Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

New Orleans dispatch: no bedfellows are strange at the Jazz & Heritage Festival

2012 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Presented By Shell - Day 3

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

You call this strange. New Orleans calls this Sunday.

It's actually impossible to have strange bedfellows here; even Emma Thompson & Dr. John make sense together. You can see this at the Jazz Fest fairgrounds, where Gal Holiday's Western swing might have warped your mind around her cover of Pat Benetar. 

And I heard Stanton Moore explain why at a drum clinic with Big Chief Juan Pardo of the Golden Comanche Indians, a Mardi Gras Indian tribe, at a club on Frenchman street called the Blue Nile. 

Mardi Gras Indians are getting a moment because of Treme, the HBO show (that is filming everywhere in town). Masking Indian has a glorious and complex history, with uptown and downtown tribes, spy boys and wild men and big chiefs. Now those tribes compete by trying to see who's the prettiest. But they also gave Mardi Gras itself, Carnival Season, its heartbeat. Without Indian classics like "Sew Sew Sew," "Big Chief," and "Indian Red," you'd just hear the Rex song over and over, "If Ever I Cease to Love," and maybe "Carnival Time."