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  • #46
    Originally posted by belyin View Post
    hipsterati
    I am absolutely stealing that term.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by belyin View Post
      The arrival of d.b.a. signaled a change to the Frenchmen Street scene as well as continuation. It was the first instance of outside (in this case New York) money coming into the scene bringing an early instance of the gentrification that would overtake the Marigny in coming years. And in a continuation in that it was just a bar when it opened and a neighborhood bar at that. And like most of it’s precursors on the street, it started having music because musicians on the scene wanted/needed a place to play and talked the owners into it. (Another later example was the Spotted Cat which was a bar without much of an obvious purpose or appeal when it opened. The first time a went there was when guitarist Warren Batiste started a solo gig there.) At turn of the century, the stalwarts of the 90’s scene were in retreat: Café Istanbul had become the trad. club Tin Roof Café before transitioning into various iterations of the Blue Nile, Café Brasil had largely abandoned live music in favor of raves for the younger set (“they don’t want it anymore” said Adé about live music.) The Dragon’s Den was shut down by a licensing problem, and Kaldi’s had succumbed to the tourist incursion down Decatur Street. So opening d.b.a. to music was a godsend to the scene, especially for the more intimate projects of the scene’s musicians–ones that didn’t fit at the Mermaid Lounge or Tipitina’s .

      While I was never a beer or whiskey person, I was in d.b.a. several nights a week, and almost always on Monday nights when Rob Wagner and his trio with James Singleton and a secession of great drummers (Kevin O’Day, Mark DeFlorio, James Alsanders, Ocie Davis) held forth right up to Katrina. This gig enabled Rob the opportunity to play and explore his ever extending book of original compositions and provided the material for three of the cd’s I have produced on Rob. And d.b.a. also provided space for Jonathan Freilich’s Naked on the Floor, which was my second cd. I figure at least 25% of the cds I have sold have been sold at d.b.a.! At first there was no stage at all: the musicians played in a corner of the second room, then a small short platform in the corner (barely big enough for a trio) and then the platform extended across the width of the room. There was no p.a. and the beginning and no need as the sliding doors would be closed if the other room was too talkative. There were several rows of theater seats left over from the space’s earlier life as The Marigny Theater. It was an intimate listening space for acoustic music; one that was essentially ruined as they built the raise dead rocknroll stage that required a P.A. and was useless for improvised music and horn players in general, but it reflected the new realities of the club business on Frenchmen Street.

      For me there have been many memorable musical nights at d.b.a. from Hermeto Pascal’s drummer sitting in with Naked on the Floor and blowing everyone’s mind to the Klezmer All-Stars on Mardi Gras (taking over from Café Brasil) to the return of live music to the street after Katrina with an impromptu set featuring street fixtures Kenny Claiborne and Adé. But the most meaningful for me was Monday December 5, 2005. That summer I had finally got the great Chicago drummer Hamid Drake to commit to a recording project with Rob Wagner scheduled for that September. Of course Katrina scuttled those plan, but somehow I managed to reschedule for December. Rob was exiled in New York and bassist Nobu Ozaki had relocated to Portland, All three flew in that day for their first return since the storm and played that night–what had been Rob’s usual gig. I put up a few flyers but I wasn’t expecting many people (there were so few in town.) When we arrived at the bar, the back room was full with young people sitting all over the floor and waiting patiently. It was such a beautiful, healing homecoming scene, and it set the tone for the recording session over the next two days in Café Brasil were we set up a temporary recording studio courtesy of Mark Bingham and Adé.

      Scenes are ephemeral, fragile things. Their essential moments pass but the remains can be milked by savvy business people for a very long time (e.g.: Pigalle in Paris, MacDougal St in New York, etc.) Frenchmen Street will never return to what is was no matter who runs d.b.a. or its successor. But that fact shouldn’t tarnish our memories or squash our imagination of what is possible somewhere else and in the future.
      Great memories and insights! I miss the days back in the 90s of Cafe Brazil, the old The Dragon’s Den, Mermaid Lounge and also The Funky Butt. We would stop by any of those places without even knowing who was playing as the chances were something cool would be going on. Not the case anymore. I rarely ever go to Frenchman St anymore except to maybe hit Snug for some jazz or a happy hour at Maison or dba when friends are in town. Plenty of good music still around town but not nearly as much as in years past and not as many interesting, funky venues although there may actually be more music venues than back then. Yes, scenes come and go. I miss those funky bands like Iris May Tango, Mas Mamones, Naked on the Floor, Smilin' Myron, Klezmer All Stars with Willie Green or Stanton, early Galactic, The Flavor Kings, All That, Coolbone and many others that I have long forgotten about.

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      • #48
        Rumor on the street is DBA was sold to Mike Motwani. Yep.....Mr. cheap t-shirt/souvenir shop man. If true, this would be terrible.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Marignygregg View Post
          Rumor on the street is DBA was sold to Mike Motwani. Yep.....Mr. cheap t-shirt/souvenir shop man. If true, this would be terrible.
          Oh well, at least it's a local and not some NYC interlopers like d.b.a., amirite jjazznj ?

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Marignygregg View Post
            Rumor on the street is DBA was sold to Mike Motwani. Yep.....Mr. cheap t-shirt/souvenir shop man. If true, this would be terrible.
            So....the latest rumor is that this rumor is just a rumor. Carry on.....

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Marignygregg View Post
              Rumor on the street is DBA was sold to Mike Motwani. Yep.....Mr. cheap t-shirt/souvenir shop man. If true, this would be terrible.
              Rumor two years ago was that Ade sold Cafe Brasil to Motwani--I heard it from two very different sources, but in the end it came to nothing. As the journalists say, "Don't believe anything it until it has been officially denied."

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              • #52
                The Treme Brass Band had a live-streamed show from inside (an empty) dba yesterday, and donations were collected for club staff. Don't know what this means for the future, but at the moment it's still there.

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