I’ve heard of the 9th Ward hipster scene, but I never checked it out until this past Saturday night, when Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat re-opened the Spellcaster Lodge. I’d never been there before, but I’ve been a fan of Quintron ever since I heard his Satanic croaking organ cover of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” (mp3). On the bill for the Grand Re-opening: Black Lips, Quintron and Pussycat, Uncle Flim Flam and DJ Jubilee.
Tony and I stopped first at the Saturn Bar for a beer, then made our way across St. Claude. The Spellcaster is the lower floor of a house, and you could easily miss it because the entrance is in the rear. But eventually we found our way in. I don’t know what the place looked like before the flood, but they redecorated in high kitsch, complete with bubbling water-filled “porthole” lights and sparkly-shaggy wallpaper and little display cases with tableus of pinecone people. The place was filling with a mix of interesting folk of every description. I started to get a real David Lynch Blue Velvet vibe. I think the drugs were kicking in.
Though their website said “we now have air conditioning” and “ventillation,” as the grew it got hotter and hotter inside. I heard one person refer to it as the “Spellcaster Sweatlodge.” Another person said the heat was making him hallucinate. I swear it must have been up to a hundred degrees when I went to the bar.
And who should be working behind the bar but Antoinette K-Doe, widow of the late Emperor of the Universe himself. It was so hot I was worried for her health.
Fortunately it was very nice outside, but even the back yard was getting crowded. Soon Tony and I adjourned to the Saturn. I never even got to see any of the musical acts. But never fear, there was an interesting crowd at the Saturn now, overflow from the Spellcaster perhaps. Tony and I perched on the balcony to drink and talk and watch the crowd. I found it a fascinating spectacle, even though I felt a bit like an anthropologist. I saw plenty of people I recognized from living in New Orleans for the past seven years.
It reminded me of the microscene back in Bloomington, Indiana in the mid-90s (which continues to this day, as I confirmed during my evacuation). But there were a couple of key differences. Here there was more diversity of age and race. And back in Bloomington I knew most everybody’s name.
I think they must mix ‘em strong at the Saturn, because I woke up Sunday with a killer hangover. Thankfully this motivated me to get some more work done on ROX #94. It’s almost finished.