Amoeblog

POST-KATRINA NEW ORLEANS: ROHIT'S REPORT

Posted by Billyjam, September 4, 2007 10:10am | Post a Comment
katrina
Like most people, I will never forget this time two years ago, in the days/week after Hurricane Katrina first struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. I was literally glued to the TV's non-stop news, streaming images of the devastation and tales of the horrific conditions. I was transfixed by the shocking images and I was dismayed by news reports of the ridiculously delayed help getting to those who needed it so desperately -- mostly the region's poor inhabitants. And yesterday, as I watched the 3-DVD set of Spike Lee's HBO documentary When The Levees Broke, I was reminded of all the horrors of Katrina.

Since September 2005 the national media's focus on New Orleans may have faded considerably, but the needs of its inhabitants have not. Luckily there are still a great many individuals and organizations  actively involved in helping in the long recovery process that has quite a ways to go still. As you probably already know, Amoeba Music is one of the many organizations doing its bit in the effort to help the victims of Katrina, through its Amoeba auctions to benefit Katrina victims. katrina Meanwhile, one of the many individuals involved in helping the recovery process is my former KALX Cultural Affairs Dept. buddy Rohit Gupta, who is one of those wonderful, quietly humble and giving individuals who is always down to help out those in need. Rohit lives and works in Los Angeles but has been making frequent visits down to New Orleans to volunteer in the slow post-Katrina recovery process. I invited Rohit to write a report on what it is really like right now in New Orleans for this AMOEBLOG. Here is Rohit's story:

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MIA X'S BIO, A REMINDER TO QUESTION WHAT YOU READ ONLINE

Posted by Billyjam, August 30, 2007 01:25pm | Post a Comment
mia x
New Orleans emcee Mia X is from the old school and has been making hip-hop for twenty plus years. She is probably best known by most rap fans for the period she was signed to and associated with Master P's No Limit label, but her rich rap history goes back long before that. However, searching under the artist's early rap years online will inevitably yield inaccurate results -- whether searching on the AOL.music, All Music Guide, Yahoo, VH1 websites, or on "her" Wikipedia bio which erroneously states: "Although born in New Orleans, Mia began her rapping career in Queens, New York as part of New York Incorporated, which disbanded after only four years. She then returned to New Orleans and met with Master P, an aspiring rapper and producer who signed her to his record label, No Limit."

"That's not correct and I am tired of people telling me that I used to live in New York and started my career there," Mia X said by phone recently, noting that she never lived in New York -- always in New Orleans. So how did this misinformation get out there in the first place? "I think it was someone at VH1 who first got it wrong in a story about me," Mia X said. It turns out it was John Bush -- a writer for All Music Guide -- who got it wrong, but then all the other websites listed above (Yahoo, AOL, VH1), plus many others, incmia xluding whoever entered the artist's Wikipedia information, copied the erroneous bio. The original mistake came about apparently based on the fact that one of the members (Denny D) of New York Inc. was from New York, but he lived in New Orleans before returning to New York, according to Mia X. So, for the record, here is the updated, accurate bio on Mia X c/o the AMOEBLOG:  

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Postcards of My Vacation Back Home: "The weather's fine. The women even finer."

Posted by Job O Brother, August 27, 2007 10:01am | Post a Comment

My boyfriend meets my Mom... oh wait - no... It's a still from "Quincy & Althea"

Two short films that I was especially fond of were “Quincy & Althea”, directed by Douglas Lenox – a dark comedy set in the ravaged landscape of post-Katrina New Orleans, and “The Lonely Lights. The Color of Lemons,” an artsy, sentimental, but polished look at a young man’s rites of passage as instigated/recalled through viewing a series of Rorschach ink blots tests.


Um... I see a train going back and forth into a tunnel while my mother looks on disapprovingly.

Another highlight was the documentary “Girls Rock”, which followed the experiences of a handful of kids and counselors as they spend a week at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls.




Eat your heart out, Ann & Nancy Wilson.

This Camp was founded in 2001 in Portland, Oregon, and has steadily grown larger and more popular. The first year it had 7 attendees; last year it hosted nearly 250. (That’s almost enough rock ‘n’ rollers to staff Amoeba Music Hollywood!)

What happens: girls between the ages of 8-18 come together for a crash course in rock ‘n’ roll. In one week, girls form bands, learn their instruments, compose songs and then perform them for a huge audience at the end of the week. Alongside the music, girls are also offered courses in basic self-defense, and self-esteem and fun are always prioritized.

The documentary is often hilarious, heart-warming, and just feels right as those of us who wore black to high school because Kurt Cobain shot himself are now having little Frances Beans of our own.

The Festival ended Sunday night. My friends were exhausted. The core group of us retired into the comfy living room of Lindsey and Jake, two sexy volunteers, where we utilized their video projector television to watch the most hilarious of the films which didn’t make it into the Festival.

Now, I don’t want you thinking that we sit around and mock people who’s films didn’t make the cut. The films I’m talking about were made by people who probably haven’t mastered the use of their thumbs. Movies in which the writer/director/star (inevitably the same person) didn’t realize films require consistency, wit, editing or, well, plot. It’s an irony that these films always make for a greater volume of laughter than the comedies that do get accepted.

By the end of the evening I realized that I had accidentally drained an entire bottle of champagne by myself. Jeffrey drove Corey and I back to my family estate, where he and I fell asleep in each other’s arms, still chuckling over the train-wrecks of cinema we’d just witnessed.


I'd marry her if I could get the proper paperwork.

Our last day in Nevada City came all too soon. One thing had to be accomplished before we left, and that was a visit to the South Yuba River. For those of you who have never been, be sure to get there before you die. Or at least get reincarnated as someone who does get to go. It’s what a water-park will look like in Heaven.

On the flight back, Corey mused that he’d had trips to New York City that were more relaxed than our jam-packed weekend in my sleepy hometown.

Whiskers on roses & raindrops on kittens: I. Overture

Posted by Job O Brother, August 5, 2007 11:29pm | Post a Comment

It was on this day in 1962 that Marilyn Monroe took her own life. Or, if conspiracy theories are to be believed, it marks the day that the Kennedy Family hired Reticulians to invade the actress’ home, kill her, make it look like a suicide, and then use snippets of her DNA to… I dunno… revive Adolf Hitler’s dehydrating brain. (I’m not as well-read when it comes to American history as I should be.)

It’s also the day that the Manson Family first killed, fulfilling the only thing possible that Charles Manson could do that would actually be worse than his music.


Ladies of the Canyon: "Gypsy", Ruth Anne & "Squeaky"

It’s also the anniversary of the day that Paul Tibbets flew his airplane, named after his mom, Enola Gay, over to Hiroshima, where he performed an act that would later be re-enacted by every Thai food delivery service that gets inside my apartment building.


"Look Ma, no mercy!" Paul Tibbets in the cockpit

I could go on. In short, it’s a particularly dark day in history. So I’m sitting with my beloved in his favorite café, Stir Crazy (at La Brea & Melrose), asking myself to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative; I’m calling upon myself to remember things – music, movies, flavors of Method cleaning products – that remind me that it is a beautiful world after all, and that Norma Jean didn't have the right idea, forty-five years ago.

The café’s stereo is playing Steely Dan, which I really like, but I can’t blog about how great Steely Dan is because my dear, sweet, wonderful boss, Karen, will fire my ass*.

And anyhow, at this point, it’s switched to Johnny Cash.

Okay… So, what makes me happy?

Lots of things make me happy, but what I want to pinpoint are those things that make me happy entirely – not distractions from modern anxiety and classical angst, rather, persons or art that overrides any temporal concern or self-consciousness and overwhelms my id with hella phat radness.

Let’s make a list. (By “let’s” I of course mean me, not you and I, as is implied by my choice of verbs, which wasn’t meant to be taken literally, but used to create a sense that you and I are of one purpose, which, because one of the fundamental needs of humans is intimacy, would ideally cause you to feel safe in the presence of my blog… you sweet thing, you.)

What follows then, is an incomplete list of proper nouns that rock my world:

1.) The Boswell Sisters.


You... shook me all night long - The Boswell Sisters

I once thought the Andrews Sisters were the bee’s knees, until I discovered the Boswell Sisters, the cat’s meow. The Andrews Sisters modeled themselves after the Boswells, and while I still enjoy a tune as warbled by LaVerne, Maxene and Patty, they do not come close to slaying me like their predecessors, Martha, Vet and Connee.

Their close harmonies are lulling yet spooky; intriguing like a walk in the woods at night, knowing that ghosts don’t really exist, but feeling as though they do. The sisters were raised in New Orleans, and you can hear the influence of early, Black American music in their vocal styling. Listening to such tunes as “Trav’lin” and “An Evening in Caroline”, it’s easy to imagine an alternate reality where Vivian Girls were used as slaves, singing work songs sounding like dirges sprinkled with fairy dust.

Connee, the middle sister, was mastermind of the group and arranged their distinctive tunes, often alternating traditionally major keys with minor ones, and vice versa.


Connee Boswell

Due to childhood health issues (which vary depending on sources) she performed and recorded either sitting, or in a wheelchair. This fact was never secret, but wasn’t an image that was promoted (kind of like that gap in Madonna’s teeth – we know it’s there but it’s not really a part of our collective focus).

Because of her “condition”, Connee wasn’t allowed to perform for the troops overseas. It was thought her being wheel-chair bound would demoralize the soldiers. (Funny, I would think it would be far more demoralizing to hand the soldiers weapons and tell them to kill people, but that’s why I’m not a commanding officer, I guess.)

After the sisters retired the act, Connee went on to enjoy a successful solo career, and while I own and enjoy the results of it, it is the work with her sisters that is the “Object of My Affection” (the title of the group’s biggest hit).

Ella Fitzgerald cited Connee as a major influence. I wish sesame bagels weren’t so fattening. Especially when slathered with an inch-thick layer of cream cheese. And Connee performed with Eddie Cantor! He’s another act that makes me happy. And she performed with Bing Crosby, whom I loathe – not only because his idea of teaching his kids not to sneak a cookie from the jar was to knock the bee-jesus out of them, but because that drunken jerk produced the daughter who would one day grow up to shoot JR Ewing.


"My Dad beat me which led me to shoot fictional Texans and wear obscene amounts of lip gloss."
Mary Crosby as Kristin Shepard on "Dallas"

Please accept my apologies for the above paragraph.

Of all the music that the Boswell Sisters recorded, no other record kills me so quick as their rendition of the Duke Ellington standard “Mood Indigo”. Upon hearing it, I literally go weak in the knees. The pace, the subtle swelling of the voices, and the labored but impetuous crooning of a lone clarinet conspire to make me woozy with delight. I recommend its use for trying to take advantage of me.

*This is a ridiculous exaggeration, written for humor, and should not be taken as a reflection of my employer’s personality, temperament, or work ethic, all of which are impeccable. But see, saying that isn’t very funny, is it?

Night Of The Strangler

Posted by phil blankenship, April 30, 2007 12:37am | Post a Comment
 

  



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