The entire book appears at this link with chapters added after appearing online:
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.
“IGOR COMES TO TOWN”
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
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.
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, Tuesday evening departure.
That should give him more than enough time to wreak havoc on 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 escalator, 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 picture of an angry man pounding
a pinball machine inside apicture 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, all necks craning to hear the stock tip.
“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, walking 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
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. “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, excitedly bee-
lining to a bank of black telephones.
“What you doing there?” Igor inquires.
“Have to call Mac,”Armor’s replies. “Everybody at MacLand wants to see you
as soon as humanly possible.”
“Yes. Let us stop there,” Igor says. “Mac’s a great guy. We can reminisce
about our adventures through the weirdly wilds of Arcosanti.”
Armor’s mutters a few words into the phone, handing the
apparatus to Igor. “Heeeeeeey Mac:! How is it going?!?” Igor yells, nearly
undressing the phone’s 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 commos line.
“Let me drop my duffel bag at Armor’s house and wash up,”
Igor appends. “I feel quite grungy after the airplane ride, not to
mention 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
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,” Tyger says. “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 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, 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
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 cookies?” he asks, alluding to an unforgettable instance
in which he filled up empty girl scout cookie boxes 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 pheasant way to the pass that particular day.
Of course, the boys remember the bird scout cookies incident
immortalized in the ongoing memory of man
as 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.
Tyger jumps in noting, “Tomorrow night.
They have the Slimes-Picayune art critic and a couple of
others judging the exhibits. All entries must have themes
relating to the culinary arts since this is, after all, a part f
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,” Igor says.
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, lugging it back to the home 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
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 to 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.”
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 food 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
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 “when or what ever” on Sunday July 3, 1988.
Regular submissions already have been numbered and
installed around the large space at the center of the gallery floor.
They represent 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.
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,
acquiring a well rounded buoyancy as well as an
unique and unsubtle aroma through a 92 degree afternoon until
presto perfect ’tis ready for prominent public display.
About the time the paying CAC art consumers start 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
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.
Believe 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 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, mannerisms,
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 much;
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 art if it were your dog’s name.”
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 largegeological 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 lasting over 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 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.
“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 enough.
“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 just leaving.”
Mac adds for good measure, “Who would want to stay at such
a crappy expedition anyway.”
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,
had 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 believe 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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 walking 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,
departing 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.
Buck is in a good mood. He leaves with his girlfriend for a
real party. Ro is … who cares. 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.
“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.
(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
which no local can afford to shop. Waving his hand, Mac explains,
“Oh by the way, this is the French Quarter.”
“Oh,” Igor notes. “Always wondered what it looked like
after hearing so much about it.” Enough said on that score.
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,
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.
It was the usual lie.
Milty started his own band–Belt of Tools.
Buck hooked up 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.