Monday, February 23, 2015

The Music and Life of Billie Holiday

I had never been to the Frist Center in Nashville.   A private cultural center started by the famous Nashville family the Frist's.  After being snowed in for almost a week I needed to get out of the house to see something or do something.  God anything, it has been a long winter.

So I get on the internet to google museums in Nashville the first thing that pops up is the First Center for the Visual Arts.  By chance there having a tribute to Billie Holiday and it's at my favorite price, free.   Man I have to go.

If you have listen to a Country Western or Rock & Roll song you are listening to Billie Holiday.   Lady Day as she is known lived a very hard short life; but her contribution to the Jazz vocal tradition was tremendous.  She broke racial barriers by being the the first black singer to sing with the all white Benny Goodman Band.

The concert at the Frist was wonderful; with a wide range of songs with stories of her life in between.  The stories beg me to ask the question why some Artist live such tumultuous lives? Could it be that in some strange way there art consumes them to a point that there really is nothing left.  That a void exist that sometimes can only be filled with drugs and Alcohol.  She definitely earned the right to sing the blues.

After the Concert we also were allowed to enter the gallery for free, where there was a exhibition on Houghton Hall a english country house built by the first Prime Minister of England.  Also a photo exhibition on modern European Royalty call The Europeans.

It was a great day, all I can say is why haven't I been here before what a tremendous place.

Monday, February 16, 2015

New Orleans and Mardi Gras

I just finished dropping a good friend off at the Nashville Airport he is headed to New Orleans and of course Mardi Gras for the week.   He had just finished a nasty divorce.  He is headed there clear his head and find a new beginning.  I was very jealous; if he had said park your car and come with; I would have done it.  New Orleans during Mardi Gras is one of those things every American must do once in your lifetime.

Most Americans think that Mardi Gras is nothing more than the debauchery; with strippers, booze, topless women, wild jazz and blues clubs all happening on Bourbon Street.  It is all that, but so much more.  Believe it or not, Mardi Gras is, for the most part, a family event with a week of parades and music.  It is family barbecues and basking in the glory of their crew.  Many families who have been members for 100s of years.  Crew Rex, Argus, and Zulu have members spanning 4 generations.

It is a celebration that brings in Lent and then Easter.  It celebrates new beginnings with food and fun.  The food, the food, the food, New Orleans is all about the food. It is my favorite French City in the Unites States.   Bring your appetite you're going to need it.  Everything leads up to Fat Tuesday the day before Lent.  To fully appreciate Mardi Gras plan to spend at least 5 days from Friday until Wednesday during the week of Lent.

I have been to Mardi Gras a few times, but this year I have commitments at work. If you go stay downtown near Canal street where all the major parades pass, another great place would be a hotel on St Charles Ave where the parades originate from before they enter Canal.  Things will get crazy but it is all in fun it is people watching at it's best.  My friend is there enjoying it now for all of us.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Drive to the Lower and Slower South Georgia.

I recently bought a enclosed trailer online from USA CARGO TRAILERS, to save a bunch of money on shipping I decided to drive to South Georgia to pick it up.  The 500 miles south from Nashville to Lower Georgia, exposes the many cultural layers of this area we call the Deep American South.

Leaving Nashville heading towards Atlanta you cut through southern Appalachia.   A series of mountains and rivers that fuel the American Soul.   The Gateway of the deep south is Atlanta, with its 16 lanes of traffic it is always a dicey trip.  Traveling through Atlanta could take 45 minutes or 4 to 5 hours, dependent not on time of day, but sheer luck.

Atlanta or Hotlanta known for both it's Baptist Churches and Strip Clubs it is a monstrosity of a city. I myself have only been to the later having more respect for my soul than to go to the former. Leaving Atlanta you now are in the deep south flat and sandy.

The deep south that consist of Lower North Carolina, South Carolina, Lower Georgia, Lower Alabama and Lower Mississippi is a agricultural area.   In prehistoric times it was one big ocean floor hence sand.  There is sand, lots of sand, and centipedegrass that browns in the winter.

The Deep Lower south is bordered by cajun country to the West, the Atlantic ocean to the east, the slight sophistication of the Northern South, and Florida to the South which really isn't part of the south.  Florida is an international state and I personally do not consider it part of the South.  Florida is more like California in its disposition and personality.

The lower South is safe, friendly, and predictable.  It is the lower and slower south.  On my trailer purchase paperwork it said that I had to pickup my trailer by 4PM.   I walked into the office at 5:01 PM and with a smile the lady said, not a problem and sent a man out to the yard to retrieve my trailer.  With a smile and a southern friendliness the transaction is completed.

I am on my way back to Nashville while getting gas I buy a powerball ticket.  The Lady that sold me the ticket agreed to meet at the Lottery Headquarters in Atlanta to collect the money.   With a lot of luck I'll be driving to Atlanta once again.