Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Welcome to Night Vale returns to New Orleans in July 2016

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 1:30 PM

Cecil Baldwin narrates the podcast Welcome to Night Vale. - LIEZL ESTIPONA
  • Cecil Baldwin narrates the podcast Welcome to Night Vale.

Broadcasting from a fictional desert town as a sort of Lake Wobegon-meets-Twin Peaks community radio show, the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale returns to New Orleans for another installment of its live stage rendering this summer. The show returns to the Civic Theater on July 8 with a new script, "Ghost Stories," the fifth live script since the show's live performances began in 2013.

Night Vale creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor talked to Gambit in 2014 before the show's first New Orleans appearance about its conception (as a show and a place "where every conspiracy theory is true and we just move on with our lives") and its transformation into theater.

Tickets are $23-$28 and go on sale at noon Friday, March 18.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Along St. Claude, an exhibit at The Front, opens this weekend with a rebroadcast of the documentary that inspired it

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 1:48 PM

Dan Eaglin, a subject of Eve Abrams' Along Saint Claude audio documentary. - JONATHAN TRAVIESA
  • Dan Eaglin, a subject of Eve Abrams' Along Saint Claude audio documentary.

It's been a little over a year since local NPR station WWNO 89.9 aired independent radio producer Eve Abrams' seven-part radio documentary Along St. Claude. Tonight, in anticipation of an interactive opening at The Front Gallery this weekend that features 33 portraits of people interviewed for the project, the documentary will air again, from 7 to 8 p.m.

The gallery opening is Saturday, June 13 at 5:30 p.m. and will feature portraits by Jonathan Traviesa. In addition to the photos, there will be a map and other artifacts to commemorate the project, all aimed at bringing together different voices and opinions to talk about real, significant changes in the areas surrounding St. Claude Avenue between Poland and St. Bernard Avenues. 

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Listen: Uptown Messenger on NOPD task forces being diminished, consolidated

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 5:36 PM


This week in Gambit, Robert Morris of Uptown Messenger reported on how specialized New Orleans Police Department task forces designed to prevent crime before it occurs had been eroded by reassigning officers.

Today he spoke with WWNO-FM's Eve Troeh about the story and its implications. You can listen to the report here.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

With Mobile Booth, StoryCorps hopes to branch beyond NPR listener base

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 5:11 PM

Shane Mutter, President of Doerr Furniture, addresses a small gathering in front of the Story Corps Mobile Booth at a press event March 16. Doerr is hosting the booth until April 8.
  • Shane Mutter, President of Doerr Furniture, addresses a small gathering in front of the Story Corps Mobile Booth at a press event March 16. Doerr is hosting the booth until April 8.

When the trumpet player Aurelien Barnes went into the StoryCorps airstream trailer parked outside of Doerr Furniture (914 Elysian Fields Ave.) this morning, he told stories with his mentor, the horn player Oscar Washington, about what it meant to come up in New Orleans playing music. The two men asked each other questions, told stories and left the booth with a CD recording of their conversation. But, Barnes says, he didn't tell the stories for himself. "It's more for other people than for me," says Barnes. "Because I know my own stories. I don't really need to hear them. So I like the fact that they're out there for other people to listen to, because other people can learn something from it or find it interesting." 

The StoryCorps Mobile Booth, which tours the country collecting interviews conducted between two people who know and care about each other, returned to New Orleans March 12 and will be recording until April 8. The Mobile Booth was last in New Orleans in 2010, and this time around story facilitators hope to hear from a diverse and ever-changing population of the city. 

"New Orleans is a gloriously culturally diverse city, and so much of what StoryCorps wants to do when it enters community is to record those voices," Dina Zempsky, director of the Mobile Tour tells Gambit. "To really, very genuinely be able to capture, preserve, archive and hopefully broadcast the stories and voices of that community."

Zempsky says the Mobile Booth is specifically targeting the Latino community that's come to New Orleans post-Katrina. "We have done a lot of outreach to that community and hopefully we capture some of those stories," she says. 

StoryCorps reserves about 20 percent of its interviews at every tour stop for the voices of people who are not necessarily public radio listeners. "Because otherwise," says Zempsky, "our stories would sound pretty similar. Of course we love our NPR listening community, and we know they're going to make interviews because they'll hear the promotions on NPR. But we work very very hard to bring in stories of the local community."

Part of making that diversity a reality has been reaching out to local NPR affiliate WWNO-89.9, who helped the non-profit reach out to community organizations like the Neighborhood Story Project, based out of the University of New Orleans. WWNO will also produce a handful of stories collected at the booth to air on local radio. 

The recording booth is cozy and intimate and faces the two storytellers across from one another. Zempsky calls the space "sacred," and says it's capable of producing some real magic for participants once they're inside. "It's very quiet, it's very measured," she says. "Most of us don't spend just 40 minutes talking to someone we care about anymore, and all sorts of magical things come out of that space."

StoryCorps airs every Friday on NPR during Morning Edition.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Juvenile talks Katrina, Cash Money and housing projects on "The Breakfast Club"

Posted By on Thu, Mar 5, 2015 at 11:30 AM


New Orleans rapper Juvenile joined this morning's Power 105.1 FM's The Breakfast Club radio show to hype the release of his upcoming mixtape Mardi Gras II, out March 26. Juvenile — the multi-platinum breakout star from Cash Money Records — talked about his return to Cash Money with hosts Charlemagne Tha God and DJ Envy (who recently have brought out some choice words from Kanye West).

Juvenile says there never was "beef" between the No Limit Records and Cash Money camps when both ruled the airwaves. "There was a friction," he said. "A beef? No. Beef is a strong word for me. ... I think it was 'Who wants to run New Orleans?' ... Time heals all."

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

StoryCorps MobileBooth returns to New Orleans March 12

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 4:01 PM


In 2010, the collector of American voices StoryCorps made its way to New Orleans to gather personal interviews post-Katrina about evacuating, recovering and progress after the storm. On March 12, the MobileBooth returns to gather a new crop of tales about the city, and the subjects of those stories will be up to the people who tell them. 

With an airstream trailer in tow (complete with a fully furnished recording studio), StoryCorps tours the country setting up interviews between two people who know and care about one another. From March 12 to April 8, the booth will be parked outside of Doerr Furniture (914 Elysian Fields Ave.), ready to hear from New Orleanians. A facilitator will guide interviewers and interviewees through the process, and after a 40-minute recording session, participants will leave with a CD copy of their interviews. With permission, StoryCorps will also long a copy of the interview at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress

WWNO 89.9 will air a selection of the stories, and the national NPR morning show, Morning Edition, also airs stories from across the country. 

There is a suggested donation of $25 for participants, but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. You can make a reservation for an interview beginning today, Feb. 26, by calling 1-800-850-4406 or by going to the StoryCorps website.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Listen: BBC discovered a 1968 interview with Louis Armstrong

Posted By on Sun, Feb 22, 2015 at 11:08 AM


The BBC recently discovered a half-hour BBC Radio 4 interview with Louis Armstrong from 1968 and has added it to its online archive. The show, Desert Island Discs, brings in famous people to discuss what eight recordings they would take with them on a desert island. Armstrong also was asked what one luxury and what book he'd take (his trumpet and his autobiography, respectively).

Louis talks about hearing Buddy Bolden playing on the street corner, how he first learned to play music in an orphanage, his "sawmill voice," playing jazz funerals and when he first started playing with King Oliver. Armstrong is a consummate storyteller and entertainer throughout and the whole recording is worth a listen.

And in case you're curious, Armstrong's desert island records are: 

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mary Chapin Carpenter, Welcome to Night Vale added to Civic Theater schedule

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 4:11 PM

Mary Chapin Carpenter.
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Americana country-roots singer Mary Chapin Carpenter and the popular podcast Welcome to Night Vale have both been added to the Civic Theater's spring schedule.

In the 1990s, Carpenter won four consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, and she's known for the singles "I Feel Lucky," "Passionate Kisses" and "Down at the Twist and Shout."

Cecil Baldwin narrates Welcome to Night Vale. - LIEZL ESTIPONA
  • Cecil Baldwin narrates Welcome to Night Vale.

Welcome to Night Vale played New Orleans last spring, and Alex Woodward interviewed the creators.

Tickets for Carpenter go on sale Fri. Jan. 16 at 10 a.m. (an American Express cardholder presale is on now), while Night Vale will go on sale Fri. Jan. 23 at 10 a.m.

Mary Chapin Carpenter
with Aoife O’Donovan

Thu. March 26, 7 p.m.
The Civic Theatre

Welcome To Night Vale
Thu, April 9, 8 p.m.
The Civic Theatre

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Orleans Radio chronicles the history of the city's airwaves

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Sonny and Cher with former WTIX-FM DJ Bob Walker. - COURTESY DOMINIC MASSA
  • Sonny and Cher with former WTIX-FM DJ Bob Walker.

Dominic Massa is the executive producer and special projects director at WWL-TV, and the author of New Orleans Television, a look at the city's broadcasting history. His new book, New Orleans Radio, charts the development of radio in New Orleans with more than 200 rare images. Massa will sign New Orleans Radio at Garden District Book Shop Nov. 6 from 6 to 7:30 p.m., with special guests from New Orleans radio history Bob Walker, Keith Rush, Ed Clancy, and "Pal Al" Nassar.

He answered Gambit's questions about the book via email.

How long have you been working on New Orleans Radio, and what gave you the initial idea?

If I said I’d been working on this for a lifetime, that’d be an overstatement, but I have always had an interest in local broadcasting history, so I guess that deep down I’ve always had the idea of a book about radio – the medium that started it all. Because my day job is in television, though, it was more natural that my first book in this series would be about local TV history. That one came out in 2008. In the years since, I kept returning to the idea of doing one on radio, and it really materialized in the past two years or so. The research is always the most important part, but since this is a photo book, tracking down the visuals is also key and with this one it was challenging, but in a fun way.

What time period does the book cover, and why did you choose to end it there?

It starts with practically day one of radio in New Orleans, with WWL signing on in 1922. We travel through the golden age of radio in the 1930s and 1940s, and then the rock-and-roll era in the 1950s and 1960s. There’s not a definite ending point, but we cover through the late 1970s and early 1980s, which is when corporate ownership became the rule and I think most people agree radio started changing dramatically. I would have loved to include more stations and personalities, but obviously there’s no way to include everyone. There’s always a chance for a sequel, though!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Watch: Jazmine Sullivan premieres new song in a New Orleans barber shop

Posted By on Wed, Aug 13, 2014 at 9:57 AM


While National Public Radio was in town last month for Essence Fest, they decided to meet up with Philadelphia-based R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan as part of their Field Recordings series. They met Sullivan at the Clear-Vue Barber Shop just off Canal Street, where she debuted her newest song, "Stupid Girls."

From NPR:

When she walked in, patrons and barbers alike were wary. But they knew who she was, from hit songs like "Bust Your Windows" and "Holding You Down (Goin' in Circles)." And when she began to sing, wearing her powerhouse instrument lightly, everyone ceded her a floor that had been previously occupied by a heated debate about college football. To a roomful of captivated men, she sang a brand new song, "Stupid Girls," that warns women to be careful with their hearts.
Check out the video below (Warning: Some NSFW language).

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