in performance: the dynamites featuring charles walker

charles walker

charles walker

“Our mission in life is to make the world a funkier place” proclaimed Dynamites guitarist/bandleader Leo Black near the onset of the stirring soul revival conjured up last night at Cosmic Charlie’s. While Smith and a trim quintet version of the Dynamites more than made good on that promise with deliciously lyrical guitar hooks and the beefy brass support of a two-man horn team that made the ensemble sound vastly larger than it was, the man responsible for unleashing a funk firestorm was the tireless and profoundly soulful vocalist Charles Walker.

Part of decades-old soul music scene in Nashville that has never received its proper due, Walker, 69, represented a school of proudly organic R&B that regularly shifted to the other end of Tennessee to embrace Memphis soul inspirations, as shown by the playfully fat bass riff the singer worked off during the set closing Own Thing or the irresistibly funky brass groove that ran through Do the Right Thing like a night train.

The other Dynamites had their moments, too, especially tenor sax man Chris West, who ripped through the evening’s funkier moments with the flair of a young Junior Walker (no relation to the vocalist), and Black, who delivered a series of light, unforced guitar melodies that continually provided the spark in the Dynamites’ rhythmic engine room. His lean, propulsive riff during Somebody Stop Me was but one example.

But this was clearly Walker’s show, from the combustible soul fury he created with the horns during the title tune from the Dynamites’ 2009 album Burn It Down to a straightforward reading of Summertime that became a tour-de-force performance of vocal passion, intonation and showmanship.

Though it grew in size after the witching hour hit, the Dynamites had a fairly meager sized crowd to play to last night. That’s what one gets, one supposes, for having to perform near the end of spring break week and during the height of March Madness. Neither Walker nor the band seemed to mind that kind of competition, though. After all, they were on a mission to funkify. Nothing was going to stand in their way. Nothing did.

In Italy, a startling new kind of trade fair

International Herald Tribune May 10, 2010 | ELISABETTA POVOLEDO

ELISABETTA POVOLEDO International Herald Tribune 05-10-2010 In Italy, a startling new kind of trade fair Byline: ELISABETTA POVOLEDO Type: News

What was billed as Italy’s first divorce trade fair was held in Milan over the weekend. this web site goodbye in italian

The exhibitors at what was billed as Italy’s first divorce trade fair were a predictable mishmash of lawyers, real estate agents, divorce planners, paternity testing centers and dating agencies.

No less predictable was the media scrum to record the latest seismic transformation of society in Italy, a mostly Roman Catholic nation traditionally centered on the family.

That stereotype is fading fast. In 2007, according to the most recent statistics available, more than 81,000 of Italy’s 59 million residents at the time separated and about 50,000 divorced. Thirty years ago, divorces did not break the 12,000 mark.

Lifelong marriages and close-knit family “values are great, but women have begun to live a different reality,” said Lorenza Lucianer, a twice-separated office worker who came to the fair with two friends. “We’ve turned into America. Everyone is on their second marriage. It happened later here, but it happened.”

But it’s not quite like America.

For antsy Italian singles-in-waiting, U.S. divorce laws — at least of the cinematic variety, where marriages are dissolved in the time it takes for ink to dry — are the stuff dreams are made of.

In Italy, a divorce takes around five years from the first separation hearing, said Claudio De Filippi, a lawyer who had a stand at the fair over the weekend.

His studio, he said, was challenging Italy’s divorce laws at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, because in most European countries divorce takes around one year. “But, of course, we have the Vatican here,” he said. “Divorce has tended to be viewed as an extreme measure.”

Italy approved divorce, in a referendum, only in 1974 and critics complain that Italian legislators have not kept up with changing times.

For example, Italy fine-tuned its joint custody legislation in 2006, but “la mamma” still ends up doing most of the child-rearing, said Umberto Vaghi of I Love Papa, an association that organizes an annual Daddy’s Pride Parade in Rome and fights for the rights of fathers and minors.

He said his association has been “battling a cultural problem that discriminates against men and women” because it “presupposes that children will stay with their mothers.”

“And that forces mothers into a role that might not let them do other things in life,” he said.

The growing divorce rate is what led Milena Stojkovic two years ago to open what she claims to be Italy’s first divorce planning agency, Ciao Amore. “Ciao means both hello and goodbye in Italian,” she said, adding that she “wanted to give the idea of ‘I never want to see you again’ and ‘this isn’t necessarily a goodbye.”‘

With offices in Rome and Trieste, a branch is expected to open here soon, she said. “Divorce planning was a very new concept in Italy,” she said, but the business has been satisfying. see here goodbye in italian

And now, a trade fair.

It was held in the basement of a large business hotel, not the sort of lodging where people find themselves in situations that lead to divorce.

According to Franco Zanetti, the journalist turned impresario behind the event, Vienna was the first European capital to hold a divorce fair two years ago.

“It was also in a hotel,” he said. “Really Viennese, everything behind closed doors.”

A Parisian version last December “was too sociological and ideological” and open to widows and widowers, which he thought would not have gone down as well in Italy, he said.

So his fair had a bit of everything, including a self-proclaimed seduction expert who gave tips on how to pick up women in a discotheque and mimed a male orgasm during his public pep talk.

Mr. Zanetti said he had “no ideological vocation” toward divorce – – in his late 50s, he married only four years ago — but he has experience in designing trade fairs for the public.

In 1994, he said, he was one of the organizers of Italy’s first sex fair, Mi-Sex, which drew 62,000 visitors in three days. His ambitions this time were more modest. “A thousand visitors would be great, but it’s a small place,” he said.

The potential economic implications of a growing divorce rate were not lost on the Slovenian Tourist Board, which, especially for the fair, quickly put together “regenerative weekends” that could — but need not — include cosmetic treatments for “fresh divorcees,” at several spas, said Maja Slivnjak, a tourist board representative. Slovenia, she added, is “the only country that has love in its name.”

Slovenia is a short drive from many major Italian cities. “We used to focus on couples and families,” but divorce is “a very interesting market,” she said.

Divorcees were not out in big numbers on Saturday afternoon, but those who came had specific agendas.

Virna Modena, a wedding planner from Modena who is divorced, said she had come to the fair “to see the other side of the coin.”

And to check out its commercial potential. “Perhaps it’s a better business to be in,” she said.

ELISABETTA POVOLEDO



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