Archive for July, 2008

the earle of new york

steve earle. photo by ted barron.

steve earle. photo by ted barron.

The course of change Steve Earle plotted on 2008’s Washington Square Serenade album was both immediate and resounding.

You hear it initially in the tunes’ curiously textured groove – an acoustic guitar melody full nudged along by the sort of drum loop that echoes hip hop.

Then come the lyrics. On the album opening Tennessee Blues, Earle tells of leaving Nashville life behind for a new home in New York. Three words, especially, underscore the life chapter at hand: “goodbye guitar town.”

The reference, of course, is to Guitar Town, the album that first shed national attention on Earle’s music over 22 years ago. But Earle, perhaps one of the most restlessly reverent Americana voices of recent decades, isn’t junking his past. He has simply chosen not to repeat himself.

Sure, he can be as grim and obstinate as ever with the stories in his songs. But as he prepares to return to Lexington for a performance with wife and fellow songsmith Allison Moorer, Earle is striking a balance between the personal and political, the traditional and the modern and, at the very core of his music, the light and the dark.

“I think artists have to recharge sometimes by taking care of some personal business,” Earle said recently by phone during a tour stop in Boise, Idaho. “I’m lucky, I guess, because I have an audience that has allowed me to do what I needed to as an artist. For the most part they have been pretty accepting of it. We’ve lost some of them along the way. But we’ve also managed to pick up enough new people so that I’m still able to do this after 20 some odd years.”

Initial inspirations for Washington Square Serenade were two-fold. The album was meant to celebrate Earle’s New York digs in the heart of the Greenwich Village district that was a haven for folk music in the early 1960s. In fact, the cover to Bob Dylan’s landmark 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was shot on the very Greenwich street where Earle and Moorer now reside. The second inspiration was Moorer herself, who married Earle in 2005.

“These were basically love songs for New York City and Allison Moorer,” Earle said. “But a lot of things happened pretty organically with the album. After moving to New York, I was away from the studio I had recorded in for the last 10 years. Plus, my band (The Dukes) is scattered all over the world now. My bass player (Kelley Looney), who has been with me the longest, has lived in Paris for several years. But then I didn’t really want anybody else’s fingerprints on these songs as I was writing them. That tends to happen when you record with the same band all the time.

“I just needed a more intimate process for making music.”

So Earle bought a computer, loaded it with the popular digital audio software known as Pro-Tools and recorded many of his new songs by himself to click tracks. The resulting instrumentation was lean and heavily acoustic with Earle playing guitar, mandolin, banjo (“the kind of banjo that scares sheep”), bouzouki and harmonium. From there, he enlisted John King, better known as half of the ultra-popular’90s production team The Dust Brothers. Earle was drawn to the modern momentum King provided Beck’s 1996 album Odelay.

Their first collaboration was a cover of Tom Waits’ neo-gospel confession Way Down in the Hole, which was used for the fifth and final season of the HBO series The Wire.

From there, Earle recorded the bulk of the music on his own in New York before emailing it to Los Angeles for King’s input.

A similar approach carries over to Earle’s current concerts. He performs roughly half of the performance by himself, enlists Moorer (who is also the show opener) for a few duets and then teams with an onstage DJ (Neil McDonald) to emphasize the mix of modern groove and folk tradition that runs rampant throughout Washington Square Serenade.

“It was a little challenging at first,” Earle said of his current concert approach. “I mean, I’ve been notorious for firing drummers for thinking they were in charge of keeping time. That’s what drummers who are big studio musicians are taught to do. But this album was made to drum loops. It’s the only way I’ve played this material, so I’ve adapted to that.

“Mostly the shows have been about rediscovering all the stuff I started out playing, because I came out of the coffeehouses. My peer group included Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. Those guys didn’t start writing songs because they wanted to be Willie Nelson. They wanted to be Bob Dylan.”

That explains why, for all its discreet modernism, Washington Square Serenade, is still a songwriter record. And while there may be a few glimpses of romantic bliss in songs like Days Aren’t Long Enough (a duet with Moorer) and Sparkle and Shine, there are also deeper, darker tales – some of which eerily echo Earle’s tumultuous past.

On Oxycontin Blues, he employs minor key banjo to color a rural tale of drug addiction that is very much in keeping with 1989’s Copperhead Road and 1996’s CCKMP (Cocaine Cannot Kill My Pain). Earle wrestled for years with serious drug dependencies of his own and views Oxycontin Blues as simply the new face of a very old nemesis.

“I was an addict in that part of the world for a long time. I got clean a long time before oxycontin came along, thank God. But it’s all the same deal, really. That why Oxycontin Blues, CCKMP and Copperhead Road are all kind of the same song.”

Similarly, City of Immigrants is a celebration of the cultural diversity that thrives in New York but is often resisted, even feared, in other regions of the country.

“There was just this realization for me that the guy who owns the deli at the end of my street was born in Korea but speaks better English than I do plus Spanish, because most of his employees are from Central America.

“I mean, the fact we’re going through another period in history where politicians are telling us our problems are due to immigration is crazy. That is always a lie designed to distract us from what is really going on.”

Life on the road for Earle and Moorer, though, is considerably more inviting. They will travel on a bus with their two dogs as a family in motion until their North American tour winds up with four New York concerts in, quite fittingly, a Washington Square church.

“I’ve always felt pretty lucky to be able to make a living doing something I really love. Even when things were really bad, I knew it wasn’t because I was a victim. It was me that was (messing) up. I never diluted myself when it came to that.

“Today, I basically get to take my home on the road with me, see the world and get paid and embarrassing amount of money for a borderline Marxist. Man, I’m one of the luckiest people in the world.”

Steve Earle and Allison Moorer perform at 7 p.m. July 22 at the Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main. Tickets are $32.50, $38.50. Call: (859) 231-7924.

in performance: david "honeyboy" edwards/pinetop perkins with willie "big eyes" smith

david "honeyboy" edwards. photo from earwig music.

david "honeyboy" edwards. photo from earwig music.

Referred to with great and proper reverence as the last of the great Delta bluesmen, David “Honeyboy” Edwards settled into a groove yesterday at the Master Musicians Festival in Somerset that seemed very much to his liking. It was a raw, rhythmic, bouncy riff that kicked off Standin’ on the Corner. “You like this one, don’t you Honeyboy?” asked harpist Michael Frank, to which Edwards replied with a subtle, studied smile before returning to the groove.

For the better part of his hour long set, though, Edwards seemed to play as if no one else was watching. Tempos accelerated and slowed, keys shifted back and forth as Frank and bassist Aron Burton did their best follow the musings of the 93 year old Edwards. But such is the wily way of a bluesman still full of obvious playfulness and almost purposeful contradictions.

For instance, Edwards was regaled in stage introductions for his pioneering acoustic blues work, yet he played electric in Somerset. His roots are solidly in the Delta, yet when he dug into the deep pocket soul of Shake ‘Em On Down, the inspirations seemed to wander up to the hill country of North Mississippi.

Sure, the vocals were mostly unintelligible. But the rhythmic authenticity of Edwards’ playing was so arresting that it took some work on Frank’s part to convince the bluesman that their allotted stage time was up. After the first urging to wind things down, Edwards slid back into Muddy Waters’ Rollin’ Stone, the same tune he began the set with. Sure enough, that devilish Delta strut sounded even cooler the second time through.

pinetop perkins. photo by andrew stearns.

pinetop perkins. photo by andrew stearns.

One of Edwards’ few living life-long contemporaries, pianist Pinetop Perkins, followed the guitarist, but not until after some blues revelry from Willie “Big Eyes” Smith had concluded.

Perkins and Smith worked extensively in the‘70s and early ‘80s with Muddy Waters, although drummer Smith performed exclusively as a harpist and vocalist last night as he took on Chicago-ripened blues works like Old Woman’s Sweetheart and Rub My Back. Perkins, 95, arrived dressed in white shirt, black hat and tie and took to the keys of a portable Roland keyboard like it was an upright piano in a Mississippi juke joint.

The resulting boogie-woogie was served with an ageless cheer as it sharpened the percussive shuffle that percolated through Back to the Chicken Shack. Unfortunately, a well-intentioned but cloying onstage birthday celebration by MMF performers and organizers for Edwards (whose birthday was actually in late June) and Perkins (July 7) ate up way too much of what was already a way-too-brief set (about 25 minutes).

Perkins, like Edwards, played by his own rules and launched into Down in Mississippi just as Somerset officials approached the microphone to hail him with more accolades. Perkins wasn’t being rude by cutting in. In all honesty, he likely thought the regaling had concluded. But then again, with early evening temps still in the low ‘90s and the festival clock ticking, neither artist nor audience seemed to be in the mood for politicians stating the obvious. Yes, yes, these are fine American artists. But Perkins came to play. Too bad he didn’t have more time to do so.

Parking Requirements for Medical Office Buildings


FIFTY MEDICAL OFFICE BUILDINGS (MOBs) located throughout the United States were studied to determine their parking requirements. Following is a summary of key findings and conclusions:

* A total of 4.5 parking spaces per 1 ,000 gross square feet (GSF) of building area should be provided for MOBs. This recommendation includes an effective supply cushion of spaces; this cushion is equal to about 10 percent of die supply and is necessary for a number of reasons, including but not limited to user convenience and to compensate for the temporary loss of spaces due to construction, maintenance and snow removal.

* The number of cars parked at MOBs during the 1 1 a.m. peak hour typically falls short of both the parking supplies and the number of parking spaces required by zoning ordinances.

– This suggests that most zoning ordinances require more parking spaces than most MOBs need.

– Ninety-two percent of this study’s MOBs are legally required to provide more parking spaces than were occupied during the peak hour.

– Sixty percent of this study’s MOBs must comply with zoning ordinances that exceed this study’s recommended parking capacity.

* The observed mean peak-hour parking accumulation rate for 50 MOBs is 3.23 spaces per 1 ,000 GSF of occupied building area. This is lower than the 3.53 spaces reported in the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ (ITE) Parking Generation, 3rd Edition and the 4.11 spaces reported in ITEs Parking Generation, 2nd Edition.1,2 * The observed 85th-percentile peak-hour parking accumulation rate for 50 MOBs is 4.21 parked cars per 1,000 GSF of occupied building area.

STUDY PURPOSE The development of MOBs continues in response to the aging population and consequent increases in demands for health care. One particular challenge for planners is to properly determine the number of parking spaces needed for MOBs. In response to this challenge, a study was conducted to document the parking requirements of MOBs. A major component of this study included new primary research. site best parking nyc

Most municipal zoning ordinances base MOB parking requirements on the amount of GSF rather than the number of physicians, employees, or patients/ visitors. This study gathers data from various MOBs, calculates parking demand ratios per 1 ,000 GSF and provides a database that can be used for project planning purposes. This research project had the following objectives:

* To identify and reference historical MOB peak-hour parking demand ratios;

* To create a database of MOB peak-hour parking demand ratios that employ the number of parking spaces needed per 1,000 GSF, the variable most commonly referenced by municipal codes;

* To compile a comparative list of municipal code requirements for those MOBs surveyed; and * To summarize findings by mean and 85th-percentile values.

Meeting these objectives provides information useful to planners who project MOB parking demand.

METHODOLOGY Prior to beginning primary research, secondary sources of data were researched. The second and third editions of Parking Generation contained a summary of several MOB parking demand studies. To complete the primary research, the following steps were performed:

* A sample of 50 stand-alone MOBs located throughout the United States was selected.

* The following variables were researched for each MOB:

– city and state;

– number of floors;

– building GSF;

– building occupancy rate;

– number of suites;

– municipal code parking requirements (number of spaces per 1,000 GSF); and – parking space supply.

* The number of parking spaces required by zoning ordinance was calculated.

* The supply of parking spaces was inventoried and the number of spaces provided per 1,000 GSF was calculated.

* The number of parked vehicles during the peak time of the day was counted.

* The number of spaces per 1,000 GSF was determined based on the occupied building GSF and the numbers of vehicles counted at the peak accumulation or occupancy.

* The mean and 85th percentile, by spaces per 1,000 GSF of occupied building space, were summarized for the following:

– code requirements;

– parking space supply; and – observed peak-hour parking occupancy.

ITE PARKING GENERATION RATES ITE updated its Parking Generation publication in 2004. Table 1 provides a comparison between these published data and the primary data collected for this study.

DATA COLLECTION RESULTS Number of Buildings by State Fifty free-standing MBOs were surveyed on Mondays and Wednesdays from March through August, during what was believed to represent typical activity levels for MOBs. Suburban locations were selected to allow a clean computation of the parking demand ratio, without the influence of adjacent land uses present in an urban environment and without the influence of mass transit.

A convenience sample was drawn based on geographic proximity of individuals collecting the data to the MOBs. Twenty of the MOBs surveyed were located in Illinois. The remaining 30 properties surveyed were located in the following states: California (6), Florida (3), Georgia (3), Indiana (9), Massachusetts (3), Minnesota (3) and Pennsylvania (3).

The average number of parking spaces per 1,000 GSF ranged from 2.78 for the three Georgia MOBs studied to 5.60 for the three Pennsylvania MOBs surveyed. Following is the supply of parking spaces per 1,000 GSF, by state: best parking nyc

* Illinois: 4.47 * Florida: 5.24 * Indiana: 5.36 * Minnesota: 4.39 * California: 3.20 * Pennsylvania: 5.60 * Georgia: 2.78 * Massachusetts: 4.69 Number of Buildings by Size The MOBs identified then were compared on the basis of occupied GSF. As shown in Figure 1, about three-fourths of the buildings surveyed were 70,000 GSF or less.

Municipal Code Requirements Thirty-one locations, or 62 percent of those MOBs surveyed were required by code to provide 4.01 or more parking spaces per 1,000 GSF. Table 2 illustrates the number of parking spaces required by municipal zoning ordinances.

Parking Supply Each individual MOB’s parking supply was inventoried. Out of the 50 MOBs surveyed, 27 facilities, or approximately 54 percent, supplied 4.01 or more parking spaces (rounded to nearest whole number) per 1,000 GSF.

Figure 2 illustrates the number of parking spaces supplied per 1,000 GSF. Most of the facilities surveyed provided or nearly provided the number of code-required spaces. In some cases, the parking space supply fell short of the code requirement.

Parking Demand Parking occupancy counts were taken for the MOB parking spaces to determine parking utilization during the 11 a.m. peak hour. These counts were compared to the occupied GSF of the building. The peak hour was determined based on the consultants’ experience with hundreds of studies over the last 30 years. A majority of the facilities surveyed had peak-hour parking occupancies of 4.0 or fewer spaces per 1 ,000 GSF. This statistic fell significantly below both the legally required number of parking spaces and the observed parking supplies.

The following shows the total number of parking facilities surveyed (at the peak hour) by range of occupied parking spaces per 1,000 GSF:

Figure 3 shows each parking facility’s parking demand in descending order. Observed peak-hour parking demand for the sample ranged from 1 .38 to 8.90 spaces per 1 ,000 GSF. The observed mean and median peak-hour parking demand rates were 3.23 and 3.03, respectively. The 85di-percentile rate was 4.21 spaces per 1,000 GSF.

CONCLUSIONS Fifty MOBs were surveyed as part of this research. Following is a summary of findings:

* The most common code requirement for the MOBs surveyed was 5.0 parking spaces per 1 ,000 GSF. Nineteen MOBs, or 38 percent of the sample, were required to provide 5.0 parking spaces per 1,000 GSF.

* The mean and median number of parking spaces provided per 1,000 GSF was 4.50 and 4.39, respectively.

* ITE calculated a mean demand of 3.53 parking spaces per 1,000 GSF (Parking Generation, 3rd Edition) compared to 3.23 parking spaces per 1,000 GSF found in this study.

* ITE’s 85th-percentile demand of 4.30 parking spaces per 1 ,000 GSF (Parking Generation, 3rd Edition) is comparable to the 85th-percentile peak-hour observation of 4.21 parking spaces per 1,000 GSF found in this study.

* Based on these findings, designing parking facilities to accommodate 4.5 spaces per 1,000 GSF of building space should be sufficient to meet the peak-hour parking demands of most medical office buildings. This recommendation is an 85th-percentile recommendation, which is consistent with other recognized and published industry standards, including the landmark November 2005 Shared Parking publication issued by the Urban Land Institute and the International Council of Shopping Centers. Sixty percent, or 30 of the 50 MOBs, are located in municipalities that now require more parking than the recommended 4.5 spaces per 1,000 GSF.

* Note: Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not reflect official ITE Journal policy unless so stated.

[Reference] References 1. Parking Generation, 3rd Edition. Washington, DC, USA: Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), 2004.

2. Parking Generation, 2nd Edition. Washington, DC: ITE, 1987.

[Author Affiliation] BY JOHN W. DORSETT, AICP AND MARK J. LUKASICK [Author Affiliation] JOHN W. DORSETT, AICP, is a senior vice president and shareholder of Walker Parking Consultants. He directs the firm’s Consulting Resources Group, which specializes in parking-related engagements including access and revenue control systems, airport landside planning, financial, functional design planning, operations and traffic engineering.

MARK J. IUKASICK is a parking consultant with Walker Parking Consultants. He has more than 20 years of experience in hands-on parking operations and parking consulting. He may be contacted at with any questions pertaining to this article.

Dorsett, John W; Lukasick, Mark J

in performance: robert plant and alison krauss featuring t bone burnett

alison krauss, robert plant and bassist dennis crouch. photo by herald-leader staff photographer mark cornelison.

alison krauss, robert plant and bassist dennis crouch. photo by herald-leader staff photographer mark cornelison.

Near the halfway point of their sublime and, at times, stylistically surreal performance last night, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss hoisted up the full fruits and colors of their near year-long roots music sojourn for all 4,100 fans on hand at Rupp Arena to see.

The tune was Fortune Teller, an Allen Toussaint chestnut covered by, among many others, such Brit rock beasts as The Who and The Rolling Stones. At the center of this very controlled storm was Plant, lowering his vocals to a level of incantatory cunning while guitarist/band leader/producer/all-around Americana scholar T Bone Burnett dressed the surroundings with wicked guitar – the sort of wattage that mixed tremolo and twang into a mood as rich in its roots music economy as it was deep in its traditional pop smarts.

The resulting sound was playfully, almost riotously, spooky.

Then, just when you thought this earthy treat couldn’t get any sleeker, on to the stage came Krauss to add a wordless vocal wail that gave the party something of a jungle accent – a pop-savvy Fay Wray to the Plant/Burnett King Kong rumble.

Thus we had a single, vital emotive voice forged out of what seemed, as recently as a year ago, an impossible pop alliance.

Krauss mixed the familiar delicacy of her country-saturated singing with considerable daring, as in the siren-like mystery that surrounded her vocal lead on Tom Waits’ Trampled Rose and the sterling Gene Clark weeper Through the Morning, Through the Night.

Plant, in music that was light years removed the plaintively thunderous charge he led over 35 years ago as frontman for Led Zeppelin, reveled in the repertoire’s conversational fancy. But on Townes Van Zandt’s Nothin’, he summoned a dark, commanding vocal charge that was very Zep-friendly in its electric delivery.

robert plant, jay bellerose, t bone burnett. photo by mark cornelison.

robert plant, jay bellerose, t bone burnett. photo by mark cornelison.

Ultimately, though, it was Burnett that set last night’s program on its fascinating course. Admittedly, having an absurdly resourceful band at his disposal didn’t hurt. Employing the tireless doomsday drive of drummer Jay Bellerose alongside fiddler/banjoist Stuart Duncan and bassist Dennis Crouch with Buddy Miller (arguably, next to Burnett, the most influencial presence in modern Americana music) on board as a second guitarist and multi-instrumentalist revealed just how deep the band’s strengths ran.

But Burnett’s swampy guitar tone – unveiled immediately in a subtle shimmer on the show opening cover of Rich Woman – became as vital a voice in last night’s performance as any of the singing by the all-star headliners.

As popular as Krauss’ Kentucky following has been, especially in recent years, Plant was surrounded last night by the biggest air of expectation. In his first Rupp outing since a Zep-heavy reunion performance with Jimmy Page over 13 years ago, Plant refashioned several gems from his past to suit the lean, groove-intensive fare favored by Burnett. Black Country Woman and a banjo-ignited Black Dog, in particular, chugged along with a healthy dose of folkish charm and raw swing that Krauss readily tapped into.

But Zeppelin fans loudly and properly rejoiced to a very faithful acoustic reading of The Battle of Evermore with Duncan playing the tune’s brittle mandolin lines and Krauss neatly capturing the British folk vibe the late Fairport Convention vocalist Sandy Denny crafted on Zeppelin’s 1971 studio version.

In a performance that seemed so fervently bent on sidestepping nostalgia, Evermore and Plant’s concluding chants of “bring it back” embraced the Zeppelin legacy wholeheartedly without betraying the elemental turns of the Burnett-bred material. Like much of the performance, it borrowed from the old and, quite often, the very old, as it sought out a new roots music vocabulary.

Show opener Sharon Little began the evening with a set reminiscent of Rickie Lee Jones’ early ‘80s music and Over the Rhine’s more rockish meditations. But Little songs like Ooh Wee and Follow That Sound were nicely grounded in a sense of pop celebration.

raising sand at rupp

alison krauss and robert plant. photo by pamela springsteen.

alison krauss and robert plant. photo by pamela springsteen.

A game of opposites seemed to be in motion as Robert Plant and Alison Krauss met onstage in April at the Louisville Palace to begin a four month tour.

From stage left came Plant, the earth-shaking vocalist and frontman for Led Zeppelin, the band that re-invented electric blues and scared the daylights out of unknowing parents everywhere beginning in the late ‘60s.

From stage right entered Krauss, the most popular and visible face of modern bluegrass, a champion fiddler and a singer possessed with a voice of stirring fragility and plaintive country longing.

With a band behind them fronted by Americana impresario T Bone Burnett, the two launched into the blues and boogie staple Rich Woman, a tune recast with whispery intensity and an almost swampy musical backdrop.

Throughout the audience, teens and elders were decked out in well worn Led Zeppelin T-shirts. Such costuming was, perhaps, to be expected. A one-off Zeppelin reunion the previous December had fanned the flames of rumors about a possible full-scale tour by the band. And while the ensuing performance with Krauss would offer four Zeppelin tunes – in understandably revamped form – this was not a night of rock ‘n’ roll. This was an evening of rootsy excavation, of taking the sounds of early blues, R&B, pop and pre-bluegrass country and forging them into a vibrant new sound.

In a telephone press conference following a wildly well-received Madison Square Garden performance (fueled by, according to a New York Times review, “a somber intensity that they couldn’t have possibly summoned before they hit the road”), Plant, Krauss and Burnett retraced the steps of their roots music adventure, from their initial meetings to their multi-platinum 2007 album Raising Sand to their summer tour, which concludes with performances tonight at Rupp Arena and Saturday in Nashville.

“It’s become quite an illumination, really,” Plant said of the traditional inspirations that figure into the music he has been making with Krauss and Burnett and how they differ from the broader blues root of his Led Zeppelin days. “The qualities and inherent elements of a lot of the music that has been exposed to me, they’re very familiar. There is a lot of blue in whatever this music is. And bearing in mind that Alison comes from a bluegrass root, what has been created with the chemistry between the three of us has its own kind of genre, really.

“I hear it in the hill music of Kentucky I’ve been exposed to in the last two years. I’m not talking about contemporary bluegrass. I’m talking about mountain music. Hill music. So I find there are so many familiarities to me that I don’t feel at all estranged from my old root.”

Krauss recalled fondly the initial meeting with Plant, prompted by a phone invitation, that helped set the stage for Raising Sand.

“We were rehearsing in an Armenian dance hall that looked like it hadn’t been touched in 40 years,” Krauss said. “I walked into the room and saw this big pile of hair. I walked his way and he turned around. He had his glasses on and said, ‘Ah, there you are.’

“We talked about Ralph Stanley and traveling through the Appalachian Mountains and how much we loved traditional music. And I thought, ‘what an interesting person.'”

Burnett, who was responsible for turning the Americana roots-savvy soundtrack to the Coen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? into a multi-Grammy winning crossover hit in 2000, served as producer for Raising Sand. He was especially impressed with the way Plant and Krauss worked outside their vocal comfort zones in the studio and again on tour. He gives especially high marks to Plant for his singing on Don’t Knock, a Staples Singer spiritual that has been added as an encore during recent concerts.

“I’m completely surprised by Robert’s singing on Don’t Knock,” Burnett said. “In particular, to hear him singing those gospel blue notes, those free-type things. He’s not imitating anybody. They’re just coming right out of him. And then I’m surprised by hearing Alison singing as hard as she is on some of the tunes. That’s thrilling to hear.”

Plant, Krauss and Burnett aren’t the only ones onstage reveling in the rich, rootsy music. Singer/songwriter Sharon Little was supplementing her songwriting income with waitressing work at the beginning of 2008. Then she was picked by Plant and Krauss as the opening act for their entire tour – a trek that was well underway before her major label debut album, Perfect Time for a Breakdown, was released.

“What they create sounds like a gypsy world,” Little said by phone prior to a San Diego concert with Plant and Krauss last month. “It’s fascinates me. I’m totally mesmerized by it. To me, Alison Krauss sounds like an angel. Her voice and my voice are two worlds apart. She hits these notes I can’t even imagine hitting. It’s also exciting for me to see a musician like Robert Plant really get down and dig into his music. And T Bone just seems to wrap up what they do together.

“I’m well aware no one comes out to the shows – well, maybe a few… like, perhaps, four – to see me. But I still feel like a spoiled kid. I’ve been given the audience of Robert Plant, Alison Krauss and T Bone Burnett to play to. So, yeah, it’s a really, really wild thing. I thank them onstage every night.”

Only once in the press conference did a question referencing the continually rumored Led Zeppelin reunions come up. Plant bypassed the topic completely and asserted that the deceptively lo-tech music he is making with Krauss is as difficult – and, ultimately, as rewarding – as any artistic endeavor he has undertaken.

“Singing in this revue is not easy,” Plant said. “In fact, it’s the most challenging event that I actually remember. It’s because I’m working with other voices all the time. I’m learning so much about America, Americana and American music from Alison, T Bone and the whole band (which includes multi-instrumentalist/singers Buddy Miller and Stuart Duncan, bassist Dennis Crouch and drummer Jay Bellerose).

“My whole deal about singing is that I don’t just go into remote control to satisfy my ego. I go into a place I can actually look forward to, no matter how tired I am. I’m a very fortunate man to be in this environment, to be learning everyday.

“I stand on the side of the stage when I’m not involved, sometimes pinching myself, saying, ‘Am I really I really in the middle of all this?’ I couldn’t wish for anything better.”

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss featuring T Bone Burnett with Sharon Little perform at 8 p.m. tonight at Rupp Arena.  Tickets are $46.50, $56.50 and $66.50. Call (859) 233-3535 or (859) 281-6644.

the apples in louisville

the apples in stereo. (robert schneider in glasses). photo by joshua kessler.

the apples in stereo. (robert schneider in glasses). photo by joshua kessler.

No, he hasn’t gone Hollywood. But tonight’s tour opening performance by The Apples in Stereo isn’t the only place where you will find Lexington’s own Robert Schneider this summer. Keep your eyes open during the new Mike Myers comedy The Love Guru for the big Apple in a cameo appearance as a banjo player in a barroom.

“Mike had heard us multiple times in a tea house in New York,” Schneider said. “So he had the music director for his film contact our manager.”

A cameo wasn’t the initial plan, though. Myers mostly wanted a taste of bluegrass for the film. He was especially drawn to the definitive 1949 Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs version of Foggy Mountain Breakdown. But to produce a version that could be properly mixed for the film, Schneider was enlisted. He, in turn, signed up the Benton family string band The McKendrees to replicate the song’s rustic charm and warp-speed melody.

“Mike wanted the music aspect of that scene to be authentically bluegrass. So the producers asked me if I knew of any bluegrass bands in Kentucky,” Schneider said. “I told them, ‘Are you kidding? Of course, I do.

“The whole thing happened very quickly. They called and said, ‘We need the finished song in three days.’ But the McKendrees were awesome. They just blew my mind.”

On film, the Toronto-based Creaking Tree String Quartet was set to portray the barroom band that would be playing the Schneider-produced, McKendrees-performed Foggy Mountain Breakdown. That’s when Myers extended the invitation for Schneider to strap on a banjo and join in the on-camera fun.

“Mike had said, ‘Well, Robert produced the session. We’ve got the authentic sound. Why don’t we get him to do a cameo in the film?’ So he asked me to be the banjo player on screen. They flew me, my wife and my manager up to Toronto. So for 3 days I got to be treated like a movie star.”

Don’t expect much by the way of string music at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville tonight, though. The inaugural night of a month long tour by The Apples in Stereo will bring the band’s longstanding love of power pop and post psychedelia back into play. Some of the songs you will know. Others will be new. A few will be orphaned tunes, like the ones gathered on the recent Apples compilation, Electronic Projects for Musicians.

“As time goes by, the songs we learn to go on tour with will wind up dropping out of our repertoire. Sometimes we’ll never even record them. There will be these great Apples songs over the years that just didn’t fit into any recording project at the time. Usually the only way I’ll remember how they go is by listening to some bootleg or something like that because I don’t record every song I write. That’s impossible.”

Electronic Projects for Musicians is a set of songs that didn’t fit into any album we were playing around with at the time. The song that starts the album, Shine (in Your Mind), and Onto Something were originally just parts of the music for Fun Trick Noisemaker, our first album (released in 1995). We just never finished them in time.”

Chicago’s Poison Control Center and Lexington’s Big Fresh will open tonight’s show. The Apples in Stereo will conclude its tour by taping performances for World Café Live in Philadelphia on Aug. 2 and, in a return appearance, The Colbert Report in New York on Aug. 4. 

The Apples in Stereo, Poison Control Center and Big Fresh perform at 9 tonight at Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Rd. in Louisville. $12. Call (502) 584-8088.

New York Daily News Writer Is Warned to Drop Coverage of Manhattan Judge.

Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News January 14, 2003 By Robert Ingrassia, Daily News, New York Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Jan. 14–A Daily News reporter has received an anonymous warning to stop writing about Manhattan judge Marylin Diamond — who police suspect has been sending death threats to herself.

Michele McPhee, The News’ police bureau chief, got a Christmas card saying, “Michele, one more word about Judge Diamond and we’ll see who the bitch is. See you soon. The Nite Watchman.” Police investigators who examined handwriting in the card concluded it was from the same person who sent a series of threatening letters to Diamond, an acting Supreme Court justice, over the past three years.

Although the investigators can’t prove it, they have said they suspect Diamond was the author of those letters — and, by implication, the threat to McPhee. website christmas card sayings

“It’s the same block handwriting,” one high-ranking police investigator on the case told The News. “The same language. One of the old letters even was signed from the night stalker, or night watchman, something like that.” McPhee broke the story of police suspicions about Diamond, 61, in September. She has reported that police believe Diamond may have written the letters to garner attention and justify around-the-clock police protection.

The judge has denied writing any of the threatening letters. Her attorney, Harold Tyler, said yesterday that Diamond denies sending the card McPhee received.

But Tyler, who examined a fax copy of the McPhee card, confirmed that the handwriting is similar to the printing on the other letters. here christmas card sayings

“It does look like some of the notes from way, way back,” he said. “It’s astonishing.” Pennies from hell McPhee received the card, which also included two pennies, at the News bureau at 1 Police Plaza. She opened it this month after returning from vacation and filed an aggravated-harassment complaint with the 5th Precinct.

A Park Ave. businessman who was questioned by police about the Diamond death threats after the judge fingered him as a suspect also received a warning on a Christmas card.

Tom Snowdon, who publicly lashed out at Diamond for her handling of his 1998 divorce from fashion designer Cathy Hardwick, is organizing a group of former death-threat suspects to file suit against the judge.

In Snowdon’s card, someone wrote: “Keep it up a——. Keep talking to the newspapers about Diamond and you’re dead dead dead, [expletive].” Snowdon said the threat was unsettling.

“It looked like a 5-year-old wrote it,” he said. “Obviously, though, this was no 5-year-old.” Except for the message inside, Snowdon’s card was identical to the one McPhee got. Both were postmarked Dec. 19 in zip code 10001. His card contained a 5-mark German coin.

Diamond was elected as a Republican to New York City Civil Court in 1990 — and appointed an acting state Supreme Court justice four years later.

Police took extraordinary measures in their probe of the death-threat letter — following Diamond, placing a camera outside her home and even going through her garbage.

They closed their investigation in October and turned the matter over to the Office of Court Administration.

Court spokesman David Bookstaver declined yesterday to discuss the status of the agency’s probe or respond to the implication from police that Diamond may have written the Christmas card threats.

“For all I know, Michele McPhee wrote the letter to herself,” he said.

master pinetop

pinetop perkins; photo by doug nelson

pinetop perkins; photo by doug nelson

Leave it to Pinetop Perkins to court two audiences at a single show.

On one side of the stage at a Kentucky Horse Park concert in 1994 was Bill Payne, keyboardist and founding member of the co-billed Little Feat. On the other was an enthusiastic outdoor crowd that cheered on Perkins’ ageless boogie woogie piano rolls and bold blues phrasings.

Payne was clearing savoring the up-close moment with a mentoring musical inspiration. The Horse Park audience was similarly thrilled at hearing Perkins rip through such Muddy Waters staples as Honey Bee and Got My Mojo Working.

But the biggest, broadest smile that day likely belonged to Perkins himself. Granted, as his fingers strolled along the keys, Perkins summoned the spirits of his Mississippi youth, of ‘50s recording sessions in Memphis and, yes, even ‘70s road trips with Waters as the blues icon’s career enjoyed an unexpected renaissance. But the smile told the story. For a musician then in his early ‘80s, Perkins looked to be having the time of his life.

“I think people like the stuff I’m doing,” said Perkins, who turned 95 last week. “It’s all I know how to do.”

The pianist returns to Kentucky next weekend as one of the featured performers of the Master Musicians Festival. The annual musical celebration in Somerset seems tailor-made for an artist of such influence and historical stature as Perkins. It was designed to honor musicians whose life’s work has been devoted to pioneering and preserving musical traditions.

Initially, though, Perkins’ talents extended to guitar as well as piano. Then one of those dangerous, almost folkloric events occurred that set the direction of his career. It all began with an altercation with a dancer in a Helena, Arkansas club.

“Well, the girl stabbed me in the arm,” Perkins said. “I couldn’t play guitar no more.”

The tendons in his left arm forever severed, Perkins shifted full focus to the piano. During the 1940s, he was playing alongside such formidable blues figures as slide guitarist Robert Nighthawk and harmonica ace Sonny Boy Williamson. By the end of the decade, he headed from his native Mississippi to the electric blues capitol of the universe: Chicago.

Perkins worked, traveled and toured continually during that time. While he also recorded some of his own music at Sam Phillips’ famed Sun Studios, Perkins’ big break came in 1969, when he replaced Otis Spann in Waters’ band.

“Oh, yeah. I loved Muddy Waters,” Perkins said. “We were together for a long time. A long time. We traveled everywhere together. Shoot, Muddy had me playing all over the place, man. I loved him.”

Perkins’ also recorded extensively with Waters. First came 1973’s underrated Can’t Get No Grindin’ album, a return to traditional form for the singer after years of psychedelic and brass-oriented records. Perkins was also there when Waters signed to Columbia for a series of albums produced by Texas roots rock guitarist Johnny Winter (which began with 1977’s extraordinary Hard Again) that introduced the learned Chicago artists to a new blues generation.

Perkins’ bandmate on all of the Waters recordings was drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith , whose band will back up the pianist this weekend in Somerset.

“I don’t like to play by myself,” Perkins said of performing live.

Curiously, it wasn’t until after Waters’ death in 1983 that Perkins’ solo career took full flight. He has recorded for a variety of independent labels, including Telarc, which released an all-star outing called Pinetop Perkins and Friends in June.

“Oh, yeah, I got lots of friends,” Perkins said. “I love all good people.”

Among Perkins’ pals in the album are guitar giants B.B. King (who Perkins first collaborated with in Memphis near the beginning of their respective careers), Eric Clapton, Jimmie Vaughan and Eric Sardinas. Smith is again in the drum chair for the album’s golden moment: the slow blues sway, with Perkins and Vaughan in rich simpatico, of the Nighthawk gem Anna Lee.

Times haven’t always been this celebratory, though. In 2004, while driving in La Porte, Indiana, Smith saw his life passing before him in the form on an oncoming train. He was hit by a locomotive at railroad crossing. His car was destroyed, but the pianist escaped with only minor injuries.

“That train knocked me out, man. Shoot, I come to and I haven’t driven since. I thank the lord for me being here. That’s all I can say.”

Now that’s what you call a testimonial. How many bluesmen can outlive a train wreck to play into their mid ‘90s?

“They used to call me Pinetop,” Perkins said. “But now I done got so old they call me Pinebottom.”

The Master Musicians Festival will be held July 18 and 19 at Somerset Community College, 808 Monticello Rd. in Somerset. Tickets range from $20 to $45. Call (866) 349-1738 or (606) 677-2933. Perkins will perform at 5 p.m. Saturday with the Willie “Big Eyes” Smith Band. 

elfin intimacy

eric harris, derek almstead, jimmy hughes, andrew riegler, laura carter. photo by kristen bach.

elf power: eric harris, derek almstead, jimmy hughes, andrew riegler, laura carter. photo by kristen bach.

The Athens, Ga. psychedelic pop brigade known as Elf Power has a knack for popping up in town just when we need it the most.

Among the band’s more fabled visits to Lexington was a 2002 performance at the long-defunct High on Rose. The club’s miniscule capacity was far from ideal, even for the more low-fi extremes of the band’s songs. But it was one of the few venues willing to pick up the slack in offering a steady musical diet of local bands and indie out-of-towners after Lynagh’s Music Club shut down earlier in the year.

Now Elf Power is heading back to a city that is again without a major music venue. Instead, it will play a bar – Al’s Bar, that is, at 601 N. Limestone tonight. Like High on Rose, Al’s has gone above and beyond in attempting to give locals and engaging indie touring acts a performance home until a more specifically designed club surfaces.

Elf Power, of course, doesn’t need much by way of trappings from a performance space. Sure, the music on its recent In a Cave album has a bit more spit and polish than earlier efforts, from the fuzzy guitar spitfire of Owl Cut and Spiral Stairs to the more surrealist pop of Paralyzed that sounds like a cross between The Byrds and vintage Robert Wyatt. But it’s still informal, organic and unvarnished enough to flourish in an intimate environment.

Ham1 (also from Athens) and The Scourge of the Sea’s Andrew English will open. (9 p.m., $5). Call (859) 252-9104

critic’s pick 28



Certainly much of the California Guitar Trio’s charm over the past two decades has been its ability to reinvent everything from classical preludes to surf, pop and jazz classics, as well as its original material, into progressively minded string music with three acoustic guitars doing most or all of the melodic heavy lifting.

On Echoes, the trio’s interpretive skills are emphasized (an album devoted to its own music is in the works) and the results are a riot. Recorded up the road in Louisville over four days in May 2007, the repertoire, by CGT standards, is child’s play. There is the dizzying minimalism of Penguin Café Orchestra’s Music for a Found Harmonium, a surf-savvy rethink of Beethoven’s Unmei and an ultra-faithful take on the Queen staple Bohemian Rhapsody, which the trio has turned into a sort of beer hall sing-a-long at concerts in recent years.

But the repertoire and instrumentation reveal considerable resourcefulness. Mike Oldfield’s trademark Tubular Bells is reduced to a suitably spooky eight minutes that, once it passes the popular theme co-opted for The Exorcist nearly 35 years ago, blossoms with orchestral grace and the very complimentary support of several CGT pals. Among them: bassist Tony Levin, thereminist Pamelia Kurtsin and even the group’s producer/sound tech Tyler Trotter, who adds a playful touch of melodica.

The title tune similarly pares down a spacey 1971 Pink Floyd opus into 12 minutes that also skip sleekly between the intimate and the wildly trippy.

Wildest of all is the arena rock warhorse anthem Free Bird that chugs here to a neo-reggae groove and vocals from Louisville indie celeb Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

It’s easy to view the resulting music as mere novelty. But settle into the gentle yet straightforward intricacy of Beethoven’s Pastorale and you discover what a gimmick Echoes isn’t. From devout classical references to prog-ish accents to its most inviting pop summations, warmth circulates about this music. You may recognize and even celebrate the familiarity of these compositions. But the music’s light acoustic fabric and even livelier sense of respect and cunning gives Echoes a very distinctive resonance.

big blue ball

big blue ball

Encompassing a similar collective spirit but with a more global approach is Big Blue Ball. The album is a multi-artist miniature of the world music vision Peter Gabriel has designed from his Real World Studios over the past two decades. But Big Blue Ball also possesses a broad East-meets-West feel. 

Gabriel is at the helm. Not surprisingly, letting him lead the streamlined album-opener Whole Thing, with World Party’s Karl Wallinger on guitar, Tchad Blake on drums and a vocal chorus supplied by Tim Finn and Andy White, is a highlight. But the beautifully ethereal Rivers, fronted by Hungarian vocal minx Marta Sebestyen with guitar synth colors by Vernon Reid, is a bigger and braver reach.

Wallinger takes over for the finale title tune, a very un-World Party-ish meditation (“big blue ball, no trouble at all”). Add in Gabriel’s punctuated keyboards, co-producer Stephen Hague’s accordion runs and the cheery beat of famed French drummer Manu Katche, and the tune takes on a summery glow

Gabriel’s imprint is all over this music. But so is the sense of playfulness and camaraderie that gives Big Blue Ball ample bounce.

in performance: robert schneider/fred lonberg-holm

robert schneider; photo by joshua kessler

robert schneider; photo by joshua kessler

Repeatedly, the chieftain for The Apples of Stereo apologized for being “under rehearsed” during a 45 minute solo acoustic set that served as both a Saturday centerpiece for The Morris Book Shop’s grand opening celebration and a pre-cursor to an Apples tour that commences tonight in Louisville.

Such misgivings proved unnecessary, though. This sort of performance forum all but demanded informality to meet its level of intimacy, especially with customers bustling in an out of the store as an afternoon thunderstorm ensued outside. Mostly, the performance was like an aural sketch pad, with Schneider presenting unaccompanied outlines of tunes that had been previously fleshed out in full psychedelic pop regalia on Apples albums.

Some, like 1999’s Strawberryfire, still retained a late ‘60s Beatles feel that also approximated ‘90s albums by Robyn Hitchcock, especially in the high, winding turns of Schneider’s vocals. Others, like 1997’s Tin Pan Alley were pulled almost randomly from the past and bore an acoustic intimacy quite independent from their recorded versions.

There were also a few previews of children’s tunes Schneider plans to record under his Robbert Bobbert alias that included the musing of a lost baby duck (“in polka dot pajamas”) that echoed the more wide-eyed pop of the Beach Boys and a polite ode to gravity. (“My favorite force of nature,” Schneider said. “I’m sure everyone here is familiar with it.”) Best of all was a solo reading of the Apples’ Dear Prudence-like pop chant Sun is Out (from last year’s New Magnetic Wonder album), which was sung as an affirmation at the height of the outside downpour.

+ + + +

fred lonberg-holm; photo by marek lazerski

fred lonberg-holm; photo by marek lazerski

In keeping with at least some of the reverence one might deem appropriate for a Sunday afternoon, Chicago cellist and improvising artist Fred Lonberg-Holm began the first of two brief sets with the hymn Sherborne. Coupled with a show-closing rendition of the Billie Holiday standard End of a Love Affair, the cellist offered shadings of the instrument’s inherent melodic grace and dramatic lyricism. The tunes, though, were as conventional – and, perhaps, as accessible – as the performance got.

In between, Lonberg-Holm all but turned the instrument inside out exploring new sound possibilities. In one instance, he attached clothes pins to the strings to emphasize tense and tightened sounds. In another, he rubbed on the strings in a circular motion to create an almost respiratory rhythm before utilizing a small saw for resonance. Other improvisations were executed with the instrument on the floor on its back as Lonberg-Holm attached various electronic, EBow-like gizmos before finally underscoring a drone effect with a pair of electric toothbrushes.

Those casually passing by the windows of The Morris Book Shop on this second day of its grand opening weekend, and there were several, may have seen the latter exercise as something akin to having the cello on a torture rack. Anyone unappreciative of such musical adventure might have viewed these sounds as sonic distress calls, as well. But for those with open ears, Lonberg-Holm’s experiments in cello resonance, percussive texture and electronic embellishment made this sometimes savage string music sound sweet indeed.

current listening 07/12

surf's up (1971)

surf's up (1971)

The Beach Boys: Surf’s Up – Sure, Brian Wilson could pen the most serene summertime soundtrack imaginable. But, as befitted his own personal crisis during the late ‘60s and ‘70s, his music could turn topical and savagely bittersweet. 1971’s Surf’s Up represents the best of three stellar early ’70s albums that erase some of Beach Boys sheen for a more unfinished, even downbeat mood. The title tune and ‘Til I Die are forgotten classics.

egyptology (1997)

egyptology (1997)

World Party: Egyptology – Another pop gem from Karl Wallinger and company. Originally issued in 1997, Egyptology created a bigger stir overseas than domestically, especially after Brit pop star Robbie Williams covered She’s the One. But despite the title, this is luxurious pop without the Eastern intrigue (save for Strange Groove), from the pensive reflections of Rolling Off a Log to the celebratory cheer of It Is Time.

heart to heart (1978)

heart to heart (1978)

David Sanborn: Heart to Heart – Jazzers love to dismiss alto sax stylist Sanborn as just another pre-cursor to Kenny G. But on his fourth and finest album for Warner Bros, 1978’s Heart to Heart, Sanborn offers organic contemporary grooves while reaching for the orchestral arrangement (by Gil Evans, no less) of Short Visit. Top that with the most distinctive alto sound of his generation and you have a midsummer jazz treat.

thembi (1971)

thembi (1971)

Pharoah Sanders: Thembi – A sax man of an entirely different order, Sanders was in his post-Coltrane prime when Thembi was released in 1971. This 1998 re-issue punches up the earthy support of keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith. Sanders, though, remains a marvel. One minute, he designs a sax lead of meditative content. The next, he is peeling paint off the walls. Such is the restless, forthright path of great spiritual music.

the kinks are the village green preservation society (1968)

the kinks are the village green preservation society (1968)

The Kinks: The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society – Released a month prior to the Rolling Stones’ Beggars’ Banquet and The Beatles’ “white album” in the late fall of 1968, Village Green was deemed a commercial disappointment at the time. Today, it stands as Ray Davies’ masterpiece, an album full of sunny Brit-pop, unmovable British resolve, post-psychedelic attitude and a queasy sense of mortality. God save the Kinks.

Domino’s Pizza Race Discrimination Case To Be Considered By U.S. Supreme Court

Atlanta Inquirer December 3, 2005 | Lester, Doris Lester, Doris Atlanta Inquirer 12-03-2005 The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a racial discrimination case the week of December 5th involving Domino’s Pizza, Inc. That will decide whether a Las Vegas Black businessman who claims Domino’s discriminated against him can sue even though the pizza chain claims he was only indirectly affected by its action.

The case is the most prominent racial discrimination case the court, now led by newly installed Chief Justice John G. Roberts, a Bush appointee, has on its docket so far. At issue is whether an injured individual, who suffered injury as a result of deliberate actions by a corporation, can sue under provisions of 19th century civil rights laws. The laws, the 14th and 15th amendments, bar racial discrimination in the making or enforcing of contracts.

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing John McDonald, who claims his fight with Domino’s caused him to go bankrupt in 2000. He has sued the corporation for emotional distress and financial loss of approximately $8 million. And he claims that a company official told him that she “[didn’t] like dealing with you people anyway” and later that Domino’s would “bury you.” here dominos coupon codes

Domino’s has maintained that McDonald has no case because the business relationship was between itself and JWM Investments – McDonald’s one-man company. Company officials also insist that the lease with JWM was cancelled five years ago because there were too many construction delays on building a third and fourth store.

Domino’s officials however, according to McDonald, fail to mention that their “flagrant interference” with Las Vegas officials and the Nevada First Bank caused those delays. McDonald also says that Domino’s’ officials “caused additional delays by illegally removing his name from state and city licenses in attempts to cancel his line of credit.”

Another misrepresentation according to McDonald, is that Domino’s senior officials have quietly been insinuating that they “settled” with McDonald |pr $45,000 after JWM went bankrupt. The truth, says McDonald, is that the amount was what Domino’s paid to a Las Vegas Bankruptcy Trustee in a deal Domino’s made for the JWM assets.

A Las Vegas federal court agreed with Domino’s, that only JWM could bring suit. But the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion that was not published, affirmed McDonald’s right as an individual to sue for personal damages. Domino’s then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If the Supreme Court affirms the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, McDonald could personally sue Domino’s for racial discrimination and personal injury. Most legal scholars dispute Domino’s claim that this would open a floodgate of individual suits against businesses. But they do agree that a favorable ruling for McDonald would preserve what Congress intended in the 14th and 15th amendments.

The civil rights community has come to McDonald’s defense. A host of civil rights legal watchdogs including the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Legal Momentum (formerly known as the National Organization of Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund) and the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium have all filed a friend-of-the-court brief in McDonald’s behalf. go to website dominos coupon codes

“Recognizing that victims of intentional racial discrimination have a cause of action for their personal injuries under the circumstances presented in this case is consistent with Congress’ intention that [existing federal law] foster minority participation in the marketplace,” stated the brief, which was also signed by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Minority Business Enterprise Legal Defense and Education Fund and the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.

It continues: “It would be more than unfortunate if millions of minority business owners like McDonald were forced to choose between the advantages of the corporate form and the availability of remedies for personal injuries resulting from violations of their civil rights. Minority business owners should not be forced to check their race at the door.”

Other briefs in support of McDonald are being filed by several states and territories, including: New York, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, Vermont, the United States Virgin Islands and Wisconsin.

McDonald’s problems with Domino’s began in 2000, when JWM, a tiny real estate company, entered into four 20-year leases with the huge Michigan-based chain to build and operate four Nevada restaurants.

McDonald’s company completed the first two restaurants, but zoning and financing problems initiated by Domino’s plagued the third and fourth pizza parlors.

Domino’s abruptly changed its terms with McDonald one week after meeting him for the first time. The meeting was a gathering of Domino’s 6,000 American franchisees, of which McDonald was the only African-American;

After the gathering, Domino’s demanded that McDonald change the length of the four 20-year leases to 30-day agreements. When McDonald refused, Domino’s moved in to cancel the leases, using the excuse that the delays they had caused were unacceptable.

During this period, a Domino’s senior official, Deborah Pear Phillips, not only threatened McDonald’s financial standing, but told him at one point during the dispute that “I don’t like dealing with you people anyway.”

The corporate giant has said that Pear’s remark was only directed to the company, not to the race of its owner.

With more than 6,000 American franchises and more than 2,000 additional stores around the world, Domino’s has had to deal with several public racial and cultural flare-ups over the last decade.

In several American cities, including St. Louis, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, several towns and cities in Florida and in Washington, D.C., local franchises have caused controversy by creating and enforcing a policy of refusing to deliver in certain sections. These sections are always heavily populated by working-class people of color.

In Tarpon Springs, Fla., the local franchise refused to deliver to Black parts of town in 2002, and then reversed its decision after strong community outrage.

Five years ago in Washington, D.C., the Superior Court dismissed a $30 million lawsuit against the pizza giant, affirming its right to stipulate that Southwest Washington patrons pay for and pick up their orders in the street instead of at the door.

A deal that same year between Domino’s and the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division insured that, by law, Domino’s would make delivery decisions only based on its employees’ safety, not on race. But the pizza giant’s negative reputation in some Black communities have continued because of its delivery policies.

Also in 2000, Domino’s dropped its ban requiring its employees to shave their beards. This followed a 12-year legal fight in which a Singh man charged the corporate giant with employment discrimination due to religion.

In 1998, Domino’s had to apologize to a Haitian man in St. Petersburg, Fla., after he found the words “DIRTY HAITIAN” on the computer label on the box marking his pie.

Domino’s main office and 21 of its Atlanta franchises were the targets of a 1992 racial discrimination lawsuit by nine former and then-current employees in that city. They charged then that they had not gotten deserved raises and promotions – or the opportunity to buy franchises.

Domino’s has held the racial makeup of its franchisees a close secret.

However, after McDonald filed his suit in 2000, a single African-American franchise owner from Houston, Texas called him to announce that Domino’s had quickly recruited the Houston man as an owner.


Lester, Doris

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