Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

>The Music of Mardi Gras

March 11, 2011

>We watched several parades during Mardi Gras and each had several marching bands, mostly from area schools.

One band during the Orpheus Parade stood out. I didn’t get any pictures, but here is a video of them during the last year’s parade.

The Roots of Music is a New Orleans group that fills a void left after Katrina. Some middle schools had to drop their music programs; not good in a city where music plays such a vital role. The Roots of Music offers young people an opportunity to learn and march in formation.

Notice that at least one of the members of this marching band is very young.

But music fills the streets of the French Quarter as well. There are many street musicians along Royal Street and elsewhere, and I took some pictures (and tipped the musicians).

This soloist was along the riverfront and we sat on a bench and listened to him while ships slowly passed by on the Mississippi. I could spend some time every day in this spot, watching the river and listening to music.

This one man band was on Royal Street, and two ladies from Japan walked up as he was playing. He recognized them as Japanese, spoke to them in their language, and sang a Japanese song they were familiar with.

Not far away we listened to this man on the clarinet and his friend on the steel drum.

Further down Royal the music changed a bit. This group was sort of folk/hillbilly.

As was this one. I didn’t get the names of most of these groups, but this one had their name displayed, Slick Skillet Serenaders.

I found a video of them taken on Royal Street a couple of weeks ago.

Here’s another pair of musicians.

And a quartet.

This is the man that was playing long side the clarinetist. Now he is playing solo.

Everyone who has been to New Orleans knows that you hear music everywhere you go. Jazz, blues, rockabilly, Brazilian, Zydeco, or any other style you want. The music in New Orleans seems to keep the city in rhythm. We even had a Jazz combo playing while we ate breakfast one morning.

Ubiquitous music and a coffee shops every other block (in the residential area we stayed in). Two things that bring people together. Things I wish we had in Bessemer.

>Maps and charts and such

January 27, 2011

>Some people have too much time on their hands. Maybe you think I’m one of them.

Here’s a chart comparing attitudes in Europe with those of the United States.

I thought I would share a few things from my friend Joe My God

We need to be more like Europe.

Speaking of the U. S. needing improvement, here is the U. S. map of Shame, where you can see what your state is shameful of (or should be).

You can click on the pictures to make them bigger so the labels are easier to read.

And not to be all negative, here’s the United States of Awesome! Here you can see what your state does well.

Speaking of awesome, how about Adele. I’ve posted her video’s before, here’s one of her singing “Rolling in the deep.”

I am re-posting a video of another of her songs, just because it is awesome too.

>Bessemer’s future lights up

December 21, 2010

>An indication of the good things to come in Bessemer is the announcement by Dollar General that they are building a distribution center in Bessemer, just a bit from our house.

We’ve been noticing some site work at the property on Lakeshore Drive at Highway 150. Years ago the site was cleared, something awful was found there during that work, and the property sat unused until a few weeks ago, when some access work began to be done.

Correction: the new facility is not at the site that has been prepared. I misunderstood the newspaper article, which stated “at Alabama 150 and Lakeshore.” Turns out, the Dollar General site is a little further down Lakeshore. Anyway, it’s good news for our part of Bessemer. And, inquiring minds are still curious about the previously prepared site.

The facility will bring about 550 warehouse jobs and 100 dedicated trucker jobs to Bessemer.

This development would not have taken place without the new council and mayor working together to land it. Other sites were in the running, but quick and heavy action beginning on day one of the new administration sealed the deal. Council president Jesse Matthews praised the council and mayor’s actions, saying it took the “newly elected officials to bring this center to the city.”

City attorney Shan Paden said that he had heard positive comments from county and state officials about how the council and mayor had worked together on the project. This is in contrast to the way things worked under the previous administration.

Thank you Mayor Gulley and the Bessemer City Council for working since day one to make this a better place to live. There’s a lot of work still to be done, but we are moving in the right direction and this gives us hope for the future.

Also, the Bessemer School System has fixed some problems, and won’t be losing $1.7 million in state funding as previously feared. Still, you need to return phone calls and emails!!!

Enjoy Shawn Mullins – Light You Up.

>Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Haiku

December 17, 2010

>I admit it. I follow the Washington stories a little too closely. Often if I am working at home I have the TV on in the next room and can hear MSNBC so when a critical vote is taking place or a particularly interesting comment coming from a legislator I can run in there and watch. I’m a political wonk, or at least I would be if I were younger (by definition a wonk is a young person).

If I must deliver myself from the world of politics and social progress, I change the channel to Adult Alternative music and have in the background music by such artists as Dave Barnes (Little Lies):

or T J Moss Band (It’s Over):

Anyway,last year I made it a point to be in front of the TV on Christmas Eve to watch the Senate vote on Health Care Reform.

Tomorrow the Senate is supposed to vote on the Dream Act and on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal.

Supposedly Reid has 61 votes for DADT repeal, but not for the Dream Act.

The votes are being scheduled for Saturday because a Democrat Senator’s prostate gland has got to go next week. He’s having pre-surgery testing done today, but will be on the Senate floor on Saturday, and out next week.

Only mean spirited Republicans would think that denying legal status to someone who has laid their life on the line for our freedom is cool.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would give conditional legal status to qualifying undocumented youths who attend at least two years of college or join the military, provided they arrived here under age 16 and meet several other strict criteria.

But recall, most Republican Senators also think it is cool to have those fighting for you to lie about themselves if they are gay or lesbian. I wrote a poem.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Haiku

We serve with honor
Life on line and we could die
For this we must lie

Anyway, there is so much going on tomorrow that I can’t sit around waiting for the Senate to act. Santa’s got some shopping to do.

But I will have my Android with me, so I will be able to follow what is going on and at least give a shout out on Facebook if something good happens.

And on Sunday, don’t forget “Hollywood Holidays: Songs from the Silver Screen,” a collection of seasonal songs from the cinema by the Magic City Choral Society, at 6:00, at the Alys Stephens Center. It’s Free!!!


December 7, 2010

>Some of you heard this voice at our house this week as the cd American Indian Christmas was part of the music lineup.

Jana is a Native American singer and she has recorded 10 Christmas favorites in 10 different Native American languages. This is O Holy Night sung in Navajo.

The cd can be ordered from Southwest Indian Foundation, and probably other sites as well.

Just in case you want to see some of her regular music, here’s a video from her cd, New Moon Born. You can find it at Southwest Indian Foundation also. This is a great song too, and nice video.

>Asking for advice

August 13, 2010

>I need advice. We want to stick with Verizon, and get droids or androids or one of those types of smart phones. Which phone do you use? Pro’s and con’s? Answer in the comments section, please.

Last night’s first of three political forums took place in Bessemer, giving (not very many) voters a chance to see and hear (some of the) candidates make their case.

Council Candidates from districts 1, 2 and 3 and School Board candidates from district 2 were invited.

I am surprised that so many candidates did not take part in the forum. I hope there is a more complete showing at the forum on Monday which will have candidates from council districts 4,5,6 and 7 plus school board candidates for district 7.

I don’t have a lot to say yet and will be withholding comment until all the candidates from all the districts have spoken.

Here’s a still from the new Scissor Sisters video Any Which Way.

And here’s the video. “Good queer music,” a commenter on this video wrote. This should get you ready for the weekend. Dance!!!

>Local events

August 12, 2010

>Some things going on.

In Bessemer, tonight is the first of three political candidate forums, and candidates for Council in Districts 1, 2 and 3 and School Board candidates for District 2 will take questions (be there before 5:45 to submit questions). The forum will take place at Bessemer City High School at 6:00.

In next door Lipscomb, they are about to celebrate their centennial. Lipscomb was incorporated in 1910. It was first called “Wheeling.” The name Lipscomb came from a store name established by the three Lipscomb brothers on the rail line in 1890.

At 5:00 PM Friday there will be a tour of the elementary school, followed by an unveiling of a historical marker at city hall at 6:00, and a banquet at the school at 7:00 PM. Former University of Alabama football player Bobby Humphrey will speak.

On Saturday a parade will take place along 5th Street at 10:00.

Mayor Melanie Bouyer says the city if moving forward and there are proposals to add housing for veterans and a grocery store, possibly with the development of a community cooperative.

For more information call city hall at 428-6374.

I haven’t posted any fun videos in a while, so here are two.

Brett Domino is the alter-ego of British musician Rob J Madin that uses unusual instruments such as a keytar and kazoos and this weird deal with an antenna to make music. Here he is with Steven Peavis performing a medley of Justin Timberlake.

And here he is performing Bad Romance. Lady Gaga, watch out.

>Bad news for Bessemer

April 23, 2010

>OK, after a couple of good news stories about the Marvel City, some bad news.

Actually one bad news, and one odd, and sort of bad story.

The bad news is that regional planners want to remove the “Western leg” of the Northern Beltline from the plans. That would put off completion of the beltway for more than 25 years.

They think that Trussville and Gardendale are more important than Bessemer, and would end the roadway at Hwy 78 in Graysville.

I wonder what our city leaders think about that.

The project has always been referred to as the “Northern Beltline” and this is the first I have heard of it having a “leg” that could be amputated.

More planners channeling Bettye Fine Collins’ misunderstanding of the importance of the Bessemer cutoff is what it is.

The other story is this “altar call” at Bessemer City High School during school time at an assembly. The assembly had a good purpose, it was the second annual Young Men’s Conference, and included discussion on safe sex as well as abstinence, self respect and acceptable behavior.

But when social studies teacher Tarus Lyons asked the guys if they had done anything wrong in their lives and to come to the front things began to sound a little “revivalish”.

And by the time school counselor Rick Owens led them a prayer seeking forgiveness and said JC was the only way to salvation, things had gone a little bit too far.

I am a little bit confused by principal Jerome Cook’s explanation that the assembly was “required” but that attendance was “voluntary.”

I think Bessemer City High officials have learned from the experience. The principal also said that part two of the conference would not feature a prayer.

But, can you say ACLU?

Here’s the unofficial video to Airplanes by Local Natives.

And here is the official one. Both are good, but which do you like best?

>What I learned from Martha

April 21, 2010

>Martha Stewart, that is.

Rhubarb. It’s not red celery.

It’s a perennial. The leaves contain a toxic substance, oxalic acid.

But the stalks (the petioles of the leaves) are edible, and can be made in to cakes, pies, custards and chutney.

I made a Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake.

Here it is right side up, I guess, as it came out of the oven.

And here it is upside down. I had this for breakfast with fresh hot coffee and it was good, in spite of the appearance.

So, I’m thinking of adding some rhubarb to the garden. Do any of Bessemer Opinion’s readers have experience growing Rhubarb? Or favorite recipes to share?

You can catch me at Eclipse Coffee in Montevallo tonight signing copies of my book, and there you will get to see the premiere of the video I created to promote Those Others.

Here is V.V.Brown singing “Shark in the Water” on the Ellen show earlier this month. Forward to the 1:15 mark in the video to skip the ad and such.

>More good news for Bessemer, and Discovery landing

April 20, 2010

>Bessemer’s unemployment rate dropped to 14.9% in March from February’s rate of 15.3%. Currently 1,503 people remain unemployed.

Jefferson Traywick, Manager of Parks and Properties for the Bessemer Industrial Development Board said that more businesses are looking to relocate or expand their businesses and are beginning to return to their former shift schedules, thus putting more people to work. He said he expects to see continued minor decreases in the local unemployment rate.

Bessemer’s Industrial Development Board is the city’s leading economic development entity. Rrom help with finding a site for a business project to providing direct financial assistance, the Board has been able to serve over 800 business clients since the mid-1980s alone.

Additional information on the capabilities of the Board can be found at

I just enjoyed hearing (and feeling) the sonic boom as Discovery raced over head to a landing in Florida.

If you missed the sonic booms, here they are, in this video of the landing. The sonic booms are at 3:11 in this video.

Welcome home, Discovery!

And for entertainment, here’s a video of indies Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard performing “These Roads Don’t Move.”