Sunday, July 10, 2005

Miss New Orleans, Miss Jane and Wang Chi's Search for the Holy Grail

I went out Friday evening with Miss Jane and Wang Chi in search of The Holy Grail. Although the night began with the search for Monty Python's Holy Grail we also found ourselves searching for Miss Jane's Holy Grail.

Our friend, Miss Jane (one of her many pseudonyms) was having a hard time getting into the party mood. She e-mailed me shortly before 5:00 p.m. saying she had a headache and didn't know if she would be joining us. I convinced her that a couple of cocktails and clever conversation with me and Mr. Chi would fix her right up. The quest for Miss Jane's Holy Grail of Fun had begun.

We started out at a little pub on Crockett Street but her mood didn't improve when the bar allegedly ran out of the wine she had been drinking. After a brief discussion, we decided that rather than Miss Jane changing beverages, we would leave in search of another bar. As we stood to leave, we heard a huge commotion behind us. We turned and noticed about six people at the bar yelling at something toward the door. We turned around and looked back toward the door (no one was behind us) then back toward the bar where now about ten people were yelling in our general direction. It turned out they were yelling at us. They had found more of Miss Jane's wine. After unintentionally creating such a scene, we decided to stay there until it was time to walk to the movie.

As we were on the way to the movie, Miss Jane again tried to bail on us. We convinced her that although our scintillating conversation and a couple of glasses of wine hadn't improved her mood, surely some Monty Python antics would do the trick. We walked to the newly and beautifully refurbished Jefferson Theater to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The theater was about two-thirds filled with a large and enthusiastic crowd. Some were even in costume. All around us, we could hear people quoting from the movie and I couldn't wait to see the movie on the big screen with a theater full of people who also loved the movie. Did you know there are Monty Python action figures? And, that you can actually buy helmets and tunics and swords? Neither did I.

Finally, the lights went down, everyone cheered and the credits began to roll. However, it soon became evident that there was a sound problem. I don't know anything about movie sound but it seemed that the track with the music was fine while the track with the dialogue was scratchy and barely audible. It was heartbreaking to watch the video and not be able to also experience the hilarious dialogue. The disappointment of the crowd was palpable.

The projectionist ran the movie up to the point of the French Taunter and finally gave up. With many heartfelt apologies, someone got on stage and told us the distributor had sent the Jefferson a 'trick print' of the film and they would try to get a good copy and reschedule the screening. As you might guess this didn't help Miss Jane's mood. She blamed herself and the little black cloud that had followed her around all day.

We headed back to Crockett Street once again convincing Miss Jane to give us just one more chance. There was to be a street party with one of my favorite Baton Rouge bands, Cam Pyle, playing. Surely, surely that would do the trick. When we got back to Crockett Street, there was no stage set up and we eventually found out that the street party had been canceled because of rain earlier in the day and because of the threat of rain that had been forecast for that night (which never occurred).

Our last, last chance to find Miss Jane's Holy Grail of Fun would happen in TEN where the consumption of a Sugar Baby martini or two would surely do the trick. (Zina, I finally got the ingredients for the Sugar Baby: Bailey's, Vanilla Vodka, Kahlua, Buttershots and cream with caramel drizzled across the top.) While my Sugar Baby was yummy as usual, Miss Jane declared hers 'not foamy enough.' I fear that her little black cloud had grown to her own personal Hurricane Dennis at that point and there was no way out for her other than mandatory evacuation.

Miss Jane finally broke free from our death grip of the promise of better times just around the next corner and left Wang and I in TEN. We moved on to the Star Bar where we happened to run into my son and his wife and his sister-in-law and her boyfriend. Eventually, we went to get a hamburger at the biker bar where we ran into my sister and her husband then went back to the Star Bar to finish out the evening. I love Crockett Street.

Finding fun for me is less of a search for an elusive Holy Grail and more like just reaching for one of those plastic Mardi Gras cups that fill up kitchen cabinets all over south Louisiana and southeast Texas. They're always within reach and there's plenty for everyone. You just have to open your eyes, know where to look and reach out and grab it.


Glod said...

The translation of the Japanese version of the French Taunter scene is funny, you can get it on the Dvd.

Glod said...

This is good also.

Laurie said...

Glod - My son borrowed my DVD and I haven't seen it again. I guess I need to consider it a loss and go buy me another one. I gladly donate my first copy to his collection. Thanks for the link. I especially liked the South Park tribute to Monty Pythong. How perfect!

Laurie said...

Oops...I meant Monty Python of course, not Monty Pythong. Freudian slip I suppose. :)

Susan in St. Paul said...

I can't imagine Wang not being able to cheer someone up, he always has me, and the added attraction of you, Laurie, alcohol and Monty Plython seems to be an unbeatable combination. It sounds like Jane maybe didn't want to be cheered up.
At least you had a good time!
Too bad about the film.
Did Wang wear any of his costumes?

sleepybomb said...

a chance to see the grail and they crap on ya? jeesh .. . the only time i saw it big was at the old gentilly orleans when it first came out. i would love to see it like that again .
we did get the grail 2-dvd thingy and it is wonderful, 'specially the 2nd disc, some of it is funnier than the flick.
. . . and poor miss jane seems in need of a month-long nite in the easy, throwing caution to the wind.. .
oh yeah, we gotta get over there soon, sounds like a very fun street indeed.

Zina said...

Ok...since movies are my business. There is no such thing as a "trick" print. There are test prints. They have a bad center channel. This print is so old it has none of the new hi-tech digital soundtracks on it. The film has a soundtrack on it which runs on the edge of the print, when it goes through the projector a light hits it and the sound comes out of the speaker. There are three speakers across the front of the screen. The center channel and then the right and left. The ONLY channel that plays dialogue is the center one. Everything else comes through the right and left. That is why I know exactly what was wrong. We've blown tons of center speakers. When that happens you're pretty much screwed. Test print my ass. I hope you at least got a free pass. I normally give refunds and passes. It ust pissed me off when I hear about bad experiences from friends and family and then find out the managers BS'ed them and didn't compensate them. You can get passes for movies all the time. You just have to bitch at a manager and if nothing else they will give you one just so they don't have to hear you anymore. (Sad as that sounds regarding my own profession.) I could go on and on and tell you about the "soft focus" story but I am taking up so much of your space...well, someday I will start my own blog.

Rik said...


Laurie said...

Susan - Wang didn't wear any of his costumes but he said he might when they reshow the movie.

Sleepybomb - I never got to watch the second DVD before my son borrowed it. I might go buy it again tonight. I would love to escort you guys around Crockett Street!

Zina - Thanks for the info! It definitely sounded like a blown speaker to me but what do I know? They offered our money back but we just considered it a contribution to the theater. They also said we could use our ticket stubs to see anything else we want or to see the Grail when they play it again but I'll probably just buy another ticket. I don't think those guys make much money. It's not a regular theater. It's a historic landmark or something.

Rik - Zoot!

Shelli said...

I love that movie! However my husband just doesn't get it. I applaud you on your determination to remove the little black cloud that had been following your friend around. For me...if I was in the right mood I might have considered it a challenge...otherwise I might have sent her home. Sometimes I don't have the patience. You are a true friend!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

So, Tex, how's the old liver these days?

Susan said...

He treats those poor costumes so badly, they never get to go out, LOL!

I will believe it when I see it. If he does, please get a picture Laurie!

Laurie said...

Shelli - I'm hoping that after a couple of days, she will remember the night fondly.

Old Horsetail - Getting older by the minute.

Susan - You got it!

Abby Taylor said...

Nice post, Laurie. Very entertaining.

Laurie said...

Abby - Thank you ma'am.