Surely people are getting their Michael Jackson overload today, but anyone who showed up to the Soul Rebels house part at Le Bon Temps Roule last night knows they witnessed something incredible. Before the show, Trombonist Winston Turner told me to expect a special set. To honor the late, great King of Pop, the band played nothing but Michael Jackson tunes all night. My only regret was that I had just my cell phone camera to capture just a grainy minute and a half of the glory.
It started fittingly with raised glasses and Winston paying tribute to the dead icon but quickly turned into a modern New Orleans wake: a brass band mourning a death by celebrating life and playing nothing but the King's own music. Tannon Williams led the way on trumpet with a stirring rendition of "Rock With You" and the band blew through everything from "I Want You Back" to "Smooth Criminal" and, of course, "Thriller." They even played Jackson's version of "Happy Birthday" he sang on "The Simpsons" - definitely the coolest moment of the night.
Calling it surreal would be a gross understatement. Soul Rebels played under the faintest light after the stage lights (in Le Bon Temps, that's what they call a stop light) were turned off, much to the delight of the band. The night was hot and wet and inside was no better, but that didn't stop anyone from having a good time - and you can bet the bar receipts will support that claim.
There is much that will be said about Michael Jackson - good and bad - but, in a purely artistic sense, what more can you say about a musician whose death affects nearly everyone's life in some way? A musician with such an extensive catalog that a brass band in New Orleans can rock a party playing just his music and the crowd sings along cause they all know the words.
People will continue to pay tribute to Jackson through his funeral and beyond, but as far as I'm concered, his wake was last night and it was befitting a King.
Photographer, New Orleans native and Gulfport, Miss., resident Bruce Keyes unveils Spirit of New Orleans, an exhibition of images from his book by the same name, tomorrow at the George & Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art. The 228-page black-and-white volume forever locked in the pre-Katrina era, Keyes Web site states captures scenes from 30 years of Jazz Fests and jazz funerals, from the French Quarter to Magazine Street. Writes art critic Arin Black, Its the sweet decay, the slow motion, the willingness to stop and let the joy seep in, that lets New Orleans take hold and not let go, and its present in every single image of Spirit of New Orleans. The opening reception is 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sen. David Vitter's wasting no time swatting at a potential challenger -- and using the possibility of that challenge as the center of a fundraising appeal.
The news that Rep. Charlie Melancon may decide to challenge Vitter for his Senate seat in 2010 is only a week old, but already Vitter is sending his own supporters fundraising appeals in which he calls Melancon "Obama's close ally" and warning of the possibility of a "filibuster-proof, unchecked power in the U.S. Senate that would force their radical agenda upon us all.
"But I am standing in the way of that,"
Just what the headline says, folks.
Broadway Across America, which brings touring companies of big New York hits (mostly musicals) to us folks in the hinterlands, hasn't been seen in these parts since Hurricane Katrina, when the touring company's home, the Saenger Theater, was badly damaged. The Saenger still hasn't reopened, but now we have the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in Armstrong Park, and that's where the touring companies will now land.
That's the good news. The bad news is the lineup itself, which kicks off Oct. 27 with Cats, the 28-year-old Andrew Lloyd Webber warhorse that's played New Orleans umpteen times before. The season continues with the musical adaptation of The Color Purple, ABBA-fest Mamma Mia! (again, haven't we seen this?), Wicked and Avenue Q. The last two have been playing New York since 2003, but at least they haven't come to New Orleans before. And, hey, we could've gotten the all-new version of Phantom of the Opera instead of Avenue Q, so there's that.
And here's the best number from Avenue Q, "The Internet is For Porn," which contains, as they say Uptown, language....
If you don't know The Seeds, you need to know The Seeds. Muddy Waters once championed the band as America's Rolling Stones. Rambunctious, loud, hazy garage from Los Angeles, better known for singles like "Pushin' Too Hard" and "Mr. Farmer." More than footnotes of American psychedelia in the '60s and '70s (along with Texas pioneers 13th Floor Elevators), the band was resurrected on reissues and Nuggets compilations.
Early Monday, June 22nd, 2009, Sky Sunlight Saxon of garage rock legends The Seeds was hospitalized in South Austin, Texas due to an undiagnosed condition. Sky remains in critical condition in the ICU at this date in St David's South Austin Hospital. Doctors believe an infection of the internal organs is suspected, with further tests pending upon further stablization. Temporary dialysis of the kidneys will begin in the next few days.
Sky Sunlight Saxon fell ill as early as last Thursday in his new home of Austin, Texas. Despite feeling under the weather, Saturday performed a short set of Seeds classics at the local legendary night club Antone's.
Sky's wife Sabrina Saxon is encouraging all fans and friends worldwide to send cards and balloons of encouragement, love and support to Sky at his room in ICU. No flowers are allowed in this facility, but cards and balloons are welcome. It is Sabrina's wish to create a visual illustration of the positive healing vibes that are being generated for the much beloved musician in full support of his recovery.
Please send cards and balloons to:
St David's South Austin Hospital
901 West Ben White Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78704
Photo lifted from The Advocate
You'll have to forgive me for not jumping on the LSU baseball bandwagon earlier but, for someone who was never a fan of college baseball, it didn't seem right to crash the festivities. (I would've felt like the one person at a Halloween party not wearing a costume.)
But now the Tigers face off against the Texas Longhorns in a deciding third game and in a few hours we'll know if Baton Rouge will celebrate yet another sports title or if college baseball will fall back into the blissful obscurity.
In any event, if you're like me and have absolutely no idea what's going on, there are several places where you can read up on tonight's game so you can show up to your local drinking tavern and yellow and purple with the best of 'em. There is one thing I know about baseball, though, and that's when a team has had hot bats for weeks and are piling up the runs and then suddenly only score once in a losing effort, well, that's not good.
Also, someone contact the LSU writing and English departments about this lady. Really, she's bringing shame to you all.
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