Tuesday, April 6, 2010

INSIDE STORIES PODCAST 19: LOLIS ERIC ELIE ON NEW ORLEANS IN FACT AND FICTION



LISTEN TO THE NEW PODCAST EPISODE ONLINE HERE, OR BETTER YET SUBSCRIBE TO THE FREE PODCAST ON iTUNES.
 
New Orleanians may have had a good laugh at the bomb of a TV show "K-Ville," which took place in their city. An article in Offbeat magazine said that show "was dismissed by locals almost immediately when it introduced us to a tradition we never knew we had: the gumbo party." Oh vey.

Well, strike that show off the list. But expectations are running high for an HBO series premiering this Sunday, called "Treme," named after a historic district in the city. The new show, from "The Wire" creator David Simon, follows the lives of a handful of musicians and other New Orleanians starting a few months after Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the levees. (That's the trailer for the show, above.)

The show's creators have done tons of research, cast lots of locals, and hired local writers to join the creative team -- including Lolis Eric Elie, a former New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist, and the writer of a fascinating documentary film called "Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans," which was directed by Dawn Logsdon. Lolis, in the photo at left, lives in Tremé, is the central character in the documentary, and, well, suffice it to say, he's thought a lot about the city's culture and travails and how it gets represented and why that matters. We talked about these two treatments -- one factual and one fictional -- and how each in its own way gets at some of the truth about New Orleans. 

Like what you see on HBO's "Treme"? Support an organization that the show hosted a benefit for -- the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic. They provide medical care for New Orleans musicians and other bearers of local culture -- in other words, they help keep the city's peerless music tradition alive.

Included in this episode of the podcast are a couple short snippets of music from a second line parade on Super Sunday, though I'm afraid I didn't catch the name of the tribe and band that sang and played it. If you recognize the singing / music, please let me know.

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