creating a/broad, October 12, 2013
New Orleans Sticky
by Cameryn Moore
I have said before that I’m a poly-urbanist: I fall in love with cities rather easily, and the more I travel the harder it becomes for me to be able to answer the very common question, “What’s your favourite city?” But I would be lying if I said I didn’t have favoriteS. Plural. And definitely in that bunch is New Orleans.
It’s a slightly problematic relationship. Every year for the past four years now, I have been landing in New Orleans at roughly the same point in my tour cycle: well past the hump of the current year—so I feel like I’ve earned a vacation, hell yes, of food and warm temperatures and fun people and late nights—but past due for whatever events I’m planning for the rest of the year and firmly, I mean, WELL WEDGED into planning for NEXT year’s cycle. I have not only shows and promotion happening here, but two simultaneous timelines locking into place for near-, medium-, and long-term events.
I’ve got shit going on, in other words. And New Orleans is not really a place where you want to have shit going on. Because New Orleans brings the shit, enough shit to go around and then some.
my wankers need me
I don’t mean shit in the bad sense (although lord knows there is plenty of that happening, too). I mean, parties to go to, music to hear, beignets to eat, people to do, naps to take, tourists to watch, nights to run into the wee hours of the morn. This city is an endless spongy landscape of decadence and creativity; you take one step and that shit wells up around your feet and you look around and go, “holy shit, that is something delicious and/or amazing and/or something I would never get to do anywhere else, why do I need to go on to that thing that I was planning to do, when I have amazing shit right here?”
And whatever amazingness you stepped in feels actually sticky, like the heated moist air, when you think about moving on, going to the post office, sitting down and setting up sponsorship mailings, writing a column (a-HEM); you can feel your will and drive and determination trapped in it, like an overachieving little butterfly stuck in some sweet, sweet honey, wanting to go on to those flowers over there, but you know, why bother, it’s so sweet right here, and then the little butterfly just drowns in awesome honey.
So, yeah. Every year it feels a little like that.
Now, there are some things that help me keep a check on my behaviour in this sort of ambient lotus-eater zeitgeist down here. One is, I’M STILL ON CALL. Five hours a day, three on Sunday. So, I am still here, tethered to the house. This is always helpful while I’m on tour, but nowhere more so than here. I cannot follow the siren song of the vast kudzu-covered underbelly of New Orleans because my wankers need me.
Two: Sidewalk Smut does decently here. Like, enough to be a significant income stream for the month I’m in town. In years past, it’s been, oh, well, I should get out there and promote my shows and maybe make some spare cash. But this year I am actually treating this as a way to make money for bills AND for next year’s four-month UK tour, and so I have to haul ass. My Midwest tour stops this year were mostly decent, but decent in terms of gas and food money and laying the foundation for next year, not high enough to squirrel some cash under the bed. Wait, I don’t have a bed. Glove compartment. Wherever, you get the picture. I have a picture in my mind’s eye, of how much money I want to make selling typewritten porn on the street here, and I know how big that roll of soft needs to be. (Sometimes the scarcity mentality works in my favour, at least in the short term. Cash on the barrelhead is by definition “short term”.) I have to be disciplined about that work.
I’m grateful for the pressure, I really am.
Three: I have been staying with the same friend in New Orleans now for the past three years. She did the CAFF tour in 2011; she knows about touring. She’s very well hooked into the performance scene here, so she knows what events are happening that I should be checking out. And she is a massively creative person in multiple spheres, so she knows about timelines and planning, which somehow she manages to do in this torpid heat. (Well, she’s been living here for something like 15 years, so she’s gotten used to it.) SHE is always up around the same time as me, and almost always still up when I get home from Sidewalk Smut at 2am, drafting a pattern or setting a sleeve or researching some back story or planning a new solo festival.
I’m grateful for the pressure, I really am. Besides which, she is as addicted to coffee as I am, so we frequently do morning coffee breaks, and drink a whole pot between us, and talk about some shit, her next show, or the Halloween costumes she’s working on, or whatever FB hoo-ha is going on, or the history of New Orleans prostitution, or my next shows, or why the fuck do I want to do the UK tour again next year, or what the actual parameters might be for feminist theatre festivals and gee, how much does it suck that both of our shows are probably too radical for that shit.
So even though I sometimes hear someone practicing jazz trombone on the next block, and go out and eat good fried chicken from the gas station ‘round the corner, and slip on beads on the sidewalk in Frenchmen Street (better beads than vomit!), New Orleans has some artistic anchor for me, too, a sense of creative home. All of my favourite cities do. If they don’t, then they’re just a nice place to pass through.
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