All the news that’s fit to print…where have we heard that before? Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply in August in New Orleans. It’s just too damn hot to think, much less generate news…although the most exciting is the opening of the Aquarium of the Americas this month.
Yes, knowing every tourist rag, local mag and news media will be drenched (couldn’t help the pun, guys) with news of the Aquarium, we at OffBeat decided to take a different strategy, and introduce you to some of the interesting art and music that surround the fishies in their new home on the riverfront. Gallery I/O’s got a special show devoted to showcasing some fishies too. Check out the gallery’s new show, subMARINE, through September 29.
We also begin our coverage of Louisiana’s fairs and fests this month. September highlights are blues in Baton Rouge, zydeco in Plaisance, and Cajun in Lafayette. On your way to Baton Rouge, stop at the Houmas House for a unique trip through Louisiana’s past.
Our regular readers will note a few changes in this issue that we hope will become permanent: features on festivals, movies and video reviews and restaurant info. Our first movie review is written by Mike Brashinsky, who is, believe it or not, recent product of glasnost: a recognized Russian movie critic. Mike’s got a unique view and deep knowledge of world cinema. We know you’ll enjoy his review of David Lynch’s new flick Wild At Heart. Lynch’s new series on Fox Television, American Chronicles, will have a segment on New Orleans…looking forward to that one. Clayton Burrows, our resident culinary expert, looks at some edible exotica in this issue, as well.
New Orleans and Louisiana music is still on the rise nationwide…we’re interested to hear that the N.Y. Times feels that Harry Connick, Jr. is one of the country’s most “influential” young artists this decade (hear him at the UNO Kiefer Arena on September 26 in a benefit for his pop). Rounder Records just released two new Meters albums, one of unpublished stuff and one a reissue…Black Top Records has just completed production at Ultrasonic Studios of the first in a series of live compilation albums titled Blues-a-Rama featuring Earl King, Snooks Eaglin and others…Cajun band The Basin Brothers (heard in the city mostly at Michaul’s in the Warehouse District) recently released their first album Let’s Get Cajun on Chicago-based Flying Fish Records…Rockin’ Dopsie’s zydeco has gone on to the big time, with a new record in the works on Atlantic Records. Atlantic’s Big Cheese, Ahmet Ertegun, was in town recently to oversee the project at Ultrasonic. Studio in the Country’s been working with one of Canada’s major artists, Patrick Norman, for some time now, using many Louisiana artists in the production. Southlake Studio’s been busy with a new Creole Christmas album featuring tunes by Johnny Adams and The Dixie Cups. Local piano bar fave (at Monteleone’s Carousel Bar) Janice Medlock also just finished an album at Southlake.
Applause to local bands Force of Habit, Four For Nothing, and The Hooligans, who have been named finalists in Musician Magazine’s “Best Unsigned Bands” Competition. Speaking of new bands, the 3rd Annual New Music Festival will take place at City Park on September 30 and will feature 20 of the best of the city’s new progressive bands.
The University of New Orleans resumes its “jazz from the Sandbar” series of jazz programs—at the Sandbar on campus (Founders Road across from the Bicentennial Education Building). The series begins on Wednesday, September 5, with a reunion of Ellis Marsalis and guitar virtuoso Steve Masakowski. The concerts begin at 8 p.m. also on September 12 (featuring Tony Dagradi & Astral Project), September 19 (Victor Goines Quartet) and September 28 (Ellis Marsalis Sextet). There’s a $3 cover. Sounds like a great new tradition to us.
On music biz news…the first annual New Orleans Music Congress generated dozens of new ideas to help develop the area’s music industry and plans are underway to implement some of those ideas…OffBeat will begin publishing MusicNews, the state’s first music/entertainment industry newsletter this October. Watch for it.