HBO’s TREME presents
Open for One Night Only: FRANK’S PLACE
UPDATED: video from the evening posted below!
During the 1987-1988 television season, Tim Reid and Hugh Wilson brought CBS viewers as close to New Orleans as any television series had ever done with Frank’s Place. In the first episode, Frank Parrish, a reluctant restaurateur, plans to sell Chez Louisiane, the family restaurant he inherited. But soon he finds himself elbow deep in food, family debt and eccentric characters.
The show won wide spread praise for its combination of comedy, drama, and light-hearted plots peppered with discussions of weighty issues. “I wanted to provide America with a glimpse of the black American culture that so rarely is seen on TV,” Reid said.
Despite critical acclaim, the show was off the air after only one season. The show’s 22 episodes are not available for home viewing.
“I have been in discussion with Viacom about the right to distribute. However, the main issue is music clearance. The cost to use the existing music is expensive,” Reid said. “I am now exploring the possibility of using some of the least expensive and creating new music with the same New Orleans flavor. We’ll see.”
Through special arrangements with the show’s creators, HBO’s Treme will present two episodes of this New Orleans classic, along with a panel discussion with Reid, Wilson, and Treme writer Lolis Eric Elie, moderated by Gambit Weekly editor Kevin Allman. Treme star Wendell Pierce will act as master of ceremonies.
The evening will begin with a live musical performance by NOCCA Jazz students during a cocktail reception, featuring signature New Orleans dishes as seen on the menu of Chez Louisiane. The food will be prepared by the staff at Liberty’s Kitchen, the South Broad Street program that provides 16-to-20-year-olds with life and work skills through an intensive, 14-week culinary training program.
“Having been associated with “Frank’s Place” is one of the most important and fulfilling segments of my career,” Reid said. “I remember meeting the late [CBS chairman] William Paley, who was a fan of the show, and saying to him, ‘thanks for creating a medium which allowed me the opportunity to reveal a slice of my culture.’
“He smiled and replied, ‘No, thank you.’ I will never forget that moment,” Reid said.
The screening will take place Monday, May 24 at 6:30 at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Admission is $20. Click here to purchase tickets now.
Proceeds from the evening will benefit the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.
Help promote this great event: click the image below to download a PDF that you can print out.
UPDATE: Here’s some footage from the event!