From the category archives:

Music

Cool Camps (Part 2): Why Let Kids Have All The Fun?

by Alan Rider
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If you read Part 1 of this series, which featured seven way-cool summer camps for kids, you may have come away wishing there were a way us grown-ups could get in on the fun. At least I know I did.

Which lead me to put together this list of adult-only “camps” that’ll give the tweens and teens in your life just as many reasons to be jealous:
Hollywood TV Star Fantasy Camp
Get ready for your close-up as you play your part in this “made-for-TV” crime drama.
Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camp
Five days of jamming in laid back settings ranging from small combos to big bands.
Camp Winnarainbow
Run away to join the [...]

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Blues Travelers: Memphis’ American Dream Safaris Offers A Chance To Really FEEL The Blues

by Alan Rider

If you’re more than just a casual fan of the blues—someone who can trace the connection* between blues legends like Lead Belly and Muddy Waters, for example—sooner or later you have to make the pilgrimage to the land where this distinctly American art form was born.

While you could certainly explore the area on your own, I’ve discovered an alternative that will help you get a lot more out of your visit.  Namely a plugged-in local guide by the name of Tad Pierson, a one-man college of musical knowledge whose decades of experience can help you develop a much greater appreciation for the music and the landscape [...]

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Mardi Gras Mentoring: How To Kill Time Between Parades

by Alan Rider

If you’re headed to New Orleans for Mardi Gras weekend, you’re in for a real treat.  I can tell you from personal experience that I sincerely doubt there’s a friendlier place or happier time on the face of the planet.
By this point you probably already know the two dozen parades that roll through the city’s streets between now and Fat Tuesday are the big attraction here (if you need parade info, check out my friend Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide).  What you might be wondering, however, is what to do with yourself in the hours before or after all those floats roll by.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share [...]

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A Mind-Blowing Mardi Gras: How To Go From Spectator To Participant in One of New Orleans’ Glitziest Parades

by Alan Rider

I’m looking out at a sea of outstretched arms and upturned faces.  The noise is just this side of deafening, a long pulsating chorus of “Hey, Hey, Hey!”  In response to their pleadings, I’m chucking handfuls of cheap plastic trinkets at the crowd while dressed in an outfit so garish it would make your average clown costume look downright somber.
If this sounds like something straight out of one of those freaky dreams where you wake up sweating and shaking your head, well, you’re close.  Except this surreal scene was very real.  And very, very fun.
You see, while I’d been to a lot of Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans over [...]

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Rock Band, Only For Real

by Alan Rider

Some songs are timeless. Like, oh, say the entire Beatles catalog, for example.  Which makes next Wednesday a big day, for reasons that go beyond the numerology implications of its unique 09/09/09 date.
First, it’s the day the folks at Capitol/EMI release the first digitally-remastered versions of all 12 of the Beatles studio albums in 22 years.  A team of engineers at London’s Abbey Road Studios spent four years reworking the albums using a combination of the latest technology and vintage equipment to create what promises to be unparalleled sound quality that faithfully reproduces the original analog recordings.
Not coincidentally, next Wednesday also marks the long anticipated release of The Beatles: Rock [...]

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An Extraordinary Place

by Alan Rider

In my adult life, I’ve lived in more than a dozen cities and spent time in dozens more.  And I’m here to tell you that, in my experience, there’s no place on this planet that can match New Orleans when it comes to pure, irrepressible joi de vivre.
What I find truly extraordinary, however, is the fact that this laid-back, fun-loving vibe has remained virtually unchanged despite the dramatic damage inflicted when Hurricane Katrina hit the Crescent City four years ago today.  While many New Orleans neighborhoods remain devastated, the laissez le bon temps rouler spirit that earned this town the nickname “The City That Care Forgot” remains remarkably intact.
Though I’m [...]

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Hot Rods & Cool Concerts

by Alan Rider

If you were going to sit down and make a list of every uniquely American pop culture icon you could think of, hot-rods and rock-n-roll would have to be near the top of that list. Which makes two extraordinary experiences on tap for this coming weekend seem oddly patriotic:
Peace and Music
This weekend marks the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, the legendary open-air festival that saw 500,000 people descend on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, New York for “three days of peace and music.”  If you weren’t there, you can get a feel for the event Rolling Stone magazine called one of the “50 Moments That Changed the History of [...]

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