Brad Goins Sunday, February 23, 2014 0

The Lake Charles Community Band has resumed its practice of holding rehearsals every Monday night. They run from 6:30-8 pm at the Lake Charles Boston High School choir room, which is on 7th Street, east of  Enterprise Blvd.

This is an all-volunteer band. If you want to play, just show up with your instrument. Even if you no longer have an instrument, show up anyway and the band will try to hook you up with one.

The Community Band performs  free public concerts several times  during the year. The band also has a  free concert series on Monday nights in June at the Lake Charles Civic Center. And there’s an annual Christmas concert.

Rod Lauderdale is conductor and  Leo Murray assistant conductor.

For more information, call  Emma DiCarlo Vincent at 337-528-2215 or Oliver “Jackson” Schrumpf  at 337-625-9077.


English? It Kind Of Ain’t.

One of the great things about being at the bottom of the barrel in education is that your leaders don’t always know English (or don’t appear to, anyway). How about a case in point?

U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister has been getting a lot of press lately. Louisiana had a chance to hear how he talks when he addressed the Monroe Chamber of Commerce the other day.

McAllister spoke English like a fourth grader who’d been held back from fifth grade because of his poor English scores. But don’t take my word for it. Read these selections from the speech.

Hey, how do you feel about your job, Rep. McAllister?

“It sucks. It ain’t no fun.”

It ain’t? Really? Well, that’s too bad. But suppose we could cut spending? How would that be?

“A small step in the right direction of where we need to go.”

What would you say life in Washington is like?

“It’s kind of like high school.”

Kind of, huh? Well, hey, at least you spent some time in high school. Now, representative, if I have a problem, can I go to you? And if I do, what will you do?

“My job when you have a problem is to pick up that torch.”

I’m not sure what torch that is, but I appreciate your dedication. Do you have any particular feelings about your recent election?

“I knew that all along if I didn’t make it (to the runoff), there was no question who I was going to support.”

Well, representative, that really should be “whom.” But we’ll give you a pass on that since it’s trivial in comparison to some of the other language atrocities you’ve committed here.

Another great thing about this sort of situation is that since McAllister was speaking in Louisiana, it’s quite possible the crowd came away feeling he was “well spoken.” Hey, it’s politics; take a point where you can get it.


These Lean Times

Political blogger C.B. Forgotston has earned a reputation for being the state’s most troublesome gadfly. He made a report the other day when he read an announcement from Gov. Bobby Jindal and Stephen Moret that “motorists soon may see an explosion of advertisements plastered on state roads, bridges and rest areas in Louisiana’s latest bid to raise cash during lean times.”

Forgotston seemed to be having a lot of fun with the words “these lean times.” He was suggesting, I guess, that Jindal should be pretty unhappy if folks think that the governor’s legacy is to have left the state in “lean times.” And he rubbed salt in the wounds by writing, “If you have any ideas for the state to raise funds during these lean times, call Bobby Jindal toll-free at 1-866-366-1121.”

Forgotston also suggested that the DODT hold a bake sale.


Wonder When The Time Will Be Right

The funny of the issue comes from Lauren McGaughy, state politics reporter of the Times-Picayune, for her Jan. 21 Tweet: “Asked about David Vitter announcement, Bobby Jindal said it’s far too early to make endorsement in 2015 governor’s race.”


That’s A Relief!

After all the bellyaching by Bobby Jindal and Jay Dardenne, I would have thought that this Whatshisname Robertson or Robinson or whatever it is was homeless, penniless and lying in the street battered and bleeding.

Not so! I just returned from a shopping trip to a local outfit that calls itself a bookstore. Right up front was the massive Duck Dynasty merchandise display.

I saw three — count ‘em — three different Duck Dynasty calendars for sale. Now let’s do the math. One year; one show; but three different calendars. What’s the solution to that equation? Dolla, dolla bill, y’all.

Piled high in this display were countless books, DVDs, CDs, bobble-head dolls, drinking cups, a Duck Dynasty board game, a Duck Dynasty video game, a Duck Dynasty card game and a whole bunch of other stuff I don’t know how to describe. (What, for example, is a “Duck Dynasty Survival Kit”? Is it a bunch of low-budget, mass-produced knick-knacks dumped in a box and stamped with a high-dollar price? Could be. I just don’t know.)

So, rest easy. Turns out our poor persecuted ethicist has plenty of walking around money, fun money and every other kind of money. If he’s half as good at duck hunting as he is at money hunting, he’s tucking into some mighty good eating.


Now They’re Selling Us The Weather

The Animal news service recently reported that The Weather Channel has started calling winter storms by proper names. Apparently The Weather Channel gave the he-man name Hercules to a winter storm that didn’t amount to much.

Would you believe The Weather Channel just makes up these storm names? To put it another way, The Weather Channel has started making up names for winter storms as another way of marketing The Weather Channel.

As the cynical writer over at Animal (Andy Cush) put it, “every time you say ‘Hercules,’ you are bending to the will of a corporate marketing scheme, driving TWC’s search engine traffic, and muddling the work of every meteorologist whose paycheck isn’t signed by NBCUniversal.”

The U.S. Weather Service isn’t having it. In a recent announcement, the service declined to mention The Weather Channel by name. It did make it abundantly clear that the U.S. Weather Service only gives names to tropical storms — and nothing else.

Not five minutes after I wrote this, I read the following headline in The New York Daily News: “MetLife Stadium buried under snow following winter storm Janus.” Please excuse me for a few minutes while I go on etrade and buy about 10,000 shares each of MetLife and NBC.


Why I Avoid Lamborghinis

The Up Fronter sends up a high five to CNN correspondent Carl Lavin for his reportage on the Justin Beiber arrest. After stating that Bieber provided an excellent example of how NOT to talk to police, Lavin released the police report for the arrest.

Bieber made his little exercise in elocution after police removed him from a Lamborghini he’d allegedly been speeding in. (Yes, he was in a Lamborghini.) As pretty boy repeatedly declined to followed the officer’s requests, he is alleged to have made this string of remarks:

“Why did you stop me? … Why the —— are you doing this? … What the —— did I do? Why did you stop me? … I ain’t got no ——ing weapons. Why do you have to search me? What the —— is this about? … What the —— are you doing?”

“I ain’t got no weapons!” Ooo, gansta for real, y’all. I tell you, I was never afraid of Beiber’s 9 mm Browning; I was just afraid of his music.

I guess this guy is capable of memorizing song lyrics. Maybe his agent can persuade him to memorize these two words: “Yes, officer.”


Experimental Nostalgia

The Wire is a British magazine that does a good job of covering experimental music and art. Because the dollar is so weak against the pound, it’d cost you a couple of million bucks to get a copy of The Wire here.

Fortunately the ingenious Intraweb allows us to look at some of the mag online. A recent Wire story by experimental music enthusiast David Grubb (“Collateral Damage: David Grubb on 1960s recordings”) revealed a fascinating perspective on how little a true experimental music freak might have been invested in vinyl records back in the day.

Said Grubbs, “LPs or 45s or whatever were so removed from my worldview in the early 60s that they were almost irrelevant … in 1965, I can’t even tell you who would have been making a record.”

I was only 8 in 1965, and wasn’t listening to anything more adventurous than Peter, Paul and Mary, The New Christy Minstrels and Frank Sinatra’s recording of “Night and Day.” But even at that age, I already felt that vinyl records were vastly important to me and other young people.

Grubbs notes that by the end of the 1960s, only one Pauline Oliveros composition had been recorded for public release, and that was a single cut on a Columbia records compilation called Music of Our Time.

I admit I had no experience whatsoever of experimental music in the 1960s (unless you consider such Beatles cuts as “I Am The Walrus” and “Revolution No. 9” experimental music).

By the early 1970s, I was able to check out a series of vinyl compilations of experimental classical music released by RCA and catalogued at the Chattanooga Public Library. Like the Columbia collections, these RCA records contained single, short pieces by such composers as Xenakis and Stockhausen. I took them home and listened to them, but was too young to get anything out of them. Of course, my parents described them as “just noise.”

By the time I made it to graduate school in 1979, there was little room to complain about experimental music releases. Especially tantalizing was Nonesuch’s many full albums of work by such composers as John Cage, Krzysztof Penderecki and the aforemention Xenakis and Stockhausen. Nonesuch also took a chance with lesser known experimentalists, recording long pieces by Americans William Bolcom and Kenneth Gaburo (who worked for a while at McNeese and wrote the school’s song). These Nonesuch albums were priced at $3.99 or $4.99. That was list price.

I often look back with fond nostalgia at those miraculous Nonesuch days. But I have to admit, the Nonesuch offerings really don’t match up to what you can hear now on Ubuweb, Spotify or Last-FM.

Grubb points out that in the digital age, one can buy a full 12-CD set of Oliveros’ music (Reverberations, released in 2012; Oliveros, a Houston native, was 80 when this landmark release took place).

Grubb’s new book The Landscape: John Cage, The Sixties, And Sound Recording will be published by Duke University Press next month. Readers should know it’s definitely on my wish list. Sound adventurers may also want to check out such The Wire books as Source: Music of the Avant Garde: 1966-1973, ed. by Larry Austin; Noise/Music: A History by Paul Hegarty; and Fear of Music: Why People Get Rothko But Don’t Get Stockhausen by David Stubbs.