PDF version - Antigravity Magazine

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PDF version - Antigravity Magazine
“Being on tour—on a
continent you’ve never
been to—is like being
in an old porno movie
about racing cars. It
doesn’t feel real.” pg 9
magazine.com
barryfest.com
PUBLISHER
Leo McGovern
[email protected]
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Dan Fox
[email protected]
ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Erin Hall
[email protected]
COMICS EDITORS
Leo McGovern & Caesar Meadows
[email protected]
[email protected]
ART DIRECTOR
Kevin Barrios
[email protected]
ADVERTISING
Jennifer Attaway
[email protected]
DISTRIBUTION
Tiffiny Wallace
[email protected]
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Jennifer Attaway
[email protected]
Leigh Checkman
[email protected]
Kevin Comarda
[email protected]
Anton Falcone
[email protected]
Graham Greenleaf
[email protected]
Rev. Daniel Jackson
[email protected]
Dominique LeJeune
[email protected]
Emily McWilliams
[email protected]
Sara Pic
[email protected]
Eric Pierson
[email protected]
Mike Rodgers
[email protected]
Michael Patrick Welch
[email protected]
I
had to say goodbye to a dear friend
this month: my silver Dodge Grand
Caravan. I know it might sound out of
character and slightly materialistic—
especially for the season—to open
up about such a mundane thing as
a minivan, but let me tell y’all: that
thing hauled some serious ass in the
four years I owned it. Not only did it
criss-cross the country several times as
a member of the Lovey Dovies (and
was christened Kate Moss as an ode to
one of those tour’s inside jokes), but it
hauled literally tons of ANTIGRAVITY
issues all over town. Kate Moss was
a mobile command center, an office
on wheels and a reference studio for
albums, demos and rough mixes alike;
it was ate in, slept in and once even
fucked in, though not by me. All that
can take a toll on its transmission (and
upholstery) and when Kate’s started to
go, it was a bittersweet deal breaker.
I’m not one to care about cars that
much. For me, it’s just a thing that’s
supposed to get you from A to B
safely and comfortably. Anything else
is vanity and excessive luxury and the
anarchist in me distrusts most forms of
petroleum-powered vehicles, anyway.
But it was my dream car because it
allowed me to do everything that was
important in life, from promoting my
music throughout the country and
making sure this magazine actually
came out, to tubing and beach
excursions and even quick trips to the
levee with the dogs. It was a tool of
expression, like a camera or a guitar.
We don’t choose these things lightly
and it’s even harder to give them up.
But it’s done and I will miss that van. It
was a great instrument.
Anyways, I’m happy to break in
the new ride with December’s issue,
which—heads up—is more full of
holiday cheer than you can shake a
candy cane at. So if Christmas time isn’t
your thing, you’re really going to hate it.
Isn’t Jeremy Wilson’s cover illustration
sick, by the way? As a Jew growing up
with Episcopalian grandparents, I was
one of the lucky few who got my eight
days of presents and Christmas. So as
a kid, nativity scenes were just another
set of action figures and dolls; maybe
that’s why my smurfs ended up in the
manger sometimes.
Hopefully under this tree pulp
you’ll find some presents you actually
like; we had a lot of fun wrapping
them up for you. Our new horoscope
column is something that’s been on our
wishlist for a long time, as well as an
opportunity to interview DJ Shadow;
we just had to have that. It looks like
there’s something for every age this
month: Michael Patrick Welch helps us
break in the next class of music critics
(whose talons are already pretty sharp);
he also catches up with Dash Rip
Rock, a band approaching their third
decade of existence. There’s European
tour shenanigans from DJ Musa, adult
stocking stuffers from Anton Falcone,
munchies from Memaw and even
metal lords cradling koalas. It’s a hell
of a holiday party; thanks for showing
up. Want some punch? —Dan Fox
CONTRIBUTING
PHOTOGRAPHERS
Adrienne Battistella
[email protected]
Joshua Brasted
[email protected]
Gary LoVerde
[email protected]
LISTINGS
[email protected]
REVIEWS
[email protected]
SNAIL MAIL
4916 Freret Street
New Orleans, LA 70115
Cover Illustration by Jeremy Wilson
The issue comes together, one letter at a time
[email protected]
Featured Columnist
Guidance Counseling
this month: KATEY RED
FREE WATER AND FREELOADERS
Photo: AdarashaBenjamin
photo: Gary LoVerde
A
s if you didn’t know, Katey Red is one of New Orleans’ bounce icons,
trailblazers and matriarchs. With hits from “Ugly Buggin Me” and “So Much
Drama” to her a cappella contribution to the Never Records collection (which
is available for remix at soundcloud.com/planarian-productions/katey-red), her
drill instructress bark and siren wail are instantly recognizable and should be
beamed to the far reaches of the universe to represent our crazy-ass city. In a
show of cross-Mason-Dixon-line support, Katey Red will be part of a lineup
of NOLA acts banding together on December 14th at Siberia to fundraise for
New York City’s beloved WFMU (a listener-supported radio station much like
our own WWOZ), which suffered financial setbacks and electrical damage due
to Hurricane Sandy. She’ll also be playing December 28th for Siberia’s bounce
night with Sissy Nobby and others. You can also look for a Greatest Hits on
iTunes soon as well as a new video. With such a full dance card, we were lucky to
grab her for some year-end advice. Katey, you ready?
Should I keep my arm band tattoo as a
testament to my youth or get it covered up?
Would it be selling out if I did?
I think you should get it covered to
send the right message to our youth,
because our youth in these days always
need something positive to focus on
besides tattoos. No, you won’t be a sell
out.
Every time my band plays a local show my
friends are like, “Can I get on that list?” Our
shows are like $5. How do you say no to
greedy pals?
I went through the same thing recently.
You just simply explain to them if you
can let everybody in for free, it will be
nice to do; but how you want me to
make a living if nobody isn’t paying to
come see the shows you participate in?
And besides, if you are really a friend
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you will support me regardless.
My boss told me that I can’t give water to the
homeless people outside anymore. I find this
absolutely ridiculous, but he says that it is
what keeps them in the neighborhood. I really
like my job and have always gotten along
with my boss, but this rule makes me really
uncomfortable. Should I quit or should I just
keep doing it until they fire me?
I wouldn’t keep doing it so that I can
get fired but what I would do since I
see people in need of things like that,
I will just wait until I clock out at work
and then help those in need. And
maybe you should sit down with your
boss and explain to him that homeless
people will be around if you give them
water or not. And then mention to him
that we are all God’s children and will
need some kind of assistance, homeless
or wealthy.
Featured Columnist
NEW COLUMN!
Horrorscopes
by Madame Zoë Diack
BIG PLANETS, BIGGER PLANS
T
his time of Sagittarius is ruled by
the planet Jupiter. Being the biggest
of all planets, Jupiter’s effect on us all
tends to lean to the over-abundant side.
It may be in selfishness or in partying,
but whatever you do this month it will
have the biggest balls of them all!!!
Sagittarius
The sun passes through your house this
month. Take care of your needs first
or you won’t have anything to give to
anyone else. Relationships and other
people are very important to you but you
really should hone in and take care of
your own self first for a little bit.
Capricorn
Just like spaghetti, you can be rigid
or bendy. It is important for you to be
bendy spaghetti this month and not hold
yourself to unrealistic deadlines. Shift
with ever-changing situations and do not
resist the way things change. Or do resist
and just be miserable. Beware: the 30th
may suck.
Aquarius
This month some truths come to light
and it may make you question some
people’s honesty and ethics. Don’t
worry; your discoveries will only lead you
to understanding yourself better. Screw
the cheaters and liars. The facts always
come out sooner or later. Get over it and
move on.
Pisces
This month will have you questioning
your career or lack of one. If your job
is getting in the way of your personal
life, then rearrange your personal life but
don’t give it up. If you love your job, keep
plugging away; the obstacles in your way
will soon be in your past. If you really
can’t stand your job, find a new one.
Aries
You may have some big opportunities
come your way this month. You just have
to decide what to do. Don’t make any
major changes; it is better to make small
changes a little at a time. Also, remember
everything seems bigger and better than
it really is, so don’t be disillusioned.
Taurus
You reap what you sow, so start sowing.
Whatever seeds you plant now will come
to harvest in the future. When it comes to
a decision, take the one that leads down
the long road and not a quick pay off.
You may have a shake-up on December
25th. It is better to align with the positive
folks.
Gemini
With Mercury out of retrograde in the
beginning of December, life can finally
get back to normal for Geminis. In fact,
all of December will be quite great for
you. Just don’t burn yourself out. A
major case of the blues could come and
get you on the 28th. Be prepared for it
and try to get through it. It’s not you,
it’s the universe’s pull on you. Tuck and
roll.
Cancer
If you want it then go ahead and ask
for it. This month will see you reeling in
relationship questions. It is better to ask
for what you need and get it than to not
ask and be perceived as content. Be bossy
and ask for it loudly—soft innuendos will
get you nowhere. Effort equals rewards.
Leo
Keep your feet firmly planted on the
ground this month, even if you need help
from family and friends to do so. Your
head will be in the clouds and swarming
from too many holiday social activities.
If you don’t find proper balance to it all
you will be spread too thin and honestly,
not be a pleasure to be around. Be a nice
lion; not a grumpy, mean lion.
Virgo
Do not limit yourself to your current
situation. And don’t limit yourself to
what you think you deserve in life. Open
up your mind to new possibilities, revisit
old situations and sink yourself into your
creative endeavors. Family matters will
have deep significance this season.
Libra
Libras, unfortunately, know how to
indulge and over-indulge. Be forewarned:
treats o’plenty come your way. So set
some boundaries and be mindful of that
and you can thank yourself for it later in
January when you still feel good about
being you.
Scorpio
Keep your mind on your money and
your money on your mind! If you don’t,
your current situation will be your future.
Your potential for future gains is tied to
the faith you have in yourself and your
ideas. Be your own cheerleader.
5
Featured Column
I
The Rational Radicant
by E WILLY P
Q&A WITH KRAMPUS
f you haven’t heard of Krampus
then you’re not sniffing enough
reindeer dust. Krampus is Winter
holiday season’s biggest mythological
party animal, yes even more so than
the Yetti. Hailing from imaginary
Germanic quadrants of
preChristmasdom, Krampus is Saint
Nick’s Bad Cop. When he’s not
getting mistaken for guitar players
of doom-metal bands, Krampus is
the guy who delivers coal to those
deserving of less than a Groupon in
their stocking. He’s also known for
spanking the young’ens deserving of
them and the older ones, too, if the end
justifies the means (wink, wink). I had the
pleasure of interviewing Krampus
earlier this summer on a mountainbiking trip in the Alps. Over a few
good Belgian ales I asked him a
questions that, well, got his goat.
What, if
anything, does
Krampus give to people for the
holidays, like friends and such?
Do you have gifts that you like
to give or are you a gag gift sort
of person, or… ?
Krampus: Holy Shizer, man. No one
has asked such a question. Whoah,
you’re blowin’ Krampus’ mind sack.
Yes, I do give gifts; I’m the best giftgiver in the world. My bad gifts to
the bad folks are legendary but my
good gifts? Oh man, I’m good. Sal
[Krampus’ nickname for Saint Nick]
and I both are Mythological Being
843 Union members, so I always
try and give stuff from tradesmen
or handmade stuff. I like to buy
American-made goods. It’s becoming
6
such a rare thing, need to buy as much
as possible before the TransPacific
partnership makes it more rare.
Homemade stuff is great: baked
goods, crafts. I’ve even peed people’s
names in the snow and photographed
and framed that. Art is great: again,
one of a kind, supporting the maker. I
love vintage for the same reason I like
handmade stuff. With true vintage it
has the originality of being… uh...
Unique in its scarcity?
Huhm, brah. I always try and shop
local when possible. It’s more fun;
little mom and pop stores are always
much more in the spirit than some
mall-ass shit. If I’m being lazy or
strapped for time or because me and
Sal are behind schedule, I use a few
online sources like Etsy; or if there’s
some artist I’ve seen on fecalface.com
that I like, I may contact folks directly.
Reluctantly I will use eBay.
I do have some no no’s, too,
for the holidays. No gift cards. Gift
cards SUCK! They are the equivalent
of a non-gift. Unless it’s for a service
like a tattoo or a massage or hair cut,
that kind of crap. I try not to give
“want” gifts, either. I like practical
things, useful items. Things that
people will think of you every time
they use, right? That’s a gift. With
children of course, I’m not a complete
bastard but I try and keep a thought
of usefulness or learning involved. I
usually give the young ones blocks of
wood, Legos or picture books. Sure,
they’ll be a little pissed that it’s not
the “Jim Loaf Turtle Head” doll
that they wanted; but they know the
alternative.
[Krampus
laughs and shoots fire out
of his ass] Whoah, sorry.
Uh, yeah, the older
ones also get books, age
appropriate. I’m also
not into giving booze so
much, unless it is truly
special, rare or hard to
find. Oh and please,
please, please leave your
bleeding heart at home
for the holidays. DO
NOT give a gift to a
charity in honor of
someone. Don’t use
the holiday as a time to
soapbox. If you’re a I
don’t recognize this holiday
because blah blah blah—
stay the fuck home or
it’ll be WHACK upside
the head with Krampus’
coal sock.
Featured Column
B
Disjointed Brain Farts
by JENN ATTAWAY
REINDEER DROPPINGS
efore I commence another
bitter holiday-inspired rant, I’d
just like to pass mention that I am
NOT the AG “holiday writer.” It
just so happens that I was granted
a column preceding three months
of big holidays, so that’s what is at
the forefront of my subconscious.
Since January is fortunately devoid
of any major American holidays, I’ll
be able to focus my skewed social
commentary toward something
else next month. But it is that time
of year again and it’s barreling
towards us like the Polar Express
derailed. I actually love Christmas!
I love the colored lights, A Charlie
Brown Christmas, treats baking in the
oven, traditional Christmas carols
and classical holiday music (and
I’m not just talking about Fear’s
“Fuck Christmas” or the Ramones’
“Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to
Fight Tonight)”. There are so many
reasons to be all a-glow from the
season of giving.
But if you’re looking for something
slightly less warm and fuzzy,
something a little darker in this
season of giving, check out the
pagan origins of Christmas and
Santa Claus. One major event which
comes to mind is Saturnalia, the
Roman festival in honor of the god
Saturn. Saturnalia was originally
celebrated on December 17th
and gave way to much drinking,
debauchery, fornication, gift giving,
door-to-door singing (often done
in the nude), human sacrifice,
gambling and good old-fashioned
public lawlessness. Even the slaves
were allowed to refrain from work
and were permitted to gamble. The
Romans would designate someone
as “Lord of Misrule” during the
annual festival to represent Saturn.
The Lord of Misrule could decree
or demand anything and the public
would be forced to comply. However,
every year Saturnalia’s conclusion
would also prove to be the end of the
Lord of Misrule, who would then be
sacrificed to further appease Saturn.
Well, you can’t tease the public with
just one day of something like that, so
the festivities developed into a weeklong affair. The event would wrap up
in time for the Winter Solstice, the
celebration of the new year and the
Sol Invictus.
When Christians took over the
Roman Empire, it is believed that
some of the rites of Saturnalia
and Christmas may have merged.
Certainly, gift-giving and caroling
come to mind. However, the Romans
would also eat biscuits shaped like
humans and many people postulate
that is where the idea for the
gingerbread man came into being.
One of the main elements of
Christmas is also one of the most
fascinating to scrutinize: Santa
Claus. Jolly old St. Nick is actually
a variation on St. Nicholas, patron
saint of children and sailors. He
was often accompanied throughout
history by Krampus (see E Willy
P’s column on the preceding page),
Zwarte Piet or a bunch of elves,
depending on what part of the planet
you come from. We now recognize
him as a cherry-cheeked fat man
with a white flowing beard and a red
fur-trimmed robe, ferried around the
planet in a sleigh drawn by flying
reindeer. However, this was not
always the case. He’s been depicted
throughout history as being closer
to an Odin-like figure, vengeful in
nature toward naughty children and
riding a gray, eight-legged horse god,
to an analogy for Satan due to the
anagram of his name. It’s thanks to
artist Thomas Nast that we began to
see Santa Claus as we recognize him
now, carried one step further and
popularized by Coca-Cola in their
holiday artwork. It is to the credit of
these two parties that we now see the
traditional figure we grew up with.
So there’s no need to carry the
bitterness of knowing that your
parents lied to you as a child.
They’ve been perpetuating the lie for
centuries now and it’s truly a global
phenomenon. Were you the first or
last at your school to know that Santa
isn’t real? Did it make you even more
upset when you thought about that
gift you just absolutely had to have
(and obsessed over for weeks), only to
be faced with heartbreak under the
tree that fateful morning? Once you
unraveled the lie of Santa, you had
to deal with the ugly truth that it was
your own parents, the same people
you shared your passionate hopes
with, who denied you that one object
of your desire on Christmas.
With that weighing heavily on
the psyche for years, mingled with
holiday stress and depression, it’s no
wonder there are so many delightfully
psychotic Christmas horror movies to
choose from. It’s the most wonderful
freakin’ time of the year. Drink the
eggnog, throw a yule log or fruitcake
through someone’s window, order
your Slayer Christmas sweater and
gear up for Black Christmas (1974),
Silent Night, Deadly Night, Santa’s Slay
(featuring WWE’s Bill Goldberg),
Tales from the Crypt’s “And All Through
the House,” Santa Claus Conquers the
Martians, Jack Frost (preferably 2) or
even Gremlins.
7
Featured Column
Paw Talk
by EMILY McWILLIAMS
CITY CHICKEN EDITION
T
hey waddle. They don’t
necessarily like you. They
produce large quantities of
excrement. For many of us, chickens
are just funny-looking creatures who
peck, make strange noises and are
rather dirty. Other than the bird
whisperers out there, most of us
just don’t get them. So why have
chickens? A few local poultry parents
schooled me on the benefits (and
challenges) of having one’s own
backyard chicken coop in the city.
When asked why he started his
own coop, Matt Toups (of Slow
Danger Brass Band) says “I choose
to keep chickens because I like my
home’s backyard to be a living,
useful place as well as a relaxing,
fun one... Nature works in cycles
and my chickens make that very
evident. They don’t just eat and
make eggs. They control bugs;
they keep my grass down and their
excrement fertilizes the trees. They
solve so many problems at once.”
Ariel Wallick, of the New Orleans
Family Learning Cooperative (and
former New Orleans Food and Farm
Network employee) says that legally,
a person can only keep 4 hens in a
backyard coop. Toups, along with his
roommate, has three hens.
Keeping a chicken coop is far more
rewarding than having eggs for
breakfast, which is a plus for those
of us who eat eggs. Toups comments
that “eggs from the backyard are
noticeably fresher.” Chickens are
8
natural gardeners and fertilizers
in one. They scratch the ground
for their food, constantly turning
up fresh soil and their feces are
incredibly nutritious for plants
and trees. Toups’ neighbors even
regularly ask him for droppings: “The
droppings usually dry up and harden
quickly, making them pretty easy
to manage. Another local chicken
coop keeper, Adem Vant Hull, has
four hens and has kept chickens for
several years. He says that what you
choose to do with the poop is the
“dealer’s choice.” Vant Hull puts his
chicken’s poop on plants.
One common challenge that chicken
keepers encounter is a pecking
order when bird varieties are mixed.
Toups faced fighting chickens when
his roommate moved in, bringing
his own chickens with him. The
two groups of chickens did not mix
well, resulting in aggressive pecking.
Usually, in these situations there is
an “alpha” hen pecking the others,
sometimes removing most of another
hen’s feathers.
Aside from inner aggressors, keeping
an urban coop means ensuring that
you secure it against escape and also
make it safe from prowlers (like cats,
dogs or possums). But sometimes,
historical prowlers (like cats) end up
making an unexpected friendship
with urban chickens. Toups
discovered a baby kitten in his coop
one morning and the kitten triggered
one of his hen’s mothering instinct,
making her “broody” as she would be
over an infertile egg. Toups’ hens are
still friendly with the kitten, who is
now close to a year old.
Also important to a coop is having a
run, or secure yard where the hens
can scratch and roam. Vant Hall
comments, “Chickens want be in the
coop at night and do not want be in
the coop during the day. Whatever
chicken you get is going to be a lucky
chicken, considering the mass of notso-lucky chickens out there (shout
out Popeyes 3-piece spicy). It will be
happy and ignore you and you’ll feed
it and eat it or the eggs, get to enjoy
them. Everybody wins.”
The whole idea of sustainability is
evident in the experiences of these
local chicken keepers. Chickens will
roam in the area you provide for
them, which may include your whole
yard, eating grass and leaves. Toups
says that he has a banana plant in his
yard that produces a large amount
of leaves his chickens eat. In 2010,
yard waste (including leaves, grass
and plant trimmings) made up almost
25% of landfill substance. Toups
requests, “Please stop dumping huge
quantities of grass and other yard
clippings in landfills... If you choose
not to compost your yard stuff then
think about giving it to someone with
chickens.
Some things to remember if you are
considering starting a coop, courtesy
of Ariel Wallick:
Coop and Run: Make sure you
have the space for a secure coop as
well as for a run.
Keep It Clean: Keep the coop
clean. This will help diminish rodent
visitors and bacteria.
Feed: If you have baby chicks and
adult chicks, make sure you are
giving the baby chicks the correct
feed— they need to get more calcium
and fat than adult hens. Also, there
is a difference between the quality of
organic and inorganic feed. Get the
organic feed.
Heavy Metal In Our Ears,
Not Our Eggs: Chickens are
bioaccumulators, which means that
if they eat something with heavy
metal (some dirt has heavy metal), it
will pass through to the eggs which,
in turn, means you should not eat
those eggs. Get your soil tested.
It is your responsibility to provide
your chickens with a safe and clean
environment. Predators will always
sneak around the coop’s perimeter
and if left vulnerable in any way, the
chickens will unquestionably undergo
attack. After Toups participated in
this interview, a raccoon attacked
one of his hens, leaving her severely
wounded. Due to her lack of
improvement, Toups decided to put
her down himself. He said of the
experience, “It was a horrifying task
but I think it was the right thing to
do and I’m glad I could be there to
do it with care and compassion.”
For some, it is surprisingly easy
to grow attached to the birds; for
Toups, he found that his chickens
have “distinct personalities,” causing
him to develop affection for them as
he would a dog or a cat. Chickens
can be much more than utility or this
idea of supporting the environment.
For many, chickens become part of
the family.
Your own chicken coop will allow
you to care for a non-traditional pet
that is relatively easy to care for after
initial setup (coop and run). As Vant
Hall says, “They will pretty much
make themselves happy in almost any
situation.” Autonomous gardeners
who provide breakfast for egg-eaters?
Can’t get much better than that.
Interested in starting your own coop?
Contact Hollygrove Market and Farm at
(504) 483-7037 or New Orleans Food
and Farm Network at (504) 864-2009 for
tips on and training in urban chicken coops.
Dear New Orleans! The Spank
Rock/Boys Noize European
Adventure Party Time Excellent
Tour (actually called the ‘Out of the
Black Tour’) was insane! Being on
tour—on a continent you’ve never
been to—is like being in an old porno
movie about racing cars. It doesn’t
feel real. Then again, life doesn’t feel
real in general anymore. We went
to 21 countries and met so many
amazing people and did so many
amazing things. We kicked off the 2
month long trip at Marsatac Festival
in Marseilles, headlining a sold-out
venue. From there we went to Paris
for a week during Fashion Week.
We partied with Mark Gonzales in a
suite we were given at the W Hotel
in Paris until he punched a security
guard in the face and was escorted
out. We frequented Silencio (David
Lynch’s club), went to a rave under
a bridge and blew lines on a small
train next to the canal similar to the
one at the Audubon Zoo. From there
we went to Berlin and performed
at Flamingo club. Then tour really
kicked off in Glasgow. We had the
coolest driver in the world named
Neil. I really wish I could have
adopted him and taken him on the
entire tour. We did X in Edinburgh
and made some cool friends there.
We played an awesome party called
the Warehouse Project in Manchester
with Simian Mobile Disco, Erol
Alkan, Jimmy Edgar and so many
others. We played I Love Techno
festival in Gent, which was a 35,000
person music festival with artists such
as Flying Lotus, A Trak, Jamie XX,
Major Lazer, Vitalic, SCNTST and
a shitload more. We took 141 shots,
ate 83 pounds of meat, 87 pounds
of cheese and 213 pounds of candy.
I stage dove in Paris at Social Club,
in Milan on Halloween during Boys
Noize and in Gent during Major
Lazer on Diplo’s birthday after
getting him annihilated drunk. I
had a menu’s worth of interesting
drug mixtures. Got tons of motion
sickness on our double-decker, Taj
Mahal of a tour bus. Frolicked on the
beaches of Barcelona and saw the
snow-capped mountains of France
with a panoramic view from my bus
bed in the ‘Princess Lounge.’ Saw a
live sex show in Hamburg and got
drunk on Duff beer in Zurich. We
saw Sebastien Tellier in Barcelona
and Le1f in Berlin. Saw Castles in
Gent, house boats in Nimes, Pier
Paolo Pasolini’s house in Bologna, the
Berlin Wall, the Gaudi village and
church in Barcelona, The Red Light
District in Amsterdam and of course,
the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night.
I could go on forever. Until the next
episode... XOXO —DJ MUSA
New Orleanians love a good festival.
And we also love our metal and punk
rock. Hell, we’re known for these
two things on a national level and
rightfully so. We definitely know how
to throw a party as well as deliver
some head-splitting, boot-stomping
tunes. Some might say it’s in our
DNA, to tune up and throw down,
showing locals and visitors alike just
how it’s done. So it’s no surprise
that December will see yet another
music fest take a run at deafening
the unwashed masses here, with the
launch of RISE Fest: a three day
cavalcade of crust, metal, punk,
d-beat and noise, to be held at our
local shrine of all things heavy and
loud, Siberia.
(Boston), Dead To A Dying World
(Dallas) on Saturday and Circle of
Vultures (Corpus Christi), They Eat
Their Own God (Columbia, South
Carolina) and Sky Burial (Nashville)
on Sunday.
RISE fest is a locally curated event,
staffed and planned by “crustie”
volunteers; but don’t mistakenly
assume that this is yet another
weekend bender masquerading as a
festival. Sure, you’ll have the requisite
Louisiana talent on display, with Fat
Stupid Ugly People, The Pallbearers,
Guiltless, Christ Puncher, Gasmiasma
(pictured) and Snot Rag peppering
the lineup. But there is a host of
national acts playing, from all corners
of the U.S. Recommended bands
include: Bastard Deceiver (Tampa),
Krang (Chicago) Chiches Christ
(San Antonio) on Friday; Pyroklast
(Madison, Wisconsin), G.A.S.H
There will also be a merch section, as
any good fest requires. Offering their
wares at RISE will be Microphonic
Meltdown Records and Unleash
Hell Records. Also, be sure to keep
an eye out for Pat Roig, who should
be selling copies of his local flyer/
underground history book From
Stapleguns to Thumbtacks as well as a
selection of stickers. Pro tip: vinyl
hounds should bring a backpack
or shopping bag. Best of all, you
won’t see any big-name advertising
cluttering up the scenery, as RISE
fest is run by music freaks for music
freaks... exactly as it should be. —M.
Bevis
RISE Fest takes place from December
7th through the 9th at Siberia. For more
information, check out Siberianola.com for
advance tickets and risefest.blogspot.com for
a full schedule.
9
We cannot know for certain what the
significance of December 21st, 2012 was
to the ancient Maya. Unfortunately, the
remains of ancient Mayan civilization
lie in a moist, tropical environment that
damages most artifacts and records. We
do know that time-tracking was critically
important to their culture, since they
put a great deal of time and labor into
recording and measuring time. They
carved glyphs into enormous slabs of
rock that often recorded an extensive
number of days. Furthermore, they
would describe the calendar date in
great detail. For instance, the Gregorian
date of January 11, 699 is recorded in
the Mayan Long Count Calendar as
the much longer 9.11.16.8.18 9 Etz’nab
6 K’ayab. We also know that they
associated gods with certain periods of
time, further indicating that their culture
had a deep spiritual connection with
time.
WE DON’T KNOW:
THEREFORE PARTY
December 21st, 2012 comes 1,872,000
days after the beginning of the current
Mayan era. According to Mayan
creation myths, this era began on 11
August 3114 B.C.E., which was known
as the date 13.0.0.0.0 in the Mayan Long
phrase and the date itself is not
significant in this particular narrative.
Nevertheless, In recent years, panic has
set in as conspiracy theorists predicted
that the Mayans thought the world would
end this month. Most anthropologists,
archaeologists and experts in Mayan
culture say that there is no evidence to
support December 21st as the Mayan’s
best bet for Doomsday. Yet this panic
has produced a blockbuster movie, TV
specials and
books.
I fell victim to
this hysteria
myself nearly
a decade ago.
My geography
teacher,
a Cuban
immigrant who
occasionally
fell to her knees and prayed to be spared
from the horde of hyperactive seventh
graders, exposed us to some politically
and factually incorrect documentary
about Mayan calendars and predictions.
We watched in horror as virgins’ throats
Since their exposure to Western
presentations of the 12/21/12
scenario, Mayan writers,
Crossing our Fingers with the Doomsday
scholars and prayer-makers have
Cosmic Convergence Festival taken the date as a way to express
their fears about lack of balance
by Kate Russell
illustrations Ashlee Arceneaux
between humanity and nature.
Fire? Floods? Earthquakes? Asteroids?
What does December 21st, 2012
really mean? Surprisingly, for Giorgio
A. Tsoukalos, the answer is not aliens.
If you don’t recognize Tsoukalos’
name from his show Ancient Aliens
or sensationalistic History Channel
specials, you may recognize his
Internet meme, a GIF of Tsoukalos’
tanned face which recently went viral.
In the picture, the text “I DON’T
KNOW; THEREFORE ALIENS”
stands in front of his squinting brown
eyes, blindingly white teeth and
trademark porcupine hair. The meme
derives its humor from Tsoukalos’
absurd ventures into open-mindedness
by stating that we really just can’t
know if (insert ancient civilization,
artifact and building here) was made
by aliens or not. He personally thinks
that the memes are pretty funny.
For Tsoukalous, the last day of the
Mayan Long Count calendar means
a giant party: Cosmic Convergence
Festival. The end-of-the-world
themed bash will feature headliners
10
Ghostland Observatory and local
acts like Alex McMurray and the
Interstellar All-Stars, Quintron and
the Hot 8 Brass Band.
“Everybody’s freaking out about
December 21st, 2012, the alleged
end of the world. Which, by
the way, it isn’t,” says Tsoukalos
during my conversation with
him. He states, “The Maya never
predicted the end of the world.
They merely calculated the
end of their calendar. It just so
happens to end on that day. They
never said that the world was going to
end that day.” [see sidebar]
Tsoukalos has decided to take a
different approach from his gloomy
colleagues by organizing this fest.
Tsoukalos’s party will nod to its
Mayan origins by featuring a stepped
pyramid created by the Supreme
Overlord of the InterGalactic Krewe
of Chewbacchus. Rumor has it that
Tsoukalos will land on the pyramid
via spaceship.
Count Calendar. The literal significance
of December 21st, 2012 is that it is the
very last day of this calendar’s cycle.
This date, which is explicitly mentioned
in only one known site, marks the close
of the thirteenth
bak’tun cycle.
At 144,000
days, a bak’tun
is the largest
time period
that the Long
Count measured.
There were only
thirteen bak’tun
cycles. Thus
the calendar
would restart at zero, much like a car’s
odometer. December 22, 2012 would
be the beginning of the next immense
calendar cycle.
The major explicit written reference to
December 21st, 2012 cited by Mayan
scholars is Monument 6 at Tortuguero,
Mexico. This block of glyphs was first
translated as describing a descent of a
god at the end of the thirteenth bak’tun.
Recently, anthropologists have rethought
this 1996 translation. The original
translators Stephen Houston and David
Stuart now believe that it mentions
December 21st, 2012 as a prepositional
were cut and the silhouettes of human
bodies were thrown from the tops of
temples. The announcer, after praising
how accurate Mayan calendrics and
astronomers were, darkly warned us that
their calendar ended on 12/21/12. “For
a society so obsessed with counting,” the
narrator said ominously, “an end of a
calendar would be the end of the world.”
In his recent article “The 2012
Phenomenon Comes of Age” (published
in Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative
and Emergent Religions), Stetson University
professor Robert Sitler reports that
the contemporary Mayan people had
no symbolic significance attached to
12/21/12 until 2011. “When I first asked
in 2005, nobody had ever heard of it.
The last time I went down, almost all the
elders have heard of it,” Sitler says. He
notes that the average Mayan person has
not heard of the phenomenon, likely due
to limited access to television, internet
and movies.
In a fascinating example of cultural
exportation and re-importation, Mayan
intellectuals and prayer-makers first
heard about their ancestors’ Long
Count predictions from foreigners or
Western TV, including specials on the
History Channel. The Mayan origins
of the myth
impressed
them. While
the Long
Count
calendar
fell into
disuse over
a thousand
years ago, the
contemporary
Maya
continue
to use two other calendars today.
These calendars play an important
role in predicting personality traits,
performing rituals and tracking time.
Their continued respect for calendars,
combined with a cultural reverence for
their ancient ancestors, influenced some
Mayan intellectuals and elders to take
the Western idea of the Mayan end-oftimes and apply it to the changes they see
around them.
“The fact that their ancient ancestors
made this calendar has a lot of credence
for them,” says Sitler. On his last trip to
Guatemala, the elders in a large Mayan
town asked him to speak publicly about
December 21st, 2012 in order to calm a
few locals’ nerves.
Since their exposure to Western
presentations of the 12/21/12
Doomsday scenario, Mayan writers,
scholars and prayer-makers have taken
the date as a way to express their fears
about lack of balance between humanity
and nature. Sitler cites traditional prayermaker Sebastián López Gómez saying
that drastic changes will occur “because
there is no longer respect, nor offerings,
nor reflection... What I know is that we
cannot lack respect nor leave behind the
knowledge of our ancestors that we still
have. We should make offerings and give
gifts of candles.” K’iche Maya spiritual
guide Rigotberto Itzep Chanchavac,
who Sitler describes as a stand-up guy,
remembers the following: “You will still
see many warnings. You will still see and
“I heard that they’re going to have a
very interesting stage set up for this
one,” hints Thomas Ross Turner,
of Ghostland Observatory. Turner
is the percussionist and director of
Ghostland’s electrifying sets, which are
known for intense laser shows. Turner
commands the beat from a station of
synths, drum kits and keyboards. He
always wears a cape onstage, which
his wife sews for him. “I’m obviously
excited to play the show but I’m also
looking forward to seeing how they set
up the stage and pull it off. When it
was described to me, my reaction was
like, ‘Are you kidding?’”
“What better way to look at that date
than to throw a big, giant party?” says
Tsoukalos, who is also the director
of Erich von Däniken’s Center for
Ancient Astronaut Research. “We can
then claim that we were the ones that
prevented the end of the world. That’s
the whole shtick.”
hear strange things. You will still see
great ruin. There will be many changes
on Earth.”
Sitler continues, “When [Itzep
Chanchavac] first heard about 2012 in
the Mayan Long Count from foreigners
some years ago, it occurred to him that
the date might be what his K’iche’ elders
were referring to. He points out that the
21 December 2012 date occurs under the
influence of the yearbearer Noj, a day
associated with wisdom, contemplation
and insight coming from the Earth
itself.”
To put these interpretations in context,
the Mayan people in Guatemala
have witnessed massive human and
environmental destruction during
their lifetimes. According to the
Center for Justice and Accountability,
over 200,000 Guatemalans were
killed or forcibly disappeared during
Guatemala’s civil war. Out of the
victims identified by the U.N.-back
Historical Clarification Commission,
83% were indigenous Maya. In 19821983, an estimated 70,000 Mayan
people were killed or disappeared.
“In terms of population loss, it would be
like 10 million Americans dying,” says
Sitler. Additionally, soil erosion and water
pollution have spoiled the land that many
rural Mayan communities depend on
for their livelihood. The rain forests are
shrinking rapidly. According to Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations, Guatemala has lost nearly 25%
of its forest cover in the last 20 years.
These environmental changes are visible
to the Maya, who see the 2012 date in
the context of these trends.
“They accept themselves as a far greater
process and in the context of that
process it’s not a big deal. They just
accept what the day offers,” says Sitler.
“You won’t find a lot of whiners in this
part of the world.”
prayer-makers point to this date as
an encouragement to reflect, New
Orleanians will take this day as an
opportunity for yet another party.
New Orleans hasn’t been without
our own sufferings from population
loss and climate change. However,
as a culture, we tend to parade more
than reflect. “It’s a good time in New
Orleans. [December 22nd] rings in
a new era of a new period of time,”
says Tsoukalos. “And what better
place than New Orleans to ring in
that new era?”
The Cosmic Convergence Festival takes
place on December 21st at the Sugar Mill,
featuring Ghostland Observatory, Alex
McMurray and the Interstellar All-Stars,
Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Hot 8 Brass
Band, Rotary Downs, the Local Skank, DJ
Brice Nice, Ratty Scurvics,
Clockwork Elvis, the Green Demons and
others. For more information, check out
cosmicfestnola.com
While Mayan intellectuals and
11
Cutting the Fat:
Sweeney Todd Goes From Broadway to the Bywater
by SARA PIC
Maybe you don’t know his name, but you’ve probably heard rumors of “the demon barber”
who slits his customers’ throats; their bodies are made into meat pies and sold to unsuspecting
diners. The tale of barber-murderer Sweeney Todd has been around since the mid-1800s
and told in many versions, most famously in a 1979 Stephen Sondheim musical which the
AllWays Lounge & Theatre is tackling this month. I sat down with Director Dennis Monn,
Musical Director Ainsley Matich and Ratty Scurvics (playing the barber) to talk about the
difficulties of atonal harmonies, the joys of a challenge and the sweet smell of meat pies.
Sweeney Todd is one of
Sondheim’s most famous
musicals. What made you choose
this show, with all the history of
all the other productions it brings?
Dennis Monn: Sweeney Todd has not
been done here in New Orleans since
1987. Musically, it is one of the most
12
difficult pieces ever written in musical
theatre. And we love a challenge. I want
to do something that challenges all these
talented people I am working with,
that challenges myself, challenges the
AllWays. What we are doing is unheard
of. You will never see Sweeney Todd in a
space this size or with a cast this small.
The secret is if
everyone is having a
great time on stage,
the show won’t fail.
Ratty Scurvics: Or a cast this strange.
It is a real group of characters, no one
who is typically involved in musical
theatre.
Ainsley Matich: I met Dennis through
friends of friends. This seemed like a
really interesting project. I’m not a huge
musical theatre person. It’s not where
my training is but I love to do anything
that stretches me as a musician. This
absolutely does that, basically in every
way possible.
DM: The more I do theatre in New
Orleans, the challenge becomes even
more fun. The people are really into it.
The audience is like, “They’re going to
do Sweeney Todd at the AllWays Lounge?
How crazy is that?” That’s what I get
off on.
The cast, as you said, is small but
really extraordinary.
DM: There are ten people in the
show and a five-piece orchestra. I was
very careful with casting. I didn’t cast
any actors, mainly because musical
theatre actors fall into a certain type
of acting. They depend too much on
the characters and not enough on
singing. Sweeney Todd is kind of onedimensional. You don’t have fully
developed characters that you need to
do a history on. Opera singers are the
opposite. They sing so beautifully but
it doesn’t even sound like a musical. I
tried to go with the middle by casting
musicians... It’s so nice to be able to call
people and have Aurora Nealand, Brian
Coogan, Helen Gillet, Ratty Scurvics,
Pandora [Gastelum] [and] Altercation.
There’s this new boy to the AllWays,
Barron Burmaster, a composing student
at Loyola. This cast is stellar. But the
most important thing about any project
is that everyone like each other and
have a good time. I don’t put together
people based solely on talent level or
experience but that they also have such
great personalities and all get along.
The secret is if everyone is having a
great time on stage, the show won’t fail.
It just leaks out into the audience. It is
infectious.
You also seem to really like
producing musicals.
DM: This is our third musical we have
produced in a row. Zalia [BeVille, coowner of the AllWays] and I were like:
if we can do this, we can do anything.
AM: That’s how everyone in the cast
feels. If we can pull this off, there is
nothing we can’t do.
DM: This show typically has a cast
of forty and a production budget of
$100,000. We have a cast of ten and
nowhere near that much money. This
is truly about the spirit of performing
and entertaining.
AM: Sondheim is really good at writing
but once you discover the patterns in it,
there are really good tunes.
DM: They are doing five-part
harmonies with ten people!
AM: And really atonal harmonies,
things that are not instinctual notes to
go to. This cast picks it up amazingly. I
can’t even say how impressed I am.
DM: It is a lot of singing. It is a fucking
lot of singing.
Dennis, you always put your
distinctive mark on any show you
direct. Anything you want to let us
People are so stuck on
their perceived notions
of this show and the way
they think it is supposed to
be done but I am trying to
throw all that out. --DeNNIS MONN
music for moods. I am good at following
chord changes but there is none of that
in here. You have to be really good at
reading music. Sometimes he will go
from five sharps to six flats and you have
to catch it right away.
RS: Sometimes the melody and music
have absolutely nothing to do with each
other, which is really tricky. I really dig
the music now that my intimidation is
over and I am understanding it. It was
a bit of a mindfuck in the beginning.
It is really tricky stuff, really complex;
in on now?
DM: We will have some surprises. We
are adding some musicians to the cast
and some of the cast will be doing some
of the music. I’m throwing out what
people already perceive Sweeney Todd
to be and turning it into, hopefully, a
big party. A big creepy party. It will be
everywhere around you. The cast will
get bloody and gross and we are going
to pump stinky meat pie smells into the
audience. We will serve meat pies at
intermission. Free food!
RS: That’s why I like doing these things
with you. I don’t think on my own I
would pursue musical theatre. Although
so much of my music is theatrical and
all my records follow narratives (as far as
musical theatre), I’m not interested. But
I like the way you do it.
DM: I have to admit, I go to a lot of
theatre and I am bored. That’s my goal
as an artist: to make sure people aren’t
bored.
RS: It has to be a little dangerous,
doesn’t it?
DM: Yes, a little dangerous. People are
so stuck on their perceived notions of
this show and the way they think it is
supposed to be done but I am trying
to throw all that out. If you see your
best friend in the audience, say hello to
them for a second. Throw a little piece
of meat pie at them; it’s okay. I’m very
Brechtian when it comes to directing.
I never forget we are putting on a play.
Because the audience never forgets. To
own that fact is key. That’s the goal: to
stay in character and sell that but still be
able to do [winks and smiles]. I already see
moments where I think, that’s going to
steal the show. Right now, as it stands,
there are enough moments that people
would walk away feeling pleased. But
when I get all those moments together—
RS: They will walk away bloodied and
in tears, laughing hysterically.
Sweeney Todd runs at the AllWays Lounge
& Theatre, 2240 St. Claude Ave., for two
weekends, from December 6th through 16th at 8
pm. For more info, go to theallwayslounge.com
13
by Dan Mitchell
photo Gary LoVerde
The Body, an Arkansas-via-Rhode-Islandvia-Oregon duo, is the type of really
fucking loud that overwhelms your senses
and renders you helpless, like a clay pigeon,
as though at any moment the music
itself might just overtake your body and
obliterate it. Very few metal bands exhibit
the form of ponderosity the Body does
and it makes them seem a bit dangerous,
if not downright terrifying. Normally
opting to play on the floor (in the middle
of the crowd), with guitarist-vocalist Chip
King bellowing his lyrics (no microphone)
and drummer-samplist Lee Buford
pummeling his drum kit in sync with the
waves of distortion coming from the guitar,
the Body’s live shows tend toward the
unpredictable, to put it lightly.
Their vociferant hugeness only multiples
when you step back and realizes that all of
this is the work of just two men, without
even the brawn of a bassist. The Body do
not crush with lightning fast finger-runs,
jaw-dropping chord progressions or any
specific virtuosity in instrument, for that
matter. Instead they press with sheer, bleak
force and an uncompromising, depressive,
droning wall. As Buford explains, “Me
and Chip are admittedly not the greatest
musicians, so we have to rely on other
things to get our point across. [We] just
keep it simple and heavy.” Like a great
Conrad or McCarthy story, the Body
musically conjures worlds wrought with
14
desolation and hopelessness, acting as
guides through the atrocity and carnage.
Their eponymous debut record was first
released in 2004 on by Moganono Records.
What followed was a number of EPs
and splits, including the limited edition,
500-copy pressing of their “Copkiller”
EP, which consisted of two cover songs:
Body Count’s “Cop Killer” and MDC’s
“Dead Cops.” Circa December 2008,
the Body went into the Machines With
Magnets studio in Rhode Island to record
perhaps their best-known album to date,
the mammoth All the Waters of the Earth Turn
to Blood, which was released on doublegatefold vinyl by Aum War Records.
All the Waters took an entire year to record,
with the Body laying down their tracks first
before no less than 30 other musicians,
including Chrissy Wolpert’s Assembly
of Light Choir, who took to their songs
and added parts for the next 11 months.
Speaking about the long process of
creating the record, Buford says “for All the
Waters, we [Chip and I] recorded most of
the songs in a day or two; and that record
took a year of other people just laying stuff
on top of it. On the first song [“A Body”],
the choir wrote their part first and we
wrote to what they wrote. But that is the
only thing that we did not do beforehand.”
The time-intensive recording process
paid off, however, as All the Waters was a
highlight of 2010 and helped to garner
some serious acclaim from fans and critics
alike, even landing them face time on
NPR and in The New York Times.
Since 2008, when Buford and King
called Providence home, the Body has
been busy and on the move. They’ve
toured extensively and moved to
Greensboro, North Carolina for a spell
to record Nothing Passes (with Greensboro
outfit Braveyoung) as well as this year’s
Watchmen-inspired CD-R EP, “The Cold,
Suffocating Dark Goes on Forever, And
We are Alone,” which Buford describes
as something “we just recorded with
our friends, just trying stuff out.” They
permanently switched coasts this past June
and moved to Portland.
When asked about their next record
(which they hope to start sometime in
early 2013) Buford says “We will probably
go back to Providence; our friends do
Machines With Magnets there. They
know what we are doing so it is easy
to work with them. I am sure the choir
will be on it in some way; they are out
there anyway. It just kind of works out.”
Following up on how they might speed up
their recording process, Buford also spoke
on the dynamics of writing with King, as
well as how they find their sound: “I think
the thing that is good is that we really do
not listen to too much heavy stuff. The
heaviest stuff that we are continually
listening to is Swans—pretty much a lot.”
This month will find Buford and King
spending time in Portland before they
head back down South in late December.
“We are from Arkansas originally, so
we will drive back home for Christmas
and then play a couple of shows on the
way there and back,” Buford explains. A
couple of the shows will take place in New
Orleans, a city where they’re far from
strangers, having played here numerous
times at venues such as the Mudlark
Theatre, Zeitgeist and Siberia. They
are also good friends with Thou. Seeing
as the Body enjoys collaborating with
other bands, plus the fact that Thou and
the Body seem to be somewhat kindred
spirits in music, Buford did provide some
exciting news: “When we go down there,
I guess we are going to try to do a record
together... We will go down there for a
couple of days, start writing with those
guys, practice with them, see what comes
up and then go into the studio. I don’t
know how much stuff we will get done or
what will happen.”
The Body will be playing on Tuesday, January
1st at the United Bakery at 7pm. Small Bones,
Thou and Ghostlimb open. For more information,
visit atalossrecordings.com
by Michael Patrick Welch photos GARY LoVERDE illustration L. STEVE WILLIAMS
Wildman Louisiana guitarist and songwriter Bill Davis has toured his ever-loving ass off with some
version or another of his pioneering cowpunk band Dash Rip Rock for some 28 years. DRR’s 16th
album, Black Liquor (Alternative Tentacles), features fewer party anthems ala “Locked Inside A
Liquor Store With You” and the band’s glass-ceiling ‘90s modern rock radio hit, “Let’s Go Smoke
Some Pot.” The majority of Black Liquor was devised by Davis while crashing at a fishing camp in the
marshland, only reachable by boat – as evidenced by many a Dash lyric, Davis holds the fishing rod as
dear as the guitar.
But peaceful bayou surroundings didn’t inspire a peaceful album. Dash’s recent songs are a wee bit
slower, leaving more room for Davis’ ultra-killer guitar shredding. But the lyrics, written with help
from Davis’ girlfriend Cheryl Wagner (who’s contributed to public radio’s This American Life and
penned the post-Katrina memoir Plenty Enough Suck to Go Around), portend, in a sly, sarcastic,
sometimes goofy way, Louisiana’s doom. Let’s just say “black liquor” is not a shot you’d suck out of
some Coyote Ugly bartender’s pierced bellybutton.
Dash Rip Rock play a rare New Orleans club date this month at Siberia to celebrate the release
of Black Liquor. I followed Bill Davis onto a small boat for an interview at the aforementioned
inspirational Bayou Dularge fishing camp. But we talked about little outside of the many trout we were
catching and how to make a good ceviche.
So I later met with Davis at Vaughan’s bar in Bywater to discuss his growing shred-abilities, his
business dealings with Jello Biafra, his soon-to-be-released Billy Joe Shaver cover album with Tab
Benoit, Dash Rip Rock’s recent induction into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame (after Cowboy
Mouth, oh snap!) and the real meaning of “black liquor.”
Out on the boat you told me Dash
Rip Rock now has 17 albums?
Bill Davis: That’s just albums, not 45s
and whatnot. Officially, Black Liquor is our
16th record. The next one is done, it’s
with Tab Benoit.
And it is a Billy Joe Shaver
tribute album?
We have toured with Tab and worked
with Tab quite a bit and he’s a big Billy
Joe Shaver fan. I was a marginallyinterested fan; I knew some of his hits.
But Tab and his manager proposed that
we do a Billy Joe Shaver cover album. Tab
produced it. I sang the songs. It’s Dash
Rip Rock playing, with Tab doing pedal
steel; and we brought in a fiddle player.
Lots of acoustic guitar. It’s a country
record but we put a few punk elements
in there. We picked really obscure Shaver
songs from like, his hidden acoustic tapes.
It was an interesting project we did at Tab’s
House out in Houma, right on the bayou,
where he has a great studio called Whiskey
Bayou. We fished while we recorded.
You seem to fish everywhere
you record.
Tab had ponds stocked with bass!
Studio in the Country, where we
recorded Black Liquor with Ben
Mumphrey, has three ponds.
on Mammoth in North Carolina—
Mammoth was incredible, it got picked up
by Disney and they had some cool bands:
Squirrel Nut Zippers, Juliana Hatfield
and the Blake Babies. Then we went to
Dr. Dream in San Diego; then we went to
Ichiban in Atlanta. Alternative Tentacles
is very fair to their bands. They’re very
open; they don’t have any hidden books
or numbers. They’re very helpful. And
just being associated with his political
brand is cool. That kind of lifts us up a
little bit out of the typical southern band.
It’s been amazing being associated with
Alternative Tentacles.
So Dash is back on Alternative
Tentacles Records, your fourth
album there. How did you first link
up with Jello Biafra?
I met him back maybe in the late ‘80s
at South By Southwest. We kind of had
a record collector’s simpatico at the
beginning. We were backstage at a show
and he came up and introduced himself
and said, “I bought your seven-inch,”
meaning our first single, “Shake that
Girl.” He said he found a copy in San
Francisco and said, “I bought it for $20.”
That’s pretty stiff for a Dash Rip Rock
record but he said that was the going rate
on that record.
Speaking of political… Black
Liquor is sort of serious and tackles
a lot of Louisiana issues. Water and
the word “river” appear in almost
every song.
There’s a lot of rivers, yeah man. Dash
will have some whimsical stuff on each
record but then some stuff that’s not
serious or depressing but not so tongue in
cheek or funny. There are a couple songs
on this record that are funny – “VooDoo
Doll” has some cool lines that make
you giggle – but with this record we sort
of skipped around the whimsy. I grew
up here; I’ve lived in several different
towns in South Louisiana, so we take up
pollution and levees and the things that
can go wrong down here and often do.
Why ever release a record on
another label?
We just always hopped around before
we settled in with Jello. We were on 688
Records in Atlanta for a while; we were
I can’t help picturing you at that
fishing camp we went to or in that
little boat out on those marshes,
fishing and writing songs about it in
your head.
15
World” and “Black Liquor.”
The Dash songs seem to be slowing
down a bit.
You know, they are. “Touch of You” and
“Beck Moi Tchew” on Black Liquor crank
pretty fast but we’re definitely away from
that punkabilly cowpunk sound that was
our signature in the ‘80s.
But you’ve traded a little speed
for a lot more crazy guitar
shredding. How did you learn to
play lead guitar?
There are some great solos on this record.
You know, I just watched other guys play.
I would go out to bars in Lake Charles
and watch other bands, watch what the
lead guitar player was doing. I would even
watch videos when they started coming
out on MTV and I’d pick it up. Then I
moved to Nashville in ‘99 and lived there
for six years; and I went out to see every
guitar player, just sat and watched them.
That just blew my mind. Then finally,
when YouTube started putting guitar
videos up, that was all she wrote. There
are so many great how-to videos: “How
to Play a Country Lick,” “How to Play a
Van Halen Lick.”
the lead always sounds so
much better if you make the
proper faces while you’re
playing them. If you grimace
like you’re being shot in the
gut, people go “Gawd, he’s
good, what an awesome lead!”
Yeah, absolutely. Half of these songs
were written out in Dularge on the bayou,
away from civilization. You can really
cut yourself off when you go out to these
camps way out in the marsh. That camp
has a swing on the front porch and oyster
boats are going by all day; and the seagulls
are swooping around. It’s a real conducive
atmosphere for just strumming guitar on
the porch. The solitude, no neighbors. At
night time, there’s not a sound and at 5 in
the morning, a shrimp boat goes by and
that’s your alarm clock.
Dash played a party out there
once, you said? It doesn’t seem like
there’s enough space for a band to
set up on that little bob of marsh.
We had a little boat and a couple of
bigger boats and we put the PA and the
drums and everything on the boats and
we do a party there every year. The public
can anchor their boats and drink beer and
watch the band. We’re lit by the bonfire. It
really is awesome. There are a few people
out there who know who we are and a few
fans would show up in their boats. When
I was a kid growing up in Louisiana, we’d
be skiing and we’d pull the boat into a bar
and watch a band. That’s what the Black
Liquor song “Meet Me On the River” is
16
about: going out on your boat, bar to bar,
checking out the music.
But it seems mostly like being out
there contemplating the land pissed
you off a little.
I’ve never made a record that was focused
on the state—I always danced around it.
But this one is where I tried to address
things I like about Louisiana and also
things I don’t like about Louisiana. “Black
Liquor” is actually a term for a poison spill
in the Pearl River that caused a major fish
kill. Then there’s the levees breaking down
in Braithwaite; that’s what “Dirt” is about.
Criticism is missing from a lot of
regional art; so much of it is only
pure celebration.
Treme tries to do that but they sort of miss
the mark. It’s a good show and pretty
representative of what’s going on but in
general, the mood of the music and the
way they portray the city is always trying
to be uplifting—anybody that’s a downer
is just bringing down the jazz party. That’s
not what I think Louisiana is about.
There should always be people bringing
the blues. And that’s something Dash has
suffered through the years: when we have
some biting sarcasm about how things
are going politically, we get, “quit singing
about that mopey stuff.” We’ve had
people say that to us. [laughs]
So black liquor is not booze.
Dash has always been this drinking party
band but “black liquor” is actually a
pollutant that was dumped in the river
in Bogalusa. If you Google it, it’s a weird
substance; it comes from the paper mill
and it is poison. But it can also be used
as an alternative fuel: it can be added like
ethanol to gasoline. Some people think
it’s going to be the saving grace of the oil
industry or whatever: a clean fuel that you
can burn. But black liquor is a good thing
and a bad thing—that’s what’s so strange
about the substance. It’s good but if you
dump it into the water, it will kill fish.
The writer Cheryl Wagner helped
you pen the lyrics?
This was her first time writing songs and
she’s a natural. You can tell the craft
that’s been put into the words; you can
tell that someone like her chipped in.
That’s what makes it special for me. I’d
come up with rudimentary lyrics and then
she’d pitch in her ideas, then we’d put the
songs together. She also came to me with
two fully-formed lyrical songs, “In This
It sounds like you’re saying you just
got into playing lead guitar like five
years ago.
Really, I did. Dash was so punk the first
decade of the band that I didn’t feel I
needed to play leads. None of the punk
bands had solos. There was no skill
required to play punk rock and we were a
punk band for a long time. Then, as the
music changed a little bit I was like “What
if I do a ripping lead here?” And finally
people started noticing. They love it. And
the lead always sounds so much better if
you make the proper faces while you’re
playing them. If you grimace like you’re
being shot in the gut, people go “Gawd,
he’s good, what an awesome lead!”
Right, like it hurts him to be that
good! So, your alligator guitar – or
“alli-guitar” – that’s real?
It was made by John Preble, who manages
Bobby Lounge, the famous lounge singer.
He takes a Telecaster, takes off the
headstock and sticks on a real alligator
head. Then he covers the body in Liquid
Nails, then takes a stick and uses his
fingers and makes an alligator skin design.
Then he paints it so it looks like alligator
skin. He made mine for nothing because
I go around the country playing it and
I have sold like six of those for him.
Tab Benoit played it, Glenn Tilbrook
(Squeeze) played it. It’s a weird piece of
art that’s kind of ugly – kind of a hideous
looking thing – but it’s kinda cool for
Louisiana. I couldn’t take it to Europe
because it had part of an animal body on
it. They wouldn’t let it on the plane.
Since you began in 1985, what has
been the biggest period for Dash
Rip Rock?
It’s debatable. When we started in ‘88,
‘89 (being managed by Kelly Keller),
Jimmy Ford got us on tour with the Dbs.
We did some huge tours behind those
first three records, which were all top-ten
college radio records; and then we were
able to go to Europe and I thought that
might have been our biggest period. But
then ten years in, in ‘96, we did “Let’s Go
Smoke Some Pot” and it was the middle
of modern rock radio’s
with
Louvieretake-over
and Vanessa
(2009)
Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots and
Nirvana; and the pot song did so well
among all those grungy songs, it was sort
of an uplifting moment on modern rock
radio. Having a radio hit, suddenly you
aren’t even playing clubs; in the ‘80s we
played clubs and theatres, then with the
pot song we’re playing these giant radio
festivals. But those two periods, we sold
the same amount of records.
bands like Cowboy Mouth and Better
than Ezra, bands that followed in our
footsteps. We were the first band to get
played at college radio nationally, the first
to get in a van and tour. That’s why we
got into the Hall of Fame. We launched
a whole movement where bands used our
model to go farther than we went with it.
So I felt like the Hall of Fame thing was
justified! [laughs]
Over 28 years, you’ve probably
gotten to meet and play with a ton
of your heroes.
Oh yeah. I was a huge Cramps fan
throughout the ‘80s and Ivy herself
called and invited us to tour with them
for two months. And since we were
Ivy’s handpicked band, Lux was kind
of jealous of us. We had this kind of
love/hate relationship with Lux Interior.
They would come knock on my door at
the hotel in the morning and we would
go record shopping. To me, that was
hero worship right there. When I was in
Nashville, Glenn Tilbrook (the singer of
Squeeze) contacted me through a friend
– he played with us at Voodoo Fest this
year – and he came to Nashville and I put
together a band for him and we recorded
his record Transatlantic Ping Pong. That was
super huge for me; I was such a Squeeze
fan through my younger years. I didn’t
produce the record but I picked the band
members and the studio. Also meeting
the Dbs and getting to know Alex Chilton
here in town when I moved back from
Nashville, that was another big thing for
me. We had the same birthday and he was
deeply into the numbers thing.
Was Cowboy Mouth already in there?
Yeah, they got in there before us. Better
Than Ezra, too. [smiles] I think they sold a
few more records.
Tell us about your induction into
the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame
In the ‘80s there were a lot of bands in
New Orleans playing punk and new wave,
Dash Rip Rock play Siberia with King Louie and
the Cons and the Prose on Saturday, December 15.
For more information, check out dashriprock.net
Often bandmates part on bad
terms and never become friends
again; but you actually toured with
Cowboy Mouth in 2011. Why did
you initially part ways with [exDRR drummer and Cowboy Mouth
singer/drummer] Fred LeBlanc?
When Fred was in Dash Rip Rock, he
was offered a record deal, a solo/major
label deal. And we were on an indy! He
left us to pursue his solo career and we
stayed the indy route. We’ve always been
friends and we continue to write songs
together. But it was a little ugly when it
first happened; we were really hurt that he
was gonna stomp out on us. We were in
the middle of a deal with Island Records
when it happened. So it kinda burned us
for a little while. The guy from Island then
had a heart attack in his bathtub the week
he was supposed to sign us. We’ve had
some weird moments where we were right
on the cusp and some weird twist of fate
happened. But it’s just the way life is.
17
by Graham Greenleaf
photo: Joshua Brasted
In 1996, DJ Shadow released his debut album Endtroducing... which not only changed the face
of hip-hop but opened the eyes and ears of an entire generation to sample-based music. Since then, he
has released several albums and EPs and collaborated with the likes of Blackalicious, Little Dragon
and Cut Chemist. With a career spanning over 20 years and a myriad of styles, Shadow is not one
to be pigeonholed into one genre or another and has constantly reinvented his sound as he alone sees fit.
The culmination of this extensive back catalogue is now available in a limited edition box set entitled
Reconstructed: The Definitive DJ Shadow. I was fortunate enough to chat with DJ Shadow
about his work over the last two decades, what inspires him and whether or not hip-hop still sucks in
2012.
ULTIMATELY IT COMES DOWN TO
WHAT’S GOING TO ALLOW ME TO
GET FROM POINT A TO POINT B THE
QUICKEST OR WHAT WILL ALLOW
ME TO SPEND AS LITTLE TIME AS
POSSIBLE READING MANUALS AND
MORE TIME BEING CREATIVE
Back in the day you started on
four track and then moved on to
an MPC. What other pieces of
gear have you picked up since
you started and how has your
production changed or grown over
the years?
DJ Shadow: There have been a lot of
things that I’ve tried. Concurrent to me
using a four track, I was able to play
around with an SP-1200 sampler, which
was the standard before the MPC; and
the reason I chose the MPC back in ‘92
was because it was something different
and because it was new and untried. I
had heard a lot of good things about it
but there really wasn’t anyone using it
18
yet and it would be several years before
people started to make the switch to it.
I’ve always liked the idea of using things
that were a little bit different because I felt
that it would make my sound different.
Also, around ’93 I was exposed to Pro
Tools and what it could do. Back then it
was basically a digital four-track recorder
without plugins or anything. I liked the
editing function of it and the fact that
you could do edits without the use of
tape, which is something that always
intimidated me. Ultimately it comes down
to what’s going to allow me to get from
point A to point B the quickest or what
will allow me to spend as little time as
possible reading manuals and more time
being creative and actually making music.
Endtroducing... is almost entirely
sample-based but since then you
have collaborated with different
artists such as De La Soul’s
Posdnuos and Radiohead’s Thom
Yorke. Has there been an increase
in live instrumentation in your
music or have you remained pretty
strict about staying sample-based?
The U.N.K.L.E. record [Psyence Fiction],
which I worked on after Endtroducing…,
was a way to broaden my pallet and try
new things that I never had the budget or
opportunity to do on my own. I’m trying
to think about anything on Endtroducing…
that wasn’t sample based. I mean, Jason
Newsted played theremin on it but I
don’t think we recorded any drummers
because I was very adamant about doing
all the drums myself. There’s very little
instrumentation on U.N.K.L.E. and with
The Private Press I went back to all samples.
With The Outsider I opened it up a lot in the
sense that I made tracks with absolutely
no samples. A lot of the hyphy [short for
hyperactive] sounding stuff has no samples
because hyphy isn’t sample-based music
and I wanted to make pure hyphy on that
record. On The Less You Know, the Better,
I went back to all samples again and, to
be honest, I felt that I had achieved what
I had been trying to do for several years,
which was to blur the lines with samplebased music to the point that it doesn’t
feel sample-based anymore. There are a
couple of tracks on that record, like “Run
For Your Life” and “Warning Call” (with
Tom Vek) for example, that for me feel
like a band playing. I was really proud of
moments on the last album as well; I felt
like I had finally achieved the removal of
“is it or is it not sample-based?” from the
dialogue. I was able to create sample-based
music that was so seamless that even the
experts were fooled as to whether it was
sampled or not. I do feel like sampling is
more risky now, especially with the internet
and people blowing your cover and
revealing what you used. It doesn’t matter
how obscure it is, someone is going to be
able to figure it out. I think going forward,
working with samples is a pretty risky
proposition.
As far as manipulation of samples,
do you do more one-shots or
loops? Do you use any different
techniques such as time-stretching
or reverse to completely change the
sound of a sample?
I’ve done a little of everything that
you can do. I’ve always employed any
technique that will get me where I want to
go. I’ve always looked at sampling almost
like sound effects work in the movies. You
see some films that didn’t have a large
budget and you can see artifacts; or it
doesn’t feel totally convincing when you’re
looking at the special effects. Then you see
others that the effects are a notch above
and you can tell they were done by a real
craftsman/artist. I’ve always tried to apply
the same aesthetic to my sample work, so
to speak. Certainly with electronic music
right now, people are really pushing the
boundaries of what can be done with
samples as far as really demolishing
sounds and turning them inside out in
really interesting ways. I really enjoy
listening to that but the path I was on,
at least on the last record, was taking
samples that are very clean and pristine
and working with them in a completely
different context. Almost like trying to do
the impossible with a completely different
set of rules.
What is the most gratifying thing in
performing your music live but also
in the studio? What compels you to
write and keeps you going?
Just a desire to contribute. I became a DJ
to expose people to music that I thought
was worthwhile and underappreciated
and that aesthetic still applies when I DJ. I
don’t want to play things that people have
heard five trillion times if I can help it. I
like to expose people to new and different
things. To that effect, I spend a lot of time
listening to new music and keeping up
and staying current, making sure that my
sets are contemporary. There’s nothing
more dull and depressing than going to
see a DJ that I respect and who’s been
around a long time playing what they
think the audience wants them to. As far
as making music, it’s similar. I became a
producer because I wanted to contribute
to hip-hop culture and music and at that
time in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, it was
still a very cohesive cultural movement.
Obviously, a lot of that has dissipated over
time (as with any genre) when it becomes
a victim of its own success and excess. I
still have a desire to contribute in a more
general musical sense and as my listening
has become more diverse, I feel less and
less of an obligation to be “more hip-hop
than thou.” I just like to manifest music
out of all of my influences.
Is that something that you
consciously decide before you
sit down in the studio? Do you
producer in mind but I’ll usually give
it up or stop halfway if I feel like it’s an
imitation of someone else. I feel like it will
only be interesting to other people and it
will only be contributing if I take it in a
direction that’s unique.
You put a lot of detail into your
drumwork. Do you play drums or
are there any breakbeats or favorite
drummers that you find yourself
going back to over and over?
I had a vintage Slingerland kit that I
bought as a gift to myself in the late ‘90s
and played it until the neighbors couldn’t
take it anymore. Interestingly, it’s just
recently come back into play because I
AS MY LISTENING HAS
BECOME MORE DIVERSE, I
FEEL LESS AND LESS OF AN
OBLIGATION TO BE “MORE
HIP-HOP THAN THOU”
go in and say to yourself, “today
I’m gonna do a hip-hop tune or a
hyphy tune” or do you sit down and
whatever comes out comes out?
I usually sit down with some sort of
inspiration in mind. 99% of the time I sit
down with something and it takes a left
turn and I think that’s where my music
gets interesting. Just like with anything,
if you pick up a guitar you might start
with something you’re familiar with like
Hendrix or “Smoke on the Water” to
warm up. You imitate your heroes for
a while and when it gets important and
interesting is when you start applying your
own personality to it. Lots of times in
the past, I would sit down to do this kind
of track or that kind of track with some
have started using pads during my DJ sets
so there’s a performance component to
my sets now. I’m continuously tapping out
drums any time I sit down or when I’m
bored. A lot of people do that but people
have told me I’m obsessed because my
hands literally never stop moving. Drums
are the single most important element
to the music I love, whether it’s hip-hop,
funk or any type of music. Drums are it.
The patterns, the fills—I’m into all that
and certainly breakbeats even if they’re
not ultra-obscure. Something like “Funky
Drummer” is a break that I’m constantly
tapping out. It’s drilled into my brain. So
many hip-hop records used that break
and it’s an amazing performance and a
cool syncopation. The swing on that beat
is deceptively difficult to master and I just
think it’s one of the most genius breaks of
all time... and “Amen, Brother” of course.
As far as crate digging, I’ve read
that you go in and look for certain
producers or labels. Is there
anything that you look for or is
there a system you use to find what
you’re looking for?
It’s a journey. When I started in the ‘80s,
records were cheap—especially the type
I was looking for. It was really a time and
knowledge thing and it was all wide open.
There was no reference guide or internet
article that you could print out and take
with you or have on your phone. The
knowledge was hidden and it took me 25
years to get where I am now. In that 25
years, I’ve looked at literally millions of
records and if there’s something that you
come across that you’ve never seen before,
you’re going to stop and look at it and if
it’s cheap, you’re going to buy it because
it could be anything. I don’t necessarily
go out and look for drums anymore. It’s
more that this is an interesting record
and there are so many reasons to buy it
outside of sampling or any kind of crate
digging aesthetic. I spend just as much
time listening to new music because I
like to support new music... I think this
is kind of the golden age for bedroom
producers to get their stuff out there.
I hear amazing stuff every day that
inspires me as far as the programming
or in terms of how they approach what
they’re doing and making old things
sound new. I think people fetishize crate
digging a lot. It’s a nice archetype and it’s
been an incredible part of my life but it’s
something I’m kind of private about. It’s
not a very social thing for me. It’s more
of an individual pursuit. There are all
kinds of magazines and websites now that
celebrate it and ask questions like, “What’s
your most expensive record?” I feel like
I never have answers for those kinds of
questions because it’s a lifestyle thing for
me, because it’s something I do but it’s
very solitary. At a certain point I feel like
it was important to tell people what it was
and what it was about; but it’s become so
fetishized over the last 15 years that I find
myself not really talking about it.
On Endtroducing... you have a
song called “Why Hip-Hop Sucks
in ‘96.” Does hip-hop still suck in
2012 and why?
You’ll be crushed to learn that you are
not the first to ask that question and
I probably answer that question on a
weekly basis. [laughs] It was a tonguein-cheek title but I love hip-hop or I
wouldn’t have made the record I made.
I still love hip-hop but the culture, as I
said earlier, has sort of dissipated, which
is sad. But as with any tree there are all
kinds of branches and roots that come
out of it. It continues to influence what
I like and what I represent in my DJ
sets and the music that I make. It’s still
relevant and there’s still some good stuff
as well as a lot of trash, just like always. I
wouldn’t have made that type of record
and written those liner notes if I didn’t
love hip-hop dearly.
DJ Shadow will perform at the Republic
on December 13th, as part of the monthly
Bassik night. For more information on
Reconstructed: The Best of DJ Shadow
and Reconstructed: The Definitive DJ
Shadow, check out djshadow.com
19
The
AMERICAN
WET DREAM
by ANTON FALCONE photos JUSTIN BAKIES
My invite to the Exxxotica adult
entertainment convention in Edison,
New Jersey did not come with a savethe-date but with a reminder to bring my
boner because they would be giving away
tits. The 4 AM drive from Greenpoint,
Brooklyn to Edison was plagued with
conflicting playlists. My hyper-sexual
photographer, Justin Bakies, was insistent
on playing the Smiths and warm butterknife bleeders. I unplugged the auxiliary
cable from his phone and said, “There
are very specific songs for what we are
about to see. ‘Do Something Strange’ or
‘Shutterbugg’ or anything by Jamie Foxx;
get out of BK and into NJ.”
I considered Kendra, the clerk at the
Homewood Suites, forewarned. She knew
we were checking in early, leaving late and
on the smut junket. Before I hung up the
phone and after confirming our last-minute
and long-winded reservation, she said,
“The comp breakfast buffet will be ready,
20
extra beer will be chilled and the pool and
jacuzzi will be open by your arrival.” I
looked at JB and said, “Indoor pool. You
brought swimming pants?” He said, “I’m
wearing underwear.”
I woke up from a starch-and-chlorine coma
at 11 AM in my still damp swimming
attire; a half eaten waffle was on the
nightstand next to the alarm clock. “Justin,
we need to meet Mike Munkey in an
hour.” Dressed in our porno convention
finest, we bounced our way through the
industrial-complex labyrinth that is Edison,
New Jersey in search of the mythical
Temple of Poon. We passed a Stop & Shop
grocery and ran in for non-perishables.
The Exxxotica organization decided to
spearhead a “back-to-normal” campaign
by having a food drive for the residents
of the region most affected by Hurricane
Sandy. Hormel chili and dolphin-free tuna
seemed fitting, as they are quite possibly
the most erotic canned goods available.
I had been in the moist
for 20 minutes and
had already seen a
decade’s worth of
Bourbon Street Mardi
Gras debauchery—and
they weren’t even
selling alcohol.
The convention center parking lot was
packed with tailgaters sucking down
Yuenglings, charging extra camera
batteries and listening to alt radio. It was
a sea of trunk-drunk bros. We hit Mike
Munkey on the hip and announced our
arrival. “Okay, I will meet you out front.”
Mike “Munkey” Beadle is the owner and
CEO of Munkey Barz: Love Handles
For Your Hips. He is a New Orleans
playboy who had a keen eye for a specific
hole in the adult entertainment market
and possessed the critical mass to fill it.
Mike built the Munkey Barz prototype
in his Louisiana garage. He was hell-bent
on designing a product that would give
everyone a chance to have a better grip on
their partner. Since his sex-belt debuted in
2011, he has had to hold on tight. Munkey
Barz has been featured on the Howard Stern
Show, mentioned in popular rap songs by
Lil’ Wayne and T.I., worn by A, B and
C-list pornstars and is featured in DMX’s
video for his track “I Don’t Dance.”
in for the Koala hug. I almost chipped
my tooth but I knew I was going to choke
the juice out of the beast and could have
probably rode the bastard all the way
to Jackson Hole. The crowd of perverts
cheered; and as I was collecting my
personal effects, the operator said, “That
was better than most chicks.” I attempted a
Jack Twist impersonation and said, “I don’t
ride horses; I ride cowboys.”
JB started talking up Cherry Crush at
the Chaturbate booth and I could not
blame him. The Chaturbate girls were
the youngest, prettiest, hippest, most nonthreatening of the entire convention. I gave
him room to talk with Cherry about the
Smiths or reclaimed sweater vandal gloves
or whatever and hit the restroom.
We introduced ourselves to Mike. He gave
Justin and me our passes, asked what was
in the grocery bag and said, “Follow me.”
Once we were through the lobby, it was
an immediate overload of hot pink and
red, pole dancers, stripclub bass thumpers
vibrating the air, Lamborghinis filled with
naked women, dick pill samples being
flung, dick pill samples being eaten, camera
flashes, tube sock tits with coffee cup saucer
pasties, gimps, latex, tattooed asses, dollar
bill confetti, a pretzel stand... “Mike, wait
a minute” ...donated food receptacles,
cockolate candy, cages, barely legals on
swings, very legals in chains, leather and
Ron Jeremy.
We finally ended up at Mike’s booth and
he immediately started helping customers
and promoting his invention. The talk
around the Munkey Barz table was that
the day usually starts off slow but by
nightfall it would be popping off. I thought
to myself, “Slow? I had been in the moist
for 20 minutes and had already seen a
decade’s worth of Bourbon Street Mardi
Gras debauchery—and they weren’t even
selling alcohol.” The Munkey Barz booth
was already being swamped and there
was a short but consistent line of people
waiting to be fitted for their new belt.
Barbie, Mike’s girlfriend, was wearing a
pink belt and let me get a feel for how the
product worked. I stood behind Barbie
and had a firm grip on the handlebars.
When she bent over in front of me, it felt
like I was riding a sex machine. It was
only a simulation and demonstration but
I could tell there was no governor on the
throttle. Mike said, “Watch.” He grabbed
the Barz, had Barbie wrapped around his
waist and was curling her like an erotic,
sweet-smelling free weight. Again, these
exercises were only a demonstration but
Barbie was far from dead weight. I noticed
Mike’s fleur-di-lis neck tattoo, felt a little
NOLA pride and told him we were going
to let him get back to work. He said, “Go
cruise the floor. We will talk later. Come
to the afterparty.” Mike also said, “Help
yourself to our ice chest,” so we grabbed a
Solo cup, poured a secret brew, waved bye
to Barbie, Tara Lynn Foxx and Raven Bay
and assured them we would swing by later.
Set free to roam the halogen-lit floor, I
realized the lumens highlighted features
of some stars but showed the robot rover
tracks on others. As we turned the corner
from Gianna Michaels’ booth, I made eye
contact with her. She winked. I chubbed.
We then crossed paths with a body painter
who was airbrushing a petite brunette’s
bare chest with a Wonder Woman motif.
The use of her cesarean scar to add depth
to her golden belt was noted and praised.
While I was eavesdropping in on a vendor
explaining the importance of proper
The line of urinals was completely empty.
I used one close to the middle of the row;
and as I was staring at the wall, I heard
someone come in and saw in my peripheral
the urinal next to me was now occupied
by Ron Jeremy. The only possible way
pecker insecurity could have been greater
would have been if the Los Angeles Lakers
flooded the men’s room during halftime.
The convention floor now began to fill
with all types of creatures. As the evening
approached, the ratio of female-to-maleto-shemale started to increase. There were
now more ladies in the crowd and they
were all strutting their stuff. They might
not have been pornstars, but they were
dressed as if they were ready to wet up a
casting couch or two. The atmosphere had
gone from a spectator-driven event into a
crowd participation party.
I told a large black dominatrix with two
leashed subjects wearing leather masks
that I ran a reasonable rate, gimp walking
service. In good fun, but with force, she
made me kiss her red leather high heels
and then made me bite her fishnet and
leather-covered ass. As Justin was taking
my photo with her, I noticed her male slave
was wearing a Fudpuckers t-shirt. I kept
my mouth shut as there was a whole lot
more ass left to bite.
While Justin was waiting to meet Aleksa
Nicole, I went to check on the Munkey
Barz crew. They were now completely
engulfed by fans and customers. I had to
walk behind and through adjacent, now
empty booths to get to Mike. I asked him
how it was going. He said, “We sold out.
I don’t know what we are going to do
tomorrow.”
timing when using Rush inhalant to
achieve a maximum orgasm, I saw the
convention’s only amusement ride. The
mechanical penis.
I took my complimentary sniff of Rush,
grabbed JB by the camera strap and wah
wah wahed towards the genital rodeo.
As we were leaning on the perimeter of
the inflatable safety ring, a New Jersey
Marie with ‘Slut’ embolized booty shorts
was whipped into the air and nearly
struck by the flesh-colored fiberglass balls
hanging from beneath the saddle. It was
her second time on the bucking tube
stallion and obviously could not tame the
cylindrical steed.
The conversation JB and I had that
followed is closely related to the dialog that
leads up to a hillbilly’s dying declaration:
“Betcha I will.”
“Betcha you won’t.”
“Hold my beer.”
I helped the prick-lashed Marie exit
the moon bounce flooring and ThreeAmigoed my way onto the beast like a true
cocksmith. I looked at the attendant while
tipping my invisible cowboy hat to signal
the opening of the gate and knew this oneeyed bastard was going to pump hard. I
used the rein to hang on at first but quickly
grabbed for the protruding vein. After 5
seconds, my grip was slipping; I then went
All of the girls promoting Munkey Barz
were lined up and twisted together. They
were using the handlebars to execute
daring girl-on-girl acrobatics. Constant
flashes and paparazzi request were
being thrown at them. The girls obliged
and smiled and batted fuck-me eyes. I
looked for the hidden fan that seemed to
constantly blow their hair sensually across
their shoulders but realized it was the wind
from the wave of oncoming success. There
was a grin on Mike’s face that is commonly
found on people riding the American
Creamer at Sixxx Flags. Exciting and
thrilling, but you must keep your hands on
the barz at all times.
21
HOT 8 BRASS BAND
THE LIFE AND TIMES
OF THE HOT 8 BRASS BAND
(TRU THOUGHTS)
The life and times of the Hot
8 has been tempestuous,
indeed. Far too many of
their members have been
shot and the violent death
of one - snare drummer
Dinerral Shavers - sparked
the 2007 march against
crime. Somehow, the band has persisted and even
thrived, maintaining a regular gig at the Howlin’
Wolf, traveling and performing all over the world,
working with master jazz clarinetist Dr. Michael
White and becoming a tighter unit. 2005’s Rock
With The Hot 8 established them as a troupe to
watch, with its potent, raucous mix of brassy
funk, r&b and a dash of rock having to tide us all
over until now... But Life and Times at first seems
to suffer from a sophomore slump. “Steaming
Blues,” as album intros go, is conservatively fun,
the one standout being the trumpet work in the
song. Things pick up after that, with the trumpet
bringing the funk to a boil in “Bingo Bango,” but
the overall vibe of Life and Times’ instrumentals
tends to be more along the lines of what the
Soul Rebels would bring. “New Orleans (After
The City),” the in-your-face swinging attitude
of “Let Me Do My Thing,” “Can’t Hide From
The Truth,” a message to the NOPD concerning
the unresolved circumstances of band member
Joseph Williams’ death and the band’s unique
take on the Specials’ “Ghost Town” are the
biggest flashes of the Hot 8 of 2005 you’ll hear
on this set of songs, showing that when the band
keeps its roots and its storytelling close by, it reaps
some incredible musical dividends. Word is, this is
the first of two albums, Life and Times having more
of a “party atmosphere,” while the other will be
more reflective. Considering that the band has
only released an album of remixes between Rock
and Life and Times, the second set of songs can’t
be released soon enough; now that the Hot 8 have
whetted our appetites a little for their recorded
sounds, they’d best bring it on. —Leigh Checkman
JASON ISBELL & THE 400 UNIT
LIVE FROM ALABAMA
(LIGHTNING ROD RECORDS/
THIRTY TIGERS)
Jason Isbell is an incredible musician but first and
foremost, he is a consummate storyteller. The first
full-length live album from his solo outing is proof
that he was, in many ways, the emotional core of
22
his former band, the Driveby Truckers. Isbell’s songs
were always heartbreakers
and the raw emotion and
energy he injects into these
tracks raises very literal
goosebumps. Recorded at
a series of shows in Jason’s
home state (Huntsville and Birmingham to be
specific), the record opens with “Tour of Duty,”
a fun number off the most recent album, Here
We Rest, that handles the heavy subject matter of
returning soldiers with the warmth and realism
it deserves. But you can save your hankies for
a similarly-themed later track, “Dress Blues.”
Written for a fallen soldier, it does a gut-wrenching
job of humanizing those numbers on the evening
news. There is even a solid cover of Neil Young’s
“Like a Hurricane” featured. And all that is
lacking here is the bombast with which some of
these songs were played during the DBT years
(can anything really best a triple-guitar assault?).
And yet, some of the most affecting moments
come courtesy of tracks that were standouts
during Jason’s stint with DBT. No one can deny
those were amazing days of creativity for all
three of the group’s songwriters but tracks like
“Decoration Day” and “Goddamn Lonely Love”
are things Jason can hang his hat on into his latter
years. Expertly crafted, they hit like an anvil to
the chest and I find myself totally unable to resist
being swept away by them, no matter how many
times I’ve heard them before. And isn’t that what
a good storyteller does? —Erin Hall
DOMINIQUE LEJUENE
WAKE
(CHINQUAPIN/COMMUNITY)
When she’s not busy DJing
for WTUL or writing
for
ANTIGRAVITY,
Dominique
LeJeune
must be hollowed away
in a cocoon somewhere,
crafting
these
kooky,
dreamy tunes. They’re
calling this an EP but I’m not sure why, as there
is definitely an album’s worth of broken-hearteddoll opera in this precious package. The first song
on Wake is a dark storm of an eye-opener with an
ocean’s worth of reverb washing over it. “Penny
Please” and “Summer’s Slumber” are a lot more
terrestrial and acoustic, reminiscent of the sicklysweet Kimya Dawson. Wake in general feels like a
Wes Anderson production, as if it were recorded
inside a dusty old mansion, the lyrics pecked out
on a typewriter by an Emily Dickinson devotee.
From the packaging - a dark, bottom-of-the-sea
sleeve to the stark white insert - to production
courtesy of Ross Farber, Wake finds its energy in
between the ultra-precious and venomous, a kind
of deceptive cuteness that could kill you. Kind of
like a jellyfish. —Dan Fox
LOVEY DOVIES
SHIVE
(TUFF FUZZ / LOUD BABY)
While this album may not
have been recorded with
a permanent, fixed group
of musicians, its stylistic
cohesion has to spell good
things for the direction of
a band (and a frontman)
that had lost its way. After
a series of lineup changes,
James Hayes got together with some great local
artists and friends and banged out this short but
terribly sweet bit of aural goodness. The more
I spin it, the more I like it. It’s not particularly
complex musically, but it has the lyrical twists and
bends one has come to expect from Hayes, who
wears his mantle as the charming fuckup quite
well here. He hasn’t completely put away the
early ‘90s grunge feel but it’s been lightened in
spots and the quieter moments come off much
more like a lost Elliott Smith track - raw, ugly
and brutally honest but somehow still touching.
“Not Like You” is probably the most “punk” song
on the record and perhaps my favorite. It’s the
resonating repetition of the line “There’s always
some just as lonely as you / And they‘re gonna
talk your motherfucking ear off too / But they’re
not like you” that gets me every time. While the
kind of honesty present on this record can be
jarring and sometimes disturbing (see “Betrayed”
- especially the part about the dog), it’s an album
you’ll easily keep on repeat for weeks without
burning out. —Erin Hall
THE NEW LOWS
I COULDN’T SLEEP
(SELF-RELEASED)
I Couldn’t Sleep reunites
Shyster alumni Michael
Levin and Wesley Snowden
in an actual permanent
band in the place where
it all started: Orlando,
Florida (but recorded
in Algiers). The two exbandmates teamed up on the New Lows’ previous
release, Atlantic/Pacific, which was more of a solo
project for frontman Michael Levin; but this
second full-length record has that “we worked on
these songs for months together in a garage” feel.
For those of you familiar with Shyster’s catalog,
you will immediately recognize Levin’s raspy,
energy-charged vocals that sound better than
ever, but don’t expect a rehash of Say Uncle. While
the opening track, “Losing Streak” can be seen
as the legless fish from which the New Lows have
evolved, this isn’t a punk rock album. It’s a great
mix of light-hearted pop tunes that make even
the most slew-footed of us want to wiggle about
and some somber tunes where you can almost
smell that shot of Jameson resting on the bar
under your slung-over head, making all of your
problems even worse. “Pilgrim” is the essential
track on this record; it rolls in like a storm cloud
made from molasses vapors—slow and sticky and
murky and sweet across the plains. You feel like
you were just rained on when it ends. “St. Sans”
bridges the gap between ballsy guitar sludge and
danceability with a great set of Wes Anderson
“ooh oohs” as a bonus. If you were one of the
late ‘90s Shyster cult followers between here and
Houma, you need to jump on this or if you just
want to dance between revisiting all of the times
your heart was broken. —Kevin Barrios
TESTAVERDE
HOG BURST
(SELF-RELEASE)
Don’t judge Hog Burst by
its cover. It isn’t a lost
Anvil demo or a Corrosion
of Conformity greatest
hits collection designed
by your mother in her
page layout class. What
lies inside is 16 tracks of
absurd guitar calisthenics
and sonic pop timed to meet the demands of
the modern attention span. 63% of the songs
clock in under 2 minutes. That’s not a bad
thing; you will never get bored. By the time
you click on that Facebook phone alert and
you see that photo of your friend’s new kitten
or what your one right-wing friend said about
your anti-Romney post, you are already on to
the next track. Hog Burst sticks to the melodic
short burst featured on their previous release,
Hate the Baby, but offers much more in terms of
diversity. With “Campers,” for instance, I keep
imagining guiding an elf-like creature through
an 8-bit forest searching for gold coins, casting
spells and trying to save a princess. “Francine,”
another track that isn’t the usual 2-minute mile,
seems like a beautiful, yet graphic description
of farm animals being butchered; though I
suspect it’s really some vague metaphor for
blowjobs. “Hog Burst” closes out the album
sounding like someone handed out a thousand
guitars to a room full of schizophrenics and hit
record. —Kevin Barrios
NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE
PSYCHEDELIC PILL
(REPRISE)
This is the deep end of
Neil Young, so take care
if you’re diving into this
one first. It’s no secret
that Young (and his
longtime backing band
Crazy Horse) inspired
the guitar heroes of the
P. CURRAN
STAY OUT OF NEW ORLEANS
(CADIZ & CADIZN’T)
The author of these “strange tales” contends
that each is representative of a world gone
by, a ‘90s New Orleans that was washed
away. Whether that matters or not with
regard to P. Curran’s story collection Stay Out
Of New Orleans is debatable, especially since
Curran has tapped into the timelessness of
the Crescent City’s underworld of hustlers,
runaways, swindlers, addicts... even a few
supernatural beings... and brought it into
literary focus once again. How timeless
can it get? “Dust,” the centerpiece of Stay
Out, takes Nelson Algren’s A Walk On The
Wild Side for inspiration and follows hustler
Drake on his latest scam involving used
books and a street punk named Snack Pak
trying to scrape by as they both meet their
ends. Curran frames this masterwork with
“Very Old Things,” a tale of a yard sale
that offered far more than one woman
bargained for and “The Lost Girls,” a story
of searching and longing, revealing that
even the lowest of the low have wants and
needs. What is impressive in Stay Out is the
interweaving of story threads, the notable
yet matter-of-course way in which people
can drift in and out of the lives of others
in New Orleans, that piques a reader’s
interest. I dare you to put Stay Out Of New
Orleans down. —Leigh Checkman
‘90s, like Kurt Cobain and Sonic Youth’s Lee
Ranaldo; but with Psychedelic Pill it feels like
Young has become the student of his students,
turning in over an hour’s worth of sizzling
guitar theatrics, with three songs that could
rival “The Diamond Sea” (Sonic Youth’s 19minute epic on Washing Machines) in length and
exploration. One thing Young has made clear
in recent interviews and his new autobiography
is that he’s not too old to be influenced by much
younger peers. And what age is Neil Young,
really? He looks like someone’s washed-up old
uncle but goofs off like an 8 year-old. “Gonna
MATT MILLER
BOUNCE: RAP MUSIC AND LOCAL
IDENTITY IN NEW ORLEANS
(UNIVERSITY OF
MASSACHUSETTS PRESS)
Many have studied East and West Coast rap
and hip-hop, but studies of Southern hip-hop
(and more specifically, bounce) were few and
far between until immediately after Katrina
and the levee breaches of 2005. Among
the first examples of in-depth reporting
on bounce was the documentary film Ya
Heard Me, codirected by Matt Miller. Miller
continues to examine the scene in Bounce;
in fact, he goes over it with a fine-toothed
comb at times. Lest you think a discussion
on how many beats per minute the tempo
of “Drag Rap” might be taking things too
far, it’s all in the service of looking at what
is, at its essence, dance music, viewing its
scene with a knowledgeable, critical eye and
really listening to what lies between the beats.
Many of the ups and downs of New Orleans
bounce are here, from its beginnings in the
late ‘80s (the influences of local jazz, funk,
and r&b are taken into account) to its boom
times in the ‘90s and the question mark of
its place in the 21st century. There are many
mentions of key members of the scene Mannie Fresh, Master P, Juvenile, Soulja
Slim, Lil Wayne, Mia X and Katey Red,
to name a few - and Bounce presents a good
overview, but the scene’s history fails to jump
off the page. Miller’s take at least has a tenpage discography well worth the cost of the
book; when the reading gets dry, hunt down
some of those recordings. —Leigh Checkman
get me a hip-hop haircut,” he coos at the end
of “Driftin’ Back,” the album’s opener, which
must sound crazy to newcomers but for fans
familiar with Young’s eccentricities, it’s just
another example of his Zen-like clarity and a
perspective that could only be arrived at from a
lifetime of psychic torment. The album’s closer,
“Walk Like A Giant” is the final gust of wind
that blows through the campfire; and like the
rest of the album, feels like an old friend the
Bones at Siberia (Gary LoVerde)
first time you hear it. In other words, an instant
classic. —Dan Fox
23
EXTRA CURRICULAR
ALBUM REVIEWS
Since Katrina I’ve taught, after school, “an English class disguised as a music class.” My students write
song lyrics as a way to improve their literacy. It’s not unlike journal writing class except we use a drum
machine. Other times, my students pen album reviews.
Currently, I am ecstatic to be working at the International School of Louisiana, the best New Orleans
school I’ve worked in so far. The kids and their parents all seem extremely bright and conscientious,
meaning even when the kids don’t want to write after a long day at school, they make the best of it –
which is, really, the most a New Orleans teacher could hope for.
The following albums were all released this year by Louisiana artists. The students were asked to describe
them to readers and suggest whether or not the music was worth buying. —Michael Patrick Welch
HELEN GILLET
S/T
(INDEPENDENT)
The song “Run” makes me want to dance. One
thing though, she keeps on repeating “run” and
she should use other words. On “Atchafalaya” I
picture deers running in the forest. It makes me
want to sleep. It’s like a lullaby. The beginning of
“Hidden in This E” sounds like Narnia. It’s a sad
song. I like the lyrics and the tone. I feel like she
is playing more than one instrument (guitar, cello
and piano). The next song sounds like she is sad
that “Julien” left her. “De Memoire de Rose” sounds like a romantic song in
a different language. At first it sounds Egyptian. “Chagrin” sounds like it is in
French. Later in the song it sounds more like gibberish. “Rien Du Tout” sounds
like a battle in space or like an alien speaking. It has a really good rhythm. It
sounds like a dying cat with that screech. “Understood” starts off with nice
beats. Finally, a song in English! This song has something to do with someone
going through hard times, who wants to be understood. It sounds like it could
be in the orchestra at a wedding. At first I thought “Lithium” was about the
periodic table. —Giancarlo H.
“Run” has a nice beat and it’s very tribal. She used a loop pedal and cello.
“Atchafalaya” is very mellow and I didn’t like it that much but her vocals were
good and her lyrics had meaning. On “Hidden in this E” her vocals were going
up and down but her lyrics didn’t have a meaning. To me it was very country.
On “De Memoire de Rose” the cello was aight but her vocals were really
great in French, to be honest. “Chagrin” has a really good beat but I still can’t
understand because it’s in French and very repetitive and it aggravates me.
“Rien Du Tout” has a scratchy sound to it in the beginning. The beat was cool.
It repeated a lot but it’s still in FRENCH! Can I have English PLEASE?? That
sound towards the ends was very outer space. —Tavian S.
DEE-1
THE
FOCUS TAPE (HOSTED BY MANNIE FRESH)
(INDEPENDENT)
“Shut Up and Grind” is not a hit but worth
listening to. The mood of the beat is laid back.
The vocals are good, not the greatest. “I Love Me
Some You,” is too fast but calms down later. It
has great bass and background music. Overall it’s
a song worth buying. On “the Vibe,” the vocals
are good but the background is bad. It’s a mix of
techno and drums: horrible song, overwhelming.
“The Very Best” is kind of slow but just how I like
it. Good vocals, awesome background. Go ahead
and buy it but don’t kill me if you don’t like it. “Heart of a King” has a good
vibe. “Mannie Fresh Speaks,” he’s talking way too much, says “You dig?” way
24
too much. “You Stupid Fool” sounds like Soulja Boy: a great beat, a beat worth
buying. “Work” has a good tempo for rap but has mediocre vocals and no bass.
I think that’s a mistake. “Everybody Quiet”: Now that’s more like it! Great beat
and tempo. Vocals are great. I think it’s a hit. “R.I.P”: I like the title. “Master P”
has a great beat, good bass. The mood is fast and energetic. I wouldn’t buy the
whole album, just some of the songs. —Max F.
DASH RIP ROCK
BLACK
LIQUOR
(ALTERNATIVE TENTACLES)
In this album, it is mostly alternative rock. It
consists of 10 songs. Song number 1 is what the
whole album is named after, “Black Liquor.”
The song mainly talks about how drinking any
alcoholic beverage may benefit or harm you; yet
for some reason it encourages you to drink this socalled black liquor towards the end. Song number
2 is about a levee. It takes place in a hurricane/
typhoon. He is complaining about how the levee
isn’t protecting his house. During song number 3,
the guitar and the drums are in perfect sync; every
8 counts or so there is a burst of emotion that enters the song then vanishes just
as quickly as it came. By this point, I am thinking to myself that they are just
some regular everyday rock band. The fourth song has a change in genre; it has
turned from alternative rock to country. The voice of our singer has become
more digital. This song slightly reminds me of the song “Maxwell’s Silver
Hammer.” For me this was a big change in between the songs. The 5th song
goes back to the album’s old self, only slightly faster. I don’t have a lot to say
about song number 6. He is basically talking about how kisses exhilarate him.
In the 7th song, he sounds a little raspy. He seems to be describing a date by the
river. The following song refers to all the tragedies anybody has ever written but
somehow he can keep the song with a rock genre. Song 9 sounds as if he is at a
rodeo, meaning it has an amazingly fast tempo. Our final song reminds me of
an ‘80s song. In conclusion, I believe that you should buy this album if you like
a country/rock genre. —Liam M.
EGG YOLK JUBILEE
FRIED
(INDEPENDENT)
On “Kingfish,” I don’t like how he sings. I like
the music but not the singing. On “No Buts, No
Maybes” I love the music but the singing is weird.
He has something in his throat and it makes me
want to clear my throat. He sounds Spanish and
country. On “No Quarters,” I like the drums and
saxophones. There’s no singing and I like singing
in music, but this sounds right. “Freaks” sounds
different than the others. It makes me want to go
to sleep. He has a very low voice. —Thai’la H.
The first song, “Kingfish” sounds like rock. Also, blues and jazz. On “No Buts,
No Maybes” the singing sounds like a dude who is sick. On “No Quarters,”
the genre sounds like jazz. “Close to You” has the sound of an elephant
farting. I imagine Elvis. The singer sounds like a constipated vampire.
“Freaks” sounds spooky, like a scary movie. “Demons” is jazz. It has a lot of
instruments. It makes me feel like I am in a cemetery. In my head I see a band
of hobos. —Aila B.
EVENT LISTINGS
DECEMBER 2012
Circle Bar: Fire Face
Howlin’ Wolf: Industry Influence,
Hosted by Wild Wayne and Sess 45
Republic: Bounce XXI
Southport Hall: NOLA Party
Presents Surrender the Fall,
Headspill, Age of Ashram, 9pm,
$10
TUESDAY, 12/4
FRIDAY, 12/7
Checkpoint Charlie’s: Brent
Houzenga, 7pm
Circle Bar: All Get Out
Zeitgeist: Cactus Truck, 9pm
Banks Street Bar & Grill:
Hannah KB Band, Small Batch
String Band, Wasted Lives, 9pm
Circle Bar: Nasimiyu, Mahalya
d.b.a.: Hot Club of New Orleans,
6pm; Alvin Youngblood Hart w/
Kenny Brown, 10pm, $10
Howlin’ Wolf: NOLA Polar
Bear Express Benefiting Childrens
Hospital w/ Various Artists, 6:30pm
The Maison: Tanglers, 4pm;
Derobert and the Half Truths,
10pm; Lagniappe Brass Band,
Midnight
Tipitina’s: Anders Osborne’s
Holiday Spectacular w/ Luther
Dickinson and John Gros, 9pm
MONDAY, 12/3
WEDNESDAY, 12/5
Howlin’ Wolf: Consider the
Source, Doombalya (In the Den)
The Maison: Tarik Hassan, 6pm;
Civil Twilight, Coyotes, 9pm
THURSDAY, 12/6
Banks Street Bar & Grill:
Kathryn Rose, 9pm
Circle Bar: Pancake, Mopsik
d.b.a.: Andrew Duhon, 10pm, $5
The Maison: Erin Demastes, 5pm;
Some Like it Hot, 7pm; Mashout,
9pm (Upstairs); Mastablasta, 10pm
Preston Leger Band, 10pm
Circle Bar: Mark Kozelek
d.b.a.: Suplecs, 11pm, $5
Howlin’ Wolf: Slow Burn
Burlesque; Dynamic Soul Review
Vol.1 w/ De Robert & the Half
Truths, Honey Boy Carencro
The Maison: Ramblin’ Letters,
4pm; Brassaholics, 10:30pm; DJ
Prick, 10pm (Upstairs); Street
Legends Brass Band, 12:30am
Tipitina’s: Anders Osborne’s
Holiday Spectacular w/ Luther
Dickinson & the Bonerama Horns,
9pm
SUNDAY, 12/9
Circle Bar: Water Liars
House Of Blues: I Fight Dragons,
MC Lars, Skyfox, 8:30pm (the
Parish)
The Maison: Dave Easley, 5pm;
Cristina Perez, 7pm; Eric Gordon &
the Lazy Boys, 10pm
MONDAY, 12/10
SATURDAY, 12/8
Circle Bar: John Wesley Coleman
The Maison: Chicken Waffles,
5pm; Aurora Nealand & the Royal
Roses, 7pm
Mid-City Theatre: Spooky
LaStrange and Her Billion-Dollar
Baby Dolls, 8pm, $15
Banks Street Bar & Grill:
TUESDAY, 12/11
Circle Bar: SimplePlay Presents
the Eastern Sea, Bantam Foxes, My
Father’s Rifle
Mid-City Theatre: Spooky
LaStrange and Her Billion-Dollar
Baby Dolls, 8pm, $15
WEDNESDAY, 12/12
Circle Bar: Adam Acuragi
The Maison: Shotgun Jazz Band,
6pm; the Upstarts, 9pm
THURSDAY, 12/13
Banks Street Bar & Grill:
Exit32, 9pm
Chickie Wah Wah: Chris Smither,
8pm, $15
Circle Bar: Sundog
d.b.a.: Grayson Capps & the Lost
Cause Minstrels, 10pm, $5
The Maison: Erin Demastes,
5pm; Jazz Vipers, 7pm; Barry
Stephonson’s Pocket, 10pm
Republic: DJ Shadow
FRIDAY, 12/14
Banks Street Bar & Grill: White
Colla Crimes, Hypenkrunk, 10pm
Circle Bar: Natural Light AllStars, Kid Carsons
d.b.a.: Egg Yolk Jubilee, 10pm, $5
House Of Blues: ZOSO, 9pm
Howlin’ Wolf: Howlin’ Wolf 24th
Anniversary Celebration f/ Rebirth
25
Brass Band, Joe Krown Trio
The Maison: Jasen Weaver, 4pm;
Emily Estrella & the Faux Barrio
Billionaires, 7pm; Corey Henry
& the Treme Funktet, 10:30pm;
Lagniappe Brass Band, 12:30am
SATURDAY, 12/15
Banks Street Bar & Grill:
House of Surf, Chris Klein & the
Boulevards, 10pm
d.b.a.: Ever Expanding Waste
Band, 11pm, $10
House Of Blues: Bustout
Burlesque, 8pm; 10:30pm
Howlin’ Wolf: Cure for Kiddos
Benefit for Leukodystrophy
Research, 7pm; Melo D Presents
Mumble Bee, DJ Dizzi (In the Den)
The Maison: Cajun Fais Do
Do, 4pm; Essentials, 10:30pm; DJ
Spin, 10pm; Dysfunktional Bone,
Midnight
One Eyed Jacks: Fleur de Tease
Tipitina’s: The Scorseses, 9pm
SUNDAY, 12/16
Circle Bar: AmyLaVere
d.b.a.: Jeremy Lyons & the
Deltabilly Boys, 10pm, $5
The Maison: Dave Easley, 5pm;
Clint Johnson, 7pm; Soul Project,
10pm
Tipitina’s: Rosanne Cash, 8pm
26
MONDAY, 12/17
Circle Bar: Volcanoes, Glish,
Gallyknapper
TUESDAY, 12/18
WEDNESDAY, 12/19
Circle Bar: Good Field
House Of Blues: Kermit’s Annual
Birthday Bash f/ Mia Borders,
Sasha Masakowski, Ingrid Lucia,
8pm
The Maison: Too Darn Hot, 6pm;
Upstarts, 9pm
THURSDAY, 12/20
Banks Street Bar & Grill: Mikey
B3, 10pm
Checkpoint Charlie’s: Brent
Houzenga, 11pm
Circle Bar: Major Major Major,
Sun Hotel
d.b.a.: R. Scully & the Rough 7,
10pm, $5
The Maison: Erin Demastes, 5pm;
Multiphonics, 7pm; Soundclash Beat
Battle, 9pm; Barry Stephenson’s
Pocket, 10pm
FRIDAY, 12/21
Banks Street Bar & Grill: Jack
Clark, 8pm
Circle Bar: Community Records
Presents Good People, Dead
Legends, Big Fat and Delicious
d.b.a.: Hot Club of New Orleans,
6pm; Soul Rebels, 10pm, $10
House Of Blues: Home for the
Holidays Concert for Daniel Price
Foundation for Aspiring Artists,
7:30pm
Howlin’ Wolf: Silent Disco
Presents Doomsday Disco
The Maison: Emily Estrella &
the Faux Barrio Billionaires, 7pm;
Captain Green, 10pm; Kidnap
Orchestra, Midnight
d.b.a.: Billy Iuso & the Restless
Natives, 10pm, $5
The Maison: Dave Easley, 5pm;
Brad Walker, 7pm; Eric Gordon &
the Lazy Boys, 10pm
MONDAY, 12/24
TUESDAY, 12/25
WEDNESDAY, 12/26
The Maison: Linnzi Zaorski, 6pm;
Upstarts, 9pm
SATURDAY, 12/22
THURSDAY, 12/27
Banks Street Bar & Grill: Bujiie
& the Highrise, Riffer Madness,
Joystick, the Decline, 9pm
Circle Bar: The Tangle, Dresden,
the Bastard Sons of Marvin Hirsch
d.b.a.: Joe Krown Trio, 11pm, $10
House Of Blues: Trombone
Shorty & Orleans Ave., 9pm
The Maison: Erin Demastes, 4pm;
Smoking Time Jazz Club, 7pm; Iko
All-Stars, Gravity A, PYMP, Matt
Peoples, 10pm
Tipitina’s: Sage Francis, B. Dolan,
9pm
Banks Street Bar & Grill: Isla
NOLA, 9pm
Circle Bar: KON
d.b.a.: Paul Sanchez & Out of
Mouth, 10pm, $10
The Maison: Erin Demastes, 5pm;
Shotgun Jazz Band, 7pm
SUNDAY, 12/23
FRIDAY, 12/28
Banks Street Bar & Grill: Gravy
Flavored Kisses, 10pm
d.b.a.: Dirty Dozen Brass Band,
10pm, $20
House Of Blues: Dr. John, 9pm
The Maison: Redwine Jazz Band,
4pm; Emily Estrella & the Faux
Barrio Billionaires, 7pm; Ashton
Hines & the Big Easy Brawlers,
10pm
SATURDAY, 12/29
Banks Street Bar & Grill: Masta
Blasta, 10pm
Checkpoint Charlie’s: Guns
of the Seneca, Secret Society in
Smaller Lies, Dummy Dumpster,
8pm
d.b.a.: Honey Island Swamp Band
w/ Lightnin’ Malcolm, 11pm, $20
House Of Blues: Dr. John, 9pm
The Maison: Kelcy Mae,
4pm; Debauche, 10:30pm; DJ
Lemonhead, 10pm (Upstairs); Street
Legends Brass Band, 12:30am
One Eyed Jacks: Dax Riggs
SUNDAY, 12/30
d.b.a.: Krewe of Jewlu Fundraiser
w/ Gypsyphonic Disko, Good
Enough for Good Times, 10pm, $10
The Maison: Dave Easley, 5pm;
The Session, 7pm
MONDAY, 12/31
Banks Street Bar & Grill:
Egg Yolk Jubilee, New Year’s
Eggstravaganza, 10pm
Circle Bar: Eric Lindell
d.b.a.: Soul Rebels, Mississippi Rail
Company, 10pm, $30
House Of Blues: Gregg Allman,
Royal Southern Brotherhood, 10pm
Howlin’ Wolf: Rebirth Brass Band,
Papa Grows Funk
One Eyed Jacks: Black Lips
Republic: New Year’s Eve w/
Damion Yancy & DJ G
Tipitina’s: Tipitina’s New Year’s
Eve f/ Galactic, 9pm
TUESDAY, 1/1
Circle Bar: Netherfriends
WEEKLY EVENTS
MONDAYS
Banks Street Bar & Grill: Carlos
& Friends w/ Box Fontenot, 9pm
Bayou Park Bar: The Hooch
Riders, 9pm
Checkpoint Charlie’s: Karaoke,
9pm
Circle Bar: Missy Meatlocker, 6pm
d.b.a.: Glen David Andrews, 9pm,
$5
Desperados: Kickball
Disassociation After Party & Old
Timey Music, 9pm
Dragon’s Den: Slide Guitar
Domenic
Hi-Ho Lounge: Blue Grass Pickin’
Party, 8pm
27
Howlin’ Wolf: Movie Night, 9pm
Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz
Playhouse: Gerald French and the
Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, 8pm
The Maison: Chicken Waffles,
5pm; Swing Dance Classes
(Upstairs), 6pm; Aurora Nealand &
the Royal Roses, 7pm; Super Jam
w/ Gene’s Music Machine, 10pm
One Eyed Jacks: SIN
Preservation Hall: St. Peter
Street Playboys featuring Maynard
Chatters
Siberia: Ice Cold Comedy Night,
9pm
Spotted Cat: Sarah McCoy, 4pm;
Dominick Grillo and the Frenchmen
St. All-Stars, 6pm; Kristina Morales
& the Bayou Shufflers, 10pm [1st
& 3rd Mondays]/The Jazz Vipers,
10pm [2nd, 4th & 5th Mondays]
TUESDAYS
Bayou Park Bar: Walter Wolfman
Washington, 9pm
Carrollton Station: Acoustic
Open Mic, 9pm
Café Negril: John Lisi and Delta
Funk, 7pm
d.b.a.: Treme Brass Band, 9pm, $5
Desperados: Noxious Noize
Tuesdays, 9pm
Dragon’s Den: Climate Change
Hip-Hop Nite
Hi-Ho Lounge: Raw Revolution,
8pm, $5
The Hookah: Entourage Ent.
Presents Hip-Hop Night, 10pm
Howlin’ Wolf: LIVE IN THE
DEN: Comedy Beast, TNM Stand
Up Comedy Showcase, 8:30pm
Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz
Playhouse: Jason Marsalis, 8pm
The Maison: Gregory Agid, 6pm;
Magnitude, 9pm
Mimi’s in the Marigny: Michael
Hebert, 8pm; the Emilonius
Quartet, 9pm
One Eyed Jacks: Metal Night
Tuesdays
Preservation Hall: The
Preservation Hall-Stars featuring
Shannon Powell
The Rusty Nail: Open Mic w/
Whiskey T., 8pm
The Saint Tikioke, 9pm, FREE
Siberia: Trivia Night, 7pm
Spotted Cat: Andy Forest, 4pm;
Meschiya Lake & the Little Big
Horns, 6pm; Aurora & the Royal
Roses, 10pm
WEDNESDAYS
12 Bar: Brass-a-holics, 9pm
AllWays Lounge: Major Bacon
Blues Show, 10pm
Banks Street Bar & Grill: Major
Bacon, 10pm
The Bar: Musician Appreciation
Night, 7pm
Bayou Park Bar: U.S. Nero &
Friends, 9pm
28
Blue Nile: Soundman Presents,
8pm; Gravity A, 11pm
The Box Office: Dan Wallace
Quartet, 7pm
Carrollton Station: Standup
Comedy Open Mic, 9pm
Checkpoint Charlie’s: T-Bone
Stone, 7pm
Circle Bar: Jim O. and The No
Shows, 6pm
d.b.a.: Washboard Chaz Blues
Trio, 7pm; Walter Wolfman
Washington and The Roadmasters,
10pm, $5
Deckbar: Blues & Beyond Jam w/
John Lisi & Delta Funk, 8pm
Dragon’s Den: DJ T-Roy Presents:
Dancehall Classics, 10pm, $5
Hi-Ho Lounge: Worldly
Wednesday, 6pm
The Hookah: Entourage Ent.
Presents Hip-Hop Night, 10pm
House of Blues: Curren$y’s Jet
Lounge, 11pm (the Parish)
Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz
Playhouse: Kipori Woods, 5pm;
Irvin Mayfield’s NOJO Jam, 8pm
The Maison: The Upstarts, 9pm
Preservation Hall: The
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
featuring Mark Braud
The R Bar: DJ Lefty Parker
The Rusty Nail: Jenn Howard’s
Jazz Set, 8pm
Siberia: Hump Night: a Dance
Party, 10pm
Spotted Cat: Ben Polcer, 4pm;
Free Swing Dance Lessons, 5pm;
The Orleans, 6pm; St. Louis Slim
and the Frenchmen St. Jug Band,
10pm
Yuki: Mojotoro Tango Trio, 8pm
THURSDAYS
Banks Street Bar & Grill: RX
Filled, 10pm
Bayou Park Bar: Pocket Aces
Brass Band
Blue Nile: Micah McKee &
the Little Maker, 7pm; Bayou
International Reggae Night w/ DJ
T-Roy, 10pm; ’90s Night, 10pm
(Balcony Room)
d.b.a.: Jon Cleary, 7pm
Desperados: Loose Marbles, 9pm
Dragon’s Den: Basebin Safari w/
DJ Proppa Bear, 10pm
Fortier Park (3100 Esplanade):
Drum Circle, 6pm
Hi-Ho Lounge: Stooges Brass
Band, 10pm
The Hookah: Studio 504 Disco
Dance Night, 9pm
Howlin’ Wolf: Comedy
Gumbeaux, 8pm (Live in the Den)
Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz
Playhouse: Roman Skakun, 5pm;
Treme Night feat. James Andrews,
8pm
La Nuit Comedy Theater:
A.S.S.tronot, 8:30pm
Les Bon Temps Roule: Brass-aholics, 11pm
One Eyed Jacks: Fast Times ’80s
Dance Night, 10pm
Republic: LEGIT, 10pm, $7
The Rusty Nail: Boozin’ Bingo,
8pm
Spotted Cat: Sarah McCoy, 4pm;
Miss Sophie Lee, 6pm; Jumbo
Shrimp, 10pm
One-Eyed Jacks: Running
with Scissors presents Grenadine
McGunkle’s Double-Wide
Christmas, 7pm
Republic: Evolution: Holiday Spirit
Edition
Spotted Cat: Panarama Jazz Band,
6pm
FRIDAYS
SUNDAYS
Bayou Park Bar: The Revealers,
10pm
The Big Top: Friday Night Music
Camp, 5pm
Blue Nile: DJ Real and Black Pearl,
1am (Upstairs)
Checkpoint Charlie’s: Hooch
Riders, 4pm
Circle Bar: Norbert Slama, 6pm
Desperados: Michael James
and His Lonesome, 9pm; Bobby
Bouzouki, 11pm
Hi-Ho Lounge: Ambush Reggae
Band, 10:30pm, FREE
The Hookah: College Fridays,
10pm
Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz
Playhouse: Professor Piano Series,
5pm; Leon “ Kid Chocolate”
Brown, 8pm; Burlesque Ballroom f/
Trixie Minx , midnight
La Nuit Comedy Theater: God’s
Been Drinking, 10pm, $10
Le Bon Temps Roule: Joe Krown
Live Piano, 7pm, 9pm
The Maison: Those Peaches,
5pm; Emily Estrella & the Faux
Barrio Billionaires, 7pm; Comedy
Showcase, 8:30pm; Buena Vista
Social Latin Dance Party, 10pm
(Penthouse)
One-Eyed Jacks: Running
with Scissors presents Grenadine
McGunkle’s Double-Wide
Christmas, 7pm
Preservation Hall: The
Preservation Hall Jazz Masters
featuring Leroy Jones
Republic: Throwback, 11pm
Spotted Cat: Andy Forest, 4pm;
Washboard Chaz Blues Trio, 6pm;
New Orleans Cottonmouth Kings,
10pm
Tipitina’s: Tipitina’s Foundation
Free Friday!, 10pm
Banks Street Bar & Grill:
NOLA County, 3pm
Bayou Park Bar: Roarshark, 4pm
Blue Nile: Mykia Jovan, 7pm;
Mainline, 10pm
Café Negril: John Lisi and Delta
Funk, 7pm
Checkpoint Charlie’s: Acoustic
Open Mic w/ Jim Smith, 7pm
Circle Bar: Micah McKee and
Friends, 6pm
d.b.a.: The Palmetto Bug
Stompers, 6pm
Desperados: Stumps the Clown’s
Variety Show Sundays f/ Jo Robbin,
Stalebread Scotty & More, 9pm
Dragon’s Den: Church: Dubstep
for the Masses, 10pm (Upstairs)
Hi-Ho Lounge: True Blood Watch
Party, 8pm, 10pm; One Mind Brass
Band, 9pm, 10pm
The Hookah: DJ RQaway & the
Room Service Band, 10pm
House of Blues: The Sunday
Gospel Brunch, 10am; Backyard
Blues f/ the Upstarts, 3pm; Poppa’s
Party House, Midnight (The Parish)
Howlin’ Wolf: Brass Band Sundays
w/ Hot 8 Brass Band
Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz
Playhouse: Tyler’s Revisited
f/ Germaine Bazzle and Paul
Longstreth, 7pm
Le Bon Temps Roule: Chapter
Soul f/ Calvin Johnson, Kirk Joseph
& Kevin O’Day, 9pm
Siberia: King James Country/
Blues Happy Hour, 5:30pm
Spotted Cat: Rights of Swing,
3pm; Kristina Morales, 6pm
(1st/3rd Sun.)/Ben Polcer and the
Grinders (2nd/4th Sun.), Pat Casey
& the New Sounds, 10pm
Tipitina’s: Cajun Fais do do f/
Bruce Daigrepont, 5:30pm
SATURDAYS
Blue Nile: Washboard Chaz Blues
Trio, 7pm; DJ Real and Black Pearl,
1am (Balcony Room)
d.b.a.: John Boutte, 8pm
The Hangar: Ladies Night
The Hookah: M for Mature, 10pm
House of Blues: Sabado, Fuego,
DJ Juanes, DJ Q , Midnight (The
Parish @ House Of Blues)
La Nuit Comedy Theater:
ComedySportz (1st/3rd Saturdays),
7pm
LePhare: DJ Jive
The Maison: Smoking Time Jazz
Club, 7pm
29
30
31
32
Bipolaroid at Saturn Bar (Gary LoVerde)
Naked Intruder at Siberia (Gary LoVerde)
Gary Mader, of Eyehategod, at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Queensland, Australia
33
and pray for on a daily basis), my mom
probably won’t bake Christmas cookies
with my children. I worry - often - about
standing alone in a river of tears on my
wedding day, wishing she was there. Or
needing her advice the first time my kid
tells me they hate me but not being able
to pick up the phone and call. Sometimes
this fear manifests itself in unhinged
rage. Rage at God. The universe. Other
people. I hear people talk badly about
their mothers and I have to resist the urge
to punch them in the throat - or more
twisted than that, wish my mother’s illness
on their mom. Why can’t this happen to
a mom that deserves it? Other times it
manifests as pure panic and the inability
to comprehend how I can live in a world
in which my mother doesn’t exist. How, in
fact, will the world continue to spin once
she’s gone? It is, frankly, terrifying and
sometimes debilitating.
by Erin Hall
This time of year can be really hard
for some people. I have friends who
abhor everything to do with Christmas.
Some hate the commercialization and
commoditization of goodwill, while others
detest the idea of spending time with
family members they don’t connect with at
any point during the rest of the year and
have little in common with anyway. Others
have recently lost someone they love and
perhaps the joy of the holidays went with
them. And I think some just hate being
slapped in the face with “Silver Bells” at
every turn.
I, for one, have always loved Christmas.
For that, you can credit my mother,
who is equal parts Martha Stewart and
Paula Deen when it comes to holiday
celebrations. Since I can remember, this
season has been punctuated with magic.
Cookies and treats as far as the eyes could
see, all brought to life by our hands and
with the help of my great grandmother’s
heavy, sunshine-yellow mixing bowl. Velvet
stockings hung over the fireplace opposite
a towering fir, draped in no less than 200
twinkling lights. Hot cocoa made fresh on
the stovetop as spicy Chex mix browned in
the oven. You gotta hand it to the woman.
We aren’t - and never have been - a rich
family. I’m sure plenty of my friends
received more in monetary value of gifts
but with her knack for smart shopping
and a love for beautiful and elaborate
gift wrapping, our tree always ended up
looking like something that should be in
Macy’s, with its voluminous bows and
stacks of packages.
But as we grow older, some of the
magic dies. The Santa bomb drops and
people stop trying so hard to protect
you from the reality that life can be
crappy; and it doesn’t stop just because
it’s Christmas. Uncles act like selfish
assholes. Grandfathers die and leave you
hopelessly lost. Casseroles get burned.
Grandmothers fall and get hurt. Your
sister uses the fact that her (adorable, but
flea-ridden) new dog isn’t able to come in
the house like your brother’s dog to draw
a parallel between the two of them and
point out how unloved and marginalized
she is by everyone. And the whole time,
your Dad is hyperventilating because
there is so much wrapping paper and
glittery ribbon on the floor that he just
vacuumed. It becomes exhausting, the
fight to wrench all the spirit out of the
month of December.
It is my mother who
introduced me to music,
took me to my first
concerts, encouraged
my writing and made me
realize I could make my
passions into a career.
She also introduced me to
New Orleans, a city that
would welcome, embrace
and forever change me
These last few years have seen me
reluctantly grappling with the reality that
I can’t make those early days come back.
I have sunk my claws in, refusing to let
go of the idea that I can give our family
a picture-perfect Christmas. We have
always picked our tree out the day after
Thanksgiving but we usually wait a few
weeks before hauling it in and decorating
it. Not this year. This year, my brother
and I dragged it onto the porch—under
the watchful and controlling, backseat
driving eyes of my father, whose bum
knees now make the task impossible for
him—just a few days after Thanksgiving.
And I strung the lights on just a day later
before heading back to New Orleans. We
did this for my mother. We did it for her
because of all those years she’s done it for
us. We did it for her because she is dying.
I don’t mean immediately (at least I hope
not), but she has been very sick for quite
some time with a disease that doctors
know little about. It is an immune system
disorder that typically lies dormant in a
person’s body until effecting an organ
system or two, at which time they have
to learn to be careful about limiting
their public exposure during times called
“crisis.” But it’s different for my mom.
Very few of her organ systems remain
unaffected by the disease. She has been in
“crisis” for months now. Being in public
is dangerous for her and a cold that I
would shrug off in a few days could be
her undoing. She is constantly tired and
often has trouble keeping food down. She
has bad days and better days. Sometimes
the better ones make it easy to pretend
the bad ones are gone; but it seems to
make it even more heart wrenching when
they return. No one is more frustrated
or infuriated by this than my mother, a
woman who was always active and driven,
who raised three children while managing
a successful career as a nurse. She’s angry
that she always feels like sleeping but if
she pushes herself too hard, the results
can be devastating.
So all the baking and decorating we used
to do together has fallen mostly to me
in the last few years. She helps when she
feels good but I think she hates herself
for not being able to do more. I only hate
that things can’t be like they once were.
That I can’t turn back the hands on the
clock and be 10 years old again, powdered
sugar dusting my hair, dancing around
our tiny kitchen to the decadent croon of
Harry Connick Jr. My dad says we should
get a fake tree or a smaller real one. But
that isn’t Christmas to us. It isn’t always
easy to shoulder so much of the load but
I will always work my hardest to give her
the best Christmas I can, because she
deserves it. And because I don’t know how
many we have left.
It may sound morbid, but it’s something
we as a family have had to face and are
working to, begrudgingly, accept. Barring
a medical miracle (which I still hope
On the other hand, I realize my fortune.
I know many people have not felt, and
sadly may never feel, the kind of love my
mother has shown me in my 28 short
years on this earth. It is my mother who
introduced me to music, took me to my
first concerts, encouraged my writing
and made me realize I could make my
passions into a career. She also introduced
me to New Orleans, a city that would
welcome, embrace and forever change
me, gift me with my fiercest friends and
bring me together with the love of my life.
She held my hand strolling through the
French Quarter as a child and 18 years
later, she took out a massive loan to help
pay for a top-notch college education
my family really couldn’t afford, because
she wanted me to get out of my tiny
hometown and experience the world.
She wanted that for me, despite never
being able to have it for herself. She has
sacrificed every day of her life for me. I
only hope I can manage to be a pale echo
of that kind of mother to my own kids
one day.
So you can hate Christmas. Or you can
love it. Just please take a few moments this
December to stop and reflect, as this time
of year is good for, on all you have and
all you love. My sincere hope is that each
of you reading this has found, or will find
that kind of love in your lifetime. Whether
it comes from a parent, grandparent,
sibling, friend or partner, we are all
deserving of it. And we are all capable of
giving it in turn.
There is a song in one of my favorite
childhood holiday movies (the somewhat
obscure but endlessly endearing Jim
Henson made-for-TV movie, Emmet
Otter’s Jugband Christmas) that has always
made me cry. Perhaps it’s the association
with my beloved grandfather, gone almost
14 years now. Or perhaps it’s just the
truth of the lyrics. I can’t help but feel
saddened and yet encouraged by the
line: “Though our minds be filled with
questions, in our hearts we’ll understand
/ When the river meets the sea” I don’t
know when I will have to say goodbye
to my mother. I hope with all my heart
that it’s decades away. But regardless
of when it happens, I want her to go
knowing what an amazing legacy she
leaves behind. And how indebted I will
always be to her. If you have someone in
your life that has done that for you, go tell
them that this instant. Because it’s never a
bad time to say I love you.
MEMAW’S GREATEST HITS:
AN ANTIGRAVITY HOLIDAY SAMPLER
Memaw’s Sweet Potato Casserole
(aka “That Orange Stuff ”)
Filling:
6-8 sweet potatoes
1 can Pet brand evaporated milk
1 tbs apple pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
1 stick butter
1 bag mini marshmallows
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tbs vanilla
pinch of salt
Topping:
½ box light brown sugar
1 cup self rising flour
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
butter
1) Boil potatoes (skin on) until tender. Once drained and slightly
cooled, remove skins and beat with hand mixer until fluffy. Add the
egg,1 stick of melted butter, evaporated milk, vanilla, spices and salt
and blend well (note: the spice measurements are a general guideline;
tweak it until it hits your sweet spot). Fold in marshmallows and spread
mixture evenly into a pan. Cook on 350 until bubbly.
2) For topping, combine brown sugar and flour, adding just a bit of
melted butter to the mixture to create a crumbly texture. Sprinkle over
casserole and top with pecan pieces. Bake until pecans are brown. Be
prepared that people may take large hunks of the topping and very
little of the actual casserole. Brothers are notorious for that move.
Pumpkin Bread
3 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
16oz unsweetened canned pumpkin
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
2/3 cup water
2 cups golden raisins
2 cups chopped nuts (I prefer pecans)
1) Combine sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin. Combine dry ingredients in
a separate bowl (once again, the spice measurements are a guideline
- make it what you like). Blend dry ingredients and water into the
pumpkin mixture until smooth. Fold in raisins and pecans.
2) Pour batter into greased/floured pans (you can use loaf pans, mini
loafs, a bundt, a cupcake tin...whatever floats your boat) and bake at 350
for about an hour (it takes a good long while, so make sure to test the
center before declaring it finished). Is excellent served with a smear of
honeyed cream cheese. Also makes a great gift for people you don’t really
want to buy gifts for (read: slightly annoying neighbors, bosses etc.)
Butter Gooey
Mom’s Hashbrown Casserole
2 bags frozen hash browns (cubed or shredded), thawed
2 large white onions, diced
2 sticks butter
2 small cans of cream of mushroom soup
1 small cans of cream of chicken mushroom soup
4 cups shredded cheese (I use cheddar and colby, but anything goes here)
4-5 cups rice krispies
1) Combine thawed hash browns with diced onions and pour 1 stick of
melted butter over the top. Stir in soups and follow by adding cheese in
small batches until uniformly distributed. Season to taste and bake on
400 for 30-45 minutes until browned and bubbly.
2) For topping, combine 1 stick of melted butter with the rice krispies
and stir to coat fully. Spread topping over entire casserole and return to
oven for a few minutes until browned and crisp. You should note that
this makes enough potatoes for a small army (or a handful of starving
relatives) so scale accordingly.
1 box Duncan Hines brand butter cake mix
1 stick butter
1 8oz. container Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
1 box confectioner’s sugar
1 large egg
Pecans
1) Melt butter in microwave and combine with dry cake mix until
moistened throughout. Press into bottom of 9x13 pan. Bake on 350 for
10-15 minutes (or until light gold in color).
2)While crust is baking, mix cream cheese, egg and confectioner’s sugar
with a hand mixer until smooth.
3) Take the crust out of the oven and immediately pour the filling on top
of crust. Top with pecans (chopped or halved). Bake on 350 for about 30
minutes, watching closely to ensure the pecans don’t burn. Let the pan
stand to cool before cutting into squares. Commence eating entire pan
because you can’t stop yourself. Feel bad about it later, but then make
another batch.