• Being stuck inside due to a large snowstorm isn't really all that much fun, even when it isn't necessary to leave to go to work. Our thoughts turn to all the things that we cannot do because we cannot get out to do them, so that even the wonderful toys of Christmas suddenly become a bore and the television is a drag and the urge to suit up and go trekking becomes overwhelming. Dogs also make matters more difficult, as they either don't want to go outside or want to go outside right now and run in the snow. (We have the latter variety.) The need to sit at the computer and write also creates a tremendous tension. As a writer, I know that there is only one way to deal with the tension: write until sleep (to paraphrase John Maynard Keynes). Fortunately, the power is still on and the compute still works, so here are a few things that need to be cleared up.
• There is a note about mailing printed elsewhere, but it's best that I mention it here as well: after this issue, LMN will no longer be snail-mailed, unless someone is so desperate (or without Internet access) that they are willing to pay to have it mailed First Class. The reason is simple, of course: the Internet makes it pointless to mail printed copies when everything in the issue is on the website by the first of the month. Since paid subscriptions of a free publication devoted to Louisville music are few, the cost of the permit to do the mailing plus the monthly postage means there is a net loss overall, which we certainly can do without. If you absolutely have to have a print copy mailed to you, please call LMN at 502-893-9933 and we'll talk about it.
• For those of you who might have heard me discuss certain improvements in the Louisville Music News website, don't give up: I have taken some time of late to build a database-driven website for a Louisville high school, which has both taken me away from the LMN site and improved my programming chops considerably, so much so that I now fear that I will be forced to rewrite a good bit of what I have already constructed. But it'll be better, at least in the backend.
• It's likely that by the time you read this, the January 1 Townes Van Zandt Tribute show at Air Devils Inn will be in the past. (If not, please come on out.) Put together by Nate Thumas, this show is building, getting bigger every every. It helps that it's on a day when there isn't much else going on. If anything of special interest happened, it'll be reported next month, unless it got reported in the "regular" media, in which case, I wasn't there.
• The Musician's Emergency Relief Foundation (MERF) will stage a benefit for Billy Stoops of Junkyard Jane on January 16 at Stevie Ray's. Stoops, who has no insurance (he's a musician, okay?) has to have surgery for growths on his vocal cords. The event is entitled the Rockin' Roots Bash, and will feature four acts, including The Tim Krekel Band, Hellfish, The John Mann Band and Junkyard Jane. In addition to the live music, there will be a silent auction featuring original artwork, including oil paintings, watercolors, photography art and sculptures, donated by Louisville artists.
• U of Associate Professor of Music John LaBarbera's big band CD On The Wild Side has been nominated for a Grammy award in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble category. The awards will be announced at the ceremony in L.A on February 13. LaBarbera is one of those musical folks in Louisville who is not particularly well-known in the community, a class of people that includes a great many musicians. His discography and biography as a composer and player is lengthy and I do mean lengthy. Any player with dreams of making it big who also is sensible enough to understand that he/she should know something about the music business should take one or two of his courses on the industry.(I have yet to meet anybody in Louisville who knows as much as John does about the business.) On top of that, he's a very nize man and an excellent teacher.
• The Kentucky Opera has entered into a collaboration with the University of Louisville's School of Music which will integrate students into professional opera productions. The partnership, which is an extension of the Opera's current Young Asrtists Program, will begin with the second production of the 2005-2006 season.
.• Over in New Albany, the IU Southeast Arts Institute has announced the Spring 2005 Semester of non-credit instruction in music, art and theatre for all ages. You can even that a class on how to improvise a la "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?" (Wayne Brady is an improve god.) Check www.ius.edu/artsinstitute for info about the various courses.
• Lizi Hagan has left Spotlight Productions. No word on a replacement, if any.
• Troy Gibbs, 85, died in Louisville on December 20. HE was a musician and a life member of the American Federation of Musicians.