Monday, March 30, 2009

Generationals sign to Park the Van

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 11:10 PM

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In December, as part of a cover story on his record label returning to New Orleans after three years in Philadelphia, Chris Watson told The Gambit, “The next step, to me, along with signing more national or international acts, you got to have some New Orleans bands on Park the Van.” This week Watson and Co. nabbed their first: Generationals, a new group centered around singers and songwriters Grant Widmer and Ted Joyner, former guitarists in the Baton Rouge band the Eames Era.

Their debut Con Law, set for a July release on Park the Van, is already in the can and is streaming in its entirety on the band’s Web site. Its 10 tracks, most of them near-perfect, three-minute throwback pop gems, waste no strokes in bearing a boatload of guitar, synth, horn and vocal hooks. The strong show of Brill Building revivalism — from sepia tone to Casiotone — takes flight in the kind of catchy yet off-kilter melodies that have become a PTV calling card. (Prepare for the inevitable commercialization of centerpiece single “When They Fight, They Fight,” a breezy, almost maniacally bright, summer's-coming anthem that could soundtrack a '50s dance party, an indie film's closing credits or a too-cute advertisement for Gerber baby food. Fans of Jens Lekman and Camera Obscura rejoice!)
Stream: "When They Fight, They Fight" by Generationals

The signing stemmed from a chance meeting in January at which the band pretty much picked up Watson in a bar. “Ted and I had read the article in Gambit, and I ran into him at [the Mid-City Yacht Club] and told him we had some common friends,” says Widmer, a pal of PTV artists the Spinto Band and the Teeth. “We had just gotten back the master copy for Con Law, and I gave him one.”
That kind of courting has become commonplace since PTV’s return, Watson says. He’s received “several dozen” demos from local bands, many in casual encounters over a beer: “(It’s) to the point where, at the Circle Bar (Holiday Soiree in December), people were showing up just to give me records.
“It’s cool we signed a New Orleans band, but if they weren’t from New Orleans, we still would have signed them," he adds. "(The record) is easily one of the best things we’ve heard all year.”
Park the Van hosts a listening party for Life in the Air, the March debut from Shreveport sextet the Peekers, at 9 p.m. tomorrow night at the Saint (961 St. Mary St.).

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New Orleans Sports Scuttlebutt 3/30/09

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 9:24 PM

by Clay A. Smith

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CP3 and Coach Scott

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Photograph by Jonathan Bachman

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Key losses against beatable opponents such as the Denver Nuggets(101-88) and the New York Knicks (103,-93) had the Hornets stumbling at the wrong time of the season. But the short-handed Hornets, lead by Chris Paul's 26 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals and David West's 23 point 16 rebound double-double pulled out a much needed late season thriller.

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The Hornets shot 37 percent from the field but shot 32-of-33 from the free-throw line. San Antonio only got 21 attempts-a big reason for the Hornets' win.

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Paul started slow, but his19 point second half and heady decision making down the stretch helped decide the game's outcome. With 25 seconds left and the Hornets, who played well for much of the second half, up by seven San Antonio's Manu Ginobili made a three-pointer to make the score 87-83. On the ensuing in-bounds play, Ginobili forced a turnover resulting in a Michael Finley three-pointer to make it a one point game.

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But with seven seconds left Chris Paul not only had the awareness to extend the play, burning as much time as possible, he launched a three-pointer just past the time line as Ginobili committed a desperation foul. Paul's three free-throws put the game out of reach for San Antonio but more importantly for  seventh seed New Orleans, it kept them from dropping further down in the standings.

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Voodoo Fest, Halloween weekend: it's on

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 5:02 PM

Cancel the drama; New Orleans City Park and the Voodoo Music Experience have seen a counselor, talked frankly and openly about their differences, let go and let God, smooched, hugged, dapped, made up, and this year's Voodoo Fest will indeed be held in City Park Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Will Nagin Lose His Dallas Palace?

Posted By on Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 11:36 PM

A Dallas TV station is reporting that Mayor Ray Nagin is on the verge of losing his 1,700-square-foot “vacation home” in suburban Frisco for failure to pay his homeowner association dues. Apparently Nagin’s neighbors don’t know how important he is — or that other people are expected to pay his way. Maybe Texas really is a whole ’nother country.

 

KTVT-TV in Dallas reports on its Web site that Nagin has owned the Texas residence for about two years, but that his neighborhood association filed a lien on the townhome in January. Additional paperwork was filed March 17, and now the property owners plan to sell Casa C. Ray on April 7 to pay Hizzoner’s debts to the association.

 

Maybe the “auto-pay” instructions to his bank accidentally got erased when the city’s “mayorofno” server ran out of space.

 

Things really are tough all over.

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Stop Smiling Release Party: Commence Smiling

Posted By on Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 8:42 PM

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White linen’s not just for the bourgeois Julia Street crowd anymore: It’s also the bourge-y attire of choice for Lower Garden District scenesters. Tonight, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at his Coliseum Square home (1013 Race St.), local cinematographer Daryn DeLuco -- who photographed the excellent post-K film Low and Behold -- hosts a release party for Stop Smiling magazine’s “20 Interviews” issue, which features chats with David Lynch, R. Crumb and others. The soignee shindig boasts oddly alluring freebies such as Jim Beam cocktails mixed by national “intoxicologist” Kirk F. Estopinal (three more days of Whiskey Awareness Month, after all), a cotton candy machine (!), truffles from D.I.R.T. (an organic chocolatier), spinning by DJs Joey Button and Drew Stubbs, and the first official nonofficial gig by New Orleans' newest pop group Generationals -- half of the beloved, bygone Eames Era -- as a member of Park the Van’s ever-expanding roster. Check out songs from the band’s forthcoming debut Con Law (two-word review: it’s fantastic), chat up some New York City smarty-pants, wash down some fresh-spun carnival candy with a sweet old-fashioned and wonder whether the Crescent City arts district just got gerrymandered.

Email juan@stopsmilingonline.com to RSVP.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

This Has Everything To Do With Sports

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 10:52 PM

On bee, two bee, three bee mine

All Photographs by Jonathan Bachman

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Forgive me for being a little late on the uptick on this, but it appears as if the Honeybees are doing pretty well in the 2009 NBA.com Dance Team Bracket. After taking down the Los Angeles Laker girls in Round 1 (pretty huge, they're dance team royalty...or something) they're walloping the Golden State Warriors dance team 82% to 18% in fan voting.

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But seeing as how nothing is certain when it comes to brackets in the month of March, I feel it's my duty to present all the best photos we have to offer this year's Honeybees to get people out and voting until they bring home the title. Hit the jump to waste a lot of time.

Continue reading »

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Early Edition: Getting Down With the Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 10:22 PM

(Every Friday afternoon, Gambit will be posting a story from the upcoming week’s newspaper as a Web extra “early edition” for our Internet readers. This week it’s a profile of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, which will be honored Monday night at the Big Easy Music Awards, where they'll receive the Music Heritage Award.)

PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band will receive the Big Easy Foundation's Music Heritage Award

By Will Coviello

Even if the Dirty Dozen Brass Band is not doing anything special to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its first release, My Feet Can't Fail Me Now, the album still marks some of the elements that have propelled the band through more than three decades together: dedication to practice and trying new things.

??"In the beginning, we came together to learn music," Gregory Davis says. "There weren't any gigs. They were rehearsals."

??The group included Roger Lewis and Charles Joseph, who were students at Southern University. Joseph brought his younger brother Kirk to play sousaphone. Davis was a student at St. Augustine High School. Drummer Benny Jones was in a band and had some connections to get gigs with social aid and pleasure clubs. The members agreed to work on any type of music.

??"Whatever you were exposed to, you could bring," Lewis says. "If you were interested in be-bop, avant garde, blues, rock — you could do it with the Dirty Dozen."

??By the time the group released Feet in 1984, some of those modern jazz strains were part of its repertoire.

??"On Feet [the song], you're listening to Charlie Parker — from a piece called 'Dexterity' — and by the end of it, we're playing Horace Silver and 'Tripping,'" Lewis says.

??Through experimentation, heavy touring and collaborations with artists in other genres, the Dirty Dozen opened the door for a new approach and a new generation of New Orleans brass bands. The Dozen literally showed the world what could be done with a brass band setup....

Read the rest.

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140 Characters, and All I Got Was This Lousy Tweet

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 9:49 PM

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“Why Twitter Sucks,” Alexander Zaitchik’s spot-on cover story for last week’s Sacramento News & Review. “Twitter brings us within sight of an apotheosis of those aspects of American culture that have become all too familiar in recent years: look-at-me adolescent neediness, constant-contact media addiction, birdlike attention-span compression and vapidity to the point of depravity,” Zaitchick reasons, in a 277-character thesis statement that surely would feel like a damn dissertation to those who “tweet” daily or, God help them, hourly. Besides being required reading for anyone with an acute distaste for social networking sites and an unhealthy bent for conspiracy theories — spoiler alert: it equates the language-slaying, narcissist-enabling service to a global pandemic — the article is also OMG, LOL funny. Among the better passages:

How can you not hate a site that encourages people to post, “At the park—I love squirrels!” and “F@*k! I forgot to TiVo Lost last night.” How can you not want to slap these people with a mackerel?

Just last week, (tech blogger Clive) Thompson contributed to Twitter’s national epic psychosocial genome project by tweeting: “I’m extremely sad that I can’t find Liz Phair’s ‘Rocket Boy’ to blip on blip.fm.” Frowny faces all around, Clive.

The most maddening defense of Twitter is the argument that it constitutes some form of art. Boosters like to claim that compressing communication into 140 characters results in a kind of computer-age poetry. “[Twitter users are] trying to describe their activities in a way that is interesting to others: the status update as a literary form,” writes Thompson in his NYT piece. Howard Lindzon, founder of StockTwits, recently told the Financial Times that the format “is an art form.”

So is speaking through burps. Again, any attempt to defend tweets as some kind of new American haiku runs up against the reality of site. Here’s that great 21st-century New York Twitter version of the haiku poet Basho, known as “aliglia”: “OMG, I want brownies! When are we having dinner again? :)”

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Lafitte Your Heart Out

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 9:30 PM

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What else could one expect from a bunch of pirates if not a little feuding? New Orleans' pirating scene has been growing in recent years, which should come as no surprise when one considers the choice of drinking rum and hanging around with a bunch of wenches versus blacksmithing and addressing everyone as lord and lady. Pirating has caught on nationally as a sort of sea-worthy renaissance fair alternative. There are frequent events in California, Florida and even landlocked states, says Capt. John Swallow (pictured), a leader of New Orleans' www.pyrateweek.com. His group has been marauding the city and in cyberspace, where there is a considerable pirate contingent (here, a message board, here). Pyrate Week in New Orleans starts today and there are events for the next nine days. This includes many charitable projects and volunteering opportunities. The eco-friendly swashbucklers are even helping out the Green Project. But be advised there is another group of pirates swooping in on the Big Easy next weekend (www.pyratecon.com, April 3-5). The buccaneers and wenches of www.pyratecon.com are coming in for their own events (including a wench auction). Though there are common roots, the groups are not currently linked, and the scheduling is sort of an unfortunate happenstance. We'll see if New Orleans is big enough for two fleets. And if it makes the pages of Pirate Magazine.

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eGreens

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 8:15 PM

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  • Center for Biological Diversity to Louisiana: Stop turtle hunting. The organization says turtles in the U.S. are overharvested to satisfy Asian markets.
  • Members of the International Code Council (ICC) visited the Make It Right neighborhood Wednesday, March 25 to study green building practices and technologies. The ICC’s 2009 Codes Forum Field Activity for Green Building and Disaster Safety reviewed the site to learn more about energy efficiency, new structural and framing technologies, and of course, storm resistant building efforts. Most cities base their building codes from those provided by the ICC. Should the council institute any of the foundation’s ideas, building codes might look a bit greener in the future.
  • If you’re looking to build green yourself, look no further than the 54th annual New Orleans Home & Garden Show. The event showcases hundreds of exhibitors, with a “Green Zone” for builders, consumers, homeowners, et al.
  • A deluge of sustainable gardening information can be overwhelming, but consider this: one amateur home gardener’s garden returned his small investment into a 862-percent profit. Read about Roger Doiron’s experiment here, or get the economic breakdown here.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Louisiana Bucket Brigade $20,000 as part of the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program. The Bucket Brigade will use its grant to fund educational campaigns and analyses of the environmental and health impacts of unauthorized discharges from Louisiana refineries in the air and public waterways.
  • Do you prefer lights on, or off? Guerilla gardening — strictly for night owls under cover of darkness — is not technically legal, but these groups are growing, thanks to “troops” like Richard Reynolds’ www.guerillagardening.org, founded in 2004, and U.S.-soil-based Los Angeles Guerrilla Gardening.
  • This week, Conservation International discovered more than 50 animal species in the South Pacific. Let’s hope they last longer than the ten least likely to survive our lifetime.
  • And lastly, don’t forget: Lights out for Earth Hour, starting Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m.

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