The Mardi Gras party should be starting to wind down about now in New Orleans, and elsewhere many are doing their best to emulate it, it being Tuesday and all. For your party, or for lack of one a soundtrack to your homework, here’s a pair of old and new musical celebrations to make you feel a bit like you’re there, both available free on FilmOn’s VOD service.
Stogie-smoking local, Super Bowl National Anthem-playing trumpeter, and a man who in not just the obvious way defined Fat Tuesday, Al Hirt hosts and performs this early-mid-’80s concert with down-home historical asides elucidating the bewildering plethora of musical styles to have come out of the Big Easy. Performers include Woody Herman and his Orchestra, Della Reese, banjoist Scotty Plummer and trumpeter Teddy Buckner, originally from Texas but famous for playing the Disneyland Riverboat. Another big highlight is the opportunity to see Scatman Crothers perform on guitar, a switch from his storied performances in numerous blaxpoitation films, Silver Streak or as Dick Halloran in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (this would also be one of his final on-screen appearances, but he’s great).
Showing a more forward-looking view of Mardi Gras, we have Rise: The Story of Rave Outlaw Disco Donnie. Sadly and ironically, this film was released during 2003, two years before the advent of Hurricane Katrina, but at the same time it provides images of a Mardi Gras celebration, and a scene, that would soon be altered permanently. Los Angeles ‘rave’ promoter Disco Donnie comes to town with famous DJs such as Josh Wink, Paul van Dyk, Tommie Sunshine, John Aquaviva and Q*Bert. Interesting side interviews with old-time local theater promoters, rave denizens and performers, security officials and street partiers give a nice combination of entertainment and verité insight. The juxtaposition of ‘gloving’ and ‘lightsticking’ dancers and bead throwing paraders and tarot readers doesn’t get old. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
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