Last week, Mr. Postman brought me an official certificate of appreciation from the Red Cross, for my services during the hurricane disaster relief efforts. Thoughtful, very; necessary, not so much. I happily donated more time and money than I could afford to Katrina relief. But my biggest contribution was taking in an old friend, a pure breed New Orleans native displaced by the disaster. Due to a lack of available housing (including his own), he couldn't go home for Mardi Gras. So I took him out to celebrate his favorite Big Easy holiday, Queen City style.
We kicked off Mardi Gras at Beads for Needs at Founders Hall. My objective at the party was to earn as many beads as possible. No, I didn't buy them at the cost of my self-respect. Beads were paid for with donations to the New Orleans Tourism Rebirth Fund. So I had more beads than a chick from Girls Gone Wild. We caught up with five girlfriends of mine, all of us augmenting the percentage of total girls present. Let's just say it was appropriate that the buffet only consisted of sausage hors d'oeuvres, because, like most uptown events, it was a total sausage fest. The party was located in the Bank of America building, so inevitably it was a room full of bankers and a few babes. Sorry about the ratio, dudes.
Meanwhile, The Voltage Brothers played to a mostly empty dancefloor. My group opted to leave the party and go check out uptown's new bar, The Attic.
The highlight of Mardi Gras weekend was Dave Chappelle's appearance in Charlotte, after what he referred to as just a two-week vacation in Africa. I skipped the show at Ovens and went to the more intimate show at The Comedy Zone. Between bumming cigarettes from the crowd, emulating the act of jerking off, and ordering fries, Chappelle told his second audience of the night, "I ain't got no jokes, I just came out." He doesn't need written jokes, he is even more entertaining when he freestyles -- and I am critiquing from experience. When living in New York, I attended two live tapings of his Comedy Central show. Chappelle is funnier when he is raw and his humor isn't suffocated by corporate restraints. No wonder he walked away from $50 million dollars and had to suffer from the "pussy strike" he says his wife put him on as a result.
Chappelle invited the crowd out to Club Tempo for Erykah Badu's birthday party.
I had been there earlier in the week for the screening of the "rockumentary" Electric Purgatory: the Fate of the Black Rocker. That night, for the event hosted by CL's own Kandia Crazy Horse, the club's tempo was all rock. I was intrigued to learn about how the corporate separation of music genres has blighted black rockers' progress. My night was dedicated to honoring featured artists like Fishbone, Shelly Nicole's BlakBushe, and Rick James. I'm Rick James, biiiiiatch!
No, actually, Dave Chappelle held court at the Tempo afterparty, not his post-coke alter-ego. And we greatly enjoyed his visit to the Queen City.
However, Chappelle actually said something that wasn't so funny. At Comedy Zone, he commented that people booed during the Ovens show when he announced that the afterparty was on Wilkinson Boulevard. "I've never been booed for saying a street name. What is so bad about Wilkinson Boulevard?" he asked. Good question, Dave! During their concert at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre last summer, country stars Big & Rich announced that their afterparty would be at Coyote Joe's (also on Wilkinson), and everyone cheered. There was a line of cowboy hats at the door longer than those for a Carowinds roller coaster. I walked right into Coyote Joe's because I traveled to the bar with Big & Rich. Yet last weekend, I walked right inside Club Tempo because there was no line. I had a stage front view of the musical stylings of local musicians The Company backing special guest/birthday girl Erykah Badu and her sister, Nayrok. Meanwhile, Chappelle was onstage for the third time that evening, and my dimples were starting to get sore from overuse. Chappelle sold out two venues, yet many locals never proceeded to Club Tempo -- even at personal invitation from him. What's up with this Charlotte?
Psst: If you have the inside dirt on good parties, shows or club events, drop me a line.