Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
And so it goes...
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Shreveport AllStars Rock Hospitality House
The Shreveport AllStars, a wide array of local musicians, have been entertaining the patrons of Sister Margaret's Hospitality House each Saturday since the beginning of December. Last Saturday featured Victoria Williams, Heydun Kamp, Susan Garner, Howling Henry Robinson, Lane Bayliss, Brian Blade, Tracy Chappell, Bruce Flett and yours truly. Hospitality House is located in the historic Freeman-Harris Building at the corner of Pete Harris Drive & Fannin Street. They have served two warm meals a day, 364 days a year since 1983.
(photos: Barbara Beaird)
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
3 Flyers for Upcoming Gigs...
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I've Been Thinking About Sister Margaret McCaffrey...
...and if you knew her you either loved her or you didn't.
She was the Mother Teresa of Shreveport.
Her name was Sister Margaret McCaffrey and she came to Shreveport in the early 60's to do the unheard of:
She provided warm breakfasts for schoolkids who usually didn't get any breakfast.
Sister Margaret made history in Shreveport by organizing the Poor Man's Supper that drew whites and blacks from many different religious denominations to the first citywide "Christian Service" event. Incredulity and pride marked that evening as Shreveporters, always separated by economic and cultural practices, supped soup and broke bread together.
In 1983 she opened up the Hospitality House in the old Cotton Club, down on Sprague street. It could hold about 60 people. She fed over 200 people a day in there, twice a day, 365 days a year.
She opened up a homeless shelter for men, a homeless shelter for women, a neighborhood clinic and numerous homes for homeless families. She was able to help people with their prescriptions, utilities, and transportation...and when other agencies could not help, due to restrictions of governmental funding, they sent them to Sister Margaret, who never took state or federal money. When the riverboat casinos came to town, offering to help, she refused them.
She had a clear vision of what was right and what was wrong. Poverty was wrong, ignoring people's dignity was wrong, gambling was wrong...
...killing, for any reason, was wrong.
In the 80's when the Gulf war began, she protested it with a group called Pax Christi. She protested the killing being done over there and signed a letter of apology to those people whose lives were being destroyed by our military.
This inflamed and galvanized folks in these parts. Counter- protesters took the placards calling for love and peace and threw them in the bayou.
Sister Margaret would not stand down...she never did.
I think that quality was what I admired most about her. No matter where the political winds of change blew, she was steadfast and unswerving.
In March of 1997 she was diagnosed with lung cancer and opted to go without treatment, but continued the day to day of her "Christian Service" work.
The last time I saw her, was in the hospital, reading "Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom".
She said she found it comforting.
I picked up a copy after she passed away.
That was ten years ago.
This Sunday, Nov. 1st, is All Saints Day and I'll be paying my respects to a Shreveport Saint, Sister Margaret McCaffrey.
Sunday November 8th is the date set for this year's Poor Man Supper and Christian Service — the organization that Sister Margaret founded to help the poor — will recognize Dr. Robert Jackson and the Martin Luther King Health Center (Shreveport, Louisiana's first free clinic and pharmacy which was opened in 1985 by Dr. Jackson & Sister Margaret) with its Sister Margaret McCaffrey Award.
The supper will be held at 6pm @ The First United Methodist Church on Texas Street, in Shreveport.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Tonight I start a 3-night stint working as an extra on the re-make of STRAW DOGS by Rod Lurie, in Bossier City. I just finished reading Robert Rodriguez’s “Rebel Without A Crew” at about 4:am this morning, which is partly why I’m starting up this diary.
Last year I had decided to make a “no-budget” film to take advantage of the movie making that has been pouring through North Louisiana lately. I’m not sure what that advantage is, other than the local recognition and acceptance that, yes, a film can be made in North Louisiana, and that maybe it could catch the eye of someone who might be able to help me get the movie out there, once it is completed.
My idea was to use gear that I already own to create my film: two Canon GL2 video cameras, 3 lights, an assortment of wireless and hand held microphones and a Zoom digital audio recorder for redundant audio. I bought the gear right before I left my job at a local cable station (where I had worked for 21 years) which also included a digital video editing system called “The Kron” that immediately became obsolete the moment I bought it.
The film is “PLAN X FROM BEYOND” and is homage to the old no-budget sci-fi movies from the 50s. The germ of the idea came from a film I saw called “Lost Skeleton of Cadavra” which was shot on video and bumped up to film. The idea had been kicking around in my head for about a year and then one night my wife and I went to see a big screen showing of the movie “Plan 9 From Outer Space”…That night I decided on the title of my film and began working on script ideas.
My thinking was that this would be no-budget because I didn’t have any money, but I did have gear and creativity on my side. I also thought that I would shoot it with no real time schedule…just here and there as the winds and ways would allow. That has turned out not to be such a good idea.
I did some preliminary shooting at Big D’s Bar B Q of the opening dance party sequence (which subsequently got shut down by the police) but lost my wind, when my 2 main characters, my daughter and my son, left town to go back to college.
Since then I haven’t really picked up the cameras again.
Other ideas have wafted through my head for possible no-budget movies:
A period piece called “The Cross Lake Monster” based on a true story…
A movie about a couple of would be blues guys and their misadventures on the road to obscurity….
A film about an older guy in his mid fifties, trying to start a career as a singer/songwriter…
And the adventures of an out of work super hero with no real super powers trying to get back on top of his game…
These have all been “just ideas” with little to no development going on…a few false starts of scripts that have been lost to time.
Of course, my inner critic keeps yelling at me, “This is stupid! You’re almost 54 years old! This is a young man’s game! You’re just spinning your wheels.”
Then I read Rodriguez’s book and it inspired me again.
It inspired me not only to move forward on making my own no-budget movie, but it also inspired me to do it all myself and with a quick turn-around time to complete it.
I need a deadline, folks...
So for the next three nights I’ll be an extra on someone else’s movie and I’ll use my time developing and writing my script. At this moment, I’m not sure what it will be.
I’m making a list of things to carry with me in a small back pack.
Deck of cards
Business cards (in case I meet some folks who may be good to have in my movie)
It’s beginning to rain…hope the production is still on for tonight.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The Sweet Spot...
I left Tipitina's Foundation back in March to become a full-time musician. What was I thinking?
If I could manage to increase my monthly gigs I could theoretically make more money performing music than working at my previous day job. This month I hit the sweet spot, i.e. I have officially surpassed what I would be making if I had stayed on with the foundation...and looking at my calendar I will hit the sweet spot again next month.
This is all possible because:
A) I have a very understanding wife.
B) Now I am able to take on gigs at unorthodox times during the day or night and sometimes both.
It is not the easiest work.
Each job is a compilation of finding the gig, getting the gig, setting up for the gig, playing the gig, tearing down after the gig and if everything goes right, being able to get the gig again. And this process is ongoing. No, it isn't easy, but if it were, everybody would be doing it.
At the moment I am doing most of my own booking and juggling solo performances with two different duos and at least three different bands. There are also the "out of the blue" gigs that are always satisfying. 'Frinstance, I just went in and cut a commercial, doing all the music (guitar, harmonica, vocals AND my 1929 National Triolian) as well as the voiceover. I haven't done this kind of work in several years but I guess, like riding a bicycle, you never forget how once you've done it for a while.
Mind you, so far all of the work I've been doing has been local. I've taken a couple of jobs in East Texas and there are a couple that have been a few miles outside of the city limits. I haven't really gone on the road yet, which is sorta on my to do list.
I was just reading a short blog by Seth Godin, "Priming The Pump of Efficiency" and it talks about the lag time of becoming efficient once you've changed the way you do things. That got me thinking about my lag time in getting to this place, the sweet spot, but here I am.
So this is a follow-up report to my last installment for those of you that may be interested. From time to time I'll try to write an account of my trials, tribulations and preferably successes as I continue to pursue "The Sweet Spot".