Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve for the terminally illin': the Noids at Big D's BBQ, Common at Caddo St

The Noids: Hayden Camp, Paul Garner, Jessie Gabriel, Conner Davis
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

The Noids are classic teenage, off-hand rockers. They're also off-kilter and they're artists. Lead singer Paul Garner is a gifted creator of posters and paintings. Guitarist-singer Hayden Camp is a keeper of the flame of Leadbelly tunes. Both have a love affair with the absurd.

Drummer Jessie Gabriel is a protean stickman, able to swing, romp, funk or thunder.

New Year's Eve they're at Big D's BBQ, where DJ Chris Brown likes the sweet potato pie. Big D's is a landing pad for punk and art rockers swiveling through Shreveport on tour. Bring a jacket, ok?

Noids / Big D's BBQ
101 Common St (Common at Caddo St)

Jimmy Cousins at Matthew Linn's Columbia Cafe New Year's Eve

Jimmy Cousins
Originally uploaded by mikerosebery.

Columbia Cafe has Jimmy Cousins on New Years Eve.

David Nelson says "You absolutely must listen to Jimmy Cousins."

In his recent appearance at minicine Nelson offered this web bite about Cousins: “Peppermint Candy,” “Rusty Metal Sky” and “Pajamas & Platform Shoes” play like colorful collages of Louisiana landscapes, bourbon-soaked love stories and vagabond characters. Imagine a collaborative effort between Gershwin, Leadbelly, Tom Waits and the creators of Sesame Street, and you’ve got Jimmy Cousins".

Dan Garner has a Nov, 06 interview with Cousins at Tipitina's Music Co-op.

Columbia Cafe's Matthew Linn says "New Years Eve we will have a Great Gatsby New Year with Champagne fountain and plenty of excess. There's music by Drew Ley and Jimmy Cousins and free fireworks.

Reservations: 318-425-3862

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Art & technology: Taymor's Magic Flute Metropolitan Opera live broadcast at Tinseltown 'jam packed'

peacock in the wings
Originally uploaded by Lady Ema.

Artist-photographer Neil Johnson wrote, "Just returned from the Live From The Met broadcast at Tinseltown. A historic broadcast: big screen, HD image with wonderful sound.

First in the series was Mozart's The Magic Flute as interpreted by Julie Taymor (Lion King) and James Lupine. Fabulous. Multiple cameras used most professionally.

Best news: the theater was jam packed -- even at $18 ticket prices. Only theater in the state doing it so far, but I see this as a huge step forward in the partnership of the arts with technology. It can only grow and spread. The possibilities are endless!

Amazing: watching the best opera in America -- live -- and eating popcorn. How cool is that? 4 or 5 more operas coming up, and that's just through April. Hooray for Tinseltown.


Flickr blog image above is a Magic Flute production by Bangkok Opera.

Show your Style in pre-1980's fashion & accessories: audition your jeans, skirts, jewelry at Artspace Sat, Jan 13, 4 to 8 pm

Pink Floyd - Atlanta - Meddle Tour
Originally uploaded by arlo forbes.

Unnamed *fashionados* are on a search for tight & swank items from your attic for use in an upcoming exhibition called In Fashion: The Art of Style. So says Pam Atchison of Shreveport Regional Arts Council.

"Bring your pre-1980's fashion & accessories to Artspace Sat, Jan 13, 4 to 8 pm," says Artspace director MaryBeth O'Connor.

Not so fast, honey: after evaluating your items the millinery mullahs will ask you to take them home and await a notification. Yet the release says "All items will be photographed and included in a slide show that will be presented during the Exhibition." Rarely does democracy find such a place in the devilish world of style.

Maybe this show will shed light on the reality of 60's and 70's and even 50's and 40's style. It's no secret that the 60's Days, 70's Parties and even 70's bars don't get it.

Army surplus over jeans. Used cowboy boots from Goodwill in Vicksburg. Blue bandana and Radiators T-shirt. They're going to love me and my Stop the War Now banner, aren't they?

Ah, the salad days.

From body prints to hieroglyphics, At-the-Loft was the center of Shreveport's modern art scene; 708 Cotton St site demolished

Nevelyn Brown: body print 1a, adjusted
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

"Ooh, I remember an At-the-Loft art opening in the late 1970's that featured my body prints," said Shreveport painter Nevelyn Brown. "I painted myself orange and printed my body on large sheets of brown paper."

"I didn't get to paint myself and make figure prints in the 60's when everyone was doing it," she said. Brown was an art student in San Antonio.

In 1974 she and her husband, an Air Force colonel, were in Shreveport. Brown rented the last open space in At-the-Loft. She remembered with a giggle, "My husband said I could do anything I wanted as long as I didn't embarass him or get in the newspaper. Well, the body print opening became a big event. It made the newspaper. It was celebrated as one of the events of the year."

"We featured performance art at the opening. Everyone got to paint their foot or hand and print part of themselves on a seven-foot piece of watercolor paper. One woman asked me if she could make a special impression when everyone else was gone. She painted her body and made a print in the middle of the sheet. And she must remain nameless." Asked if the prints were stylized or sensual, Brown replied, "Oh, they were all erotic."

Painters Jerry Wray, Flo Duval, Clyde Connell, Jean Sartor and Lucille Reed were among the artists who had studios in At-the-Loft in the 60's and 70's. They were determined female artists at a time when art was dominatd by men. And they were serious students of abstract art. "Some of this region's first abstract art was created there," said Brown. "And the realistic painters mocked them, I was told by Lucille Reed."

Clyde Connell became recognized internationally for work done at 708 Cotton St. "She worked on her hieroglyphic series there," remembers Brown. "Mostly she did works on paper there. Also, she made her papier mache skin there."

Painter Berk Borne had a studio and recalls that "There was no air conditioning. And we only had space heaters for the cold. In winter I'd bundle up like I was going skiing just to go paint."

Sculptor-painter Luclle Reed painted her five-color grid canvasses there. She made totems and "I remember her weaving," says Borne. She wove in wool, paper and wood, among her media.

"Tama Nathan had a printing press there," says Borne. "She made books and all manner of art."

Lewis Conger, who inherited the Shreveport Laboratories building, was given credit by Brown as, "Quite a patron of the arts for preserving it." Conger said, "Rent was practically nothing. It was so low that it made, in the end, an economical stoarge facility. But it was vacated because access was by a long and difficult flight of stairs and, basically, there was no parking." Conger held out on the demolition that was carried out this week, he said, "Hoping that they might find a benefactor. No one came along."

At-the-Loft, called "Shreveport's oldest continually operating studio work space and alternative gallery," is a central site for art history in Shreveport. Indeed, as Diane DuFilho is working on a book featuring the pioneering female abstract painters above, it is a story that resonates widely.

My plan is to collect stories and images for a blog site devoted to At-the-Loft. Photographers Phil Messinger and Neil Johnson have sent photos.

Painter Lewis Kalmbach sent this note from San Francisco: "The Loft has only a few memories for me, but they are fond. Laura Noland Harter had a studio up there when I was president of Artist Transit at the old Central Station. When I visited Laura there, I was so envious because it was so clean and organized! The artists there were so serious about their work and inspired me to keep painting. I was most impressed by the older artists and thought to myself. 'Artists never really retire. I hope to be an old man artist one day.'"

Please send your images and notes to trudeau@earthlink.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Twenty-three years of trouble: David Egan sings at Sharpies Fri, Dec 29, 10 pm

David Egan / photo Johnny Palazzotto
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Today David Egan is known far and wide as a writer of soul songs. Percy Sledge, Johnny Adams, Joe Cocker, Etta James, Mavis Staples, Irma Thomas and Solomon Burke have recorded his tunes.

But in Shreveport, his home, he is known as the keyboard player for the band A Train, founded by his life-long friends Bruce and Buddy Flett and John Howe.

For a number of years he traveled the world and recorded discs with the Cajun band File'. Long a resident of Lafayette, LA, he took up with another bunch of hairy Cajuns after leaving File' . His principal group is another widely-known South Louisiana band. It is called the "swamp-pop super-group, Lil' Band O' Gold."

But Egan is also a solo artist in this era. To sit near his piano and listen to his growl and watch his fingers do the fandango across the keyboard is to be in the presence of a considerable artist. Egan is a droll master of the Louisiana song form.

His solo album is "Twenty Years of Trouble," and for me it's a collection of songs and piano riffs that have a timeless quality. I highly recommend it.

Tonight he returns to Shreveport via a chair and keyboard at Sharpies. Welcome home, Monsieur Egan.

David Egan
Sharpie's (for Sharpie's myspace please see blog list), near the corner of King's Hwy and Youree Dr , at 3104 Youree Drive
10 pm

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dirtfoot at Shreveport's Municipal Auditorium; all-ages event Th, Dec 27, 8 pm; Independence Bowl partiers invited to dance on Elvis Presley Blvd

Dirtfoot at Artspace
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

This week a Dirtfoot concert was added to the Municipal Auditorium's concert schedule, says Scott Gerardy. The concert is Thurs, Dec 27, 8 pm, at Municipal Auditorium. It's an all ages show for $15 a head.

"Our new CD will be available for those who missed the CD release," reminds Eric Gardner on Dirtfoot's myspace page. To the band's elation, a case of the Cd's were sold at the Noble Savage release party, said Gerardy.

Gerardy was under the impression that the Municipal concert was sponsored by the Independence Bowl. It is actually a Star Productions & Entertainment Services, Bill Carrier, event.

Gerardy added, "We're in awe when we get to play on the historic stage of the Municipal." It was the site of the Louisiana Hayride.

Dirtfoot at the Municipal
8 pm
Th, Dec 27

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Kwanzaa to all the peoples of LouisiAfrica

Valerie Gunn
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Maybe more important than recognizing Kwanzaa is a simple meditation on the background of African Americans in Louisiana.

People frequently ask me about the word I made up for perspective on the Bayou State: LouisiAfrica. This term reminds us that West African peoples plus Europeans equals Creole culture, Creole cooking (gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya), Creole style in dance, festivals and parlance ("Mighty kootie fiyo on Mardi Gras day!").

What people love about this little state at the bottom of the Mississippi valley is what was created in a black and white cultural forge: jazz, zydeco, cajun music and gumbo.

One of my sources on Maroon culture and the Bayou State is the award-winning book by historian Gewndolyn Midlo Hall called
Africans in Colonial Louisiana / The development of Afro-Creole Culture in the 18th Century
. Hall's book ties into the books of photographer-folklorist Michael P. Smith: Spirit World / Pattern in the Expressive Folk Culture of Afro-American New Orleans and the glorious pictorial Mardi Gras Indians.

Eileen Southern's The Music of Black Americans, A History, is also a book that sheds light on African-Amercian place and significance. I wish every teacher in Louisiana read this text for perspective on their students' backgrounds. Finally, I must recommend two books by historian Carl A Brasseaux, the Founding of New Acadia and Acadian to Cajun, the Transformation of a People, 1803 - 1877.

This reading opens doors that might take us past Kwanzaa, with respect, and into the ethnic gumbo where we all party. Know your state. Get past its embarassments and into its uniqueness.

LouisiAfrica: it's a Franco-Hispano-Guniean-Italo-Germanic-Ibo-Ashanti-Choctaw state of mind.

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown- Sex Machine / Soul Power

James Brown, 1933 - 2006

James Brown: 1933 - 2006

James Brown
Originally uploaded by hoodlum2010.

Born in poverty in Barnwell, S.C., in 1933, James Brown was abandoned as a 4-year-old to the care of relatives and friends. He grew up on the streets of Augusta, Ga., in an ''ill-repute area,'' as he once called it. There he learned to wheel and deal, wrote a reporter for the AP.

''I wanted to be somebody,'' Brown said.

Mr. Brown, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Godfather of Soul, America's Most Famous Felon and Soul Brother Number One, died early Monday, his agent said. He was 73.

Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday and died around 1:45 a.m. Monday, said his agent.

In 2006, the eternally entertaining Brown continued his global, technicolor "Seven Decades Of Funk World Tour." His latest shows were greeted with positive reviews, said

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Gourds writer-singer Kevin Russell began his career in Shreveport in the Picket Line Coyotes

Picket Line Coyotes
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Austin City Limits brought its viewers Los Lonely Boys and the Gourds in its Dec 23 edition. Sadly, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, which airs ACL most of the year, substituted songs of the season. Bleh.

LPB probably didn't know that Gourds singer-writer-founder Kevin Russell began his musical career in Shreveport. Here he had a band called the Picket Line Coyotes.

Founded in 1985 when drummer David M Green and Russel were teens working at Johnny's Pizza, Southern Hills, the group worked its way up from gigs at the riverfront Cafe Directoire to the Killer Poodle, an edgy club that sprang up in the building that once housed the Rusty Nail - on King's Hwy.

There I wrote about them for UpState Newsweekly and Phil Martin lionized them in the Shreveport Journal.

The roar of live music emanated from every club door in that era. The Picket Line Coyotes were bashing away - everyone compared them to REM because they had no easy reference for the Coyotes' original rock, remembered David Green - at the Metro Club, under the SportsPage. Their audience grew. The manager at Humpfree's discovered them. He signed them to a long tenure of Wednesday nights in Shreve Square. "That led to even bigger crowds," said Green in a recent interview.

With brash Rob Bernard on lead guitar and Joey Percival on bass, the quartet learned the music business. They played parallel to bands such as "the Native Sons, which was David Hoffpauir, Michael Roberts, Charlie Bush and Mark Roberts," said Green.

In some 18 months they'd been toughened, discovered who they were, and recorded the lp Fashion Dogs (1986). Channel Twelve's Christy Walton was a fan. She filmed a feature on them for KSLA TV.

Ambitious and attracted by the Deep Ellum scene in Dallas, they moved on. The Dallas Observer's Clay McNear anointed the gang as a great loss for Shreveport and gain for Big D.

Eventually they relocated to Austin. It was there, at some 8 years of playing, that Green began to back up considerable Texas performers and that Bernard found new bandmates. Russell founded the Grackles. The Grackles led to the Gourds, a band that tours Europe, plays tony rooms coast-to-coast, has a huge following in Austin and has sold tons of roots-rock records.

David Green and I have recorded an interview of his memories of the mid-80's in Shreveport. We'd like to hear from fans of the Picket Line Coyotes and people who remember the Killer Poodle, a place where I met, among others, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. Photos, clippings and/or recordings would be cool. Please write or leave a message at 318-861-6809.

Last minute worthy-cause, colorful, sober slash historic gift: KatrinaRita Gras poster by Bill Joyce

Bumped Bill Joyce NewYorker cover Feb 06
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

The Bill Joyce illustration created for the New Yorker but bumped by New Yorker editors in favor of the Cheney shooting incident is available at and, says Trish Farnsworth-Smith of Howdy Inc.

The KatrinaRita Gras Foundation was created, reminds Joyce, to help individual Louisiana artists and arts organizations mount shows or events that will call attention to the plight of the regions affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

KatrianRita Gras Foundation is a 5101(c)(3) non-profit, and a portion of your purchase is tax-deductible.

Shreveport Regional Arts Council budget, $640,000, restored by City Council in Resolution that addressed Not-for-profits' budgets

Monty Walford, Margaret Martin
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Shreveport City Councilman Monty Walford proposed the following budgets re. not-for-profit organizations, according to these council minutes from the Dec 12 meeting. Here's a summary of Resolution No. 193 of 2006:

Whereas, special appropriations are made by the City of Shreveport and then allocated to certain not-for-profit organizations which serve an overriding public purpose; and
Whereas, the City received proposals from not-for-profit organizations to fund projects and programs that are in the public interest; and
Whereas, the City Council wishes to specify the organizations which are to be funded in 2007.

Now therefore be it resolved by the City Council of the City of Shreveport, in legal session convened, that funds budgeted in the 2007 Riverfront Development Special Revenue Fund budget for civic appropriations shall be allocated as follows:

Barksdale Air Show $ 8,000
Barksdale Forward $112,500
Biz Camp $ 60,000
Caddo Council on Aging $ 65,000
Caddo Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse $ 22,500
Caddo-Bossier Film Assistance Office $ 10,000
Centerpoint $ 30,000
December on the Red $ 16,500
First Step Services $ 11,400
Gingerbread House $ 20,000
Hilman House $ 9,000
Independence Bowl $100,000
LSU-S Center for Business Research $ 25,000
MLK Clinic $ 25,000
Multi-Cultural Center of the South $200,000
Multi-Cultural Tourism Commission $ 40,000
Neighborhood Investment Program $350,000
Northwest Louisiana Food Bank $ 5,000
Providence House $ 75,000
Robinson Film Center $200,000
Sci-Port $340,000
Shreveport Green $135,000
Shreveport Regional Arts Council $640,000
Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal $ 75,000
Shreveport Regional Sports Authority $225,000
Volunteers for Youth Justice $ 19,000
Youth Council $ 10,000
Contingency $ 41,100

Motion approved by the following vote: Ayes: Councilmen Lester, Walford, Long, Wooley, Webb, Shyne, and Bowman. 7. Nays: None.

In a later discussion of a redevelopment issue, Councilman Shyne
offered this perspective on SRAC: "And I want to comment you all, SRAC for doing an excellent job. For taking what we give you all and triple it. Sometimes you even do better than that. This is really what we need, because this is a part of drawing people to Shreveport. This is a part of making Shreveport the next great city of the south, we have to have what you all do in order for this City to be the kind of city that it needs to be. So, I applaud you all, keep on working, and keep on doing what you all are doing. My hat goes off to you all."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Shop at Artspace with MaryBeth O'Connor and staff; open til 6 pm

MaryBeth O'Connor
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Deck the Halls is an artists' and artisans emporium designed for holiday shoppers. Held at Artspace, 710 Texas, the exhibit is worthy as an art show. Deck the Halls is open for pre-Xmas shopping as well as for those who like shopping after the hurly-burly.

"Artspace hours," says new director MaryBeth O'Connor, "are 10 to 4 pm on Dec. 23, but I'll open 10 to 6 pm on Dec. 28, 29 and 30." She will return on Jan 4 to the regular 10 to 6 hours.

You'll find a wide array of art prices - including hand-made jewelry and bags and locally-produced CD's - at Deck the Halls. And upstairs is what I consider the sharpest show in town, the Eye-Twenty Group exhibit. It features artists from Monroe, Ruston, Shreveport, all of whom show adept knife and brush strokes.

Artspace: 673-6535

See more at SptFaces.

Flaming Lips from Martin Luther King Dr to Jimmy Davis Hwy: the new range of KSCL, 91.3 fm

chris brown
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

"We have hip-hop, rock, soul, electronica, and experimental music in our rotation," says Lacey Anderson, recent student director of KSCL, 91.3. "Our dj's are away for the semester break, so we're mostly automated for the moment. For a sample of what we normally play on the radio, you can check out the KSCL Top 30 on the website."

This past month, says Chris Brown, historian and DJ, "KSCL jumped from 150 watts to 3500 watts! It only took ten years. I’m very excited this finally happened. Amazing that people living 20 miles away can now hear us. Before, listeners had to be within 2 miles."

Not all the DJ's are away. Some of them are community people who simply love having a radio fortress from which to fire their trebuchets, like Brown and Kevan Smith. Smith's Friday night show, 6 to 8 pm, is called Rock Fight. He says, "Are you enjoying the boosted signal? I know I am. It's a great feeling to get in the car and drive around everywhere and there's still something good on the radio."

Both aficonados keep blogs where you can view the play lists.

Smith says, 'The people responsible for KSCL's signal upgrade include former Red River Radio ops director Greg Hill, engineer Rod Matthews, faculty adviser Dr. Michael Laffey, Centenary vice president for development Kathy Fell, Chris Brown, station manager Lacey Dawn Anderson, and many other people."

"Rock Fight!" he adds, "endeavors to play the best in punk, indie and new wave from the past four decades -- the 70s through the 00s. You can hear the evolution of "underground" rock and appreciate how the old connects with the new. For example, today's great band Bloc Party played next to the edgy post-punk Gang of Four is a nice illustration of how "everything old is new again." And it R o c k s !"

The name Rock Fight!? "It comes from the song of the same name in Cheech and Chong's movie "Up In Smoke." The line "A new wave is on the rise / With safety pins stuck in their eyes" was particularly inspirational."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Donna...Service with a Smile exhibit to feature works on paper at Turner Art Center, Centenary College, Jan 9; silent auction Sat, Feb 3

pearl serbanic
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Doyle Jeter, chilo for the Eye-Twenty Group and proprietor of Enoch's Irish Pub, Monroe, says, "On Jan 9 an exhibition of Works on Paper will open at Turner Art Center, Centenary College, Shreveport. This exhibition, entitled "Donna...Service with a Smile," is a tribute to our friend and fellow artist Donna Service."

Jeter continues, " Almost 2 years have rushed by since Donna's untimely passing, and in that time many have expressed the desire to do something in Donna's memory." He has chosen some 25 artists from the region - Monroe, Ruston, Shreveport - to produce a show at Turner in her memory. He adds, "Thank you Leonard and Mac Service for supporting this project."

A silent auction of the work at Turner will take place Sat, Feb 3, says co-producer Bruce Allen, director of Turner. Monies collected will go to Renzi Center in Donna's name. She was the founding director of Renzi Education & Art Center, 445 Egan St.


Losing a pair of curators: Munkith Al-Najjar of SciPort and Rebecca Hudsmith of Bistineau Gallery

Bistineau Gallery owner Rebecca Hudsmith with Laurie Lyons, Henry Walker
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Shreveport is losing 2 classy curators this month. One is the frontman for Sciport, Munkith Al Najjar. The second withdrawal is Rebecca Hudsmith, founder of Bistineau Gallery, 327 Market St.

SciPort CEO Al Najjar will leave the science education center March 30 to head the Children's Museum of Tampa, wrote the Times' Alex Kent on Dec 14.

Najjar joined Sci-Port in January 1998. His announcement comes 25 days after Sci-Port opened its 25,000 square foot, $11.6 million space center.

Sci-Port board member and past chairman Alvin Childs is leading a search committee. They hope to have Najjar's replacement picked and in place when Najjar leaves Sci-Port at the end of March, if at all possible. "We've designed a world-class facility, and we will find new, world-class leadership," Childs said.

Hudsmith, federal defender based in Lafayette, wrote last week, "You haven't heard from me because I'm spending more and more time in Lafayette and less in Shreveport. In fact, I've decided to close down Bistineau Gallery and am in the process of selling my house in Shreveport and consolidating everything in Lafayette. I will still visit Shreveport on a monthly basis to visit my office there and to visit family. I hope to attend arts related functions whenever I am there so that I can keep in touch with you and other friends in the area."

Hudsmith founded Bistineau Gallery in 2004 in the streetside corner of Arodasi Dance Center. She made a major contribution to Shreveport artists and collectors by showing artists from South Louisiana. Once a year she gave local artists an exhibit (example: Feminine Perspectives, with Terry Hershey & 4 other female painters) and the receptions were usually mobbed.

But by presenting Melissa Bonin, New Iberia, Lafayette artists Tom Ladousa and Diane Pecnik, among many, she brought new ideas and high standards to North Louisiana.

Like Al Najjar, she knew how to present artifacts. Her 12 X 12 gallery seemed powerful and even huge when it was crammed with art and viewers.

She was inspired by painter-sculptor Clyde Connell, a woman who lived on Lake Bistineau and made an international mark in the art world.

While Al Najjar leaves behind a big-time facility and a search committee, there is no money to be made in running an art gallery.
Nor is there likely to be an outcry from artists or art collectors, saying "Someone please bring us paintings and sculpture from hairy people in Lafayette, Baton Rouge & New Orleans." Or, "When will someone, for crying out loud, bring art from Austin, Little Rock and Tyler to Shreveport?"

Hudsmith was happy to give up European vacations to put aside the money it took to pay the expenses at Bistineau, she once told me. Art is her poison of choice.

Surely the regional community can identify someone drunk on art and deep of pocket to encourage to take her place.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Spoken Word Open Mic night at Multicultural Center of the South Thur, Dec 21, 8 - 10 pm

Valerie Gunn at MultiCultural Center
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

"If you have a positive message you would like to present, please call 820-3674 to reserve your mic time," reads the promo card for Spoken Word Night at the Multicultural Center of the South. The audience is asked to Rsvp to 318-424-1380.

The event takes place in a huge, open room with windows overlooking Texas St. There are easels with art, chairs, refreshments and, says Multicultural Center director Valerie Gunn, "crowds have sometimes been 100 people; and they're all ages, too."

You may be surprised at the sumtuousness of the displays in the rooms devoted to the furnishings and art of the ethnic groups of Louisiana. The fabrics and statuary and musical instruments of India are on deluxe display, for example.

401 Texas St
Open Mic Night, Th, Dec 21
Open to all ages.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Requiescat in Pace: Ahmet Ertegun / photo C. Griffith

Requiescat in Pace Ahmet Ertegun / C. Griffith

Bruce Flett writes in his Bluebirds newsletter, "Last Thursday we lost arguably the most important person that brought Blues, Jazz, R&B and Rock n Roll to the World Stage. Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records, died from serious head injuries he received from a fall at a Rolling Stones concert October 29. He never came out of a coma. At 83, he was still rockin' with the Stones. As Buddy Flett said, "What a cool way to go".

Every musician that ever worked with Ertegun loved him. Some of the long list includes Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, Quincy Jones and Ray Charles.

For those of you who saw the movie "Ray" [which we hope is all of you receiving this!] , Ertegun is prominently portrayed as the man who brought the World to Ray Charles. Not so much as a business deal, but as a true fan of Ray's talents. Ertegun was close with every artist he signed, and remained close even if they left Atlantic Records.

Stan"the Record Man" Lewis of Shreveport was friends with Ahmet Ertegun and his genius producer Jerry Wexler, as far back as the early 1950s. "We used to hang out together in the lobby of the hotel at Record Conventions back in the old days, along with Sam Phillips, Leonard Chess, the Bihari Brothers, and the Motown bunch. I would also visit him at his offices in New York 2-3 times a year. Ahmet was just a magnate of everthing that happened at Atlantic".

Jerry Wexler, now 90, called Stan Lewis a week ago to tell him the news that Ahmet was not going to make it more than a few days.

Bill Wax of XM Satellite Radio, probably the most important blues dj in the World today, e-mailed us with this comment on Ahment Ertegun: "Dear Bruce- Yes, I have been following the news of Ahmet over the past few weeks. You are absolutely right - he was a Visionary of modern Popular music. There will not be another like him or his brother. Ahmet grew up around the D.C. area and I knew a man who owned the record store that Ahmet would hang out in when he was a kid."

Monday, December 18, 2006

East Shreveport intoxicated by arrival of Chef Giuseppe Brucia and Starbuck's, among the holiday spirits

Chef Giuseppe Brucia
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Those who like artistry in cooking and design will enjoy following chef Giuseppe Brucia to his large new Ristorante Giuseppe, located in the Uptown Shopping Center. The chef's showcase dining center is scheduled to open Thursday in the recently-refreshed shopping center, said Natalie Brucia.

Having had a tour with designer-project coordinator Alan Dyson, I must say Giuseppe is a must-see. It is large and set with crystal, and the enormous kitchen is open to all viewers. Also, the kitchen is filled with shiny gear from Italy. See more at Shreveport Faces.

Shreveporters will be happy to balance the recent closing of Pete Harris Restaurant - a blow to the city's image of itself - with the advent of Giuseppe. Across Line Ave. from Giuseppe the long-running pasta restaurant called Semolina also closed. But bankers probably smile upon Brucia. His background comprises the highly-regarded Firenze, Cambridge Club and Olive St Bistro.

Is there a predilection for writers, students, artists and videographers to pose themselves carefully at Starbucks, fulfilling their commercial destiny, at least image-wise? If this sounds like you, the new Starbuck's on Line Ave, next door to Giuseppe, would be the boite.

Someone will be popping in with camera to try to espresso you. Please say hello and have your business card with your web site clearly listed. And please see ShreveportFaces for a few of the wondering weekend lattes.

Ristorante Giuseppe 318-869-4548
M - Sun lunch, 11 - 2
M - Th dinner, 5:30 - 10
Fr - Sat dinner, 5:30 - 11

Starbuck's on Line Ave 318- 865-7752
M - Th, 5:30 am - 10 pm
Fr - Sat, 6 am - 11 pm
Sun, 6 am - 10 pm
Xmas eve, 6 am - 7 pm
Xmas day closed.

Shreveport Symphony and Academy of Children's Theater play to packed downtown houses

Shreveport Symphony's Holiday Pops show
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Santa brought a present to Michael Butterman, conductor of the Shreveport Symphony. It was a, gee whiz, an orchestral whip. Droll director Butterman used it to tickle his sell-out audience into full-bellied laughter this weekend at the Holiday Pops concert.

Not only was there mirth, there were dancers and choristers galore. Standouts in the 2-hour concert were the well-rehearsed Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet dancers (see Shreveport Faces), directed by Kendra Meiki, and the Red River Children's Choir, directed by Betty Adkins.

The Academy of Children's Theater, directed by Cynthia Hawkins-Whitaker with the partnership of choreographer Lauren Ross, played to packed audiences at the First Methodist PAC. The large ensemble was well-prepared, the show moved apace, and their work was entertaining. Proper notice must go out to Mollye Shacklette, for her Annie, and to the yeomen Ryan Williams, who played Rooster. Lily Whitaker was also convincing as the ratty Miss Hannigan.

ACT is bringing quite a few promising newcomers to the stage; among those who caught my eye were Bridget Winder, Lucia Boyd, Parker Stough, Meredith Little and Ella Watkins.

What to do between visiting & consuming mass quantities of viands: make a video for the La Film Fest, Feb 12 deadline

dog with video camera
Originally uploaded by pt.

The 2007 Louisiana Film Festival - Student Division, presented by Centenary College of Louisiana and The Robinson Film Center, will be held on March 23 & 24 at Centenary College of Louisiana, says Chris Jay. The Call for Entries is now under way.

Submission deadline is Feb 12, '07.

Louisiana Film Festival info:
Robinson Film Center, (318) 424-9090 or
Michelle Glaros, (318) 869-5264.

Give your kids or yourself
a) paper and pencil for the storyboard
b) videocam or digital camera
c) computer for editing, titling and maybe voice-over.
d) Add a deadline and a completion reward, perhaps.

Alas, it's easier to talk and write about the project than to complete it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

London-based Saatchi Gallery online called cyclopean; how many of you are using?

Saatchi gallery
Originally uploaded by Rose Davies.

The NY Times has somehow waited a few weeks to write about the behemothean success of the Saatchi online gallery.

Carol Vogel writes, "The brainchild of the London-based advertising magnate and collector Charles Saatchi, this social networking outlet — a kind of MySpace knockoff for artists — is causing something of a sensation, boosting traffic at the gallery’s Web site overall to more than three million hits a day.

In May Mr. Saatchi, famed for spotting young unknowns and turning them into art-world superstars, created a section on his Web site for artists of all ages to post their work at no charge. It is called Your Gallery, and now boasts contributions by about 20,700 artists, including 2,000 pieces of video art.

Everything there is for sale, with neither the buyer nor the seller paying a cent to any dealer or other middleman. About 800 new artists have been signing up each week.

And since Stuart (shorthand for “student art”) went online last month, some 1,300 students (including 450 in the United States) have created Web pages there. No one vets the quality or style of the art.

With dealers and collectors scouring student shows for undiscovered talent and students hunting for dealers to represent them, Mr. Saatchi has tapped a vein that can’t stop gushing."

Gush on, Carol. Seems hard not to, with the lush globality of it all. Last month Shreveport-based artist Michael Harold sent me to his Saatchi site.

Would any of you like to reveal your Saatchi site? Maybe you've got some work to do and you'll get back to me later? OK.

Road Runners to the Wedgeheads - Shreveport musical history broadcast Tues, Dec 19, 8 to 10 pm, KSCL

Chris Brown says . . .

Chris Brown is a young keeper of the flame of Shreveport musical stories. He recently aired an inteview with record producer Stan Lewis on his Tuesday, 8-10 pm, KSCL show. On Tues, Dec 19, he says, he's got an overview of the sound of Shreveland. "It's time for my annual two hour radio show devoted to Shreveport musical history. This time we begin in 1923 and end up in 1981. I'll give you a few sneak peaks: Leon's Lone Star Cowboys, Rev. Utah Smith, Margaret Lewis, The Road Runners, and The Wedgeheads -- all locals -- will be among those featured. Hope you tune in!"

KSCL, 91.3 FM, "Shreveport's alternative music source"
Centenary College
Chris Brown's Art of the Insane
Tues, 8 - 10 pm

Brown adds, "KSCL recently jumped from 150 watts to 3500 watts. It only took ten years. I’m very excited this finally happened. Amazing that people living 20 miles away can now hear us. Before, listeners had to be within 2 miles."

Shreveport Green posts community assessment survey, offers prizes at

Wilder Place, South Highlands, Shreveport
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

If only all organizations gave the public the opportunity to post evaluations. Certainly many organizations get acidic email bombs flung out by the unhappy and the demented. But one imagines the sort of systematic survey offered by Shreveport Green will be used rather than tossed.

If you are just catching up with the organization, here are Shreveport Green Highlights from their web site:

Twelve National Awards for excellence in programming.
One hundred twenty-five beautification projects, including planting over 20,000 trees.
Reduced litter as measured by the Litter Index Score of 1.8.
Cost Benefit to the City of Shreveport - $7.28 for every $1.00.
One of the top telephone book recycling programs in the South.
Tree City USA status maintained every year since 1991. Growth Award since 1998.
Rewrote Shreveport Tree Ordinance in 1995.
Total volunteer hours for 2003 - 35,715.
ShrevCORPS has completed 98 community projects since 1994.
Annual Great American Cleanup enlisted 8,190 volunteers in 2003.
Neighborhood Program includes 27 neighborhoods.
National Tree Trust Branching Out Award in 2000.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Little Night Music: River City Repertory Theater Jan 4, 5, 6, 7:30 pm, at the Strand Theater, Shreveport

Trees in fog
Originally uploaded by Little Jimmy in Milwaukee.

"River City Repertory continues its season," says Patric McWilliams, "with one of Broadway’s most acclaimed musicals, the romantic and achingly beautiful, A Little Night Music. The musical explores the subject of love in all its wondrous, humorous and heart breaking stages."

Fans of the Repertory will enjoy imagining the story with local players in place: "Set in Sweden in the year 1900, middle-aged Fredrik Egerman (John Gayle) brings his 18-year-old bride, Anne (Ellen Lindsay), to a play starring his former mistress, Desiree Armfeldt (Seva May). Soon, Fredrik and Desiree resume their romance, incurring the wrath of her present lover, a pompous Count (Bill Gallmann).

The situation culminates in a weekend at a country estate, with Fredrik, Anne, Desiree, and the Count in attendance, as well as Fredrik’s son, Henrik (Jonathan McVay),who is hopelessly in love with Anne; Desiree’s daughter, Fredrika (Catherine Barbaree); and
the Count’s brittle wife, Charlotte (Janin Pou). And there, against a brilliant Stephen Sondheim score and a wistful summer night, things are set to right."

Seva May, John Gayle, Ellen Lindsay, Bill Gallmann, Anne Gremillion, Janin Pou, Jonathan McVay, Heather Bryson, Catherine Barbaree, Horace English, Susan Yankee, William Parsons, Jennifer Dowd, Karmyn Tyler, James Monk.

Kermit Poling, Musical Direction,
Patric McWilliams, Set and Costume Design
Mike Riggs, Light Design
Katie Dupont, Choreography
Patric McWilliams, Direction

January 4,5,6, at 7:30 p.m.
January 7th at 3 p.m.

Adults $30; Seniors, students, $25.

Strand Theatre Box Office 318-226-8555

Friday, December 15, 2006

Isobell Rosenbloom Rudy: 1932 - 2006

Mz Iz
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Isobell Rosenbloom Rudy has passed away at age 74, says the Shreveport Times.

Every region deserves a theater mensch with the energy and stamina to uplift the community. Isobell Rudy played that role for Shreveport. She founded Peter Pan Players in 1973 and created a city institution known widely for the training it gave its young thespians and the entertainment it gave to the audiences. Peter Pan Players was the region’s first children’s theater company. It continues to the present and is planning a February show, said the Times.

Visitation: Osborne Funeral Home, 3631 Southern Ave. in Shreveport. 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Funeral: 11 a.m. Saturday. St. Joseph Catholic Church, 211 Atlantic Ave. A gathering in the church’s Family Life Center will follow.

Memorials: In lieu of flowers, Isobel Rudy's family requests that people send donations to Peter Pan Players, 451 Kings Highway in Shreveport.

The illustration above was created by actor and media man Joe Todaro.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Academy of Children's Theater presents Annie at the First Methodist Performing Arts Center Fri, Dec 15, sat, Dec 16, 7 pm

Annie in Shreveport
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Academy of Children's Theater founder and director Cynthia Hawkins-Whitaker presents 11 year-old Mollye Shacklette as Annie this week. The performances take place Thur, Fri and Saturday nights at 7 pm at the First United Performance Arts Center.

ACT has won a reputation for fine shows. The teens I know who are part of ACT, Andrew Wood, Lacy Helms and Tyler Northen among them, speak in the highest terms of the theater experience they're getting under Hawkins-Whitaker. And they are very high on Annie.

Hawkins-Whitaker has the sort of engine in the works that can be difficult: her daughter, Lily, is a solid young actress. And there are some 60 youths in her corps.

In this production the audience will see Ric Humphries as Daddy Warbucks; Lily Whitaker as Miss Hannigan; Ryan Williams as Rooster; Ansley Hughes as Grace Farrell; Robin Jackson as Lily St. Regis; Lucia Boyd as Molly; Parker Stough as FDR; and Casey Bozenski as Bert Healy.

Lauren Ross is the choreographer. The musical director is Daniel Ley. Technical direction is by Jamie Sanders. Lighting is by Courtney Gaston.

Tickets: (318) 429-6885.
$10, students; $20, adults.

Dirtfoot's new album, Entertain Me, to be discalced at Noble Savage during vespers on Sat, Dec 23

Matt Hazelton: "Entertain Me"
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

"Just wanted to let you know that the CD is done and the release will be held at Noble Savage on December 23rd," wrote J Bratlie. "We are planning on a big event with a lot of fun, new merchandise, as well as the long awaited, much anticipated, full length debut album, "Entertain Me."

At Eric Gardner writes, "Dirtfoot's first full-length, professionally recorded studio album,"Entertain Me" is finally here. You've never heard the boys like this before. It will be available for only $10 at the Noble Savage.

If you would like to reserve one or several copies, email us at or contact us through or through"

On Friday the 22nd their calendar says the sextet is playing Lil Joes / Jackrabbit Lounge.
Dec 31: Chicago Downtown (formerly Club Isabella), 118 Texas, Shreveport.

Young visitors home for the holidays might well consider this gathering the primo event of the holidays. Going early wouldn't be a bad idea if you're a fan or simply if you want to check the tight sound of their danceable, rockin' gypsy music.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dmonstrations: rockin' from Brooklyn to Santa Ana with Shreveport en route; show Sun, Dec 17, 8:30 pm, Cooper Manor

Dmonstrations @ 2609 33rd St.
Originally uploaded by Wil5on.

What hath Capt Beefheart wrought? It is called Noise Rock and is a demoniacally powerful, anarchic force. In Shreveport the home of noise rock is Cooper Manor, 122 E Dalzell (some have complained to me it is an unfindable address but that is a ruse meaning 'I didn't really want to drop off my teens on that side of Highland,' I believe).
The latest road-excited bunch of noisers to hit town are up Sunday at Cooper manor.

"Dmonstrations are a ridiculously fun and crazy garage-noise-rock trio, with two-thirds hailing from San Diego California, and the remaining one-third (singer/guitarist) hailing from Tokyo, Japan," says house concert producer and mathematician Alec Holland.

The dmonstrations' myspace site has their motto as "Mutagen Pills in the River." You probably know that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were created by means of mutagens. In fact, those of you knew that ought to attend the show. The rest of you are free to go as of now. Find your Lou Reed and Ramones albums and your pacemaker. Maybe hang up your Chucks.

Opening is Rock And Roll Spanish High School. Holland admits that the opener produces "Loud, almost danceable noise rock from...well...Shreveport."

Sun, Dec 17th
122 E. Dalzell
8:30 PM

Monday, December 11, 2006

Warm, warm fuzzies: Symphony Pops Concert Sat, Dec 16, 7:30 pm, Riverview Theater; orchestra plus singers & dancers

Red River Children's Chorus 05

The Red River Children's Chorus, one of the city's best young performers' groups, Escaped Images, the dance troupe from Centenary College, the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet: the house will almost be sold out based on the participation of these groups in the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops concert.

Based on concerts I've enjoyed over the past several years I can bet that you will not experience a warmer nor more musical evening this month. Behind it all is Michael Butterman, one of the city's quiet new stars, and his energized orchestra. Additionally, there is singer Seva May, actress and adept stage person. There's the new Shreveport Symphony Festival Chorus, too.

This is the sort of holiday ritual gathering that might bring out the best in everyone.

Sat, Dec 16, 7:30 pm
Riverview Theater (formerly Civic Theater)
Tickets from $10 to $36
Students $5
SSO: 227-8863
Ask for info on Menus & Music & the Cambridge Club.
Park in AmSouth Bank's tower garage and take a shuttle to the theater. It's sweeet.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Second lining with the Blanc et Noir Marching Society, Shreveport's newest krewe; meeting Thur, Dec 14, 4 pm, Festival Plaza

Second lining
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

If you'd like to join Shreveport's newest krewe, the Blanc et Noir Marching Society, you are invited to join us - in costume - at 4 pm on Thurs, Dec 14, at Festival Plaza.

There you will learn more about the New Orleans tradition of hiring a brass band and assembling a group of marchers around it. Marching krewes don't use floats. They do the second line around a marching band and may precede a parade, be part of a parade or establish their own parade.

Their costumes may be uniform or independently colorful. They may give throws to their favorites in the crowd or not. The main thing is to strut and entertain people by employing a brass band.

Dues are $25. You will recieve a copy of How To Mardi Gras, authored by the founder of Blanc et Noir, and a document attesting to charter member status.

The super generous may join at the Louis Quatorze level; their fee is $100. All monies are earmarked for 2 items: paying the band and constructing the club banner.

Please respond! That's or 318-861-6809.

Our principal job is to second line ahead of the Krewe of Highland Parade, Shreveport, on Sun, Feb 18. There will several meetings in Jan and Feb as we ready for the parade.

There's actually a year-round need for a marching society in this Carnival-infected city. We will have many choices to make in regards when and where we party and strut.

Allons danser!

Robert Trudeau

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Toys, ahem, tools for your creative game: digital cameras plus an additional hard drive is the ticket

My Workspace
Originally uploaded by corykrug.

We are all in the same slough when it comes to researching the smartest buy in a digital camera. Read reviews until your bohonkus melds with the chair. Still you won't know what you should buy.

I've been through maybe half a dozen digital cameras. Three of them were the excellent Olympus Camedia 3 mp models. Currently I'm using an OK cheapo Nikon 5 mp, the Coolpix P2. Also I still fall back on a battered but tough Canon 3 mp Elph. My wife shoots a Sony 5 mp CyberShot with a delightful Zeiss lens. We shoot several hundred shots a week, month after month.

* My entire 2-point camera buying guide:
1. buy a Sony or Canon 5 mp.
2. Find one that fits your pocket and hand.

* One thing to remember: it's the photographer, not the camera.

Take care in buying: today most stores are charging a 15% restocking fee for returning a camera that you don't like.

* The main thing is, shoot and enjoy. Shoot and edit. Cropping and brightening photos can be an additional creative outlet. Read books and learn to critique the snaps you see in ads and magazines.

* Buy your kids their own cameras or have an extra parent camera that will serve the kids. Try not to carp when they take weird stuff. My 10 year-old likes to shoot mundane signage and odd portraits. Between the wankers he hits a few terrific shots.

* Today our videocam gets little use. That's because we've learned to take mini videos via our digital cameras. While these Quicktime movies are good enough in quality for our use, we can shoot them because we bought large memory cards.

* Because memory has become relatively cheap, I would recommend getting a 512 mb memory stick for your camera. You'll be able to shoot plenty of stills as well as short movies.

* Now for the photo accessory that may be the most important of all: the extra hard drive. Why do you need that? For storage of the photos and videos and your mp3's.

If you're super organized you can burn photos and videos to CD or DVD soon after they're amassed. For the rest of us, having a big external hard drive is they key to media management. We bought a Seagate 200 Gb hard drive a couple of years ago. It's fine if slow running. This year we got a 300 Gb OWC hard drive to store things from the iBook G4.

Partly we need the hard drives because I shoot a fair amount of video. Partly we need it because we're artists who need access to a wide array of our still photos.

Some of you are thinking, "An external hard drive? That is utter gobbledygook!" Technically, it is not a big deal. Follow the directions in plugging it in. Drag and drop files from your internal drive to the new one. You're done.

Looking for a new laptop? Brief consumer guidelines coming up this week.

Pete Harris Cafe, soulful center of Shreveport politics and nightlife, closes the door and doesn't answer calls

Gumbo of doom 2
Originally uploaded by Basket Case.

There are two reasons why locals are lamenting the closing of Pete Harris Cafe. The first is history. The restaurant's lineage goes back to the 1920's (see the Times sidebar).

More importantly, this was the one place in Shreveport where Black and White came together on Black turf. Politicians, journalists, artists: we met there because it sent a message, which was that the Black side of Shreveport was important.

In its incarnation as Freeman & Harris Cafe it was a center for African-American life. When I was a musical columnist and feature writer for UpState Weekly I often went to Freeman's to find respondents. Going to meet people in Allendale was a cultural adventure. Freeman's was a place where a white liberal always seemed welcome.

The plain decor was always a surprise to me. The renowned center of soul food - the eatery that served BB King and Bobby Blue Bland, among many famous visitors - had walls as plain as a Christian's kitchen. Of course, the image was in the clientele. African-Americans in Freeman's somehow always seemed nicely dressed. There always seemed to be a couple of tables featuring white folks.

During the era of dancing til the starry hours at the Florentine Club the last stop was often Freeman's. It was open late and it was urban. No one batted an eyelash when dancing fools in stylized clothing tripped into the dining room.

Then there was the palate. Stuffed shrimps were too obvious for me though I have listened to a thousand people talk about them. I loved the gumbo. Used to have it delivered to me when I worked downtown. The reason I chose this illustration from flickr is that Freeman & Harris gumbo always had a lot of crab body in it. It had a magical mix of oil, pepper, chicken bones and seafood debris.

Maybe one implicit message in the closing of Pete Harris Cafe is that racism in Shreveport has shifted. Yes, I know this is hairy conjecture and flies far above factual footing. But my feeling goes like this: once racism here was quiet but pervasive. It called out for self-conscious offsets like scheduled pilgrimages to eat soul food on the old side of town.

Has some of that consciousness of race and place lessened?

At any rate, as a former waiter - for Joe Fertitta - and restaurant reviewer - the Shreveport Journal, among others - I routinely ascribe restaurant closings to faulty management. It is a competitive and consuming business. To survive you've got to be in it for 1000%.

Maybe the name Pete Harris Cafe or Freeman & Harris will return. Not easily, though.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Seeing Stars in Dixie at East Bank Theater; Takes place in Mississippi, not Shreveport-Bossier; performances Fr, Dec 8, Sat, Dec 9, at 8 pm

Schubert, Cassanova & Crook / photo Gene Cassanova

Seeing Stars in Dixie is a comedy about small-town people scrambling for a spot in a movie. Yes, it was chosen specifically for this region during the Hollywood South period, director Dick King told the Times.

On the casting couch are journeyman players of the regional stage. Eugen Crook plays across from his wife, Sylvia Rachal. Betty Baker and Reagan Cassanova are veterans on the East Bank boards. Charity Schubert is a bold actress that we enjoyed in several productions when she was a student actress at Centenary College.

Fri, Dec. 8, 8 pm
Sat, Dec 9, 8 pm
Sun, Dec 10, 2 pm

East Bank Community Theatre, 630 Barksdale Blvd. in Bossier City.
$11 seniors citizens, students and military personnel.
$ 13 other adults. Group rates are available.
(318) 741-8310.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas in the Sky and SRAC and artists and the city and the region

Backstage at Xmas in the Sky: Vinciane Degueldre
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

As one of the arts people who both volunteers for and is sometimes contracted for work by Shreveport Regional Arts Council, I can speak to the importance of the big box fundraiser called Christmas in the Sky. Presented at LaDowns every 2 years, Sky is an opportunity for the community's artisans to create a fantastical party.

The comfortable class attends Christmas in the Sky so as to support SRAC - and therefore, benefit people like me. This year tickets are $200 per. And artists as well as SRAC hope that attendees will bid generously on the art they will see all around them.

My biggest project for SRAC has been writing the children's activities for the Faces of Katrina exhibit. In some 3 months of work I produced a 50-page booklet filled with background on New Orleans and activities designed to integrate educational goals with an appreciation for Crescent City culture. I shot and edited 2 videos; one was for teachers and one taught the Second Line. I produced a soundtrack for Faces of Katrina, too, featuring solo piano by Steve Ramey, interviews with Katrina refugees and topped by a song loaned by Monica Blake Mickle.

Figured on a per-hour basis, my fee amounted to minimum wage. Like many of SRAC's contracted workers, I was happy to add volunteer time to the mix. Part of my pay came in the satisfaction of knowing that hundreds of students participated in the writing, art and media activities.

In my observation - over the course of numerous events and projects - Pam Atchison is a careful and bargain-minded administrator of the SRAC budget. And I appreciate the arts council for raising the quality of life in the region.

You should go to Artspace. It is currently open 10 - 6, Tues through Sat. Bringing your neighbors and friends to Artspace is not a bad idea. For creating that high-toned gallery in a once-abandoned building you would have to say that SRAC is hitting an admirable mark of leadership and effectiveness.

May Christmas in the Sky partiers enjoy and spend lavishly. In my considered opinion, everyone in the region will profit from the exchange.

Christmas in the Sky benefit & art auction
Sat, Dec 9
7 pm to 3 am
Louisiana Downs
SRAC: 673-6500

Please see more backstage at Xmas in the Sky snaps at SptFaces.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet presents The Nutcracker with the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra Fri, Dec 8, & Sun, Dec 10

Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet off stage
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

The Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet presents:

The Nutcracker: a holiday classic.
- Friday, Dec. 8, 2006 at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006 at 3 p.m.
Featuring the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra
and guest artists from Milwaukee Ballet.

Downtown Shreveport’s Riverview Theater
Ticket prices: $10, $15, $25, $20
Call: 459-1457

In the photo: SMB dancers Chandler Allen and Kelsey Steen amuse Claire Cook, Caleb Gaston and Chelsea Smith.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Wideman Piano Competition draws competitive & young international group to Shreveport

Wideman Piano Competition: bronze medalist Ching-yun Hu
Originally uploaded by trudeau.

Imagine world-class performers from Korea (9 of them), China ((7), Europe (5), Israel, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Costa Rica, and SE Asia (2) as well as the US (11) gathered at Centenary College to perform on grand piano. Boggles the Shreveportitis. The event is the little-heralded, annual Wideman Piano Competition.

Does the Wideman offer a business model for Shreveport? It reminds me of a small version of Jackson, Mississippi's US International Ballet Competition, which is held every 4 years. There's a small relationship to Spoleto, Festival USA, held in Charleston, SC. The point is that an international gathering of high quality performers - young and photogenic, I might add - is a marketable shot of entertainment.

There's been an increase in the number and level of hunger in young concert pianists in recent years, says Lester Senter Wilson, Wideman director. Shreveport audiences have benefitted.

Might the Wideman position itself as a regional draw? Fill a few hotel rooms and spawn additional parties and folderol? Is there someone with another take on the international, classical music competition idea? Hot global oboists in the spring?

Seems to me there's an opportunity for Shrevetown. The lobby of Hurley Music Building was swimming in Asians and Europeans during the Wideman. It was intoxicating. The audience for the finals was terrific, almost filling the Anderson Auditorium.

Yet there was room for thought.

The Times has more on the Wideman from writer Jane Bokun. And SptFaces has more photos.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

On choosing gifts that will enhance the creative & melodic impulse

Hello Kitty Guitar!
Originally uploaded by jasmine_tea.

On giving gifts that bring out the melodic creativity of your best people . . .

If your person has expressed an interest in music, there are plenty of inexpensive guitars perfect for figuring out whether guitar is going to be Yo' Thang. One of them is Fender's Hello Kitty. But that's a deluxe intro at about $200. You can get an effective axe for $100, thanks to the amazing East Asian factories.

* The principal factor to worry about in regards getting a new guitar for an inexperienced player is Ease of Playing. Sure, there's The Coolness. But mainly it's going to be about Whether the Strings Press Down Easily. You want to request a fretboard-to-string relationship that's called Low Action. They will know to add light gauge strings.
* With that in mind, I Cannot recommend ordering a guitar from a catalog. Yes, the catalogs are inspiring and seductive. But you will long be happy if you find a friendly local retailer and establish a relationship. You cannot now imagine the several ways in which the retailer is going to be helpful. Plus, the Local Guys will basically match the price of the mail order companies.
* Guitarists don't need a big amp. Once upon a time we adored monstrous, multi-speaker mondogeddons. But please think about getting in and out of the car and school bus on your way to practice and shows. Think of how smart it will be to Grab it and Run. You'd be surprised how much piercing guitar notage you can fling across a room with a 15 watt amp firing an 8" speaker. There are headphone outlets on most amps for midnight practice - and they're an important item.
* Full length mirror is an accompaniment for guitarist or other musician types that makes more sense than you realize. If players see how they look as they perform, they will avoid developing bad habits such a slumped posture or awkward mouth movements or unappealing raiment.
* Btw, I say do Not buy your favorite person a guitar unless they say they want one.
* Extra cables - and strings - are very important to all players of electrified instruments.

* For those with a promising voice, get a mic, mic stand and extra PA-type amplifier. Great voices are the missing links in most musical groups. If you think you have an effective voice, develop it. Get voice lessons. Sing through a practice amp system.

* Songwriter types have new avenues today. The computer enables them to record, produce and make their original material into useful music. The basic recording software bundled with a PC or Mac is entirely adequate for most recording. Many of the mics built into today's computers are adequate for general recording of voice and fx. But an adapter (here's one from Griffin) and additional mic ($40 to $100, don't worry whether it's Shure or budget Behringer) can enhance your effort and be motivational tools.
* Podcasting, essentially creating independent radio programs, is a new creative outlet. For the witty and insightful, the podcast can be a door that opens onto the universe of entertainment or news or even infotainment. The retailers have figured out that you will pay big bucks for a Podcasting Package. There's nothing wrong with one if you have extra $$. yet all that is necessary is a computer and mic and moxie.

More questions about this realm? Email me or march into your Local Music Shop and get drunk on the smell and the feel of tools for imagineering.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Matt Dinkins, aka Unguent, home from San Francisco but well below the radar; house concert Sat, Dec 2


At I found a Duncan Edwards review of one of the area's most elusive but hard-working multi-media artists, Matt Dinkins. The last time I talked to Dinkins by phone was a couple of years ago and he was excited to have found a Buddhist monastery in, like, Bossier Parish (if you go out there and crassly disturb their peace I will burn in hell for an extra 20 years).

His plans at that time were to go to Thailand, yet he surfaced in San Francisco. Whether on Texas St or Telegraph Ave, there is evidence that Dinkins is driven to experiment with lights and soundscapes.

From the Edwards review of Dinkins' release, Guitar Realtime Processing: "Dinkins, a former resident of Shreveport, also records as Unguent. The history of music in Shreveport gives no clues to the sound of this record, however. Leadbelly favored the twelve-string, and was from Shreveport and although new evidence suggest they might be from Slidell, The Residents still claim Shreveport as their site of origin, before—like Dinkins—a relocation to California. On a map of sound, the location of Guitar Realtime Processing is closer to the least tuneful aspects of Budd & Partridge's Through The Hill. While these sketches lack the austere depth of such contemplative works as Nils Okland's Bris, it's similarly a record in which to get lost, and American Routes be damned."

Bubbling up from the underground house circuit locally has been evidence that Dinkins is back or visiting. All I know about this weekend is in this poster, forwarded to me by David Nelson.

Robin Rothrock's Bella Luna II show at Bella Fresca; reception Sun, Dec 3, 3 to 6 pm

Robin Rothrock's Bella Luna II at Bella Fresca

Robin Rothrock is debuting new work at Bella Fresca restaurant.

In her artists statement at she says, "As a young surfer growing up in Satellite Beach, (near Cocoa Beach,) Florida, I fell in love with the sky and the ocean. These works are a response to living land-locked in Shreveport, Louisiana for twenty-five years where I’ve had to recreate the sky and ocean I hold dear.

Combining the beauty of nature with serendipity, water plays a major role in the conception and production of these works. Seeking balance between wet and dry, and using my hot tub as a tool, I manipulate my medium of acrylic on paper, exploring textures and colors from opaque to transparent, and allowing intention and flexibility to flow into new ideas. Like my life, my paintings began in hues of blue and green.

Just as my experience and travels have colored my personality, more colors creep into my work each year, creating a richer pallet as I mature as an artist."

Reception Sun, Dec 3
3 pm until 6 pm

Bella Fresca
6307 Line Ave
(318) 865-6307