Archive for March, 2008

boss magic

bruce springsteenIn some ways, it’s a shame. Bruce Springsteen, the Boss man of E Street who has been rocking Rupp Arena with concerts since 1980, is passing us by this time. The upside, though, is that the Boss’ only regional performance on a tour that began last fall to support his Magic album, falls on a Saturday night.

Springsteen on a Saturday with the E Street Band in tow? Suddenly a road trip to Cincinnati doesn’t seem like a big deal.

There is, of course, no real reason to ever pass on a chance to see The Boss whenever and however he plays. But seeing as his last few tours have either been solo ventures behind the darkly meditative music of Devils & Dust or wildly revivalistic folk jaunts with his brassy Seeger Sessions Band, a reteaming with his E Street Band is quite the occasion.

The E Streeters bring out the urgency, celebration and pure electric might that made Springsteen a star in the first place. While recent albums, fine as they were, detoured from that sound, Magic offered a throwback of sorts to the E Street vibe of the ‘70s. But it’s no retrofest.

Echoes of a wartorn country inhabit the album, especially in the divided smalltown sentiments that greet the fallen renegade-turned-soldier of Gypsy Biker and the topical deceptions that circle quietly above the title tune. “It’s not really about magic,” Springsteen has said at previous shows on the tour when introducing the latter. “It’s just about tricks.”

There’s also something of an epic on Magic called Girls in Their Summer Clothes that falls somewhere between Phil Spector-like majesty and vintage Merseybeat Brit-pop. But the lyrics, a sobering reflection of time and age, are simply devastating.

There will be one less voice on E Street this weekend, however. Keyboardist Danny Federici bowed out of the tour after being diagnosed with melanoma. He has been receiving treatments since late November. In his place on Saturday will be Seeger Sessions alumnus Charles Giordano. Here’s hoping that Federici finds his way back to E Street soon.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band perform at 7:30 p.m. March 22 at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. Ticket are $58 and $92. Call (859) 281-6644.

A Bourbon Street Chaser; After you check out New Orleans’s French Quarter, try these other, lesser-known spots.

The Washington Post February 13, 2000 | Gary Lee Dan Oldham figures that if they kept attendance records at Rock ‘n’ Bowl, the 300 evenings he’s spent burning up the floor with his Cajun two-step would be hard to beat. Marilyn Enslow, last spotted prancing in black leather boots adorned with blinking red lights, has celebrated her past seven birthdays here. Then there’s Jim Fontaine, who remembers coming in the day they flung open the doors and can’t really remember leaving.

This unlikely hybrid of bowling alley and dance hall is one place where New Orleans locals let down their hair. The regulars do every form of rug-cutting imaginable. Some also bowl, oblivious to what’s going on around them. Whatever the Rock ‘n’ Bowl party faithful undertake, they harbor a devotion to the place that borders on cultish. “Some people are more certain to be seen here on Thursday night than at church on Sunday,” said Debbie Villa, another regular.

In a city where travelers rarely venture beyond the 7-by-15-block area known as the French Quarter, Rock ‘n’ Bowl, located in a nondescript mid-city shopping mall, is an example of how offbeat and wonderful life can be in other parts of this mythic, idiosyncratic metropolitan area of 1.3 million residents. To provide visitors with some options beyond the usual Dixieland jazz and gumbo haunts featured in guidebooks, I asked two dozen locals about their favorite spots for imbibing, people-watching or just chilling.

For dining advice, I turned to, among others, a foodie so enamored of cuisine that he recalls the anise flavor of the crust on a creme brulee he ate 10 years ago. For music, I asked a photographer who drinks in jazz like college kids quaff Rolling Rock. For the best of local art, I queried a music executive and his socialite wife who are enthusiastic patrons of local painters and sculptors. Mayor Marc Morial, asked for his choices, offered a long list, including Uglesich’s, a reliable though overcrowded po’ boy lunch place, and Court of Two Sisters, a black-owned Creole restaurant known for its Sunday jazz brunch. It was Debbie Villa and Christine Miller–a Thelma and Louise-ish duo who have been pals since their student years at hometown Loyola University–who turned me on to Rock ‘n’ Bowl (4133 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-482-3133, open seven days a week).

After sampling 30 of the places I was tipped to, I narrowed the list to 10 of the most original and inviting, including Rock ‘n’ Bowl. Only one lies in the French Quarter. Descriptions of the top picks follow, along with a few words about the locals who recommended them. Together they should lead visitors down some of the less traveled but more intriguing roads in this ever-popular getaway city.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House As a local columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Lolis Eric Elie probably knows as well as anyone where to find the city’s overlooked gems. He has stumbled across some memorable eateries in the most unexpected places but likes none better than this tiny soul- food joint near his home in the historically black Treme neighborhood, a 20-minute walk from the Quarter.

The atmosphere is simple: seven tables with plastic tablecloths and paper napkins, a jukebox playing Marvin Gaye, folks digging deep into red beans and rice. There’s no menu, but when you walk through the door you can easily pick up the aroma of what Willie Mae Seaton, the 80-year-old African American owner and cook, has going back in the kitchen. She rarely drifts from the standards–smothered pork chops, bread pudding, fried catfish and the like. But she prepares every dish with motherly care. The fried chicken, which has a thin, crispy crust and tender insides, is awfully tasty, and the collard greens, redolent with bacon, are also a sure thing.

2401 St. Ann St., 504-822-9503. A taxi from the Quarter should cost about $6. Best to go for lunch. A hearty meal for two, with lemonade, will run about $22.

Magazine Street A public relations consultant raised in the uptown section of New Orleans (but now living in Washington), Simone Rathle takes pride in knowing where to get real Louisiana-made antiques, crafts and other goods for the best price. For those buying or just window-shopping, Rathle recommends leaving the Quarter and heading to this stretch of winding, boutique-lined avenue around the 3000 and 4000 blocks.

The minute you see the hand-painted lampshades at Morgan West (3326 Magazine St., 504-895-7976), you’ll start to calculate how they would look in your living room. You might be put off by the prices ($100 and up), but the original designs and rich colors make them hard to resist. You may also drift to other things in the store, like the mirror lined with seashells or the zany gyrating sculptures. Eventually, owner Perry Morgan will engage you in banter that could continue for hours.

The appeal of Magazine Street is that you can find dozens of boutiques offering precisely this sort of personalized experience and merchandise. Although the street stretches from the edge of the French Quarter for about six miles west, one section of great appeal for those seeking antiques or household goods lies in the 13-block area between Napoleon and Louisiana avenues. Best to take a bus or taxi from Canal Street west on Magazine, on the edge of the Quarter, and get off at Napoleon.

Among the interesting places I stumbled into during a dazzling three-hour stroll: Prince and Pauper (3308 Magazine St., 504-899- 2378), an importer of furniture and other goods from Asia, featuring a range of crafts from Indonesian puppets to Balinese wooden sculptures. George Herget Books (No. 3109, 504-891-5595) is a colorful secondhand bookstore selling tomes about New Orleans, the Civil War and just about any other subject. Neal Auction Co. (No. 4038, 504-899-5329) is an antiques house that sells excellently preserved art nouveau works from Europe as well as elegant wooden desks made in 19th-century Louisiana. New Orleanians particularly like the auctions, held on Saturday afternoons. Rue de la Course (No. 3128, 504-899-0242) is the kind of coffeehouse where students from nearby Tulane University might be seen whiling away the afternoon over Colombian blend and a book. here court of two sisters

Randolph Delehanty’s “Ultimate Guide to New Orleans” (available in bookstores or through San Francisco-based Chronicle Books, www.chronbooks.com) includes an excellent detailed guide to Magazine Street shops and eateries.

Lemon Grass When real estate developer Sean Cummings launched a boutique hotel two blocks from the French Quarter, one of his smartest moves was to persuade Minh Bui, 36, to open a restaurant off the lobby. Like the hotel, this fashionable French Vietnamese bistro appeals to those who seek the trendy side of the Big Easy. “There’s nothing Creole about the restaurant,” said Cummings, “but it’s very much what New Orleans today is all about.” In the four years since he opened his first restaurant uptown, Bui has achieved a near-impossible feat on the local restaurant scene. Amid a sea of gumbo, red beans, oysters and other Louisiana specialties, he has created a destination-quality eatery serving Asian-fusion cuisine. Bui, who emigrated from Vietnam in 1982, creates such dishes as rice crepes stuffed with pork, shrimp and citrus sauce; chicken breast marinated in lemon grass and served on a bed of jasmine rice and baby lettuce; and an Asian curry dish made from Gulf shrimp. Lemon Grass’s minimalist look and personable service also reflect a strong Asian influence.

217 Camp St., 504-523-1200. Dinner for two, with wine and dessert, comes to about $60. Reservations advised.

Louisiana Music Factory Famed jazz photographer Herman Leonard has met and photographed dozens of jazz greats, including the legendery Louis Armstrong. For jazz lovers who want an authentic experience, Leonard, 77, recommends such down-home clubs as Donna’s and Vaughn’s. But one must-see stop for fans who want to take home a piece of the New Orleans beat, he says, is this unique and inviting music shop in the heart of the French Quarter.

The plain storefront makes it easy to overlook, but the shop is an amazingly comprehensive source of local musicians’ work. There are LPs and CDs here by virtually every New Orleans jazz musician who ever recorded, according to co-owner Jerry Brock. There’s everything from vinyl records of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1917 to CDs by James Andrews, the city’s 29-year-old trumpeter-of-the-moment.

But the store’s greatest treasure is Brock himself. A wiry Texan who moved to New Orleans 26 years ago to start a radio station featuring local music, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the city’s diverse musical landscape. He and co-owner Barry Smith are willing to share what they know with all who walk through the door, including which performers are worth catching in the clubs. see here court of two sisters

The store also gives visitors the chance to rub shoulders with some of the city’s living legends. Free concerts featuring New Orleans performers are held Saturday afternoons.

210 Decatur St., 504-586-1094, www.louisianamusicfactory.com. The radio station Brock started (www.wwoz.org) is also a good place to pick up local-music vibes.

Bayou Canoe Ride Raised in the Big Easy but now living in Oakland, Calif., Dennis Holmes says every visitor should experience a canoe trip past the alligators sleeping along the swamps surrounding the city. His favorite launching spot is Bayou Barn, a boat rental place in Crown Point, about a half-hour drive from the Quarter.

Holmes took his companion, Xavier Washington, and me for a lazy three-hour ride through waters where he seemed to know the Spanish moss hanging overhead and breed of fish swimming underneath as if they were first cousins. After an hour-long walk along a nature trail across the way, we were back in the city for a fried oyster dinner.

Call Bayou Barn for directions (1-800-862-2968, www.bayoubarn.com). Canoes rent for $12.50 per person per day. Owners Tony and Nancy Ting can tell you where the fish are jumping and the flora is richest.

Snug Harbor As a waiter at New Orleans House of Blues, Danny Berry, 30, has front-row seats to shows by nationally known performers every other day of the week. But on his nights off, he retreats to the smaller, funkier clubs in the Faubourg Marigny district. His favorite is this warm, friendly jazz spot, just a five-minute walk from the French Quarter.

As soon as I stepped into this place, I knew I would not leave for several hours. Nicholas Payton, a hot young trumpeter, was just swinging into action with his upbeat quartet. Two shows take place every night, showcasing local musicians. Besides Payton, other regulars include Charmaine Neville, the R&B vocalist and scion of a well-known New Orleans music-making family, and the Treme Brass Band, one of the city’s most popular neighborhood groups.

After the show, I repaired to the long wooden bar. The upbeat mood there, enhanced by the easy banter among the diverse crowd, turned out to be one of its most appealing features. The bartender happily served up light meals of barbecued shrimp, crawfish etouffee and other local favorites. Cover charges for concerts can run up to $18, but you can sit at the bar and catch whatever act is playing for free on a good-size television screen.

626 Frenchman St., 504-949-0696, www.snugjazz.com. When the action starts to dwindle, there’s usually something going after hours at Cafe Brazil across the street.

Commander’s Palace A New Orleans power lawyer, Tim Francis, 41, dines almost daily with clients at one or another of the city’s dozen celebrity restaurants. He compares Bayona, Emeril’s and the rest of the top- flight dining places to Ivy League colleges. “They all offer an excellent product,” he said over dinner with Mayor Morial and me at Clancy’s, one of his favorites. “The one you choose becomes a matter of personal taste and lifestyle.” But for visitors with only enough time, gusto or money for one great meal, Francis recommends Commander’s Palace.

Housed in a sprawling Garden District mansion, this local institution is squarely on the beaten track, but nonetheless has the most festive atmosphere and capable waitstaff of any eating place in the city. All of the famous Big Easy chefs have trained here, which makes it the “Harvard of New Orleans restaurants,” in Francis’s view. Although serious gourmands may not be wowed by the food, people here rave about the turtle soup, shrimp remoulade and bread pudding souffle.

1403 Washington Ave., 504-899-8221. If money’s an issue, go for lunch or weekend brunch, when the fare is less pricey. A table in the second-floor garden room is a particular delight. For two, lunch with wine and dessert came to about $65. Reservations advised.

Jacques Imo’s Anthony Mitchell’s two day jobs–physician in training and Baptist minister–don’t leave him much time for socializing. So when the 27- year-old does chill, he’s particular about the venue. One place that never fails to please him is this restaurant with a youthful feel in the River Bend/Carrollton district, about 15 minutes by taxi from the Quarter.

Jacques Leonardi does his best to make your evening in his lively restaurant a memorable experience. As much raconteur as chef, the 37- year-old sallies about in colorful boxer shorts and crazy hats talking with the patrons, many of whom he knows. The crowd, mostly in their twenties and thirties, on dates or in small groups, are usually willing participants in this dining-out performance art.

Luckily, the food is great entertainment, too. It’s a rich melange of Creole and Cajun: rabbit smothered in gravy, fried chicken covered with pickle slices, fried oysters and mashed sweet potatoes with a touch of cinnamon. Regardless of your order, every meal comes with house-specialty side dishes, including mouth-watering cornbread. For dessert, the bread pudding covered with rum sauce and three-layer chocolate mousse cake are standouts.

Another advantage of Jacques Imo’s is that the Maple Leaf (8316 Oak St., 504-866-9359) is only three doors away. The narrow bar features chess, a pool table and zydeco, jazz or other forms of live music every night. An hour or two in that spirited joint, where some of the city’s best small bands regularly appear, is a good finish for an evening out.

8324 Oak St., 504-861-0886. Jacques Imo’s does not accept reservations for parties of four or fewer, which can make for waits of up to an hour and a half. But with a beer or two and the place’s nonstop sideshow, the time passes quickly. Dinner for two, with the works, runs about $50.

Julia Street Ever since record producer John Fischbach and his wife, Lyn, moved to New Orleans from L.A. seven years ago, they have been at center stage of the city’s close-knit art scene. Their contemporary glass- and-steel Garden District home has become a showcase for some of the city’s wildest and best-known painters, such as Gina Phillips, who creates oversize collage-style portraits. And while many of the city’s galleries are in the Quarter or along Magazine Street, the Fischbachs prefer those along Julia Street.

A central artery in the city’s up-and-coming warehouse district, Julia Street is a pleasant 15-minute walk from the French Quarter and home to many of the most interesting galleries. Imagine SoHo with a Caribbean flair.

In a whirlwind tour of Julia Street with the Fischbachs, I found three places I’d recommend: Marguerite Oestreicher Fine Arts (No. 626, 504-581-9253); Galerie Simonne Stern (No. 518, 504-529-1118); and Arthur Roger Gallery (No. 432, 504-522-1999). All were lively and remarkably accessible and featured a range of local painters and sculptors.

DETAILS: New Orleans GETTING THERE: US Airways, which flies nonstop from Reagan National to New Orleans, is quoting a round-trip fare of $222, with restrictions. Other carriers, including Southwest, offer similar fares.

WHERE TO STAY: Rates and availability on rooms in New Orleans vary widely depending on the season and scheduling of conventions. For a first-class hotel, I recommend Le Pavillon (833 Poydras St., 504-581- 3111, www.lepavillon.com), about five minutes by foot from the French Quarter. The rates for doubles, which are spacious and tastefully furnished, drop from $230 in winter to $149 in May and further in summer.

McKendrick-Breaux House (1474 Magazine St., 504-586-1700, www.mckendrick-breaux.com) is a nine-room B&B with an air of Southern grandeur. It’s set in a nice neighborhood a mile and a half–five minutes by bus–from the Quarter. Doubles with baths range from $125 to $195 in winter and are at least 10 percent cheaper after July 4; continental breakfast is included.

On a budget? Try gay-friendly Ursulines Guest House (708 Ursulines St., 504-525-8509). It’s cozy and well located on a quiet courtyard in the Quarter. Doubles, which come with a modest continental breakfast, go for $106 in winter, down to $75 or so in summer.

For more choices, check out the “The Unofficial Guide to New Orleans” (IDG Books Worldwide); it’s available for $15.95 at bookstores or online at www.frommers.com.

INFORMATION: New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1-800- 672-6124, www.neworleanscvb.com.

–Gary Lee Gary Lee

krekel leaves home

tim krekel orchestra

Thirty years ago this month, Tim Krekel spent a few minutes in a sizeable number of living rooms across the country. The guitarist, songwriter and Louisville native was performing as part of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band on Saturday Night Live. It was an adventure that took place, as Krekel terms it today, “a number of lives” ago. These days, Krekel is exploring a more modest means to get away from home.

Admittedly, his songs have frequently reached ears well outside the Louisville area. For that, you can thank a lengthy list of country and Americana acts that have recorded and covered his songs. Among them: Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Delbert McClinton and another artist with strong Louisville ties, Patty Loveless.

But it wasn’t until the release last year of a brassy and muscular R&B-inspired album called Soul Season that Krekel and his six-member “orchestra” of five years started venturing outside the Derby City comfort zone where the songsmith has long maintained a sizably devout following, especially among public radio audiences.

“We’re just now trying to get out and play the area,” Krekel said. “It’s not that we haven’t wanted to before. But it’s a six-member band. A lot of times it can even be seven or eight people that we have out there. So, financially, it’s tough. Actually, Lexington is becoming one of our first attempts to get out and spread the word a little bit.”

While he took a brief stab at making music in New York and spent the better part of the ‘80s working out of Nashville, Krekel has long been a Louisville performance fixture. He has played everywhere from large outdoor festivals to famed barroom haunts like The Air Devils Inn and still squeezes in solo acoustic shows when his schedule permits.

“A big part of Louisville’s appeal for me is the fact that it’s a river city, not unlike Memphis or New Orleans. I don’t know why it is, but those places always seem to have a rootsy, soulful vibe to them musically.

“Before I moved away, though, I was sort of frustrated by the whole scene in Louisville because, basically, you had to play in cover bands. When I came back in the early ‘90s, I discovered that things were a little more open. I’ve got a nice audience here in town now that has supported me and stayed with me through the years.

“I may just be happier now than I’ve been in my whole life. Maybe that just comes from years of doing this. But my expectations these days are all in the right place. I’m working a lot, but that’s what I love to do.”

The Tim Krekel Orchestra and Slo-Fi perform at 8 p.m. March 21 at The Dame, 156 West Main St. Admission is $5. Call (859) 226-9005.

critic's pick 11

daniel lanoisAside from reinventing the music (and, in some cases, the careers) of U2, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, The Neville Brothers and a sizeable army of other pop and rock vets, Daniel Lanois has quietly forged his own sound of ethereal grace.

The spiritual elements he employs are undeniable, but tend to become part of a backdrop that draws on the adaptability of pedal steel guitar – or, as he call it in a spoken interlude on Here Is What Is, “my little church in a suitcase.”

As is the case with Lanois’ five previous solo albums, pedal steel is removed from its stereotypical Nashville setting and placed in the middle of a far larger country at the feet of a far larger muse.

Aside from pedal steel, Here Is What Is adopts echoes of gospel, assorted ambient soundscapes, subtle but pronounced percussion patterns and vocals that are often no more than contemplative whispers. It then whips all of that together with bits of conversational narrative into soundtrack music for a documentary on the very art of making music.

Of course, Lanois making music differs considerably from most artists assembling records. The film is essentially a journey both literal and figurative that begins in Toronto and winds up in Morocco with longtime pal and fellow production innovator Brian Eno discussing God, music and the links between them. In terms of conventional documentary, it strives to define – or, at least, illuminate – a creative process more than it attempts to offer a detailed biographical portrait.

Among the CD’s spoken passages, which are lifted wholly from the film, is Beauty – an artful and amusing reflection on creating something from nothing. Other moments grab hold of the music that Lanois confronts during his journey, such as a ragged but suitably righteous performance at the Zion Baptist Church in Shreveport. La. of the spiritual This May Be the Last Time. Yet even in this gospel outpost there is an almost familial link to Lanois’ work. The church performance is presided over by the father of drummer Brian Blade, a longtime Lanois musical co-hort.

The record begins with a touch of the familiar: a version of Where Will I Be, the tune Lanois wrote and fashioned, with Blade’s help, as the introduction to Harris’ groundbreaking Wrecking Ball album over 12 years ago. This version is driven by a shimmering march-like groove and keyboard/guitar colors that warmly envelope the music.

Not Fighting Anymore then recalls the crafty quiet Lanois fashioned for Dylan’s 1989 Oh Mercy album. The music’s regal melancholy – “that far away lonesome sound,” as it is termed – also ushers in the pedal steel.

From winding runs on Blue Bus that make the instrument sound positively celestial to the way guitar notes mingle and dance with delicate percussion, Lanois takes the pedal steel out of what was once a single-minded roots music environment and opens it up – almost, literally – to the heavens.

In becomes, in essence, the “what it is” sound at the heart of Here Is What Is‘ musical quest.

The short and the long of it! Whether they’re teeny-tiny or sweeping the floor dresses are major this season. Here’s how to rock any frock.(fashion)

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in performance: an dochas and the haran irish dancers

jeremy oswin of an dochasThose thirsting for a pint of live Irish music and step dancing in the waning hours of St. Patrick’s Day undoubtedly felt quenched by  last night’s performance by An Dochas and the accompanying Haran Irish Dancers at the Singletary Center for the Arts.

On a purely rudimentary level, the concert covered the bases. Instrumental airs were steeped in melancholy while jigs and reels, progressive in nature though they were, gathered sufficient steam for the dancers to hoof with ample physicality and technical precision.

If such strained appraisal comes across  morbidly like those auto insurance commercials that make “minimum coverage” seem like a sound purchase, you’re pretty much on target.

The very Americanized An Dochas (despite the Gaelic name, the band hails from the Pacific Northwest) had to struggle from the word go last night to keep a very wobbly performance from derailing entirely. It began with band members and stage hands scurrying about in search of cables and patches to mend malfunctioning amplification. Soon after the first tune commenced, guitar amps and/or monitors went dead. So, again, the show ground to a halt and, again, people went in search of technical first aid.

And on it went. There was the muddy sound mix that made multi-instrumentalist David Schulz sound like he was singing in a cave. There was the unexplained, unannounced absence of An Dochas fiddler Jenny Anne Mannan. There was a false start at the beginning of the concert’s second half and a mix up in the set list later on that nearly sent band members off reeling into different tunes.

Such cumulative misfires pretty well knocked this show out of professional consideration. What was left was a very thin cushion of Celtic appeal. With fiddle a conspicuous no-show and acoustic guitarist Mellad Abeid sticking mostly to percussive, rhythmic playing, Schulz became the group’s de facto musical lead on whistle, uilleann pipes and flute.

Again, there were moments – fleeting ones, at best – that promoted Irish allure, as in the low reedy hum that initiated The Dragonfly Set and a punchy, pub-savvy reading of Whiskey Yer the Devil. But once the reserved but sustained thrust of electric bass and drums was established, along with Schulz’s more breathy, punctuated runs on flute, the band began to sound less like an Irish ensemble and more like late ‘70s Jethro Tull.

The six members of the Haran Irish Dancers broke through the static a bit in the performance’s second half with a fun, instinctive routine set to a medley of reels called Party Party Party. But a boot scootin’ romp – a sort of Irish-American slant on Urban Cowboy complete with Stetsons – that came later was a swift, unsettling kick to the Celtic senses.

Both workouts at least showed signs of exuberance, though. During the performance’s first half, the dancers were as academic in delivery as the band. In short, the Haran team did a weak job of selling their work. Their footwork reflected agility and confidence. Their faces revealed fatigue and, at times, uncertainty.

Abeid essentially surrendered at evening’s end by playing with a busted guitar string he didn’t bother to change. “I’ve never had more of a Spinal Tap night in my life,” he confessed.

Me neither. At least, not on St. Patrick’s Day.

(above, An Dochas bodhran/bass player Jeremy Oswin)

Students are the ones who decide what’s in

Charleston Daily Mail August 19, 1998 | CHARLOTTE FERRELL SMITH DON’T be fooled by their youth.

They are the experts and they have spoken.

Those in charge of fancy advertising and exotic window displays can try all they want to dictate fashion. But we asked those with the real power – the kids who wear the clothes.

Without them, all highfalutin attempts to set trends are futile.

So, we got the scoop on cool back-to-school clothes from those in the know.

Meet the panel.

David Wroth, 2, is a preschooler at Bream Center for Childhood Development. Beth Slack, 6, is a first-grader at Belle Elementary School. Christian Shamblin, 9, is a fourth-grader at Bonham Elementary School. Emily Myers, 13, is an eighth-grader at Sissonville Middle School. Joshua Cosby, 18, is a senior at South Charleston High.

Even at age 2, David has his preferences. His mother, Lori Wroth, enrolled him at Bream, where his grandmother, Ruth Ferrell, taught for 16 years. Maybe Mom can pick the school, but David knows what he wants to wear when he gets there.

He picked out a backpack with a bright Mickey Mouse on it.

His mother, a seasoned kindergarten teacher, likes him in one- piece outfits. But David wants shorts or jeans and T-shirts with cars, trucks or trains on the front. Even his mother’s expert negotiating skills do not deter him.

He will make an exception. The one-piece, striped bibs with engineer-style hat make him look like a conductor. He loves trains.

The short Oshkosh bibs were purchased on sale for $16 at a Parkersburg store. The hat, a gift from his grandmother, was bought on a trip to Amish country. this web site dress long black

His mom, who likes to shop frequently for David’s clothes, could not name a school clothes budget.

Our 6-year-old expert said clothes were pretty basic in kindergarten, but first-grade will be cooler. Beth Slack has a penchant for platform shoes and floppy hats.

“I like hippie clothes,” Beth said. “That’s like baggy pants and jackets.” April Slack, Beth’s mother, figures she spent about $200 on back- to-school outfits for her daughter. This covers the cost of one dress, two pairs of jeans, one pair of bibs, three shirts, and two shorts outfits. dresslongblacknow.com dress long black

On a recent visit to Kaufmann’s at Charleston Town Center, Beth modeled the type outfit she would like to wear to class.

She chose loose-fitting, wide-legged jeans ($27.99), purple cotton shirt with rainbow emblem ($14.99), shiny purple waist-length jacket ($27), and shiny purple tennis shoes ($29.99).

Meanwhile, our fourth-grade model browsed through the Charleston Department Store.

Christian Shamblin likes everything one size too big with the exception of tennis shoes. He likes Nike and Reebok brands, but it was a pair of Tommy Hilfiger bib overalls ($58) that caught his eye. He tried them on with a red Nike shirt ($15.98). He also picked a pair of brown Timberland boots ($54.98).

However, he admitted he’s more into comfort than fashion and will wear sweats or any brand of jeans. He doesn’t mind that his parents don’t splurge on a lot of back-to-school clothes. They buy the basics, but he gets the bulk of his clothes as birthday or Christmas gifts.

Emily Myers, 13, likes to shop at DEB at Charleston Town Center.

She once found quite a bargain there. Pointing out her black clunky shoes, she said, “These were marked down from $20 to $3 and I got 25 percent off that. I got these shoes and three pairs of socks for $4.77.” Her budget for the entire school year, including clothes and supplies, will run about $300. So far she has a new dress, long black skirt, five tops, and two pairs of shorts.

She figures she still needs tennis shoes and a couple of pairs of jeans.

And she likes the layered look.

Browsing through DEB, she put together an outfit including tan jeans ($24.99), solid green T-shirt ($7.99), and green plaid button- up shirt ($12.99).

Our oldest model, senior Joshua Cosby, likes to shop at The Gap or American Eagle at Charleston Town Center.

“My clothes budget is higher this year because I’m getting stuff for senior pictures,” he said. “I’ll probably spend $300 for tennis shoes, two or three pairs of pants and five or six shirts.

“I like name brands like Tommy, Nautica, American Eagle or Gap,” he said.

“I’m more conservative. Some people call it preppy. I don’t like to wear it hanging off my waist and that kind of stuff.” In quest of clothes for his senior portrait, he shopped at The Gap where he chose putty-colored, front-pleated khaki pants ($29.50), Gap logo athletic T-shirt in gray ($18.50), navy-and-cream plaid flannel shirt ($38), and brown leather belt with brass buckle ($19.50).

So, there you have it. That concludes our back-to-school fashion survey from the true trendsetters.

Charlotte Smith can be reached at 348-1246.

CHARLOTTE FERRELL SMITH

irish spokane here

an dochas

Last year on St. Patrick’s Day, the members of An Dochas were caught between two worlds of Irish music situated near their very American homeland.

“We played two shows last St. Patrick’s Day,” said band guitarist Mellad Abeid. “First we played a big full blown dance show in downtown Seattle at the end of their parade. Then we played all night at this tiny little pub. It’s a totally different kind of performance when you go from a parade to playing this crazy, rowdy pub music until the wee hours of the morning.”

On one hand, An Dochas (Gaelic for “The Hope”) is an ensemble with a staunchly traditional heart. But around the edges, lurk suggestions of world music. You hear uilleann pipes and fiddle. Also at work, though, is a very contemporary rhythm section. You hear music with an unmistakable Irish dialect. Yet the musicians creating it come from Spokane.

Spokane? Washington? There is actually an audience for Irish music, even the kind laced with modern touches, in the American Northwest?

“You know, there is,” Abeid replied. “There is a solid Irish music and dancing following here in Spokane, specifically, and in the Northwest, in general. There are several Irish dancing schools between Portland and Seattle and Vancouver and Spokane. Irish culture is pretty strong up here.”

Abeid should know. His mother, though a San Francisco native, was of Irish parentage and opened a school for Irish dance in Eastern Washington. When her son developed an interest in music, he was happily drafted into playing behind her dancers at performances.

“We heard Irish music growing up, certainly,” Abeid said. “And our mother always sang Irish songs to us. But it was never something that particularly interested me when I was a kid or a teenager. Once I started getting older and began playing more and more shows… I don’t know. I just caught the spark of the energy that was in the music.”

What Abeid also heard in Irish music was room for adaptability. He discovered ways to improvise around traditional melodies. Once he began collaborating with high school pals that eventually became his An Dochas bandmates (from left, in above photo, bassist/bodhran player Jeremy Oswin, Abeid, drummer/percussionist Ryan Fish, piper/whistle player/banjoist David Schulz and fiddler Jenny Anne Mannan), he found ways to graft disparate styles and influences onto a traditional tune without losing the music’s Irish sensibility.

“We grew up listening to whatever was popular in high school and college, of course. Some of us studied music. I studied music composition in college, so I have a strong classical and jazz background. The other musicians all listen to a wide variety of styles, as well.

“But in arranging and even writing the band’s music, we took traditional melodies and just jammed on them to see whatever came out as far as arrangements, instrumentation, harmonies or textures went. We went with what came naturally.”

In the case of Waxie’s Dargle, a tune from a 2006 EP disc called What’ll Ya Have?, An Dochas kicks up a feisty, percussive shuffle that sounds like a modestly un-punkish version of The Pogues while Tobin’s, from the debut album Dragonfly Redux, adheres to more traditional sounds of flute and the Irish hand held drum known as the bodhran.

The boundaries become more global in scale on Hag with the Money, where the band prefaces a haunting serenade on pipes with a chant-like drone that sound like a cross between electronic keyboards and the hum of an Aboriginal didjeridoo. Abeid confessed the sound was actually a mixture of both.

“A lot of these melodies are so old,” he said. “They’ve been played, literally, for hundreds of years. So it’s neat to be able to take a melody with a tradition like that and do something new with it.

“The Irish remain true to the core of their culture but also adapt well to the environment they are in. Their music really does that. And while a lot of that music is very fast and energetic, much of it is very contemplative. Their airs have a whole realm of mystery behind then. You can’t help but imagine these huge soundscapes accompanying the tunes. It’s as if the music serves as its own soundtrack.”

But once a dance band, always a dance band. Just as Abeid got his start accompanying students at his mother’s school, An Dochas devotes a healthy part of its stage program to playing behind the Haran Irish Dancers. Such teamwork has a strong sense of family, though. The Haran School of Dance is, in fact, his mother’s school. Only now it is led by his sister, who also happens to be part of the dance troupe.

So even though An Dochas will only play one show this St. Patrick’s Day, its music will still represent several American views of an ageless Irish spirit.

“I like to describe ourselves as an Irish-American band, because, essentially, that’s the kind of music we play. All of us in the band are from the United States. But the music is still Irish to the core.”

An Dochas and the Haran Irish Dancers perform at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Singletary Center for the Arts. Tickets are $18 (University of Kentucky students), $22 (UK faculty and staff), $24 (public). Call (859) 257-4929.  

current irish listening 03/16

the chieftains 4From the desk on a grey Sunday afternoon, we offer these sounds of serious Irish soul to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with. Erin go bragh, y’all.

The Chieftains: The Chieftains 4 – The one Chieftains album to own above all others. Cut in 1972 and 1973 with harpist Derek Bell as a new addition, Paddy Moloney and company had little by way of celebrity status to contend with at the time. Instead, pipes, twin fiddles and bones fuel Drowsy Maggie (still a centerpiece reel of the band’s concerts today) and the lovely air Mna na hEireann (Women of Ireland). A sumptuous record.

The Bothy Band: The Best of the Bothy Band – A hard-to-find anthology assembled from the brief ‘70s lifespan of a remarkable Irish ensemble. Extraordinary pipe tunes (The Death of Queen Jane), Gaelic mouth music adventures (Fionnghuala), fiddle-fortified reels that matched rhythmic drive with lyrical beauty (Rip the Calico) and a group spirit led by producer/bouzouki ace Donal Lunny solidified this great unsung band.

Van Morrison: A Sense of Wonder – Not a traditional Irish record in any sense, but one that enforces the elegant, ethereal and restless muse Morrison followed after a 15 year, star-making stay with Warner Brothers. The mood is pastoral on Evening Meditation, literately feisty on Tore Down a la Rimbaud and decidedly American in a dark, brassy recast of Mose Allison’s If You Only Knew. Still, Morrison’s sense of Irish soul prevails.

The Waterboys: Fisherman’s Blues – Mike Scott reinvented his anthemic, postpunk pop brigade as a pack of scruffy folkies on this immensely listenable 1988 release. Amazingly, the transition worked, from the serene Strange Boat to the pub-savvy chatter of mandolins and fiddles on the album’s title tune to an uptake of Sweet Thing, a meditation on earthly and devine love originated by – who else? – Van Morrison.

The Pogues: If I Should Fall From Grace With God – “In Brendan Behan’s footsteps, I danced up and down the street,” sings Shane MacGowan on a lament of immigration called Thousands Are Sailing as it breaks into a furious, worldly jig. Such a moment reaffirms, two decades after its release, the beer-soaked soul, British punk aesthetics and mad Irish spirit that drove The Pogues in what remains their finest recorded hour.

New video relay service iPhone 4 app for deaf and hard of hearing.(HEARING IMPAIRED PHONE AIDS)

The Hearing Review January 1, 2011 Dallas-based AT&T has released a new video (VRS) app for iPhone 4 that allows deaf and hard of hearing customers to make VRS calls.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] AT&T VRS is a free service that allows a person who uses American Sign Language (ASL) to place a relay call to a hearing person by communicating through a certified ASL interpreter.

AT&T has offered video relay services to customers for many years, but the new AT&T VRS app reportedly provides a more flexible and convenient way for users to make VRS calls on the go. iPhone 4 customers can make unlimited VRS calls using the AT&T VRS app at no additional cost, according to the company.

The feature is available only with the iPhone 4 because of its “FaceTime” video phone feature that is unavailable on previous iPhone versions. FaceTime allows iPhone 4 users to speak and see each other using the iPhone 4’s built-in camera. here iphone 4 apps

To use the app, users must first enable a Wi-Fi connection, as FaceTime will not currently work through AT&T’s 3G or Edge network alone.

Once connected to Wi-Fi, users launch the VRS app, log-in, and can choose to place a VRS call by selecting someone from their contact list or by manually dialing a number. The app then contacts an AT&T ASL interpreter, who initiates a FaceTime video call with the user. The interpreter will connect the ASL user to the hearing person they are calling, and relays the conversation between the two parties through ASL.

In addition to the app, AT&T VRS also offers a free software download called AT&T Video Link that turns a computer or laptop into a video phone. This software works on certain Macs and PCs enabled with a Web cam and a broadband connection. this web site iphone 4 apps

AT&T VRS will also provide users with a 10-digit telephone number andsupports all the FCC-required 911 emergency capabilities.

The AT&T VRS app is available for free from the App Store on iPhone or at www.itunes.com/appstore. For additional information about AT&T VRS, visit www. att.com/vrs, or access AT&T VRS via video phone at ATTVRS.tv.

in performance: gail zappa and the university of kentucky chamber winds

sheik yerboutiTrue to her intentions that the musical legacy and artistic reputation of her late husband should be actively but accurately preserved, Gail Zappa began a keynote discussion last night at the Singletary Center for the Arts for the American Musicological Society (the talk was open to the public) by taking the evening’s program notes to task. Brushing away suggestions that Frank Zappa’s “serious” orchestral works came as a sort of coda to his rock-oriented music, she asserted simply, “I married a composer.”

With youngest daughter Diva by her side (she chose to sit and knit during the talk), Gail Zappa didn’t pander to or pump up fans’ expectations of what a discussion about her husband’s music should be like. Instead, she played the role of correspondent reporting back with observations gathered from being by Frank Zappa’s side since 1966.

Among them: that many of her husband’s works composed during a time “when dinosaurs walked the earth” (including the great Inca Roads) were built around human speech patterns; that the music Frank Zappa disliked most was “his own music played badly;” and, for trivia buffs, that her husband never renewed his driver’s license after it expired in 1968.

The Chamber Winds opened the performance part of the program in sections. A percussion dominate lineup took on Varese’s turbulent Ionisation, which ebbed and flowed to the sound of a hand-cranked siren. Following that, a smaller brass and wind group neatly performed Stravinsky’s spryly animated Octet.

The actual Zappa music was comparatively brief – two tunes stretching out to roughly 12 minutes performed by the full Chamber Winds lineup of 40-plus musicians.

Envelopes served as a live introduction of sorts to Zappa’s orchestral works by emphasizing bright colors of mallet percussion, including an expressive coupling of piano and marimba. The big delight, though, was The Dog Breath Variations, where all the stormy complexity of Zappa’s music was fashioned to sound majestic and warm. Even booming brass colors sounded less like an intrusion and more like a cranky neighbor finally coaxed into playing with kids from the neighborhood.

The defining words of the evening though, went to Frank Zappa himself. In a video “artifact” presented by his widow, the composer summed up his brave music as “specialized entertainment for a specialized audience.”

What a joy it was watching the two find each other onstage at the Singletary.

(Above, the cover art to Frank Zappa’s 1979 album Sheik Yerbouti)   

zappa reflections, pt. 4: performance

zappa 4A funny thing happens when a performance or musical event comes to town that centers around an artist whose work you grew up with. Sure, you assemble the story first, excited by the prospect of discussing (hopefully, intelligently) the music of someone who was a personal inspiration. But in doing so, you shove away the personal baggage that is unavoidably at your side.

Next you research the dickens out of what you’re writing subject. In other words, you pour over recordings and other musical data by the artist at hand. That can be either a session of endless fascination or something that can make the prospect of a root canal seem fetching.

The music of Frank Zappa – pictured above in the cover art to 1974’s Apostrophe (‘) album – has been a personal favorite ever since a junior high teacher gave me a conduct demerit for reciting the lyrics to I’m the Slime during class. I tried to explain the song was merely about television, but my sentence was final.

Over the years, the appeal of Zappa’s music only grew. Like many, his rock oriented works hit me first. The orchestral music, initially, I just didn’t comprehend. I don’t know if I do today. But they do seem as intriguing now as the music saturated in guitar instrumentals, progressive jazz and social commentary. And if you managed to hit upon elements that touched upon all three, like Zappa’s landmark 1968 album Uncle Meat, you felt like you had struck gold.

Tonight’s discussion by Gail Zappa, the composer’s widow and head of the Zappa Family Trust (a talk curiously titled Some Musicians Don’t Enjoy Water Sports) and a performance to follow of Zappa compositions (along with works by Varese and Stravinsky that inspired Zappa) by the University of Kentucky Chamber Winds, gave me an excuse to dig out about 60 Zappa albums. Among them were bootlegs – unauthorized concert recordings the composer wound up approving for release (in boxed set collections called Beat the Boots) years after they initially surfaced.

Last Saturday’s snowstorm, which essentially shut down a good chunk of Lexington, afforded me the time to become reacquainted with the great Zappa. So as the ice and snow accumulated outside, here are some observations gathered by an afternoon spent with a steady supply of hot tea and a crate full of Zappa albums.

+ The orchestral arrangement of G- Spot Tornado on 1993’s The Yellow Shark is a thing of tense, tight wonder that blows by with gale force briskness. But the original version from 1986’s Jazz From Hell, recorded on the now-extinct digital synthesizer known as the synclavier, is even stormier.

+ Zappa manages to cut through the psychedelic pap of the late ‘60s on Oh No before launching into the warm, melodic and, dare we say, wholesome melodic stride of The Orange County Lumber Truck on 1970’s Weasels Ripped My Flesh. The tunes are reinterpreted on 1974’s Roxy & Elsewhere, which places Zappa’s sublime guitarwork front and center, and again with even greater tenacity on 1991’s Make a Jazz Noise Here.

+ Speaking of guitarwork, there are several recordings devoted exclusively to Zappa’s extraordinary instrumental prowess. Among them: 1981’s Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar, 1988’s Guitar and the posthumous 2006 collection Trance-Fusion. But for pure compositional thrills, nothing beats what Zappa summarizes in a mere 10 minutes on the 1979 guitar instrumental Watermelon in Easter Hay.

+ The opening Sinfonia section of Stravinsky’s Octet (which will be part of tonight’s Singletary performance) bears a wind-savvy animation that is generously reflected in many of Zappa’s pop works, such as Uncle Meat‘s The Dog Breath Variations (which is also on tonight’s program).

+Among the many topics that seemed to really frost Zappa’s pumpkin was organized religion. He prefaces a version of Stinkfoot on Make a Jazz Noise Here by discussing TV evangelist Jimmy Swaggart’s then-recent confession of engaging in “something pornographic.” But 1981’s Dumb All Over cuts deeper to suggest the only thing more insipid than corporate righteousness is a following that buys into it.

+ Finally, Zappa was one of contemporary music’s most underappreciated champions of free speech. In 1985, he testified before the U.S. Senate when the Parents Music Resource Center began promoting a rating and labeling system for the lyrical content of records. The testimony was sampled for a 12 minute synclavier montage called Porn Wars on 1986’s Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention. Also included is a snippet of dialogue between Tipper Gore and Zappa.

Gore: I’d be interested to see what toys your kids ever had.

Zappa: Why would you be interested?

Gore: Just as a point of interest.

Zappa: Well, come on over to the house. I’ll show them to you.

Gail Zappa: “Some Musicians Don’t Enjoy Water Sports” and the University of Kentucky Chamber Winds’ “A Zappa Tribute: Inspirations and Music of American Composer Frank Zappa” will be presented at 7:30 tonight at the Singletary Center for the Arts. Admission is free.

ALBEMARLE WAGES GREW FASTER; JOBS AND POPULATION, SLOWER REPORT ON REGION’S ECONOMY TURNS UP SOME SURPRISES FOR DEVELOPMENT PANEL.(LOCAL)

The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA) April 28, 1996 | Peters, Mason Byline: MASON PETERS, STAFF WRITER ELIZABETH CITY — In a search for its own identity, the Northeast North Carolina Economic Development Commission in October paid a team of hot-shot business analysts $135,000 to find out what is good and what is bad about the Albemarle.

This month the experts turned in an inch-thick report that found faults with the region but also suggested that some of the shortcomings are more perceived than real.

The report showed that population and employment in the 16 northeastern counties served by the commission have grown more slowly than in the rest of North Carolina.

“However, growth in real wages was the fastest” in the northeast compared to the rest of the the state, the study showed, “and failure rates are below state averages, which indicates a good business climate.” The Raleigh-based Leak-Goforth/Pace Group, which conducted the survey, turned up the surprising fact that the average wages of northeastern North Carolina workers in many selected jobs were higher than those paid in Hampton Roads. see here hot shot business

The average weekly wage of a receptionist here is $340; in Hampton Roads, the job pays $325, the survey showed.

Electrical engineers get $784 a week compared with $765 in nearby Virginia. Machinists in the Albemarle average $14.34 an hour, as against $14.32 in Virginia, the survey reported.

The report said an estimated 10,904 northeastern N.C. workers commuted to Virginia to jobs, while 13,225 work in counties outside of the 16 in the commission’s area.

But the commuting pattern is widely varied.

Ninety-percent of Dare County workers have jobs in their home county, while only 18 percent of Camden County residents stay in Camden County to work. In Pasquotank and Chowan counties, 77 percent of workers have jobs near their homes. In Currituck, 39 percent have jobs in their county.

“One of the real problems the (N.E.) Region has endured over the years is the inadequate highway system,” the analysts said.

The state has scheduled many improvements for key northeastern highways, the survey noted, such as U.S. 64; U.S. 17, N.C. 168 and U.S. 158, but manyof the projects will not be completed before the end of this century.

The mid-sound bridge authorized in Currituck County is urgently needed, the survey said, but “it will be 10 or more years before (this) improvement can be made unless it gets a push.” Dare and Tyrrell counties face a long wait before widening of U.S. 64 on the south shore of Albemarle Sound to Manteo is completed, said the study.

And the experts sounded a cautionary note about the Bonner Bridge, which carries N.C. 12 across Oregon Inlet to Hatteras Island.

“The DOT is very concerned about the integrity of the Bonner Bridge,”said the survey. “It is felt that Oregon Inlet stabilization will be necessary to save the bridge.

“Temporarily a terminal groin has met the DOT’s optimistic predictions and has extended the bridge’s life somewhat but it hasn’t solved the bridge support problems,” the report concluded. web site hot shot business

Plans are being pushed to build a new span across Oregon Inlet but it is not expected to be completed for several years, DOT officials said recently.

Airline transportation was viewed in the survey as vital to development of the northeastern economic region.

“Air service may be better than it is perceived,” said the study, “Commuter service from Rocky Mount, Greenville and extensive commercial service from Raleigh-Durham, Richmond and Norfolk should be adequate for most new projects considering the region.” But the planners said improved facilities at Edenton’s airport and a commuter service out of Dare County at Manteo are “in the best interests” of economic development.

Lack of natural gas was viewed in the survey as a major handicap for many of the 16 northeastern counties. Only four counties served by the northeast development commission have natural gas.

Education facilities, vital to the ability of the northeast region to supply skilled workers, get so-so marks in the study.

Except for Dare, every county in the northeast surpasses the state average in its number of people without a high school diploma. But SAT scores were higher than the state average in six of the 16 counties, and only Bertie and Beaufort counties exceeded the state level of high school dropouts.

“Generally” the survey said, “the quality of life in the (northeast) region was found to be above average. Housing costs, recreation, sports, cultural opportunities and other items are very good. Health care needs improvements and education should receive more attention from the (Economic) Commission programs.” Recommendations for new programs the commission may develop and ideas for improving existing plans were contained in the Leak-Goforth/Pace study.

“There is enough important material in the report to keep us busy for weeks,” said Pasquotank County Commissioner Jimmy Dixon, the Elizabeth City chairman of the northeast economic panel.

Dixon cited the report’s puzzled footnote to a discussion of the excellent opportunities for businesses in northeastern North Carolina.

“The overall positive nature of the findings makes it difficult to understand why in 1995 the N.C. Dept. of Commerce reported only one small industry locating in the region’s 16-county area,” said the Leak-Goforth/Pace report.

Peters, Mason

zappa reflections, pt. 3: words

zappa 3These are the words of Frank Zappa – a collection of quotes from interviews, concert recordings and the composer’s autobiography (of sorts) The Frank Zappa Book. They are as human and concise as sayings by Mark Twain (but considerably more cynical) and often as topical and biting as rants by Bill Hicks (though vastly more G-rated). The first one, especially, hits home.

With Friday’s Zappa celebration, approaching, we thought we share these little vignettes as the latest installment of our Zappa Reflections series. Most of these observations deal with music. All deal with life.

Above, Zappa is pictured on the cover of 1981’s You Are What You Is album. 

  • “Most rock journalism is (by) people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read.”
  • “Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.”
  • “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons. But at the very least, you need a beer.”
  • “Communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff.”
  • “I’d rather have my own game show than enough votes to become president.”
  • “Jazz isn’t dead. It just smells funny.”
  • “It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities. One is paperwork and the other is nostalgia.”
  • “There is no hell. There is only France.”
  • “I’m not going to be like Bill Clinton and say I never inhaled. I did inhale. I liked tobacco a lot better.”
  • “You can tell what they think of our music by the places we are forced to play it in.”
  • “There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe. It has a stronger half-life.”
  • “Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.”
  • “Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.”
  • “Everybody believes in something. And everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, uses that something to support their own existence.”
  • “All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”
  • “No change in musical style will survive unless it is accompanied by a change in clothing style.”

in performance: california guitar trio

california guitar trio 

The biggest delight that surrounds a California Guitar Trio performance these days is that, after over 15 years of touring, nothing has become stale. There is still remarkable freshness and invention to its music, a seemingly endless wellspring of stylistic inspiration at its members’ very nimble fingertips and, above all, an ability to make an evening of acoustic guitar music seem effortlessly entertaining.

From a technical standpoint, calling (from left, in above photo) Bert Lams, Paul Richards and Hideyo Moriya virtuosos may seem like a simplification. But it is in no way an overstatement. Over the course of two hours last night at the 21c Museum in Louisville, the three happily blended a typically wild array of cover material with an impressive sampling of original works. While occassional pedal effects that mimicked rockish, electric tones fleshed the music out, the basic weapons of choice were, as always, three acoustic guitars.

But at the end of a concert that offered guitar interpretations of music by The Ventures, Queen, Mike Oldfield, Ennio Morricone, Pink Floyd and Lynyrd Skynyrd, what brought last night’s capacity crowd to its feet? What else? Bach.

When the trio dug into Toccata and Fugue D Minor, a work that has been in the CGT’s repertoire for years, the piece became less a foreboding backdrop for horror movies (there must be at least a half-dozen Hammer Films from the ‘60s and ‘70s that used Toccata and Fugue as soundtrack material) and more of a rich exhibition of group dynamics and performance precision. It was well deserving of the ovation it received.

But, my, the rest of program sure was fun, too. Beethoven’s Unmei was set to surf music spirals by Moriya. The Skynyrd juggernaut Free Bird was dressed with a reggae/funk groove that bled into a ferociously electric sounding acoustic solo by Lams and Morricone’s theme to The Good, The Bad and Ugly came complete with wah-wah colors from Richards.

Other tunes were more faithful to blueprint versions. The signature Oldfield opus Tubular Bells (with CGT soundman/producer Tyler Trotter on melodica) retained all of the original version’s sense of meance, warmth and playfulness while a 12 minute reading of Echoes was a trip in every sense of the word that covered the earthy grinds, outer space fancy and slide-savvy abstraction Pink Floyd instilled in the piece in 1971. Yet both readings were still very much respectful interpretations, not mere clones, of the originals.

Behind Bach, though, the ultimate prize in this sublime performance was a new original work called Turn of the Tide. An altogether quieter treat, the tune was full of light, wintry beauty that recalled Anthony Phillips-era Genesis. How cool it was to hear, amid the CGT’s technical command and stylistic daring, a composition that unveiled its simple but potent emotive strength within music of more modest design.

Microsoft makes Office 2000 available on Web.(Company Business and Marketing)

Network World November 15, 1999 | D’Amico, Mary Lisbeth Bowing to the trend toward the provision of applications services, Microsoft today said Office 2000 would be available in a hosted version over the Internet.

Microsoft already hinted that it would make its office applications available over the Web in September.

Microsoft Office Online, as the hosted version will be called, is geared to small and midsize companies that do not have the resources to manage the software themselves, Microsoft says. go to website microsoft office online

Microsoft’s portal for small and midsize businesses, called bCentral, will offer the service. see here microsoft office online

In conjunction with the announcement, a group of application service providers say they will also host Microsoft Office Online. Among them are British Telecommunications PLC, Qwest Communications International and Winstar Communications.

Microsoft Office Online will be available on clients running Windows and Windows CE operating systems as well as Windows NT’s Terminal Server Software, or Windows 2000 Terminal Services software, Microsoft says. Windows Terminal Services software, when installed on a company server, lets users with thin clients on their desktop access applications using terminal emulation.

Microsoft Office Online has been specially configured to run in a hosted environment, Microsoft says. It will offer users the following applications: Microsoft Word; Microsoft Excel; Microsoft PowerPoint presentation graphics program; Microsoft Publisher, a desktop publishing application; Microsoft FrontPage, a tool for creating and managing Web sites; Microsoft Outlook, a messaging and collaboration software; and Microsoft Access, a network-management application.

D’Amico, Mary Lisbeth

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