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Record Review - 4 June 19 2003

There is a desperate quality to Lisa Germano's music, with its melancholy bent and relentless exploration of inner turmoil. It's a mixture of masochism and self-kindness, bathed in melodies of stark beauty. On "Into the Night," a track from the new Lullaby for Liquid Pig, Germano sings of "seeing your sins" — like being suspended overhead, watching yourself in the drunk-tank of existence.

Germano calls this album a lullaby, but it comes across like a journal of despair soaked in liquor. The album was written during a period of isolation, away from the business of music and without so much as a contract. She has her own peculiar method of constructing a song, toiling in solitude, trying unfamiliar instruments and equipment, putting together chords and lyrics, sound and production all at once. By combining differing elements within each song, she achieves an overall sense of improvisation.

The title track bluntly and poetically states the author's frame of mind: "I need a fix/A little one/And then it's over/Then I'm done." Yet despite the chronic sadness that permeates these songs, many of the lyrics offer more than a hint of hope. "To Dream" finishes the album with the words: "This is who you are/You don't have to run away."

Germano's recordings are an exercise in introspection, looking askance at her foibles and facing the dichotomies — even if the vision is a little blurry.



More By This Writer

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As a kid growing up in New York, Billy Messina was always into scary monsters. Halloween was by far his favorite holiday. The co-owner of Netherworld Haunted House tells Creative Loafing that “anything related to monsters like Godzilla movies or Planet of the Apes was a huge part of my youth.”


Messina would sit in front of the television waiting to see commercials for a popular haunted house in New Jersey “that I was too young to go to,” he remembers. “I grew up with a vision of that stuff, and I guess I’ve been carrying all that a long time.” His business partner at Netherworld, Ben Armstrong, had similar proclivities, “but was more into the fantasy end of things.”

The two men met while working for Silo X, a national chain of haunted houses. Prior to that, Armstrong had been in television, and for a time appeared as Dr. Speculo, a mad scientist he created for a series called “Tales From 6 Feet Under” on WCTV-Tallahassee, and that led to a number of live stage productions featuring the character. Armstrong was also a producer at Fox 5 in Atlanta.

Messina had been doing special makeup effects, customized props, and miniatures for various motion pictures and commercials. A horror movie in the early 1990s called Basket Case 3 brought him to Atlanta, where he soon settled. After that project, however, jobs became scarce. “There were years when only three features were shot here, and everyone was killing themselves to get on them. Every film needs grips and electricians, but not necessarily special makeup or custom props.”

Silo X presented itself at just the right time for both Armstrong and Messina, who were hired to set up new locations around the country. The company, however, pulled out of launching an Atlanta site of Silo X after the two men had spent an entire year trying to get it off the ground.

“We wanted this thing to happen and had put a lot of work into it,” Messina recalls. “Granted, we were compensated, but it was terribly disappointing.” At that point, they decided to create their own haunted house.

Now in its 23rd year, the highly successful Netherworld is considered one of the top haunted houses in the country, but its start in 1997 was precarious at best, with the two men cobbling together a makeshift show in a small space in Kennesaw, working with a short-term lease.

They built walls in Messina’s driveway and pretty much did everything themselves while storing the products of their labor in a loft on Memorial Drive. “Sounds cool now, doesn’t it?” he says. “No, it wasn’t. It was a crack-den.” The partners eventually wised up and hired a few special-effects personnel that were being “under-utilized” in local film productions, and for whom the new project would be a natural segue. 

Working with Silo X had provided some insight on how to run an attraction as a business rather than a passion. “We learned that it’s not just a product — it’s an extension of us — and to be hands-on. So we put a proposal together, a very simple business plan, and reached out to family and friends and said, ‘Pretty please.’ We raised some money and our investors ended up making more than we did, but that’s alright.”

Their first show in Kennesaw did fairly well. “People showed up; we didn’t drown,” Messina acknowledges. “We just wanted to survive and see if there was a taste for what we wanted to do. We were optimistic.” As it turned out, there was enough demand and positive feedback to do it again, but it had to be bigger and better, so in 1998 Netherworld moved into its Norcross location, a rental spot on Dawson Boulevard it would occupy for the next 20 years. 

“The owners liked us,” Messina says. “They saw we had some chutzpah, but they told us, ‘If you want to grow, you can’t be doing all this moving in and moving out.’ So we rented it year-round.”

Netherworld could now develop and expand. “From there, it was more layering and buying more stuff, more themes, kicking it up every year, and you have the benefit of doing that when you have your own location,” Messina recalls. “We laugh now about all the time, energy, and money we put into something back then we felt was important. We have learned how to do things more easily.” They also learned quickly that chainsaws are a vital component of any haunted house, after originally planning to eschew them. “Clowns, chainsaws, and our vortex tunnel are omnipresent and the most popular things we have, much to our chagrin sometimes. But you have to give people what they want.”

The partners wanted to have original content, as opposed to rehashing known entities such as Freddie Kruger, so they developed their own monsters. The most famous is arguably The Collector, who first appeared in 2004’s “Spirits of The Dead” show and, according to the Scare Factor website, is a “corpse-like revenant sent to collect lost souls in ancient graveyards at the behest of foul creatures from other planes of existence ... causing all sorts of mayhem.” 

Over time, Netherworld took over more and more real estate inside the Norcross building, until in 2017 they ran out of any other space to annex. The two founders even gave up their offices for the cause, Messina says, remembering days when he “worked crouched in a corner with my iPad by the gumball machine in the gift shop.” 

They “needed their own dirt” to be able to do more and have more freedom. “We had been there a long time, and wanted more space to do more things; we wanted escape rooms and to be open all year long for different events, and we just didn’t have that ability,” Messina says. 

By the fall of 2018, Netherworld Haunted House had found yet another new home — a 9.5 acre complex in Stone Mountain on West Park Place Boulevard with plenty of room to expand. Messina and Armstrong have wasted no time. In August this year, a new escape room titled “Tiki Island: Attack of The Shark God” joined the three existing ones: “Sasquatch: Bigfoot’s Revenge,” “Nosferatu: Van Helsing’s Secret,” and “Haunted: Curse of The Night Hag.”

“We just opened a laser adventure arena outdoors, and the general consensus is good,” Messina says. “We have a new monster museum at this location with lots of movie props in there, things that we worked on — weird, strange oddities.” 

“Night of the Gorgon” and “Cold Blooded” are this year’s themed haunts. “We decided to go a little off track,” says Messina. “People already know vampires and werewolves, so we went the Gorgon route. It’s a neat aesthetic, turning people to stone.” 

Not bad for a couple of guys who’ve brought their wildest nightmares to life. -CL-"
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As a kid growing up in New York, Billy Messina was always into scary monsters. Halloween was by far his favorite holiday. The co-owner of Netherworld Haunted House tells ''Creative Loafing'' that “anything related to monsters like Godzilla movies or ''Planet of the Apes'' was a huge part of my youth.”


Messina would sit in front of the television waiting to see commercials for a popular haunted house in New Jersey “that I was too young to go to,” he remembers. “I grew up with a vision of that stuff, and I guess I’ve been carrying all that a long time.” His business partner at Netherworld, Ben Armstrong, had similar proclivities, “but was more into the fantasy end of things.”

The two men met while working for Silo X, a national chain of haunted houses. Prior to that, Armstrong had been in television, and for a time appeared as Dr. Speculo, a mad scientist he created for a series called “Tales From 6 Feet Under” on WCTV-Tallahassee, and that led to a number of live stage productions featuring the character. Armstrong was also a producer at Fox 5 in Atlanta.

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Silo X presented itself at just the right time for both Armstrong and Messina, who were hired to set up new locations around the country. The company, however, pulled out of launching an Atlanta site of Silo X after the two men had spent an entire year trying to get it off the ground.

“We wanted this thing to happen and had put a lot of work into it,” Messina recalls. “Granted, we were compensated, but it was terribly disappointing.” At that point, they decided to create their own haunted house.

Now in its 23rd year, the highly successful Netherworld is considered one of the top haunted houses in the country, but its start in 1997 was precarious at best, with the two men cobbling together a makeshift show in a small space in Kennesaw, working with a short-term lease.

They built walls in Messina’s driveway and pretty much did everything themselves while storing the products of their labor in a loft on Memorial Drive. “Sounds cool now, doesn’t it?” he says. “No, it wasn’t. It was a crack-den.” The partners eventually wised up and hired a few special-effects personnel that were being “under-utilized” in local film productions, and for whom the new project would be a natural segue. 

Working with Silo X had provided some insight on how to run an attraction as a business rather than a passion. “We learned that it’s not just a product — it’s an extension of us — and to be hands-on. So we put a proposal together, a very simple business plan, and reached out to family and friends and said, ‘Pretty please.’ We raised some money and our investors ended up making more than we did, but that’s alright.”

Their first show in Kennesaw did fairly well. “People showed up; we didn’t drown,” Messina acknowledges. “We just wanted to survive and see if there was a taste for what we wanted to do. We were optimistic.” As it turned out, there was enough demand and positive feedback to do it again, but it had to be bigger and better, so in 1998 Netherworld moved into its Norcross location, a rental spot on Dawson Boulevard it would occupy for the next 20 years. 

“The owners liked us,” Messina says. “They saw we had some chutzpah, but they told us, ‘If you want to grow, you can’t be doing all this moving in and moving out.’ So we rented it year-round.”

Netherworld could now develop and expand. “From there, it was more layering and buying more stuff, more themes, kicking it up every year, and you have the benefit of doing that when you have your own location,” Messina recalls. “We laugh now about all the time, energy, and money we put into something back then we felt was important. We have learned how to do things more easily.” They also learned quickly that chainsaws are a vital component of any haunted house, after originally planning to eschew them. “Clowns, chainsaws, and our vortex tunnel are omnipresent and the most popular things we have, much to our chagrin sometimes. But you have to give people what they want.”

The partners wanted to have original content, as opposed to rehashing known entities such as Freddie Kruger, so they developed their own monsters. The most famous is arguably The Collector, who first appeared in 2004’s “Spirits of The Dead” show and, according to the Scare Factor website, is a “corpse-like revenant sent to collect lost souls in ancient graveyards at the behest of foul creatures from other planes of existence ... causing all sorts of mayhem.” 

Over time, Netherworld took over more and more real estate inside the Norcross building, until in 2017 they ran out of any other space to annex. The two founders even gave up their offices for the cause, Messina says, remembering days when he “worked crouched in a corner with my iPad by the gumball machine in the gift shop.” 

They “needed their own dirt” to be able to do more and have more freedom. “We had been there a long time, and wanted more space to do more things; we wanted escape rooms and to be open all year long for different events, and we just didn’t have that ability,” Messina says. 

By the fall of 2018, Netherworld Haunted House had found yet another new home — a 9.5 acre complex in Stone Mountain on West Park Place Boulevard with plenty of room to expand. Messina and Armstrong have wasted no time. In August this year, a new escape room titled “Tiki Island: Attack of The Shark God” joined the three existing ones: “Sasquatch: Bigfoot’s Revenge,” “Nosferatu: Van Helsing’s Secret,” and “Haunted: Curse of The Night Hag.”

“We just opened a laser adventure arena outdoors, and the general consensus is good,” Messina says. “We have a new monster museum at this location with lots of movie props in there, things that we worked on — weird, strange oddities.” 

“Night of the Gorgon” and “Cold Blooded” are this year’s themed haunts. “We decided to go a little off track,” says Messina. “People already know vampires and werewolves, so we went the Gorgon route. It’s a neat aesthetic, turning people to stone.” 

Not bad for a couple of guys who’ve brought their wildest nightmares to life. __-CL-__"
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As a kid growing up in New York, Billy Messina was always into scary monsters. Halloween was by far his favorite holiday. The co-owner of Netherworld Haunted House tells Creative Loafing that “anything related to monsters like Godzilla movies or Planet of the Apes was a huge part of my youth.”


Messina would sit in front of the television waiting to see commercials for a popular haunted house in New Jersey “that I was too young to go to,” he remembers. “I grew up with a vision of that stuff, and I guess I’ve been carrying all that a long time.” His business partner at Netherworld, Ben Armstrong, had similar proclivities, “but was more into the fantasy end of things.”

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Silo X presented itself at just the right time for both Armstrong and Messina, who were hired to set up new locations around the country. The company, however, pulled out of launching an Atlanta site of Silo X after the two men had spent an entire year trying to get it off the ground.

“We wanted this thing to happen and had put a lot of work into it,” Messina recalls. “Granted, we were compensated, but it was terribly disappointing.” At that point, they decided to create their own haunted house.

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They built walls in Messina’s driveway and pretty much did everything themselves while storing the products of their labor in a loft on Memorial Drive. “Sounds cool now, doesn’t it?” he says. “No, it wasn’t. It was a crack-den.” The partners eventually wised up and hired a few special-effects personnel that were being “under-utilized” in local film productions, and for whom the new project would be a natural segue. 

Working with Silo X had provided some insight on how to run an attraction as a business rather than a passion. “We learned that it’s not just a product — it’s an extension of us — and to be hands-on. So we put a proposal together, a very simple business plan, and reached out to family and friends and said, ‘Pretty please.’ We raised some money and our investors ended up making more than we did, but that’s alright.”

Their first show in Kennesaw did fairly well. “People showed up; we didn’t drown,” Messina acknowledges. “We just wanted to survive and see if there was a taste for what we wanted to do. We were optimistic.” As it turned out, there was enough demand and positive feedback to do it again, but it had to be bigger and better, so in 1998 Netherworld moved into its Norcross location, a rental spot on Dawson Boulevard it would occupy for the next 20 years. 

“The owners liked us,” Messina says. “They saw we had some chutzpah, but they told us, ‘If you want to grow, you can’t be doing all this moving in and moving out.’ So we rented it year-round.”

Netherworld could now develop and expand. “From there, it was more layering and buying more stuff, more themes, kicking it up every year, and you have the benefit of doing that when you have your own location,” Messina recalls. “We laugh now about all the time, energy, and money we put into something back then we felt was important. We have learned how to do things more easily.” They also learned quickly that chainsaws are a vital component of any haunted house, after originally planning to eschew them. “Clowns, chainsaws, and our vortex tunnel are omnipresent and the most popular things we have, much to our chagrin sometimes. But you have to give people what they want.”

The partners wanted to have original content, as opposed to rehashing known entities such as Freddie Kruger, so they developed their own monsters. The most famous is arguably The Collector, who first appeared in 2004’s “Spirits of The Dead” show and, according to the Scare Factor website, is a “corpse-like revenant sent to collect lost souls in ancient graveyards at the behest of foul creatures from other planes of existence ... causing all sorts of mayhem.” 

Over time, Netherworld took over more and more real estate inside the Norcross building, until in 2017 they ran out of any other space to annex. The two founders even gave up their offices for the cause, Messina says, remembering days when he “worked crouched in a corner with my iPad by the gumball machine in the gift shop.” 

They “needed their own dirt” to be able to do more and have more freedom. “We had been there a long time, and wanted more space to do more things; we wanted escape rooms and to be open all year long for different events, and we just didn’t have that ability,” Messina says. 

By the fall of 2018, Netherworld Haunted House had found yet another new home — a 9.5 acre complex in Stone Mountain on West Park Place Boulevard with plenty of room to expand. Messina and Armstrong have wasted no time. In August this year, a new escape room titled “Tiki Island: Attack of The Shark God” joined the three existing ones: “Sasquatch: Bigfoot’s Revenge,” “Nosferatu: Van Helsing’s Secret,” and “Haunted: Curse of The Night Hag.”

“We just opened a laser adventure arena outdoors, and the general consensus is good,” Messina says. “We have a new monster museum at this location with lots of movie props in there, things that we worked on — weird, strange oddities.” 

“Night of the Gorgon” and “Cold Blooded” are this year’s themed haunts. “We decided to go a little off track,” says Messina. “People already know vampires and werewolves, so we went the Gorgon route. It’s a neat aesthetic, turning people to stone.” 

Not bad for a couple of guys who’ve brought their wildest nightmares to life. -CL-    Courtesy of Netherworld Haunted House HAPPY HALLOWEEN: Harvestman Moon  0,0,2    Halloween 2020 Netherworld                             Netherworld Haunted House "
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Wednesday October 2, 2019 11:03 am EDT
Mysterious and spooky three decades on | more...
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  string(4474) "A dance music venue in Midtown is throwing an outdoor block party on September 28 that will feature well-known acts of the EDM genre and is expected to draw a crowd of 4000 revelers.

Ravine, which is hosting the event, opened in August 2018 at Peachtree and 10th streets, and is described by its founders as a “not-club” as opposed to a nightclub.

What makes Ravine different is the technology used in entertainment, says director Mitul Patel in a CL interview. He described it as “a small room with festival- or concert-grade production, so you’re getting an intimate performance without sacrificing the massive production that typically goes on stage. A lot of that has to do with our choice of sound in the building as well as light, video, and lasers. We basically created a giant 1970s-style recording studio in a 16,000-square-foot room.”

The facility can accommodate productions of film, music videos, commercials, photography, live concerts, and digital entertainment.

The audio is crystal clear, Patel says. “You feel all the notes; you feel the highs and lows; you can have a conversation with someone next to you without having to strain your ears or lose your voice. We are really on top of the decibel levels — a really deep, rich sound without the potential for long-term hearing issues.”

Since its inception Ravine has become a hotspot for hosting dance and electronic music artists and DJs, pulling in fans every week and seemingly obliterating the competition. Patel says three similar venues opened in the city around the same time. “They were all going for it. Nobody wants to be second best when they’re brand new; they all wanted everyone to come to their venue every night. There was a lot of over-saturation.” Since then, two of them have gone out of business, and the third has stopped booking dance music.

::::
The block party outside Ravine will be headlined by Fisher, an Australian producer based in Los Angeles who scored a hit last year with “Losing It.” The song made the top of Billboard’s Dance Music Songs chart and earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording and another for Best Dance Release in the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards. This year, Fisher, who was a professional surfer prior to launching his music career, released “ You Little Beauty,” which went on to become his second Dance Club number-one.

The party will feature an artist performing under the moniker Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, whose real name is Orlando Tobias Edward Higginbottom. He is a British electronic music producer, DJ and singer who lives and works in the United States. Then there is Tiga, a Canadian musician who won a Juno Award for Dance Recording of the Year early in his career. There will also be DJ sets from Bontan and Martin Ikin, both established in their field.

“When we speak about EDM (electronic dance music) in general, there are a lot of sub-genres on different themes,” Patel says. “I think EDM has become kind of a washed-out term for everyone to generalize about this type of music. A lot of the music at Ravine is specifically house music and techno.” Friday-night shows are mostly progressive house — genres include trap, big room house, and bass music — and Saturday-night shows feature more underground genres such as house, techno, and tech house, according to Patel. “I will say that EDM opened that door a bit wider than in the past. House has become the sub-genre that everyone looks for.”


Underground music is now part of the commercial mainstream around the world. House has taken over Europe and has benefited from services such as Sirius and Spotify. Patel says., “Some of my favorite acts are Kaskade and CamelPhat.” Kaskade, a producer and remixer from Chicago, was twice voted “America’s Best DJ” by DJ Times and will perform at Ravine on October 4.

Traditionally, many of these acts once played dark, dingy basements or warehouses, often without air-conditioning or heat, where this type of music flourished over the years despite the adverse conditions. Now Ravine’s owners are getting requests from acts to play their venue, rather than the other way round. “Artists love playing here (due to) the combination of sound, lighting, and atmosphere.”

The Atlanta dance music scene is growing, Patel says. “It’s a healthy market for anyone who is a true fan.”


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Ravine, which is hosting the event, opened in August 2018 at Peachtree and 10th streets, and is described by its founders as a “not-club” as opposed to a nightclub.

What makes Ravine different is the technology used in entertainment, says director Mitul Patel in a ''CL'' interview. He described it as “a small room with festival- or concert-grade production, so you’re getting an intimate performance without sacrificing the massive production that typically goes on stage. A lot of that has to do with our choice of sound in the building as well as light, video, and lasers. We basically created a giant 1970s-style recording studio in a 16,000-square-foot room.”

The facility can accommodate productions of film, music videos, commercials, photography, live concerts, and digital entertainment.

The audio is crystal clear, Patel says. “You feel all the notes; you feel the highs and lows; you can have a conversation with someone next to you without having to strain your ears or lose your voice. We are really on top of the decibel levels — a really deep, rich sound without the potential for long-term hearing issues.”

Since its inception Ravine has become a hotspot for hosting dance and electronic music artists and DJs, pulling in fans every week and seemingly obliterating the competition. Patel says three similar venues opened in the city around the same time. “They were all going for it. Nobody wants to be second best when they’re brand new; they all wanted everyone to come to their venue every night. There was a lot of over-saturation.” Since then, two of them have gone out of business, and the third has stopped booking dance music.

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The block party outside Ravine will be headlined by Fisher, an Australian producer based in Los Angeles who scored a hit last year with “Losing It.” The song made the top of ''Billboard''’s Dance Music Songs chart and earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording and another for Best Dance Release in the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards. This year, Fisher, who was a professional surfer prior to launching his music career, released “ You Little Beauty,” which went on to become his second Dance Club number-one.

The party will feature an artist performing under the moniker Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, whose real name is Orlando Tobias Edward Higginbottom. He is a British electronic music producer, DJ and singer who lives and works in the United States. Then there is Tiga, a Canadian musician who won a Juno Award for Dance Recording of the Year early in his career. There will also be DJ sets from Bontan and Martin Ikin, both established in their field.

“When we speak about EDM (electronic dance music) in general, there are a lot of sub-genres on different themes,” Patel says. “I think EDM has become kind of a washed-out term for everyone to generalize about this type of music. A lot of the music at Ravine is specifically house music and techno.” Friday-night shows are mostly progressive house — genres include trap, big room house, and bass music — and Saturday-night shows feature more underground genres such as house, techno, and tech house, according to Patel. “I will say that EDM opened that door a bit wider than in the past. House has become the sub-genre that everyone looks for.”

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Underground music is now part of the commercial mainstream around the world. House has taken over Europe and has benefited from services such as Sirius and Spotify. Patel says., “Some of my favorite acts are Kaskade and CamelPhat.” Kaskade, a producer and remixer from Chicago, was twice voted “America’s Best DJ” by ''DJ Times'' and will perform at Ravine on October 4.

Traditionally, many of these acts once played dark, dingy basements or warehouses, often without air-conditioning or heat, where this type of music flourished over the years despite the adverse conditions. Now Ravine’s owners are getting requests from acts to play their venue, rather than the other way round. “Artists love playing here (due to) the combination of sound, lighting, and atmosphere.”

The Atlanta dance music scene is growing, Patel says. “It’s a healthy market for anyone who is a true fan.”

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__~~#000000:Fisher & Friends: Outdoor Block Party~~__

~~#000000:$35. 3 p.m.-10 p.m.,~~

~~#000000:Sat. Sept. 28.~~

~~#000000:Ravine, 1021 Peachtree St.~~

~~#000000:404-748-1016. [https://ravineatl.com|ravineatl.com]~~
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  string(4867) " RAVINE Fisher  2019-09-25T19:54:39+00:00 RAVINE_Fisher.jpg     Ravine pumps it up and up 23887  2019-09-25T19:46:54+00:00 Electronic Music Mayhem jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Kevin Madigan  2019-09-25T19:46:54+00:00  A dance music venue in Midtown is throwing an outdoor block party on September 28 that will feature well-known acts of the EDM genre and is expected to draw a crowd of 4000 revelers.

Ravine, which is hosting the event, opened in August 2018 at Peachtree and 10th streets, and is described by its founders as a “not-club” as opposed to a nightclub.

What makes Ravine different is the technology used in entertainment, says director Mitul Patel in a CL interview. He described it as “a small room with festival- or concert-grade production, so you’re getting an intimate performance without sacrificing the massive production that typically goes on stage. A lot of that has to do with our choice of sound in the building as well as light, video, and lasers. We basically created a giant 1970s-style recording studio in a 16,000-square-foot room.”

The facility can accommodate productions of film, music videos, commercials, photography, live concerts, and digital entertainment.

The audio is crystal clear, Patel says. “You feel all the notes; you feel the highs and lows; you can have a conversation with someone next to you without having to strain your ears or lose your voice. We are really on top of the decibel levels — a really deep, rich sound without the potential for long-term hearing issues.”

Since its inception Ravine has become a hotspot for hosting dance and electronic music artists and DJs, pulling in fans every week and seemingly obliterating the competition. Patel says three similar venues opened in the city around the same time. “They were all going for it. Nobody wants to be second best when they’re brand new; they all wanted everyone to come to their venue every night. There was a lot of over-saturation.” Since then, two of them have gone out of business, and the third has stopped booking dance music.

::::
The block party outside Ravine will be headlined by Fisher, an Australian producer based in Los Angeles who scored a hit last year with “Losing It.” The song made the top of Billboard’s Dance Music Songs chart and earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording and another for Best Dance Release in the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards. This year, Fisher, who was a professional surfer prior to launching his music career, released “ You Little Beauty,” which went on to become his second Dance Club number-one.

The party will feature an artist performing under the moniker Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, whose real name is Orlando Tobias Edward Higginbottom. He is a British electronic music producer, DJ and singer who lives and works in the United States. Then there is Tiga, a Canadian musician who won a Juno Award for Dance Recording of the Year early in his career. There will also be DJ sets from Bontan and Martin Ikin, both established in their field.

“When we speak about EDM (electronic dance music) in general, there are a lot of sub-genres on different themes,” Patel says. “I think EDM has become kind of a washed-out term for everyone to generalize about this type of music. A lot of the music at Ravine is specifically house music and techno.” Friday-night shows are mostly progressive house — genres include trap, big room house, and bass music — and Saturday-night shows feature more underground genres such as house, techno, and tech house, according to Patel. “I will say that EDM opened that door a bit wider than in the past. House has become the sub-genre that everyone looks for.”


Underground music is now part of the commercial mainstream around the world. House has taken over Europe and has benefited from services such as Sirius and Spotify. Patel says., “Some of my favorite acts are Kaskade and CamelPhat.” Kaskade, a producer and remixer from Chicago, was twice voted “America’s Best DJ” by DJ Times and will perform at Ravine on October 4.

Traditionally, many of these acts once played dark, dingy basements or warehouses, often without air-conditioning or heat, where this type of music flourished over the years despite the adverse conditions. Now Ravine’s owners are getting requests from acts to play their venue, rather than the other way round. “Artists love playing here (due to) the combination of sound, lighting, and atmosphere.”

The Atlanta dance music scene is growing, Patel says. “It’s a healthy market for anyone who is a true fan.”


     Fabian Fernandez LIKES TO DO IT OUTSIDE: Fisher and Friends return for another outdoor party.  0,0,10                                 Electronic Music Mayhem "
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Article

Wednesday September 25, 2019 03:46 pm EDT
Ravine pumps it up and up | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(21) "Eyewitness to history"
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  string(136) "With his tour of Atlanta’s historic civil rights landmarks, Tom Houck recounts the key role of the city and its people in the movement"
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  string(136) "With his tour of Atlanta’s historic civil rights landmarks, Tom Houck recounts the key role of the city and its people in the movement"
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  string(6222) "Merely a teenager when he signed up with the civil rights movement in the mid-1960s, Tom Houck has been committed to the cause ever since. Now 72, the raspy-voiced activist runs weekly bus tours of Atlanta’s historic civil rights spots, encompassing buildings, schools, churches, statues, neighborhoods, and other significant places and participants in the South’s struggle for equal rights.

“We don’t follow any specific rules or script, except our love for Atlanta and its nonviolence in the civil rights movement, which I was very fortunate to be a part of,” Houck says from his perch at the front of the tour bus on a recent Saturday morning. 


“I got kicked out of high school for going to Selma (Alabama, in 1965, after Bloody Sunday) and never returned, and wound up working for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta,” Houck recalls. The SCLC was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957 in reaction to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and its aftermath, and the organization consisted mostly of local African American leaders such as Ralph David Abernathy, Andrew Young, and Joseph Lowery who organized nonviolent protests against discrimination and, in doing so, made a place for themselves in this country’s history.

As we pass the old SCLC building on Auburn Avenue, Houck says, “The march from Selma to Montgomery and the March on Washington, those were all planned here; this is where the Albany, Georgia, movement was based; the Poor People’s Campaign was organized here.” The National Park Service has purchased the former SCLC headquarters and “hopefully will restore this building to the beauty it once had,” he continues.

“It took a lot of blood and sweat and tears to get the city integrated,” Houck acknowledges. “Atlanta was the headquarters of many of those civil rights leaders, that’s why you see so many streets and buildings named after them. Some became politicians — Andy Young became mayor of Atlanta; there is Congressman John Lewis; Hosea Williams was elected to several offices.”


Houck says he was arrested about 20 times while working as a “foot soldier” in the civil rights movement “and I got 17 stitches in my knee to prove it.” A tavern across the street from the SCLC became a refuge for him and his fellow freedom fighters. “You get thirsty when you’re out in the field getting your head beat in.”

In the middle of all this Houck was “bamboozled” into being a driver for Dr. King and his family. “Here I am, a white boy in 1966, I was 18, I had a lot more hair then and weighed about 150 pounds less. The civil rights movement was still going on, but I decided yes, yes, I would drive,” he recalls. “I drove for about nine months, but I still wanted to organize — I was a hell of a good organizer — so I went back to organizing over the housing demonstrations in Chicago, the Vietnam war, and ultimately, the Poor People’s Campaign for low-income whites, Hispanics, and Asians.” He describes the Poor People’s Campaign as a challenge for social and economic justice and dignity that is still going on today. “We had a president back then (Lyndon Johnson) who was not quite like the one we have today.” 

Houck acknowledges it was a great experience driving for King “because it put me in the center of Atlanta and of the King family. I met a lot of people through them who became my best friends, my travel agents, my doctor, and my dentist, Walter Young, Andy’s brother, who is still practicing.” 

The King family suffered more than just the tragedy of MLK’s assassination in 1968. Younger brother Alfred Daniel King was found dead the following year in a swimming pool “under mysterious circumstances,” according to Houck. Their mother, Alberta Williams King, was shot to death inside Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1974, while playing the organ. Yolanda King, their eldest child, died of a heart attack in 2007 at the age of 51.

Coretta Scott King, MLK’s late widow, started to plan the King Center on Auburn Avenue shortly after his death. “Today it’s headed by (King’s youngest child) Bernice Albertine King,” Houck notes. “It’s dedicated to nonviolent protest around the world — still a work in progress but it’s coming along. That’s what their goal is.” 

Houck’s tour, which begins at the King Center, also takes in the Vine City home where the King family lived and their children were raised. “The house was full of love and joy. We would play football out here with neighborhood kids and Dr. King would sometimes join us,” Houck remembers.

“It was here that Coretta got the news on April 4th of 1968, shortly after 6 o’clock, that Martin had been shot in Memphis,” Houck adds. “She got ready to go (to the Atlanta airport) and got picked up by Mayor Ivan Allen, and on the way there they discovered Martin had died. She led the same march in Memphis the next day that Martin was going to lead, nonviolently, then came back to Atlanta and played host to the world for the next three or four days. One of the last visitors to come here was Bobby Kennedy, and a few months later we know what happened to him.”

Another residence on the tour is the family home of John Wesley Dobbs, a pivotal figure in black suffrage who co-founded the Atlanta Negro Voters League, and who was instrumental in getting  mayor William Hartsfield to hire black police officers. Dobbs died in 1961 on the same day the Atlanta School System was desegregated, and his grandson, Maynard Jackson Jr., won election as the city’s first black mayor 12 years later. A giant sculpture to honor Dobbs was erected on Auburn Avenue during the 1996 Summer Olympics. 



Many of Atlanta’s most prominent civil rights leaders are buried at South-View Cemetery, where Houck’s bus stops towards the end of the three-hour tour. King himself was buried there temporarily before his crypt at the King Center was constructed. The tour also takes a drive down part of the Atlanta boulevard named after King, where Houck once had an apartment. “It’s an honor to have lived on a street named for my hero,” he says. -CL-
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“We don’t follow any specific rules or script, except our love for Atlanta and its nonviolence in the civil rights movement, which I was very fortunate to be a part of,” Houck says from his perch at the front of the tour bus on a recent Saturday morning. 

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As we pass the old SCLC building on Auburn Avenue, Houck says, “The march from Selma to Montgomery and the March on Washington, those were all planned here; this is where the Albany, Georgia, movement was based; the Poor People’s Campaign was organized here.” The National Park Service has purchased the former SCLC headquarters and “hopefully will restore this building to the beauty it once had,” he continues.

“It took a lot of blood and sweat and tears to get the city integrated,” Houck acknowledges. “Atlanta was the headquarters of many of those civil rights leaders, that’s why you see so many streets and buildings named after them. Some became politicians — Andy Young became mayor of Atlanta; there is Congressman John Lewis; Hosea Williams was elected to several offices.”

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Houck says he was arrested about 20 times while working as a “foot soldier” in the civil rights movement “and I got 17 stitches in my knee to prove it.” A tavern across the street from the SCLC became a refuge for him and his fellow freedom fighters. “You get thirsty when you’re out in the field getting your head beat in.”

In the middle of all this Houck was “bamboozled” into being a driver for Dr. King and his family. “Here I am, a white boy in 1966, I was 18, I had a lot more hair then and weighed about 150 pounds less. The civil rights movement was still going on, but I decided yes, yes, I would drive,” he recalls. “I drove for about nine months, but I still wanted to organize — I was a hell of a good organizer — so I went back to organizing over the housing demonstrations in Chicago, the Vietnam war, and ultimately, the Poor People’s Campaign for low-income whites, Hispanics, and Asians.” He describes the Poor People’s Campaign as a challenge for social and economic justice and dignity that is still going on today. “We had a president back then (Lyndon Johnson) who was not quite like the one we have today.” 

Houck acknowledges it was a great experience driving for King “because it put me in the center of Atlanta and of the King family. I met a lot of people through them who became my best friends, my travel agents, my doctor, and my dentist, Walter Young, Andy’s brother, who is still practicing.” 

The King family suffered more than just the tragedy of MLK’s assassination in 1968. Younger brother Alfred Daniel King was found dead the following year in a swimming pool “under mysterious circumstances,” according to Houck. Their mother, Alberta Williams King, was shot to death inside Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1974, while playing the organ. Yolanda King, their eldest child, died of a heart attack in 2007 at the age of 51.

Coretta Scott King, MLK’s late widow, started to plan the King Center on Auburn Avenue shortly after his death. “Today it’s headed by (King’s youngest child) Bernice Albertine King,” Houck notes. “It’s dedicated to nonviolent protest around the world — still a work in progress but it’s coming along. That’s what their goal is.” 

Houck’s tour, which begins at the King Center, also takes in the Vine City home where the King family lived and their children were raised. “The house was full of love and joy. We would play football out here with neighborhood kids and Dr. King would sometimes join us,” Houck remembers.

“It was here that Coretta got the news on April 4th of 1968, shortly after 6 o’clock, that Martin had been shot in Memphis,” Houck adds. “She got ready to go (to the Atlanta airport) and got picked up by Mayor Ivan Allen, and on the way there they discovered Martin had died. She led the same march in Memphis the next day that Martin was going to lead, nonviolently, then came back to Atlanta and played host to the world for the next three or four days. One of the last visitors to come here was Bobby Kennedy, and a few months later we know what happened to him.”

Another residence on the tour is the family home of John Wesley Dobbs, a pivotal figure in black suffrage who co-founded the Atlanta Negro Voters League, and who was instrumental in getting  mayor William Hartsfield to hire black police officers. Dobbs died in 1961 on the same day the Atlanta School System was desegregated, and his grandson, Maynard Jackson Jr., won election as the city’s first black mayor 12 years later. A giant sculpture to honor Dobbs was erected on Auburn Avenue during the 1996 Summer Olympics. 

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Many of Atlanta’s most prominent civil rights leaders are buried at South-View Cemetery, where Houck’s bus stops towards the end of the three-hour tour. King himself was buried there temporarily before his crypt at the King Center was constructed. The tour also takes a drive down part of the Atlanta boulevard named after King, where Houck once had an apartment. “It’s an honor to have lived on a street named for my hero,” he says. __''-CL-''__
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  string(7071) " Houck Filming PHOTO  2019-09-05T15:16:46+00:00 Houck_filming_PHOTO__.jpg   A great story on my friend and compadre Tom Houck. He lived those days in the 70s when Atlanta was becoming "the city too busy to hate," and he helped make it one of the most integrated and exciting cities in the country to be in at that time.  Thanks, Kevin Madigan, for the story, and Bravo Tom!  With his tour of Atlanta’s historic civil rights landmarks, Tom Houck recounts the key role of the city and its people in the movement 22852  2019-09-05T15:14:21+00:00 Eyewitness to history jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Kevin C. Madigan  2019-09-05T15:14:21+00:00  Merely a teenager when he signed up with the civil rights movement in the mid-1960s, Tom Houck has been committed to the cause ever since. Now 72, the raspy-voiced activist runs weekly bus tours of Atlanta’s historic civil rights spots, encompassing buildings, schools, churches, statues, neighborhoods, and other significant places and participants in the South’s struggle for equal rights.

“We don’t follow any specific rules or script, except our love for Atlanta and its nonviolence in the civil rights movement, which I was very fortunate to be a part of,” Houck says from his perch at the front of the tour bus on a recent Saturday morning. 


“I got kicked out of high school for going to Selma (Alabama, in 1965, after Bloody Sunday) and never returned, and wound up working for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta,” Houck recalls. The SCLC was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1957 in reaction to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and its aftermath, and the organization consisted mostly of local African American leaders such as Ralph David Abernathy, Andrew Young, and Joseph Lowery who organized nonviolent protests against discrimination and, in doing so, made a place for themselves in this country’s history.

As we pass the old SCLC building on Auburn Avenue, Houck says, “The march from Selma to Montgomery and the March on Washington, those were all planned here; this is where the Albany, Georgia, movement was based; the Poor People’s Campaign was organized here.” The National Park Service has purchased the former SCLC headquarters and “hopefully will restore this building to the beauty it once had,” he continues.

“It took a lot of blood and sweat and tears to get the city integrated,” Houck acknowledges. “Atlanta was the headquarters of many of those civil rights leaders, that’s why you see so many streets and buildings named after them. Some became politicians — Andy Young became mayor of Atlanta; there is Congressman John Lewis; Hosea Williams was elected to several offices.”


Houck says he was arrested about 20 times while working as a “foot soldier” in the civil rights movement “and I got 17 stitches in my knee to prove it.” A tavern across the street from the SCLC became a refuge for him and his fellow freedom fighters. “You get thirsty when you’re out in the field getting your head beat in.”

In the middle of all this Houck was “bamboozled” into being a driver for Dr. King and his family. “Here I am, a white boy in 1966, I was 18, I had a lot more hair then and weighed about 150 pounds less. The civil rights movement was still going on, but I decided yes, yes, I would drive,” he recalls. “I drove for about nine months, but I still wanted to organize — I was a hell of a good organizer — so I went back to organizing over the housing demonstrations in Chicago, the Vietnam war, and ultimately, the Poor People’s Campaign for low-income whites, Hispanics, and Asians.” He describes the Poor People’s Campaign as a challenge for social and economic justice and dignity that is still going on today. “We had a president back then (Lyndon Johnson) who was not quite like the one we have today.” 

Houck acknowledges it was a great experience driving for King “because it put me in the center of Atlanta and of the King family. I met a lot of people through them who became my best friends, my travel agents, my doctor, and my dentist, Walter Young, Andy’s brother, who is still practicing.” 

The King family suffered more than just the tragedy of MLK’s assassination in 1968. Younger brother Alfred Daniel King was found dead the following year in a swimming pool “under mysterious circumstances,” according to Houck. Their mother, Alberta Williams King, was shot to death inside Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1974, while playing the organ. Yolanda King, their eldest child, died of a heart attack in 2007 at the age of 51.

Coretta Scott King, MLK’s late widow, started to plan the King Center on Auburn Avenue shortly after his death. “Today it’s headed by (King’s youngest child) Bernice Albertine King,” Houck notes. “It’s dedicated to nonviolent protest around the world — still a work in progress but it’s coming along. That’s what their goal is.” 

Houck’s tour, which begins at the King Center, also takes in the Vine City home where the King family lived and their children were raised. “The house was full of love and joy. We would play football out here with neighborhood kids and Dr. King would sometimes join us,” Houck remembers.

“It was here that Coretta got the news on April 4th of 1968, shortly after 6 o’clock, that Martin had been shot in Memphis,” Houck adds. “She got ready to go (to the Atlanta airport) and got picked up by Mayor Ivan Allen, and on the way there they discovered Martin had died. She led the same march in Memphis the next day that Martin was going to lead, nonviolently, then came back to Atlanta and played host to the world for the next three or four days. One of the last visitors to come here was Bobby Kennedy, and a few months later we know what happened to him.”

Another residence on the tour is the family home of John Wesley Dobbs, a pivotal figure in black suffrage who co-founded the Atlanta Negro Voters League, and who was instrumental in getting  mayor William Hartsfield to hire black police officers. Dobbs died in 1961 on the same day the Atlanta School System was desegregated, and his grandson, Maynard Jackson Jr., won election as the city’s first black mayor 12 years later. A giant sculpture to honor Dobbs was erected on Auburn Avenue during the 1996 Summer Olympics. 



Many of Atlanta’s most prominent civil rights leaders are buried at South-View Cemetery, where Houck’s bus stops towards the end of the three-hour tour. King himself was buried there temporarily before his crypt at the King Center was constructed. The tour also takes a drive down part of the Atlanta boulevard named after King, where Houck once had an apartment. “It’s an honor to have lived on a street named for my hero,” he says. -CL-
     Civil Rights Tour Atlanta THE GUARDIAN OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT: Tom Houck being interviewed at the Center for Civil and Human Rights.  0,0,8                                 Eyewitness to history "
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Article

Thursday September 5, 2019 11:14 am EDT
With his tour of Atlanta’s historic civil rights landmarks, Tom Houck recounts the key role of the city and its people in the movement | more...
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  string(59) "Still revolutionary, Patti Smith and David Byrne soldier on"
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  string(3926) "In the '60s and '70s, New Yorkers despised the Lower East Side. Once a tenement district, it was merely housing for the "great unwashed." But it also housed both St. Mark's Church, where Patti Smith, in 1971, performed her first public reading of poetry, and since 1973, the legendary club CBGB, where the music careers of both Smith and David Byrne began.

They took circuitous routes to get there: Smith via Chicago, Philadelphia and South Jersey. Byrne arrived through Scotland, Baltimore and Providence. They both gravitated toward Lower Manhattan, which for more than a century was considered a nucleus for artistic expression and cultural diversity, as well as a haven to immigrants and the dispossessed.

Massive development has replaced the trash-strewn sidewalks where CBGB held court. Smith established herself there in 1975, performing songs and improvisational poetry during an initial seven-week stand that drew the attention of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and Clive Davis, who promptly signed her to his fledgling Arista label.

Perhaps she got some of her manic onstage intensity from Janis Joplin, whom she befriended at the Chelsea Hotel during the latter's early stays in the city. Smith's emergence had begun with her status as a mainstay of the infamous hotel in the early '70s. She met playwright Sam Shepard there, with whom she collaborated on a series of projects, most notably a book of plays called Mad Dog Blues.

Becoming a powerful activist and a seminal poet along with being a musician, Smith referred to her work as "three chords merged with the power of the word." But by 1979, she had withdrawn from the business and did not fully reappear until the mid-'90s.

Among the other groups, including Television and the Ramones, that took to CBGB's tacky stage and developed their chops were Talking Heads, all angular, arty and aggressive. Bandleader Byrne spent the early '70s first playing violin and ukulele solo, then in a trio with two other Rhode Island School of Design students, future Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. As a child, he had rejected the music lessons offered by his father, declaring his intention to become a secret agent and an astronaut, preferably at the same time.

New York got the best of him, however, and Talking Heads caught on in a big way, despite the potentially limited appeal of the band's Lower East Side art-rock detachment. The band evolved in a multitude of directions and lasted all the way to 1991, when Byrne began a still-vibrant and varied career as filmmaker, performance artist and solo musician.

Now both musicians are well into their 50s and touring behind strong new albums. Smith's Trampin' includes a song called "Radio Baghdad," written from the point of view of a beleaguered resident of the city under siege. Elsewhere on the album, her daughter Jesse plays piano on the title track, an old Marian Anderson spiritual. In the song "My Blakean Year," Smith summons the ghost of William Blake, Byrne's favorite poet.

On Grown Backwards, Byrne curtails some of his foot-stomping proclivities to tackle a Lambchop cover as well as two arias — by Bizet and Verdi — with equal aplomb. Less technical and more emotional, Byrne now evokes the style of Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter. But the funk quota is still present on "Dialog Box" and "Lazy," which, at more than nine minutes long, could well become a DJ staple.

Saturday, these two stalwarts play in town on the same night: Smith will still attack with blistering poetry, and has guitarist/longtime collaborator Lenny Kaye in tow, just as he was in 1971 at St. Mark's. Byrne will still make you want to dance, combining the subtlety of a string quartet with his customary rambunctious and exploratory adventures.

Despite the passage of a quarter-century, these two artists hold strong to the ideals fostered during their early days on the Lower East Side.

music@creativeloafing.com
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  string(3971) "__In the '60s and '70s, __New Yorkers despised the Lower East Side. Once a tenement district, it was merely housing for the "great unwashed." But it also housed both St. Mark's Church, where Patti Smith, in 1971, performed her first public reading of poetry, and since 1973, the legendary club CBGB, where the music careers of both Smith and David Byrne began.

They took circuitous routes to get there: Smith via Chicago, Philadelphia and South Jersey. Byrne arrived through Scotland, Baltimore and Providence. They both gravitated toward Lower Manhattan, which for more than a century was considered a nucleus for artistic expression and cultural diversity, as well as a haven to immigrants and the dispossessed.

Massive development has replaced the trash-strewn sidewalks where CBGB held court. Smith established herself there in 1975, performing songs and improvisational poetry during an initial seven-week stand that drew the attention of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and Clive Davis, who promptly signed her to his fledgling Arista label.

Perhaps she got some of her manic onstage intensity from Janis Joplin, whom she befriended at the Chelsea Hotel during the latter's early stays in the city. Smith's emergence had begun with her status as a mainstay of the infamous hotel in the early '70s. She met playwright Sam Shepard there, with whom she collaborated on a series of projects, most notably a book of plays called ''Mad Dog Blues''.

Becoming a powerful activist and a seminal poet along with being a musician, Smith referred to her work as "three chords merged with the power of the word." But by 1979, she had withdrawn from the business and did not fully reappear until the mid-'90s.

Among the other groups, including Television and the Ramones, that took to CBGB's tacky stage and developed their chops were Talking Heads, all angular, arty and aggressive. Bandleader Byrne spent the early '70s first playing violin and ukulele solo, then in a trio with two other Rhode Island School of Design students, future Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. As a child, he had rejected the music lessons offered by his father, declaring his intention to become a secret agent and an astronaut, preferably at the same time.

New York got the best of him, however, and Talking Heads caught on in a big way, despite the potentially limited appeal of the band's Lower East Side art-rock detachment. The band evolved in a multitude of directions and lasted all the way to 1991, when Byrne began a still-vibrant and varied career as filmmaker, performance artist and solo musician.

Now both musicians are well into their 50s and touring behind strong new albums. Smith's ''Trampin''' includes a song called "Radio Baghdad," written from the point of view of a beleaguered resident of the city under siege. Elsewhere on the album, her daughter Jesse plays piano on the title track, an old Marian Anderson spiritual. In the song "My Blakean Year," Smith summons the ghost of William Blake, Byrne's favorite poet.

On ''Grown Backwards'', Byrne curtails some of his foot-stomping proclivities to tackle a Lambchop cover as well as two arias -- by Bizet and Verdi -- with equal aplomb. Less technical and more emotional, Byrne now evokes the style of Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter. But the funk quota is still present on "Dialog Box" and "Lazy," which, at more than nine minutes long, could well become a DJ staple.

Saturday, these two stalwarts play in town on the same night: Smith will still attack with blistering poetry, and has guitarist/longtime collaborator Lenny Kaye in tow, just as he was in 1971 at St. Mark's. Byrne will still make you want to dance, combining the subtlety of a string quartet with his customary rambunctious and exploratory adventures.

Despite the passage of a quarter-century, these two artists hold strong to the ideals fostered during their early days on the Lower East Side.

__[mailto:music@creativeloafing.com|music@creativeloafing.com]__
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  string(4168) "    Still revolutionary, Patti Smith and David Byrne soldier on   2004-06-10T04:04:00+00:00 Status quo antebellum   KEVIN MADIGAN 1223718 2004-06-10T04:04:00+00:00  In the '60s and '70s, New Yorkers despised the Lower East Side. Once a tenement district, it was merely housing for the "great unwashed." But it also housed both St. Mark's Church, where Patti Smith, in 1971, performed her first public reading of poetry, and since 1973, the legendary club CBGB, where the music careers of both Smith and David Byrne began.

They took circuitous routes to get there: Smith via Chicago, Philadelphia and South Jersey. Byrne arrived through Scotland, Baltimore and Providence. They both gravitated toward Lower Manhattan, which for more than a century was considered a nucleus for artistic expression and cultural diversity, as well as a haven to immigrants and the dispossessed.

Massive development has replaced the trash-strewn sidewalks where CBGB held court. Smith established herself there in 1975, performing songs and improvisational poetry during an initial seven-week stand that drew the attention of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed and Clive Davis, who promptly signed her to his fledgling Arista label.

Perhaps she got some of her manic onstage intensity from Janis Joplin, whom she befriended at the Chelsea Hotel during the latter's early stays in the city. Smith's emergence had begun with her status as a mainstay of the infamous hotel in the early '70s. She met playwright Sam Shepard there, with whom she collaborated on a series of projects, most notably a book of plays called Mad Dog Blues.

Becoming a powerful activist and a seminal poet along with being a musician, Smith referred to her work as "three chords merged with the power of the word." But by 1979, she had withdrawn from the business and did not fully reappear until the mid-'90s.

Among the other groups, including Television and the Ramones, that took to CBGB's tacky stage and developed their chops were Talking Heads, all angular, arty and aggressive. Bandleader Byrne spent the early '70s first playing violin and ukulele solo, then in a trio with two other Rhode Island School of Design students, future Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth. As a child, he had rejected the music lessons offered by his father, declaring his intention to become a secret agent and an astronaut, preferably at the same time.

New York got the best of him, however, and Talking Heads caught on in a big way, despite the potentially limited appeal of the band's Lower East Side art-rock detachment. The band evolved in a multitude of directions and lasted all the way to 1991, when Byrne began a still-vibrant and varied career as filmmaker, performance artist and solo musician.

Now both musicians are well into their 50s and touring behind strong new albums. Smith's Trampin' includes a song called "Radio Baghdad," written from the point of view of a beleaguered resident of the city under siege. Elsewhere on the album, her daughter Jesse plays piano on the title track, an old Marian Anderson spiritual. In the song "My Blakean Year," Smith summons the ghost of William Blake, Byrne's favorite poet.

On Grown Backwards, Byrne curtails some of his foot-stomping proclivities to tackle a Lambchop cover as well as two arias — by Bizet and Verdi — with equal aplomb. Less technical and more emotional, Byrne now evokes the style of Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter. But the funk quota is still present on "Dialog Box" and "Lazy," which, at more than nine minutes long, could well become a DJ staple.

Saturday, these two stalwarts play in town on the same night: Smith will still attack with blistering poetry, and has guitarist/longtime collaborator Lenny Kaye in tow, just as he was in 1971 at St. Mark's. Byrne will still make you want to dance, combining the subtlety of a string quartet with his customary rambunctious and exploratory adventures.

Despite the passage of a quarter-century, these two artists hold strong to the ideals fostered during their early days on the Lower East Side.

music@creativeloafing.com
             13014846 1248185                          Status quo antebellum "
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Thursday June 10, 2004 12:04 am EDT
Still revolutionary, Patti Smith and David Byrne soldier on | more...
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  string(1481) "Johnny Marr is well-equipped to handle the rigors of a solo project. Founder and guitarist of the vastly influential Smiths, he went on to become a sideman for the likes of Chrissie Hynde, The The's Matt Johnson, Bryan Ferry and the notorious Gallagher brothers. Quite an accomplishment, handling all those egos.

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Wednesday February 12, 2003 12:04 am EST

Johnny Marr is well-equipped to handle the rigors of a solo project. Founder and guitarist of the vastly influential Smiths, he went on to become a sideman for the likes of Chrissie Hynde, The The's Matt Johnson, Bryan Ferry and the notorious Gallagher brothers. Quite an accomplishment, handling all those egos.

When the time came for Marr to get up-front and personal, he recruited for his...

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[Admin link: Record Review - 4 June 19 2003]