Thursday, June 16, 2016

Host families needed for exchange students; end of June deadline, says coordinator Lily Gardner Jonsek

Lily Gardner Jonsek, Shreveport

Lily Gardner Jonsek is the Shreveport-Bossier coordinator for host families.

I work primarily with exchange scholarship programs administered by the Department of State, says Jonsek, with the explicit focus of combating xenophobia on both sides of the exchange. I'm passionate about this, and I want these programs to have a greater presence in our area. Of course, when the students are active in the community and people get the chance to meet them, that will increase interest. To get them here, we have to have host families first.

I remember the tension of the Cold War. I was born on a military base during the Vietnam War. The international scene wasn’t exactly rosy during my childhood, yet there was still an innocence that served to buffer us. I’m not sure my son will have that benefit. It’s a different world now. It’s harder to hide atrocities, but it’s harder to protect against danger as well. For my son’s sake, I feel an urgency to act, to reach out and form those bonds of common humanity that will bridge the gap between where we are and the world that he, and all other children across our globe, deserves.

I answer that call by bringing exchange students into our home and community. I work with scholarship programs that offer the life-changing opportunity to spend a year in the United States to teens in countries where opportunities are limited and the potential for conflict between our countries is all too real.

I believe these programs benefit our community. We become more grateful for the rights and privileges we, unlike millions around the world, enjoy every day. We become more aware of and compassionate about the challenges so many face. We come to know ourselves in a deeper way, and find new solutions to our own problems in the process. We also have lots of fun, discovering the same old places through the eyes of a youngster newly arrived on our shores. We gain brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.

We need more people to join our ranks and become host families. There are teens who have won scholarships but are waiting to hear from a family willing to take them in before the end of June deadline. New friends are waiting to be made.

For more information, please contact me at 415-359-6833 or

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Experimental film by Kate McCabe at minicine?, 846 Texas Ave, Sat, Ap 23, 8 pm

Kate McCabe publicity

Shadowy filmmaker Kate McCabe edits for vibe and uses time lapse and image superimposition in her experimental films. Part of the Kidnap Yourself art collective, McCabe has been been in and out of Joshua Tree, California, since the 90's. On Sat, Ap 23, she lands at minicine?, 846 Texas Ave, with film to be rolled.

Her 90's work with the psychedelic musician Brant Bjork reached for an understanding of life in the desert. Called "Sabbia" (sand), it used Bork's sinuous guitar and bass lines and McCabe's sense of the rocks, girls and beers of the Mojave to evoke that particular life.

Does it occur to film lovers that Shreveport has no less than a steady diet of indie work to be consumed? From the straight independent work seen at Robinson Film Center and in the shorts associated with the Louisiana Film Prize, to the offbeat films aired by the Centenary Film Society and the idiosyncratic work shown at minicine? this is a city where you can study or simply enjoy the world away from Hollywood.

Doors @ 8pm. Films roll @ 8:30.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Seratones In Wash, DC, on Tiny Desk Concert at

AJ Haynes, Shreveport by trudeau
AJ Haynes, Shreveport, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

"Seratones singer-guitarist A.J. Haynes takes gospel into the garage," says Bob Boilen of NPR Music, "and what comes out is fiery rock 'n' roll. The Shreveport, La., band is a joy to see and hear, and this Tiny Desk concert provides a fiery peek at what you'll soon hear on the group's debut album, Get Gone."

That's Connor Davis on lead, Jesse Gabriel on drums and Adam Davis on bass. Raised in Shreveport, the guys all went to Caddo Magnet HS. AJ Haynes graduated from CE Byrd.

Will the Seratones be able to extend their media success with the arrival of the new songs, "Get Gone"? This Tiny Desk Concert augurs well.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rest in peace Shreveport personality Clarence "Cat Daddy" Spurs, age 58

Saddened to hear of the death of Clarence "Cat Daddy" Spurs, a radio personality, restaurant owner, car lot owner and the unofficial mayor of Mooretown.

He was 58 and died of a heart attack, says KSLA.

Cat Daddy will be missed. Check him out in this 2009 profile.

Poetry and piano pounding at Shreveport House Concert Series Sun, Ap 17, 7 pm: Alan Dyson, Erich Avinger, Juliann Banks

Stray Dogs by the Highway, Alan Dyson, David Love Lewis, Shreveport

“Stray Dogs by the Highway” is a fresh recording featuring lyrics by poet David Love Lewis, piano and vocals by composer/songwriter Alan Dyson, and perfect accents by jazz guitarist/ producer Erich Avinger.

Dyson's piano and vocals reminds me of Billy Joel or Randy Newman. Erich Avinger is a sizzling accompanist. The House concert also features journeywoman singer-musician Juliann Banks. She, too, has a new album.

"Lewis, Dyson and Avinger are Southern artists motivated by the hypnotic Om of the cicada, the hum of road, and the mantra of familiar hymns permeating the piney woods of East Texas and Northwest Louisiana," says Dyson.

Catch their musical wordplay on Sun, Ap 17, 7 pm, at 1508 Fairfield Ave, Shreveport.
(318) 670-3567

Sunday, April 10, 2016

"I Saw the Light:" a thoughtful, elegant story of Hank Williams currently at Robinson Film Center

Tom Hiddleston

"I Saw the Light," a movie made on location in and around Shreveport, is an elegant, personal inquiry into the life of singer-songwriter Hank Williams. It is a slow movie, and deliciously so, since the golden light captured by Dante Spinotte helps tell the story. British actor Tom Hiddleston sings and inhabits the Hank skin capably.

It is not an exciting story. It reflects upon the rotten roles played by men and women in the 1950's. It muses on the mystery of Hank's gifts, explains his back pain (spina bifida, long before anyone knew the ailment as such) and confronts his alcoholism.

"I Saw the Light" humanizes the legendary figure. Interestingly, critics from coast to coast have jumped upon the movie, written and directed by Hollywood veteran Marc Abraham. says, "it boasts a terrifically talented cast, but their performances aren't enough to enliven an unfocused biopic that never comes close to capturing its subject's timeless appeal."

I disagree.

I believe this movie will find its audiences in Europe, Asia and in independent movie houses, such as Robinson Film Center - which is where it is currently airing.