First ever screening of Un Heard Of will be on Tuesday, 11/28

The New Orleans rock scene in the early '90s was something of an anomaly. Dozens of bands were making original, influential music, but few people knew those bands even existed. That’s where Jody Smith’s Un Heard Of: An Underground Rock Documentary comes in.

Un Heard Of is by New Orleans filmmaker Jody Smith and depicts the peaks and valleys of the New Orleans rock scene from the early '90s through today. Un Heard Of contains anecdotes about booze and death while it traces the current scene's roots back fifteen years with such bands as the now-defunct Black Problem, Lump and the Nipples of Isis and still-thriving bands like Suplecs and Morning 40 Federation. This breathtaking documentary shows how these musicians coexisted in an environment rattled by politics, heritage, and lunacy; an environment that notoriously “won’t let new people have a chance.”

The first public screening of Un Heard Of, brought to you by ANTIGRAVITY and Timecode:NOLA, will be on Tuesday, November 28th at Republic (828 South Peters St.). ANTIGRAVITY is a monthly publication that focuses on underground culture (inlcuding music, comics and film) and Timecode:NOLA is a local non-profit organization that screens local filmmakers at screenings and on Cox Channel 10 (Thursdays, 7:30pm). Don't miss this event—discover another side of the New Orleans music scene that you may not have heard before.

When: Tuesday, 11/28, 9pm
Where: Republic, 828 South Peters St., www.republicnola.com
Cover: $6; FREE, fresh popcorn provided
Contact: Leo McGovern, 504.881.7508, leo@antigravitymagazine.com

By the way—if you're in one of the bands featured in the film, drop me a line at my above e-mail and we'll get you and a guest in for free.

First ever screening of Un Heard Of on Tuesday, 11/28

The New Orleans rock scene in the early '90s was something of an anomaly. Dozens of bands were making original, influential music, but few people knew those bands even existed. That’s where Jody Smith’s Un Heard Of: An Underground Rock Documentary comes in.

Un Heard Of is by New Orleans filmmaker Jody Smith and depicts the peaks and valleys of the New Orleans rock scene from the early '90s through today. Un Heard Of contains anecdotes about booze and death while it traces the current scene's roots back fifteen years with such bands as the now-defunct Black Problem, Lump and the Nipples of Isis and still-thriving bands like Suplecs and Morning 40 Federation. This breathtaking documentary shows how these musicians coexisted in an environment rattled by politics, heritage, and lunacy; an environment that notoriously “won’t let new people have a chance.”

The first public screening of Un Heard Of, brought to you by ANTIGRAVITY and Timecode:NOLA, will be on Tuesday, November 28th at Republic (828 South Peters St.). ANTIGRAVITY is a monthly publication that focuses on underground culture (inlcuding music, comics and film) and Timecode:NOLA is a local non-profit organization that screens local filmmakers at screenings and on Cox Channel 10 (Thursdays, 7:30pm). Don't miss this event—discover another side of the New Orleans music scene that you may not have heard before.

When: Tuesday, 11/28, 9pm
Where: Republic, 828 South Peters St., www.republicnola.com
Cover: $6; FREE, fresh popcorn provided
Contact: Leo McGovern, 504.881.7508, leo@antigravitymagazine.com

(no subject)

So I'm back in the N.O. area. I'm lucky enough that my parents' place in Marrero was undamaged, so we got back into the area yesterday, armed with work passes since I'm technically a healthcare employee (my dayjob is working with people who have disabilities).

Today, armed with press passes for ANTIGRAVITY, my girlfriend Michelle and I ventured to our home in Mid-City, around that area, and Uptown.

Don't let anyone fool you, there is a lot of damage. Mid-City took on a lot of water (we went as far as Carollton and Canal, and the area closest to Canal took on the least water (about 6 feet).

Uptown has a lot of wind damage, but not much flooding. We actually ate a ham sandwich from Slim Goodys. They were open, albeit briefly, to feed some of the workers around the area.

Magazine St. looks mostly fine. A window damaged here and there, but nothing looked looted, storefront-wise.

The flooded areas are pretty bad. There was nearly no one in Mid-City when we were there, but there were a bunch of people Uptown, mostly Entergy and Bellsouth workers and people cutting trees down. Uptown'll get back on its feet pretty quickly, I think.

On with the pictures:

Angelo Broccato, off of Carollton and Canal. A window was busted out too.
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The theatre on Coliseum St.
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How crazy is this? Busted up but still working.
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The Juan's of Mid-City. Didn't look in, but flooded for sure.
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The scene outside of Slim Goodys. Magazine St. should come back fast.
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The Superdome from another angle.
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Ah, the Delachaise. Hopefully it'll be back.
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Wrong place at the wrong time, I guess.
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Workers have decided to use Washington Ave. at Clairborne for a dump. (the picture is mislabeled as napoleon)
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There are boats seemingly plunked down randomly on land. This is on Canal St. closer to Claiborne.
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This is one photo of my house before the storm.
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And after.
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So....where was I?

If I remember correctly, Michelle and I were in Houston and as the situation in N.O. continued to deteriorate we began to plan our next move....(sounds like a "last week in *insert TV show name here,* doesn't it?)

My parents, when they left New Orleans, went to West Memphis, Arkansas to a hotel room. They were joined by my uncle Johnny, his daughter and her family, and my uncle Eddie and his family. After being there for a few days they wanted to leave the hotel, so they decided to accept the offer to go to St. Louis, extended by Bob and Ann. Bob and Ann are old friends of my parents, and they left New Orleans around 15 years ago to move to Belleville, which is actually about ten minutes out of STL, much like Marrero's relationship to New Orleans. My mother almost immediately began to bug me and Michelle about joining them up there.

I basically had to credit card it from New Orleans to Houston, as I only had a tad more than $100 in my checking out. I had a bit more in the AG account, but refrained from touching that, not knowing when I'd need it. If we went to St. Louis, we'd at least have food and stuff paid for, and FEMA wasn't exactly beating our door down to give us relocation money.

I thought it would be more prudent to go directly to Lafayette and try to find a place, figuring once people got over the shellshock of being displaced all the apartments and houses would be snapped up. That would prove to be exactly the case, but looking back it's not like we could've done that if we wanted to, because it's not like we had money to put down for a deposit. The only money Michelle had was in the form of her last bartending check from TwiRoPa, less than $50.

The odd thing is we'd been in Houston about a month before, when we evacuated for Hurricane Dennis. That was an absolute vacation compared to this, though. We liked Houston, I guess because we were already passingly familiar with it. I visited the comic shop I'd been to before, we got coffee from the Starbucks by the Galleria (yes, I absolutely despise Starbucks, and Michelle and I got into a fight about it in San Francisco when I refused to lend her two dollars so she could buy a Starbucks cookie, not wanting my money to go into their pockets....but there aren't any indie coffeeshops in Houston that we knew of, and coffee needs outweight morals, I guess), visiting the House Of Pies....we could certainly see a life in Houston, if that's what we wanted.

It was about this time that defections started to annoy me. I can't blame people for feeling like they can't go back to New Orleans. It's been a difficult time. A lot of people have lost everything. A lot of people have lost almost everything. A lot of people (myself included) don't yet know what they've lost. It's hard to envision New Orleans being normal again. That said, I know that my heart is in New Orleans. For better or worse I'm married to the city. It's treated me well at times and made me work my ass off at other times, but I can't imagine living anywhere else. Wherever I go I compare that place to New Orleans, and nowhere compares favorably. Some people don't feel that way. They've already washed their hands of the city and claim they won't return. Maybe it's easier for people who grew up in other places to stay away. But I can't agree with anyone who called New Orleans home and won't return to rebuild. I think staying away is taking the easy way out, and, to be honest, I could never look at those people, whoever they are, the way I once did if they return AFTER everything is rebuilt and working again. Take part in the process or stay away. It's just how I feel.

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 1ST

Michelle and I decided that we'd go to St. Louis to see my family and wait until we got our FEMA money, which would allow us to go to Lafayette or wherever. I spend four hours at a Saturn dealership getting my car looked at. I was already a few hundred miles over when I should've gotten my oil changed, and that, combined with having an egg in the front tire and this weird wobbling when the car went over 70 mph, made me a bit wary about driving 900+ miles without it being looked at. It's a good thing I did, because one of the back tires, which I'd put a Fix-A-Flat in a couple months back, had its insides nearly rotted out.

The Saturn place was a weird experience. When I first drove up, this guy came out and asked what I needed done. I told him my situation, that I'd left New Orleans and was planning on going farther north and needed this stuff checked out before. He said that was fine, and asked if I planned to wait on the car. Before I could respond, he said, "Well, I'm sure you are because it's not like you're going home any time soon!" All I could do is look at him while he laughed at his bad joke.

Then I'm sitting in the waiting area, and some woman sat next to me. The secretary, who evidently knew this woman, came over and said, "I just HAVE to forward you this e-mail. It's called "Why you deserve to lose everything you own in a fire!" I sat there and thought, "maybe I'm just a tad touchy today, but I've maybe lost everything I own, and I don't find that particularly funny." But I said nothing because I didn't want to create a scene, or be one of those people who flip out because my world's upside down and others are normal.

On the bright side, the manager of the dealership only charged me parts, not labor, and didn't charge me for the tune-up and 20,000 mile checkup, which brought my almost $600 bill down to under $250, with two new tires included. Which almost made up for the (maybe) unintentional rudeness of his employees.

NEXT: St. Louis

A Recollection

So I've decided to actually keep a journal for once. I haven't posted in my old LJ, "facialhair," for awhile, partly because the system locked me out of it for some reason, partly because I was too busy to keep up with it. I figure I should keep a log of where I've been and what I've done of the past week and a half, because it'll be difficult to recall it all in the future. I think it'll be good to centralize my thoughts about all this, too. I'll date everything I can.

Saturday, August 27th 2005

Business as usual, as odd as that sounds. We were aware of the storm, but as most people, we figured it would turn eastward and spare us, much like Ivan did last year. I did take the day off of work, since so many people were evacuating it would've been difficult to get out to Metairie, and I did want to watch the news. Michelle and I decided to wait at least until the 11 p.m. tracking map came out before we made plans to leave. In the afternoon we went over to Noah's house to work on AG, and we did little work before conversation turned towards leaving. Noah and Eden had a houseguest, a friend from Austin. I was all about leaving if the track map didn't change, because at that point the map had New Orleans set to take a direct hit. Michelle and Noah didn't want to leave. They had the same mindset that a lot of people did, I think. It would turn, surely, like every other storm in our lifetimes did. We figured that it'd be better if we left, though, because we needed electricity to run our computers and internet access to turn in the magazine when it was time. Just to be sure we had a place to go, I called our friend Toby, who lives in Houston, and he said we could stay at his place if we needed to.

Noah, Eden, and their houseguest took a vote, and they decided to leave. Michelle still didn't want to leave, but agreed to wait until that 11p.m. tracking map. She wanted to go to work, at TwiRoPa for Latin Night, because we figured we'd still have to pay rent whether we left or not. We left Noah and Eden to pack their house, went home and cooked dinner. I actually continued work on AG. Our deadline was Monday the 29th, and if we wanted to stay on schedule, or close to it, it needed to get done. Michelle left to go to work, and I watched the news.

The more I watched the news the stronger I felt we needed to leave. At that point the only thing stopping Nagin from calling the first ever mandatory evacuation of New Orleans was some antiquated law. Now that landfall was inside of 48 hours, they all felt that the tracking map would hold. The 11pm map was unchanged, so I started packing. In hindsight I should've packed a lot more, but I guess I still felt that it would turn at the last minute. I never thought that we wouldn't be able to go home for awhile, and at the same time figured that moving stuff around in the house was futile. If it flooded, a foot here or there wouldn't make a difference.

Michelle wound up getting cut from work at midnight (because, who'd've guessed, Latin Night was dead). She'd already packed a bag, so I packed mine, filled our ice chest with groceries we'd bought earlier in the day, packed the dogs a few bowls of food, put all my business papers and checkbook in a bag, and grabbed my laptops, then loaded the car.

Back in the day when I'd evacuate for hurricanes with my family, I'd load all my comics into my mom's van. Fifteen years ago that was just a box or two, consisting of maybe a thousand comics. Now it's dozens of boxes consisting of maybe 50,000 comics, not counting all the hardcovers, novels, statues, posters, original art and other assorted stuff that I've collected over the years. There was no way I could take all of it, and I brought no books with me. There just wasn't room in the car for us, the dogs, our essentials and comics. The only thing I brought was a piece of Andi Watson original GEISHA art I bought in San Diego '02. Why I grabbed that I don't know. I didn't even grab my book of autographs. The only other thing I took was a pop-up book Michelle made for me months ago.

We left New Orleans around 1:30 am, sat in a bit of contraflow traffic, and arrived in Houston around 8am. We took Toby to breakfast and basically watched the news all day Sunday. Monday there was nothing to do but wait for the storm, so we watched the news while Toby was at work, then after he got home went to a Landmark and saw THE ARISTOCRATS. By then the storm was over, and we knew the 9th Ward was flooded and St. Bernard too. Still, New Orleans had dodged another bullet, as the storm met a front just before it hit land, weakening it a bit and pushing it just eastward. We figured we'd get to go home by the end of the week at the latest. But, before we went to bed, I said, "Well, we still need to hope the levees hold."

Tuesday I was woken up by my mother, who asked if I'd heard the news. The levees broke. I rushed to my computer and opened the WWL TV page. One thing still running in New Orleans was WWL, broadcasting from their French Quarter studio and also from an emergency studio in Baton Rouge. They were broadcasting through the internet, and luckily Toby has DSL. No stream up, only an announcement stating that the 17th St. Canal had broken and the tidal surge threatened to flood the city. The dreaded "bowl effect" was going to happen after all.

The day or two after that is a blur. I watched the news nearly every waking moment, figuring that Michelle's and my home was underwater, knowing that New Orleans would never be the same, not know if it would simply ever be anything again. I kind of came to grips with the notion that not only was my business in ruins, but all the money and effort and love I put into collecting all those comics over a span of over 15 years were likely washed away. I read that Bayou St. John started to overflow, and that the American Can Co. building had water up to cars' bumpers. We held hope that Mid-City hadn't flooded, but that only lasted until Michelle saw a picture of Jesuit High School, which is only blocks from our house. It had five feet of water in it.

With New Orleans starting to take a turn for the worse, I thought about the people I knew still in the city. Al was at a hotel in the CBD. Worse, Donald was at Lindy Boggs Hospital with his girlfriend. She was considered an "essential employee" and couldn't leave, so he stayed with her. The hospital is near our house, and I also read that its basement flooded. The Times Picayune story called it a "minor annoyance," but it was bad news for our place, no matter how easily they dealt with it. How would they get out?

Besides those two, though, it seemed as if everyone else I knew had gotten out. Dre was already in Dallas with her sister. Rami'd left for Lafayette and his brother's house. Even AJ and his family left, and they refused to leave for every other hurricane. Phone service to the 504 area code was down, so it was nearly impossible to get through to anyone. Maybe one in 100 calls went through.

As the situation in New Orleans worsened, Michelle and I began to plan our future. Would we stay in Houston? Go to Austin? We know someone there who could put us up. Lafayette? It seemed like most people we know ended up there. Baton Rouge? It was quickly becoming a clusterfuck with the sudden influx of people.

I debated the future of AG. I knew I wanted it to continue. We'd all worked too hard to get as far as we had just to let it slip away. Still, our new office, four blocks from the Superdome, was likely rubble. Our staff, scattered throughout the country, had members contemplating not returning. But, I figured, if we could even do an online edition, or a smaller format, and it would brighten up someone by reminding them of home, then I had to do it. I knew then that AG would continue at some point. When and where I still didn't know. We were planning to expand into Lafayette and Baton Rouge, so it made sense to try to set up shop in either city.

More in the next post.