Friday, June 30, 2006

Robinson Film Center makes outreach a theme: from Queensboro to Mike Woods Park, Bossier, the RFC is teaching and presenting

Robinson Film Center's everywhere-at-once communications fellow, Chris Jay, says in the RFC newsletter, "Students enrolled in The Robinson Film Center’s “Lights, Camera, Learning!” program are currently shooting and editing their own short film, an original drama entitled “The Silent Prayers,” during twice-weekly classes at the Atkins Branch of Shreve Memorial Library in Shreveport’s Queensborough neighborhood. The film deals with serious issues facing teens today. A late Summer 2006 premier is expected. "

Last week RFC hosted an advance screening of “Everything or Nothing” with director Gary Chason and screenwriter/actress Sue Rock. It marked the opening of a partnership between RFC and Fairfield Studios.

“From Your Imagination to the Screen,” a documentary film created during an educational workshop hosted by The Robinson Film Center, premiered in Shreveport on Tuesday, May 30th at the Volunteers of America Highland Center. More than 100 of the students who helped create the film attended the premiere screening. The following night, a public screening was held at Centenary College. The 23-minute documentary film follows “Mr. Bill” creator Walter Williams as he hosted two days of hands-on animation workshops with area K-12 students from the Highland and Ledbetter Heights neighborhoods. Created by Bossier City native Allison Bohl, the film is currently being submitted to film festivals.

The “Movies & Moonbeams” outdoor cinema program is in full swing, featuring an all-new website and a full calendar of upcoming events in Shreveport and Bossier City.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark”
Friday, July 7, 2006 – Admission $1.00
Riverview Park (601 Clyde Fant Parkway, Shreveport)
Film begins at nightfall -

“Superman the Movie”
Saturday, July 15, 2006 – Admission $1.00
Mike Woods Memorial Park (2200 Dennis Street, Bossier)
Film begins at nightfall

“Jurassic Park”
Friday, August 18, 2006 – Admission Free
Southern Hills Park (1000 Bert Kouns Industrial Loop)
Film begins at nightfall

Also catch the “Movies & Moonbeams” inflatable screen in action at “FUNKY FRIDAYS” in downtown Shreveport. Here are the dates:
Friday, July 14 – “Some Like it Hot” – 9:00 PM
Friday, July 28 – “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” – 9:00 PM
Friday, August 11 – “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” – 9:00 PM

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Northeast Louisiana Celtic Festival: Oct 7 & 8, 06, Monroe; hosted by Doyle Jeter of Enoch's Pub

11-5-05 Beth (11)
Originally uploaded by Chad Smalley.
Doyle Jeter's energy for musical production does not seem to have flagged, based on the continued success of his Enoch's Irish Pub and Cafe (, a site rich with links) and the addition of his NE Louisiana Celtic Fest. The fest web site,, says the first event drew some 3000. Certainly, perusing the performers' bios on that site is an education in the Celtic music scene. The producer and artist (the Eye20 Group) Jeter has announced that this year's Celt fest will run 2 days: Oct 7 & 8.

Among the announcements he asks, "Would you like to be involved in this year's festival? We are looking for volunteers. If you're interested, email us at"

One of the performers on the 06 Fest bill is Beth Patterson (see photo), a girl raised in Lafayette, La, but based in New Orleans. Patterson has a marvelous career, recording and touring and getting her music into movies. Her web site is

Jeter made a considerable impact on Shreveport when he operated Enoch's. He brought in a who's who of Texas musicians and showcased top locals. If you miss his programming, you may want to nip over to Monroe when you read the Monroe schedule. While it is an Irish pub, he does not hesitate to bring in eclectic musicians such as Kenny Stinson, Melody Moore and even New Orleanian Doug Duffey (Fr, June 30).

Say hello to Doyle at, or Enoch's, 318-388-3662.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Kern Courtney & Friends on Fr, June 30, at Shreveport's best-swept all ages gig, Java Junction; catch Stanton Dossett & Chris Alexander Sat, July 1

Writes Java Junction media girl Cristal Wilcox about Kern Courtney, "Kern's guitar skills are impeccable and his taste good; his soft demeanor and smooth grooves accompany compelling lyrics. And he always attracts fellow performers of the highest caliber--commanding their various instruments and setting the place ablaze."

8 pm; 3 bucks.

Saturday night Matt Crowson, a compadre of Dirtfoot, has a benefit based on the untimely death of Kathryn Vail Shelton-Welch (March 28, 1979 - June 4, 2006). He is presenting:

7:00 Forever Kai
7:30 Kern Courtney
8:00 Stanton Dossett (or) Jr. III
8:30 Chris Alexander
9:00 ONO!

Saturday, July 1
7-10 p.m.
No Cover; Donations Appreciated

Dirtfoot at Little Joes Tavern, Kings Hwy, Sat, July 1, 9 pm; the Peekers open the show

Dirtfoot / Columbia Park
Originally uploaded by trudeau.
Dirtfoot is about to trek furthur into the wicked world of business, says their very first newsletter. They're playing the beer garden at two S'pt Sports baseball games.

The Sat. night show at Little Joes - 9 pm - is a benefit to get travel bucks for a showcase at the Hi Tone Cafe in Memphis. And they've promised to release the album soon.

Somehow I'm guessing that this level of success is not going to corrupt the home town faves.

Openers the Peekers seem to be the impassioned John Martin and podna Stephen __ from the Big Positive - joined by 2 girl singers.

Check and for more.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sizzling corner on the 4th: Columbia Cafe's Creswell at King's Highway; grilled goombahs and cold Abita from 4 pm

Columbia Cafe proprietor Matthew Linn proclaims, "For our 4th of July cookout Chef Justin will be on the king-sized grill cooking stuffed, smoked oysters, duck kebabs, horseradish-stuffed beef tenderloin and - maybe a pig (no leopard; sorry). I'll be freezing Russian daiquiris and pouring Louisiana beer: Abita Restoration. The proceeds from the Abita are supposed to go to Katrina relief. My war-commemorating bonus is that we will cook what you bring, free."

Additionally, the excitable boy says, "There will be live music and dead art. That's Tu, July 4, from 4p.m. till we collapse." Somehow Linn wanted to include "shorts and flip flops and BBQ" and, I think, his 425-3862. Done.

Katrina blues: Fraud vast in wake of hurricanes, says NY Times; cost to taxpayers may go to $2 billion / did you get yours?

WASHINGTON, June 26 NY Times — Among the many superlatives associated with Hurricane Katrina can now be added this one: it produced one of the most extraordinary displays of scams, schemes and stupefying bureaucratic bungles in modern history, costing taxpayers up to $2 billion.

Jamie Rose for The New York Times

A hotel owner in Sugar Land, Tex., has been charged with submitting $232,000 in bills for phantom victims. And roughly 1,100 prison inmates across the Gulf Coast apparently collected more than $10 million in rental and disaster-relief assistance.

There are the bureaucrats who ordered nearly half a billion dollars worth of mobile homes that are still empty, and renovations for a shelter at a former Alabama Army base that cost about $416,000 per evacuee.

And there is the Illinois woman who tried to collect federal benefits by claiming she watched her two daughters drown in the rising New Orleans waters. In fact, prosecutors say, the children did not exist.

The tally of ignoble acts linked to Hurricane Katrina, pulled together by The New York Times from government audits, criminal prosecutions and Congressional investigations, could rise because the inquiries are under way. Even in Washington, a city accustomed to government bloat, the numbers are generating amazement.

More in the story 'Breathtaking' Waste and Fraud in Hurricane Aid.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Critical Mass ride scheduled Sat, July 1, 5:30 pm, Columbia Park; no particular place to go

Originally uploaded by jaymce.
Says Susan Garner, who works at a bike shop and is one of the town's youngest gatekeepers, "Critical Mass correction!!! CM is this Saturday. Ok, so excuse me for believing the flyers. Critical Mass will be this Saturday, July 1. It is still at 5:30 and still at Columbia Park, though. If you are going to the benefit show at Java Junction at 7:00 pm, you will be finished riding by then, no fears. Bring your bike and have fun."
- The Analyst

Kevan Smith is an info source on CM, too. Smith, who might be the founder of the local version of Critical Mass, says "5:30. The Columbia park lot right in front of Creswell school. But don't think radical critical mass. Think fun bike ride. Shreveport isn't the place for U-lock wielding bike radicals, but there are enough bikes out now due to a variety of factors that starting the critical mass seed growing could help teach cyclists and motorists to get along."

Kevan has an acerbic media blog focusing mostly on NPR and Red River Radio - where he worked - and, on the other hand, KSCL, where he has a show "Friday evenings from 6 to at least 8."

Check out the well-read Smith and his acidic mediavasions at

River City Tanlines, Memphians, & the Peekers, Shreveportians, at Big D's BBQ, Th, June 29, 8 pm, Allendale, Shreveport

Chris Brown writes, "River City Tanlines had a blast in March when they came through town and played at Big D's. So, they're coming back on Thursday. This time around the weather should cooperate, and we have a Shreveport band on the bill -- the Peekers. Hope to see you there!"

Thursday, June 29th: River City Tanlines (Memphis) & The Peekers (Shreveport) @ Big D's BBQ @ 8pm

1. Big D's is located at 101 N. Common, Shreveport, LA 71101
2. We'll be taking donations for the bands. Bring money.
3. Both bands have myspace accounts. You can hear some of their music there.

Little Foxes first drama from McWilliams & Busieck's Red River Repertory Theater; opens Th, June 29, at Strand Theater, 7:30 pm

The inaugural production of Red River Repertory Theater, Little Foxes, features actors from Los Angeles and Phoenix as well as capable local players, says Patric McWilliams. It will open Thursday, June 29th, at The Strand Theatre in downtown Shreveport. The performance schedule:

June 29, 7:30 pm
June 30, 7:30 pm
July 01, 7:30 pm
July 02, 2:00 pm

$25.00 for Adults
$20.00 for Seniors and Students 18 and under.
Reservations may be made by calling The Strand box office at 318-226-8555.

More at (quite a nicely designed site) and

Shreveport-Bossier Live! founder Allen Marsalis to speak at LSUS on Th, June 29, 6:30 pm

MacBook Black
Originally uploaded by PeSa'.
Allen Marsalis is this month's featured speaker at the Shreveport Mac User Group, says Thomas Avallone. Marsalis is founder
and former CEO of ShreveNet, now Nationwide Internet. He
will discuss his experience as an early Mac pioneer as well as
his new venture, Shreveport-Bossier Live!

SMUG June Meeting: Th, June 29, 6:30 p.m.
LSUS Science Lecture Auditorium

More information:

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Jonathan Byrd: laid back folksinger in Shreveport, Fr, June 30, Fairfield Studios

Says singer Sandra Odom about the next house concert artist to perform at Fairfield Studios, "Jonathan Byrd was one of my favorite favorites at the Kerrville Folk Festival this year. His clean, poignant style combined with a laid-back delivery is very appealing. There's nothing simple about this guy.....he simply hits the right note at the right time.

So come take a chance on a nationally touring singer/song-writer who will take you on a magical musical tour and see if he speaks to you like he speaks to me."

Fact is, Byrd has his own description in "Jonathan Byrd is an American singer-songwriter based in Carrboro, North Carolina. He is best known for his narative tales of love, life, and death in America. In 2003, he was among the winners of the New Folk competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival. He set a record for CD sales at the festival that year, making more sales than the main stage acts. His song, "The Ballad of Larry" has been listed a "Top Rated Song" by Americana-UK. He primarily performs solo and accompanies himself in a variety of traditional acoustic guitar styles. His recordings have featured a variety of instrumental ensembles and typically include one or more instrumental tracks that feature Byrd’s skillful flatpicking technique. Occasionally he also appears with the Athens, Georgia based world music duo, Dromedary."

Fairfield Studios, 1510 Fairfield Ave. (across from the State Bldg)
Fri, June 30th, 7 pm (doors open at 6)
Call/email for Reservations:
$15 (suggested donation)
Bring your drink of choice. Coffee, tea and water will also be available.

McCaa sings a new single, "Shreveport, you're a big dog now" from new album, Under a HooDoo Moon; see the AFM116 site to listen and download

McCaa sings the blues in the park
Originally uploaded by trudeau.
Chris McCaa has a new single, Shreveport, You're All Grown Up, and a new album: Under a HooDoo Moon.

Heavily influenced by the music of New Orleans and the blues scenes in both Memphis and Austin, Chris McCaa plays keyboards, sings, arranges and writes tunes, says his web site at Enjoy and download the single at his site.

As a journeyman performer McCaa has pounded the piano for several of Louisiana's most popular bar bands. The list includes A-Train in the 1970s, The Red Hots in the 1980s, and the MTV award-winning Insatiables in the 1990s.

Chris has returned to his roots as a Louisiana professor, or pianist (implied as an entertainer in a bawdy house). Taking the moniker of Professor Porkchop, Chris created a band that takes you on a musical trip through the bayou, to New Orleans and beyond.

McCaa has opened for B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jimmy Vaughan, Asleep at the Wheel, Bo Diddley, KoKo Taylor, Delbert McClinton and Keb' Mo'.

You can catch Professor Porkchop behind the piano at restaurants or with his band on the Red River gambling boats.

Listen to his single entitled, Shreveport, from the upcoming album, Underneath a HooDoo Moon, on the Larry Ryan Show on KLKL - Oldies 95.7FM.

McCaa is also pres of the American Federation of Musicians local 116. See more about the 116 as well as book musicians and groups of all sorts at the AFM116 web site:

Or call the AFM116 at 1.800.434.6874 or 318.222.5183.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Musicians' Forum sponsored by Tipitina's Music Co-op Mon, June 26, 6:30 - 9 pm, Caliente Restaurant, 601 Texas

Darryl Mims
Originally uploaded by trudeau.
Dan Garner, manager of Tipitina's Music Co-op, Shreveport, says, "A huge thanks to Julia Foley, Promotions Director for Ren Ten Music,
LLC, for putting together, what I believe to be a major and important

Please join us this Monday (June 26th) @ Caliente's Restaurant, 601
Texas Street from 6:30 until 9:pm. Caliente's has been generous enough to offer their facilities as well as soft drinks and finger food.

There will be networking opportunities along with guest speakers including:

* Karl Hasten, Editor at The Forum-Press Related Promotions

* Kelly Wells, VP Tourism Marketing at the Shreveport/Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau- Conventions and Festivals

* Marion Marks, Owner of M&M Communications Concepts-Digital Media and Enhancing Your Music Business

* Dexter Johnson, Pro-Tools Engineer at Odyssey Sound Lab- CD Mastering, Music Production

There will also be a "Questions & Answers" session.

This event is free and open to the public, but is designed
specifically for Co-Op members in an effort to perform a "needs
assessment" here at Tipitina's Music Office Co-Op/ Shreveport. Please attend and bring an interested guest."

See more at
Julia Foley; 402-2398
Tip's: 934-0000

The art of Tong Li at Karpeles Museum, Shreveport: intricate Chinese paper cutting

Tong Li's elaborate, symmetrical and harmonius work in paper is on display at Karpeles Document Museum, Shreveport, says Kathy Pliler, director. Ms. Li's cut paper work has sold well, Pliler, said, and Li is able to create color variations on her representations, such as "10 Cranes," "56 Butterfly Cross" and "90 Butterflies," to meet customer's desires. Prices range from $50 to $800.

Karpeles Document Museum is in the former Christian Science worship center at 3201 Centenary. While the documents on display might not wow the average youngster, a brief field trip would be recommended for all based on the building's stately architecture and the display of local artists' work.
Photos by Kathy Pliler.

Open Tu - Th, 10 am to 4 pm.

Tong Li, artist, can be reached at

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Costner returns to downtown Shreveport in leather during Funky Friday, June 23, 7 pm, 710 Texas St

Originally uploaded by Ernie3.
Generous celeb Kevin Costner will give yet another Shreveport performance, says Pam Atchison. In this one he will help open the downtown celebration called Funky Fridays.

The actor-rocker will appear in green leather garb on a giant outdoor screen set up in the 700 block of Texas St. As the character Robinhood, Prince of Thieves, he will strut for the audience, ride hard and shoot unerringly before disappearing in the direction of Greenwood.

"This is somewhat of a PR coup, I must admit," said Karl Hasten, editor of Forum Newsweekly.

Funky Friday has a fantabulous, overlapping Artspace muchness:

5 pm: wine and finger food by Bella Fresca.

5:30 in Coolspace inside Artpsace: reception for art by Jerry Lyles.

7 pm: $5 admission (collected somehow; this could be amusing) to the "Funky Friday Festivities."

* music indoors will be classic vocal & guitar blues by the duo of Caskey & Howell (that's Jimmy Caskey of Jacquelyn's Restaurant, indeed).
* music outdoors will feature Russ Brabham & Hominy Ranch - they're terrific at relaxed, Eagles-minded rock.
* crowd functivities orchestrated by funster Eric Gipson.
* trolley tours.
* hands-on activities of the legal, rather than funky, sort.
* art vendors plying their art.
* food vendors feeding the masses.

9 pm: Robinhood, Prince of Thieves; Mr. Costner, in suede vests with marvelous blouses, projected on a giant outdoor screen with super sound system. Chairs? Use the ones provided or tote your own.

MoInfo: SRAC's Bonne' Summers at 673-6500.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

May your Solstice be celestial; some are nodding to the vibes emanating from Salisbury Plain, home of the Blues & Sarsens of Stonehenge

Flight Of The Solstice Dawn
Originally uploaded by tarotastic.
Of the summer solstice and the stone ring called Stonehenge, here's a bit of the NYTimes coverage:

"About 19,000 New Agers, present-day druids and partygoers gathered inside and around the ancient circle of towering stones to greet the longest day in the northern hemisphere as the sun struggled to peek out against a smoky gray sky.

''This is the nearest thing I've got to religion,'' said Ray Meadows, 34, of Bristol, England. The solstice ''is a way of giving thanks to the earth and the universe.''

Meadows, wearing a wreath of pink carnations over long pink hair-wrapped braids, identified herself as a fairy of the Tribe of Frog.

Stonehenge, on the Salisbury Plain 80 miles southwest of London, was built between 3000 B.C. and 1600 B.C. The lichen-covered rocks are a major tourist attraction and have spiritual significance for thousands of druids and New Age followers."

The article closed with "Groups of tourists, some from France, Italy and Spain, joined British revelers. Daniel Estera, 25, flew from Barcelona for one night at the solstice with 15 friends.

''It is part of a family tradition to see a solstice monument from around the world,'' Estera said. ''It is about respect for ancient cultures.''

How and why the monument was built remains unknown. Some experts say its builders aligned the stones as part of their sun-worshipping culture, while others believe it was part of an astronomical calendar."

The manager of the most famous of England's numerous great stone circles, including Avebury, is called the English Heritage and manintains this newsy site:

In Shreveport, Druids and Baptists announced plans to gather at the Amiss Water Treatment Plant for a midnight inundation and consciousness growth session. Said Mayor Hightower via assistant Liz Swaine, "I'm leaving town effective immediately. When the Druids and the Baptists start cooperating, that qualifies as one of the signs of the cataclysm. And if the world's going to end, I want to see it out from atop Loew's Anatole, not Thrill Hill."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Postcard from South Louisiana: Arnaudville becomes a Cajun arts center / story & photo Rebecca Hudsmith

Postcard from St Landry Parish by Rebecca Hudsmith, writer and attorney - as well as owner of Bistineau Gallery, Shreveport:

"The newest center for the arts and roots music in southwest Louisiana is the town of Arnaudville along the Bayou Teche, near Lafayette. There local artist George Marks has opened the Town Market, a showcase for the works of regional artists and artisans. It is also the location of monthly pot luck dinners and live music in the style of the old Cajun house parties.

This past Friday, I made my way to Arnaudville and the Town Market, where I met folks from as far away as Lyon, France and Montreal, Canada. Needless to say, conversations in French abounded.

The evening ended in the back room of the Town Market where Cajun fiddler Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers and accordionist Ray Abshire, along with a number of froittoir (rubboard) players representing several generations of Cajun musicians, played traditional Cajun French music to a lively crowd of folks of all ages.
If you are in the area, a slight detour off of I-49 or I-10 is well worth it.

The Town Market is located at 1013 Neblet, and the phone number is 337-754-9898. C'est bon!"

And there's more at

Postcard from South Louisiana: Arnaudville's new Town Market / story & photo, Rebecca Hudsmith

Postcards from South Louisiana are gifts from Rebecca Hudsmith, a rambling attorney and ever-curious arts broker who owns Bistineau Gallery, Shreveport. In three photos from a recent visit she celebrates
the advent of a Cajun arts center in Arnaudville, near Opelousas.

To amplify her story here's some copy from Erin Zaunbrecher, writer for the Independent Weekly of Lafayette:

"It's Friday night in Arnaudville, and artist George Marks’ Town Market is hopping. Painters, sculptors, town leaders and families mingle among crafts, handmade jewelry and sculpture, and New Orleans guitarist Marc Stone’s music fills the air along Bayou Teche. Mama Marks’ old dining room table in the market’s kitchen area is covered with crab stew, potato salad, sausage, fried chicken and jambalaya. Miss Betty, president of the Chamber of Commerce, hands out her stuffed bread from a basket. Out in front, five musicians jam on handcrafted furniture for sale.

The market is the new gathering spot in town and also the site for Tuesday lunch meetings, where townspeople discuss local issues. These meetings have sparked the development of a monthly farmer’s market at Arnaudville Feed & Seed and zydeco concerts in a grassy lot next to Russell’s Food Center. In the past year, more than 10 artists have either relocated their studios or moved to Arnaudville permanently, and it’s only a taste of what’s to come if Marks is successful in giving the town new life as an artists community." See more at

Editor's note: The Independent Weekly is a product of Steve and Cherry May, once publishers of UpState Newsweekly, where I was a long-time writer. Here's their About Us from
"Publishing partners Steve and Cherry Fisher May are veterans of the industry, having published The Times of Acadiana for eighteen years as well as ventures in Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Lake Charles, Louisiana, and San Antonio, Texas. (Under their leadership, The Times was named Newspaper of the Year by the National Newspaper Association.) Associate publisher Odie Terry, also a partner in The Ind, had oversight of special projects for The Times Publishing Group, which was sold in 1998."

Along the Bayou Teche, near Lafayette: Turtle Cove Studio, Arnaudville; story & photo, Rebecca Hudsmith

Rebecca Hudsmith's third entry in her report from Arnaudville:

" I traveled by foot down the road a bit to Turtle Cove Studio, an art gallery and guest house, where photographer Monique Michelle Verdin's black and white photos of her French speaking Native American relatives from the bayous and marshlands of coastal south Louisiana were on display."
The Turtle Cove Studio is located at 155 Fuselier Road, and the phone number is 337-232-3677.

From the Univ of California Riverside lecture series comes this description of Monique Verdin:

“Southern Louisiana is our Chiapas: a tragic and beautiful land that has become an epicenter of indigenous resistance to ecocide and ethnic cleansing. The native Americans of the Gulf parishes are an almost invisible people, yet their gritty endurance in remote villages and lost bayous is an epic story. Now, in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a majority of them are without homes or livelihoods, and they face perhaps the greatest challenge to their cultural survival since the French conquest. Monique Verdin is a daughter of the Pointe-au-Chien tribe. She is also an extraordinary photographer who has chronicled her people’s difficult struggle in a rapidly disappearing landscape. She documents how corporate greed has poisoned the bayous and accelerated the erosion of this country’s most magnificent wetlands. She also depicts the pride and quiet heroism of people like her incredible 90-year-old grandmother Armantine Marie Verdin who escaped Katrina’s wrath in a traditional piroque (flat-bottom canoe). With her companion, the Cajun actor-activist Mark Krasnoff from Ville Platte, she has also been keeping a photo and video diary of how southern Louisianans - Black, Creole, Cajun and Indian - have responded to the ultimate disaster.”

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Budgets tank at orchestra, opera, Strand; SSO musicians take 15% pay cut / Jennifer Flowers reportage

The Orchestra Warms Up
Originally uploaded by bratsch.
The Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, Shreveport Opera and Strand Theater are in fairly deep trouble, reports the Times. There are some bright spots: attendance at SSO concerts has been at a 5-year high. But the people at the heart of the SSO, the musicians, have taken a 15% pay cut. Jobs at each organization are being cut. Herein, a group of optimistic people give the details of a dark story.

By Jennifer Flowers

No matter how they fared, arts groups say they are far from stable. Most are limping away from their battles to cut costs and streamline operations, two tactics that many say are curbing organizational growth.

The Shreveport Opera ended the year with dazzling ticket sales and a dizzying $100,000 deficit that is putting the 57-year-old company's existence into question, according to Eric Dillner, Shreveport Opera general director.

"We are in serious trouble," Dillner said. "We have an endowment intended for the longevity of this company but right now we use it as collateral, and we make good on our payments. But if you can't, then what do you do? You close your doors."

Dillner attributes the deficit to a trickle-down effect from Hurricane Katrina. His organization relies on a relationship with the New Orleans Opera as well as in-kind support, both of which were burdened by the hurricane and caused the local opera's production costs to soar.

The opera saw the bottom fall out of its corporate support. It also lost about $70,000 on its youth outreach program because it was forced to cancel shows in hurricane-devastated areas of Louisiana. The company ate up its two-year surplus of $70,000 to help offset costs. Three staff positions were eliminated, leaving Dillner and his development director, Andrea Frentress.

"We are writing grants and proposals to corporations as fast as we can, but the reality is the individual donations are where we're going to pull through this whole thing," Dillner said.

Individual donors, making up a quarter of the opera's budget that falls just under $700,000, were up 34 percent compared to last year. The opera is increasing its 2006-07 budget to $900,000, which includes the unpaid debt from this past season. To reach that goal, it is planning an Italian-themed fall fundraiser called "A Taste of Italy."

The Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, which started the season with a projected deficit of more than $200,000, will welcome Michael Butterman, its new music director, with a balanced budget this fall. To get there, it made a 15 percent pay cut to musician salaries and eliminated $125,000 in operating costs. It also scrambled to cover $60,000 in state funds frozen following Hurricane Katrina and relied on $150,000 in one-time donations the board had helped to raise.

Scott Green, executive director, attributes part of the group's balanced-budget situation to drastic cost cutting, a five-year high in ticket sales and a successful annual Constellation Ball fundraiser, which overshot its goal and netted $80,000. But he added the symphony believes long-term success will not happen by continuing to hack away at the organization. "We've got to continue to grow," he said. "We've got to grow our income resources, and we want to be fiscally responsible to the community."

The symphony decided it lacked a cohesive vision and developed two task forces composed of musicians, board members and staff to revisit its mission and develop a long-term strategic plan. The budget for next year has not yet been set, but it will be similar to this year's and will reflect a $100,000 bank debt. The symphony also has a $200,000 restricted endowment and has created a separate Shreveport Symphony Foundation that now has a little more than $100,000.

As far as musician salaries go, the symphony said it cannot legally discuss how it will handle a 15 percent pay cut that caused many players to question the viability of performing locally.

Paul Gray, a Shreveport native who lived in New York as a flutist and tutor for more than 40 years, has attended several symphony concerts since moving home last year and was impressed by what he heard.

"Shreveport has a first-rate orchestra," Gray said. "The orchestra is far better than when I was here before, and I think it deserves better than it is getting. These are people who have spent their lives learning a craft and learning how to do it well. Yet they can't make a living at it and to me there's something wrong with that."

The Peter Pan Players went all out for an elaborate December production of "Beauty and the Beast," and lost money on the show despite high ticket sales. Expensive set rentals, costumes and royalty fees put the youth theater troupe $10,000 in the hole. But a new fundraiser that followed the production, titled "I Am an Actor," brought in $7,500 to offset those losses.

"Even though we lost money on 'Beauty and the Beast,' we feel we raised the bar as far as the artistic endeavor," said Kathy Melancon, Players coordinator. "We look forward to the upcoming year, one to put us in the black."

The Players, which borrowed against its assets and has a credit line that adds up to about $144,000 in debt, continues to look for ways to do more with less to help pay for the remaining losses from "Beauty and the Beast." It will start next season with a budget of $100,000 and plans to tone down costs for this year's holiday show, "The Sound of Music." It is relying heavily on in-kind donations and volunteers, and will eliminate some of its biggest costs by building the set locally.

Despite the cost cutting, Isobel Rudy, artistic director, assures that production quality will not falter. "You have to take risks," she said. "I'm not going to play down to the children. That's all there is to it."

The Strand Theatre saw ticket sales climb this year to 68 percent from 56 percent during 2004-05. Every production made a profit, and two large-scale musicals sold out.

"This is not a guaranteed business," said Danny Fogger, Strand executive director. "If you make money on every show, that's pretty good."

The Strand decreased its budget this year by $300,000 and cut its season in half after 2004-05 ended a second straight year of sluggish ticket sales. Three seasons ago, the group was averaging between 70 percent and 80 percent in ticket sales.

The Strand also saw $93,000 in profits. Rental fees were up, and production expenses were smaller because of the lower number of shows. Fogger also cut back on administrative costs, which included the elimination of a booking agent and a general manager. Next year's budget is back at $1.2 million for its 11-show run.

The new River City Repertory Theatre, Shreveport's first Actors' Equity Association-sanctioned theater group, has managed to raise $70,000 to date through a fundraiser and mailings and will put on its kickoff production, "The Little Foxes," on June 29. This response indicated to Patric McWilliams, artistic director, that the community is hungry for the arts.

"People have been wonderful and they readily opened their checkbooks before we even had a product, and it made me feel good that they respect us enough to do that," he said.

"This community has supported a symphony, an opera, a ballet company and more. I think the city here has shown they do want a strong cultural life."

Are you a fan of ZeFrank? Innovative web-based commentator / comedian shows way for next generation of entertainers

Originally uploaded by Pop!Tech 2004.
Last week my daughter Annabel turned me on to the high-energy, thoughtful web videos of Hosea Frank, a Brooklyn-based gadfly. I haven't seen enough of him to fully evaluate, but what I've seen so far is exciting. It's partly his talent, partly the possibilities he's exploring. Here's an excerpt from a NY Times story, but better yet go to and check out his video reports.

Like a lot of young adults, Mr. Frank, 34, has a Web site, There, he documents elaborate and often ridiculous stunts of his own creation, like having two people on opposite sides of the world simultaneously place pieces of bread on the ground, creating what he calls an "earth sandwich."

Since mid-March, Mr. Frank has also been producing daily video shorts for his site, starring himself. The shorts typically feature a bug-eyed Mr. Frank talking directly into the camera about subjects like MySpace, government wiretapping and Iraq. He also indulges in the occasional stunt, like pouring chocolate milk all over himself.

His site draws around 10,000 viewers a day, and many of them use the site's comments section to praise, argue over or eviscerate his abilities as an entertainer. So Mr. Frank turned the tables.

With help from a programmer friend, he set up the comedy-writing equivalent of a Wikipedia page — an online site where anyone could write a joke and edit or even delete the jokes of others — and told his viewing public that if they were so brilliant, they could collaborate to write a script for his show. If they did so, Mr. Frank promised, he would faithfully execute it, no matter how absurd, and post the resulting video on his site.

He called the event "Fabuloso Friday," and gave it a slogan: "Where you think so I don't have to."

Much has been written lately about "the wisdom of crowds." The idea, promoted by the author James Surowiecki in his book of that title, is that large numbers of loosely connected strangers are better at solving problems and predicting the future than a few elites. But what about the wit of crowds? Could a vast network of volunteer writers from around the globe be funnier than a lone comedy writer in a one-bedroom apartment in Cobble Hill?

Mr. Frank thought that farming out his script would provide some answers. Which explains why at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 9, he was sitting before a video camera with freshly dyed red hair, wearing a fake mustache, puffing a fake pipe and stroking a stuffed cat, sitting in an armchair next to a globe, a rubber duck, two pieces of white bread and a framed portrait of Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court justice — an absurd array of props mandated by the script.

"The meta joke here is, 'See how hard you can shake the marionette,' " Mr. Frank said between takes. "There's a violence to it."

Mr. Frank (he pronounces his first name "zay," derived from his real name, Hosea) is an interesting point man for the nascent craft of Wikicomedy. He grew up in Albany and got a degree from Brown University, where he studied neuroscience.

In 2001, he whipped up an online montage of silly dance moves called "How to Dance Properly," and sent it to 17 friends. They in turn forwarded it to others, and it became an Internet phenomenon: Within a week it had been viewed more than a million times, a huge number for a personal Web page. Mr. Frank said he felt an incredible rush from all that Web traffic.

"I became so obsessed with popularity," he said.

More in the NY Times article "And you're so funny? Write my script." june 18, 06.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Gay Pride Shreveport Dinner: Fri, June 23, 7 pm; speaker Rachel Powell from Soulforce Equality Ride

Bandiera arcobaleno/Paris
Originally uploaded by Staou.
Adrienne Critcher, founding member of PACE (Political Action Council for Equality), a local gay rights advocacy group, recently wrote to SptBlog: " We are hosting our first annual Gay Pride Dinner this year on Friday, June 23 at 7 p.m. at Smith's Cross Lake Inn. The cutoff date for reservations is Wed., June 21."

"We are excited about the dinner. We have 3 wonderful speakers (10 minutes each!): Bobby Darrow, Randy Evans (Forum for Equality) and Centenary student Rachel Powell who went on the Soulforce Equality Ride (patterned after the Freedom Rides). Rachel and a bus load of college students visited college campuses across the country with anti-gay policies to engage in dialog. She has a powerful story to tell."

$25 per person: mail check to PACE Dinner, Gary McColister, 531 Red Baron Dr, Spt, 71115, or purchase tickets online at

Mixing video at,, edit your video bits online, as well as store & publish them

Self shot
Originally uploaded by Aloberyn.
Mixing may replace the term Editing in some photographers' vocabulary, implies the NY Times in an article entitled Camera.Action. Edit. Now, Await Reviews.

New sites -,, - allow one to store video and to edit it. Beyond that, these sites encourage video mixing of footage borrowed from various people.

Online video editing may be a good fit with consumers like us who are shooting and storing a jillion small segments of footage. Often we don't want to edit in one place and separately FTP the result to a site.

If you're like us, you're shooting more video on your still camera and increasingly forgetting about the videocam. Jett, my 10 year-old, likes to set up a camera on a counter and capture his stunts. Talbot, my wife, is shooting bits of soccer games, swimming and snippets of conversation on her Sony still camera.

Thus two things are happening: hard drive space is being eaten by these videobites and there's a mental disconnect between those
scenes and the video editing software, in this case, iMovie.

On this fun level of informal video, the online sites may make you shine by offering a complete-it-all-easily package.

Video-minded skaters and gymnasts may find the online services tout le tout. Soccer moms may take to this service willy-nilly.

1) Moving your video to one of these free sites will save enormous space in your computer memory.
2) It may help you complete a video package as opposed to letting it languish.
3) Creative types may enjoy mixing their video with other people's footage and coming up with something startling.

Hope you explore these sites and tell me your reaction. And send me a link to your newly-mixed video footage, please.

Friday, June 16, 2006

McCartney turns sixty-four on Sunday; NY Times says 84 is the new 64 and boomers respond, viagraphically, "Yep"

Harrison Ford and Barbra Streisand are among the pre-boomers becoming 64 in 2006, says an age-obsessive article in the NY Times on McCartney and his generation.

"He was a teenager when he wrote the tune for "When I'm Sixty-Four," and only 24 when the Beatles recorded it in 1967 for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." But just as George Orwell's "1984" proved to be an abiding prophecy of a dystopic future for so many impressionable readers, Mr. McCartney's lyrics delivered to a self-consciously youthful generation an enduring if satirical definition what their golden age might be like "many years from now."

Today, many of those who embraced that quaint vision of enduring love, caring, knitting and puttering in retirement — "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?" — couldn't have been more wrong," says writer Sam Roberts.

Melody Moore Fri and Lip Service Sat at Java Junction, all ages, 8 pm, 101 Kings Hwy

Melody Moore is a frenetic, capable and gutsy singer. Her song about Louisiana and coming back to the Bayou State and why the people on the bayou rock, is superb. Partly so because she knows how to bang that box guitar and stamp her feet and throw her petite self into the performance.

Sample her voice at but I think she's better in situ. That's Friday, June 16, 8-10 p.m. Cristal says it's a free show but I would definitely pay this persuasive piper.

On Sat, June 17, JJ presents the soothing harmonies and fascinating personalities of Cookie Garner, Sandra Odom and Barbara Jarrell, aka Lip Service. Their show is 8-11 p.m.
and the cover is $5.

Cristal Wilcox, enthused about the program, says "These shows have proven to be and will be perfect family affairs. So don't worry about dinner this weekend, bring everyone to Java Junction." This week, btw, I had the Greek chicken sandwich (feta cheese) with homemade pasta and all was delicious.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Zapp's still funkin, says Good Times Roll Festival, Shreveport; soul & blues June 16 - 18, Festival Plaza

Zapp & Roger
Originally uploaded by jeroen020.
Connecting with Juneteenth and bringing the brothers together from across the region is the Good Times Roll Festival, sponsored by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Catch the soul and blues celebration in Shreveport at Festival Plaza, June 16-18, says one of the fests founders, Joseph Odom [318] 631-0397. The 3-day gumbo is topped Sunday night by Zapp, an American institution in funk.

5 p.m.: opening prayer and National Anthem.
5:15 p.m.: Jabbo Production’s local talent showcase.
6:30 p.m.: Presentations.
6:45 p.m.: Freddie Pierson.
8:15 p.m.: All Funk Radio Show.
10 p.m.: Mel Waiters.

1 p.m.: Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble.
4 p.m.: Jackie Lewis with Betty Lewis.
5:45 p.m.: High-Five.
7 p.m.: All Funk Radio Show.
8:45 p.m.: Lyfe.
10 p.m.: Aaron Hall.

3:30 p.m.: opening gospel showcase.
5:30 p.m.: Embrace.
6 p.m.: Pamela Jackson & Perpetual Praise.
6:50 p.m.: Rhythm Warehouse.
7:40 p.m.: Presentations.
8 p.m.: Zapp.

Free for children ages 12 & younger.
Schedule subject to change.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tipitina's Music Co-op, Shreveport: Songwriter Showcase a global phenom on, says Dan Garner

Woman at Tipitina's
Originally uploaded by mikerosebery. is a site created by Tipitina's Co-op manager Dan Garner to air local work. Garner, a gifted songwriter, shepherds local tunesmiths in performances each week at venues such as Java Junction and 516 Soundstage.

Instead of remaining a site for locals, however, an international group of writers has discovered the site. "We've got songwriters posting songs from Nashville, New Orleans and Los Angeles, but also from Australia," explained Garner. That makes Tips S'pt a wide spot on the world map. To meet the demand he has established six songwritershowcase sites on

Garner presides over a diverse and active coterie of musicians and media makers. And Shreveport musicians are becoming effective at reaching into the cybersphere: "Hip hop musician Dwayne McGee has won a hot following with his site," notes Garner. McGee has learned that if he gives away some of the beats he creates at the 700 Texas St media center he can drive traffic to his site and his tunes.

Coming up on June 26, at 6:30 pm, is a Tip's Musicians' Forum. It will be held at Caliente Restaurant, 601 Texas. More info: Julia Foley, 402-2398.

Tipitina's S'pt: 934-0000.

Photo of the pretty girl: Mike Rosebery. See more at

SciPort's Imax movies, Dolphins and T-Rex / Back to the Cretaceous, are cooling and energizing, daily

Dolphins are "blue and pointed, graceful and active" noted my 10 year-old. The 70 mm movie Dolphins, playing daily at SciPort's Imax Theater, is also blue and graceful. Its persuasive point is that we might not want to contiunue destroying the dolphonment. This flic, only 50 mins short, might also make you want to find an abode in the vicinity of the Bahamas.

T-Rex, Back to the Cretaceous, is the newest maxflic on the riverfront. There's a charming story line featuring a frustrated girl whose eternally busy dad is a paleontologist. At the museum where she must wait for him she has an Alice Through the Looking Glass adventure. T-Rex, too, wraps in less than an hour. So we had no problem this week taking in back-to-back shows.

Thoroughly recommended.
Get the entire schedule at

Raine Bledsoe's mixed media, post-Katrina image at Artspace; open Th - Sat, 10 am to 6 pm

The New Orleans Artists in Exile show has filled the downtown Shreveport gallery called Artspace with remarkably inventive, soulful and classy art. Says Sharon Bennett, "These exhibits will run through July 22. Then the gallery will be busy mounting the Faces of Katrina exhibit."

Coolspace will open next week, added Bennett, with the Jerry Lyles exhibit, "Home Front". That exhibit will run through July 22. That show will be followed by the Bill Joyce-curated faces of Katrina exhibit - which opens on August 25 and closes October 20.

Artspace hours are Th, Fri and Sat: 10 AM - 6 PM through the summer. Hands-on activities for the children are available Th, Fri and Sat and a professional artist is available from 10:30 to 12 noon and 2:00 to 3:30 PM each of those days.

MoInfo at SRAC: 673-6500.

And stand by for some happy hour news from Pam Atchison & Artspace.

Rockets rollick over SciPort on the weekend of June 17 - 18; Werner von Braun will speak to rocketeers

Build & launch rocketivities will reverberate at SciPort on Sat, June 17 and Sun, June 18, says SciPort's Eric Gipson.

ß Straw Rockets—Saturday, 11 - 11:30 am
Design and build a rocket that will hit a target. But you may use only broom straws or drinking straws. Icee accuracy & supersized distance are the quest.

ß Balloon Rockets—Saturday, Noon - 12:30 pm
Design a rocket that will carry a 30-ton payload the farthest in the least amount of time.

ß Pop Rockets—Saturday, 12:30 - 1:30 pm & Sunday, 2 - 3 pm
Find the combination of liquid and solid fuel that will make your rocket nutritious.

ß Water Rockets—Saturday, 1:30 - 2:30 pm & Sunday, 3 - 4 pm
Design a water-powered rocket that will carry a fragile ego to dizzying heights and bring it safely back to City Hall.

ß Hydrogen Rockets—Saturday, 2:30 - 3 pm & Sunday, 4 - 4:30 pm
Use a process called electrolysis to a) get rid of unwanted hirsutuary material and b) break the bond holding hydrogen and oxygen together. Igniting these two gases will recombine them, and the resulting explosion will fetch the police.

ß Estes Rockets—Saturday, 3 - 4 pm & Sunday, 4:30 - 5:30 pm
Experience the roar of a dwarf lifting off the launch pad, screaming into the sky and then floating back to earth. Estes rockets are powered by solid rocket fuel engines that will carry the dwarf up to 800 ft into the air. A materials fee of $5 per rocket will be charged. Plus, the dwarf will expect lunch.

More on Dr. Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun at

Painter Randy Hedgcock, Shreveport: Be Fruitful exhibit at Barnwell Center's Wafer Gallery

Still lifes are the stock and trade of the highly-skilled and seasoned painter Randy Hedgcock. A one-woman show of her work is now on view at the Barnwell Center's Wafer Gallery. She calls the exhibit Be Fruitful, as in Genesis 1:22.

In the photo above Hedgcock is painting in artist Jerry Wray's studio. Hedgcock, Zama Dexter Jones and Wray meet once a week to paint and critique, says Wray.

Hedgcoock's work is at Nader's Gallery and she has exhibited throughout the region. Prepare to relish her use of texture and color as well as her strong compositional sense.

Barnwell center is open M - F, 9 to 4:30. And Sat - Sun, 1 - 5.
Barnwell info: (318) 673-7703. Also see

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bluebirds jamming with Kenny Wayne Shepherd at the T-Bone Walker Blues Fest; Sat, June 17, Linden, Tx / see

The Bluebirds will be stroking their strings at the first T-Bone Walker Blues festival in Linden, Tx, Sat, June 17, says Bruce Flett.

The venue is Music City Texas Theatre. "It's a great place to see a band, and perfect for an all day music festival with many bands," says Flett. He continues, "Check out for the schedule and lineup. T-Bone Walker was born in Linden nearly 100 years ago. He is credited with introducing the electric guitar to blues, an important milestone for sure! He was a great songwriter (Stormy Monday is perhaps his best known), and one of the greatest showmen to ever play guitar and entertain at the same time. He had a long and very successful career in America and Europe."

The Bluebirds will play a 45 minute set about 7pm. Later that night (appx 10pm) they are scheduled again, this time with Kenny Wayne Shepherd sitting in. "Buddy and Kenny will play a few acoustic blues numbers and then we jam out: Kenny and the Bluebirds."


Other acts at the festival include Bobbie "Mercy" Oliver, Betty Lewis & the Executives, Diddley Squat, Whitey Johnson aka Gary Nicholson, and multi-Grammy winning singer-guitarist Keb Mo'.

Merch will be abundant: Bluebirds CDs, T-shirts, and the new DVD will all be available.

Linden, Texas is near Jefferson, Texas, says the road-tested Flett, who adds, " Next week the Bluebirds do another performance with Kenny Wayne Shepherd as our special guest. This time it's a fundraiser at Myatt Farms for mayoral candidate Cedric Glover. That's Thursday, June 22, from 6-9 pm."

Monday, June 12, 2006

Jazz singer Karmyn Tyler joins the Centenary College Summer Band Th, June 15, in the Hargrove Band Shell, 8 pm

Karmyn Tyler, former Centenary student and Miss Louisiana 1995, will be singing selections from her CD of standards with the Centenary Summer Band, says director Dr. Thomas Stone. Tyler will be featured in the 8 pm concert Th, June 15. Also blowing his wig will be Shreveport native Mike Williams, lead trumpet player with the Count Basie Orchestra.

The remainder of Centenary College's Summer Band concerts will be held on the Tuesday nights of June 13, 20 and 27. The sounds emanate from the Hargrove Band Shell on Centenary's campus.

All performances begin at 8 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring boat cushions, camp chairs and gift baskets.

The concerts are sponsored by Smith and Co., Certified Public Accountants; Kilpatrick Life Insurance Co.; AEP Southwestern Electric Power; and the American Federation of Musicians.

MoInfo: Dr. Thomas Stone, associate professor of music and conductor of the Summer Band concerts, at 318-869-5238.

Sample Karmyn Tyler's big voice at

River City Repertory Theater's Bob Busieck, Patric McWilliams: Little Foxes to open June 29 at the Strand Theater

Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes is considered one of the few true classics of the American theatre, says River City Rep founder Patric McWilliams. The drama will be the premiere production of River City Repertory Theatre, Shreveport’s first professional theatre company fully sanctioned by Actors’ Equity, the national union for theatre professionals.

Foxes is one of numerous memorable plays by Lillian Hellman. According to, she was born in New Orleans and her writing displays a cutting knowledge of the South. Other Hellman plays include Toys in the Attic and the Children's Hour.

Foxes - featuring actors from Los Angeles and Phoenix - will open Thursday, June 29th, at The Strand Theatre in downtown Shreveport. The performance schedule:

June 29, 7:30 pm
June 30, 7:30 pm
July 01, 7:30 pm
July 02, 2:00 pm

$25.00 for Adults
$20.00 for Seniors and Students 18 and under.
Reservations may be made by calling The Strand box office at 318-226-8555.

More at (quite a nicely designed site) and (a site which could use an overhaul, frankly).

Buffalo Bayou Art Park, Houston: an example of how to develop the ill-settled banks of the Red River

Bushmasters and the non-sunburned are having informal turf struggles on the banks of the Red River, says the Times. That's not surprising since the city is ill-equipped (as in a yawning lack of leadership) to develop river bank usage policies and boundaries.

One way out of the morass is to scrutinize other cities' solutions to similar problems. I call upon the Times to send out a reporter - is there a local TV station who would consider this a worthy project? ha - to find cities with similar resources and problems.

River bank policy research ought to additionally assay the recently aired pedestrian bridge idea.

Project SB, a five-day panel study conducted recently by Urban Land Institute Advisory Services with the Northwest Louisiana Association of Realtors, proferred the pedestrian bridge idea, among many.

My inspiration for Red River bank development comes from Houston. Crawling through downtown Houston is a green, muddy channel called Buffalo Bayou. It is incongrous given the high-dollar developments above it: nifty bridges, office towers, concert halls, mini-parks, rapid rail terminals, etc. But alongside it runs an item that you and I could imitate: a series of funky art installations set in the grassy neutral ground. It's called Buffalo Bayou Art Park.

The art includes some of the bronze geometric pieces that we expect in public art. But a lot of it is folksy stuff, such as a gigantic alligator convincingly constructed from old auto tires. It all seems vandal proof, by the way.

A proposal:

1) Lobby the city to set boundaries for the motorized vehicles that are chomping the near-downtown banks of the Red. Create a more clearly-defined family use region.
2) Promote discussion of the pedestrian bridge idea.
3) Make long range plans for an art park along the Red.

The Project SB report is very readable, having been prepared for a powerpoint-type presentation:

Research Buffalo Bayou Art Park, too. If you haven't walked it, someone you know probably has. And let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

West Edge Artists' Co-op renovating 725 Milam St, Shreveport; view work in progress Saturdays

Artist-organizer Debbie Engle sent an update on the West Edge Co-op progress at 725 Milam Street:

"As many of you know, we are transforming this former day shelter-karate studio-mission facility into upscale gallery space for West Edge Artists' Co-op members.

Members Thomas Little, Marcia Nelson, Theresa Ratcliff and Debbie Engle worked with friends Danielle Reans and Ralph Cody this weekend at painting, caulking and repairing. Members will continue working on Saturdays until renovations are complete. According to building owner (and Saturday co-worker) Bob Hamilton, progress is moving at an unsually quick pace!

If you'd like to come by for a visit, we'll be there every Saturday at 9:30 AM. Please stop by and say hello!"
Phone: 318.221.6961

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fairfield Studios presents heavyweight songwriter, guitarist & producer Gary Nicholson on Sun, June 18, 7 pm, Shreveport

Fairfield Studios loves presenting a performer whose name is in the firmament. One such is Gary Nicholson. The uber successful songwriter will be sitting upon the intimate stage the evening of Sun, June 18.

Songs penned by Gary Nicholson comprise over 350 recorded items in various genres, says, including:

Country - traditional: George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Charley Pride, Conway Twitty, Don Williams, Bill Anderson, Brenda Lee, Mickey Gilley, Crystal Gale, Ann Murray

Country - contemporary: Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Dixie Chicks, George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Patty Loveless, Emmylou Harris, Wynonna, The Judds, Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, Lee Roy Parnell

Blues - traditional: BB King, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Gatemouth Brown, Etta James, Dan Penn, Lonnie Brooks, Joe Louis Walker

Blues - contemporary: Delbert McClinton, Keb Mo, John Mayall, The Blues Brothers, Irma Thomas, Kim Wilson, Tommy Castro

Pop/Rock : Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, Ringo Starr, Neil Diamond, Robert Plant, Greg Allman, The Neville Brothers

Folk: John Prine, Guy Clark, John Sebastian, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Paul Brady, David Wilcox, Beth Nielsen-Chapman

Bluegrass: New Grass Revival, Peter Rowan, Tim O'Brien, Doug Dillard, Vassar Clements, Del McCoury


As a guitarist Nicholson has toured or recorded with Delbert McClinton, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Bobby Bare and Tracy Nelson.

Tickets: 220-0400, or

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Laptops & flash drives: LaParenting article on computers, parents, students & teachers in June edition

New editor of LaParenting Andrea Arnold knew that I cared about technology in the classroom. She interviewed me to write a story for the June edition of LaParenting, a recent publication of Gannett and the Shreveport Times. Included in the story were remarks by Caddo Magnet High compadre Bill Knox, an advanced media producer, and Jered Batten, a student tech whiz at CMHS.

Please see Arnold's LaParenting story via

And here's a brief version of my parent-student guidelines:

1. The Sunshine law: take the computer out of the back bedroom. Make sure you and your child use it where family purview will take place.
2. Avoid divorce; buy a laptop. It can be moved easily and integrated into family life. It's particularly good for parents. You can do your work or shopping or surfing without isolating yourself from the family. Kids' work locations can move as you move.
3. Everyone should try to develop a usage length guideline. Maybe 50 minutes, max. Then you must go outside for 15 mins. What happens over the course of a session is brain overload and tunnel vision (see general guidelines for effective study habits). Time away from the keyboard is important for synthesis and for thinking breakthroughs enabled by your reading.
4. Plan ahead. Everyone should participate in entering deadlines and dates on the computer calendar in addition to the cabinet calendar. It comes under the heading Go where the kids are.
5. Don't be stingy about computer extras. Get a digital camera for the kids. If your family collects a lot of photos or music, get an extra hard drive.

I'd be happy to hear your observations and questions on this hot topic.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Gospel get-down at Municipal Auditorium Sat, June 10, 7 pm; Bluebirds open with Brady Blade, Jr, on drums

Originally uploaded by Simon1944.
The Gospel Caravan of Memories will offer classic entertainment to a diverse audience Sat, June 10, says Johnny Wessler of the Municipal Auditorium.

Reverend Eddie Giles, Shreveport soul music legend and currently Program Director at KOKA am gospel radio, is producer-director of the show. One of the attractions will be Reverend Al and Passion Lewis. Reverend Al was former bandleader for Archie Bell & the Drells ("Tighten Up"). Also performing will be the legendary Dr. W. Elbert "Eddie" Giles and Family, the Taylor Crew, the Samuels Brothers of Alexandria, the Gospel Movements, and the SSQCL Mass Choir.

The Bluebirds, aka the Flett Bros, will celebrate their 20th with a short set (about 30 minutes, says Bruce Flett) at 7pm. Joining them will be drummer Brady Blade, Jr, Reverend Eddie Giles and legendary Shreveport soul singer Dori Grayson (I remember her from the Glass Hat and the 3 Dimension Clubs). Miki Honeycutt will sing “River of People”, and Pastor B.L. Blade will also sing a song backed by the Bluebirds.

Doors open at 6pm.
Tickets at $10 and $5 for children and Seniors.
Presented by The Radio Group and Friends of Municipal.
Pardon me if I add Highly Recommended.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sweet potato fries and Rachel Ginsburg Stone: A Stone's Throw Cafe and Catering, corner Line & Jordan, Shreveport

With the recent proliferation of chain eateries, I'd begun to wonder whether Shreveporters were losing the connection to their cafe roots. The diners - such as George's, Murrell's, Panos, Joe's, Strawns - connect us to the foodways heritage of this region. It's like, "M'am, somehow I crave a plate of pork chops, rice, cornbread & greens. Please."

But, no. Cafes are happening again. There's Java Junction on King's Hwy. Now there's Rachel Ginsburg Stone's diner, A Stone's Throw Cafe & Catering, at 729 Jordan.

This week I had the veggie sandwich with turkey ($6.50) and a side of sweet potato fries (.75) and it was scrumptious.

Thursday morning I'm going in for the arts media breakfast (every other Thurs) and am expecting a hearty serving of the basics. "We have great omelettes!" says Ginsburg. "Too, our biscuits are very good."

Ginsburg gutted the funky kitchen in what had been the P&S Hotel and later, the Mid-City Motor Hotel. "I chose this location because we needed a restaurant over here. People downtown and at the hospitals needed a hot, hearty meal. I looked for the right location for 2 years." She added that since a feature in Forum Magazine last week she's been mobbed.

A Stone's Throw Cafe
7 am to 4 pm daily.
7 days.
729 Jordan

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Moviesauce Film Fest continues Sun, June 4, 1 pm with romantic comedy, documentaries, animation; LSUS University Center

Originally uploaded by trudeau.
Moviesauce Film Fest is a fledgling event created by Hunter Carter and Evan Falbaum, 2 college students who are also filmmakers. This weekend they have presented a tight package of indie movies at LSUS University Center.

The offbeat entertainment and documentaries continue Sun, June 4 at 1 pm with a program of shorts, including Fly Away, My Imaginary Friend Lars Stevens, & Awakening.

At 3 pm you can catch Sparky, & The Shape of Water.

At 5 pm expect Dark Decisions, & Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea.

Tickets are $6.
Parking and seats are comfortable, I must say, at the University Center.
See more at

Statues Cry Bleeding and other baroquely-named rockers Searchlight the Elysian Fields of 516 Soundstage Fr, June 9

Join beatmeister Mark Goff and his 516 Texas St team for a megabit of original sonic art on Fr, June 9. The very intelligent and wildly coherent Statues Cry Bleeding - their singer, Mykl, can play the digeridoo as well as perform self-tonsillectomies - are the polyvinyl headliners.

Here's a droll review lifted from their extensive web site at

"Statues Cry Bleeding is a bipolar band of sorts, much like similar minded acts such as Between the Buried and Me. At their heaviest, Statues Cry Bleeding use mathematical songwriting methods, odd, shifting time signatures, and polyrhythms much like Meshuggah, Coalesce, and Botch have done many a time. The breakdowns are staccato-driven, oddly timed, and palm muted for maximum impact. Vocals are usually a high-pitched, hardcore screech during most of the heavy parts, but they tend to drop into grind/death territory at the end of songs... I’m led to believe that with an opportunity for a full-length album and better sound quality that these guys could deliver a gem in the crowded mathcore scene."


Friday, June 02, 2006

Stories about Bo Diddley in Shreveport solicited from across the gritty transom

Bo Didley
Originally uploaded by rustovision.
Stories about bo diddley performing - or kibitzing - in shreveport needed for an art show.

a) Find out who Bo Diddley is. Dun - dun-dun dun-dun.
b) Write a brief story about seeing him perform at a recognizable venue in shreveport.
c) Lunar is OK.
d) Or interview someone old enough to have caught his act.
e) Send it to
f) It's for an art show next month.
g) Merci!