The Penske truck is loaded and parked on St. Claude Avenue, the cargo in back inventoried and packed. The only thing left for Quintron to do is sign.
The document, explains New Orleans Museum of Art curator Miranda Lash as she hands over a pen, absolves the museum of any legal responsibility for the contents of the moving truck — which now includes a good portion of the Spellcaster Lodge, the iconic Bywater nightclub that’s also the home of Quintron and partner Miss Pussycat. The Spellcaster is no stranger to crowds lingering after daybreak, but the one assembled on this morning is atypical by any measure: a contemporary art curator (Lash), a film crew (led by longtime Q&P collaborator Daryn DeLuco), and gallery hands carrying loads of instruments and recording equipment out of the club’s basement and into the frigid January air.
“I’m moving my life out of my house,” Quintron noted warily. “It’s like the walls are going to fall down.”
Today’s move is the first step in preparations for the upcoming exhibition “Parallel Universe: Quintron and Miss Pussycat Live at City Park.” Organized by Lash and conceptualized by Q&P, the three-month show is both a celebration and an encapsulation of the musicians and performers’ paranormal universe that includes: a dozen albums of dirty, funky, organ-based electronic dance rock, the latest of which will be recorded inside the museum; a spirit world, tapped into by Pussycat and inhabited wholly by puppets; and the evolution of a light-activated contraption called the Drum Buddy, created by Quintron a decade ago to speak a musical language only he could hear.
Buttoned-up NOMA, brace yourself for the naked 9th Ward.
Earlier, as Quintron directed traffic, Lash crossed items off a list. Amplifiers, check. Karaoke machine and pedal timpani, check. Interactive Drum Buddy — no, that stays for now, Quintron told a mover sitting at the machine with headphones on, furiously twisting knobs and punching buttons like a kid at an arcade.
The device, encased in glass and modeled after an old-school video game, has consumed Quintron’s life lately. “I would work on it for almost 20 hours straight, take a day off, do another,” he said. “I want it to have a backing soundtrack with my voice. You know how arcade games talk to you: ‘Aw, too bad.’ ‘Doing great!’ ‘You looose.’”
And what of the tiny chimney? “Yeah, we’re not going to talk about that,” he muttered under his breath. “Occasionally it’ll fill with smoke. I don’t think they know.”
With the heavy lifting finished, it’s time to make the transfer official. Someone fluent in legalese points out the contract’s implied small print: Everything Quintron and Pussycat hold dear is now the property of the New Orleans Museum of Art. When he looks up after putting pen to paper, Quintron is grinning.
“That,” he says, “is why I signed ‘Mickey Mouse.’”