Favorite JazzFest Musical Memories, Part Trois

Posted: April 30th, 2020 | Filed under: Culture, JazzFest, Music | No Comments »

There’s a chat room where JazzFest obsessives like myself hang out.

For the acolytes, the Jazz Fest Forum  is a year round thing.

The denizens are called Threadheads, and most seem to know each other from hookups during Fest. Or otherwise. Liuzza’s seems to be the official unofficial meeting place. They also have a party every year during Fest called the Patry. With boffo lineups.

I’m sort of an outlier, an auxiliary Threadhead if you will, having come to the dialog later than most of the regulars. On the way to the Fest a few years back, in the Charlotte airport, I did meet a couple that helped start the Forum. And there’s the NRBQ-loving regular I chatted up a couple years ago between acts at the Gentilly Stage.

It’s a year round deal, but, as you can imagine, conversations ratchet up with the lineup announcement in January, and the posting of the Cubes a month out.

One of the regular threads will deal with lesser known, obscure acts that somebody’s heard in concert with a hearty “You gotta hear this group.”

I check them all out on youtube before making my daily plans. Weeks in advance, I must admit. Plus, disciple that I am, I also check out the ones I don’t know that might not have been recommended.

Which brings to my favorite tip of recent years . . .

. . . Bombino. Read the rest of this entry »

“Bad Education”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: April 29th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 1 Comment »

It must be acknowledged that a tale of high school administrators embezzling money from a school system is not the most compelling or sexiest of topics.

To fashion an engaging movie from such a scenario takes serious craft.

Which director Cody Finley and writer Mike Makowsky have accomplished in the HBO Original, “Bad Education.”

Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney excellently portray the real life Frank Tassone and Pam Gluckin. Who a few decades ago were beloved by a Long Island school system, at the same time they were stealing millions of dollars from the system’s coffers.

They were outed by the high school newspaper.

“Bad Education” lays out the whole situation in an appealing way. Really good acting make that happen.

For more on this film, listen to the podcast below:

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My Favorite JazzFest Musical Memories, Part Deux

Posted: April 26th, 2020 | Filed under: JazzFest, Music, New Orleans, Ruminations | 1 Comment »

Oh my, the power of suggestion.

As I write this Saturday afternoon, I’m listening to old JazzFest classic sets at WWOZ.org, which the station will be streaming again Sunday the 26th, and next Thursday through Sunday, noon to 8:00 EDT.

Today’s sumptuous slate opened with Bonerama, which as I write I am confirming to myself might be my favorite of the current New Orleans fusion maestros. (I’d like to more definitive, but, my ears are easily turned, faves change on a whim.)

You know Bonerama’s like funk and rock and some second line Longhairish rumba, all fronted by — Ready for it? — a trio of trombones. Which they play straight up or synthesized.

I mean, ya know, it’s New Orleans. Where else?

And, listening to them open today with “Big Chief,” reminded me of a favorite JF musical moment I’d forgotten. Read the rest of this entry »

My JazzFest Musical Memories: Podcast, Part I

Posted: April 23rd, 2020 | Filed under: Music, New Orleans | No Comments »

I have made it through the first day of what should have been JazzFest without JazzFest, my first time not being there since . . . 1991.

Thanks to WWOZ, New Orleans’ amazing public radio music channel, I spent the day listening to streaming of sets from past decades.

Like from 1973, Ella Fitzgerald dueting with Stevie Wonder on “You Are The Sunshine of My Life.”

Or Tab Benoit’s sweet cover of Toussaint McCall’s “Nothing Takes The Place of You.”

So, I’m a bit calmer now than I was previously this week, while suffering severe withdrawal symptoms.

Anyway, here’s the first podcast of several (I hope) sharing my favorite JazzFest musical moments through the decades.

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Knowing What It Means To Miss New Orleans

Posted: April 19th, 2020 | Filed under: Culture, JazzFest, Music, New Orleans | 3 Comments »

Already consumed with the stark reality that my upcoming week was going to be considerably different than planned, I did not need a reminder.

There it was nonetheless when I sat down at my computer Sunday morning.

The Reminder: JazzFest tomorrow.


Not that my favorite thing to do in life, the gravitational pull of my year, started Monday. The festival wouldn’t have begun until 11:00 in the morning Thursday.

Just sayin’. Hearing some hot New Orleans outfit, like, say, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, or Flow Tribe, before noon on a workday, while savoring a frozen latte, is among life’s most endearing pleasures.

But Monday’s the day I start the trek down. At least since I’ve been driving instead of flying. No matter to explain, but I’ve got my reasons, and it works for me.

Stay overnight along the way in Mississippi. Get to the Crescent City around noon Tuesday. Check in and let the burg’s quintessential vibe wash over me. Take a jog through the Quarter. Dine with long time pals that night at, say, Clancy’s or GW Fins. Read the rest of this entry »

“Run”: Review & Podcast

Posted: April 16th, 2020 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, for whom everything she touches these days turns to gold, is back at it.

This time as executive producer of a Sunday night HBO series, called “Run.”

Intriguing premise, here.

College sweeties move on with separate lives after graduation, but vow to reconnect and rendezvous immediately at a designated time and place, should one text “Run” to the other, with the same one word reply.

So Ruby and Billy abandon their current lives, and find themselves on an Amtrak heading west out of Grand Central Station.

The well-played, well-conceived opening episode sucked me in.

For more details, listen to the podcast below:


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“Somebody Feed Phil”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: April 12th, 2020 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, Food, TV | 3 Comments »

This is the kind of gig I’d love to have.

Getting sent to major cities around the globe, hanging with the cool crowd, eating at the best restaurants, while cracking jokes.

Phil Rosenthal is the Man.

“Somebody Feed Phil” is the Netflix series, where we get to watch him live the life.

One of the episodes is his visit to New Orleans, which you may noticed is my favorite place to dine. And where I would be next week for JazzFest and feasting, but for you know what.

Anyway, listen to the podcast below for more on the show, and how I reacted when Phil was eating my favorite dish, Chicken a la Grande, at my favorite restaurant, Mosca’s.

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“Crip Camp”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: April 6th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 1 Comment »

As I’ve mentioned before, I cherish the moments when a film I’ve never heard of shows up out of the blue and steals my heart.

(Thank you, Jeff and Susan, my film buff friends, for the recommendation.)

Such is the situation with “Crip Camp,” an endearing documentary about how a summer camp in the Catskills in the early 70s just for kids with handicaps was the genesis of the disability civil rights movement.

But first, the camp allowed these amazing humans to feel their humanity and find some dignity.

Lots of sweet black and white footage from those camp days here. Followed by a chronicle how those from that experience were front and center, forcing Congress and the government to pass and then enforce empowering, long time coming, long overdue legislation.

For more, about this splendid bit of cinema, including where you can watch –It has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating — listen to the podcast below:

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“SXSW Short Films”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: April 2nd, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Surfing about for something to read or watch or listen to on my laptop while dining last night, I came across a site that’s posted a bunch of short film entries to that portion of SXSW.

I’ve watched three so far, and each in its own way is pretty spectacular. I shall delve further.

One is a story that completely touches the dynamics of twentysomething relationships and mother/ daughter relationships in eight minutes.

Another is a sweet three minute animated tale about Christmas longing. It won the Grand Prize even though the festival, like everything else, was cancelled.

And perhaps the most artistic, creative documentary I’ve ever seen. An eleven minute telling of the crusade that saved a thousand broken musical instruments in the Philly school system, called “Broken Orchestra.” Relatively dry topic, incredible filmmaking.

For further details where to find these gems, listen to the podcast below:

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“A Black and White Night”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: March 27th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Music | No Comments »

So, among the blessings in these strange and perilous times are the many musical events that can be watched on the interweb.

Just last night, I watched an entire concert of my favorite group, Tedeschi Trucks Band, from last fall at the Beacon Theater. They were smokin’ hot, and I actually was up and dancing during some of the tunes.

(Feel free to close your eyes at that the virtual visual, but it’s a moment to savor these days when we can be carefree.)

So, I thought of a concert film you might not know about.

“A Black and White Night” is a Roy Orbison made for TV gig, filmed in late ’87, and first shown the following January.

It is evocatively shot in, duh, high contrast black and white, adding to the panache.

His back up band is arguably as star studded a contingent as there’s ever been. I name names in the podcast below.

Orbison’s an icon from the first wave of rock & roll, but his voice was still in fine fettle decades later.

It’s available online, but you’re going to have to listen to the podcast to find out where. (See what I’m doing here, nodding like the woman in the H&R Block advert to my podcast link below.)

For more details, listen, you know, down below. It’s a great set of live music from one of the greats.

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“The In-Laws” (1979): Film Review Podcast

Posted: March 18th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 2 Comments »

So, in these weird times, I feel compelled to hip you to a funny movie.

It’s one of my favorite comedies of all time.

The original 1979 version of “The In Laws.” (Do not fall prey to the horrible remake.)

Vince Ricardo (Peter Falk) is a renegade CIA op, whose son is marrying the daughter of Sheldon Kornpett (Alan Arkin).

Ricardo induces Kornpett to help him with an errand in the days before the wedding. They end up in front of a firing squad in a banana republic, whose dictator, General Garcia, is played by Richard Libertini in a film stealing cameo.

The film is actually showing this Friday, March 20, on a cable/ satellite channel near you. And can also be streamed for a couple bucks at Amazon Prime.

For more details, and more info about the flick, listen to the podcast below:

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“Hoop Dreams”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: March 12th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Sports | No Comments »

These are troubled times, kids, so before I start, let me add my voice to those who advise to take all precautions, and to follow the advice of medical pros who know what they’re talking about.

I know a lot of folks, like me, will be hunkering in the ol’ hacienda more than usual.

And, for those of us who love college basketball, we won’t be able to watch any as we’d normally be doing this time of year, because it’s all been called off, justifiably, in the name of national health and safety.

So, I recommend to my followers, as I’ve done before, the absolute best film ever made about basketball.

The filmmakers of “Hoop Dreams” followed a couple Chicago prep phenoms over almost 8 years, edited down hundreds of hours of footage and fashioned this incisive and intimate portrait of their lives and fortunes.

It’s available at Amazon Prime and maybe elsewhere.

For more on the film, listen to my podcast below:

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