On tour in 2011, I found myself in New Orleans with my only place to stay being a squat house without a working toilet, gas, or hot water. It would have been fine, it was charming enough, and it would have been with the comraderie of genuinely good people, but I'm incredibly glad I ran into Drew Ziegler/Londo Sandooglebaum instead. Some of you may know him as the genius behind Complicated Horse Emergency and Egg Baloney Pardon Me Calypso Germ Food Mumu or the vocalist for a very convincing Laibach cover band called "Budweiser". Drew helped me get to the shows I had booked, and also helped me jump onto a bill at a clandestine metal bar speakeasy rather than playing at a sports bar in the suburbs. He and his roommates let me stay at their place, which was an old iron ore factory converted into a dadaist/surrealist paradise.
Some areas of the building were just full of tons and tons of barbeque grills and bathtubs. Other areas were stacked with vintage juke boxes alongside what I could only call "circus memorabilia" for lack of a better word, and a great deal of the stuff Drew used for his absurdist plays, seemingly easily acquired and in casual abundance. Another part of the building seemed to be a separate house unto itself, I'm still not sure as there were several floors, some of which were accessible only by a ladder. Bizzare makeshift lofts with clothing hanging from the walls and a huge room with nothing but pool table, for instance. Mysterious rooms made up of torn and damaged turn of the century Victorian decor, complete with water damaged paintings, long, skinny, ripped velvet couches, and ornate green patterned paisley wallpaper. They had an absolutely adorable pit bull, and some of the tenants' rooms were built entirely out of doors.
A few of my memories include being drunk, while Drew hand fed us arugula like baby birds, or while he played the above song on an old beaten up hand crank 78rpm player. The speed would warble Godfrey's words at different speeds, taking the song into even more eerie territory. "The MAAAN WITH THE WEEEEEEIRD BEEAAAAAAAAAAAARD". Unfortunately, I heard that place has burned down. Nobody was hurt to my knowledge, but I find it to be absolutely tragic, as it was an experience that I will never forget, and it was an undeniably special place. Drew has relocated and all I can do is speak the world of him and wish him the best.
*UPDATE* - I am completely incorrect about the burning, apparently that was a different place.