Willie Mae's Goes Uptown

New Orleans is the biggest small town in America, but leaving your neighborhood can often sound as daunting as a drive to Missouri. The Riverbend and the Bywater might as well be in separate time zones, and going to the Lakefront from the Quarter might require special vaccinations. For me, Willie Mae’s Scotch House in the Treme isn’t a lunch option; it’s a journey, and one I rarely make from Uptown even though I’ve never been disappointed.

Treme: The Wind-Down

[Spoiler Alert] I wonder if I would have felt less impatient with this week’s episode of Treme if I didn’t know that there are only two episodes to go. But I do, which made Davis’ (Steve Zahn) concerns about live music on North Rampart Street feel like a story that can’t possibly pay off. Similarly, unless Toni (Melissa Leo) can make the criminal justice system move at a pace it has yet to achieve in real life or the show, we’re not going to see the end of the wrongful death suit she’s bringing.

Treme: The Company You Keep

[Spoiler alert] The oddest element of this season of Treme so far is that the episodes don’t feel like they’re moving any closer to the end of a season or show. Even previous seasons accumulated some momentum as they neared the finale, but the show remains deliberately casual in its pacing and seems to add storylines instead of winnowing them down. 

Treme: The Beginning of the End

[Spoiler Alert] Treme returned Sunday night for its final semi-season, one thing I admired about the most recent episode is that David Simon and Eric Overmyer are sticking to their guns at every level. The show's very specific pacing continues as if they've got another season or two instead of a final five episodes. Some scenes seem to casually set up stories that will be hard to wrap up, while others are more about the moment than any story.

Andy Kaufman vs. Everybody

Fight Night: Last week, Drag City released Andy and His Grandmother, an album of conversations comedian Andy Kaufman recorded with a micro-cassette recorder in the late 1970s. First response: Jeez, Andy Kaufman must have been tough to live with. His level of commitment to his comedy is likely unrivaled, but for the family and friends who didn't choose that path, being forced to be a part of his audio verité had to be exhausting.

Kermit's Partying; What's New?

[Updated]  My relationship to Kermit Ruffins' music is complicated. When I've been most down on it, I thought he sold nostalgia for a moment that never existed; when I've been most enthusiastic, I've celebrated the clear, uncomplicated humanity in his musical voice. There are times when I felt like he'd held himself to too low a standard, letting some vocals make it to record that really weren't there, but he has also loved New Orleans in a way that goes deeper than the lyrics in his songs about it.

A Song for Ray Nagin

[Updated] For the last decade, the EMP Pop Conference has been the premiere venue for high-level music nerdery. Journalists, critics, ethnomusicologists and others who think seriously about music gather to share information, points of view, theories and takes - often on subjects that they couldn't find print homes for.