Flaskaland
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
 
Not fade away

In the Fade: The Road to Successful Music Journalism

"One of the major drawbacks that may scare interested journalists is that a recent study showed that the job market has decreased almost 15% over the past several years and with the onset of blogs and podcasting, the numbers will continue to decrease."
 
Monday, August 29, 2005
 
It's a Very Small World We Live In ... Hurricanes and Safety of Strangers, Friends, and Friends of Friends


An uncounted number of years ago, somewhere in a small lumber town in the rugged rural outback of Northern California, a friend of mine needed to have her rugged homesteader's hardworked back put straight. She needed some fine tuning done on her spine and so she looked in the small thin telephone book and soon visited a chiropractor.

After the adjustment, which was performed by a very conservative looking doctor in a gleaming white coat and black tie, my friend rested on the treatment table. As the adjustment settled in, she turned her head and glanced at the wall.

Typical of a doctor's office, the wall was decorated with official looking documents behind glass frames. Among these finely lettered certificates and gold embossed diplomas was a slightly used and yellowed newspaper clipping bearing fold creases held within a wood frame. Intrigued, my friend peered closer to read the article, which was an interview with a musician who worked with Frank Zappa.

That was a most unusual article, all circumstances, situations, and surroundings considered.

My friend read through the columns, somewhat perplexed, until she reached the part where the musician's real name was revealed as Arthur Dyer Tripp, III. Being such an unusual name, my friend couldn't help but notice that the musician's name was same as her chiropractor's, Dr. Tripp. Could it be? She wondered .... Indeed it could. Her chiropractor and the musician long associated with Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart were indeed one in the same person. During the next few visits, Tripp explained on inquiry that he'd made lots of records and put on many concerts and toured everywhere, but that he didn't like show business. His experiences in the field left such an impression on him that he said he didn't even play music anymore.

Within a few years, my friend eventually had to find a new chiropractor as Dr. Tripp for many reasons abandoned his new life. He left his wife, left his practice, and left Northern California far behind, emigrating to a town called Gulfport to begin anew. My friend, who had come to know the doctor and his wife, a few months ago mentioned she remembered he had moved to the South, somewhere in Mississippi.

In the past few days, Gulfport has been hit very hard by a Hurricane Katrina. We're sending out a special hope that all is well for Dr. Arthur Tripp and his aged mom.
 
 
Laura Joplin celebrates rock icon sister
by Paul Liberatore



Laura Joplin shares memories of her older sister, Janis, at an appearance at Book Pasage in Corte Madera. Her biography, 'Love Janis,' was just reissued. (IJ photo/Alan Dep ) Meeting Laura Joplin for the first time can be a slightly unsettling experience.

It's not that she's the spitting image of her legendary sister, the famously self-destructive blues singer Janis Joplin, but the family resemblance is striking.

As a woman told her at Book Passage one night this week, "It's fun to look at you. It's like seeing what Janis would have looked like if she had lived."

Laura was in Marin, her sister's old stomping grounds, promoting the new trade paperback reissue of "Love, Janis," the 1992 biography she wrote using letters the flamboyant rock star wrote to her family, friends and lovers.

Laura is 57, about six years younger than Janis, who would have been 62 this past January, hard as that is to believe.

She has short blond hair in a boyish cut and clear blues eyes. For her Marin appearance, she wore dangly, leaf-shaped earrings, a beaded necklace and an artsy, copper-colored jacket over a black dress. She looks like she could be an artist or a poet.

An impressive woman with a master's degree in psychology and a doctorate in education, she is often incorrectly described as "a therapist." She is actually an educational consultant and executive coach, but spends a good deal of time managing the Joplin estate, which she calls "working for Janis." She lives in Chico with her husband, who books the musical acts at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Her 19-year-old daughter, Claire, is a college student.

Thirty-five years ago this fall, Janis Joplin, just 27 years old, was found dead of a heroin overdose in a Los Angeles hotel room, prematurely ending the fervid career of the most electrifying performer of her time.

My first inclination upon meeting Laura was to tell her how sorry I was about her sister's death, as if it had just happened. This, apparently, is not an unusual reaction. Someone once described Janis as frozen in time, forever young, "a firefly trapped in amber."

At Book Passage, a woman in the audience said, "I still remember the night Janis died. It still shocks me, seeing you and thinking about that. Janis embodied the '60s for me."

Laura may favor Janis in appearance, but she is the opposite side of the same coin in personality. Janis, the wild woman of rock 'n' roll, known for Southern Comfort and sexual promiscuity, humorously admits in one of her letters that "I've never even posed as someone well adjusted."

Laura, on the other hand, is measured, controlled, professionally accomplished. Speaking at Book Passage in a soft voice with a trace of Lone Star State drawl, she described the chaos of growing up in a small Texas town with a free spirit like Janis Joplin for an older sister.

"The yelling," she said in mock exasperation, then only half-jokingly added: "She made my life miserable. She made me a more introspective, quiet person." Laura looked up to her older sister, but concluded early on that competing with her "wasn't worth the frustration."

The Joplin girls and their younger brother, Michael, a glass blower living in Arizona, grew up in a literate, "child-centered" household.

Their parents, now deceased, were somewhat bewildered by Janis' sudden rock stardom, and her unconventional lifestyle was a source of endless worry for them, but there wasn't much they could do about it. "When she became famous, their awareness was that she was beyond their influence," Laura said.

She confessed that her parents weren't equipped emotionally to handle Janis' death. "You heard doors slamming internally," is how she described it.

Laura was in college when Janis died. She finished school, moved to Colorado and went through her own more wholesome period of alternative living, building log cabins.

Two decades ago, when she was at home, pregnant with her daughter, she began organizing Janis' papers and handling the business of the estate.

When she discovered the letters that Janis had left behind, she saw a way of writing a book that allowed her sister to speak for herself.

"It allows Janis to tell her own story in the moment," she explained. "You get a collage of who she was."

The original book was based on 25 letters. Since then more than 70 others have come to light. As a result, the new paperback is an even more complete picture of the singer.

There are innocent, excited letters from her early, scuffling years, when she and the members of her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company, lived communally in a house in Lagunitas with the Grateful Dead as neighbors.

Later, after she has become a rock star, she writes about the satisfaction she feels with the lovely home she bought in a redwood canyon in Larkspur and her determination to control her drinking and kick heroin

Reading the book, you can see how Janis' life traced the trajectory of the hippie movement, from its idealistic beginnings in the Summer of Love to its disillusionment and descent into hard drugs and death at the end of the '60s.

"Janis is not just a story of herself," Laura said, "but also the story of the times."

The book is also an attempt to rehabilitate the negative image from Janis' sordid death. She was more than a troubled soul, but was also fun-loving, warm and open.

"When she died, she lost the ability to have ambiguity and complexity," Laura said. "She became an icon. I've decided that Janis has a second career as an icon."

On a more personal level for Laura, writing about Janis was part of her grieving process.

"I wanted to find out what had happened to the girl I knew," she said. "It was a wonderful cathartic process. By the end, I was able to listen to her music without any twinges of sadness. I could get back to saying, 'Gosh, she was great.'"

liberatore@marinij.com

©2005 by MediaNews Group
================================================
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving the included information for research and
educational purposes.

(courtesy of bob sarles music wire, bsarlesWire@aol.com)
 
 
No Hazardous Duty Pay for the Grub, Either

Inside story: Great rock'n'roll swindles
Love them or hate them, rock stars have to be interviewed from time to time - even if someone forgot to tell them. Jon Wilde picks 20 of the most embarrassing encounters
Published: 29 August 2005

1. Back in 1965, NME's Keith Altham was sent to a London recording studio to interview VAN MORRISON to mark the release of Them's debut album. After being kept waiting for some considerable time, Altham spotted Morrison reading a newspaper, strolled up to him and gently enquired when the interview might commence. Without looking up from his paper and demonstrating the silver-tongued charm for which he would become noted, Morrison snorted, "Fuck off, can't you see I'm busy."

2. Loaded's John Perry met up with the famously temperamental MARK E SMITH for an interview in 1997. The Fall leader set the tone for proceedings by attempting to stub a cigarette out in Perry's face, then responded to the fairly innocuous questions with a volley of personal abuse: "You're a fucking cunt, aren't you? A cretin. A frustrated pervert." Abruptly terminating the interview after a few minutes, Smith tried to punch through a wall, scuffled with bar staff and picked a fight with the band Ash. He then stumbled drunkenly into the street muttering, "They all owe me a fuckin' living, all of them."

3. Perhaps the most dependable way of ensuring that an interview with a prissy pop diva is terminated with immediate haste is to vomit over her designer shoes. This remarkable achievement was notched up by the hungover Smash Hits editor John McKie in 2000 as he interviewed MARIAH CAREY in the back of a limousine. Maybe McKie was merely paying homage to the music journalist Tommy Udo who, back in the early Eighties, wandered backstage to interview Spandau Ballet and managed to distinguish himself by projectile vomiting on to Gary Kemp.

4. Phil Sutcliffe turned up for a Sounds interview with JOE STRUMMER in 1977 blissfully unaware of the fact that The Clash frontman generally refused to talk to anyone who looked even vaguely like a hippie. Eyeing Sutcliffe's long hair, bandanna and flares, Strummer announced, "I'll give you an interview if you say, 'I'm a shit'." To which Sutcliffe innocently replied, 'OK, you're a shit'." He was promptly thrown onto the street.

5. Sent along by The Sun to interview JOHN LYDON on the occasion of "God Save the Queen"'s 2002 re-release, Dominic Mohan found the former Mr Rotten in even spikier form than usual. Throughout the brief interview, Lydon responded to questions with "That's none of your business" or "read my book". When Mohan dared to point out that it was impossible to continue the interview in this manner, Lydon sent him packing with the words, "You're a soulless, heartless cardsharp and you know it. You're a moron - that's why you work for The Sun. You fucking stink. Everything about you is appalling. Now go away."

6. In 1985, MILES DAVIS granted an extremely rare interview to The Face. Aware that Davis generally took to being interviewed like a duck to tarmac, the magazine chose one of their most experienced journalists for the job. Two minutes in, the jazz legend turned to his PR and solemnly declared, "Hell, this guy stinks of piss - get him out of here." To this day, speculation persists as to the identity of the incontinent hack. Oddly, no one seems in a hurry to step forward.

7. Although not technically a pop star, SOOTY had a new single to promote in the early 1980s and Terry Staunton was all set to interview the celebrated glove-puppet for the children's page of a local newspaper. At the appointed time, the puppet master Harry Corbett stormed into the room with a smouldering orange bear on his hand, having accidentally set fire to Sooty during the finale to the matinée show. "Well," Corbett declared, "that's the end of that little bastard," and tossed Sooty into the sink. No puppet equalled no interview. That stands to reason.

8. THE CORRS, as everyone knows, are a band consisting of three sisters and a brother. Everyone except Donna Air, it would seem. In the mid-1990s, when working as an MTV VJ, she faced all four members and opened her interrogation with the bombshell of a question: "So guys, where did you all meet?" The interview never quite recovered after that.

9. In 1996, journalist John Perry enjoyed a brief but eventful meeting with ICE CUBE which became a tad overheated when Perry implied that the tough-guy rapper was a member of murderous LA gang the Bloods when, in fact, he was a member of their deadly rivals, the Crips. Heading for the exit as bulky items of furniture were being thrown at him, Perry then delivered his coup de grâce, asking Cube whether he had ever considered taking part in a gay pride march.

10. In the mid-1990s, rock heavyweight MEATLOAF held a press conference in Stockholm to promote a forthcoming tour. All seemed to be progressing in routinely banal fashion until a German reporter stood up and asked the question that everyone but Meat was longing to hear: "Mr Loaf, is it your glands or do you simply eat too much?" Cue much hilarity and a very abrupt termination of conference.

11. In 1999, MARIAH CAREY held a large press conference to promote a new single. Three questions in, she was asked to comment on the recent death of Jordan's King Hussein. Clearly in a state of some confusion, she replied, "I'm inconsolable at the present time, I was a very good friend of Jordan, he was probably the greatest basketball player this country has ever seen. We will never see his like again." After which she was briskly whisked away by her entourage. Though this story is widely believed to be an urban myth, this writer has met at least three journalists who claim to have been there.

12. Loaded's Martin Deeson turned up for a 1995 interview at ALICE COOPER's house on the back of a mind-bending three-day bender. He did manage to ask Alice one question ("So, what do you think of Argentina then?") before his comedown got the better of him. Alice was mid-way through answering when Deeson staggered to his feet, muttered, "Well Mr Cooper, I think I have everything I need," and stumbled to the door where he was swiftly escorted off the premises by Alice's butler.

13. Consenting to be interviewed at the American Music Awards in 2000, the former Spice Girl MEL C was unprepared for the sexually graphic nature of questions put to her by the interviewer Gary Garver. Remaining rooted to the spot and speechless after questions about pubic hair and her favourite location for masturbation, Sporty Spice finally flounced off when asked, "Have you ever had a lesbian experience?"

14. When conducting an interview, it always helps if the talent manages to stay awake for the duration. SLY DUNBAR of the reggae duo Sly and Robbie failed to do so during a meeting with The Independent's Ian Burrell; likewise three members of Black Uhuru dozed off when quizzed by this writer in 1982. It also helps if the journalist avoids taking a nap mid-interview, a fate that has befallen NME's Johnny Dee (Suzanne Vega) and Blitz journalist Mark Corderay (Nick Cave).

15. When BRIAN WILSON emerged from hibernation in 1988 to promote his debut solo album, his behaviour during interviews was erratic even by his standards. Some journalists never made it past the audition stage - one being dismissed for being "too thin", another because his beard made the Beach Boy nervous. More recently, Wilson's sense of time has become so muddled that he is known to wrap up interviews after one minute in the mistaken belief that he has been talking for a full hour.

16. Val Hennessy was once sent to Nice for an audience with LUCIANO PAVAROTTI. After waiting five days, she got the nod that Pavarotti was ready to talk. Removing her glasses, she strolled into his apartment with an expensive bouquet for the big man. Seeing that he was standing before her, and with arms outstretched, she swept up to him and gushed, "I am so thrilled to meet you." Only problem was that she happened to be addressing a life-sized cardboard cut-out of the man. Pavarotti himself was perched on the edge of his sofa, looking unimpressed. Ignoring her flowers, he seethed, "All journalists are shits." And it all went downhill from there.

17. The night before Neil Strauss's recent interview with JULIAN CASABLANCAS, The Strokes' frontman assured the reporter that an ideal topic of conversation for the interview would be the reasons why Nigel Godrich had been sacked as the producer of the band's second album. Naturally, then, Strauss started the interview with such an inquiry. "Fuck off," replied Casablancas. "I'm not answering that." Strauss spent the next five minutes firing questions while the singer ignored him and played a video game. The meeting ended with Casablancas attempting to kiss Strauss on the lips, before drunkenly wheeling himself home in an abandoned wheelchair.

18. Down the years, VAN MORRISON has maintained his charm offensive in the presence of interviewers. His 1989 meeting with Hot Press's Liam Fay quickly descended into farce, with the Celtic soulman responding to the most straightforward questions with monosyllabic grunts as he tucked into a plate of chicken and chips. After 15 minutes of this torture, Van declared the interview to be over, then spent the next 10 minutes chasing Fay around a restaurant table in an attempt to retrieve the tape, before lashing the reporter with his coat.

19. In 1998, NME was granted a rare interview with ROBBIE WILLIAMS. All seemed to be going swimmingly when, after five minutes, Williams announced that he needed to use the toilet. Upon returning, he announced, "I'm finding this really difficult. You're the NME and I don't like you." He then stormed out.

20. This writer was recently privileged to conduct an interview with IAN BROWN for Uncut magazine. After a mere 20 seconds, the former Stone Rose piped up with, "Hang about, you're the snide cunt who stitched me up 16 years ago. You can fuck off right now or I'm calling security." And that was that.
 
 
My Life as a Hack
It was glorious. Now it's over.
By Ben Yagoda




I can recall seeing only one movie about a freelance writer: Woody Allen's
Celebrity. In an early scene, a movie star (played by Melanie Griffith) takes
the hack (Kenneth Branagh) on a tour of her childhood home then seduces him in
her old bedroom.

That struck me as unrealistic. It's been my experience as a freelancer that film
stars almost never invite you to their houses.

It did happen to me once, however. About 15 years ago, Rolling Stone asked me to
profile the teenage Uma Thurman. We had lunch at the Russian Tea Room (where
Rolling Stone bought Uma a caviar-blini combination so expensive it had an
unlisted price) then took a pit stop at her family's apartment on the Upper West
Side. There was no seduction, the least of many reasons being that her little
brother was due home from school any minute. Even so, the whole thing was a
highlight of my freelancing career to that date.



Shortly after I submitted the piece, my editor phoned to say she was so sorry,
but they couldn't use it: It wouldn't do to run two profiles of
oddly-first-named starlets in one issue, and another editor had inadvertently
assigned an article about Winona Ryder. Moving swiftly to Plan B, I mailed (no
e-mail yet) the story to American Film magazine, which accepted it. Out of
courtesy, I informed my Rolling Stone editor. The next day she phoned: On second
thought, Rolling Stone did want to run my piece, only I would have to cut 3,000
words to 900. I was embarrassed to have to withdraw it from American Film, but
the connection led to three rewarding assignments from that magazine. Then it
folded.

That was nothing new. The majority of magazines I've written for no longer
exist. A moment of silence: American Stage, Atlantic City Magazine, Business
Month, Channels of Communication, Connoisseur, Fame, Horizon, In Health, Lingua
Franca, Memories, New England Monthly, Next, the Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine,
Phillysport, Politicks, Push, Saturday Review, Ultrasport, and Working at Home.

We freelancers have always had to put up with magazines that die on us, along
with butchered copy, chuckleheaded editors, rights-grabbing contracts,
isolation, lost manuscripts, whacks to the ego, changed quotes, the absence of
security or benefits, and-unkindest of all-the kill fee (i.e., paying authors a
third or a quarter of the agreed-upon rate if an assigned piece is not used for
virtually any reason, up to and including the fact that someone else wrote about
Winona Ryder). Usually, though, these indignities are outweighed by the good
stuff about freelancing: freedom, no commute, funny war stories, the periodic
ego boost of appearing in print, and the chance to eat caviar with Uma Thurman.

But something has changed. These days, when the pros and cons are put on the
scale, the minus side sinks every time. I've spent 29 years as a freelancer-some
of it full time, most of it on the side-but it may finally be time to take down
my shingle.

Perhaps this is just the Lion King factor-the circle of life. Freelancing, with
all its scrambling and uncertainty, is like rock climbing or white-water
kayaking: one of those things that comes fairly easily in your 20s and 30s but
requires some mulling over as you enter your 50s.

But I'm convinced that the nature of the game has changed as well. For one
thing, the economics of the freelance life seem worse than ever. And they were
never good. Just take a look at George Gissing's 1891 novel, New Grub Street,
about London hacks barely breaking even. In the cosmos of skilled tradespeople,
freelance journalists have always been bottom-dwellers. Plumbers don't do kill
fees. Screenwriters have negotiated an ironbound fee schedule: currently, a
minimum of $53,256 (I said minimum) for two drafts of an original script, plus
$17,474 more for a rewrite and $8,742 for a "polish." But for magazine hacks, an
unlimited number of rewrites and polishes have always been gratis.

As far as freelancing rates go, they were modest when I started out and are
about the same now. I don't mean the same adjusted for inflation. I mean the
same. I became a full-time freelancer in 1978, and the first piece I published
in a prominent national magazine was a "My Turn" essay in Newsweek. I was paid
$500. Just a couple of years ago, I had a slightly longer essay in a popular
online magazine that will go nameless. $500 again. I received the check 97 days
after publication, which broke a personal record.

Of course, online publishers are notorious skinflints, but their print
counterparts aren't paying much better. According to Writers Market, the
freelancer's bible, New York magazine paid $1 a word in 1996 and pays the same
rate in 2005. Catholic Digest's fees were $200 to $400 in 1989 and are the same
today. The Village Voice was in the news this month for planning to slash its
already low fees: Short pieces that used to go for $130 will now fetch $75.
There are a few glossy exceptions, but stagnant rates are the rule. That's even
worse than it seems. Magazines commonly pay by the word and have been assigning
ever shorter articles-which means that writers are virtually certain to get less
for a typical piece.

Freelancers are treated this way not because they're schlimazels or because
editors are jerks, but because of the law of supply and demand. The Harvard
Business School could use freelance journalism as a case study of a buyers'
market. Leaving aside a handful of periodicals that value distinctive writing,
extensively reported dispatches, and unusual or challenging perspectives, what
magazines want is clean and inoffensive copy that fits their magazine's format
and fills the space between pictures and ads. There has always been an
overabundance of people eager and able to provide this, even if they are treated
lousy. Therefore, they are usually treated lousy. Various attempts to form
writers unions have failed because everyone knows that if any such organization
called a job action against a publication or, God forbid, the entire magazine
industry, other adequate writers would immediately step forward to fill the
void.

The culture of magazines also seemed different in '78, when I hung out my
shingle for the first time. I'm fairly certain I'm not mythologizing when I say
that some of the Olympian moments in magazine journalism-the moments when Gay
Talese freelanced "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold," when Tom Wolfe wrote his profile
of Junior Johnson and Michael Herr the pieces that became Dispatches-still
retrospectively glowed. The understanding was that good writing was actually a
marketable commodity. More: By publishing the right piece at the right time in
the right magazine, you could initiate a cultural event.

Today, most freelancers I know aren't even looking to make that kind of splash:
They'd just like to pursue stories that are interesting for their own sakes and
that allow for distinctive writing. This is a fairly modest wish, but in today's
magazine world, it's not a realistic one. Modern titles, formatted to within an
inch of their lives, require freelancers to shape experience into small, breezy
portions that extol the lifestyle or consumer culture the magazine and its
advertisers are looking to promote. The ultimate upside isn't the creation of a
cultural event, but the creation of buzz.

Finally, there's the dignity factor. A friend of mine, who never got published
in The New Yorker, still treasures the bunch of hand-typed and personal
rejection letters he got in the late '70s and early '80s from William Shawn.
That's so 20th century. These days, you're lucky to get a form letter. The
pocket veto-that is, the unreturned e-mail, letter, or phone call-has become an
accepted way of turning down ideas and submissions, even from longtime
contributors. A couple of months ago, I sent, through my literary agent, a
detailed query letter to a magazine editor he had worked with before. We
followed it up a couple of times. No yes, no no, no nothing.

I'm done.

Yo, Uma! Next time the blini's on me.


(via girlgroup, the site for all wimmens in music journnalism)
 
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
 
Memphis on the Vlatva: Prague's country music blues


Tue Aug 23,10:13 AM ET

PRAGUE (AFP) - They pick guitars and banjos, wear Stetson hats and sing plaintively about hard men with soft hearts. But these music-lovin' cowpokes are a long, long way from Texa


They are, in fact, in Prague, the unlikely capital of country music in Europe since the time of Buffalo Bill.

But there's trouble on the homestead, say Prague's country music devotees. The Czech Republic's passion for Old West tunes flourished through world wars, a global depression and forty years of oppressive communist rule. But today the singing Czech cowboy may be a dying breed.

The roots of the Czech fascination with country music -- which still has patrons stamping the floor in the "hospoda" saloons across the country -- go way back to the first decades of the 20th century, according to Jaroslav Cvancara, front man and banjoist of the group Taxmeni.

"In 1906 the Czechs were already applauding the famous circus of the Wild West hero William Frederick Cody, better known as "Buffalo Bill", with 500 cowboys, 800 horses and real Indians," Cvancara said.

Seduced by the silent era films of Tom Mix, hair-raising stories of savage red skins, and the music that went with them, several generations of young Czechs have taken to "tramping".

A blend of trekking and camping -- as might have been done in the Wild West -- tramping became an act of rebellion against establishment values and dictators.

"For the young kids, whether they be working class or intellectual, the forest offers a good chance to take revenge on the rigid bureaucracy. Even today, there is a law forbidding young boys and girls camping together without a marriage license," said Cvancara.

"Under the Nazi occupation, many 'tramps' were members of the resistance," he added.

Not surprisingly, Communist leaders after 1948 were very wary of people who dressed like American cowboys and sang odes to freedom and life in the (Old) West. A number of them spent time in communist prisons.

"Towards the end of the 1950s, I started to listen in secret to the programmes on the radio broadcast for US soldiers in Germany. That's how I came to learn the five-string banjo," recalled Marko Cermak, the first Czech to explore the intricacies of country music's emblematic instrument.

"The first time I made a banjo, I used a photo of an American singer Pete Seeger," said Cermak, a former member of the cult group "Greenhorns" whose hits are known by heart by millions of Czechs.

In the shops of communist Czechoslovakia, banjos were not to be found.

A loosening of government control in the 1960's brought on a boom in country and rock music, but the nation experienced another political freeze with the occupation by Soviet troops in 1968.

"The English names of the groups were banned and those who wanted to play in public were obliged to go before an examining board," said Jan Vycital, front man and guitarist for the "Greenhorns", renamed in Czech "Zelenaci".

Since the fall of communism 15 years ago, country music lovers no longer risk a spell behind bars, but Vycital is pessimistic about the future of the genre.

"Country has had it, especially when you see the young people who take every chance to protest against everything American. In my day we would have punched them in the face," fumed the musician, who adapted to Czech hundreds of American and Australian country songs.

"Country's peak is already behind us. The philosophy of this music is basically conservative, upholding traditional values of family and country. And there hasn't yet been a serious conservative political party here," Cvancara said.

But Cermak thinks that not all is lost, at least not yet. "One day, maybe some of them will get sick of the Internet, DVD's and all that goes with the modern world, and again seek refuge in this little romantic world," he said.
 
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
 
"Music Reviewing: Rules of Thumb"



(via chemistry class)
 
 
Did a missing document cost a man his place in music history?

By Robert K. Elder
Chicago Tribune


Even when he found the manuscript jammed into the back of a filing cabinet, author Robert Gordon didn’t recognize exactly what he had unearthed.

Wrapped in a powder-blue cover, it was a long-lost piece of blues history: the 1941-1942 field study manuscript that chronicles African-American music and culture in rural Mississippi. Adding to its historical mystique, the manuscript documents the discovery of blues legend Muddy Waters by Library of Congress folklorist Alan Lomax and musicologist John Work III, a professor at Fisk University in Nashville.

Sixty years ago, the original field study findings were meant to be jointly edited and published by the Library of Congress and Fisk University, a predominantly African-American liberal arts institution. But Work’s manuscript was mishandled, lost, found, lost again and, eventually, forgotten.

Decades later, Lomax wrote "Land Where the Blues Began," a prize-winning book that drew on his recollections of Mississippi Delta trips. Work was mentioned only three times in the volume.

This month, Vanderbilt University Press is releasing "Lost Delta Found: Rediscovering the Fisk University-Library of Congress Coahoma County Study, 1941-1942," as written by Work, plus essays by his colleagues Lewis Wade Jones and Samuel C. Adams, who also took part in the research.

With the book’s publication, editors Gordon and Bruce Nemerov are attempting to shed light on the famed ethno-music research and recast the contributions of Work.

"It’s justice. What we’re doing is justice," Gordon says. "A guy who had incredible impact on these famous field trips who has been completely written out of them."

"Lost Delta Found" also conjures up contentious issues about race, the interpretation of history and protection of legacies.

Matthew Barton, who worked for Lomax for seven years in the 1980s and is now employed at the Library of Congress, applauds the publication of "Lost Delta Found." He has some concerns about treatment of Lomax in the book’s introduction, however.

"I’m just worried that people will get the wrong impression from their introduction," Barton says. "They cast (Lomax) in a rather negative light, as someone who was undermining John Work."

The "Lost Delta Found" editors attest that Work’s contributions to the trips were all but ignored by Lomax. It’s a view Work’s son, John Work IV, supports.

"There have been so many African-American artists or scholars of one sort or another that have either been discounted or hidden or just left out of the mainstream. From my viewpoint, this was a perfect example of that," says Work, a retired economist and author of "Race, Economics and Corporate America."

"I was delighted to see this come to light and see my father get credit for the substantial work he did," Work says. "I do believe that Robert and Bruce did some great historiography here. They simply lay down the facts instead of editorializing. Those guys are detectives of the first order, as I see it."

However, while neither Gordon nor Nemerov explicitly lay blame on Lomax for the manuscript’s disappearance, implications permeate their introduction.

They write that the bound manuscript "a noncirculating original, was found stashed in the back of a file cabinet drawer in the Alan Lomax Archives. ... (It) had a soft powder-blue cover identifying it as the product of, and the property of ... Fisk University. It has since been returned."

"They use very loaded language. They are making conjectures, there is no evidence for any of this," says Ellen Harold, Lomax’s niece by marriage, editor and Italian translator at the Alan Lomax Archives in New York’s Hunter College.

"They said he had the manuscript. It was lost repeatedly, by other people. That was not Lomax’s fault," Harold says. "He preserved it, and he also preserved Work’s recordings of black fiddle music."

Ronald D. Cohen, editor of "Alan Lomax: Selected Writings, 1934-1997" and history professor at Indiana University Northwest has been a longtime Lomax defender. As Cohen read the book, he wrote a response e-mail to the Chicago Tribune.

"It appears their main complaint against Lomax is that he did not credit Work with initiating the project (or even being part of it) in ‘Land Where the Blues Began’ ...," Cohen writes. "Gordon has much good to say about Lomax’s importance, but wants to give most of the credit to Work and his colleagues. I think this is probably most correct. Lomax was never one to share much of the credit."

As for the manuscript, Harold says, it’s unclear exactly when it became "lost." Work wrote the Library of Congress in 1958, Harold says, asking for permission to include his work from the Coahoma study in a book he was planning to write - though he never did.

"Nothing in the letter or in the reply from the Library of Congress indicates that his essay was missing at that time, and it seems reasonable to assume that he had a copy in his possession," Barton says.

Lomax, however, released his own account of the journey, "The Land Where the Blues Began," in 1993. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award, though it drew criticism for condensing the two trips into one. He mentions Work in the volume three times, including an entry in the acknowledgments.

Cohen points out that "Land Where the Blues Began" is "Lomax’s story about his life and knowledge, and not about other scholars. I guess this is to be expected."

As for how the Work manuscript ended up in Lomax’s archives at Hunter College, Fisk librarian Jessie Carnie Smith draws a blank.

"I just can’t tell you how that got out," Smith says.

"The Gordon/Nemerov book is most fascinating and also does not seem to stress too much the Muddy Waters connection," Cohen says. "They seem most interested in publishing for the first time these fascinating documents, which are certainly welcomed."

"Alan would love that this is out now," Harold adds. "I feel it’s a shame to pit them against each other because each one had their good qualities, whatever disagreements they had. They were on the right side together, on music’s side."
 
 
New Course for Would-be Rock Hacks

WOULD-BE Julie Burchills and Lester Bangs can now learn the art of music journalism at Huddersfield University.

A new degree course in the subject starts next month.

Lecturers came up with the idea when they realised that lots of their print journalism students were particularly interested in pop, rock, rap and indie music.

Now they're inviting applicants to spend three years learning about music, its history, and how to write about it.

Senior lecturer Stephen Dorril is in charge of the course.

He says: "We launched a sports journalism degree and that's become really popular.

"Now we're trying music journalism. Next, we may introduce film journalism.

"Music is particularly appropriate in Huddersfield, given our heritage.

"I used to be social secretary at the university and all the punk and new wave bands came here - Elvis Costello, The Jam, The Cure, Wire and Generation X.

"When the Sex Pistols came to Ivanhoe's in 1977, I was supposed to look after them but we just ended up having a laugh.

"I thought Sid was an idiot and couldn't play, and Nancy was all over him. Johnny Rotten and I shared an interest in a German band, Can, so we talked about them."

The course will encompass classical music, jazz, reggae or anything else that students want to specialise in, and assignments will include covering Marsden Jazz Festival.

Stephen, of Netherthong, continues: "We haven't had any feedback from the music press because no-one really knows about our course yet - we only got the go-ahead to run it two months ago.

"But music journalism is growing. There are so many magazines and online opportunities, plus every broadsheet newspaper has a music section now."

Call admissions tutor Andy Fox on 01484 478414.

 
 
 
 
Wowsa! Mark Those Calendars ...



Family Dog Presents

Event: A Chet Helms Tribal Stomp

Produced by: Family Dog

Date: Sunday October 30th, 2005

Location: Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park

Admission: Free

Info: Information will be posted at: 2b1records.com/chetmemorial


The list of performers who wish to pay their respects is massive.
As the performers, etc. confirm they will be posted on the site.

Volunteers: Anyone wishing to be involved may contact us at
415-861-1520.

Contact: Boots Hughston 415 861-1520 fax 415 861-1519
dog2005ch@yahoo.com
www.2b1records.com\chetmemorial

Background:

Chet Helms was one of the founding fathers of the psychedelic movement from
the 1960's. As promoter for the ³Family Dog², Chet developed the concept of
the modern rock concert and was one of the founding fathers of the 1960's
peace movements that swept the nation and made waves around the world.

Chet was also the catalyst that brought together Janis Joplin with Big
Brother and the Holding Company, which helped shape the San Francisco sound.
He promoted acts like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Charlatans, Great
Society, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Peter Tosh, the Clash and countless others.
Without Chet Helms, as many have said, there would be no Grateful Dead,
no Jefferson Airplane, no Big Brother, and the list goes on and on.

While promoting concerts at the legendary Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco,
Chet produced a series of posters that are considered by some to be the
finest art from that period. It was through these posters that artists like
Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, and Rick Griffin, rose to fame. He also
provided a fertile home for light shows to develop their art, which became
today's multimedia light show extravaganzas. Chet Helms continued
promoting pivotal concerts through four decades. In the 60's at the Avalon,
Family Dog at the Beach, S.F. Golden Gate Park, Denver Dog, and Crystal Ballroom
in Portland.

In the 1970's, Chet organized the Tribal Stomps in Berkeley and Monterey,
which rekindled hip values and united the families. The "Tribute to Chet Helms"
in 1994, brought together many of the original 60's acts and started a new hip
movement that lasted at Maritime Hall for 7 years. In 1997, Chet organized
the 30th anniversary "Summer of Love" concert at the Beach Chalet Meadows,
uniting young bands with original 1960's San Franciscoacts. Over 20,000 people
attended this event.

Where Bill Graham may have been the warrior and conqueror of rock,
Chet Helms was heart and soul. Chet was a kind and gentle spirit who had love for all.

******************************************************************

(via punmaestro, b sarles, and all the usual suspects)
 
Sunday, August 21, 2005
 

Exclusive Story: UK Music Industry & Charts Revised After 7/7 Terrorist Attacks


"NEW YORK (By Paris Kazakis, Top40 Charts Staff Writer) - The Charts usually disclose to us both the consumers' preferences and the limits of the music industry. In this exclusive article we try to explore the impact an important event has, not only involving the charts, but also regarding the behavior of the music industry.

Dealing with music and the Charts we observed that the phenomenon of terrorism and the deadly attacks have influenced the music industry. It all started with the terrorist attacks in New York - 9/11; the people's preferences changed, and new music genres were brought in the limelight while certain others were totally displaced.
For example, music currents like Patriotic Country, Christian Pop/Rock and Soul/Smooth Jazz, were brought dynamically in limelight - while the traditional Pop and Dance music became depasse in the US Charts. At the same time the American public and Contemporary radio turned to "voices-troubadour" and young singers like John Mayer, J. Mraz, Bethany Dilon, bringing a 'past' music atmosphere that resembles to the one of the '60s!

Today, an analogous change is in progress concerning the British musical ethics. Right after the terrorist attack of 7/7 at London, the public overwhelmed by fear, searched for a way out exploring other type of songs."
 
 
"What History Can Do to Bad Boys

http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/editorial/12434231.htm

"Yet a consideration of the troubled relationship between civil rights leaders and black popular music in the past might give pause to the opponents of contemporary rap, and, for that matter, to proponents of integration. In fact, blues, jazz, rock-and-roll and rhythm-and-blues were all denounced by advocates for racial integration, and for the same reasons rap is now under attack.

In the 1920s, several civil rights leaders were so concerned about the sexual and violent content of popular blues and jazz songs that they established a record company to "undertake the job of elevating the musical taste of the race." Promoted by W.E.B. DuBois and A. Philip Randolph, two of the most important civil rights leaders of the 20th century, Black Swan Records pledged to distribute "the Better Class of Records by Colored Artists," which meant recordings of "respectable" European classical music.

Civil rights leaders similarly opposed the next creations of African American musicians: rock-and-roll and rhythm-and-blues. In the 1950s, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told African Americans to shun the new music, which, he said, "plunges men's minds into degrading and immoral depths." Likewise, Randolph's Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which produced a great portion of the civil rights leadership, condemned rock and R&B for their overt sexuality and their "degrading portrayal of Negro womanhood."

This history suggests that the cause of integration has always been at odds with what now is widely hailed as America's most important contribution to world culture. Many scholars argue that the creators of jazz, blues, rock, and R&B were great because of their willingness and ability to work outside European cultural forms and to speak about elements of the human condition that white artists would not, such as sex and violence.

Those who attack the latest form of black popular music for the sake of racial unity and "respectability" might stop to consider which side, in the history that will be written of this time, they wish to be on."
 
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
 
Play about composer Joe Meek debuts in London's West End.

Everybody mentions "Telstar" and quite rightly as that was the megahit. But I remember the sweet Afro-Carib tinkle of "Allen's Song", which I think is an overlooked Meeks treasure.
 
 
First Hand Account of the ChetFest via Bob Sarles

This was the toughest ticket in years, and I thought I had pull. Never did get my ticket, but my pal Jesse Block included me as a cameraman on his video crew documenting the event, so I was in. A good portion of the night I had a front row position, even if I had a 20 pound camera on my shoulder. Thanks to Tahoe Bob for writing this up, and to the great photographer Bob Minken for sending it our away, as well as his photos of the event which may be seen at:

ChetFest -- A Tribute to the life of Chet Helms

Chet was really a great guy. I first interviewed him for my film 'Feed Your Head' in '97, and we were friends ever since. He always made it to our house parties, holding court on the barber's chair, and he always came to our film screenings. If Chet was there, you knew it was the place to be in SF. We often spoke of projects we'd like to do together. Bill made the money, but Chet made friends. They say he died without any money, but he was a wealthy man in the ways that count. Chet will be sorely missed. One of a kind.
-bsarles


------------------------------------------------
ChetFest At SF's Great American Music Hall
A Tribute to the Life of Chet Helms

By Tahoe Bob

I'll just note what I can recall. There were so many people from every
band playing together, I'm sure to omit somebody and mess up the order
of acts. I also don't know all the players by name, when a detailed
setlist shows up then we'll all know who did what...

Wavy Gravy as emcee with Flying Other Brothers Roger McNamee as
(train)conductor. The hall was very intimate and it was easy to imagine
what it was like in the old ballrooms.

The lightshow was excellent, among the artists was Jerry Abrams of
Headlights/JA renown. A large circular screen centered above the stage
had two hanging panels on each side featuring white projection areas on
tye-dyed backgrounds. Old style liquid projection (at one point on
screen I watched as the artist added colored liquids from something that
looked like a plastic squeeze condiment bottle onto the projector and
mixed the colors of their palette), computer graphics and video both
live and recorded were shown. As John Krug has noted, many vintage
videos were screened as part of the light show. Many we've seen before,
segments from The Hippie Temptation, Human Be-in. Footage from People's
Park in Berkeley with troops on Telegraph, a video regarding the
facsimile edition of the Oracle (Chet's image here as he was interviewed
(there was no audio) was cheered by the crowd.) Some other footage with
Chet was shown, could this have been from the Tribal Stomp at the Greek
Theater 78?

The evening started with Joli Valenti and Friends as "The Friends of
Chet Band" with Mario Cipollina, Greg's Douglass and Anton and other
veterans of Quicksilver Gold. They played "Mona", "Imagine" (or did I
imagine that?), an un-recorded song by Joli's father Dino, a version of
Hendrix's "Angel" sung by a powerful drummer whose name I didn't catch,
David Frieberg joined for "Get Together".

The Flying Other Brothers with Barry Sless served as the "house band".
Pete Sears played keyboard, bass & accordion with just about every act
that appeared. Pete sang the lead vocals for "Stella Blue" the first of
many nods to Jerry Garcia's upcoming birthday. Chet's birthday is the
day after Jerry's. The FOB together and individually came and went from
the stage to support various acts. Other percussionists added to the
mix.

Then David Nelson Band, they did "Fennario" among others with Bob Weir
joining in for "Friend of the Devil" and "Ripple".

I think the "JS" portion of the show was very well received. Paul did
justice to "In My Life." Wavy Gravy was still introducing Paul, Prairie
and "Diane" as he started the song. I think many in the crowd were
unfamiliar with "Shadowlands", when Darby joined Diana on stage. A real
highlight of the entire evening, IMO, was David Frieberg singing "Pride
of Man", he was "in command" of the whole hall. His delivery was
powerful and confident, the backing band was excellent. Mark Karan took
the first lead solo and Barry Sless the second. It was really a shining
moment. David was wearing a black John Cipollina t-shirt! Paul then led
a rousing version of "Volunteers" with many in the audience singing
along and Diana leading the "Fight Back! refrain.

Bobby Vega, Prairie Prince and FOB drummer Jim Sanchez did an
instrumental featuring Vega's bass stylings.

Bob Weir with Karan and Matt Kelley did "Ashes and Glass", several Dead
songs including "The Wheel", "I Know You Rider", "Deal", mentioned
Jerry's birthday and did another signature Garcia song (which one I'm
forgetting at the moment), "She Belongs to Me", "KC Moan".

Mickey Hart joined in the middle of Bob's set and sang "Iko, Iko" and a
tribute to Jerry song I've heard, but can't recall the name "Down the
Road?" about Kennedy, John Lennon and "a big beard and glasses in the
sky".

T-Bone Burnett did a couple of songs, great voice and presence.

Country Joe came on with "Ridin' on A Starship" (is this a poke at
BATE?), led the audience in the "cheer" and
"Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag" and "Save the Whales" (background
vocals by David Frieberg, his wife, Diana, and another female singer
rather operatic with interesting vocalization.

Big Brother came out strong with Kathy McDonald doing vocals on "Down on
Me". Only originals were Peter Albin and David Getz, Sam Andrew was
appearing somewhere in a play, the lead guitar was provided by Tom Fitch
a BBHC alumni. They were joined shortly by Leigh Stephens from Blue
Cheer, who seemed rather subdued in his playing until "Ball and Chain".
I was at the back of the Hall and quite a few people left during BBHC. I
don't think the music drove them out, simply the late
hour or closing parking garages.

After BBHC, FOB came back on. Merle Saunders joined Pete at the keyboard
to rousing applause. It was getting early (1:30 AM) and as they played
"Going Down the Road Feeling Bad", I also took the hint and left. Sorry
that I may have missed Terry Haggerty and any finale.[I guess the show
wasn't much longer from what else I've read.]

As for the posters, what can one say? Check them out here on the auction
page:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7534741448

All but two of the poster artists were present, it would have been hard
for Rick Griffin to attend, but his artwork was used to great effect in
a poster with permission from his estate. The 14 poster pack made this
concert a "no-brainer" for those lucky enough to attend. What Pete Sears
did for organizing the musicians, Chris Shaw did for the poster artists.
Each attendee got a laminate (a smaller version of one of the posters)as
a "ticket" to get a poster pack. As you got your posters, a small cut
was made in the corner of the laminate.

I hope others will fill in any gaps, and look forward to their
impressions of this landmark event.

Thanks to all the organizers, Chet's family and especially Chet himself.
I have very good memories of events I've attended that Chet put on,
seeing him at various shows. I feel fortunate I was able to talk with
him and thank him about one of these memories as he autographed Mouse's
poster for the 78 Tribal Stomp, which is one of my favorites.

I tried to keep a setlist, but must admit I was having so much fun at the
front by the stage, + catching up with so many old friends in side
conversations - that my setlist notes are not complete. Adding to Jim's
post above, from my notebook:

(Joli Valenti and 'friends')
MONA (you knew from this instant the night was gonna ROCK! (this comment
for Angie))
IMAGINE
??? (I didn't catch the title to this one)
ANGEL
GET TOGETHER

(Flying Other Brothers and 'friends')
NICK OF TIME >
JAM >
DEVIL'S KITCHEN
SPILLIN' THE BLUES
STELLA BLUE (Pete Sears vocal/keys and Barry Sless - just awesome)

(David Nelson w/Pete Sears on bass(yes!), Barry Sless, Matt Kelly on
harp, Jimmy Sanchez on drums (he's been on drums since the beginning of
the FOB's set))
ROCKY ROAD BLUES
DIFFERENT WORLD
PEGGY-O/FENNARIO
EARL'S GIRLS

(now joined by Bob Weir and Robin Sylvester)
WHEEL >
RIPPLE

(Bobby Vega + Prairie Prince + Jimmy Sanchez)
??? (I don't know the title but never leave Bobby Vega out of any list
of top ten greatest bass players)

(T-Bone Burnett w/Flying Other Brothers & Prairie Prince)
??? (didn't catch the title)
MARCHING TO ZION (???)

(Paul Kantner + Diana Mangano + Prairie Prince)
IN MY LIFE (PK on 12 string acoustic)
(now joined by Darby Gould - PK switches to the Ric)
SHADOWLANDS (!!)
(now joined by David Freiberg, Linda Imperial, Barry Sless, Mark Karan,
Bobby Vega, Roger McNamee, Pete Sears)
PRIDE OF MAN (!!)
VOLUNTEERS (!!) (Diana pulls Eth up onstage to assist - the whole room
is singing Volunteers)

(Bob Weir, Robin Sylvester, Barry Sless, Mark Karan, Matt Kelly)
KC MOAN
ASHES & GLASS
(Bob Weir says "Somebody's Birthday is coming up.") >
FRIEND OF THE DEVIL
(now Mickey Hart come out and leads...)
AIKO AIKO
DOWN THE ROAD AGAIN
(Mickey leaves)
I KNOW YOU RIDER
DEAL

(Country Joe, Bobby Vega, Pete Sears, Roger McNamee)
STARSHIP RIDE
(now joined by David Freiberg, Linda Imperial, Diana Mangano)
GIVE ME AN 'F'.... >
I FEEL LIKE I'M FIXIN' TO DIE RAG (VIETNAM RAG)
SAVE THE WHALES

(Big Brother and the Holding Company - introduced by Wavy as 'Chet's
band)
?? - (I was in the back talking with John Murray + others + getting much
needed water - I didn't write down any of the great BBHC set)
Big Brother's set (order uncertain) included:
Down On Me
Blindman
Summertime
All Is Loneliness (not certain about this one)
Piece of My Heart
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On (or some sorta oldie)
Ball and Chain


(Flying Other Brother Brothers with Pete Sears and MERL SAUNDERS(!!) on
keys)
GOIN' DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN' BAD
(Merl leaves and then Bert Keely leads for the finale)
FOREVER YOUNG

- - - - - - - -

Audio was mixed by the ever-incredible Howard Danchik. John Murray also
assisting. Hardly a snafu all night. The entire 6+ hours is recorded in
24bit/48Khz 24 track audio, and multi camera Beta. I say the entire
concert from beginning to end should be the final product to DVDs - not
a trimmed-down-to-fit-on-one-DVD version. Every minute of this concert
needs to be released (IMHO).

Mr. Pete Sears had a huge hand in assembling this entire production.
Thanks, Pete.

REVIEW ©2005 Tahoe Bob
Photos ©2005 Bob Minken
================================================
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior
interest in receiving the included information for research and
educational purposes. If you do not wish to receive these emailings
send a note to bsarlesWire@aol.com
----------------------------------
Bob Sarles/Ravin' Films
www.ravinfilms.com
Ravin' Films
 
 
Oh!

Streaming tones from another part of the world from Calabash Music ("the world's first fair trade music company"). They're looking for affiliates and DJs. Interesting business plan ...
 
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
 
Czech PM defends rave crackdown

Thousands of protesters gathered to denounce the police action
The Czech prime minister has defended controversial methods used by riot police to break up a techno rave. Tear gas and water cannon were used to break up the party of 5,000 ravers at the weekend CzechTek event, leaving 80 injured, including 50 police officers.

Best music photo of the week! Fearless Czech woman faces down swat squad.

You might very well ask, "What's this shit?"

(Another milder version. Watch the Reuters video here.)
 
 
The day says to believe in miracles



Dick Waterman tells us of friend and Mississippi artist

Sharon McConnell, who has been blind for many years. Dick writes:


"Her name is Sharon McConnell and if you visit her web site, you will see –- an ultimate irony –- that she creates face masks of blues and gospel artists whose faces she has never been able to see.

"I am certain that there are poets and wordsmiths on high who can recount tales that would explain how miracles truly work but tonight I can only tell you that my friend Sharon told me that in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the trees are green and the sky is blue."

On her site, McConnell says she has 30 portraits completed to date: Joe Willie 'Pinetop' Perkins, Odetta, Bobby Rush, 'Little Milton' Campbell, Dorothy Moore, Othar Turner, Jessie Mae Hemphill, R. L. Burnside, Alvin Youngblood Hart, 'Big Jack' Johnson, James 'T-Model' Ford, Sam Carr, Blind Bud Spires, Paul 'Wine' Jones, Vasti Jackson, Rev. Arnold 'Gatemouth' Moore, Li'l Bill Wallace, Rev. Willie Morganfield, 'Blind Mississippi' Morris Cummings, John Hammond, Eddie Cusic, Tommy 'TC' Carter Virgil Brawley, Shirli Dixon, Butch Dixon, Koko Taylor, Eddie Clearwater, David 'Honeyboy' Edwards, Billy Branch, and Thomas Blues.

A few days ago, she regained her sight.

(from Everything and Nothing)
 
Monday, August 01, 2005
 
Rap artists spearhead Senegal's quest for change

"Much like the speakers who wove their criticisms of the powerful into rhymes in past centuries, Awadi takes a tough tone and has won respect among both young and old.

"In his song 'Le Patrimonie' -- or 'heritage' -- he talks about the plundering of the continent by its own leaders: 'cheap unpleasant robbers wanting to steal our last beads of sweat.'

"It's not just criticism -- he also offers a positive message: 'If evolution is needed then a revolution of manners, mentality, morals and behaviour is needed.' If not, he warns 'the weapons will speak.' "
 
 
Not immediately, but at a distant point in the future

Book Alert -- due sometime in 2007

Clinton Hutton researching history of Jamaican music
 
 
Innaview with music critic, Alex Ross

"Why do you think blogging is good for critics?

"I'm not sure if it's good for critics it's an all-too-effective mode of
procrastination but it's definitely good for readers. In the classical arena, people are starved for a national conversation about music, because there are no regular critics at almost every magazine you could name: Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, even The New Republic and The New York Review of Books. Why can't Rolling Stone or Spin publish a classical piece now and then? Rolling Stone used to, but no more. Nor is there classical music coverage on TV, except when Yo-Yo Ma loses his cello or some freak masters the tuba at the age of 3. So people have discovered the internet and created new kinds of communities there. See blogs by Marion Rosenberg, Helen Radice, Kyle Gann, Trrill, La Cieca, and The Standing Room.

"Writers such as these are changing the tone of the classical conversation, discarding the old guardedness and stuffiness and pseudo-objectivity. They speak with the wit and rage and passion that the art demands. Blogging will probably play a major role in the ongoing revolution and renaissance of classical music, which, I believe, will once again become a popular art in the next 20 years. You heard it here first."

(via mediabistro daily newsfeed)
 
 
Visuals

ChetFest Poster Pak

(Keep tuned for breaking news about the FREE tribute in San Francisco coming in the fall)
 
 
NEA Institute in Classical Music and Opera

We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2nd annual NEA Institute in Classical Music and Opera. This two week intensive workshop brings 25 writers, critics and editors to New York City for a deep immersion in classical music and opera. Participants will attend performances at all major New York concert venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera. They will write reviews and take part in writing workshops led by critics and editors at the New York Times, the New Yorker and other major publications, study music history with professors at NYU and Columbia, and meet with leading decision makers and thinkers in the field of classical music.

Ideal applicants will be journalists and editors who live outside of America's ten largest cities and cover classical music and/or opera as part of their beat.

Read the press release

DATES OF INSTITUTE: October 16-27, 2005
COST: Most costs, including hotel, airfare, and concert tickets are covered by the institute.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Tuesday, August 16, 2005

TO REQUEST AN APPLICATION: contact Kathy Brow at 212.854.2717 or kmb8@columbia.edu

For more details, please see program announcement

(via Association of Music Writers and Photographers)
 
Compiling the best online articles about music so there will be more of both in the future. In periods of drought, the reader will be innundated by my own blogs on the matters.

Archives
12/01/1969 - 01/01/1970 / 07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002 / 08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002 / 09/01/2002 - 10/01/2002 / 10/01/2002 - 11/01/2002 / 11/01/2002 - 12/01/2002 / 12/01/2002 - 01/01/2003 / 01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 / 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 / 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 / 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 / 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 / 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 / 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 / 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 / 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 / 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 / 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 / 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 / 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 / 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 / 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 / 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 / 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 / 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 / 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 / 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 / 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 / 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 / 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 / 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 / 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 / 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 / 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 / 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 / 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 / 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 / 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 / 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 / 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 / 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 / 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 /


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