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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Friday, July 18, 2014

"Recovery czar" Ed Blakely analyzes the Gaza situation on Australian radio

Posted By on Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 2:19 PM

The shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines jet over the Ukraine ... the Israeli ground incursion on the Gaza strip ... it's been a troubling 48 hours geopolitically, and who better to figure it all out for us than Dr. Ed Blakely, the former New Orleans "recovery czar" who's now an honorary professor of urban policy at the University of Sydney in Australia. Blakely was interviewed on Sydney Educational Broadcasting, where he offered some of his many opinions

"Israel is using a lot of cards, a lot of chips," Blakely says. "If you're in the silk-stocking district in New York, you know you have a lot of Jews in the audience, but in the middle of Iowa, you may not know who's in the audience, and that could trickle back to hurt you. ... Certainly you wouldn't want to be siding with people who are slaughtering civilians." 

Blakely also analyzes President Barack Obama's statements on the crises, offers a bit of advice on what the President might do, and discusses the American tea party movement for the Australian audience. Hear it all.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Eve Abrams' Along Saint Claude audio documentary airs 7 p.m. Tuesday on WWNO

Posted By on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Eve Abrams' Along Saint Claude audio documentary airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18 on WWNO. Abrams' seven-part documentary explores centuries of changes in the area near Saint Claude Avenue between Poland and Saint Bernard avenues. She interviewed more than four dozen people to get their opinions on white flight, gentrification, their fond memories of the area and the area's actual history. Here, Abrams details the documentary's parts and elaborates on its creation.

What was your motivation in creating Along Saint Claude?

I live in Bywater and I was just hearing, as you probably do, so many people talking about the gentrification and newcomers – a lot of anger, a lot of resentment. I just started wondering whose place is this. Who has a right to it? Who owns it? Hasn't it always been changing, like most places? Hasn't it always been in flux? Especially New Orleans, being a port town with people constantly coming in. So I just wanted to investigate that. I wanted to look beyond the anger and the easy-to-blame scapegoating and kind of figure out what was going on. I also really wanted to take a long look at things. I had heard a lot of people talking about gentrification and I wasn't even sure that was quite what was going on. And if it was, according to how that word is defined, from when?

It's definitely more white than it was 20 years ago. There's definitely way more money here than 20 years ago. But another 40 years before that, it was very different too. It went from being one kind of a neighborhood to another kind to another kind. It just made me think a lot about how change is really relative to where you're looking from and at, and how long a time period you're looking it.

The only real rule I set up for myself is to only talk to people who lived in the neighborhood [off of] Saint Claude Avenue currently or formerly. I tried to talk to as many different people as I could. At least four dozen. Not only did I do interviews where I talked to somebody for one hour or two hours, I also had a couple days where I would interview people waiting for the train to go across Press Street. I assembled a team of reporters and we wore T-shirts that said "Wanna Talk?" and I had little signs in the neutral ground that said "While You Wait, Let's Talk." We talked to a ton of people that way. I talked to as many different folks as I could: different age, different in terms of how long they've lived in New Orleans, different races. It was really surprising and a lot of the stereotypes that people say there are kinda got blown out of the water.

I had a lot of information, so I took a long, hard look at it and wondered what the stories are in here that I hear people tell. I really wanted it to be grounded in some history so, lucky for me, Rich Campanella lives in Bywater. So Bienville's Dillema was like my bible for that nine months. Between my interview with him and his book, I really came to form an idea about how this place came to be a neighborhood, and how it was in relationship to other neighborhoods from the very beginning. Who settled here because of that? I go back to before Europeans or Africans were in New Orleans. I spend much, much, much more time on the 20th century and the 21st century, but I do go back that far.

Did any responses surprise you?

I was really surprised that on the two days we were on Saint Claude Avenue randomly talking to people, almost every single African-American man that I spoke to was all for these newcomers coming in – ALL FOR IT. It was really surprising. One guy, when I asked a really broad question about changes, he said, "Well there are more white people here and it used to be that there weren't any white people in this area." I asked him how he felt about it and he said, "I love it. White people are the easiest people to live around," and then he said, more importantly, "White people mean more police, which means less foolishness." So I thought that revealed so much about how power structures work and who they're serving and who benefits. There were a couple young men who said they really enjoyed having all these people from different parts of the country living here because they felt like it was broadening their horizons. I don't want to say that all African-American men I talked to felt this way. There were two that I interviewed in depth that have much more complicated feelings – a lot of alienation and resentment and probably sadness more than anything else.

There was one man who talked about how a lot of people just didn't want to come back, how his sister settled in Jessup, Ga. and was able to buy a house there, something she might not have ever been able to do here. She just doesn't want to come back. He said, "Somebody has to live in those houses."

This wonderful woman, I asked her about all these complaints that [newcomers] don't say hello, they're not friendly, and she said, "We're training 'em." For a while, I was adamantly saying hello and good morning to everybody. It's a change to the culture and I think when you don't grow up doing that, you don't know that that's an expectation. I think the sheer number of newcomers here, that's why people are so agitated. It's so easy to get offended and upset by that. It's hard to remember. It's hard because when you say good morning and no one says it back, it's like "Ow!"

(A detailed episode breakdown follows below the jump.)
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.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Angela Hill going to WWL radio

Posted By on Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 2:53 PM


Angela Hill is coming out of a short retirement from WWL-TV to host her own show on WWL radio from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., beginning Sept. 30.

Garland Robinette, Hill’s former husband and longtime co-anchor at WWL-TV, announced Hill’s new show Thursday during an interview with her on The Think Tank With Garland Robinette.

He promised another programming announcement on his show Sept. 23 — this one regarding John “Spud” McConnell, whose Talk Gumbo with John “Spud” McConnell program will be displaced when Hill takes the time slot Talk Gumbo now fills.

In a news release issued after the announcement Chris Claus, vice president and general manager of Entercom New Orleans, WWL’s parent company, said, “Spud isn’t going anywhere. We have big and exciting plans for him.” It was followed by a pitch to tune in at noon Sept. 23 for the announcement.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Y@ Speak: new beginnings

Posted By on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Alter egos, doomed films, firings, deaths, zombies, new friends and friendly strangers, new publications, and moments of discovery — and disappointments (Mannie Fresh, hang in there. Vine gets better). This week's Y@ Speak is about our new leases on life, whether admitting you have a gutter punk problem or realizing you have paid too much for a pretty regular burger experience.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Atlanta radio station mocks Steve Gleason

Posted By on Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Update, 5:15 p.m.: 790 The Zone station manager apologizes to the Gleason family and announced the termination of the radio announcers.

Update, 1:25 p.m.: 790 The Zone has suspended "Mayhem In The AM" members. From station manager Rick Mack:

We deeply regret the comments made by Mayhem In The AM this morning on 790 The Zone regarding former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason. 790 The Zone, Lincoln Financial Media, our sponsors and partners in no way endorse or support the unfortunate and offensive commentary concerning Mr. Gleason this morning. The members of the show involved with this incident have been suspended indefinitely pending further management review of their actions.

The New Orleans Saints literally enshrined former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason for his blocked punt heard 'round the world against the Atlanta Falcons in 2006. In 2011, Gleason announced his battle with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, and the forming of his Team Gleason foundation to fund research and raise awareness of the disease.

I guess Falcons fans are still bitter about a 7-year-old game. This morning, JW on wrote that Atlanta morning zoo jockeys on 790 The Zone — the "flagship station" of the Falcons — "had a whole segment making fun of Steve Gleason and him talking through a computer."

The arse clowns from Mayhem in the AM did this 3 minute joke where they pretended that Steve Gleason called in and they asked him questions. Most of his responses were in the form of a knock knock joke and at one point he says he doesn't know if he will be alive next Thursday.

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