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Nagin's Music Team
Mayor Ray Nagin has tapped former Times-Picayune music editor Scott Aiges to fill the new position of Director of Music Business Development. Aiges left the Picayune in 1986 to manage the Continental Drifters, and later managed Royal Fingerbowl, the New Orleans Klezmer All Stars, and most recently, Astral Project. Aiges also worked as a freelance journalist and served as managing director for the now-defunct LMNOP music-business conference.

To avoid possible conflicts of interest, Aiges will no longer be managing Astral Project or writing about Louisiana music -- and he doesn't expect to have the free time to do so, either. Though his first day was last Monday, Aug. 5, he has already begun working on two early initiatives.

"What it is we primarily have here in New Orleans is artists who are independent operators," says Aiges. "They usually don't have representation from a record label, a manager or an attorney. So how do we support them in the industry? I think the fastest way is to put more money in the musicians' pockets. It's a trickle-down effect: everyone else can get paid if the musicians are paid well. When that's the case, the musician can then rent studio time for an independent CD, rent server space for a Web site, pay the Web designer, hire someone to help with a press kit, maybe even hire an attorney to help them get a record deal."

To that end, Aiges is planning a series of free educational music business lectures and seminars, for musicians and aspiring music industry neophytes, and then giving them access to a local, national and international database of key contacts. "We're not going to open up the Mayor of New Orleans' booking agency," he says. "We're going to help people learn how to fish, then set them up to do their own thing."

Aiges will report to former Louisiana Jukebox executive producer Ernest Collins, who Nagin named as the Director of Arts and Entertainment; both Aiges and Collins report to Beth James, Nagin's Director of Economic Development.

'Get on the Ball'
Civic-minded lawyers at the New Orleans Pro Bono Project hope the next Friday the 13th will be a lucky day for the city's poor.

The 16-year-old nonprofit organization of 1,300 volunteer lawyers for indigent clients celebrates its 14th anniversary fundraiser beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at Gallier Hall. The annual event features cuisine from more than 30 local restaurants. Entertainment begins on the front steps of Gallier Hall with the barrister-studded jazz band The Rites of Swing. The Bucktown All-Stars take the stage at 9 p.m. All proceeds, including a "Get on the Ball Raffle" featuring donations from area businesses, will go to the Pro Bono Project.

"Without the funding that the Justice for All Ball generates for The Pro Bono Project, hundreds of area citizens would be denied access to the courts," volunteer co-chairs Gary Solomon and Bruce Shreves said in a joint statement. Event tickets are $100 per person. Call 581-3480 for more information.

Police-Community Relations Hearings Scheduled
Two days of public hearings on former Mayor Marc Morial's last efforts at improving police-community relations will take place this week -- with the help of new Mayor Ray Nagin.

Hearings on a draft report for the Mayor's Police Civilian Review are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Arthur Monday Multi-Service Center, 1111 Newton St., and 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at the City Council chambers, 1300 Perdido St.

The 20-member task force report favors the establishment of an "independent monitor" for both NOPD and the city Office of Municipal Investigation -- over the implementation of a police civilian review board. The full report is available on the city Web site (www.New-Orleans.la.us/home). Hard copies of the proposal are available at the Mayor's Office of Public Advocacy, Room 1W09, according to Linda Santi, a spokesperson for the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice.

The City Council and Nagin must approve the document for its recommendations to take effect. Gambit Weekly has endorsed the task force proposal for an independent monitor.

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