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Flood September 13, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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I am not a musician. Instead, I write a bit: sketch a simple picture, perhaps tell a bit of a story, offer and defend my opinion. Nothing fancy here. If you want art, try the library or the museum. Sometimes the words don’t come. Staring at this glowing panel, songs sometimes come into my head. It is the curse of the post-industrial brain. We expect life to have a soundtrack, conditioned by a lifetime fof ilm and television. Life as Disneyworld via Rogers and Hammerstein: this thought, that song. Fifty years of programming and I am Ipod man.

Sometimes the songs are comforting, other times exciting, or even disturbing. Which ever sort it is, when the brain grows foggy from work or drink or exhaustion nothing can rejuvenate it like music. You read some words, or see an image and, suddenly, it is like some stage piece with a pianist in the corner as chorus. The protagonist wanders off to the edge of the stage, and the spotlight fills on a baby grand. The audience is rapt, waiting for the first note, for the omniscient word.

When I post these videos I often say it is the resort of the lazy blogger. Oh, look what I found on You Tube. Aren’t I clever? Sometimes that is true, the Internet as the modern version of solitaire and the clever find a wining hand. Other times, I go looking for something I can’t find inside my own head, or rather I search inside my head for what I think is there and I find instead this echo of something I heard a long time ago. It takes my breath away, and I have no words.

[Cue music]


Robert Fripp and Peter Gabriel

Happy Birthday April July 13, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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3 comments

And now for something completely pointless.

Thanks, Karen.

The Heart of Saturday Night June 28, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Love the topper, man.

Well, there’s you’re “Do You Know…” and all, but I don’t understand why this song isn’t in everybody’s repertoire down here. Somebody sing this over me when I’m gone, please. Ask Joe Braun of the Jazz Vipers if he’ll do it.

Sometimes A Great Notion June 1, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Sometimes I lives in the country.
Sometimes I lives in town.
Sometimes I has a great notion
to jump in the river and drown.
Leadbelly

Renard Poche–The new P in Funk May 24, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Watch out George Clinton, there’s a new P in Funk and its coming not from space but up from the streets of New Orleans, the city that birthed Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Professor Longhair, the Meters and the various subsequent Nevillations and a full P-antheon of funk royalty (Bo, K-Doe, y’all know). Renard Poche’s new disc 4U 4 Me is the 21st century mix up of the sounds of funky New Orleans that will dance us into the next 300 years of the City.

Like the renowned Toussaint, Poche is a multi-instrumentalist, song writer, engineer and producer with a long string of sideman and production credits. His first record is bound to take a place in that hallowed short stack of NOLA disks we all wore out the grooves or danced to scratches back in the day. This recording will put him where he belongs, front and center.

You can get his disk online here. Check him out tonight (Saturday, May 24) at 11 p.m. at the Rock N Bowl on Carrollton.

Kenny G whizzes on the grave of Pops March 8, 2008

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Fargo, Jazz, music, New Orleans, NOLA, quotes.
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6 comments

…when Kenny G decided that it was appropriate for him to defile the music of the man who is probably the greatest jazz musician that has ever lived by spewing his lame-ass, jive, pseudo bluesy, out-of-tune, noodling, wimped out, fucked up playing all over one of the great Louis [Armstrong's] tracks (even one of his lesser ones), he did something that I would not have imagined possible. He, in one move, through his unbelievably pretentious and calloused musical decision to embark on this most cynical of musical paths, shit all over the graves of all the musicians past and present who have risked their lives by going out there on the road for years and years developing their own music inspired by the standards of grace that Louis Armstrong brought to every single note he played over an amazing lifetime as a musician.
Pat Metheny on Kenny G

Tell us what you really think, Pat. I’m not a musician and as much as I love the music I certainly lack the depth of musical knowledge of a true jazz aficionado, but it’s pretty easy to recognize that Kenny G sucks. That he would have the audacity to mix himself over even something as syrupy as Its A Wonderful World, well, I think Pat Metheny said it all.

For me, the gold standard of a jazz aficionado is Leigh Kamman of The Jazz Image, who warmed up many a cold Fargo Saturday night with some of the coolest jazz around. When I die I want to come back as a night jazz DJ with his voice. The world is not the same place since his show ended. He would be on right now if he were still on the air and I were in the cold North. I can hear his theme (Gerry Mulligan: Manoir De Mes Reves (Django’s Castle) and his voice in my head right now as clearly as my other mother’s.

Kenny G, there’s a special place in hell for the likes of you. When Leigh Kamman departs this world, there will be a place for him at a first rate table in the jazz joint at the end of the universe, and the entire Cortege of the Cool will be on the bill.

HT to Dr. Morris for this one. Oh, and Ashley, all of us who read Anima Mundi want to know when we can stop by for Limoncello. I’ll bring the Brocato’s.

Silence is Violence Music Clinics February 26, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Silence Is Violence, a campaign for peace in New Orleans announces our Spring 2008 series of Youth Music Clinics

Tuesday evenings, February 26-April 15 6-8pm

Sound Cafe: 2700 Chartres Street *Clinics are open to youth ages 5-15 and interested in instrumental and/or vocal performance

*Clinics are free, and dinner is provided

*No musical experience necessary

The Youth Music Clinics, founded in January 2007, were the first ongoing program introduced by anti-violence organization SilenceIsViolence. Through the music clinics, we seek to create a nurturing, non-violent environment for young people and their families in the early evening, while offering instruction in both the artistic and the business aspects of music. The clinics are accessible forums for young people to explore the world of music and to decide if they would like to pursue long-term music education.

Each session includes an instruction period, a dinner break, and an informal jam session, during which clinic participants have the opportunity to perform with the professionals. Professional musicians, led by trumpet virtuoso and Music Director Shamarr Allen, teach fundamental techniques on a range of instruments, including but not limited to trumpet, drums, saxophone, trombone, clarinet, and guitar, as well as various stringed instruments. Basic principles of music theory also are introduced. In addition, children who participate in the weekly clinics have the opportunity to take one subsidized private lesson per week with a professional musician. Participants who attend regularly will receive free tickets to the 2008 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, courtesy of the Fest4Kidz/Threadheads program.

We invite all young New Orleanians with an interest in music, as well as parents and community supporters, to attend our Youth Music clinics as participants or as audience members.

Here are the details:
WHAT: SilenceIsViolence Spring 2008 Youth Music Clinics
WHEN: Tuesdays, February 26-April 15, 6-8pm
WHERE: Sound Cafe, 2700 Chartres St. in the Marigny
COST: Free

Fun with Manikins February 23, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, music, New Orleans, Odds&Sods.
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Shine On You Crazy Diamonds…

Nothin’ but the bones January 26, 2008

Posted by The Typist in assholes, Carnival, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras Indians, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery, Remember, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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The weekly newspaper Gambit brings us this story of the fearful future of the bone men and other African-American Mardi Gras traditional marchers. In on of the city’s oldest neighborhoods outside of the French Quarter, the local population is being squeezed by gentrification, rising rents and the demolition of the Lafitte Housing Project. What is at risk here is not just affordable housing or the comfort of coming home, but something infinitely more rare and precious: a living culture unique in North America.

For Bruce ‘Sunpie” Barnes, Mardi Gras day begins quietly in the darkened pre-dawn hours as he takes a solitary journey to a local cemetery to commune with the dead. Kneeling before graves, he asks the spirits of the past to enter his body so that he can become their living vessel, joining his soul with theirs as he takes to the streets. Later, at sunrise, he emerges in full costume, calling out and waking up the Treme neighborhood with his group, the Northside Skull and Bones Gang, which has followed the Carnival tradition for decades.

‘We’ll bring all the past dead spirits to the streets,” Barnes says. ‘Mardi Gras is the one day we do that.”

How much longer will the bone men and downtown Indians survive? That’s part of the focus of the story, which first emerged when the police broke up a traditional second-line parade in Treme honoring a musician who had passed on, scuffling with and arresting musicians. These unscheduled events are a century old tradition cherished by the neighborhood’s longtime residents.

Speaking to the Times-Picayune back in October when the confrontation between musicians and the police took place, lifelong Treme resident Beverly Curry explained why she came out that day in spite of bad leg: “I need to be here, to show my support for our heritage”

For a century, she said, that heritage has included impromptu second-line parades for musicians who die, “from the day they pass until the day they’re put in the ground,” she said. Those memorial processions still occur with regularity, without permits, as is the tradition. But, increasingly, NOPD officers have been halting them, citing complaints from neighbors and incidents of violence at similar gatherings.

….”Curry and other longtime residents point fingers at Treme newcomers, who buy up the neighborhood’s historic properties, then complain about a jazz culture that is just as longstanding and just as lauded as the neighborhood’s architecture.

“They want to live in the Treme, but they want it for their ways of living,” Curry said.

Who the hell decides to move to Treme, then calls the police when a second-line parade passes by? Why did they chose to live downtown, in this neighborhood of all places where second-lines (impromptu and the scheduled social aid and pleasure club versions), where bone men and Mardi Gras Indians are part of the very fabric of the place? What possible benefit is there to this redevelopment if it strangles the area’s culture?

Yes, you, yuppie scum. If you people feel you must live downtown, buy yourself one of those lovely high-rise condos being thrown up in the CBD and stay out of the traditional neighborhoods. You can climb into your Lexus and drive yourself to your favorite Uptown restaurant, if you can bring yourself to pass through or even (gasp!) park in the neighborhoods where the best ones are, neighborhoods full of the sort of people you apparently do want to live next to.

Is this the vision of the future of the city–gentrification leading to the death of the real New Orleans, what happened in Charleston after Hurricane Hugo, the threat I warned readers of WBG about over two years ago? It is a fearful thought, more so than a block-long trooop of possessed bone men: the death of the spirit that walks and sings and dances daily in the people of New Orleans. If the yuppie property flippers and their customers destroy Treme to save it’s quaint architectural charm, then it will not be Treme but something else. Only the bones of the houses of the old place will remain, and the spirits of three centuries will rest uneasily when the bone men no longer come to call on Carnival day.

Note: Hat tip to Anima Mundi and Library Chronicles for first calling out this story.

Farewell 2007 January 1, 2008

Posted by The Typist in jim morrison, poem, Poetry, Toulouse Street.
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Tomorrow is another year, or at least tomorrow morning is. Until then, this is Dancing Bear signing off for 2007, my first full year home, the year Godot did and did not come to New Orleans and it did not matter because we we clung to each other, happy to wait here until the end. Until our next regularly unscheduled transmission, remember this: Music is your only friend until the end:

Before I slip into the big sleep I want to hear the scream of the butterfly.

Happy. Peace. Merry. Joy December 24, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Christmas, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans Saints, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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On reconsideration, this deserves it’s own post.

As the wheel turns away from the dark, let us all follow and second line into the light.

The dew upon their feet shall manifest. December 24, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Xmas.
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Not everyone in this nation is a Christian, and so many struggle with this season. For those who’s own world view does not tend toward the religious, I offer this gift of a favorite poem that has carried me through many a churchly holiday and more than one family funeral.

If this seems too solemn, then let all of the gods and spirits and sons of men join together and dance. The faster we go, the rounder we get.

Sunday Morning

1

Complacencies of the peignoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissipate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.

2

Why should she give her bounty to the dead?
What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams?
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch.
These are the measure destined for her soul.

3

Jove in the clouds had his inhuman birth.
No mother suckled him, no sweet land gave
Large-mannered motions to his mythy mind.
He moved among us, as a muttering king,
Magnificent, would move among his hinds,
Until our blood, commingling, virginal,
With heaven, brought such requital to desire
The very hinds discerned it, in a star.
Shall our blood fail? Or shall it come to be
The blood of paradise? And shall the earth
Seem all of paradise that we shall know?
The sky will be much friendlier then than now,
A part of labor and a part of pain,
And next in glory to enduring love,
Not this dividing and indifferent blue.

4

She says, ‘I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?’
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven’s hill, that has endured
As April’s green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow’s wings.

5

She says, ‘But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.’
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.

6

Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.

7

Supple and turbulent, a ring of men
Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn
Their boisterous devotion to the sun,
Not as a god, but as a god might be,
Naked among them, like a savage source.
Their chant shall be a chant of paradise,
Out of their blood, returning to the sky;
And in their chant shall enter, voice by voice,
The windy lake wherein their lord delights,
The trees, like serafin, and echoing hills,
That choir among themselves long afterward.
They shall know well the heavenly fellowship
Of men that perish and of summer morn.
And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feel shall manifest.

8

She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, ‘The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.’
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

The Rebel Jesus December 19, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Chieftans, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Mid-City, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK, Xmas.
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I tried to answer Bart’s question about how to deal with Xmas when one is not an Xian as best I could. I think, however, that Jackson Browne kicks my ass.

So here, Bart, is at least part of the answer you are looking for:

So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.

The Rebel Jesus
Jackson Browne
The streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tales
Giving thanks for all God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

They call him by the “Prince of Peace”
And they call him by “The Saviour”
And they pray to him upon the sea
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worshiped in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

But pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.

Complicated Life September 16, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, French Quarter, New Orleans, NOLA.
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As my own swirls life madly out of control and into what a acquaintance who moved from professional musician to corporate citizen once called The Swirling Vortex, it’s time to stop and listen to some fine advice for everyone who lives in New Orleans, or wishes they did: remember why we’re here.

Damn, that felt good, now, didn’t it? Go ahead, play it again. Or better yet, click on the Share This link and give this video five stars now to show your appreciation.

Here’s some info from the You Tube posting:

Filmed in mid-2005, this is a glimpse into life on the French Quarter’s lower Decatur Street before Hurricane Katrina.

Originally written by Ray Davies of the Kinks, this track is performed by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band featuring Clint Maedgen on vocals with a guest appearance by the New Orleans Bingo! Show in the video.

http://www.myspace.com/preservationhall

http://www.myspace.com/clintmaedgen9

http://www.myspace.com/thebingoshow

In The Summertime July 6, 2007

Posted by The Typist in cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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It’s too damned hot to post.

So instead, I offer this bit of summertime diversion. And I always had a thing for jug bands.

And I thought my sideburns in the early 70s were extreme…

Kaminari Taiko at NOMA Japan Fest June 10, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Japan, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Recovery.
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In addition to an attachment to Japanese gardens, I’m always drawn to any opportunity to experience taiko drumming. This year’s New Orleans Museum of Art Japan Fest featured the return of Kaminari Taiko of Houston, TX. The incredible athleticism of this art was even more impressive in the 98 &#176 heat index. The large drum seen here is the largest playable taiko drum in North America.

Among the pieces they performed was Seiichi Tanaka’s “Tsunami”, from which I’ve captured this excerpt. You can hear the composer’s own Taiko Dojo of San Francisco performing the piece here.

I feel a strong connection to the victims of the Tsumani of 2004, and I have been drawn to art that addresses that event. In particular, I was drawn to Hokusi’s Great Wave when I found it at at the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C., and to this piece of music by Austin singer Eliza Gilkyson, written for the tsunami but which haunted me through the early months after 8-29.

As Kaminari Taiko played masterfully in the dire heat, with every stroke they gave me greater strength to live here now.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps November 29, 2006

Posted by The Typist in art, Dancing Bear, Odds&Sods, quotes, Toulouse Street.
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For certain is death for the born
And certain is birth for the dead;
Therefore over the inevitable
Thou shouldst not grieve.
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2

Thou shouldst not grieve. I suggest we dance.

It ain’t over… September 24, 2006

Posted by The Typist in Hurricane Katrina, Jazz, New Orleans, NOLA, Uncategorized.
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“It ain’t over. We’re going to try to make it better. It might not be today or tomorrow, but we’ll be back. We took New Orleans with us anyway, so everywhere we go, we’ve got it.”

– Tanio Hingle, New Birth Brass Band, from the article New Birth For New Orleans Brass Bands published September 10, 2005 in AllAboutJazz.com. Yeah, you right.

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