Friday, September 30, 2005

Zombie Jazz

Thanks to Robert Jacobson for passing along this photo of the fifteen piece version of the IJG (which debuted last Sunday). Don't know who actually took the shot--it wasn't Robert, as he's in it--but because of the weird blurring and the bizarre "eye effect" (not redeye exactly, but something similar) it looks to me like we've just returned from the dead. In fact, we had just finished a rather exhausting--though exhilirating--show.

To my ears, the experiment was a success, so fifteen pieces will now be the default size for the group.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Pee Wee rides again

One of the great unsung heroes of American culture now has his own day.

The seedy underbelly of Hollywood (you know, the stuff that is actually interesting)

Fellow bloggers and Hollywood insiders at Query Letters I Love have taken it upon themselves to post the wackiest "query letters" they have received ("query letter" is industry-speak for a missive pitching a film or tv series idea). Funny thing is, most of this stuff is more interesting (albeit strange) than anything Hollywood actually wants to produce. My favorite one so far is Fat Journalist: the Manitoba Years. (Come on, doesn't that sound more fun than yet another episode of The Apprentice?)

The comments are a blast too.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Upcoming IJG (from the list)

Q: How many jazz musicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: We thought it was ten, but maybe it's actually fifteen.

* * * * *

That's right, the Industrial Jazz Group will be debuting its fifteen piece incarnation this Sunday (details below). Earplugs recommended (but not necessary).

I don't know what the short and snappy label for such a grouping would be (fifteen-tet?), but I do know which of our esteemed colleagues will be participating. They are, in no particular order:

Ben Wendel (soprano sax); Cory Wright (soprano and alto sax); Dan Boissy (alto sax); Brian Walsh (tenor sax, clarinet); Matt Otto (tenor sax); Damon Zick (baritone sax); Phil Rodriguez (trumpet); Kris Tiner (trumpet); Dan Rosenboom (trumpet); Shaunte Palmer
(trombone); Robyn Javier (trombone); Robert Jacobson (guitar); Aaron Kohen (bass); Dan Schnelle (drums); Andrew Durkin (piano, conducting, compositions, unrealistic expectations).

Stellar players all. (Much too good for this group, in fact.)

We’ll be performing a set of mostly-new material, which has been conceived as a sort of post-apocalyptic ballet in search of some dancers.

Also on the bill that evening are, first, a new as-of-yet unnamed quartet featuring tunes by Ornette Coleman, Brad Shepik, Robert Jacobson, Oliver Newell, and others (with Oliver Newell: bass, Matt Mayhall: drums, Robert Jacobson: guitar, Ryan Perez Daple: woodwinds). And second, the infamous Pablo Calogero Trio.

Hope you can make it!

* * * * *


Sunday, September 25, at Club Tropical.

Music starts at 6 pm, IJG goes on at 9 pm and will be playing ONE SET ONLY.

Club Tropical is located at 8641 W.Washington Blvd., in Culver City. (FYI, they make the best Salvadoran food you will ever eat.)

Cover: $10 ($5 for students and former "Jazz on a Monday Vibe" patrons).

All ages admitted.

*A portion of the proceeds from this show will go toward Hurricane Relief.*

Now here's something you don't do every day

This morning I cut my thumb on a piece of cheese. It hurt like a motherfucker.

(Explanation: I was cleaning the side of a saucepan onto which some cheese had melted, hardened, and then hardened some more.

Either that, or the cheese stabbed me with a little machete.)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

False teeth advertising

A sign seen today:

In really large letters, the words "Free Teeth."
In smaller letters, right underneath: "Whitening!"

I really need to get a camera phone to capture these moments.

Friday, September 16, 2005

More of the mashed stuff, please

I recently discovered Mashuptown, which is sort of an aggregator of various mashups around the web, mostly with a bias toward the strictly dance-oriented stuff. Nothing wrong with that, but nothing I've heard here tops the scope, humor, sophistication, and general magnificence of "A Night at the Hip-Hopera."

Still, there is some good shit, so to speak. My favorite track of what I've heard so far is "Smells Like Booty" (posted last May), which wins points as much for its title as for its musical content: a combination of two particularly monstrous (in more ways than one) hits by Destiny's Child and Nirvana. (By the way, April Winchell recently had a hilarious post that catalogued many of the too many covers of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"-- one of which finds the tune decked out in a gregorian chant style (April's commentary: "smells like nap time").)

Also worth checking out: "Jim, Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street?" (The Doors plus the Macarena plus the Muppets.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hitler Youth

Ah! An old post that I never finished. Let me have at it again.

So a few weeks ago I stumbled into the living room at 6 AM, in a half-hungover, half-arthritic daze, and turned on (what else?) C-SPAN. What to my wondering eyes should appear but an absurdist convention, only slightly disguised as the 27th Annual National Conservative Student Conference. What a way to start the day. Dada isn't dead, it has just become a tool of the right.

Technically, the college kids who assembled for this upside-down hoe-down aren't really in a cult. But it's hard to tell for sure. Why do they all look the same? Why do they all talk the same? Why all the toothy fucking grins?

Truth be told, as someone who spends a good deal (probably way too much, actually) of his time moonlighting in the day-to-day workings of one university in particular, I can tell you that even if there is a liberal bias among humanities professors (which may or may not be true, and may or may not be a bad thing if true), the rest of this environment--the administration, the fraternities / sororities, the trustees, the sports teams, the student body in general--is fairly biased toward the corporate money / power / status nexus. They may not all be pro-Bush, but they tend to love the social status quo--either because they benefit from it already or because they expect to benefit from it soon. So to see this same contingent complaining about "discriminatory treatment"... well, it's just utterly unconvincing to me.

It's also fairly hypocritical.

Turn your Mac inside out

Like this: CTRL-ALT/OPTION-[Apple-key]-8. Same combination to turn it back.

Groovy! Thanks to Cheese Bikini.

'Cause disasters don't rest...

(Even though the president does.)

What we've got here is a FEMA-produced "kidz rap" (kindly ripped and posted by the good folks at Music for Maniacs) about... what else? Disasters.

One line jumped out at me:

"Disaster prep is your responsibility
And mitigation is important to our agency."

So there you have it. FEMA doesn't take responsibility for "disaster prep." That's up to everyone else.

Good gawd, this stuff isn't even funny anymore.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


The Beatles were sort of technologically innovative in their heyday. Why is it that their corporate remnants are such Luddites?

A related question: how much more money do they really need to squeeze out of that back catalog? Why not do something bold and inspiring for the first time in, I don't know, thirty years: just make it all available for free?

Now there's a sentence you don't hear every day

Just heard on CNN:

"Tonight, on Larry King Live: the Dalai Lama takes your calls!"

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Friday, September 09, 2005

He's so rich, so German

In honor of that vacuous putz Wolf Blitzer, Daphne and I have been adding "so black" to the end of our sentences at every opportunity.

Fr'instance: "What's for dinner? I'm so hungry, so black." Or: "I think I'll turn in. I'm so tired, so black."

Try it, it's fun.


I credit political cartoons with getting me interested in the subject of politics. I can remember sitting in Mr. Tamburo's high school history class (was it called social studies then?), bored out of my mind, drawing caricatures of both Reagan and Mondale (this was during the presidential campaign between the two of 'em). And I used to love to look through the "year's best political cartoon" anthologies--these were among the few volumes I was actually glad our library carried.

Anyway, I just saw the drawing above, liked it, and decided to pass it along. (Why, I wonder, does the president seem to be leading with his crotch?)

Thanks to Molly Douthett.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Not a second career (but we should still kick him out of his current one)

Discovered this great site, and was astounded by the above picture and accompanying analysis. What an ugly, resonant image. My caption: "One of the motherlode cities of American music is being destroyed, but the president can't hear it over the sound of his own wretched, egomaniacal twanging."

There's some amazing stuff at the bagnews site: highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Jesus Fucking Christ

She may as well have said that things are going swimmingly.

And again...

Nota bene.

I've been hearing some talk in the media and elsewhere about how "now is not the time for anger." I couldn't disagree more. This is the time for anger--not the kind of anger that prevents us from finding the remaining survivors, or getting quickly into the rebuilding process... but the kind of (dare I say it) righteous anger that motivates those things. We need to nurture the kind of anger that will survive weeks, months, years (if need be)... however long it takes until whoever is responsible for this systemic, catastrophic failure of government is held to account.

When our country is gone, anger is all we have left. And without anger there can be no reasonable hope.

Never forget how you feel about New Orleans at this moment.

Still more...

(Still more stuff that has been forwarded, and that I forward, re: New Orleans.)

Donated money? Please donate a little time. Join the Katrina PeopleFinder Project.

It's easy. All you need is an internet connection and the ability to copy data into a form.

After Katrina many friends and family members have been separated and left with no clear way to find each other. Hundreds of internet websites are gathering hundreds, and probably thousands, of entries about missing persons or persons who want to let others know they're okay.

The problem is: the data on these sites has no particular form or structure. So it's almost impossible for people to search or match things up. Plus there are dozens of sites - making it hard for a person seeking lost loved ones to search them all.

The Katrina PeopleFinder Project NEEDS YOUR HELP to enter data about missing and found people from various online sources. We're requesting as little as an hour of your time. All you need to do is help read unstructured posts about missing or found persons, and then add the relevant data to a database through a simple online form.

To get started please click here.

Questions? Email katrina-people (at)

The Katrina PeopleFinder Team

Sunday, September 04, 2005

More on New Orleans

(I used to be a big Allen Toussaint fan. I still think Fats Domino is the shit. Thankfully they're okay. But what about all of the others?)

Music industry in disarray after the storm

By Bill Werde Sat Sep 3,11:32 AM ET

NEW YORK (Billboard) - As flood waters rose in the days after Hurricane Katrina's August 29 rampage through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, so too did concern for the myriad musicians, business associates, friends and family in the region.

The scope of the loss and tragedy Katrina caused is clear: It will be years before a locale renowned for its entertainment industry is back to business as usual -- if it ever is again.

For the music industry, the top priority became tracking down the missing. Reports began to surface that Antoine "Fats" Domino, songwriter Allen Toussaint (who penned Patti LaBelle's hit "Lady Marmalade") and others had not been heard from since Katrina touched down. On Friday (September 2), Domino, the 76-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, and his family were reported safe, having been rescued by boat from floodwaters near their New Orleans home.

The Neville Brothers, long associated with New Orleans, were fine, but Charles Neville could not locate his three daughters.

But it was not just well-known musicians who were missing or displaced. The Gulf Coast, and in particular the New Orleans region, is also home to a thriving community of local musicians who make a living playing jazz, zydeco and Cajun music, especially for tourists.

"I just can't get ahold of anyone," said Jonno Frishberg, a 45-year-old fiddler who earns his livelihood playing Cajun music gigs. "You're talking about a whole community of musicians like me, with no unemployment insurance and no way to make a living." Frishberg and his wife and two children are all safe. "If I didn't have kids, I'd be looking to head far away from here," he says. "I'll still have to go on the road to make a living. I'm just looking for a way to feed my family."


On Wednesday evening (August 31) retail music chains were still scrambling to learn of their employees' well-being, while wholesalers said they had not been able to get through to check on their independent accounts.

"We are in contact with our management team there, but we are still trying to track down our employees," Tower Records senior VP of operations Bill Duffy said. "We have heard from about half of them."

Phone calls to independent stores in New Orleans; Biloxi, Miss.; and Mobile, Ala., either went unanswered or offered only a busy signal.

"We have been unable to get through to any stores in New Orleans," Super D indie sales manager Mark Grindle reported. "We don't know how they are."

As for the retail locations themselves, executives contacted by Billboard were assuming the worst: that the stores were flooded, with massive damage to merchandise.

The shape of live entertainment in the region will be affected for months, if not permanently.

Among the large venues in the region hit by Katrina are the Superdome, New Orleans Arena and Keifer UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans; the Cajundome in Lafayette, La.; the RiverCenter in Baton Rouge, La.; the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi; the Mitchell Center and Mobile Civic Center in Mobile, Ala.; the Pensacola (Fla.) Civic Center; and the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast casino market.

Home to dozens of thriving music venues, New Orleans is also home to promoters Beaver Productions and Superfly Presents, as well as the site of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the flagship House of Blues club. "We believe everyone is safe," HOB's Kevin Morrow said; as of Wednesday, his club was still dry. "We are looking to relocate some people until we can figure out how long it will be till we can start operations again," Morrow said.

"It's going to be a long road," said Don Fox, president of Beaver Productions. "There won't be any concerts in New Orleans for a while, at least three to six months."

Katrina made a substantial impact on the radio business in and around the Gulf Coast as well. Entercom closed two of its four stations in the area and received assistance from competitor Clear Channel, which used a helicopter to help evacuate Entercom employees from downtown New Orleans.

Broadcasters Clear Channel, Entercom, Citadel, Apex, and the Louisiana State Network have partnered to form the United Radio Broadcasters of New Orleans. Clear Channel VP of news/talk programming Gabe Hobbs and Entercom VP news/talk Ken Beck combined their staff to produce news that will be broadcast over nine surviving radio stations in the stricken


Many in the music industry not directly affected by the hurricane set about to assist the victims. Some of the higher-profile efforts included a September 12 Dave Matthews benefit concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver; a September 10 special on MTV, VH1 and CMT; and "A Concert for Hurricane Relief," an hour-long TV special scheduled that aired Friday (September 2) on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC, featuring Tim McGraw, Harry Connick Jr., Wynton Marsalis and others. "Our city will come back, but it will take the entire country," Marsalis said. "When you take New Orleans from America, our soul equation goes down."

Marsalis and special guests will highlight the Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Concert, to take place September 17 at Rose Theater in New York. The event will be recorded by Jazz at Lincoln Center. A CD from the event will be released by Blue Note Records with all profits going to relief funds.

Putumayo World Music is also donating proceeds from the sale of two records, "New Orleans," and "Mississippi Blues," to relief efforts, through year's end.

In the digital realm, Napster began selling a "Download to Donate" compilation September 1, with profits going to the American Red Cross. CD Baby, where thousands of independent artists sell their music online, set up a special page to sell CDs from those who wanted their profits to go to the Red Cross.

And on radio, Clear Channel stations are airing PSAs directing listeners to, where they can make donations to the American Red Cross. In addition, Clear Channel Entertainment is organizing benefit concerts and collection drives.

In New York, the rapper Juvenile broke down at a Thursday (September 1) press conference announcing a September 9 telethon on BET. Juvenile lost his house in New Orleans and had yet to locate certain family members. The clothes he wore had to be purchased by his publicist, and his label, Atlantic, had been wiring money to his family, who lost everything in the floods. "Like the effort we put toward war and the tsunami," a red-eyed Juvenile said, "We need to put forth the same effort to saving our own country."

Master P, rapper and head of the label No Limit, was also at the press conference, and also lost a home. Master P launched the organization Team Rescue ( to get supplies to those left in New Orleans.

And while the various factions of the robust New Orleans hip-hop scenes had been competitive in the past, Master P said he plans to do an album and tour with members of the Cash Money label and Juvenile. "It ain't about No Limit or Cash Money," Master P said. "It's about New Orleans. We'll do whatever we have to do for our people."


Saturday, September 03, 2005

Mashups will save music, one hit at a time

Jeff, if you're reading this, go here and check out "Tricky Wipeout." When I heard it I had a major flashback back to high school. (Not that that's a good reason for listening, but anyway... check it out, check it out.)

Actually, everybody, go, go. Put down what you're doing. Go hear the above-linked album. The RIAA might not be quite as brilliant as the Kleptones, but they're damned good.

Don't forget the musicians... or any of the rest of this week

It's kind of difficult to comment on the events of this week without sounding a bit like Anderson Cooper (whose sympathy is probably genuine, but who always seems contrived to me... actually, everything on CNN seems contrived to me).

The administration is always talking about how important it is "never to forget." So I'm going to suggest a few things about this week that they should remember.

1. Don't forget that a lot of people died on a bridge in Iraq. I mean a lot of people. Civilians.

2. Don't forget that Bush could have done something about the general ill-preparedness that characterized the response to Katrina.

3. Don't forget the role of race and class in all this. Kudos to Kanye West (whoever he is) for pointing that fact out on national (or almost national) television.

4. Don't forget the musicians in New Orleans.

To that last point, I want to pass along information about two great organizations to donate to if you've got the bread (the following is copied and pasted from a recent email that was forwarded to me--a bit of a clunky read, but some solid information):

1. New Orleans Musicians Clinic (NOMC)

This is a fantastic hands-on organization who has the names and addresses of many great musicians who have been coming to their FREE health clinic all these years--and now, they are the ones who are tracking down the local musicians and finding them shelter.

They can be contacted at

Or contact Kathy Richard directly at 337 989-0001.

Send donations to:
NOMC Emergency Fund

funds will be distributed by:
SW LA Area Health Education Center Foundation, Inc.
103 Independence Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506
desk: 337-989-0001
fax: 337-989-1401


2. Jazz Foundation of America

We will be addressing the longer term needs of those jazz and blues artists who have just lost everything.

We will be raising funds and distributing money for the musicians to get a new apartment or room for rent: by giving a first month's rent, possibly more, for them to start over, a place to live. (This is what we normally do on a daily basis for musicians across the country who become sick and can't pay their rent, we also keep food on the table and get employment to hundreds of elderly musicians through our Jazz in the Schools program. Our operations normally assist 35 musicians a week.)

As well, we will be attempting to help New Orleans musicians by replacing the thing that matters most and the only way they can ever work again: their instruments. To those who lost their instruments, like drummers and bassists who could not carry their heavy equipment, and guitarist with their amps, we will be making an effort to work with manufacturers and music stores to replace those instruments for as many as we possibly can.

Remember, New Orleans was only "New Orleans" because of the musicians...

Send donations to:

Jazz Foundation of America
322 West 48th Street 6th floor
NYC 10036

Director: Wendy Oxenhorn
Phone: 212-245-3999 Ext. 21

email contact:

(click on the link, then click in the bottom right corner of page where it says "instant pledge")

Thank you, from our hearts.