Archive for July, 2011

the concert for bangla desh at 40

george harrison, bob dylan and leon russell in 1971's "the concert for bangla desh"

bangla desh men george harrison, bob dylan and leon russell in 1971

It was 40 years ago today that the usually stage-shy George Harrison presented two all-star charity concerts (same day afternoon and evening performances) at New York’s Madison Square Garden to benefit the poverty stricken country of Bangla Desh.

As such, the documentary film of the evening performance, The Concert for Bangla Desh, will be available for free online streaming through Monday. But there is a catch. The anniversary is tied to the kickoff of the Month of Giving, which is designed to raise funds for the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF – a direct outgrowth of the late ex-Beatle’s charity work that began four decades ago.

Musicians already signed up to promote the Month of Giving during August include Arcade Fire, Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Kentucky’s own My Morning Jacket, Brian Wilson (expect a word or two about the fundraising initiative at Wilson’s Opera House concert on Tuesday), Nas and Jackson Browne, as well artists that were part of the 1971 Concert for Bangla Desh – Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell and Ringo Starr.

Aside from helping raise relief funds for children in the Horn of Africa, the reawakened focus on The Concert for Bangla Desh reaffirms what an extraordinary musical time capsule the film (and its fine accompanying concert album) is, from Harrison’s epic entrance on Wah Wah to Billy Preston’s gospel breakdown on That’s the Way God Planned It to Leon Russell’s wildfire medley of Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Youngblood to the folk stoicism of Bob Dylan on A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.

Harrison obviously intended the event as a means to help the less fortunate. Here is our chance, 40 years on, to keep that sense of good will running at full speed.

For more info, go to www.theconcertforbangladesh.com

summer album of the week 07/30/11

the beach boys: summer days (and summer nights!!) (released july 1965)

beach boys: summer days (and summer nights!!) (released july 1965)

In honor of Tuesday’s concert visit by Brian Wilson, we offer the recording that bridged the surf music of The Beach Boys’ early years with the more elaborately orchestrated pop that defined the classic Pet Sounds a year later. You hear the split in the album’s two biggest hits – Help Me Rhonda (a hearty continuance of the group’s initial surf sound) and California Girls (which previewed where Wilson’s music was heading). A bonus: the failed single Let Him Run Wild, which reflected the melancholy that graced so much of The Beach Boys’ summery catalogue from this point on.

Body fat percentage can best measure your health risks

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India) May 11, 2011 Washington, May 10 — A new study has warned that people with coronary artery disease and expanded waistlines are at more than twice the risk of dying, including those with a Body Mass Index (BMI) in the normal range. bodyfatpercentagecalculatornow.net body fat percentage calculator

These conclusions result from a large study by the Mayo Clinic, involving almost 16,000 people from five countries around the world.

Authors Dian Griesel, and Tom Griesel claim the problem is deeper. It is not just the fat you see. ‘Even more dangerous is the visceral belly fat that resides in the abdominal cavity and surrounds the internal organs. This internal fat actually makes up a large proportion of the waist measurement,’ said the Griesels.

Visceral fat is more metabolically active and can produce hormones and other substances that have a negative impact on your health including increasing the risk of serious health problems like heart disease; high blood pressure; stroke; type 2 diabetes; metabolic syndrome; some types of cancer; and sleep apnea. go to website body fat percentage calculator

Contrary to common thinking, BMI is not the best measurement for overall risk because many people with readings in the normal range still have dangerous levels of (hidden) visceral fat. BMI is just a measure of weight in proportion to height.

‘Throw away your traditional scale,’ say the Griesels. ‘The only relevant measurement is your Body Fat Percentage. This can be easily calculated with a neck and waist measurement for men, and neck, waist and hip measurements for women.’ Interestingly, even if you are not overweight, a waist measurement of over 33 inches, regardless of your weight, increases health risks.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Asian News International.

For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

critic's pick 187

Midway through his new Satisfied at Last album, Texas troubadour Joe Ely surveys his seemingly fleeting mortality from a number of angles. There are songs of travel, departure and return, all sung with the kind of worn country confidence that only a road-tested scribe like Ely can summon.

That can make for some life lessons that are as wily as they are worldly. Take his grand exodus song, You Can Bet I’m Gone, where Ely sets the stage against a rugged country rhythm for his own personal judgment day. In short, he asks that his ashes be stuffed down the double barrels of a shotgun and skyrocketed into the Lone Star sky.

“Get all of my friends, some windy day,” sings Ely in his arid West Texas tenor, “to say goodbye, watch me blow away.”

In perhaps less demonstrative terms, Ely asserts he has no baggage to carry when the time comes to “cross that river to the other side” in Satisfied at Last‘s title tune. With a regal dose of Western guitar twang behind him (courtesy of band alumnus David Grissom and The Flatlanders’ Rob Gjersoe), Ely sings fondly of his farewell: “You can bet when I’m leaving, I’ll be satisfied at last”

There is even a postscript already prepared to send from the hereafter in the lovely cover of Live Forever, the signature tune of another mighty Texas music champion, Billy Joe Shaver. Ely’s version is almost meditative with an acoustic shuffle propelled by churchy organ and Tex Mex accordion from Joel Guzman.

Musically, Satisfied at Last finds an affirmative middle ground between acoustic contentment and the electric dynamics that define Ely’s great ‘70s and ‘80s recordings. The arrangements here are colored by fine contributions from numerous old friends, including steel guitarist Lloyd Maines, flamenco guitarist Teye, bassist Glenn Fukanaga and drummer Davis McLarty.

There is a curious absence, though, of a dominate guitar foil to co-pilot these songs. But that hardly proves to be a liability. Ely instead rotates the roster as to what musical voice sits in the passenger’s seat. Gusman’s keyboard atmospherics sets the stage for the restless album-opener The Highway is My Home while Maines’ pedal steel howls like a distant but elegant prairie wind on Not That Much Has Changed.

Ely leaves the last word in regards to fleeing his mortal coil on Satisfied at Last to fellow Flatlander Butch Hancock by covering his contemplative self-epitaph, Circumstance. Here the welcoming light of the hereafter beckons (“something shining over yonder hill”) and Ely, only briefly, hesitates. “I know not to chase it. But I know I will.

FAMILY-RUN ALTERNATIVE LEARNING CENTER OPENS IN MONONA.(NEWS)

The Capital Times June 13, 2008 | Smathers, Jason Byline: Jason Smathers Special to The Capital Times As Monona mayor Robb Kahl cut the ribbon on the town’s new Huntington Learning Center Friday, George Kinsler, who runs the franchise with the rest of his family, could hardly contain his enthusiasm.

“Everyone get in the picture, come on now!” He quickly strode in front of the building, pushing all friends and visitors to join him and his family in commemorating of the new alternative learning center located at 400 N. Interlake Drive in Monona. go to site huntington learning center

Huntington Learning Center, which has more than 400 locations across 41 states and 24 centers in Wisconsin alone, provides supplemental education to students having trouble in normal schooling.

Kinsler is certainly is working overtime to make sure visitors feel welcome at the grand opening, but he isn’t the only one taking on the challenge. Daughter-in-law Jennelle serves as center director and son Toby, a high school teacher and coach at Edgewood High School, is running the college prep section, working with students on ACT, PSAT and SAT practice tests. Even George’s wife, Moni Rohr, who recently retired from 30 years of service in the Office of Wisconsin Senate Chief Clerk, is helping out with the center’s operations.

Being able to do this with his family was one of the main motivations for Kinsler when he shifted his efforts from his mortgage company and started the process to create a Huntington branch in Monona more than two years ago.

Although the center teaches children grades K-12, Huntington tests incoming students to target academic problems and teach at their level, which is often far below the proficiency needed in their grade. If a child reads at a second-grade level, instructors teach at that level until the student is ready to move on.

“We try to create an environment that’s not only safe for the child but an environment they feel comfortable in,” Jennelle Kinsler said.

Licensed Wisconsin teachers have been hired to aid local struggling children with their studies, with each teacher supervising four students at a time. Students are encouraged to work on building their reading, math and comprehension skills independently by doing exercises out of the nearly 1,000 instructional books and exercises available. When they have a problem or question, the instructor stays within reach to help guide them through their studies. in our site huntington learning center

Similar steps are taken with high school students, although the ACT preparation provides more intensive one-on-one instruction.

The franchise is already working with students from McFarland, Monona and Fitchburg, among other areas in Dane County. The Kinslers have also claimed the development rights for Sun Prairie and Middleton and plan to turn the second floor of their first center into a regional training center for the county. George Kinsler hopes his enthusiasm, as well as that of his family and incoming teachers makes the difference with students.

“I’ve got kids that went to Monona Grove School District, my grandkids are about to go, and the most important thing you can do for you child or grandkid is to make sure they can work,” Kinsler said. “Everyone has struggles I just think it’s the right thing to do.” Smathers, Jason

in performance: steve earle and the dukes (and duchesses) with allison moorer

the dukes of earle: will rigby, allison moore, steve earle, chris masterson, eleanor whitmore and kelly looney.

the dukes of earle: will rigby, allison moorer, steve earle, chris masterson, eleanor whitmore and kelly looney. photo by ted barron.

Having opened his relaxed, soulful yet quite vibrant performance last night at the Opera House with five songs from his new, hoedown-ish I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive album, Steve Earle found himself armed with some curious weaponry. In his hands was a bouzouki, the stringed instrument that defines Greek dance music, even though Earle admitted a preference for using its light, percussive sound as a means to address Irish folk tradition.

But it was ultimately the danger element of the bouzouki that made Earle speak up. “This is something you don’t want to identify in an airport. Just tell people it’s a banjo. They won’t know the difference.”

All possible inferences to terroristic threatening aside, Earle, his bouzouki, his arsenal of guitars, banjos and mandolins and a new, Americana-savvy revision of his long-running Dukes band all created quite a party. The 2 ½ hour performance was far removed from the electric revelry of the Dukes of old. But the spry combination of two new hands (the extraordinary guitarist Chris Masterson and his fiddler/wife Eleanor Whitmore), two older hands (bassist Kelly Looney, drummer Will Rigby) and a proven first mate (wife/songwriter Allison Moorer, who played predominantly keyboards) helped discover a lively, rootsy glow in new and old material.

While the opening selection of Out of This World tunes had moments (especially during the absorbing sea chanty The Gulf of Mexico), the new material really started spitting sparks in the concert’s second set with the swampy, Tom Waits-style harp groove of Meet Me in the Alleyway and the Treme affirmation This City, which subbed Whitmore’s earthy violin accents for the Allen Toussaint horn arrangements used on the recorded version.

Out of This World proved to be part of a guided tour through Earle’s catalogue, though. Much of the concert honored specific albums from the singer’s past with groups of three or four songs performed together – like the country leaning of the1986 breakthrough Guitar Town, the bluegrass urgency of 1999′s The Mountain and a merry couplet from 1996′s I Feel Alright that allowed Masterson and Earle to pump up Taneytown with Neil Young-style guitar crunch before allowing the music to exhale with the merry blast of Hard Core Troubabour.

And at least two album title tunes were presented as stand alone pieces – namely Copperhead Head and The Revolution Starts…Now, which bookended the second set of this roughcut but remarkably focused hoedown.

SEC ISSUES MEETING AGENDA, APRIL 4

US Fed News Service, Including US State News April 3, 2007 The Securities and Exchange Commisson issued the following meeting agenda: this web site meeting agenda template

Item 1: Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Office: Office of the Chief Accountant Staff: Zoe-Vonna Palmrose, Nancy Salisbury, Brian Croteau, Josh Jones Item 1: this web site meeting agenda template

The Commission will consider its staff’s approach to:

* The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (“PCAOB”) Proposed Auditing Standard – An Audit of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting That Is Integrated with An Audit of Financial Statements; and * The PCAOB’s Proposed Auditing Standard – Considering and Using the Work of Others in an Audit.Contact: Brian Croteau, 202/551-5333; Josh Jones, 202/551-5334.

Brian Croteau, 202/551-5333; Josh Jones, 202/551-5334.

ghost stories

steve earle. photo by ted barron.

steve earle. photo by ted barron.

About midway through Steve Earle’s recently published novel, I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive – a grim, mystical journey to San Antonio in 1963 that is part Bound to Glory and part Breaking Bad – country icon Hank Williams strives to explain himself.

Well, actually, it’s Williams’ ghost, but he inhabits the pages of Earle’s story in a manner that is eerily earthly.

“I’m only here because it’s your dream,” Williams tells the book’s morphine-raddled protagonist Doc Ebersole. “And you’re dreamin’ that you’re back in Louisiana, and in Louisiana I was alive. That is… if you call this livin’.”

The scenario summoned a recollection from the 2003 Earle biography Hardcore Troubadour (aptly subtitled The Life and Near Death of Steve Earle). It’s a passage where, Earle, in the 1994 depths of crack addiction, is visited by his muse, Texas songsmith Townes Van Zandt, himself a merchant of more than a few nasty habits, in a last ditch attempt at intervention.

“I must be bad if they’re sending you,” Earle tells the iconic inspiration that, some 15 years later (and over a dozen years after his death) would inspire Townes, Earle’s most recent Grammy winning album.  

Art imitating life? How about the afterlife imitating a near-death reckoning? For Earle, it all becomes part of a musical tapestry that draws on tradition, politics, love, war, salvation and more than a little irony. He emphasized the latter when he played a sold out concert at the Opera House two summers ago by pointing out that while Townes was one of his best received recordings, it was also the only one where he didn’t write any of the songs.

Earle returns to the Opera House this week on another artistic crest. It comes on the heels of a new recording, also titled I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive. The names and nuances differ from the written page to the recorded groove. But the themes of mortality and, as Earle states in the liner notes, “death as a mystery rather than a punctuation mark,” are largely the same.

Earle pulls out the big guns for the album. T Bone Burnett was enlisted as producer (a major shift, as Earle has produced or co-produced all of his music since 1987′s landmark Exit 0), horn charts were arranged and conducted by the great New Orleans musical ambassador Allen Toussaint (including the regal brass that brings the Treme affirmation This City to life at the album’s conclusion) and a vast back-up ensemble includes a host of gifted contemporaries (Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins, longtime Burnett rhythm henchmen Dennis Crouch and Jay Bellerose and even Earle’s wife, the acclaimed singer-songwriter Allison Moorer).

But the songs all have a ghostly intimacy to them, from the roughneck legacy riding shotgun through the sea chanty-charged The Gulf of Mexico to the chronicles of an immigrant laborer striving for identity, dignity and freedom in I Am a Wanderer.

Ghosts and spirits – Earle seems to be surrounded by them. In real life, Earle’s father died just as writing commenced on the I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive songs in late 2007.

“(My father) died at the age of 74,” Earle told the British newspaper The Telegraph in March. “But the last few months when he was ill was a period when I was thinking a lot about the themes that would come out in the book and the record. Both are about the same things, really, and that’s why they have the same title. I was trying to push the poetics of the lyrics as far to the right of the decimal point as possible.”

Then come the make believe spirits. On the extraordinary HBO series Treme, Earle played a character named Harley Watt who unexpectedly (and violently) met his demise on the second season finale, which aired last month.

“I had a hint in the off-season,” Earle told the New Orleans Times-Picayune in June. “I sent David (Treme creator/producer David Simon) an e-mail. I was just being paranoid and trying to make sure I had a job, saying. ‘Hey, do I have a job this season?’ And I got an e-mail back saying, ‘Yeah, we’ll work you in, but we have a sad story planned for you. You’re going to make people cry.”

Luckily, Earle’s Lexington return will be a more joyous occasion. Unlike his Lexington concerts in 2008 (when he was accompanied by a DJ) and 2009 (a solo acoustic show), Tuesday’s concert will mark the return – or rather revision – of his longstanding band, The Dukes.

On the Opera House stage will be an essentially new lineup that features one-time Son Volt guitarist George Masterson, his violinist/mandolinist wife Eleanor Whitmore, Moorer (who was also a support player at the 2008 and 2009 shows) and two Duke mainstays, bassist Kelly Looney and drummer Will Rigby. The music, true to the atmosphere of I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive, will resemble the hoedown-style Americana of Earle’s new songs more than the rock-heavy staples favored by the Dukes of yesteryear.

In short, if ghosts do indeed sing sad Western songs, they had better be set for a merry revival on Tuesday.

Steve Earle and The Dukes (and Duchesses) featuring Allison Moorer perform at 7:30 p.m. July 26 at the Lexington Opera House, 401 West Short St. Tickets are $39 and $49.

Call (859) 233-3535 or (800) 745-3000.

San Jose Mercury News, Calif., Action Line column: How to get an accident off insurance records. go to web site la superior court traffic

San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, CA) July 30, 2007 Byline: Dennis Rockstroh Jul. 30–Q Here’s a goodie: I noticed on my auto insurance renewal there was a “point” listed; after a phone call, I found it was due to an old police report citing me in an accident. The case ended up being dismissed.

The Department of Motor Vehicles concurred it is there.

I phoned the Monterey County Superior Court Traffic Division to inquire what transpires when a case is dismissed with respect to the DMV. The court notifies DMV electronically. (I have the court papers with the dismissal.) DMV has no record of the court notification and does not want a fax of the court document; they require a “supplemental police report.” I’d think court documents would supersede a police report, but noooooo.

Well, the Monterey police refuse to supply a supplemental report to update the DMV record, citing, “It’s not my job,” “That’s another department,” “The court needs to handle this” and on and on.

No solution.

All I need is for a document that says the case, #xxxxxx was dismissed on 7/12/06.

An original must be sent to the DMV in Sacramento to update my driving record, at which time I need to get a copy of my clean driving history, submit to my insurance company to get my rate reduced by $700 and a refund for the past year of overcharges.

Can you help??? I’m desperate.

Dena Donnelly Monterey A OK, Dena. I sent your complaint to the DMV.

A DMV rep called you and was able to confirm that your case was dismissed because the witness of the accident did not appear.

The rep explained that the dismissal of your citation is handled as a separate matter and that the reporting of the accident on your driving record will not be changed unless the police agency is willing to provide a supplemental report showing you were not at fault. go to site la superior court traffic

The DMV told you that someone will help you as much as they can, but you still need to send additional documentation to DMV for review. The rep gave you her name and number and will follow up on this.

So, the wheels are turning, so speak.

Q For a week we had no garbage collection on Lyle Drive in San Jose.

I have called a number of times to no avail.

As a result, my entire street looks pretty similar to what we saw in the news with Waste Management in the East Bay.

K.O.

San Jose A GreenTeam has some mechanical and work order problems, K.O.

But the garbage was finally collected.

The city and GreenTeam send their apologies to you and your neighbors.

Mail: San Jose Mercury News, 750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, Calif. 95190 Phone recording: (888) 688-6400.

Fax: (408) 288-8060.

Please include full name, address and phone number.

Because of the volume of requests, I cannot respond to everyone.

For tips, self-help, news and discussion, see the Consumer Action Line Web log. Go to www.mercurynews.com. Click on “all blogs.” Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

amy winehouse, 1983-2011

amy winehouse

amy winehouse

Not really sure what needs to be said regarding the weekend death of British singer Amy Winehouse other than it is tragic.

When a 27 year old artist who has been in the headlines more for drug addictions, police run-ins and other sidelining by-products of celebrity status than for any artistic achievements that brought her to public prominence in the first place, how could it not be tragic?

When someone succumbs to what many writers and friends familiar with Winehouse’s self-imposed turmoil have termed as “the inevitable,” how could it not be tragic?

When a 27 year old dies for any reason, from any background, how could it not be tragic?

Debates are already ripe when views on Winehouse’s career reach outside these parameters. Some fans uphold the singer’s brassy soul recordings. And, indeed, a hit like Rehab was a fun retro retreat if you could separate it from the unavoidable irony it shared with Winehouse’s personal life. And yes, her records helped bring global prominence to the Dap Kings, the world class soul revue that once backed her and now serve as the band for soul diva Sharon Jones. Others decry how Winehouse’s passing pales next to more unavoidably tragic rock and roll deaths, like those of John Lennon and Steve Ray Vaughan.

We’ll leave those squabbles to other bloggers, except to say again that when such a youthful voice is derailed for good, even when it accompanies a temperament of such irreparable self-destruction, all you can feel is sad.

in performance: ken vandermark and tim daisy

ken vandermark and tim daisy

ken vandermark and tim daisy

Near the intermission point last night between two extremely engaging sets of improvisations utilizing reeds and percussion at the Downtown Arts Center, Ken Vandermark and Tim Daisy engaged in something of an instrumental car chase. Vandermark set the pace with playful, oscillating pops on bass clarinet as Daisy underscored the animated dialogue with appropriate tension on cymbals. The two would enhance, interrupt and elongate the resulting music. Yet the hushed but harried groove would return again and again – an understated melodic device set in unstoppable motion.

This was one of many unexpected snapshots summoned at a healthily attended opening night concert of a two week tour by these leading jazz and improvisational stylists out of Chicago. Given a performance design that relied exclusively on untitled improvisations, one might have expected anarchy – an unrelenting display of instrumental firepower and melodic deconstruction. But this performance was guided heavily by dynamics, be it in the lustrous, whispery glow Vandermark created on baritone sax and clarinet before the music would mutate and recoil, or the soft rumbles on drums Daisy regularly accentuated with sharp percussive jabs.

Sure, there were a few abstract instances – like a brief, unaccompanied clarinet solo by Vandermark at the beginning of the second set that took pride in zeroing in on a whispery, but deeply irritated tone. Countering that, though, was the solid-as-granite sound he created on tenor sax.

At times Vandermark introduced a perhaps obvious comparison to the champion sax/drums duets of John Coltrane and Rashied Ali. But just when you thought you had his plan of action pegged, Vandermark detoured into the sunnier tenor inspirations of Sonny Rollins. After that, the voices he summoned grew less definable but even more arresting.

Daisy was just as much an instigator last night as he was a musical straight man, from the frenzied percussion he summoned on bowls and gongs placed on drum heads to the rockish strides he summoned under Vandermark’s tenor exploits near the performance’s conclusion.

Place all of that together and you had an evening of daring improvisational jazz that purposely avoided going straight for the throat. Instead, Vandermark and Daisy found improvisational voices that balanced fire with playfulness, patience and quiet, conversational unrest.

Getting the most out of your conference experience; Follow these basic guidelines to enhance your personal enjoyment and professional growth.(INFO TECH)(Special Libraries Association)

Information Outlook June 1, 2008 | Abram, Stephen Every year I republish this “classic” column around conference season. It has been reprinted around the globe and in many SLA chapter and division newsletters. It’s a collaborative effort over many years representing centuries of combined SLA Conference experiences. In this conference issue of Information Outlook, I thought it was timely to proffer the advice again.

The Basics * Turn off your cell phone or set it to vibrate. Relate to folks face to face.

* Don’t forget that wireless connectivity is free throughout the conference venue. Blog, take notes, Facebook, download handouts, and more!

* Survival includes aspirin, Advil, or Tylenol–you’re away from home and shouldn’t let a small pain interfere with your conference experience.

* Bring a personal water bottle (conference venues tend to be very dry) and personal covered coffee container. Our Seattle conference is “green.” Don’t be seen contributing to the 35,000 cups that typically hit the landfill from a conference our size.

* Layer your clothes–you can never tell what the room temperature will be and it’s never consistent. Temperatures and personal room comfort vary widely and there is precious little conference organizers can do about that. It is not uncommon to get evaluation forms back complaining that the same room was too hot and too cold at the same time. Plan ahead.

* Bring at least two pairs of shoes (you’ll need the change and variety).

* Bring an extra bag for bringing stuff home (clothes expand somehow while you’re away).

* Bring an office prepaid courier slip to courier heavier acquisitions, brochures, and materials back to the office (You’re not a mule). Plus, librarians seem to buy books on the road.

* You MUST have business cards. If you don’t have any, create your own on a laser printer or photocopier or have some made up by your employer.

* Wear your name tag high so people can see it. Take it off when you leave the venues. You don’t necessarily want strangers calling you by name on the street.

* Upon arrival, orient yourself. Familiarize yourself with all of the conference locations (conference center, hotels, and special event locations). Know where the coffee is–you’ll be surprised how much you’ll want it. Know where the washrooms are. Nothing is more frustrating than being lost. If you’re lost–ask a local for directions. There’s usually a map in the conference program–study it. It’s amazing how confusing big conference centers can be. For safety’s sake–know where you are and where you are going. Look at the floor plans in your program; they give you a bird’s eye view of what’s often a complex layout.

* If you’re on a restricted budget, bring your own water and snacks. Find a local grocery. Conference snack-bar prices are on par with air port prices.

The Sessions * Always try to go to the Opening General Session–then you’ll have something in common to talk about with new people you meet during the rest of the conference. Indeed, go to all keynotes. These general sessions are designed to be engaging and challenging. This year Dr. Vint Cerf, Charlie Rose and Seth Godin promise to be amazing.

* Create your schedule in advance (at least at the start of each day, but earlier if possible). Include all of the options you might like so that, if your desired session is cancelled or doesn’t meet your expectations or needs, you can hop over to another. Make sure you note the room locations so you can evaluate how much time you will need to get from one room to another between sessions.

* Plan to attend the SLA Fellows’ First-Timers and Fellows’ Connect event to make a few new friends and get a conference orientation.

* If a session isn’t meeting your needs, leave. Your time at this conference is important and you should get the most out of your investment in time, effort, and money. If you don’t see another session you are interested in at that time, then, by all means, head over to the INFO-EXPO exhibits. go to website music notes facebook

* Generally you are “allowed” to attend all sessions including business meetings of the association, divisions, and committees unless these are specifically marked “in camera” or “executive session.” SLA is very open and you should see how your association works for you. It’s also a great way to find out what you might like to get involved in and volunteer to do.

* Make sure you get your tickets early for ticketed events. Again, if you miss-out on an event you desperately want to attend, or you need an extra ticket, check out the message boards in the registration area to see if you can find one.

* If you attend a business meeting and wish to be heard on an issue, you have a right to speak as long as you are in order. Just ask permission and you will be heard. If not, get out your “Roberts Rules” and make them work for you.

* If you want a good seat at a session, arrive a little early. If you’re late, have a little courage and take a seat wherever you can find one. Don’t hover and shuffle at the back of the room or in a doorway. Librarians tend to sit in the end seat of every row and you’ll probably have to shuffle theatre style to get a good seat in a middle of a row. Whatever you do, don’t stand for an hour–you’ll regret it.

* Evaluate programs from many directions: speaker, topic, title, blurb, sponsor, or convenor. If you’re not sure it’s for you, the speaker can usually be asked what level they will be speaking at just before the session begins. Then again, even if you’re at an advanced level on a certain topic, it’s always useful to learn how to communicate about a topic at an introductory level so you can explain it to users and management.

* Don’t forget to take advantage of the pre-conference workshops. You get deeper training there than in some sessions designed to provide only highlights.

The INFO-EXPO Hall (Exhibits) * Again, remember your business cards. You can enter drawings with them. You can have materials sent to you later. You can have contacts follow up later with more detailed information. And, you will look more professional.

* Write on the back of the business cards you pick up to remind yourself what you learned or what you’d like to follow up on later, even if it’s just to visit an exhibitor’s Web site or request a product trial.

* The top three questions to ask …

–What do you have that’s new?

–Can you demo something interesting for me about your new/ enhanced/improved products?

–Are you making (Have you made) any announcements at SLA this year?

* Develop an “elevator pitch” about you and your employer to give in response to booth questions from booth staff. They want to learn about YOU in order to make sure they give you the information you desire in context. Being shy or furtive about your needs denies you the right to ever complain that your vendors don’t understand you.

* Some Exhibitors host hospitality suites for their best or prospective customers. If you’re invited, GO! They’re often fun, and you’ll meet key players in the library world.

* DON’T be tacky or unprofessional. Darting about the exhibit hall looking for free pens and other giveaways while avoiding eye contact with anything resembling booth staff is not the image you want to project.

* Please remember that vendor staff are often professional librarians too. Booth staff frequently include not only account managers but also members of a vendor’s executive team and key training or customer service personnel who have come to the SLA Annual Conference to learn and network.

* DO pace yourself. Look at the map and choose whom you absolutely MUST see and go there first. Better yet–make appointments in advance.

* DO ask as many questions as you like. If a booth person doesn’t know an answer to a question, he or she will find someone who does and get back to you later.

* DO attend vendor demos in the booths. These demos give you an idea of what’s new and often serve as mini-training sessions.

* DON’T assume that the offerings of your old, familiar vendors haven’t changed or that you know everything there is to know about them. This is your opportunity to learn what’s new and different.

* If you have no idea what a vendor does–they’re completely new to you–ASK. This is your opportunity to learn something new. Booth designs are notorious for not telling you WHY you would want to talk to the people there–overcome this barrier by asking.

* Remember that vendor’s staff are people, too. Don’t stereotype and don’t be combative just for the fun of it. Vendor bashing is a sport where no one wins. Be open to vendors’ suggestions, they’ve usually seen lots of libraries and library situations and may have something to share with you.

* DO wear comfortable shoes. There are rarely enough places to sit in the hall.

* DON’T be reluctant to say “No thank you” if you’re not interested.

* DO thank the vendors for the many ways they sponsor the conference and SLA. As a result of their participation, your conference experience is definitely richer and less expensive.

Networking and Social Events * Take time for yourself on field trips, tours, or social events. You are working much longer hours at a conference than you probably do on an “average” workday, and it is just fine to take a break. You’ll definitely absorb more if you rest occasionally. Remember, there are no more “martyr awards” at the conference than there are at home.

* Learn ice-breaker questions. Use them with seat mates, in lines and at coffee stations, wherever. Even if you’re shy, they will often induce even the most recalcitrant and shy person to open up. site music notes facebook

–”Hi, I’m (Your Name Here) and I’m from (Your Town or Library Name Here). Where are you from?” –”What’s new at your shop?” –”See anything new at the conference?” “Attend any great sessions?” or “Learn something new?” * Come to the conference with specific people, institutions and contacts you’d like to meet in mind. Learn the art of the name tag glance to see what networking opportunities you might find. Remember: ALL of the people you’ll meet were in your shoes once.

* You’re going to be in lots of lines (for food, for coffee, for meetings, etc.) at the conference. Take advantage of this by networking with your new inline buddies–don’t just stand there.

* Leave the office at the office–professional networking does not ALWAYS have to have a “pure” business purpose. It’s great to have professional friends and acquaintances who are outside of your normal ‘”box.” It stretches you, and it’s one of the great values of the SLA conference.

* Don’t horde your business cards–they’re not gold in your pocket–they’re like smiles–they only have value when they’re given away.

* In general, assume anyone who’s wearing a ribbon is extra-approachable. They tend to be people who have volunteered to make the conference a success.

* Local librarians staff the hospitality booth–ask their advice about restaurants or sights to see. They know. They live in Seattle. Also, visit the Washington, D.C. booth to plan for next year’s conference that will celebrate SLA’s Centennial.

* Don’t be shy about asking people to join you for dinner or about setting up dinner groups–eating is a great networking opportunity.

* Be nice to students. Welcome them to the profession by treating them as colleagues.

* Always try to go to the conference-wide event party. This year it is on Wednesday afternoon and it’s guaranteed to be fun and you’ll make friends for life.

Getting Involved * Be positive–no one likes a whiner. Librarians will listen because they’re polite but don’t take that as encouragement for bashing SLA, individuals or vendors. People remember positive contributions and interactions far more than negative ones.

* You’ll probably meet your next employer at a conference. First impressions are important. Dress for the job you want.

* Write a report or memo to your boss or team and explain the value of the SLA conference to you. Tell them what you learned and begin laying the groundwork for attending next year’s conference in D.C.

* Volunteer–let people know that you’re interested in trying new things or experimenting with new roles in your association, committee, unit, chapter or division. It’s a classic win/ win situation!

The Association * Please make a point of attending the SLA Annual Business Meeting on Wednesday the and candidate speeches on Sunday. It’s when you can see the real work accomplished by the association’s leadership and volunteers.

* You’ll also likely meet SLA’s Chief Executive Officer, Janice R. Lachance and some of the great SLA staff at this conference. They are always in listening mode–so speak up! Our staff work hard for us every day and especially at the conference. Meet them and thank them for all they do.

Valuing Your Conference Experience Here are the benchmarks I use to evaluate my SLA conference experience:

* I met at least one new person every day.

* I learned at least one useful thing in a session every day.

* I had at least one substantive discussion with a vendor about a new product that I might need.

* I had fun every day.

* These hints owe a huge debt to the SLA Fellows and, in particular, to Dan Trefethen and Susan Klopper, who created a First Timers’ Package for the Los Angeles SLA Conference in June 2002.

STEPHEN ABRAM, MLS, is the president of SLA and is vice president, innovation, for SirsDynix. He is chief strategist for the SirsiDynix Institute. He is an SLA Fellow, the past president of the Ontario Library Association, and the past president of the Canadian Librarey Association. In June 2003, he was awarded SLA’s John Cotton Dana Award. He is the author of Out Front with Stephen Abram and Stephen’s Lightouse blog. This column contains this personal perspectives and does not necessarily represent the optinions or positions of SirsiDynix. You may contact him at stephen.abram@sirsdynix.com.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Abram, Stephen

summer album of the week 07/23/11

elvis costello: my aim is true (released july 1977)

elvis costello: my aim is true (released july 1977)

When his debut My Aim is True album rocked Britain during the summer of 1977, Elvis Costello embodied the post-punk aesthetic, right down to the squirrelly squint he possessed on the album cover. But inside were regal ballads (Allison), power pop anthems (Miracle Man) and tastefully brutish rockers (Mystery Dance) that signaled the arrival of a master pop stylist. On a renewed listen, the finale Waiting for the End of the World satisfies most – a beat-savvy party tune honoring Armageddon. What could be more punk than that?

something from nothing

tim daisy and ken vandermark

tim daisy and ken vandermark

When wholly improvised music is created between two musicians – meaning music conjured entirely in the moment without compositional or even melodic preconceptions – one might suspect being total strangers would be a plus. After all, if you don’t know your fellow improviser, you certainly won’t know what kind of music he will bring to the party.

Saxophonist Ken Vandermark and drummer Tim Daisy don’t possess such blissful unfamiliarity. The two are long time friends and musical co-horts. One, in fact, is pretty much a protégé of the other. And, at last count, these two veterans from Chicago’s famed improvisational music community play together in at least three different ensembles in addition to the duo configuration that brings them back to Lexington for an Outside the Spotlight performance at the Downtown Arts Center.

Yet, when they meet onstage on Saturday, the idea will be to present music that exists outside of their longstanding personal and musical relationships. It will be jazz based solely on the immediate ideas the players throw at each other at that instant.

“One of the things I like about how we play together is the fact that we’re interested in finding ways to create structure spontaneously so that what we play ultimately feels like realized pieces of music,” Vandermark said.

“Sometimes when I improvise with other people, the music remains in a kind of abstract territory. But with Tim, I really feel like we’re trying to create new songs on the spot. And that’s really exciting to me, to push the melodies further and further. It’s a different kind of risk.”

“It’s very important to listen to each other in this kind of setting,” Daisy added. “But it’s also important not to get into a space where you’re being reactionary. What I mean by that is, I don’t listen to what Ken does and then try to copy it. That generally lends itself to poor improvising, in my opinion. But you can listen to what he’s doing and do your own thing – you know, manipulate it, change it around and then give something back so that the music has the flow of a real conversation.

“Of course, it can also be really effective to just throw a wrench in there and do something that’s completely different from what he’s doing. As long as we’re listening and understanding each other, those contrasts can really work.”

A prolific composer and bandleader and well as a soloist and improvising musician of often volcanic intensity, Vandermark has long been viewed as a mentoring figure to many of the younger Chicago musicians working around him. Among them is Daisy.

“Ken has really helped me develop a focused determination when it comes to playing,” the drummer said. “But he also has helped me to trust my instincts. He has given me permission, in a way, to go on my own path regardless of any kind of critique I might get from anybody. He’s pretty fearless in that way.”

For Vandermark, watching artists like Daisy mature to the point where he can, in turn, learn from them, especially in a performance situation, is gratifying.

Said Vandermark, “The amount Tim has developed as far being a unique musician is remarkable. But I don’t think of that as, ‘Oh, he came up playing with me.’ Tim is pushing me. He is dealing with the same kinds of musical ideas I’m wrestling with. He’s trying to push the music in a new territory. I mean, his ideas are fantastic. So I feel very much like were a pair. He has a whole set of influences that are totally different than mine yet they are very complimentary. So I have a special connection to him.”

That connection, at least in terms of Lexington performances, began with the first official Outside the Spotlight concert – a November 2002 show (also at the Downtown Arts Center) where Daisy played opposite Vandermark as a substitute drummer in the Free Music Ensemble. But most of their joint appearances locally have been confined to the Vandermark 5, the internationally acclaimed quintet that Vandermark recently disbanded.

The two continue to play jointly in Vandermark’s Resonance Ensemble (a large group comprised of Chicago and European players), Topology (an eight-member band devoted to the music of saxophonist Joe McPhee) and Made to Break (a quartet combining jazz and free-style electronics). In addition, Vandermark and Daisy recently issued their third recording as an improvising duo, The Conversation, on the Polish Multi-Kulti label.

So Vandermark and Daisy will be anything but strangers when they team to create exclusively improvised music this weekend.

“We have such a long history that we have developed this kind of musical vocabulary between us,” Daisy said. “So when we get into these free improvisations, it’s only natural for us to go back and use that vocabulary.

“But how do we get out of that and break into new territory every night? For me, that’s one of the most intriguing things about having this music change every night. Getting to that new territory is what I’m most interested in.”

Ken Vandermark and Tim Daisy perform at 7:30 p.m. July 23 at the Downtown Arts Center, 141 E. Main. Admission is $5.

they call him jimbo

jimbo mathus

jimbo mathus

One of my favorite Jimbo Mathus moments leads off a sublime roots-savvy 2006 album with his Knockdown South band. The recording, Old Scool Hot Wings, buries its head deep in the blues and folk roots of Mississippi. The tune in question, we are informed by Mathus’ spoken intro, dates back to around 1911. But it’s not blues or folk in any conventional sense. It’s a merry bit of testifying called Voice of a Pork Chop that is set to dancing guitar, mandolin, bass and kazoo. The resulting music is half jump blues glee and half wily intuition.

Mathus has made a career out of respectfully molding tradition to meet his own musical needs. You heard such playful invention in the music of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, the wildly far reaching band that dug into corners of swing, jazz, ragtime, vaudeville and more during the ‘90s. You also heard it in the often brilliant roots directed music Mathus has made his stock and trade since then, from his extraordinary soul/blues debut, Songs for Rosetta, to last year’s joyous roots music summit with Alvin Youngblood Hart and the North Mississippi Allstars’ Luther Dickinson in the South Memphis String Band.

Along the way, Mathus has generously shared that music with Lexington audiences in shows at the defunct Lynagh’s Music Club that came to define a pre-Knockdown South band called the Knockdown Society. There were also wonderful concert outings at the also-demised High on Rose.

The latter were usually weeknight affairs that stretched well into the wee hours. Understandably, audiences began to thin as 9-to-5ers slowly filed out to catch at least a little shut eye before the coming work day dawned. Mathus didn’t seem to mind the polite exodus. At one High on Rose show that ran especially late, he gave a nod, a wave and a smile to nearly every patron that had to leave before the show shut down.

This brings us to Mathus’ Lexington return this week after a prolonged absence, save for a WoodSongs date last year with the South Memphis String Band. His Saturday night outing at the Green Lantern presents the debut of Mathus’ newest Mississippi-inspired roots music group, the Tri-State Coalition, and an opportunity to introduce tunes from a new, critically lauded recording titled Confederate Buddha.

The Coalition – co-guitarist Matt Pierce, keyboardist Eric “Carlos” Carlton, bassist Justin Showah and drummer Austin Marshall – often draw on inspirations for Confederate Buddha from beyond the Mississippi border. Town with No Shame, for instance, reflects the kind of rustic country tradition that would do George Jones proud, Aces and Eights comes across as a tipsy Tex-Mex waltz and Kine Joe revolves around a country-funk muse and a percolating Bo Diddley-esque groove.

More than perhaps any other voice, Confederate Buddha recalls the roots-drenched hybrid music of The Band, right down to the Levon Helm-flavored country-soul slant of Mathus’ singing on Leash My Pony, Shady Dealing and Days of High Cotton.

It’s not all a party, though. Images of last year’s Nashville floods balance a ride on the mythic “midnight train” to Memphis during Cling to the Roots while echoes of churchy, country loss are instilled in Glad It’s Dark (“I’m glad it’s dark; I don’t want to see you”).

The magic, of course, will come when Mathus and company put these Mississippi-and-more accents into performance motion for a blast of steamy Southern soul at the ultra-intimate Green Lantern on Saturday.

By the way, the forecast, as of this writing, calls for a daytime high of 94 on Saturday. That should set the stage nicely for the summery swelter of Mathus’ music.

Jimbo Mathus and the Tri-State Coalition performs at 9 p.m. July 23 at the Green Lantern, 497 W. 3rd. $10. Call (859) 252-9539.

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