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Ice Cube Slim

February 24, 2010
Joe Krown Trio

Joe Krown, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Russell Basiste

The first Sunday night I went out in New Orleans, I had the pleasure of watching my dear friend John Bukaty do a live painting with his old and my new friend Frenchy at The Maple Leaf. The Joe Krown Trio, consisting of Joe Krown, Walter “Wolfman” Washington and Russell Batiste, was playing for a minor $8 cover, including crawfish.

Sunday nights at the Leaf they have a crawfish boil. For those of you who haven’t been to a boil before, it’s basically a giant vat of crawfish/shrimp/potatoes/mushrooms/sausages/pork chops/anything from the freezer boiled with delicious spices in the alley way or in the side or front yard. They set up long tables and when the food is ready, they just throw it on the table and people gather around and go to town, standing and eating without plates. It’s a beautiful, communal treat.

After the crawfish was cleared, and the music over, I was waiting for friends to gather to leave. In my “I’m-new-to-town” excitement, I introduced myself to everyone, including a 50-something year old white man named Ice Cube Slim. (I KNOW.) Cube lives in Santa Cruz but visits New Orleans several times a year. He was wearing a ball cap, red wind breaker and bright green sweat pants. After singing oldies from the jukebox on the curb for thirty minutes, he invited me, Michael and Andrea to Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets. Yes, at 3 a.m. We sat at a small metal table and ingested powdered sugar and half coffee/half hot chocolates. It was delightful.

Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty at Tipitina's

Cube and I only saw each other one more time during his Mardi Gras trip to New Orleans, not for his lack of trying. Our second and last encounter was Sunday night before Mardi Gras. The show at Tipitina’s was sold out, so he invited me to roll in with him. I rode my bike home from the parades and Cube picked me up. He was wearing a hat and multi-colored wind breaker and pocketed purple sweatpants. We walked in the side door, across the front of the stage, in front of the crowds, and watched the entire show, Kermit RuffinsRebirth Brass Band, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, from the side of the stage. There was a suited buck jumper dancing for most of the show just a couple steps from me. He had a body guard standing nearby who would put his jacket over his shoulders between songs, and remove it when the next song started. The guy was sweating like I’ve never seen in chilly February weather. It was my first Tipitina’s visit, and my first time to see each of those masterful musicians, and my first Sunday before Mardi Gras. I know Cube will be back in town for Jazz Fest, but I don’t know what his warm weather gear consists of. I’m hoping for more pocketed sweatpants.

For you inquisitive readers, no, I do not know Cube’s actual name, nor do I think he cares much for given names: he calls me Dorothy since I’m from Kansas. I know he’s connected with music in New Orleans and he rode on the governor’s float in the Zulu parade, and he seems to know everyone in town and everywhere to go in town. Kermit was introduced as a close friend, all of Rebirth knew him, and we walked in Tip’s without being on the guest list. I know that he lost a bunch of weight, so I wonder if he went by Ice Cube and added on the moniker Slim when he got thin. I know he goes to the gym, and I know he doesn’t like seat belts, because one phone message he left for me had a soundtrack of the seatbelt ding that went ignored for close to 4 minutes as he rattled off all the places I needed to see. He a character, for sure. But that’s all I know.

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