Saturday, April 16, 2011

Scrappers in Louisiana

Ben Kolak here, writing while Brian cruises past Alligator, Mississippi.

Wednesday we screened at the stunning Manship Theater in Baton Rouge, LA, where we were disappointed to discover that their staff member in charge of Southern Circuit coordination had been made a victim of state budget cuts. Nonetheless, we were happy to meet a sizable, diverse and enthusiastic audience.

This visit to Louisiana has turned me into a Crawfishphile: whether in po boys, souffle or, my favorite, boiled, which our awesome host on our day off in New Orleans, Kristi Orange, got for us at the delectable Cajun Seafood. While in the big easy we were also able to catch an incredible performance by Tuba Skinny, who played their butts off at a benefit to raise legal fees for their anarchist buds who had gotten arrested while marching a few weeks ago, and even had their radical library shut down in retaliation. To quote from the show: "If you can't march freely in New Orleans, then where are you supposed to go?" On the advice of my favorite anarchist, Prof. David Graeber, let me recommend London.

The Arts Council of Central Louisiana really outdid themselves: on the evening of our screening in Alexandria, this town of 50,000 had an artwalk with dozens of exhibitors, a opening at the local arts complex featuring an edgy young illustrator from brooklyn, and even kept their sprawling art museum open late, free of charge. Huge thanks to our hosts the Holcombes, whose extensive collection of CenLa folk art would wow any fan of Chicago's Intuit or Baltimore's American Visionary Art Museum.