Monthly Archives: April 2010

Charlie Crist and the Great Triangulation of 2010

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The old cliché that people get the leaders they deserve is usually true—in America, anyway—and rarely as much so as in the curious case of Charlie Crist. Just three months ago, it seemed likely that he would be shuffled off to the private sector, a high-profile casualty of an economic meltdown he helped set in motion. Whether Rubio beat him in the Senate primary or not, logic almost dictated that Kendrick Meek would beat the GOP nominee with a brutal decisiveness worthy of Randy Orton.

That would have been both fair, and fitting. But instead, the embattled Governor of Florida stands at the mid-way point of the most audacious act of political triangulation since Obama’s “Black Caesar” act in 2008. Like Obama, Crist has challenged his party’s establishment and all conventional wisdom, hoping to assert himself amidst utter chaos on all levels of the electoral system. He’s like a surfer, riding waves of boiling-hot water, on a surfboard made of ice—but oh, such balance!

The text of Crist’s announcement, in St. Petersburg on April 29, was amazingly not leaked beforehand, although the essence of speculation proved correct. He is running as an Independent, turning the Senate race into a three-way dance that could be the most entertaining spectacle of what should be a hilarious year.

Crist’s speech was scheduled for 6pm, then pushed back half an hour; the headliner didn’t start talking until 5:51. Insert your own joke here. He might as well start wearing robes with sequins and feathers, and calling himself the New Nature Boy. Some might say he’s been doing that for a long time, more power to him. He’s already got the hair and the rep; all he needs is better enforcers.

Crist’s theme—“Straight To November”—will surely elicit witty responses from the blogosphere, which has been flogging rumors of Crist’s sexual complexity ever since he was a candidate for Governor in 2006. It’s anyone’s guess to as which elements of this broken system will choose to play that card first, or why, but it seems a certainty at this point. The politics of personal destruction, typified by the ongoing campaigns against Sarah Palin, fills a vacuum created by an absence of real debate, just as it did in the late ‘90s, in the years just before 9/11 briefly realigned America’s focus on policy concerns. Crist may be lucky to have hit the national stage just as Americans are getting tired of the Beltway’s parlor tricks.

Whenever the media is openly talking about a politician’s sex life, people should take it as a clue that something else is going on. In this case, Florida is in serious trouble. Both Meek and Rubio erred severely in not linking Crist inextricably to the recession in Florida, even though it would have happened anyway. Rubio is too beholden to the fake conservatives holding down the right to ever question the wisdom of tax cuts, and Meek might be understandably reluctant to point out that, by inducing an economic crisis here, which quickly went national, Crist helped Obama get elected.

The property tax cuts that Crist forced through, to benefit downstate development interests that anchored his 2006 campaign, cut into the operating budgets of most cities in Florida. The I-4 corridor that has dominated Florida politics for three decades draws enough revenue from other sources that their budget issues were neither as dramatic nor traumatic; there was some cushion for the impact of the tax cuts. Things were worse up north, but ultimately bad everywhere: Almost every municipality has had to deal with budget issues during Crist’s term. Services have been slashed, workers fired, taxes and fees raised; longstanding political alliances were torn apart faster than, well, anything that gets between Justin Bieber and his fans. For the smallest counties, the results have been catastrophic—whole departments closed, lifestyles permanently altered.

And it’s only just begun. The budget-wrangling will continue for years to come; rebuilding the state’s revenue base is a generational matter. As for pensions, we’ve been having the relevant discussions in Jacksonville for some years now—John Peyton knows the subject back-and-forth—but the entire country is facing multi-billion-dollar shortfalls that cannot be rectified during a recession that has proven persistent, to say the least. While I question Crist’s decision to go to Washington, for many reasons, here’s one argument in its favor: He won’t be in Tallahassee when the hammer drops.

Crist has shown a real gift for political calculations—witness the way he used his veto of merit pay for teachers to burnish his centrist cred ahead of the party switch. The bill was devised as a fairly-transparent union-busting move, one which undermined the efficacy of merit pay a supplement to fair, competitive compensation for teachers. As Governor, and nominal leader of his state party, he could have pulled just enough strings to keep such weak, ill-conceived and unpopular legislation from ever passing at all, if he felt that strongly about it. He could have intimated to key pols in Tallahassee that he would veto the bill if it did pass, and encourage them to put their energy into any of a number of things that he would happily sign into law.

Instead, he allowed the bill to develop, along with several weeks of accompanying public discord, including protests by thousands of students, teachers and parents up and down the state, who took the time to lobby Crist in a direction he was already leaning. He wasted their time, so he could score political points by sweeping in with his veto pen, like he didn’t initiate the budget crisis that has led to so many teachers having to worry about their jobs. Crist correctly calculated that his move would be seen as an act of heroism, rather than cold, cynical manipulation of women and children.

There is a glut of bland, boring blubber-butts in Florida politics, a bunch of lightweights that are barely shadows of the folks who held their spots a decade ago. Charlie Crist is one of them, of course, but he has found a way to be slightly better than his peers, and that’s pretty much all you can ask of Florida. As for Meek, his chances were low-balled from the get-go by a Democratic Party that began projecting its vulnerabilities before the Obamas had finished one load of White House Laundry.

As Crist and Rubio dove headlong into a caterwauling catfight that leaves the impression that the smoldering hatred for one another is rooted somewhere beyond policy beefs, the odds should have solidified in Meek’s favor. But they haven’t, which left room for Crist to move. Instead of being pressed between Rubio’s hotshot push and Meek’s liberal legacy, Crist made the election about him and not the issues. It became a game of personalities, which is unfair because his opponents have none.

Instead of taking 2008 as a real mandate for change, and then consolidating control of state and local governments, they’re working a rope with no dope. And that is just not how power works. Clearly, Democrats in Washington are reluctant to challenge their friends across the aisle, even if the feeling is not reciprocated or is, in fact, exploited to install a brand new batch of sorry-ass Republicans, already greasy with gluttony, graft and malicious intent. It’s all a replay of 1994. How Obama (and, critically, Rahm Emanuel) have played right into it is a complete mystery to the entire world, and probably themselves. Instead of Crist kissing up to Obama, maybe Obama should be kissing up to Charlie Crist!

sdh666@hotmail.com; April 29, 2010

New York Hardcore 4 Life Art Show–May 1-30

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[Brenda Kato is a local girl made good. A longtime fixture in Northeast Florida's art scene, Kato moved to NYC several years ago and is now a fixture in their scene. She sent along this release about an art show she's involved with up there, running through the month of May.]

NYHC4LIFE ART SHOW :: May 1st to 30th at TenEleven Pub on 171 Avenue C between 10th and 11th in NYC-LES!! Reception May 16th, 3pm to 8pm.FEATURING
Sean Taggart :: Illustratons
Craig Holloway :: Illustrations
Gary Gilmore :: Illustrations
Chris Roque :: Photography
Samma Jamma :: Photography
Brenda Kato :: IllustrationsThe New York Hardcore scene is strong, with 25+ years of history. There are several books and videos out about the history of hardcore. The scene is also very strong in Europe. The NYHC4LIFE online community grows every day.

This group of awesome artists and photographers have work relating to the New York Hardcore Music Scene. The art show content is photographs of the top hardcore bands, band members, album art, show fliers, posters and paintings. The reception will be May 16th, the day after the BNB Bowl at Webster Hall in NYC. The BNB Bowl lineup this year is sick with Cro-Mags, Scarhead, H2O, Yuppicide, Wisdom In Chains, Cruel Hand, Trapped Under Ice, H8 Inc., SAND, Incendiary and more. Go to pitchforkny.com for tickets soon, this always sells out.

Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up–Jazz Gallery, April 29

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[I'm only now getting acquainted with the music of Tomas Fujiwara, mostly through YouTube so far. I first noted his presence as part of the The Thirteenth Assembly, a sort of super-group of NYC's rising sons and daughters of jazz that also includes Jessica Pavone on violin and guitar goddess Mary Halvorson under the nominal leadership of trumpeter/writer Taylor Ho Bynum (whose blog offers unique insight on the genre from a professional's perspective). All four members are active on the scene in numerous incarnations. Fujiwara also plays in duo with Bynum; their newest CD, "Stepwise", is out on the Polish label Not Two Records.

Fujiwara is leading his own band into the Jazz Gallery, one of the singular spots for live music in the Apple, on the 29th. (The same group also plays The Firehouse in New Haven, CT on the 30th.) I saw Dana Leong there in 2006, with Aviv Cohen, Baba Israel and John Shannon, and I've been a stone-cold mark for the place ever since. If money were no object, I'd be on a plane first thing in the morning for a long working weekend up north; I'm sure there's all kinds of stuff going on there. Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up are releasing their first album, "Actionspeak", on 482 Music, which also released the first duo album with Bynum, "True Events"More on the group, and its leader, courtesy a mass-mailing from his Facebook page.]

Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up

Tomas Fujiwara – Drums
Danton Boller – Bass
Mary Halvorson – Guitar
Brian Settles – Tenor Saxophone
Jonathan Finlayson – Trumpet

With “a quiet energy that propels” (All About Jazz) and a style that is “both volatile and watchful” (New York Times), Tomas Fujiwara’s “alert drumming has propelled some excellent ensembles on the new-music landscape” (New York Times). He has appeared at the Jazz Gallery on numerous occasions with, among others, Taylor Ho Bynum, Matana Roberts, Amir ElSaffar, and Positive Catastrophe. He performs regularly with Sunny Jain’s Red Baraat, Josh Sinton’s Ideal Bread, Matt Bauder’s Day in Pictures, and Matt Welch’s Blarvuster as well as co-leading and composing for The Tomas Fujiwara / Taylor Ho Bynum Duo and The Thirteenth Assembly.

For tonight’s performance, his first Gallery appearance as a leader, Tomas presents his original compositions performed by his quintet, The Hook Up. They will perform compositions from their forthcoming album, Actionspeak (September 2010 release on 482 Music) as well as the premiere of two new pieces. With inspiration ranging from Wayne Shorter to Haruki Murakami to Talib Kweli, Fujiwara’s pieces deal with the intersection of composition and improvisation as well as concepts of shifting roles within an ensemble. “Fujiwara’s writing marries postbop elegance to propulsive groove and subtle abstraction.” (TimeOut New York). WWW.TOMASFUJIWARA.COM

sets at 9 & 10:30

The Jazz Gallery–290 Hudson St., Manhattan, NY; (212)242-1063

www.jazzgallery.org

Art Chicago 2010: Nancy Hoffman Gallery

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Hung Liu, “Fantasy III (La Cage IV)”, 2009

NYC’s Nancy Hoffman Gallery will be among the dozens of vendors and non-profit organizations from all over the world (at stand #12-339) participating in “the International Fair of Contemporary and Modern Art”, Art Chicago 2010, held at the Merchandise Mart April 30-May 3, with a special preview May 29. You can visit the gallery in New York at 520 W 27th Street, or contact them at (212) 966-6676; email: info@nancyhoffmangallery.com.

Money Jungle extra: “Battle of the Mediocrities”

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[Melissa Ross, host of the stellar "First Coast Connect" show on WJCT-89.9 FM, issued a standing invite to deliver some pithy guest commentaries on the issues of the day. I've not taken her up on that offer yet, being perhaps too-careful to find just the right topics. I'd like to be entertaining, but without courting any extra controversy, as I have concluded that the status-quo (for better or mostly for worse) is basically acceptable to the majority of the population in my city, and it's simply self-defeating to attempt any further challenges to that dynamic. Below is a revised-and-extended version of the commentary I'd planned to deliver about the Ahmed/Yarborough dust-up; it would have aired today. However, it doesn't make much sense to criticize city government, so close to budget-time; after all, we all know that such budgets are used primarily as political tools. So, instead, I post it here, where only that narrow fraction of fresh thinkers would ever think to look. Self-censorship, done right!]

On Tuesday, the City Council votes whether to accept the nomination of Parvez Ahmed for a spot on the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission, a nomination being challenged by councilman Clay Yarborough. Like many of you, my first thought was “Who Cares?” Here in Florida, we’ve developed a special gift for meaningless political scandal, and this is a case in point.

Instead of talking about how Jaguar management stomped on the hearts of their fans by not only throwing away Tim Tebow, but leaving him to be drafted by a conference rival, we’re stuck watching a schoolyard spat between cultural stereotypes. And it’s not like our council isn’t bush enough, between threatening to fire loyal civil servants and ducking corruption charges related to widespread misappropriations of public funds. This JHRC gig is the kind of no-work job mobsters get.

Is Ahmad qualified for the position? Absolutely. After all, he holds a degree from Harvard; Bush and Obama have shown us how useful they can be. A cynic might use the bin Laden scholarship fund endowed at Harvard Law to make a blanket condemnation of its entire student body, and do real damage to many people’s careers. That is how these politics work; guilt-by-association works like a double-edged sword, yielded by a lunatic.

The savage violence—the cold-blooded, indiscriminate brutality—associated with Radical Islam represents a threat to all of humanity. Hundreds of Jews, thousands of Christians and millions of Muslims are dead now, and those numbers are growing by the minute. Extremists have been empowered, as moderates are cowed into silence. The only winners are demons and demagogues, many of whom live right here in America.

Organized religion has earned the widespread skepticism and overt hostility that seems its destiny in this century. The Vatican has only recently begun to face the real, dollars-and-cents consequences of their ritualized system of child-rape, which goes back farther than the living memory of any priest. Of course, many saints and martyrs of the faith were killed by the church itself—an irony lost on our current Pope, who couldn’t even be bothered to burn the pictures of himself in a Nazi uniform. (Maybe he should have married Sandra Bullock!)

Anytime one finds oneself ceding the moral high ground to Madonna, a serious inventory is in order, but the Catholics have had this process forced on them by their enemies. The Baptists are moving in the same direction, but faster. The so-called “evangelical right” has shown remarkable clumsiness in its many failed attempts to engage Islam on its own terms. It’s not just that their arguments were ill-conceived and poorly argued; in many cases Christians have worked aggressively against their own interests.

The most notorious example may be in 2002, when Dr. Jerry Vines, the then-leader of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville (which has been a leading force in the city for most of its century-plus in business), disastrously dissed the Prophet Muhammad as a “demon-possessed pedophile with nine wives, the last of whom was 12 years old”. Coming just months after the most brutal terror attack to ever occur in the western world, Vines knew exactly what dark forces he was invoking with such loose talk. Ultimately, the entire city was endangered by Vines’ loose lips, much as the “South Park” crew deliberately risked their lives, and the lives of their families and colleagues, just to pop a rating for their nasty little show. Why the reckless provocations?

A few months earlier, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, members of the editorial board of the once-great National Review magazine openly floated the idea of bombing Mecca, as part of a larger-scale nuclear assault on the major cities of the Islamic world. NR has since scrubbed the references from its website, and would have you believe their own  idea was first proffered by Tom Tancredo, years later. Good job, losers!

Unfortunately, when the finally time came for a serious reckoning of the issues lingering between Islam and Christianity, all the best talent from both sides was already dead. We should be so lucky to boil these conflicts down to debates between Billy Graham and Ayatollah Khomeini, or even Fulton Sheen and Freddie Mercury. If the dais included Christ, Moses, Muhammad and Buddha, there might be no disputes at all. We might be having these discussions on the moon, or Mars, or maybe at the center of the Earth. Instead, we’ve got Parvez Ahmed and Clay Yarborough at City Hall. Kitty Kelley was right: The blood really does get thinner as you go down the line!

Yarborough is holding down Council District 1, for now, but he has done himself no favors. No one’s filed to challenge him yet, but that will change. No Muslim is going to seek elected office in Northeast Florida, but Yarborough’s done a great job reminding liberal voters that Barack Obama’s election has little or no effect on their own political fortunes. That the White House is clearly unsure whether to back Kendrick Meek, who helped Obama win Florida, or Charlie Crist, whose tax cuts helped tank Florida’s economy, making Obama’s victory possible, speaks against the best hopes of local progressives. But Clay Yarborough is no Charlie Crist.

It’s one thing to make needless hay of Ahmad’s past and present associations, but it’s another to go too far in making inferences. Surely in the struggle waged by Muslim groups to control the PR damage wrought by 9/11, etc., a few bad apples may have gotten into the bunch. The question at hand is: Has Parvez Ahmad ever knowingly dealt with people he knew were either directly or indirectly engaged in terrorism?

Short of some smoking guns (literally), there’s no way to know for sure, but to job the guy out of such an cozy gig on what is currently hearsay and speculation creates a precedent that will undermine the political relevance of the Muslim community in this country. It’s would be like banning anyone who ever attended a Black Panther rally, or the inevitable crackdown on the inevitable shady right-wing domestic terror provocation. Or saying Klansmen can’t serve in the Senate. If you start running such people out of politics, we’ll have nothing left but Dennis Kucinich.

Here’s a bold idea: Dissolve the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission, and then dissolve the City Council. If you took all the taxpayer dollars being wasted on these groups, piled it all up and set it on fire, you could at least make ‘smores!

sdh666@hotmail.com; April 22, 2010

Tehila Marks Pilates–Yoga Ananda, May 5

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[Received this e-mail from author/activist Keith Marks, whose sojourn to Israel produced some of the most interesting writing I've seen in years, not to mention his glorious union with Tehila, who returned to Florida with him.]

Yoga Ananda is pleased to announce the arrival of Tehila Marks all the way from Israel!  Tehila has just relocated to Jacksonville.  Her enthusiasm and her knowledge of the body and the pilates method are a breath of fresh air in Jacksonville

Tehila is certified in mat and machine work, with over five years of work as a trainer and three years as a pilates office manager.  She recently closed her own studio in Tel Aviv to join us in Jacksonville.  Tehila has trained with Tamar Tzachi in Israel, who studied under Deborah Lessen (Co-founder and President of the Pilates Method Alliance).

A typical pilates class is tailored accordingly to the students’ needs.  Pilates is an exact science that requires small class sizes so that the instructor can give as much individual attention as possible.  Pilates is a system of pain prevention as well as a system to bring people out of pain.

Yoga Ananda is holding an “Introduction to Pilates” lecture on Wednesday, May 5th.  We invite anyone interested in body work, healing, health or just plain curious about pilates to join us.  Topics covered will include:

· The history of pilates

· The general idea behind the method

· The differences between yoga and pilates

· What a typical lesson consists of

· Who pilates is for

· How pilates can tighten up anyone’s physical practice

· Tehila’s vision for pilates in Jacksonville

(May 5, 2010, 6:30pm-7:30pm, free event)
 
Ongoing Pilates Classes will start 5/12/10 and will be held 2 days a week: Wed., 6:30pm & Sun., 4:30pm. Pre-registration and background info is prefered before the day of class so Tehila can ensure the best methods and success for each individual. Class size will be limited to 8, so register early!

1.  Control: The pilates method focuses on control in a way that the mind is in the present moment, focusing on the control of every action, small to large, of the body.  Pilates helps a person develop control over their body and their mind.

2.  Precision: The concept of precision focuses on specific movements done in a specific way to create accuracy of movement within the body.  By learning precision, a person learns how to move efficiently with their body.

3.  Concentration: To achieve both of the above, one must learn how to discipline the mind.  Focus is a key element of the pilates method.

4.  Centering: The center, or core, is the basic physical principle in the pilates method.   Working from the center gives balance to the body.  Strengthening the center allows muscles to cooperate and move synergistically.

5.  Breathing: Each movement comes with a specific breathing pattern.  Pilates has a number of different breathing techniques depending on the goal of the individual.  By focusing on the breath, the principles of pilates have a base to begin. 

6.  Flowing Movement: To put it simply, we are looking for grace.  Each movement should be flowing, gentle and graceful.  Ultimately, this grace comes into all aspects of our life.

6 basic principles of pilates:

Sunbears! & MRENC Limited split 7″ EP

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SUNBEARS!/MRENC: Split 7″ EP
New Granada Records 2010; NG018

TRACKLISTING:
1. Mind’s Trapped in Static (Sunbears!)
2. His Little Head (SUNBEARS!)
3. La La La La (MRENC)
4. Oh Oh Oh Oh (MRENC)

[I haven't heard MRENC yet, but I do enjoy Sunbears. Their version of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" was a highlight of the public mourning that followed Michael Jackson's suspicious and premature demise. This lightly revised e-mail comes courtesy ofTamps-based New Granada Records.]

Out just in time for this past weekend’s Annual Record Store Day is this new split 7″ EP. 2 songs each from FL’s Sunbears! and MRENC (pronounced MR. E-N-C; a new solo project from The Dark Romantics frontman, Eric Collins). This release is limited to 500 copies, hand-numbered copies on randomly mixed colord vinyl.

 

http://www.myspace.com/mrenc
http://www.myspace.com/sunbearsIf you’d like to hear a sample, please visit each band’s Myspace page:

Keith & Susie
New Granada Records
P.O. Box 360276
Tampa, FL 33673-0276
www.newgranada.com
granadainfo@gmail.com

Current Roster: Building the State  * Candy Bars * The Dark Romantics * Dear and Glorious Physician
King of Spain * MRENC * New Roman Times * Rec Center * Red Room Cinema * Sunbears! *The Tenant * Jen Wood * Zillionaire

(Fela+Broadway)xKnitting Factory=15 albums.

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[Lifted these press releases from Ink19's Staff Message Board; I'm hoping they will allow me to write an omnibus review of the whole batch. Knitting Factory Records is releasing seven CDs of music from Fela's 1970s peak, as well as the cast recording from the critically-acclaimed "Fela! The Musical", which (along with the Messengers project by K'Naan and J. Period) has gotten a whole new generation hip to Nigeria's seminal saxophonist and his powerhouse band.]

 

KNITTING FACTORY RECORDS TO RELEASE SECOND SET OF FELA REISSUES MAY 11, 2010; UNIQUE PRE-SALE OFFERINGS VIA FELA.NET

Knitting Factory Records is very excited to announce that the second set of Fela reissues will be released on May 11, 2010. Once again, as the reissues are being made available in mostly chronological order, these seven CDs that contain 14 albums total are mostly from the mid-70s and represent Fela and Africa ’70 in their prime.

Clearly his and the group’s most productive period (12 of the albums were released in 1975 and 1976 alone), it is during this point in his life that Fela’s social commentary began to reach a boiling point with songs such as “Icy Blindness” and “Expensive Shit.” However, in this collection of songs he also touched on more sensual subjects as in “Na Poi,” philosophy as in “Water No Get Enemy” and the shaking loose of the colonial mentality as in “Yellow Fever.”

The titles that are being released are:
*Alagbon Close (1974)/Why Black Man Dey Suffer (1971)
*Expensive Shit (1975)/He Miss Road (1975)
*Everything Scatter (1975) /Noise For Vendor Mouth (1975)
*Monkey Banana (1975)/Excuse O (1975)
*Ikoyi Blindness (1976)/Kalakuta Show (1976)
*Yellow Fever (1976)/Na Poi (1976)
*J.J.D. (Johnny Just Drop) (1977)/Unnecessary Begging (1976)

Right now Knitting Factory Records, in association with Topspin, is making this collection of CDs available for pre-sale in three different configurations: offering one is the digital download of all the titles; offering two is the digital download plus all the CDs; offering three is all of the above with the inclusion of a t-shirt. All of the titles have been re-mastered and re-released in unique digi-packs with the original artwork. “This second batch of reissues has some of the most powerful music of Fela’s career,” says Knitting Factory Records’ Brian Long. “When the world thinks of Fela, it is the music from this perfiod that generally gets discussed.”

Again, the reissue series is well timed as it coincides with the critically acclaimed FELA!, the hit Broadway musical that has been celebrating Fela’s life and music nightly since it opened in November 2009. It was directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones and produced by Shawn ‘Jay-Z” Carter and Will & Jada Pinkett Smith with music by the world-renowned Antibalas and other members of the NYC Afrobeat community, under the direction of Aaron Johnson.

The next group of reissues will be released in the fall. 

FELA! – ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING TO BE RELEASED JUNE 8TH; AVAILABLE FOR PRE-RELEASE ORDER ON APRIL 20

Knitting Factory Records is excited to announce the June 8th release of Fela! – Original Broadway Cast Recording. The record documents the magic of the hit Broadway musical that Ben Brantley of the New York Times called “hot (and seriously cool).” He went on to say that “there has never been anything on Broadway like this production,” and Elysa Gardner of USA Today called it “this decade’s most exhilirating new Broadway musical.” The album will be available for pre-release order on April 20th at http://www.felaonbroadway.com .

Fela! – Original Broadway Cast Recording features the incomparable Sahr Ngaujah as Fela singing with members of the irrepressibly funky Antibalas. A version featuring Kevin Mambo will be available for download and for sale at the theater. All 16 of the Fela compositions that are peformed on stage each night, leaving sold-out audiences astonished and breathless at the end of every show, are on the record as are several songs peformed by Funmalayo (Fela’s mother) as played by the Tony-award winning Lilias White, and Sandra Izadore (Fela’s American girlfriend) as played by Saycon Sengbloh. The record was produced by the Grammy-nominated Robert Sher.

“We worked incredibly hard, and have had amazing and talented people on board to create what we think is one of the hottest, sexiest, entertaining and unique Broadway experiences today,” says the show’s producer Stephen Hendel. “We’re working equally hard to make sure that’s captured in the cast record.”

Based on the life of groundbreaking African composer and performer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, FELA! is the critically acclaimed Broadway musicalthatuses Fela’s music to explore his life as an artist, political activist and revolutionary musician. Directed and choreographed by Tony® Award winner Bill T. Jones, with arrangements by Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean, FELA! is a provocative hybrid of concert, dance and musical theatre. The cast recording captures the electricity and joy that thousands have experienced at the Eugene O’Neill Theater every night since the play opened on November 23, 2009. The record is a document of that experience, yet at the same time is a musical statement in its own right.

Says Hendel, “There are three great bands in the world that can capture this music with the thrill and intensity of Fela Kuti himself: Femi and Seun Kuti live and play in Nigeria and tour around the world; members of Antibalas live in Brooklyn. We are priviliged to have these members on our stage every night, bringing this music to a world that has, to a large extent, only recently understood what they’ve been missing.”

New Lady Daisey album: “In My Pocket”

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I first met Lady Daisey at an open-mic in 1997. She was singing solo then, with acoustic guitar, and her voice struck me immediately as special. There was a parallel with Samantha Jones, whom I’d first heard as a freshman at UF in 1995. They worked in roughly the same range, more or less, with voices like hand-made bells, or really clean brass. Jones has a depth of serious blues in her–Joplin-esque, but that’s maybe too easy. Her vocals have always leaned toward the meditative, inward-looking and almost content. Daisey’s are the same, but in a slightly higher pitch.

It makes perfect sense, then, that Daisey’s voice would be the first to make an impact after I’d left that setting. Jones was then one-third of The Crustaceans, an exquisitely democratic unit who made an album’s worth of stellar stuff before splitting, while also playing in Vanbuilderass, in addition to a whole bunch of other groups I personally never got to see. She is now the leader of Cassette, wherein her voice borders on somnolescent amidst a comfy calming cushion of twang and tremolo. (Their self-titled debut was released in 2005 , on Bakery Outlet Records; their second, Shining Like A New Dime, was released last year.)

I wondered what Daisey’s voice would become, and now we know. She met and married Britt Traynham, aka Batsauce, whose work is probably an elemental force for anyone who’s actually reading this now. The instrumental albums he’s released on his own in the last few years (Spy Vs. Spy,) are basically perfect. As a producer, he’s shown a gift for bringing the most out of vocalists. His collaborations with Patrick Evan (Aerial Tribe, Spooney) helped cement the singer’s rep as an undisputed master, while also serving as the first explicit example of what Batsauce could do.

Daisey and Batsauce, together, have worked as Heavenly Noise since the early Bush years. Not long after, they began collaborating with Paten Locke, who almost needs no introduction but gets one anyway. As a member of the ABs crew (aka Alias Brothers, aka Asamov–I’ll never let Isaac Asimov’s estate slide on that aberrant bullshit), which worked like Voltron throughout the past decade, Locke helped carve a niche in hip-hop that runs deeper than the grooves in Abdullah the Butcher’s forehead. His official solo debut, Super Ramen Rocketship, was released by Tres Records last year, with the follow-up coming soon.

As The Smile Rays, the three of them have got industry ears ringing with the sound of steady sales. They’ve worked all over the US and Europe over the last three years, with the constituent elements covering even more ground. It’s a lot like the Black Kids, another regional act whose intelligence tireless hustle (not to mention expert delegation of responsibility) helped them transcend the usual geographic typecasting and establish themselves as viable talents in the global music market.

And now it’s Lady Daisey’s turn at bat, with a new album en route and a return to her native Florida in the works. Here (slightly edited) follows the press release for In My Pocket, due out May 24 on BBE Records. The lead single, “Magical”, is due out May 7; the five-song EP includes remixes by bandmates Batsauce (who produced the whole album) and Paten Locke, as well as DJ Vadim and De La Soul associate Supa Dave West.

As much as Lady Daisey travels the globe, she’s learned to keep life simple and travel light. The most important things are weightless - love, life, music, inspiration, peace - all of which she keeps in her pocket. Sharing her unique vision with an even more unique voice, Lady Daisey’s solo debut is filled with a sense of adventure, passionately singing about her experience as a woman, a traveler, a survivor, a dreamer, an optimist… all over hip-hop infused soul music.

After meeting the love of her life on stage (Batsauce - husband/producer) it seemed only natural to pack their bags and hit the road. With a studio small enough to fit in a backpack, they have written and recorded this album, all while bouncing around the States, Europe and Asia.

Both Lady Daisey and Batsauce are also part of the Smile Rays (Rawkus/6-Hole/Jakarta/Subcontact) along with Paten Locke (aka Therapy) After recording a track with George Clinton and being selected as Rawkus 50 artists, they quickly won the hearts of the indie hip hop scene. This raised the bar and now it’s time for Lady Daisey to share her songs with the world. She does just that with her debut solo album “In My Pocket”

“Nike Facebook Blast”

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[Received this from Emily Flynn, a member of the Gainesville Student/Farmworker Alliance. Nike has been a long-time leader in the exploitation of sweatshop labor around the world--a vital factor in the massive profits that have made it a nearly-untouchable global monolith. As a long-time Adidas mark, I can never resist the chance to tweak Nike, anyway. That recent ridiculous Tiger Woods ad only enhances the sentiment.]

Hey everyone – the Facebook blast on Nike’s Facebook fan pages has been quite successful just by day 2. let’s keep going at them until they publicly acknowledge the issue with a real solution. Here are the instructions again. This is actually quite fun and a wonderful use of time while procrastinating studying for finals.

Tell Nike what’s up…

1. Get on Facebook. Type in Nike and become a fan of the top sites like Nike, Nike: Just Do It, Nike Running, etc.
2. Write on their wall. Nike: Just Do It – consumers shouldn’t buy from Nike, a serial abuser of workers rights in Honduras where Nike garment workers are owed $2.2 million in unpaid severance. Just Pay It! Learn more at www.justpayit.usas.org
3. Update your own status with all of the Nike pages – @Nike, Nike: Just Do It, Nike Running, Nike Football, NIKETOWN Chicago, Nike Golf – with the same or similar message.
4. Send a message to your USAS affiliates with these instructions
5. Share with your friends :)


Money Jungle: “Drawing The Line”

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month is every April. It immediately follows Women’s History Month, which makes sense as the two concerns are so inextricably linked, especially in the modern history of our country. Only a fool would deny that racism remains a factor in American life, but it’s far outweighed by misogyny, a cancer on the country’s collective soul, and a driving force behind some of the grossest atrocities in all of history, continuing into the present day. Sexual violence is the leading form of domestic terrorism.

It goes back at least as far as the Witch Hunts that began before Christ and spread like fire, literally, across the world in His name. Vatican officials later wrote the Malleus Maleficarum specifying ways of torturing women to obtain confessions, and enforcing social pressures to keep them docile. Some estimates number 100,000 women killed under official sanction in at least 26 different countries, including the US. Things are comparatively stable nowadays. But that’s small consolation for the thousands living in fear and dealing with post-traumatic stress right now.

The FDLE’s Uniform Crime Report for 2009 notes 289 arrests each for forcible and non-forcible sex offenses in Duval County—collectively, a 7% drop from 2008. Statewide, there were 336 arrests for forcible sodomy, 899 for forcible fondling, 1,642 for forcible rape, and 3,300 non-forcible sex offenses. That’s 6,177 sex crimes in Florida, in one year—down 4% from 2008. That number doesn’t include the 5,296 arrests for prostitution, a matter separate but related, given the brutal histories hookers tend to have. Also, it’s hard to determine what percentage of assaults and murders targeted women specifically. Predators of all types prey on those considered weak.

By contrast, there were 146,056 drug arrests in Florida in 2009, reflecting the twisted priorities of our bloated, corrupt government. The large-scale misappropriation of funds associated with our failed Drug War has had disastrous consequences for the entire country, on all levels, but the women and children underserved by law-enforcement have suffered most. Only 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail; a larger percentage of rape victims will likely do time for drugs, DUI, prostitution or other crimes induced by prior abuse.

 

Conventional wisdom holds that 1 in every 4 women will be victims of sexual violence in their lives, but a growing body of anecdotal evidence suggests that figure is way short. Given that the majority (60%, according to RAINN) are not reported, only women themselves know how pervasive it really is. Many victims are silenced by real or imagined pressures, while some in the younger generation have come to view rape as something like a rite of passage—not unlike the beatings associated with gang initiations. The spike in violent crimes by women only reinforces that parallel. (See Bishop, Amy.)

Northeast Florida organized a number of relevant events throughout the month, and some of the best was saved for last. Theater Jacksonville hosts a production of “The Vagina Monologues” (already a fixture locally) on Tuesday the 27th as a benefit for The Women’s Center of Jacksonville, which also sponsors a screening of “The Line” at Five Points Theatre on Thursday the 29th. Nancy Schwartzman’s 24-minute directorial debut documents her experiences as a rape victim, peaking as she confronts her attacker, armed with a hidden camera. Schwartzman has developed an excellent website, elaborating on these issues with an able cast of young contributors. The film will be followed by a panel discussion of local experts.

This region has a credible bunch of local advocacy groups, networked with national organizations, public servants and private citizens. It is a rare truly nonpartisan, multiracial, gender-neutral movement; education is key, as is direct physical intervention, when necessary (and it often is). Unfortunately, law-enforcement and the legal system are lagging behind the times in bringing rapists, molesters and wife-beaters to justice, for a number of reasons neither easy nor popular to describe; the collapsing global economy has seriously affected funding for relevant organizations (public and private), adding to long-standing institutional biases against victims of sexual abuse.

For example, Autrelle Holland, a true diamond among the hard men, has helped lead a surge of women stepping up their personal defenses in many and sundry forms. An aikido black-belt possessing vast knowledge of multiple styles, he’s been schooling chicks of the urban core for several months, to effects felt quick. Florida’s capacity for hand-to-hand combat of almost every known type is mostly a weapon for good; the Gracie family’s deal training police forces (including JSO) has surely saved lives. Their passion is a rare bright spot in a state that has earned its reputation as arguably the most dangerous place in America for women and children.

There is a silent genocide being waged against the women of this country that has already killed thousands, while traumatizing millions in just the past decade—epidemics of rape, molestation and murder, accompanied by relentless social conditioning as nasty and pernicious as the worst abuses of Jim Crow or Willie Lynch. And America has been suspiciously mellow in its response. With women buying guns in the millions and getting hip to the bitter realities at hand, that is almost certain to change, one way or another.

sdh666@hotmail.com; April 19, 2010

“Lyricist Hour” Season 2 Press Release‏

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[Received this much-anticipated press release today from Mas Appeal, chief auteur of The Lyricist Hour, one of several fine, independently-produced internet radio shows bringing the culture of Northeast Florida to audiences worldwide. The web, in general, has been crucial to helping regional artists and musicians transcend the limits imposed by mass-media, which has been reluctant to allow them to function within a real free-market environment. Which is too bad, because the stuff is good enough to compete with anything happening anywhere; the MCs involved in this project each prove my point, in different ways. Rather than waste time paraphrasing for free, I'll let the artists speak here (slightly edited) for themselves. One thing you learn quick around here is how to sell your product, because no one's going to do it for you. (Well, maybe Triclops, but he's busy!)]

MAS APPEAL, MAL AND WILLIE EVANS JR. RETURN WITH SEASON 2 OF THE LYRICIST HOUR

The Lyricist Hour’s Season 2 is set to premiere, May 3rd, 2010 at 7 pm EST on www.thenerdysouth.com

Jacksonville, FL – April 12, 2010 – The creators of The Lyricist Hour have once again teamed up with The Nerdy South.com to broadcast the Southeast’s groundbreaking Hip-Hop webcast, whose mission is to bring independent and underground Hip-Hop culture back to the forefront and to also provide a bridge that connects the Hip Hop communities in the Southeast and beyond.

As founder and host of the weekly webcast, veteran Duval emcee, Mas Appeal created The Lyricist Hour as an avenue to showcase Hip-Hop artists, regardless of whether they’re independent, underground or mainstream, the only prerequisite being that they had to make dope music. And Mas Appeal knows quite a bit about making dope music. As a solo artist and one half of Hip-Hop supergroup, Simple Complexity, the Miami native has been a fixture on the Duval County Hip-Hop scene since 2002 and is respected and revered for his talent and showmanship. He began The Lyricist Hour in 2006 with original co-host, Triclops I by distributing CD’s with a recorded show that highlighted local and national artists.  As the show grew in popularity, it was moved to podcast format, becoming the first Hip-Hop podcast in Jacksonville. 

At its peak, The Lyricist Hour was receiving more than 1000 downloads per week with listeners throughout the Southeast, the US and Europe and featured interviews with Evidence of Dilated Peoples fame, DJ Spinna, Kev Brown and Salt-n-Pepa’s DJ, Spindarella. After a brief hiatus, The Lyricist Hour returned in February of 2010 as a weekly webcast on www.thenerdysouth.com. Always on the cutting edge of technology and trends, Mas understood the need to adjust the medium in which The Lyricist Hour was broadcasted, so he teamed up with Rawkus recording artist, Willie Evans Jr. and his website, The Nerdy South.com, to make the show more widely available to fans of the show, old and new. 

A legendary emcee and member of The Alias Brothers (formerly known as Asamov), Willie Evans Jr, created The Nerdy South.com as a vehicle to not only showcase his own creative endeavors, but to also connect the various Hip-Hop communities in the Southeast to demonstrate a unified front in which everyone could reap the benefits of exposure and success. Willie Evans Jr serves as technician/co-host to The Lyricist Hour and is a welcome and entertaining addition. 

Also new to The Lyricist Hour is Mal aka Malecule, a native New Yorker who was raised in New Jersey, Jacksonville and is deeply rooted in the East coast and Southeast Hip Hop community. Mas’s onscreen co-host is a former member of the East Unit and is a Hip-Hop powerhouse, having been active on the Duval scene since 1992.  Mal has collaborated and worked with some of the Southeast most talented individuals like Tough Junkie, Dialectable Beats and DJ Therapy aka Paten Locke, and is currently working on his solo project. As a member of The Lyricist Hour cast, Mal has an all-inclusive attitude and aims to provide promotion for independent and underground artists, with the hopes that everyone can enjoy prosperity and affluence.

The first season on the new The Lyricist Hour was a success as Mas, Mal and Willie played videos, discussed Hip-Hop and communicated with the growing audience via the sites chat bar function, phone and email, while holding contests for prizes and giveaways. In addition to playing videos by independent and national artists, they showed footage of Duval Hip-Hop shows and acts, conducted interviews and did dedication shows to DJ Premier and the late J. Dilla. 

Season Two will see The Lyricist Hour expanded with shows that focus on everything from independent clothing designers and entrepreneurs, the four elements of Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop technology and more. The Lyricist Hour cast will still provide interviews, videos and commentary on underground, independent and mainstream artists, but aims to provide the viewer with a broader scope of the Hip-Hop community in hopes of educating and entertaining the audience with dope beats, dope lyrics and dope content. 

Tune into the all new The Lyricist Hour every Monday, starting May 3rd, 2010 at 7 pm EST at www.thenerdysouth.com. For more information on The Lyricist Hour, or to schedule an interview with the cast, please contact Mas Appeal at 904/923-8230 or e-mail Mas at lyricisthour@gmail.com.

Money Jungle: “Starship Pain”

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President Obama’s visit to Cape Canaveral is conveniently set for Tax Day, April 15, and it occurs in a context of general discomfort for all involved. The ostensible purpose is to stop a slow trickle of support flowing away from Obama in a crucial battleground state, which is itself living a political nightmare. The White House won’t admit it, but Florida bears directly on the future of the Obama Agenda, whatever that is.

Obama’s doing damage control after unveiling a package of brutal cuts to NASA and affiliated contractors. Floridians have every reason for concern. With Discovery in orbit right now, there are only three flights remaining in the shuttle schedule. After that, it may be decades before Americans return to space under their own power. With foreign programs also vulnerable to economic or political shifts, and still years behind what we’re set to scrap, mankind has seemingly awakened from a dream that obsessed our ancestors from the days of DaVinci, Icarus and Elijah. And once again, the inspirational legacy of JFK gets pissed away.

Like so many of the catastrophic maneuvers to occur under Obama’s watch, the collapse of America’s space program is hardly his fault. The cuts being pushed right now were all but inevitable before he was even elected, a result of long-term budgetary trends and the slow-motion disintegration of the country’s overall mechanical capacity. Neither factor was controllable by 2009. The reality is that our commitment to space exploration, in the terms defined by JFK in 1961, effectively died alongside the heroes we lost aboard the Challenger when it blew up in the sky over Florida in 1986.

And let’s be clear, here: The Challenger crew died because of neglect and hubris on the bureaucratic level—defects enshrined, by default, as official policy for the quarter-century that followed. The tragedy that followed, 17 years later, was a logical, inevitable extension of that policy. No serious efforts were ever made to replenish the Shuttle Fleet or modernize the design to reflect changing strategic priorities. The next generation(s) of manned spaceflight will be organized around private industry, with foreign governments (Russia, China, India) performing functions typically associated with NASA. Good luck with that. Obama, at least, has positioned himself as unwilling to put more lives at risk on behalf of goals abandoned before he got there.

From agriculture and industrial production to engineering and information technology, our educational system has become incrementally worse, and production of the most vital goods for life has fallen apace. As in so many other cases, so exhaustively documented here and elsewhere, the recession is being used as an excuse to accelerate trends that began while the economy was still at or near its fake, fraudulent peak. Mass-firing as a profit-padding technique has been in effect since the ‘80s: the family farms, the mom-and-pop stores, factory towns all over the country.

I just happened to be polishing this column in the minutes just before the shuttle Discovery took off April 5, and a recurring theme in the coverage was that there won’t be much more of this stuff—not for Americans, anyway. And that’s a shame. This is another sign of Florida’s changing fortunes under Obama. He’s made no enthusiastic display for Kendrick Meek’s Senate bid, and the White House has done nothing to defend the House seats at risk in November. The timing of the NASA cuts implies ambivalence, at best, to the fates of many Obama loyalists; at worst, it suggests frightful ignorance of the reality on the ground. Where have we heard that before?

This is the worst year for incumbents in living memory, but the GOP has done a much better job of training candidates. Besides yielding the open seats and not defending their incumbents, Beltway Dems show no inclination to seriously challenge the other side. President Obama is increasingly defined by his enemies, and he does not control his message. Meek should be positioned to inherit all the scorched-earth of this ridiculously shady Crist-Rubio primary debacle, but instead he’s looking lucky to keep the margin in single digits against either of them. That means real disaster for Florida: a stuffed-shirt GOP sandbagger doing the bidding of whomever has the photos of them together.

All the plans were made years ago, and most of the science has been in place. But corporate greed, political incompetence and collective myopia leaves the US trading on glories from 40 years ago, as the world snickers. Spaceflight is just a recent example. Funding issues aside, the courage and intelligence of our astronauts far outpaces that of our elected leaders, to the point where it now presents an obvious danger to their lives. The biggest question, frankly, is will America even be able to safely cease manned spaceflight without a third major disaster? 

sdh666@hotmail.com; April 5, 2010

Jazz Fest Preview: Christina Langston Interview

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[Christina Langston is the Public Relations Director at the City of Jacksonville's Office of Special Events. In recent years, the OSE has taken up the task of running the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, which is being held May 27-30, 2010 in the "Heart of Downtown". As part of my usual routine of covering the festival, I traded some questions with Langston, whose answers help illuminate the logistics of what has long been (with all due respect to Harvest of Hope and the Florida-Georgia Game) Northeast Florida's leading cultural attraction.]

1) First, who’s involved in organizing the festival through the City? You, Tiffany [Valla], Teresa [O'Donnell]–who else contributes via SOE? And what role does Mayor [John] Peyton play in the process?

This festival is produced by the City of Jacksonville with sponsorships from community partners.  The entire office works on pieces of the festival and other city departments are involved as well such as Public Works, Recreation and Community Services, Volunteers, and Public Safety.

 

2) Logistically, the festival looks very similar to last year’s, as far as the focus on downtown. What lessons did you take away from seeing the plans take shape?

Moving the festival to the heart of downtown created a street festival which was extremely appealing and accessible to those attending.  Last year the festival realized more than 50,000 people in attendance, many of whom were visiting from all over the world. 

 

3) What changes were made to this year’s festival after the experience last year? Is there anything that stands out as simply not having worked?

Some changes have been made to this year’s festival to accommodate the construction on the Laura Street Corridor and we have added more venues.  As a result of the festival incorporating additional venues, we have added trolleys for this year. Additional VIP components have been added this year as well. 

4) How intensely has the national jazz press (Downbeat, Jazz Times, NYT, Village Voice, etc.) been lobbied to cover the festival? Have any of these outlets made any comment on plans for this year?

They receive information and updates throughout the year and we keep their calendar listings updated.  Jazz Times does not have the budget to come to Jacksonville, however they will be previewing the festival in their online version.  Still waiting to hear back from Downbeat and New York Times has the info.  I appreciate the info on Village Voice, and I have forwarded the release to them as well. 

5) What role have budget issues played in planning the festival? How much does COJ spend on it?

We have been extremely diligent in our ability to attract quality talent to this festival.  Certainly the help of sponsors and partners enable us to fund portions of the festival, but to give an overall figure at this point would be very premature.  There will be revenue coming in from merchandise and beverage sales, food vendor booths, sponsors, art in the heart participants, Experience Jazz package sales, day passes, wine down tasting tickets, etc.

 

6) Even though you adjusted to the rain well last year, are you worried about the weather?

Not at this point.  There are numerous options for festival attendees.

 

7) Who, specifically, is in charge of selecting the musicians who play the festival? Elaborate a bit on that process.

The Office of Special Events works with numerous promoters and entertainers.  We receive packages from entertainers throughout the year, and work to procure different types of jazz genres which appeal to even the most finicky jazz enthusiast. 

 

8.) [As always, with every festival, it's hard to please all tastes. Some people over the years have criticized the festival's booking, saying there's too much of a focus on certain styles, with less attention paid to others (particularly young, hip artists). Jazz is an extremely diverse art form, though.] What can musicians, fans, customers, etc. do to “lobby” for the inclusion of favored artists? Who should they contact, and on what grounds should one make their case?

Information should be sent to our office.  We catalogue all entertainers, and go through every package. 

9) Is the City open to having other venues, that maybe aren’t directly affiliated with the festival directly, promoted alongside the official events? How important have groups like Downtown Vision, the Chamber of Commerce and JEDC been for all this? We are very aggressive with outreach efforts to downtown businesses or those that might benefit from being involved with the festival. 

There are many partners and supporters of the festival including Downtown Vision, Visit Jacksonville, Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, MOCA, The Jacksonville Landing, Riverside Arts Market, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, St. Johns River City Band, Farah & Farah, JAA, and more.

10) Finally, and generally, I’d appreciate having as much info as can be provided about the festival’s economic impact. I was struck by the fact that the festival drew money to the city, even during a recession. I’ve always felt that the community’s investment in its jazz scene has been a decisive factor in growing the city and its reputation, so any numbers or anecdotes I could use to reiterate such points would be great.

The economic impact of the jazz festival was $20 million.  Hotels were at capacity and downtown businesses and restaurants were thriving.  If you would like to talk to someone about his experience as a hotelier downtown, I would suggest calling the General Manager at the Omni, Paul Eckert.  I have pasted numerous comments which can also be found on our website www.jaxjazzfest.com below:

My wife and I spent Friday and Saturday savoring the wonderful offering at this year’s Jazz Festival. We’ve often attended jazz festival in Breckenridge, Colorado and found your event first-class. Thanks for all the time, effort and energy you put into making this an exceptional event. - Phyllis and Tom, Gainesville, Florida

Thank you to the city of Jacksonville for organizing and hosting the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. Congratulations, it was great! I was so proud to live in Jacksonville. Downtown was welcoming, interesting, beautiful, easy to access and well-organized. The vendors, albeit disappointed with the weather, were kind and generous. And, of course, the music was fabulous. For those of you who missed it this year, you missed a fun and special event for the whole family. We had a ball! I hope the city plans to hold the festival downtown again next year. -Letter to the editor, Florida Times-Union

On behalf of the St. Johns River City Band staff, musicians, and volunteers, kudos to the city of Jacksonville and Theresa O’Donnell Price and her staff for their unbelievable efforts to keep the Jazz Festival going throughout the rain and wind.It is the 25th anniversary of the St. Johns River City Band, and it was an honor and pleasure for us to perform with Dave Brubeck and his son, Chris, and the Dave Brubeck Quartet. We’ve performed with many great artists, but this will probably be one of the most memorable.A big thank you to the people in attendance Friday night for their admiration and respect for this legendary man.I think he was truly humbled and appreciated the audience’s response. And thank you for your appreciation of our wonderful band. As a non-profit organization with the same struggles as everyone else in this economy, we savor every chance we get to represent Jacksonville and to meet our mission of keeping jazz and American music alive.Things may not have been perfect, but the venue changes and hustling behind the scenes were incredible.The show went on and it seemed like most people were going with the flow and having a great time. Most importantly, I know that the city staff will take lessons learned and make next year’s event even better. Make a Scene Downtown! -DIANTHA GRANT, Executive Director, St. Johns River City Band

This year’s festival was fantastic. My friends and I are still talking about it. Thanks to everyone is the S.E. dept. for putting together a great lineup, as well as coming up with new location…this was a great opportunity to forget your worries and enjoy the pleasures of the beautiful music by such wonderful artists.
-Regards, TanyaOur city has a wonderful tradition in The Jacksonville Jazz Festival. For three days, the city hosted some of the most celebrated jazz musicians, showcased downtown and came together as a community and left with our spirits lifted. I applaud Mayor John Peyton and the city’s Special Events Office for their tireless efforts to make this event extra special this year. Staging the Jazz Festival in the streets of downtown not only provided opportunities to host music on multiple stages, but also catered to the jazz aficionados who enjoy small venues. Downtown is rich in history, and opening the Snyder Memorial Church was wonderful for all to appreciate. Many restaurants and retailers reported terrific business and had the opportunity to engage the festival attendees as new customers. It was exciting to see so many people experience downtown for what it is – the vibrant cultural and entertainment center of the region. -TERRY LORINCE, executive director, Downtown Vision Inc.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say how much I truly enjoyed myself at this year’s Jazz Festival. In the 30 yrs I’ve been living in Jacksonville, this is the first time I’ve gone. This year I could not pass up free. I took my granddaughter to the Suns baseball game Saturday, when we left I found a parking space on the street, and we walked to the Swingin’ Stage, to see Roberta Flack. Fantabulous!!!  Sunday we went back; walked to the Landing to the Jazz for the Juniors. Then we went back to the Swingin’ Stage and caught the last 30 minutes of Preservation Jazz Hall, they were great.  I really wanted to see Chris Botti, after seeing him on PBS; even my 9 yrs old grand enjoyed it. The camaraderie was awesome and everyone was enjoying each other. I appreciated the different vendors and variety.  I hope this is the beginning of something new. I’m going to convenience my out-of-town family to come to Jax next Memorial weekend for this great event. All I can say is Well done!!!! Well done!!!! Thank you for a great weekend. -Rosalin

The Jacksonville Jazz Festival 2009 was awesome! The convenient layout, the location and the venues were all superb. I showed up on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. I enjoyed everything thoroughly. To see the Hall of Fame Band performing together was Super! They were electrifying. It would be great to see the Hall of Fame Band become an integral part of The Jacksonville Jazz Festival in the future. -Yours truly, Mary

Whooh! I’m still recovering from one of the best Jacksonville Jazz Festival’s ever, in spite of the rain. I have been going since the first one, “Mayport and All That Jazz”. So, when I say this was a great one, in my opinion, it was a great one. What a lineup! Two things stood out this year. I thoroughly enjoyed the downtown venue. It added a “feel” to the festival that was missing. It sort of felt like being back at Mayport again. Secondly, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Hall of Fame Band. Whew! Those cats had the joint jumping. Thanks to Von Barlow for the vision and Theresa O’Donnell for making it happen. There was a third highlight (besides Noel and Renee, “So What” Band featuring Jimmy Cobb [love Miles Davis music], New Orleans Preservation Hall Band, Joe Sample and Patti Austin, Roberta Flack, Chris Botti, etc.) and that was the induction of my friend, Joyce Hellman Bizot, into the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Hall of Fame. It is an honor beyond well-deserved. See you next year! -Frances

On behalf of Chieli, Karen and the Lao Tizer band, I just want to say THANKS for allowing us the opportunity to perform at this years festival… Everyone really enjoyed it and in spite of the iffy weather, it seems all came together really well and the sun even made an appearance!  I hope that everyone was pleased with the outcome and this will be the beginning of a new tradition with the new downtown venues…  For those of us who were there on Fri night we really enjoyed the diverse programming too!  That’s what I think a ‘jazz’ festival should be all about, with many flavors, all of them great…  So thanks again and I hope we’ll all have opportunity to work together again in the future…  Kudos on a very cool event! -Lao Tizer

This was by far one of the best events hosted by the City of Jacksonville.  Please continue to schedule events like this in the downtown area. The area surpasses Metro Park in terms of its expanse, ease of access and general feel. Thanks so much for a fantastic weekend! -SheilaWe just wanted you to know that we thought the Jazz Festival was fabulous. It could not have been better……great seats, great talent and nice people everywhere. Thanks! We hope you keep this venue as it allows you to go to all stages and enjoy everything. -KathyOn behalf of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, I  applaud the City of Jacksonville’s sensational Jacksonville Jazz Festival this past weekend.  One can’t help but admire the planning it took to move this year’s event  to downtown from its long-standing venue at Metropolitan Park. The new  location worked well for introducing – or reintroducing – thousands of festival goers to downtown Jacksonville. The event is a model that  hopefully will be built upon in the future. In addition to bringing thousands of people downtown, the city brought us an impressive line-up of jazz talents. With world-class musical acts, art exhibits and the surroundings of historic downtown, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival was a full-blown cultural experience. Of course, like many of us, the city paid close attention to this past weekend’s weather forecast and weighed the potential effects of rain on the mostly outdoor event. Festival planners took all the proper “Plan B” precautions and made necessary adjustments in a timely fashion, including keeping the public well-informed. The City of Jacksonville continues to move in the right direction when it comes to marketing downtown and providing residents and tourists with rich entertaining experiences. This type of foresight brings enthusiasm to the people and a vibrant energy to downtown. I was thrilled to attend this year’s festival, and I’m eagerly looking forward to the 2010 event. Following this year’s notable change in venue and phenomenal talent line-up, I’m confident the Jacksonville Jazz Festival will just keep getting better. - Michael Stewart, Jacksonville Aviation Authority

Thank you for making Chops a feature of the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and for all you did to make the screening and the events surrounding it such a success.  We all had a great time and I thought the audience did too… I couldn’t have asked for more. The kids all played great and were clearly appreciated by the audience. Even the Jazz Talk elicited lively reactions. In spite of the rain, downtown Jacksonville looked, tasted and sounded fantastic. -Bruce Broder, Chops directorIt was our first <Jazz Festival> (new to FL) and it was fantastic. We were at events every days except the Thursday opening. We loved the downtown setting and felt so excited and honored that our city would lead or facilitate the way for this to happen. We hope it remains downtown and continues to “pack the stage” with such rich and diverse talent as this year’s line-up.  We have even purchased lounge-chairs for next year! -Phillip

Good afternoon! I just wanted to take a moment to say what a wonderful event the Jacksonville Jazz Festival was this year. I am a native of Jacksonville and was visiting from the San Francisco Bay Area after many years and was pleasantly surprised to see such a happening event.  In speaking with some of the people at the event, it seems to be getting better and better every year. I also want to comment on the great lineup of talent, there was something for everyone. I especially the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Hall of Fame Band! AWSOME!  The venue was perfect for band, very intimate. It was simply stunning.-Veronica

Just a note to say how much I enjoyed the festival this year. I think moving it downtown was a good idea, even though I liked the venue at Metro Park, it supports the city and helps business grow for the downtown area. The line up was first-class and through the years I have attended many jazz festivals all over the country: Monterey, Newport, Chicago, Clearwater, etc. When I moved to Jacksonville six years ago I was very impressed with your festival, it is one of my favorites. I love living in Jacksonville and have retired here so I will be rooting for you and your staff till the end. The highlights for me were Dave Brubeck, Marcus Roberts, Dave Valentin, Jimmy Cobb and the Jacksonville Jazz Hall of Famers. Through my travels finding jazz in Jacksonville, I have met most of the members. They are a great group of guys. -Keep up the great work, Wayne