse me sirs,” an officious name tag type rudely asks the

Snack Rack retainers as they walk tall through the exhibit with

 

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their unofficial submission.

“Do you have the proper permission for this …

ahhh, thing?”

Armor’s takes the usual low road.

“We don’t need no fucking permission, ass-wipe.”

The fawning suit and tie guy steps back

eyebrows arched.

Igor, however, is a more conciliatory soul with considerable

experience in these delicate matters. He seeks to keep the peace.

“Oh yes. Yes. We have consulted with the proper

authorities,” Igor placates. “This is properly sanctioned.

Yessiree Bob.”

Igor calls to Armor’s in front. “Put it down next to

the ornamental salad bowls. Turn the rotten vegetable arms in

that direction. I think it fits quite well with the general

ambiance of that piece.”

The well dressed crowd gives the Snack Rack crew a very,

very wide berth. A gorgeous blonde in short black dress holds her

nose.

“Well, I never,” she finally blurts. “Hey babe,” Mac snaps.

“You do now.”

Igor stands back with his arms folded gazing with admiration

at his supervised creation.

“I think we have really done it this time,” he concludes.

“Me too,” Tyger agrees. “I just hope we don’t get arrested

“or something worse.”

Congratulatory high fives all around self-salute ‘the

 

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successful art project crew.

Mac busies himself schmoozing at the open bar,

pouring prodigious quantities of rum in a glass

with a splash of mixer.

“Gang way. Gang way. Gotta get this drink,” he announces,

clearing a path through the pseudo-polite crowd.

Armor’s is all over the actual food table

scarfing down petite sausage balls and less subtle

little hot dogs on buns. Manners, manner,

touch of drool dribbling down his pure white shoit.

Or maybe that is sweat from Snack Rack transportation duties.

Armor’s will never tell.

Igor is all for art and fun for all. He lobbies one of the judges in the corner.

“Is not this the most spectacular comment on the current state

of American culture you have ever seen,” he states proudly.

“Dunno about that,” here come da judge returning service.

“It’s something alright. Give you that.”

Two more large crawfish name tags signifying

nothing; well, art show judges in this event

appear as if by magic, confused

as they consider the space.

“Is it art?” asks the elderly grey-haired society matron crawfish tag.

“My dear,” replies the the token gay compadre.

“You wouldn’t know rt if it were your dog’s name.”

 

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Ohhh-key. Starting to get uglier at the CAC.

Not even counting the large number of people

milling about the art watering hole with

fear and loathing in Hunter S. Thompson’s mind.

an event organizer accompanied by two burly

uniformed  security mavens stridently strides

to Igor ground zero. “Oh no,” Tyger says,

this is what happened last time.”

(This references another art event when Igor

wandered into a clay pottery exhibition at the

Houston Contemporary Arts Museum

clad only in loin cloth, awkwardly flipping

high to the sky and, oops, clumsy me,

dramatically missing a large

geological hammer. Igor repeated his actions

long enough for nervous pottery exhibitors

to corral and subdue him, ejecting his ass

outside. This rude interaction launched a scene of

vitriolic argumentation that lasted an hour.)

Resuming our scene, the red faced menacing

event coordinator displays an unmistakeable

sense of purpose. “Sorry, ah, sir,” he says,

“Are you responsible for this, er..”

“Exhibit,” Igor interjects. “Of course.

Is it now the piece de resistance, creme de la creme?”

“Dunno about that,” the organizer says. “I am going

to have to ask you to

 

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take this out the way you came, then to a landfill

and never come back.”

“Hey buddy. You are the only mockery here,” Mac, somewhat in

his cups, slurs. “Why don’t you get lost. Everyone was enjoying

themselves a lot before your fat ass showed up.”

Armor’s watches in silent wonder, finally chiming in with,

“You know nothing about great art. Who do you think you are?”

“I am in charge of this,” the man says wheeling around to

the rear-guard back-up of this distasteful guerilla action. “And

I am going to have to ask you to leave as well, sir.”

“Yeah, well, leave this,” Armor’s replies flashing

upright his trademark right middle finger.

Mac agrees. “Yeah. Leave this too,” repeating Armor’s

obscene gesture with both hands for extra emphasis.

Tyger does·not have to be asked to leave as he is all too

familiar with the approaching scenario. He escapes outside and

stands by Camp Street viewing

the scene through a large glass window.

He flirts briefly with a petite, possibly attractive

brunette. “Can you believe some people?” he asks innocently.

“I don’t know what the world is coming to,” she replies.

“Some people are just animals.” “Bow wow,” Tyger opines.

The security guards herd Armor’s and Mac to the large front

door. “Hey, you don’t have to push,” Armor’s says. “I was

 

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leaving.”

Mac adds for good measure, “Who would want

to stay at such a crappy expedition anyway.”

Hic.

The gay judge begs to disagree with snack rack’s

disqualification on technical grounds.

“Frankly, my dear, this is the finest piece in the show,”

he says, finger on jaw. “I don’t know about you,

but this — what do you say, snack pack —

gets my vote hands down.”

The society dame is a bit less approving.

“This thing, pardon my French,

sucks, and I mean that literally.”

No matter, anti-matter, da die is cast.

The praetorian guards return for Igor

who somehow has escaped their wrath.

Roughly ejecting Igor into the warm dark night.

“Don’t come back,” lead guard says. “Ever.”

Igor and the gang huddle up on Camp Street

assessing the situation.

“Don’t know about you lads,” Igor says,

“I think it went quite well.”

“Uhhh, I need a joint,” Tyger says.

“Read your mind,” Mac says,

producing a giant blunt, which they

puff away on like Bad Brains

along St. Joseph Street before

climbing in the minivan and back

Uptown

 

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to MacLand. They party the night away there in joyous celebration

until dawn’s first light.

Later that Sunday, no mention of the Snack Rack related

conflagration appears in the Slimes-Picayune, although

considerable space in the arts section is devoted to the

official version of the CAC exhibition. Winners are duly

noted in the driest account unimaginable. Fake official

recognition is heaped like Snack Rack’s rotting broccoli and

flaying insects on such as the crawfish mural and still fruit

painting.

And the next day, as well, is some nation’s birthday.

Yup. Here comes the 4th of July. A trip to the French

Ouarter for the New Neanderthals fake out is on tap this day.

(Maybe someone should play taps.)

Ah yes, comrades, the historic Vieux Carre, the New Orleans

French Quarter. That place synonymous with the Big Easy to all

tourists, demented travel agents, and assorted assholes the world

over.

 

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Roots kills a set, then stumbles around trying to bum a

reefer. He chain smokes cigarettes and pretends like he is

writing a doctoral thesis.

“Yeah, I wrote three pages last week. I am bushed,” he tells

Heave Broward loudly so others might overhear. “I am going to try

write another three pages next week. Man, it is hard work.”

Must be since he has been “writing” his thesis for 20 years.

His “writing” consists of watching Pee Wee’s Playhouse on

television, the only program relating to him on his own

level — and pretending to be working at BooRay University, Home

of the Blue Foam.

 

REDACTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

 

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Then there is the sad but true case of Heave Broward, slack

bass nowhere-man non-artist. He is a hypocrite too, of course,

going around pretending to be “creative,” as in “yeah man, I

been concentrating on GWAR and I really think they’re on to

something creative,” (Create this, pal.)

“Don’t know why Mr. Milty won’t let the rest of us play

our songs. He always insists on only playing his and I feel, I

don’t know, creatively intimidated. Milty is a great guy. Don’t

get me wrong. He is my best buddy.”

 

REDACTION OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION

 

 

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And then there is the lead singer, Little Ro, a thin ugly

African-American youth already aging ungracefully. He

never made it past the 11th grade in high school but goes around

pretending to be “intellectual,” trying unsuccessfully to

fool others and himself about his role as an “artist.”

Such is the group that plays in a French Quarter courtyard

to celebrate our nation’s birthday. How form fitting.

They play a set of ripped off covers plus a few of Milty’s

originals, then take a break. Comes noon as the parking lot

soundstage becomes hot as hell’s kitchen. The New Neanderthals

are definitely not.

Igor has the great privilege of witnessing the

usual slackmen effort although Milty and

Buck try to pep the set

up with some original riffs and lyrics.

Game, set, match. Break.

 

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Heave is off in the far corner trying to pick up chicks with

the one millionth recitation of “You are the prettiest girl

here.” Congratulations Heave, you have reached escape velocity

from reality.

Ro preens by a mirror. Milty and Buck smoke a joint with

Mac. Armor’s and Igor walk up Decatur Street laughing and joking.

A crowd of about 50 background actors mill about the

courtyard taken in by the New Neanderthal performance. What a

way to spend the Fourth.

They play a second sloppy set and pack up the instruments. Roots

finagles a ride from an acquaintance. He has no friends.

Heave hops in with a gullible half-beautiful girl fan and

departs like a snake slithering off the hook. Milty leaves with

his latest girlfriend edition whom he will later pass on as

gullible used goods to a social climbing base bassist Broward.

 

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Buck is in a good mood. He leaves with his girlfriend for a

real party. Ro is … who cares. And that accounts for

the afternoon.

Mac’s van takes the boys around the French Quarter, honking

at tourists like turtles snapping pictures of anything that moves

and everything that doesn’t. Discerning insects, those mind-blown

roaches crawling.

“Hey you just took a picture of an oak tree,” Armor’s shouts

out the window at one fatass couple. “They don’t have trees where

you come from?”

Guess not. They take another photograph. And over there by

the crime infested St. Louis Cemeteries One and Two, across the

street from the Iberville and St. Thomas Housing Projects, the

tourists wander blissfully unaware of a recent gruesome murder of

two of their own the week before.

The tourists pay lip service to memory — the historic

French Quarter and all that jazz — but don’t even know what went

down last week. Just the way the state Tourist Commission loves

it. Keeps them coming back for more.

Mac drives Igor down Decatur Street by Jackson Square with

the horseback charging hero of the Battle of New Orleans.

 

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(That was, incidentally, the greatest military victory in

United States history through 1988. It took place at the nearby

Chalmette parapets in January 1814, after the War of 1812 had

been negotiated to an end. Appropriate battle for the City that

Care Forgot.)

Also in the vicinity stand St. Louis Cathedral where Pope

John Paul II said mass; the Presbytere; the Cabildo, first seat

of Louisiana government; and the hanging plant baskets lining the

long red east and west Pontalba Apartments on both sides of the

square — the first apartment buildings in America.

But, you, comrades of the never-ending story, do not want a

wasteland travelogue. You do not want to walk pointlessly up and

down Bourbon Street in front of sleazy strip joints and t-shirt

shops.

This tale is about New Orleans, not the small 16-square

block of Disneyland for tourists and a few derelicts that the

Chamber of Commerce wishes to pass off as our land. We have a

higher purpose in mind for our future.

Seekers of truth will find none in the Vieux Carre. So, Mac

moves past Jax Brewery, a renovated home for overpriced shops in

 

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which no local can afford to shop. Waving his hand, Mac explains,

“And oh by the way, this is the French Quarter.”

“Oh,” Igor notes. “I always wondered what it looked like

after hearing so much about it.” And enough said on that score.

Then, guest performing artist Igor, who arrived with a bang,

leaves these foreign shores with more like a whimper. Everyone is

well pleased with his artistic input, happy to have had him lend

his validating presence to their small slice of lifestyle.

Tuesday July 5th arrives as it must. Igor

leaves Armor’s with a warm embrace.

“See ya later alligator,” the performance artist calls over his

shoulder paying homage to local culture. “Great visit man,”

Armor’s bon voyages. “Come back again as soon as you can.”

A great bird carries Armor’s into the sky, above the clouds

and beyond the top of the terminal telescope.

But, we can recount in these pages whatever happened to the

New Neanderthals. Nothing.

Roots pretended he had to quit the band because his bosses

required it and to devote more time to his thesis.

 

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It was the usual lie.

Milty started his own band–Belt of Tools. Buck hooked on

with a strange rockabilly group.

Heave continued his nowhere hypocracy hanging out at local

nightclubs pretending to be working on song-writing, lying to

chicks in order to get in their pants. And Little Ro? Who cares.

But of Snack Rack? Aye, that is another story. No doubt some

zealous collector guards its terrible beauty in a darkened art

warehouse somewhere in the Big Uneasy waiting for the proper time

to display the awful truth that gave bad food art a somewhat tasty claim to fame.

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