I moved to Lake Charles on July 1, 1999 — just in time to witness the closing of the great used record store Zypien’s. In the 15 years since, Lake Charles has had little to offer in the way of used recordings. And in all 15 of those years, there hasn’t been one local store devoted entirely to the sale of used records.
It looks as if that’s changed. The Round About, a store selling used vinyl, had its grand opening on Sept. 17. The store’s located in the heart of downtown Lake Charles at 311 Broad St.
The store sells almost exclusively used and new vinyl. There’s plenty of stuff for fans of popular acts like Adelle or Jayz. But there’s also a good selection for consumers with more adventurous tastes: those shopping for the likes of Sigur Ros, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky and so forth. “We have pretty much everything,” says Eric Daigle, who co-owns the enterprise with Kevin Lambert.
Music by local bands is sold in whatever form it’s recorded. In the future, the venue hopes to work in conjunction with the planned Gold Band Records museum.
Hours at The Round About are Tue-Thurs 11-7; Fri-Sat 11-9 and Sun 11-2. The shop’s closed on Monday. The Sunday hours are meant to coincide with the musical brunches at Luna and Blue Dog Cafe.
Need more info? Call 602-6452. Or go on Facebook and search for “The Round About.”
We Will Rock Calcasieu
A new project called We Will Rock Calcasieu aims to provide a little boost to the lives of everyday people by means of brightly colored rocks.
One of the group’s 700 members brought me a box of painted rocks so heavy it was a challenge to carry it. On the rocks are painted messages — “Enjoy Your Journey,” “Good Vibes Here,” “All Who Wander Are Not Lost,” “Be Kind.” Some rocks bear small paintings of animals; or insignia or names of sports teams; or religious messages.
One tiny rock had the blooms of a bright red flower and the words “La Rock” painted in miniscule letters. Another rock carried the word “Smile” on the front; the back was covered with black dots on a dark red background.
Group rep Keisha Matt offers these general guidelines for participants:
• Find rocks and paint them, then place them throughout Calcasieu Parish. Use paints that will withstand weather (such as acrylic) and use a clear coat (such as Mod Podge or polyurethane spray) to seal the paint.
• If you find a rock somewhere in the area and want to keep it, try to replace it with a rock that you’ve painted so that someone else will find one as well.
• Participants are asked to hide rocks outdoors — not indoors, in businesses and so forth.
• Members can also hand rocks to people they encounter in day-to-day life as a little lagniappe. Being served by someone who looks as if she isn’t having the greatest day? Hand her a rock with a positive message. One member told me she gave clerks who served her a rock as a way of saying, “You’re awesome.”
• Participants are encouraged to post photos of the rocks they make or find on the group’s Facebook page. There are some guidelines for FB posts. “Since kiddos will see the rocks as well as these FB posts, please no inappropriate paintings or comments.” Derogatory remarks towards the group or any person get tossed. “The group is for positive reinforcement only.” As a result, any post on the group’s Facebook’s page that looks as if it could generate conflict gets pulled.
Matt says members “have some fun spreading positive vibes and hope throughout Calcasieu Parish … I’m starting this group in hopes that it can grow and bring a little joy and fun in our community!”
So, be on the look-out and see if you can be the one who finds the rock.
Kids Write About Writing
If you’re a parent who’s trying to get your child involved in reading literature (rather than popular fiction), the State Library is giving you a way to do it.
The State Library of Louisiana is holding its annual Letters About Literature contest. This is a national competition for students sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Fourth through 12th graders write a “personal letter” to an author. The author can be living or dead and can write in any genre of literature. The young letter writers explain how the author’s book, poem or play changed their views of the world or of themselves.
Students can enter the contest through their schools or local libraries or on their own. There are three competition levels: Level 1 for grades 4-6, Level 2 for grades 7-8 and Level 3 for grades 9-12.
The national Letters About Literature team selects finalists from each state for each competition level. Louisiana winners are chosen by a panel of judges that includes teachers and librarians from throughout the state.
Louisiana winners will get $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place. They’ll also be honored at the Louisiana Book Festival.
First-place letters are submitted to the Library of Congress for the national competition; they have the chance to win up to $1,000.
Each letter must be sent to Letters About Literature, c/o Project Manager C. Gourley, 81 Oliver St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18705. Postmark deadline for Level 3 is Nov. 2; the deadline for Levels 1 and 2 is Jan. 9. Letter writers will also need an entry form; find it at read.gov/letters.
Ah, the boom. The boom, the boom, the boom. It sounds so good and comforting when you hear it over and over again.
And why wouldn’t it be good, what with those stacks and stacks of new apartment buildings going up on every major thoroughfare? Even side streets on which few ever travel are often the sites of apartment complexes in progress.
This isn’t a drive or desire or motivation or even a passion for new housing. It’s a lust for new housing. It’s a lust that just might be getting out of control.
If you’re a renter and the circles through which you pass are made up of renters, you’re probably starting to hear many of the same stories I am. You’re hearing about parents who’ve lived with handicapped children for years in Section 8 housing being turned out with 30 days’ notice so the owner can retool the housing and dramatically raise — even double — the rent. You may hear, as I have, of schizophrenics with few or no life skills being turned out of Section 8 housing as the owners opt for the big rent check they think is sure to come in the near future.
The evidence is always stronger when one speaks from personal experience. I moved into a new apartment at the beginning of the July. Two weeks later, there was a FOR SALE sign in front of the house. I was told I would be given 24 hours before perspective buyers went through the house. I was told I shouldn’t be there when they walk through my abode. I’ve been told to leave my little cottage for five hours at a stretch so that a home inspection can be done.
But the big question is — if the place is sold, what will happen to my rent? Some increase would be manageable. But could the rent double — as it has in some of the former Section 8 housing I’ve been mentioning? If it does, I’d have no way to pay it. And the days of finding affordable apartments in Lake Charles are over.
Most of the populace could benefit greatly if the boom goes on for five years … and then for another five years, then 10 years, then 15. Many of us could be in clover fo sho.
But suppose it doesn’t happen that way. Suppose it all starts to wind down in three or four years. Suppose all those workers we were once convinced would need thousands and thousands of rooms gradually pack up and leave town.
Suppose that five or six years from now hundreds of the new apartments are sitting empty, and the retooled Section 8 houses can only be rented at half the price. Greed has driven us to a rent crisis in 2016. Will it drive us to a landlord crisis in the next decade?
Vince Vaughn: I’ll take my chances in the tournament.
Ben Stiller: Yeah, you will take your chances.
Vaughn: I know. I just said that.
Stiller: I know you just said that.
Vaughn: OK, I’m not sure where you’re going with this.
Stiller: Well, I’m not sure where you’re going with this.
Vaughn: That’s what I said.
Stiller: That’s what I’m saying to you.
Vaughn: All right.
Sports announcer Cotton McKnight: In 23 years of broadcasting I thought I’d seen it all, folks. But it looks like [dodge ball player] Peter La Fleur has actually blindfolded himself.
Announcer Pepper Brooks: He will not be able to see very well, Cotton.
— Dodge Ball, 2004
A Whole New Level
Did you see this one coming? Three strippers have filed suit in New Orleans federal court in an effort to overturn the Louisiana Legislature’s new law that strippers in Louisiana must be 21.
According to an Advocate story, the three plaintiffs (“Jane Doe 1, 2 and 3”) will argue that the law denies them their legal rights to “free speech, due process and equal protection.” Their attorneys, say the Advocate, will argue that “there is no evidence that the act’s age restriction will have any impact on human trafficking.”
Twenty-year-old Jane Doe 1 will tell the court she once worked up to 120 hours a week to pay the bills for her disabled mother. She became a stripper, and was able to set her own, much shorter, work schedule. And Jane Doe 2, who’s 18, will argue that her income dropped by more than 50 percent when her employer changed her position from stripper to “shot girl.”
Certainly some attorney will mention the number of young women who strip to pay for the current exorbitant rates of college tuition.
The age of strippers in Louisiana isn’t high on my list of concerns. Fact of business, I don’t believe it’s on my list of concerns.
What does concern me is that Louisiana’s legislators spend work time (and taxpayer money) discussing the age of strippers. It is as if they’re saying, “Since Louisiana doesn’t have any more serious problems, let’s talk about how old strippers are.”
Part of me remembers that this is the same Legislature that spent work time debating about whether Louisiana should have two state jellies (and eventually decided it should). Looking from that perspective, some lawmakers may feel discussion of the age of strippers takes the Louisiana Legislature to a whole new level of relevance.