Monday, October 31, 2011

Banks dump those debit-card fees in advance of Bank Transfer Day

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 6:43 PM

Our lead news story this week is about "Bank Transfer Day" — the consumer movement in which bank customers are urged to close their accounts at megabanks and establish new accounts at community credit unions or small local banks. The impetus was the new "debit card fees," which some banks were about to start charging for customers who like to use their debit cards for purchases. (Read the story here — along with the reasons the banks may not care about losing your puny account, peasant.)

Now several banks are making an about-face, including Regions (which has branches in New Orleans) and SunTrust, which is even going so far as to refund the debit card fees they've been charging customers since June.

Learn more about Bank Transfer Day here — or get a musical lesson in how to move your money from the cheerfully dorky The Disclosures (who have also recorded "98 Problems — But a Bank Ain't One):

There's really not much you can say about Sunday's loss

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 4:42 PM

"The Rams were looking for their first win this season"

And they got it.

That was such an awful game to watch that we're just gonna try and forget it ever happened.


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Scenes from Sunday's Women of Class second line

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Whether they have class or not is not for me to say - I’ll let you be the judge. But did the Women of Class Social Aid and Pleasure Club throw a show nuff shake down on Sunday? Judge Big Red Cotton rules ‘yes indeed!’ The weather was utter perfection, the club colors autumn tangerine and turquoise were inspired, and TBC Brass Band ripped it from top to bottom without breaking even once during the entire parade roll.

If you ever wanna coax someone to come visit you, show them this video of how we do it here in New Orleans. Just your run-of-the-mill Sunday afternoon street party, bout as easy to get here as a cup of coffee but far more potent. Talk about laughing, singing and rump-shaking (and eating, drinking, smoking and hooking up). #wehazit


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Voodoo 2011: reflections on the weekend Experience

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Another Halloween weekend comes to a close, as does its Voodoo Experience counterpart, a fertile playground of really high young people, their chaperones, great musical moments, "sexy" costumes and bathroom lines stretching into infinity.

I thank Voodoo for the extra Port-o-Lets brought in for Sunday, though I tricked my body into waiting until I got home.

At the closing night of Day One, pre- and post-grunge icon Soundgarden, amid glowing stage fog and doom-y laser lights, performed a wrecking ball-sized setlist of hits from '90s mammoths Badmotorfinger, Superunkown and Down on the Upside — from "Rusty Cage" to "Pretty Noose," which singer Chris Cornell (looking very Jesus-y, or circa '91) prefaced with a tale about being pulled over and busted for pot by Louisiana DEA agents in the '90s. "F— those assholes," he concluded. Really the only difference from the Soundgarden of '91-'96 is now everyone has a beard (except drummer Matt Cameron, who under his Pearl Jam contract must not overshadow Eddie Vedder's facial hair). The crowd roared along to "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman," and the sound mix amped up Kim Thayil's wailing guitar solos and bassist Ben Shepherd's growling, thunderous riffs.

So, Saturday...

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Kim Kardashian files for divorce after 10-second-long marriage

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 1:09 PM

If you have access to the Internet, chances are you know by now that human wax figure Kim Kardashian has filed for divorce from her husband of 72 days, basketball player Kris Humphries. Twitter is abuzz with people SMDH-ing over the news that just two months after the couple's televised nuptials, which cost more than $10 million, the pair is calling it quits. Meanwhile, couples across the country are legally unable to get married due to pervasive fears regarding the sanctity of marriage!

I am not a follower of the various Kardashia, because I believe their entire existence is an elaborate publicity stunt (and also, during that time slot I'm usually watching women in jewel-toned cocktail attire throw wine at each other on The Real Housewives). I'm sure this marriage was just another way to perpetuate the ubiquitous Kardashian empire via million-dollar deals with supermarket check-out line magazines.

But the good news is now that Kim's single, maybe Reggie Bush can get a second chance????


Oh, who cares.


Screengrab via GQ feature

I'm starting to think the RTA doesn't really "get" the Internet

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 12:18 PM

So you probably know the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has a Web site, even if it's not so fantastic about keeping it up to date.

But you may not have known that it's also on Twitter. Yes, our public transit agency has caught on to this "microbloggery" trend, which is great for passengers who want to get updates about things like maintenance, service outages or route changes or any of that sort of useful minute-to-minute transit information. Really, it makes so much sense for a public transit operator to have a Twitter account! Very on the ball, RTA. Except, as The Times-Picayune's Jarvis Deberry points out:


Update: In the middle of writing this, @neworleansrta made its account public.

NewOrleansRTA: "@jarvisdeberrytp thanks for the heads up! @NewOrleansRTA is now public. Check out our youtube channel also…."

Open question to whoever's running it though: Kudos on fixing it, but why was it protected in the first place? Just an oversight in setting it up, maybe?

But Twitter's default setting is public.

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Nashville journalist arrested at Occupy protest [Updated]

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Update (4:10 p.m.) from the Scene and the Tennessean: The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the state of Tennessee and a federal judge has just issued a restraining order barring state police from making any further arrests for the curfew violation.

Meanwhile, Gov. Haslam's Facebook page, where Team Haslam staff members (presumably) post a lot of innocuous "news" items about the beauty of Tennessee's bears, is getting hate-bombed by Occupy Nashville supporters.

Nashville Scene reporter Jonathan Meador was arrested on Friday night, along with a group of Occupy Nashville protesters, for violating a newly imposed curfew at the Occupy Nashville site.

Background: Last week, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (son of Pilot gas station chain founder "Big" Jim Haslam of Knoxville, Tenn.) imposed a brand new 10 p.m. curfew on Legislative Plaza, a park just outside of the Tennessee State Capitol building in Nashville and site of the Occupy Nashville campground. Haslam declared the curfew last Thursday, and despite initially telling media that protesters would be given a full day (that is, until 10 p.m. Friday) to comply, state troopers moved in on the plaza late Thursday night/early Friday morning. On Friday, a judge ordered the state to drop its charges against that first round of arrestees. And here's where things take a turn for the truly absurd, or in the language of Tennessee politics, "perfectly normal": Haslam on Friday warned that troopers would again arrest protesters for violating the highly controversial new curfew.

(More after the jump.)

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Did Cheap Trick lip-sync at Voodoo?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 9:26 AM

I wasn't there for Cheap Trick's Sunday night set at the Voodoo Experience, but the consensus among several people who did go was that CT performed a real cheap trick and lip-synched through most (if not all) of their set.

Gambit A&E editor Will Coviello:

On the disappointing side, Cheap Trick was scheduled to play the Bingo! Parlor stage, the notion being that the show would be a more intimate affair. The band sounded exactly like it does on its albums — because it appeared to lip-sync the entire set.

The Times-Picayune's Alison Fensterstock:

[Robin] Zander’s voice, which couldn’t really be expected to stay in its pristine register after 40 years, got help. There were a couple of awkward moments when he didn’t quite sync up with the vocal track that was laying a comfortable foundation for his live efforts. One local musician was upset. “It’s undignified,” he said, before skipping out to catch the Meters.

Based on the YouTube captures from the show — well, the vocals sound awfully good, pitched in an arena register that doesn't quite match the small Bingo! stage at Voodoo:

"I Want You to Want Me":

Were you there? What did you think?

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Voodoo 2011: Sunday

Posted By on Sun, Oct 30, 2011 at 8:41 PM

Voodoo 2011 concluded Sunday with an eclectic mix. Fishbone offered up both mad and frenzied ska and some detours into the madness of Dr. Madd Vibe. Angelo Moore brought out the theremin for the tune "Crazy Glue" and that seems like a chapter in the band's history that should be retired. But when the horns are blaring and the band is sticking to its funk-punk roots, it still puts on a great live show.

Ray Davies' set also was best when he broke out The Kinks' biggest hits, and that seemed to be what the crowd wanted.

TV on the Radio put in the best show of the day, playing many of the songs on Return to Cookie Mountain. The whole ensemble was tight, but Kyp Mallone really stood out on guitar. (Mallone also claimed the band was unable to find a drinking establishment Saturday night after checking into the hotel. I am not sure where they are staying, but he might want to consult with Boots Electric's Jesse Hughes, who claimed Saturday that he hasn't left One Eyed Jacks before 7 a.m. for four straight days.)

The Preservation Hall and Del McCoury bands seem to really enjoy the partnership they have stuck up in recording Preservation and American Legacies. From the latter jazz/bluegrass roots fusion, Pres Hall trumpeter Mark Braud led the two groups in what he called the "anti-diabetes anthem," "Sugar Blues." It's a fun tune lamenting the taste of sugar going sour, but it's got the rather unromantic line, "Baby, cut your toenails / they're ripping the sheets." That's a line I hadn't noticed before, but if Braud was looking for a moment in the song to highlight a public service announcement message, that one did the trick.

On the disappointing side, Cheap Trick was scheduled to play the Bingo! Parlor stage, the notion being that the show would be a more intimate affair. The band sounded exactly like it does on its albums — because it appeared to lip-sync the entire set.

And not living up to many expectations at all was Odd Future. The group might want to consider renaming itself Sad Future. It's garnered great buzz because of its Internet-released songs and videos, because of the odd story of Earl Sweatshirt's absence from live shows and long features in publications like The New Yorker. It's also been the subject of debate over frequent use of the term "faggot." The crew that showed up at Voodoo offered little in the way of an original or distinctive sound. And if there was any suggestion that homophobic lyrics or their stream of abusive profanity is meant with some irony or to tweak the PC crowd, the band revealed that it simply doesn't have a very big vocabulary besides the incessant chorus "faggot bitch" and motherf_ker. For some reason, the members of the band also taunted press photographers in the pit, calling them "punk-ass n—-s," physically swiping at their cameras and kicking over a tripod. If the band doesn't like photographers, it could have the pit closed, as many bands do. Allowing photographers in and then taking shots at their equipment is a lame way to try to strike a tough (and meaningless) pose. The crew is full of young rappers. Hopefully they'll find a way to expand their vocabularies and their horizons.

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Voodoo Experience 2011: photos from Saturday

Posted By on Sun, Oct 30, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Highlights from the Voodoo Experience on Saturday included Snoop Dogg, X, Gordon Gano and the Lost Bayou Ramblers, the Bounce Azztravaganza, Girl Talk and more. Photos by Gary LoVerde.

Pound for Pound, no one rocked harder on Saturday than X on the intimate Bingo! Stage. The band ripped through material from its landmark Los Angeles album and finished with a three-song encore that still had the crowd begging for more.

One might have expected a more massive set from Mastodon, which was sharp, but one could discern every note. The sound board crew seemed fine with that volume and at times, it seemed like Voodoo had created the first mosh pit for an orchestral performance. Entertaining nonetheless, and the band members spent the rest of the afternoon milling about the food area and grounds. The Atlanta rockers seem like the friendliest band in metal.

Jesse Hughes who uses one of his alter-ego's monikers as the band's name, Boots Electric, also put on a bizarrely friendly Voodoo debut. A veteran of the Eagles of Death Metal, whose songs the band covered, he offered to lay hands and heal audience members or to help out band members who screwed up. Hughes' persona and the band's debut release Honkey Kong are similarly wrapped in porno chic and tattooed Southern rock strains. Hughes is a Southern Californian by way of South Carolina and his stage presence is an eccentric mix of soul-saving truck stop preacher and cock-rock strut.

Also on a personal revival is Gordon Gano. The sometimes prickly former Violent Femme joined the Lost Bayou Ramblers on the Preservation Hall stage. They group played their recent single release, but for most of the set, Gano played second violin (literally, he picked at a violin through the entire set) as the Ramblers played Femmes classics. If Gano is at all tired of "Blister in the Sun," it was not evident when the they closed the set with it.

Girl Talk's set was packed, seemingly with more people than all of the Bingo!, Pres Hall and WWOZ stages combined at any given time yesterday. He showed his typical mastery of mixing snippets from songs as disparate as "The Monster Mash," Rick Springfield's "Jesse's Girl," Foster the People's "Pumped up Kicks," songs from The Who and a whole lot more in just the 20 minutes I was there.

In unexpected covers, Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk detoured mid-set into a Nirvana phase, covering "In Bloom" and "Heart Shaped Box." Solid. Interesting.

The Ferris Wheel and amusement rides are the most conspicuous addition to Voodoo, and seem popular. But if you're looking for a Disney-style long line, try the Port-o-lets. And anyone afraid of missing today's Saints game can rest assured that the bar set up in the food area has several large-screen TVs that have been broadcasting sports all weekend. — Will Coviello

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