The Women’s March New Orleans: 2017 Jazz Funeral For Democracy.

On Saturday January 21, 2017, the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as America’s 45th President, more than a million women took to the streets all over the world in protest as part of The Women’s March.

Here in New Orleans, the streets of the Crescent City were packed with upwards of 10,000 marchers, and I was one of them.

It was a protest march infused with New Orleans’ signature mix, when roused, of fabulous fun and banked fury. After meeting  in Washington Park, thousands of marchers spilled out onto Esplanade Ave, turned on Decatur Street and then onwards into the heart of the French Quarter. The glitz and glitter were on display as protesters made their feelings about America’s latest president known in no uncertain terms.

dump-trumpAs Trump settles in to squat in the Oval Office for as long as he can,  his willing mouthpiece, Kellyanne Conway, told ABC News that she “didn’t see the point” to The Women’s March on Washington, possibly the only thing that I have heard Conway say that I actually believe.

The Women’s March may be the largest protest demonstration in US history, and she doesn’t see the point.

More than 1 million women marching in the US capital and other cities around the world against Trump, her client in the White House, and she doesn’t see the point. 500,000 people marching in Washington alone, and she doesn’t see the point.

However, she does see the point of what she has coined “Alt-facts.”

Alt-facts – a phrase that surely has Orwell spinning in his grave – is just the latest of a series of gambits by this gang of rapacious hucksters to see what they invent, what they can co-opt, and what they can get away with.

But here’s the thing, there are no “Alt-facts”,  just like there is no “Alt-right.” An “Alt-fact” is a lie, the “Alt-right”are Nazis and White Supremacists. Climate change is real. Trump, at his inauguration, is the least popular president in history of the United States. Those crowds were small, and so, apparently, are his hands. These are the facts. Alt-facts are nothing. They don’t exist, except in the feverish minds of Trump and his detestable cabal.silenceConway also very much sees the point in trying, by all means possible, to get people to agree with her lies despite any and all evidence to the contrary, including the evidence of their own eyes. She definitely sees the point in demonizing the press as she deflects real questions while wittering on about whatever agenda she has been paid to push, beating about any and every bush instead of actually answering the question. Her tone drips with condescension  as she regurgitates her stinking mishmash of bile and bullshit, catchphrases and untruths, on radio, on paper, and on TV

“I want good relations with the press,” Conway said on air during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “But it has to be a two-way street. When I see twitter feeds, when I see words that people are using to describe this president, it is incredibly disrespectful to the office.”

The words used to describe Trump and his proposed swampish administration are not disrespectful to the office of President, but they are indicative of the respect that Trump has failed to earn during his acrimonious campaign and will no doubt continue to fail to earn in office as the 45th President.

Respecting  the office of President does not mean that you have respect the man who currently holds that office.  Trump, as a man, has earned the disrespect accorded to him over the course of his seven decades on this planet. I have no doubt that he will continue to earn that disrespect as president. I think he will earn it bigly. Wealth doesn’t equate with worth. While  Trump is wealthy, he is in no way worthy of the office he currently occupies. And he never was. Ask the CIA. Once they get over his shambling speech to them in Virginia, that is. Former CIA Director John Brennan also had a few things to say about the Memorial Wall speech.

Why did Trump choose to come out in his first White House meeting and say things that are not true? It is because Trump is a liar, it is because Sean Spicer is a liar, and it is because Conway is a liar. Why call them liars? They are liars because they lie. And they have kept lying. And no amount of  spouting “Alt-facts” alters that, much as liars would like it to.

“We are going to watch the President does, we are going to watch what the President says,” said George Stephanopoulos. “When the President speaks to the CIA and says things that aren’t true. When his press secretary goes to the podium and repeats things that are not true, is that okay? Isn’t it our responsibility in the press to call them on that? To hold them to account?”

Yes, it is.

rightsLater in the interview with Stephanopoulos, Conway demanded that the press “respect the office and its current occupant.”

The brass neck of this woman is breathtaking, but her idea of a “two-way street”, not just in regards to the press but in regards to anyone who questions her narrative, can be summed up as “ignore reality and repeat after me.”

Just days after Trump’s shoddy ill-attended inauguration,  she and Spicer attempted to ram “Alt-facts” down the throat of the press and populous, and failed. And even if Trump, with a spectacular lack of humility, does officially, via executive order,  declare the day of his inauguration a National Day of Patriotism, that doesn’t change. They failed. 

As  Trump’s version of 2017 gets its jackboots and starts its march into his self-described apocalyptic future, I, and millions of other men and women marched into ours. One in which the line drawn in the shifting sands of Trump’s post-factual world is our vigilance. our willingness to fight back, and our refusal to be silenced. 

What the future holds is anyone’s guess, but the Women’s March happened, millions of people said NO to Trump and his self-serving vision of America in a way that dwarfed  Conway’s lies. It happened. It was real. And it is not going away.

Sorry, Kellyanne. Reality is a bitch that way.

For more of my photos taken at The  Women’s March: New Orleans click here

 

Mixing With The Minx

As I walked towards The Marigny Perk to meet Ms. Trixie Minx – the artistic director of New Orleans Burlesque troupe, Fleur de Tease – I never for one second thought that I would fail to recognize her.

But when I arrived at the coffee shop, and looked around for that outrageously blonde, slyly hilarious coquette, Trixie Minx, she was nowhere to be seen. But one wave, and shouted hello later, I found myself sitting down to chat about the art of burlesque, and its place in New Orleans’ history with Trixie’s brunette alter ego.

On her days off, Trixie goes by the name of Alexis. Dressed in a perfectly fitted 1950’s style sleeveless dress – the iridescent stormy grey-green color matched her eyes exactly – Alexis is taller than I expected. Very slender, with her dark brown hair braided into two short pigtails looks she looked like platinum bombshell Trixie’s equally pretty but slightly more subdued sister.

“A lot of times people will miss me,” said Alexis, as, for the briefest second, Trixie’s brilliantly mischievous smile flashes, and sparkles across her face.

“Once I was handing out flyers for a Fleur De Tease show after a Pilates class,” she said. “So I had yoga pants, a tank top, and a hat on. I handed out this flyer to someone who said, ‘Oh, I don’t need one of these, I know Trixie.’ I was looking them right in the eye, and they didn’t recognize me.”

I am a longtime fan of burlesque shows. For me, the louche music, the sly humor, and the sheer beauty of the performers – along with the excuse to dress up and knock back a few cocktails – sing a sparkling siren song that I never really cared to resist.

A good burlesque show – and there are few things sadder, or more uncomfortable to watch, than a bad burlesque show – both fascinates and entertains me. And Ms. Minx’s burlesque dance troupe is nothing if not entertaining.

Fleur De Tease’s changing cast of burlesque dancers are equally fascinating, and include the mysterious Madame Mystere, Roxie Le Rouge, Mamie Dame and Ooops the Clown. While titillation is obviously on the menu, said Alexis, the best burlesque performances successfully dance the line between revealing all, and revealing just enough.

“I think that people’s perception of burlesque is very different from the outside,” said Alexis. “The word ‘burlesque,’ when you break it down, means ‘to joke,’ so the idea behind burlesque is more about humor than stripping. Its roots are tongue-in-cheek, so it is actually more about being silly, and making the audience laugh.”

In terms of both performance and entertainment, explained Alexis, burlesque reveals more about performers’ thought process and imagination than their physical body.

“Strip clubs are all about the flesh,” said Alexis. “Burlesque is all about the performance. It’s a circus show. It’s about breaking the barriers between performer and audience, so everyone can just enjoy a moment together – without being creepy.”

A trained ballerina, the first step Alexis took on her journey towards Trixie Minx started with a broken foot. Unable to continue ballet dancing due to her injury, she dabbled with other dance genres, before being persuaded by a fellow dancer to give burlesque a try.

“My first thought was no, no, no, no, no!” laughed Alexis. “I am a dancer! I don’t do the naked thing! But when I started performing as Trixie Minx, it felt very much like I was two different people – like Clark Kent and Superman. And the more I performed as Trixie, the more the character of Trixie took shape. Everything that I am too shy to say – or too nervous about what other people might think – Trixie has free range to say. And that is such fun.”

New Orleans has long been famous for welcoming art forms that might raise eyebrows in other less adventurous cities. While New Orleans’ casual permissiveness has not changed, the character of what might arguably be the Crescent City’s most infamously permissive street – Bourbon Street – most definitely has.

According to Alexis, in the 1940s and 1950s, both men and women would dress to nines to take in one of the many risqué shows performed nightly in famous clubs such as The Sho Bar or The Casino Royale. Since those halcyon French Quarter days, Bourbon Street has transformed into a neon Golgotha of gentlemen’s clubs, T-shirt shops, and daiquiri shops. In the French Quarter’s roiling mix of old and new, Bourbon Street can still be said to be synonymous in the minds of many with ‘a good time,’ but it can no longer, by any stretch of the imagination, still be thought of as synonymous with glamour.

Or can it?

Reclaiming Bourbon Street’s lost ‘grace and glamour,’ is something that Alexis feels is important, and, to that end, visitors to New Orleans can catch weekly Fleur de Tease performances, starring Trixie Minx in all her blonde glory, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, 300 Bourbon Street, and the Saint Hotel, 931 Canal Street.

“We rotate the cast at both hotels,” said Alexis. “It’s a little raunchy, but it’s also classy, and there is a nice ‘speakeasy vibe’ to it all. Showing everything would negate the tease. A lot of people dress up to the nines for it. And they are simply dazzling.”

Alexis’s face is once again illuminated by that blonde 10 million gigawatt smile.

“And I think I should also mention,” added Trixie Minx, fluttering her thick eyelashes demurely. “That burlesque dancers are actually born with pasties. You know that you are meant to be a burlesque dancer when you look down, and your boobs are all sparkly.”

More information about Fleur de Tease is available http://www.fleurdetease.com/shows.html