HAPPY HOUR is a cocktail-fueled 60 minutes of random conversation with folks who have nothing in common, other than being New Orleanians in a bar. Featuring extraordinary New Orleans musicians playing live, host Grant Morris and sidekick deluxe Andrew Duhon.
When you grow up in communist Bulgaria there's a few things you have to live without. Kiwifruit for one. And bubble wrap. Even today the remnants of Soviet domination hangs over the country to such an extent that still no bubble wrap is available.
That's why NOLA-garian Boyanna Trayanova, travels with her own supply of bubble wrap when she travels from her home in NOLA to her birthplace Bulgaria. And good thing she did or she would never be playing the giant drum that she wrapped and lugged back after she ran into Max from New York and his friend's mom hooked her up with the drum after Max's friend in New York saw Boyanna playing it in a Bulgarian field on YouTube and called Max and said "let her have it" (or words to that effect). You couldn't make this sht up.
And then, get this, back in New Orleans Boyanna, who plays drums for everyone in town and has lived here for a decade, suddenly decides to get all Bulgarian now she's got this giant drum and runs into Georgi who is also Bulgarian and plays jazz guitar and then they stumble into Matt who just moved to town to play accordion with the Panorama Jazz Band and Matt, although 100% American is totally Bulgarian-ed out and rides a unicycle.
Their band is Mahahla.
Talking of bizarre and magical coincidences, how about this one?
Eve Abrams came to town for the first Mardi Gras after Katrina and her accommodations get kind of screwy so her friend's sister very kindly put her up for a couple of nights and who should also be staying there at the emergency crash pad but this super-cute guy who was from here but was then living 1 mile away from Eve in Brooklyn. She's married to him now. And he plays in various (NOLA non Bulgarian) bands with Boyanna.
If you've read this far, you've got to be thinking there's no way a bunch of people sitting around a table having a few drinks could top that string of coincidences. Okay, well how about this?
Geoff Douville, co-owner of hipster hang The Lost Love Lounge, has a comedy night on Tuesdays (no cover) and Georgi from Mahala has never been to it. Even though Georgi hangs out at Lost Love once a week, he's never met Geoff.
Andrew Duhon has been in Lost Love frequently and never met Geoff either. And how about this? Geoff has been playing in the band Egg Yolk Jubilee for 18 straight years and once had his own podcast with a guy who now lives in DC. Eve is also a teacher, she got her first broadcasting gig at This American Life with a story about her school, and (back to Geoff's friend) the Department of Education is in DC. The coincidences keep piling up. Right?
Before the bartender cut everybody off, this motley collection stumbled out of Wayfare into the seemingly never ending daylight. It was the best of Thursdays, it was the hottest of Thursdays... Thank God for Hangover Destroyer.
Photos on this page by Douglas Engel.