Sunday, June 20, 2010

"treh-MAY" - Episode #5: "Shame, Shame, Shame"

(All photos/general information can be found @ or Wikipedia.)

Davis (Steve Zahn) enlists the help of local musicians (for very little money) including the phenomenal Kermit Ruffins to help him create his 4-song epistle "against all that is unholy and corrupt in the government of New Orleans." Just check out his reworking of the classic "Shame, Shame, Shame," by late, great blues musician Smiley Lewis.

Toni (Melissa Leo) smiles at LaDonna (Khandi Alexander) as she walks into David's prison cell. For the very first time, we are FINALLY going to meet the REAL David (Daymo) Brooks! Relieved to see her brother, Daymo pleads with his sister to help him get out of there, while fellow inmate Keevon White sits on the top bunk laughing. LaDonna grows speechless as the dirty, muddy water begins to flood the entire cell coming up to her legs. It's not until she stares down her feet that we soon realize that it's just LaDonna's horrible nightmare. Although her brother is still lost in the system, LaDonna does get a very small dose of justice: she happily filed a civil suit against Riley, her "shady" contractor who never made good on his promise to repair her bar's roof.

Toni meets with Lt. Colson (David Morse) to help recover Antoine's trombone, which is still missing since the horrible beating he suffered at the hands of "NOLA's finest." (See Episodes 3 & 4). Meanwhile, she puts Antoine (Wendell Pierce) in touch with Mr. Toyama, one of the many Japanese jazz fans, who is willing to donate money to help out many of New Orleans' fine musicians. A bit overzealous, he impresses (maybe even overwhelms) Antoine with his detailed knowledge of jazz, and ultimately, of black musicians. As Antoine walks with Mr. Toyama to the pawn shop to buy a new trombone, Mr. Toyama insists on buying him a brand new horn. Antoine immediately puts his arm around Mr. Toyama as they head to an instrument shop.

When they arrive at the store, Mr. Toyama's knowledge is finally challenged when he and Antoine bump heads over two great jazz trombonists--Kid Ory and Honoré Dutrey. Antoine may have proved Mr. Toyama wrong. [WE KNOW OUR HISTORY BECAUSE IT'S OUR HISTORY TO KNOW!] Their argument grows so intense that the music store manager asks them if they want to take it outside. In that moment, I thought that Mr. Toyama was going to change his mind about purchasing the trombone but gladly he didn't. After a long, uncomfortable silence, they apologize to one another and Antoine insists on playing for Mr. Toyama to show his appreciation. After he finishes playing a beautiful song just outside of his home (with Desiree happily watching) Mr. Toyama hands Antoine a wad of cash.

Antoine returns to the pawn shop to buy a trombone for a friend and fellow musician who lost his during Katrina. When the owner brings him the trombone, Antoine cannot believe that he sees his own "missing" horn in a pawn shop. He looks at the shop owner and reads the inscription: "AB 1979," his initials!

Toni brings it to Lt. Colson, who in turn tries to give her money for the trombone. She insists that those arresting officers need to be held responsible for this, but Lt. Colson explains how the officers are still emotionally ravaged by the effects of Katrina. "The wheels are off the cart," says Lt. Colson. "The CRIME's coming back and we ain't ready."

"New Orleans is coming home," random people shouted out during one of the proud city's parades. It reminds me of summer block parties in Bed-Stuy--smoky grills overflowing with food for everybody, dancing, great music, and more importantly the people. People were overcome with joy to see their friends and family still alive after Katrina. "ReNew Orleans" t-shirts were everywhere and for a while, it really did feel like a renewal. But then suddenly, gun shots fired out, leaving a handful of people injured.

An unfortunate incident yes, but there isn't one city in this entire country that hasn't experienced crime in one form or another. New Orleans shouldn't be singled out as some sort of haven for violence. And I'm sure if the government actually put more money into the ENTIRE city--not just Bourbon Street--the crime would go WAY DOWN!

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