Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing, Baby: A Love Letter to NOLA Jazz Fest 50

first_imgHard to believe it’s been 50 years of epic for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, yet here we are in 2019 celebrating the silver anniversary of this life-affirming institution. Jazz Fest—and the culture that surrounds—is an anomaly of sorts, as nowhere else does an event or community quite like this exist, let alone thrive as one nation under the groove. It can only be incubated and co-created in one place, and that is the beloved Crescent City, the one they say that care forgot. Some of us have not forgotten what it means, and we never will, for it is our home away from home.Like the thousands who have second lined to brass bands, caught the Holy Ghost in the Gospel Tent, and gluttonously pounded Crawfish Monica before me, Jazz Fest has enriched my life immeasurably, far beyond the two weeks out of the year it occupies. Forever pledging our funky allegiance, we’ll always plan to return again and again, as it’s become a family tradition on multiple fronts. In that fact, I am assuredly not alone.New Orleans herself remains a beautiful conundrum, her convoluted and contested history the socio-cultural backdrop that defines the soundtrack to this town. The city often pulls inward, yet the hospitality she continually shows to outsiders like me keeps me forever in her debt. There’s that certain way they treat you, speak to you, nurture you, and bless you up with whatever they have to give and more. There’s a cadence to their musings, their vernacular as colorfully spirited as it is genuinely their own. This is a town where people bid you “Good Morning” until 4 p.m. The musical history that pulses through this city is in ’round-the-clock abundance, and the voodoo magic that defines this place is prevalent in spaces and places large and small. The fashion in which musicians come together to collaborate over this two-week spring interval is downright intoxicating, and keeps Jazz Festers returning annually for another shot at chasing dragons from venue to club to Fairgrounds stage and beyond.As an aspiring music journalist and Gonzo-historian of sorts, covering Jazz Fest for JamBase and Live For Live Music through the years has become somewhat of a calling. For a number of years and adventures now, I have been honored and humbled to be just a minuscule part of documenting our ever-evolving Fest community and its surrounding events here in the Crescent City. For so many of us, Jazz Fest is a welcome respite every spring, a raging reminder that after an often arduous winter, we’ll see summer come again. I hope that my reflection on Jazz Fest 50 can serve as a souvenir for those who may have danced alongside me, or a motivating factor in prompting somebody new to make this essential pilgrimage next year, or maybe just someday.A wise superhero once explained (and I’ve reiterated it many times since), judge your Jazz Fest not by what you were blessed to see, but instead by what you were forced to miss. In light of this sage advice, I implore readers to please excuse any omissions of music at Jazz Fest 2019 that you may feel deserves coverage, as there are plenty of shows that I would have liked to enjoy but sadly did not attend; several that are already the stuff of legend (Les Claypool’s Bastard Jazz, NOLA 50, Call & Response at the Music Box, etc).Each year, there are countless musical options available to Jazz Festers—so many that it can be quite overwhelming, and at times even paralyzing. There are rampant FOMO outbreaks, often contagious; sometimes we just pick the wrong shows. Even when we get it right on that particular night, naturally one cannot catalog or review everything they take in over the course of nearly two weeks of round-the-clock rage. Nonetheless, as part of my annual love letter to Jazz Fest and New Orleans, I wanted to take the opportunity to shine a light on several potent and prismatic performers that I was blessed to enjoy over the course of this year’s 50th Jazz Fest. Le bon temps roule!LOOKING BACK AT JAZZ FEST 50NOLA buzz band The Grïd, lead by the uber-talented drummer/producer A.J. Hall, threw down a sweet tribute to the Roland 808 drum machine (with Khris Royal in tow) for a free show at the Ace Hotel. The Grïd also backed up Nigel Hall for a solo engagement at the Blue Nile, a first Saturday showdown that was on and poppin’. They had several other bookings all over town, as this krewe has been slowly but steadily bubblin’ for a few years now. I’m continually impressed with their unique hip-hop/R&B steez that is all their own.The Grïd – “Sexual Healing” [Marvin Gaye cover] [Video: Eileen Hall]Local rapper/singer/songwriter/performer Suzannah Powell, better known by her stage name, Boyfriend, sold out One Eyed Jacks late night on first Friday backed by members of The Revivalists. Together, they tore the house down with hilarious, quasi-tongue-in-cheek risque performance art. This rambunctious party was complete with a lusty Christina Aguilera cover (“Genie In a Bottle”), and a David Shaw-enhanced “Praise You” (Fatboy Slim) to close it down at the stroke of 4 a.m. Over the two weeks of bottomless pints of funk and groove, a bit of humor and self-effacing fun was a welcome detour, courtesy of the rather charming (and somewhat alarming) Boyfriend.Boyfriend ft. The Revivalists – “Praise You” (Fatboy Slim cover)[Video: FeralPhotography]Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe called upon a gang of friends including Lyle Divinsky (The Motet), Kimberly Dawson (Matador! Soul Sounds), old pal Mike Dillon and more for R.E.S.P.E.K.T.: A Tribute to the Queen of Soul, second Friday at the Orpheum Theater. Even Boyfriend showed up late in the game for an updated take on Aretha Franklin’s signature song. This was an enjoyable show, if a bit safe for Karl D Jazz Fest standards. KDTU also appeared at their regular, longtime late-night NOLA haunt Tipitina’s, for an earlier evening engagement in 2019. Even though the Rolling Stones unfortunately cancelled their Fairgrounds extravaganza, the Diesel still rocked the racetrack when the Tiny Universe torched Congo Square stage first weekend, returning to the festival proper for the first time since 2005.The pristine swag of New Orleans drummer Terence Higgins is a sight and sound to behold, especially in his hometown. The former Dirty Dozen riddim king was on the drum seat for two dozen different sets over Jazz Fest, including high profile gigs with Tab Benoit and Ani DiFranco, with whom he is a regular band member. The smooth criminal they call “Grease” also rocked with a variety of superjams featuring the likes of Eric Krasno and Roosevelt Collier, in addition to a Col. Bruce Hampton tribute, a Jimi Hendrix tribute, the Mad Skillet project with John Medeski and Kirk Joseph, and a stint double-drumming Jerry Garcia tunes with his pal Jermal Watson at d.b.a. However, the tastiest Higgins jams, in this writer’s opinion, took place at the Maple Leaf late on first Thursday, where his own Swampgrease squad uncorked an absolute scorcher featuring the likes of Nigel Hall, Ryan Zoidis, Eric Vogel, Ari Teitel, Andrew Block, Lyle Divinsky, Raquel Rodriguez, Khris Royal and more. Alas, at the moment that Deitch and company wrapped up this stellar sesh, we again peeled out of the Quarter and over to the Howlin’ Wolf for the first-ever Soulaquarians Salute, just getting underway. Headed up by trombonist Big Sam Williams and drummer Daru Jones, this would be a scintillating tribute to the landmark turn-of-the-century works by D’angelo, Erykah Badu, Common, the late J-Dilla, and beyond. Naturally, trumpet star Maurice “Mobetta” Brown would be a crucial element to this equation, as would guitarist Marcus Machado. Vanguard vocalists Charles “Redd” Middleton and Jermaine Holmes, D’angelo’s teammates who ran around NOLA with Daru and Marcus for the second straight year, were nothing short of killin’. Singer Kam Franklin took on Badu numbers “Window Seat” and the sultry “Fall In Love (Your Funeral)”, both from New AmErykah Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh. The band expertly approximated the special sauce that Questlove, James Poyser, Q-Tip, Dilla and the original Soulquarians created, a sound and ethos that has been somewhat copied but never equaled. They even took a stab at post-Soulquarians D’angelo country cut “The Door”, a track found on Black Messiah which D himself has only played live once. The Salute really reached for the sky with an ethereal take on “One Mo’Gin” from D’angelo’s unparalleled 1999 LP, Voodoo. The slow and sensual sway had every last lover longing for what might have been. The Soulaquarians Salute delivered musically, but unfortunately the market didn’t respond accordingly, as attendance was pretty light. Admittedly, it was a tough Tuesday night schedule with the two aforementioned shows in addition to the always-popular Dragon Smoke and L4LM’s The Funk Sessions. The deck was pretty stacked, indeed. Here’s to hoping that next year they give Soulaquarian Salute another shot—and maybe in 2020 more Jazz Festers will get religion.There were several crawfish boil events again this year before, during and after Jazz Fest proper, each of them with merit and music worthy of discussion. However, I want to show love to the first annual Cosmic Crawfish Ball, an all-day event that took place on Wednesday of the days between. Produced by NOLA Brewing and Heartbeat Productions, the Cosmic Crawfish Ball offered some choice eats along with a diverse menu of music that really ran the gamut. Folks enjoyed performances from white-hot local upstarts like The Quickening and The Iceman Special, both of which featured choice sit-ins from local rock n’ roll troubadour Billy Iuso. The afternoon included a spirited set from Benny & the Late Bloomers and a mammoth slab of funk, R&B and Crescent City soul from Daru Jones, Marcus Machado, and Doug Wimbish a.k.a. DMD. Theirs was a raucous affair, and with the help of Roosevelt Collier, Big Sam Williams, Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, and about a dozen others, they made sure that this place got pretty riled up as the sun began to set behind the Mississippi River just across the way. To close out the Cosmic Crawfish Ball, Lil’ Baby Jesus Peasant Party went subaqueous for nearly two hours in the crunk tank. The collective, which features bandleader Jesus Coomes (Lettuce) on bass and his brother Ty Coomes on drums, also welcomed contributions from Ryan Zoidis (sax, Lettuce) and NOLA’s Khris Royal (sax & keys), as well as Break Science’s Borahm Lee (samples & keys) for a downtempo, electronic, psychedelic exploration in sound.Daze Between Band is the successor to the Bear Creek Allstars/Suwannee Family Band, a long-running Paul Levine-helmed celebration at One Eyed Jack’s on Wednesday between Jazz Fest weekends. For the past three years, it’s been co-produced by L4LM with a band directed and curated by Eric Krasno, to wild success. 2019’s rendition was again a thrilling throwdown of colossal proportions. Ghost-Note’s Robert Sput Searight and MonoNeon held down the rhythm section while a ridiculous collective took shape as the core band, one that included Jen Hartswick (trumpet and vocals), Ryan Zoidis (debuting his sweet soprano sax), Weedie Braimah (percussion), and no-longer-a-secret weapon Nigel Hall on keys and vocals. As is tradition—for this party, for Bear Creek, and obviously Jazz Fest—sit-ins were the order of the day, and Daze Between offered them in abundance. Marcus King—who was omnipresent down there this year—took a star turn fronting the band, joining Adam Deitch, Nicholas Cassarino, WSP’s Duane Trucks, frequent Jimmy Herring collaborator Kevin Scott, and Ghost-Note percussionist Nate Werth, and more on the list of special guests for the evening.After a smoldering two-plus hours of music deep into the Quarter night, the sardine-packed venue swaying and singing the joy fantastic, the band solemnly returned to the stage. A visibly shaken Nigel Hall tearfully addressed the crowd with a priestly benediction and memorial for the dearly departed Kofi Burbridge, the late keyboardist/flutist always a fixture on this show, on this night, and in all sorts of combinations with every cat who’d graced the stage for Daze Between. Nigel even put Kofi next to George Duke AND Jim Brown in the same breath, no small notion if you know where Hall lives both musically and spiritually. Lead by the Kofi elegy from Nigel, the assembled mourners put their hearts and hymns into the music, delivering a rollicking and emotional “Rock With U” encore at the stroke of 5am—a sentiment that resonated with every beating heart on Toulouse.Daze Between Band – Encore for Kofi Burbridge[Video: FunkItBlog]Nigel Hall may not be born on the Bayou, but the man has resided in the Crescent City for the past decade and has been wholly accepted into the bosom of this great place. The super-talented singer/songwriter/keyboardist has steadily worked his way into the fabric of NOLA and is truly a part of the intrinsic heartbeat of Jazz Fest, day or night. No matter what venue or part of town, Nigel is kin. The man’s immeasurable talents and personality were on glorious display for the entirety of two weeks of Fest, and his contributions to the music and the culture continue to know no bounds. A workingman’s player, a keyboard wizard, an analog son, an organ maestro, and an R&B crooner with the best of ‘em, Nigel Hall could be found wowing audiences as a part of his main band, Lettuce, for their annual RAGE Fest, as well as backing NOLA’s authentically royal piano man Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, rocking with The Grïd at the Ace Hotel for an 808 bash, or having them back him up at the Blue Nile with special guest Raquel Rodriguez. His solo band Fairgrounds set was sadly rained out, but instead he was an essential component to The Nth Power’s Marvin Gaye Tribute and to their own OG lineup reunion at the Blue Nile. Nigel sizzled with Nikki Glaspie & the Homies and the aforementioned Daze Between Band, did SwampGrease with Terence Higgins, Maple Leaf All-Stars for some uptown Neville vibes, WWOZ’s annual Piano Night, guested with DMD at the Cosmic Crawfish Ball, Ghost-Note at the Music Box and again for their Swagism LIVE showcase, the WIMBASH All-Stars, and more. At every turn, Nigel let his otherworldly blessings rain over us all, sorting out all sorts of family stuff onstage, healing with music deep into the night. Nigel left it all on the court. Even when the emotions brought him to tears and choked up his vocals, he soldiered on. Few people live inside of the music quite like Nigel, and during the marathon of Jazz Fest, we are all better off for it.Nigel Hall (w/Raquel Rodriguez) & The Grïd – 4/27/19[Video: FunkItBlog]Speaking of marathons, there’s no more thoroughbred Jazz Fest cat than local multi-instrumentalist Khris Royal. This dude has stamina like few others in the game, but his playing is never a note worse for the wear. Seriously, it’s hard to imagine that this dude is a human being, with all the top-flight playing all over town, in such a wide variety of projects, while staying firmly ensconced in the epicenter of the NOLA music scene year-round. His Jazz Fest gig poster for social media reads like fine print. His own project Khris Royal’s Dark Matter has a brand new LP that just dropped as Jazz Fest kicked off, celebrating with a record release party at Gasa Gasa. But my man was everywhere over the course of the two weeks of Fest. I personally witnessed Royal rocking with the Peasant Party at the Cosmic Crawfish Ball, George Porter Jr. & the Runnin’ Pardners at Fest, The Grïd’s killin’ 808 showcase at the Ace Hotel, onstage with the 101 Runners at Fest, with Derrick Freeman’s incredible SOUL Brass Band at the Lagniappe Stage, with Star Kitchen at The Maison, and with Nikki & the Homies at the Maple Leaf. Possibly even elsewhere (it can become a blur), but that’s merely one-third of his appearances, nevermind the random sit-ins and such. Royal’s Bayou-born, jazz-bred, reggae-tinged, New Power Generation-steez saxophone swag leads the way, but Khris gets pretty damn nice on the keys and bass guitar as well. Royal represents this city proudly, serving and embodying the local culture and tradition while collaborating in earnest with the visiting teams too. He always comes with something to say and fresh to play. (Check out Dark Matter II, out now!)One must tip the Kangol to all-around Jazz Fest superhero Eric Krasno. Serving as musical director for an endeavor like Daze Between Band is no small feat, and once again Kraz lead with his atypically humble authority, charting a perfect balance of familiarity and new territory amidst a collection of artists that he expertly employs to compliment one another. In addition to his masterful work and predictably-sick shredding at Daze Between, this dude was literally everywhere at Jazz Fest. Too many collaborations to mention them all, but without question first team All-Pro 2019, as he is virtually each and every year down at the Jazz Fest. The two-decade New Yorker, recently relocated to Los Angeles, was looking svelte and energized as he took NOLA by storm once again. Krasno really stretched out in numerous directions this year, from Foundation of Funk with Phil Lesh sitting in to a third consecutive RAGE Fest reconnection with his Lettuce bredren to guesting with local stalwarts New Orleans Suspects at the Maple Leaf. He joined in with Jason Crosby & Friends and the Cafe Istanbul superjam with Leo Nocentelli, a huge set with Oteil & Friends second Friday, the classic Dr. Klaw hit at Bayou Rendezvous and, of course, his star turn in the Star Kitchen at The Maison. He even put in a round of raging with local buzz-band The Iceman Special at the reconstituted Sauvage Fest outside the Jazz Fest fairgrounds. All of these were peppered between other unlisted sit-ins all over town. Eric Krasno is a perfect example of how an artist not from NOLA becomes an essential part of the fabric of Jazz Fest, establishing his own lane, in his own voice, with reverence for the city and admiration for its artists, all the while earning their respect and hospitality because of how he carries it himself.Star Kitchen feat. Eric Krasno 4/28/19[Video: FunkItBlog]That brings me to Marc Brownstein’s funk band, as Star Kitchen took over the Frenchman Street club Maison on first Saturday with a throbbing, robust set of rock, funk, and irreverent getting-the-Led-out. The Disco Biscuits, Brownie’s main band, returned to the Crescent City for two Jazz Fest shows at the brand-new Fillmore earlier in the first weekend, but on Sunday night, the erstwhile bassist became bandleader and rolled out his new krewe that he dreamt up specifically for the purpose of playing a Jazz Fest late night. Alas, here they were, packing a venue with an assortment of guests who made it crystal clear that this is more than just a side project—this band has legs. It was heart-filling to behold Brownie’s vision come to triumphant fruition, as he set an intention and realized it with the able assistance of a tremendous team incorporating the Philly based talents of Rob Marscher (Addison Groove Project, Matisyahu), the unheralded genius of my old pal Danny Mayer (Eric Krasno Band, Danny & Mary) on guitar, and the crushing Marlon Lewis on drums. From Stevie to Zeppelin, this band wasted no time going to “Outta Space.” When Kraz appeared for his own (Derek Trucks co-written) “Curse Lifter”, Brownie and Lewis held down the groove as Kraz and Mayer stepped into the iconic duel-axe dalliance and soared. The always-welcome breakbeat magic of Bob James‘ “Nautilus” was fresh for this band but straight butta from the Kraz playbook. Soon, the Biscuits’ Aron Magner, who also debuted a new project during Jazz Fest (SPAGA), joined Marcher on the wall of keys on Deodato’s “September 13th”; score one for Brownie, what a call! NOLA’s Khris Royal (sax) and Turkuaz vixen Shira Elias arrived for a grand finale rocketship from Mercury to the Queen of Soul, and by the time the capacity crowd spilled out into Frenchmen Street, there was no longer a question: Star Kitchen is most definitely cookin’ with gas.Star Kitchen w/ Khris Royal[Video: Manda Saurus]The mighty Lettuce sold out the Joy Theater for RAGE Fest, their annual Jazz Fest appearance. Predictably, they leveled the venue with a two-set eruption of cataclysmic proportions. In 2019, the band has really set their gear-shift towards uncharted galaxies with continually colossal type-II safaris, and this evening would certainly not disappoint in that capacity. In the middle of a mystical “Phyllis”, the boys set off on a fantastic voyage of boom-bap hip-hop, arriving at elevation station in a fit of pure LETT improv at its finest and most potent. Two stalwart guests joined them, one in each set: The first frame saw founding guitarist Eric Krasno slide through for a robust axe duel with Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff on the seminal “Last Suppit”. Second set found LETT inviting bassist Oteil Burbridge, whose own group warmed up the room a bit earlier, to the spotlight for a three-song sit-in, beginning with the JGB groove-train “Finders Keepers” and continuing through the rare “7-Jam”. They finished the special guest section with their customary “Relax”, a song that allowed Oteil to beautifully scat atop his nimble fretwork. Other highlights included “Moksha” and “N’Dugu” early in the final frame before the crunkalogic science of a “Purple Cabbage > Trapezoid” combo seemed to threaten armageddon. That pairing found the squad frothing at the feet of the Mothership, with DJ Premier riding shotgun, before they took a hard turn to East Atlanta for some “Mo Bomba” action. For the titanic encore, Lettuce eschewed any familiar material and asked if they could debut something new. What materialized was leviathan in nature, a punishing peak into the next portal. Bassist Jesus Coomes and drummer Adam Deitch locked into some head-nod calisthenics while Nigel Hall, Bloom and Zoidis were shimmied in and out of the pocket with aplomb. Who knows if or when we’ll ever hear this joint again, but on this special Thursday night, the RAGE Fest faithful were treated to an excursion atop their brand new Space Mountain. Lettuce remains one of the tried and truest rides in the amusement park that is Jazz Fest, but if you take a moment and peek outside, you’ll see that they’ve still got the longest line. The original funk Voltron served to remind us all, yet again, that this is for good reason.Lettuce – New Song – 5/2/19[Video: FunkItBlog]Ghost-Note is another collective that has rapidly immersed itself in the Jazz Fest flow. Leaders Robert Sput Searight and Nate Werth have been gigging down here in NOLA for years with Snarky Puppy, and this town is the first one where Ghost-Note sold out (Gasa Gasa in 2018). Searight has hosted his renowned Sputacular event at the Blue Nile for a few years now, while Werth steadily floats around to myriad shows, sitting in all over town during Fest. Ghost-Note’s bass phenom MonoNeon has also quickly become a part of the Jazz Fest culture, teaming up with a variety of musicians for tributes and one-offs in the true late-night spirit. The rest of the band is slightly less initiated to how we do things round here, but more than prepared for storming the stage with their squad. But nothing could have prepped Ghost-Note or the fans who flock to Jazz Fest every year for what this band would unveil over the course of three fundamentally different performances.The trio of gigs began with the NEON-Ghost show at One Eyed Jacks, where Dwayne “MonoNeon” Thomas Jr. unveiled slabs of unreleased original music and the rest of Ghost-Note helped him communicate this art to the masses for the very first time. On second Friday, Ghost-Note and a bevy of friends invaded the Music Box Village for a “Junkyard Jam”, a sold-out abstract performance at the interactive venue that saw the band perform an assortment of repurposed structures doubling as instrumentation, while the likes of Daru Jones, Ryan Zoidis (again on soprano sax), Big Sam Williams, Jermaine Holmes, and many more took turns blessing up the bewildered masses. But even that was only a prelude to the massive-in-scope Swagism LIVE showcase at One Eyed Jacks on second Saturday night. The entirety of the Ghost-Note mission was fully realized as they succeeded in re-creating their landmark double LP, which was recorded at Parlor Studios here in NOLA, live onstage over the course of two raucous sets. Special guests included Kamasi Washington, Karl Denson, emcees So So Topic and Munir, spoken word artists Prudence and Sneed The Auset, Alvin Ford Jr., Weedie Braimah, Bobby Sparks, Raja Kassis, Nigel Hall, Eric Benny Bloom, Nicholas Payton, Brandon “Taz” Niederauer and more. Quite the feat accomplished by Ghost-Note, who left an indelible mark on the city in 2019. Among the most treasured acts to frequent Jazz Fest night shows over the past decade is the divine Rising Appalachia, headed up by siren sisters Chloe Smith and Leah Song. The group, which has swelled to a six-piece band, sailed through their former home of NOLA for two succulent shows on the final weekend of Fest, both in celebration of their exquisite new LP, Leylines. Rising Appalachia began by playing an intimate engagement on Saturday afternoon inside the smaller indoor area at Music Box Village, where they debuted several cuts from the new record and welcomed the amazing Aurora Nealand to the stage for a choice sit-in. Then, the six musicians took over the curious outdoor environs of the Music Box Village and created improvisational music on a plethora of structures, in addition to tweaking the output of their own instruments and voices. A very unique musical experience, even by New Orleans and Music Box standards.The following evening, just after the Fairgrounds closed on Sacred Sunday, Rising Appalachia packed One Eyed Jacks for a positively masterful performance, primarily of material found on the superb Leylines. Song and Smith reminisced from the stage about how much they loved living and busking in New Orleans, and one could certainly hear the city’s influence embedded in their magnanimous craft. Highlights included “Cuckoo”, an old-Appalachian fiddle tune passed down from their Mama, full throttle and rowdy; and the apocalyptic southern gospel of “I Believe in Being Ready.” Then there was the luscious “Harmonize”, their love song disguised as a folk song,  this a rite of passage to a higher form of love that we all aspire to connect. In addition to Song and Smith, percussionist Biko Casini and multi-instrumentalist David Brown remained in light, and the group has permanently added Arouna Diarra on n’goni and talking drum, plus Irish fiddler/cellist Duncan Wickel. In true Crescent City tradition, the collective welcomed local legend Washboard Chaz and trumpet player Brandon Lewis (Preservation Hall Jazz Band) to the fold for a rip-roaring run through the traditional “St. James Infirmary”, a song that Rising Appalachia has certainly adopted as their own through the years. Tuesday night of the days between offered a bit of stiff competition for the seasoned Jazz Fester, as there were (more than) three tasty options in a cramped 200-minute window of opportunity. To start things off, we headed uptown to Tipitina’s for a special engagement with Asheville, NC’s Toubab Krewe. Ironically, bandleader/percussionist extraordinaire Luke Quaranta has lived in NOLA for the better part of five years, but they will forever be an Appalachian band to these ears. Nonetheless, their current creations, including 2018’s LP Stylo, are very much informed by their NOLA-bred drummer extraordinaire Terrence Houston, of George Porter Jr’s various bands. The cat they call the “Groove Guardian” lends his fiercely physical Crescent City style to the West African ethos of Toubab Krewe’s sound, a combination that makes for a spicy Malian jambalaya. The Krewe has been doing the damn thing for well over a decade now and they are nothing if not a well-oiled machine. Their patented Kora-dream sessions came alive in the hallowed room over which Fess’ presides.From Tip’s, we screamed down to Frenchmen to slip into the Blue Nile midway through the Adam Deitch Quartet’s annual seance. Led by the venerable drummer Deitch and ably augmented by his Lettuce horn section of Ryan Zoidis (sax) and Eric Benny Bloom (trumpet) plus Bay Area organ maestro Wil Blades, AD4 has really evolved into an amalgam of classic groove jazz with hip-hop sensibilities. On this night, they unveiled an extremely polished performance yet again. By the end of the concert, people were howling for the release of their long-awaited debut LP, Egyptian Secrets. Kudos to Backbeat Foundation for bringing AD4 back to the Nile year after year. I want to acknowledge the steady stream of super solid performers who graced the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s plush and cozy Lagniappe Stage over both weekends. There is plenty of coverage from the Fairgrounds proper throughout the media, and I’ve always focused coverage primarily on the After Dark endeavors. However, this particular Lagniappe was simply too lovely to ignore, hence a quick shoutout to the sweet little stage. In 2019, we snuck into the Lagniappe Stage to enjoy the likes of SOUL Brass Band, New Orleans Klezmer Allstars (with special guest Stanton Moore), Helen Gillet, Keith Burnstein’s Kettle Black, and Billy Iuso & the Restless Natives. Each of these performances offered something authentic, and delivered in a cozy, shady, and downright elegant space off the Fairgrounds’ beaten path. On extremely hot days on the track, a tasty set at the Lagniappe was so often just what the doctor ordered. The annual Fiyawerx Productions threauxdown, FIYA POWA, returned late night second Thursday at The Maison on Frenchmen Street, and per usual, the always-slaying squad delivered another bruiser. Local heavyweights Ivan Neville, Stanton Moore, Tony Hall, and Big Sam Williams teamed up with the likes of burgeoning guitar ace Marcus King, Skerik, Maurice “Mobetta” Brown, guitarist Joe Marcinek, and the Minister of the Suwannee River, Dr. Roosevelt Collier, for a typically sick superjam sesh that ended with Adam Deitch and Kamasi Washingto blessing up the last few lurkers with a special duo treat. Fiyawerx captain Chris Rogers still knows how to throw a proper late night Jazz Fest party on this side of town.FIYA POWA feat. Adam Deitch, J. Marcinek, R. Collier, D-Vibes[Video: FunkItBlog]Over the course of my six days at the Fairgrounds in 2019, I spent a considerable amount of time and attention at the Jazz & Heritage Stage, primarily for the series of Mardi Gras Indians performing throughout both weekends. It was not uncommon to see crucial members of the local music community backing these groups. I spied the likes of sax maven Khris Royal and guitar champ June Yamagishi holding it down with 101 Runners, or Tank & the Bangas touring guitarist Danny Abel in a support role with Hardhead Hunters. Of note was the protest music that emanated from the 79ers Gang, hailing from the 7th Ward Creole Hunters (Big Chief Romero) & 9th Ward Hunters (Big Chief Jermaine), respectively. Anger, frustration, and dismay were on colorful and musical display in the 79ers Gang raps and grooves, songs that stirred the political pot and made people think while they danced in the blazing sun. A selection of different Mardi Gras Indians groups took the Jazz & Heritage Stage and/or paraded through the Fairgrounds, offering festival-goers an (admittedly sterilized) peak into the culture of Indian masking that accompanies Carnival music.Eye-popping displays of art from award-winning photographer Michael Weintrob were on display at his INSTRUMENTHEAD Experience, hosted at the Art Garage across from the Hi-Ho Lounge. Weintrob and fellow artist Scramble Campbell created a container for music and art to live in concert, without the constraints of an admission ticket or a hushed audience. The INSTRUMENTHEAD exhibit comprised a vast collection of striking portraits Weintrob has shot since 2006, portraying musicians and entertainers shown with their instruments obscuring their faces. Subjects included Bootsy Collins, Mickey Hart, Junior Brown, Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers, and Derek Trucks, as well as a ton of NOLA-centric musicians and performers. Painter Scramble Campbell, who’s style and ethos is firmly rooted in a New Orleans state of mind, shared space with Weintrob to display a selection of his own wonderful works of art.Among the varied musical performances that took place at this location were choice jams from Atlanta upstarts Voodoo Visionary, who appeared several times and made a gang of new fans, and an ultra-rare W-Beez gig (Wil Blades, Will Bernard, Jermal Watson). This writer most enjoyed the set from DJ Williams’ Shots Fired, kicking off after midnight on Saturday. DJ welcomed the likes of KDTU’s Chris Littlefield (trumpet), Steve Swatkins (keys), Chris Stillwell (bass), his Projekt-pal Dusty Ray Simmons (drums) for nearly two hours of fiery funk-rock and soul grooves. Shots Fired invited esteemed guitarist Isaiah Sharkey (D’Angelo & the Vanguard) to the stage for a couple joints, as well as the good doctor Roosevelt Collier, Joe Marcinek and vocalist Jessica Jones.Keyboard shaman Robert Walter was as busy as ever this year down at the Jazz Fest. Robert may be from San Diego, but he’s spent enough time in NOLA (he lived here for a time) and made enough musical friends ’round these parts that this sort of thing has become an old hat. Whether it was Stanton & Skerik’s 20th Jazz Fest anniversary show at Tips, or linking up with Johnny Vidocavich uptown at the Leaf, Robert stayed in perpetual motion, per usual. Walter celebrated his 49th birthday second weekend with a Friday night double-header. First, he fulfilled his regular role behind the keys with Mike Gordon (Phish) to a sold-out Joy Theater. Then, Mike returned the favor, joining Robert, Simon Lott and company for Robert Walter’s 20th Congress set at d.b.a., blazing late into the night. Cactus chose to sit in on the classic RW20 barnburner “Don’t Chin the Dog.” Gordeaux could be found hanging out at just about all of Robert’s shows over the course of second weekend, including at Greyboy Allstars Tipitina’s late night. On second Sunday, as per tradition, we just had to slide thru d.b.a. once again for Robert’s Frequinox closer. Naturally, Steven Bernstein (Sex Mob) and Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band) were in the house and had to get involved for the freaky final comedown. Even emcee Lyrics Born, who was boppin’ around all of second weekend, grabbed a mic and kicked a rhyme. This (possibly) inspired Big Chief Donald Harrison to once again take off his blazer, put down the sax, and spit some lyrics—part Mardi Gras Indian chant, part forgotten No Limit soldier. This gig served to shut it down, forwards and backwards, for Frequinox 2019. Only in New Orleans, baby! Listen to Robert Walter talk about Jazz Fest and more on Episode 016 of  The Upful LIFE Podcast.Trumpet player Maurice “Mobetta” Brown seemed to be just about everywhere in NOLA for two full weeks. Few out-of-town musicians are more prolific in their time during Jazz Fest than this master trumpet magician. Brown led his own team thru the Jazz Tent at the Fairgrounds, as well as two smoking hits at Prime Example, where he showcased his own emceeing skills as well as a hot, well-rehearsed band featuring guitarist Marcus Machado. At Prime Example, Brown focused on tracks from his most excellent LP The Mood, released last year. Later, Mobetta teamed up with NOLA-based virtuoso trumpeter Ashlin Parker for a Roy Hargrove tribute at the exquisite jazz club, Snug Harbor. Once again this year, Maurice joined Parker’s fantastic Trumpet Mafia, which also includes Eric Benny Bloom, Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown, and Nicholas Payton. Trumpet Mafia brought a thrilling show to the Jazz Tent at the Fairgrounds, as well as at Wednesdays in the Park, a free event that draws large crowds between Jazz Fest weekends. All this came before he linked up with his pal Kamasi Washington, to blow minds on the Gentilly Stage, and once again late-night at the Joy Theater. Add him sliding through FIYA POWA, on the Soulaquarians Salute, with DMD, Andy Frasco & the UN, Funky But Better, and numerous unlisted sit-ins in a variety of combinations, and you get the point. Mobetta gets around like few others, and does so in a variety of styles and collaborations along the way. A true Jazz Fest veteran who knows just how to get in where he fits in, always chasing another jam session somewhere.Maurice “Mobetta” Brown & Soul’d U Out[Video: FunkItBlog]On the final day of the Fairgrounds, inside of the Jazz Tent, closing out Jazz Fest 50 in a riotous, riveting fashion was the Don himself, Herbie Hancock. What a revelation! This band beyond description and they delivered us a shamanic serenade. After a delayed start due to the tent being overcrowded, Hancock and his ridiculous band took off on a tour de force that was the perfect exclamation point to the magnificent 50th anniversary of this storied festival. After performing some safer traditional numbers, Herbie stretched out and limbered up on “Cantaloupe Island” before  dusting off “Actual Proof”, performing the much-revered Headhunters classic in full. The song was complete with all its nuanced passages expertly navigated by the peerless piano pioneer and his astonishing young Jedi Terrace Martin, who astounded on keys, sax, and what sounded like a vocoder or talkbox. After a thrilling, multi-era take on the quintessential “Watermelon Man”, the entranced massive howled, stomped and spazzed until the sublime squadron and their supernatural shaman once again assumed positions. The ever-mystical Herbie then strapped on the keytar and the krewe uncorked a bombastic “Chameleon” that threatened the structural integrity of this tent. The most recognizable jazz-funk song of all time detonated into the single wildest and most euphoric dance party in my own 17 glorious years down at the Jazz Fest Fairgrounds. Nothing short of a spiritual experience, indelible to anyone lucky enough to be present on the Sacred Sunday, when Herbie & ‘nem shut it down proper. By the conclusion, I was appropriately cheeks-deep in a good cry, tears of pure exhilaration. Offering the deepest of bows to the iconic Herbie Hancock, spirited and spry at 79 years young, and a bravo to the murderer’s row that supported him onstage: Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), James Genus (bass), Lionel Loueke (guitar), and the mesmeric Terrace Martin. In a word: Deliverance.Herbie Hancock – “Chameleon” – Jazz Tent[Video: Daniel Antony]On first Friday night at the bustling Howlin’ Wolf, Dumpstaphunk hosted their wildly-successful Dumpstafly show, celebrating the music of Curtis Mayfield and the Isley Brothers, among others. The band once again added horns, and Ivan Neville’s company merked the bubonic “Future Shock”, giving the 1973 track new life. You haven’t really lived until you’ve seen Nick Daniels III put down the bass guitar and just croon Seals & Croft’s “Summer Breeze” in all his high register glory. Motown vibes were in full effect for a selection of Isley classics—we were just waiting for Mr. Biggs to stroll out onstage at the Wolf. Smokey Robinson’s lush “Cruisin’” went over huge, while Ian Neville and Tony Hall locked in with new drummer Deven Trusclair for Mayfield’s pimpadelic anthems “Pusherman”, Freddie’s Dead”, and “Superfly”, augmented by Sly Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher”.LETT US In the DUMPSTA – Maison [Video: FunkItBlog]Predictably, Dumpstaphunk had themselves a mondo Fest the rest of the way. Second weekend, on the mammoth Acura Stage, Dumpsta nailed their annual Fairgrounds set, and Ivan contributed to a choice Allen Toussaint tribute. Ian, Ivan and Tony Hall were essential parts of the Foundation of Funk Acura Stage performance as well. There were numerous Ivan & Ian Neville sit-ins all over the city, not to mention Ivan’s popular piano sessions at the Ace Hotel and his Cris Jacobs collab, Neville Jacobs, at NOLA Crawfish Fest. Notably, most of Dumpstaphunk linked up with several members of Lettuce for LETT Us in the Dumpsta, a rough and rugged thunderclap that took over The Maison late first Sunday. Nick Daniels III and Lettuce’s rhythmic wunderkind Adam Deitch locked into some furious styles that won’t soon be forgotten. The Dumpsta krewe really pushed Deitch to dig as deep as ever, uncorking vociferous beats that cracked skulls with reckless abandon, leaving even his own LETT bandmates in awe onstage. These two bands are truly brothers (and uncles) in arms, and their collaborations, be it this one, Dr. Klaw, or whatever, are pure, unadulterated Jazz Fest late-night DNA. Meanwhile, Dumpsta once again brought it on home second Sunday with a sold-out Tip’s blowout that sent the people reeling back into the post-Fest default world with some sass in their glass. Year in and year out, Dumpstaphunk continues to find a way to make rumps shake and hands wave, thumping themselves into a NOLA institution.Dumpstaphunk w/s/g Marcus King – 5/5/19 – Full Pro-Shot Video[Video: nugsnet]Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste and George Porter Jr. are the rhythm section upon which the entire foundation of “NOLA Funk” has been built. These living legends from The Meters have created Foundation of Funk supergroups to explore the many avenues that have been paved by their iconic grooves through the years. The duo put together a variety of iterations of FoF over the course of 2019’s Fest, and audiences were rewarded with numerous golden moments. At the Acura Stage, we caught The original Meters rhythm section embossed by the likes of Ivan Neville, Ian Neville and Tony Hall from Dumpstaphunk for a thoroughly funky session in the midday sun. But it would be at the House of Blues on first Saturday that inarguable history was made. George and Zig teamed up with Eric Krasno, John Medeski and the Lettuce horns (Ryan Zoidis and Eric “Benny” Bloom) for a rollicking couple of hours of Meters and NOLA classics—renditions that were piping with experimental nuance and that downtown NYC hot sauce. During the encore, Kraz would shock the world when he introduced Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead) and his son, Grahame Lesh (Midnight North), who took the stage to an absolutely cacophonous roar. The electricity in the HOB was ramped to eleven as Grahame strapped on a guitar and Phil slipped on his bass in the corner, tucked behind Medeski’s wall of keys. Predictably, the squad launched into Dead-drenched N’awlinz jams “Hey Pocky Way > Iko Iko” for a perfect encore, complete with a sweet little detour through “Lovelight” towards the end. Absorbing these raw, unadulterated Phil bombs, just poppin’ atop Zig’s inimitable breaks and snappin’ snare, George a-grinnin’ and a-strummin’ from just a few feet away, we sang our collective hearts out on a pair of numbers that the Dead had made familiar to people like me, so many moons ago. An all-time Jazz Fest moment and a joy-filled experience for all who were lucky enough to make FoF a priority—and stay til the very end.Foundation of Funk w/ Phil Lesh, Grahame Lesh – “Hey Pocky Way”[Video: FunkItBlog]We caught a sweet Break Science throwdown at One Eyed Jack‘s second Saturday that was chock full of bouyant new music, yet one week earlier, those boys got busy with a different squad when MEGAWATT Vol.3 rolled into the Blue Nile, hosted by Backbeat Foundation. Late first Saturday, the self-described Afro-Dub Soundclash started knocking down Babylon buildings with no holds barred. Offering a streamlined version of their core lineup, lead by Antibalas touring guitarist Raja Kassis, a NOLA resident, and incorporating local pal Luke Quaranta (percussion, Toubab Krewe), plus keyboardist Borahm Lee (Break Science), drummer Adam Deitch (Lettuce, Break Science), and bassist Josh Werner, this troop set out to mine the classic reggae dub-tombs of yesteryear, explore boom-bap inflected hip-hop, and charge through Afrobeat anthems. Special guest Eric “Benny” Bloom slid through with some snake-charming trumpet along the way. A dubbed-out Marley classic, “Sun is Shining”, drove us deep into the well of island vibrations. Along with “Champion”, by the recently liberated Buju Banton, and the eternal “Night Nurse” by Gregory Isaacs all three whipped us into a veritable frenzy. An unforgettable moment for this writer ocurred when vocalist Jahdan Blakkamore, who fronted the band for most of the set, led these gladiators into the smoked-out “Sound Bwoy Buriell” from Brooklyn merchants Smif N Wessun. It was Timbs-N-Hood check time on Frenchman, as the undeniable Duck Down swag of this golden-era Boot Camp Clique chestnut reverberated into the rafters. The band approximated Da Beatminerz blunted dub production to perfection; this one joint alone was worth the price of admission. MEGAWATT continued to evolve in concept and execution in this third consecutive Jazz Fest engagement. Large up to the selectah who opened the show, DJ BlackPearl504, who warmed it up proper with a mighty healthy smattering of fiery edits, remixes, cuts and classics galore, my man truly blessing up the massive before MEGAWATT took over. Nikki Glaspie is my personal Jazz Fest MVP for 2019. There is just something about when she takes the stage in this town, the voodoo magic and cosmic spirituality she summons in abundance, no matter who she is co-creating with. Glaspie managed to play or sit-in with over a dozen combinations over the course of Fest, including (but not limited to) avant-garde artists like the incredible cellist Helen Gillet, Plastic Ballet or the exquisite Phantom Vanity, or the cacophony of Steel Punk at the Megalomaniacs Ball. Yet for my money, it’s her fatback-funk and sassy soul endeavors that really move the NOLA needle. Nikki Glaspie & the Homies closed out second Sunday uptown at the Maple Leaf, dropping some shimmering sexy mid-70’s fatback fonk, with a dash of quiet storm R&B. For these homie hits, be they in LA or NOLA, Glaspie selects musical friends she’s made in the industry, from her time in Beyonce’s band, Dumpstaphunk, Maceo Parker, of course with The Nth Power, and beyond. The Homies were from near and far, and traded in funk, hip-hop, soul, and rock currencies, and the show was something of a spectacular surprise. Glaspie recruited Nigel Hall (Lettuce) on keys, Khris Royal (Dark Matter) on sax, Shea Pierre on keys, June Yamagishi (Papa Grows Funk) and Ben Misterka on guitar, Uriah Duffy (Lyrics Born) on bass, Ty Coomes (Peasant Part) on percussion, Steve Lands on trumpet, and longtime local fam Paul Robeson on trombone. Phenomenal vocalists Kayla Jazmine and veteran Glaspie confidante Adam Joseph lead the charge up front, as well as DJ Soul Sister. This motley crew joined Hall and Glaspie in belting out timeless deep cuts from The Emotions, Crown Heights Affair, The Commodores, Bar Kays, SOS Band, and more. Nikki’s soaring soprano was thrilling to take in a few feet from her drum seat front stage left. The GAP Band’s “Oops Upside Your Head” threatened to detonate the iconic venue with a dynamite, funkalicious swagger, as did the joyful take on Aretha Franklin’s “Jump to It”. The Homies shut it down with a thunderous ride on the Mothership, tweeting no prisoners on The Brides of Funkenstein’s “Birdie.”Nikki Glaspie was a force of nature (once again) in this year’s annual The Nth Power tribute at One Eyed Jacks, an awe-inspiring homage to Marvin Gaye titled “Time to Get it Together.” This show was possibly the most emotionally-driven musical experience in a fortnight chock-full of them. Bringing together a collective of musicians to dig deep into Marvin’s canon, the squad featured Weedie Braimah, Nigel Hall, Phantom Vanity’s Erin Boyd, trombonist Paul Robeson (Soul Rebels), trumpet player Steve Lands, saxophonist Bryan McNamara, Star Kitchen keyboardist (and longtime Nth co-conspirator) Rob Marscher, vocalists Chrishira Perrier and Kayla Jazmine. The core trio of Glaspie, bassist Nate Edgar and guitarist/frontman Nicholas Cassarino were treated to a special appearance towards the end from Lettuce trumpet-maestro Eric “Benny” Bloom. Nothing could prepare any of us for the tear-jerking, whiskey-swilling journey into the annals of Jazz Fest voodoo magic that we witnessed at One Eyed Jacks long into the night. The swollen massive careened through Marvin’s funkier deep cuts and transitioned into the bigger hits as the evening blazed on. Merely twenty minutes in, Hall and Cassarino removed their sport-coats in unison, a clear indicator that shit was about to get real. Nigel, seated at a Rhodes at the front of the stage next to Cassarino, continued to turn around and face Glaspie at her drum seat each time she stunned the audience with soprano tones. “That’s My BABY!” Hall repeatedly exclaimed, and the whole room trusted he meant it.The vibrant ensemble continued to scale the clouds, making lovers of us all, one luscious track after the next. “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, complete with multi-layered harmonies and vocal workouts taking us to church and back again. By the time they returned, imbibed and inspired, for the undeniable triple encore, the heavenly hay-makers nearly leveled One Eyed Jacks to its foundation. The air was thick and the vibes even thicker as the five original members of The Nth Power dropped into a positively orgasmic “Sexual Healing” that froze the entire room in its tracks, while dozens of pairs of panties hit the floor at one time. Presiding over this mouth-watering glory was none other than darling Nikki, ever the Evangelist, holding it down and hitting all the high notes like only this Empress can. “The Good Reverend Doctor” Nigel Hall and the “Master Prophet” Nicky Cake took turns talking some things out onstage, while the whole band (somewhat aggressively) passed a bottle around the horn. Then, somehow, they managed to dig even deeper. During a filthy “Grapevine” finale that made its way through Nth’s classic “Jazz Fest 420”, they exploded into “Heavy Love Affair”, manifested in the form of a salacious D.C. Go-Go joint. This final transmission saw Benny Bloom pop into the mix to get busy on trumpet, and the rest of the big band followed suit as they passed the solo around one mo’ time, with feeling, bringing back that District swagger time and again.  In a city and festival overwrought with tribute shows, The Nth Power delivers second to none, each and every year down at the Jazz Fest. Ring the alarm, we’ve got another instant classic on our hands. Astonishing how many times they can return to the well, yet always be finding forever.The Nth Power Marvin Gaye Tribute – “Time To Get It Together”[Video: FunkItBlog]I must save space to mention The Nth Power’s 6th Annual Last Hurrah, which takes place the Monday after Jazz Fest at the Blue Nile. Always a wonderful way to close out your Fest adventure, this year had added intrigue as the original squadron, no longer fresh from the waterworks and whiskey-town of the previous weekend’s Marvin magic, arrived at the Nile a weathered yet wiser assembly of souls. The band had mined so much out of the earlier performance that much of the emotional weight of this show was relieved before it even started. The core trio began by performing an hour of sparkly material from new full length LP, To Be Free. For the second set, Weedie and Nigel would join Nikki, Nick, and Nate for a terrific trip down memory lane. Alas, it was thrilling and heart-filling to hear the shelved Nigel-era classics revived in all their N’awlinz glory. “Jazzfest 420”, “Only Love”, “Holy Rain”, “Walk on Water”—shit, even the Doobies’ “What a Fool Believes” was busted out in all it’s shimmering Michael McDonald baritone bliss. These goose-bump melodies I thought I’d never hear sung in these same Nigel/Nicky Cake heavenly harmonies again, anchored by the dub-wise rugged-style of sturdy bassist Nate Edgar and the intoxicating riddims of Glaspie and Braimah’s gumbo elixir. So grateful that these musicians, this FAMILY, found their way back to one another, and the Last Hurrah was a gloriously graceful way to wind down the cosmic carnival that was this year’s NOLA expedition for Jazz Fest 50.“There is no more beautiful music… that you will hear in your life… than music made among friends… and music that’s made with your family.” (c) Nigel Hall In gratitude,B.GetzSpecial Thanks to Funk It Blog for the incredible video footage!last_img read more

Margot Gill appointed new administrative dean for International Affairs

first_imgOn Tuesday, May 26, Michael D. Smith, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), announced that Margot Gill has been appointed to the newly created role of administrative dean for International Affairs, effective July 1.In this new role, Gill will support and implement international initiatives of the FAS, as defined by the faculty. She will serve as a liaison to and key negotiator with foreign governments, international corporations, foundations, and NGOs on behalf of the FAS.For more than 20 years, Gill has served as administrative dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ (GSAS). In this role, she served as GSAS’s point person and primary negotiator for all new interfaculty Ph.D. programs, including the recently established Ph.D. in education and consolidated Ph.D. in religion. Internationally, she has met with alumni, foundations, universities, and foreign governments who seek to increase their country’s research capacity through the training of graduate students and postdoctoral students. She has also been a strong supporter for GSAS international students and created the Graduate School’s English Language Program (ELP) that serves as a model for Intensive English language training and acculturation to the American Classroom.“Margot has a profound understanding of what needs to be done and unrivaled experience in getting it done when it comes to establishing important, new academic agreements with foreign governments and international institutions,” said Smith. “I am thrilled that she has accepted this new role.”“I am excited by the opportunity to advance FAS goals in the international arena,” said Gill, “And I am especially pleased to be working with our world-class faculty and students on developing stronger ties throughout the world.”last_img read more

In this election, ‘costly signal deployment’

first_imgAs the presidential race enters its final weeks, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden both hope to compel voters to the polls by drawing contrasts with their opponent, swapping barbs intended to paint the other as unfit. Most politicians draw the line at trash talk, recognizing that seeming too divisive could hamper their efforts to appeal to as many voters as they can. Trump, however, is known for harsher rhetoric, for instance labeling former President Barack Obama a “traitor” and criticizing supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement as “terrorists.” His goal appears to be rallying his ardent backers instead of widening his support.Making oneself odious to most of society, as in getting a gang tattoo, is known as “costly signal deployment.” Professor Joshua D. Greene ’97, an experimental psychologist who studies the scientific underpinnings of moral judgments and decision-making, spoke with the Gazette via email about the likely rationale behind such a strategy, and what has changed since his acclaimed 2013 book “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason and the Gap Between Us and Them.”Q&AJoshua GreeneGAZETTE:  Both Biden and Trump have framed the 2020 election as an existential choice between a dark, corrupt, and dangerous dystopia brought about by their opponent and the halcyon world they promise to deliver. It’s “The Soul of America” or “Trump’s America.” How do people’s natural impulses to want to be “winners,” or the party in power, versus those who believe it’s important to be part of a majority, or “on the right side of history,” complicate this election?GREENE:  “Complicate” is a major understatement. The great innovation of democracy is the peaceful transfer of power — deciding things by vote rather than by violence. But that requires a shared willingness to accept some big political losses. That shared commitment to living by the vote is under grave threat. But the threat is not symmetrical, and we should avoid the mistake of false equivalence. Trump has been actively undermining the democratic process since before he was elected in 2016. In 2016 he would not commit to accepting the outcome of the election if he were to lose. And even after the election he did not accept that he lost the popular vote, claiming without evidence that millions of fraudulent ballots were cast for his opponent. His view is “Either I win, or it’s fraud.” And this view is endorsed by a large number of Republicans.Neither Biden nor other prominent Democrats have done anything like this. Biden and the Democrats are not making baseless claims about voter fraud in order to discredit their electoral losses. What’s new in the Trump era is not that both sides strongly prefer winning to losing. It’s that the President himself is using systematic misinformation, the solicitation of foreign interference, threats of violence, and his power over government agencies (most notably the Postal Service) in order to disrupt the democratic process. And to the extent that the Democrats are worried about a second Trump term, it’s because they understand the stakes.GAZETTE:  In a recent New York Times piece, you are quoted calling Trump an expert at saying what his supporters want to hear, and you described his deliberately provocative and divisive remarks as performing a function similar to gang tattoos. Can you explain what you meant, and what are some examples of signaling that Trump and Biden have used so far in their campaigns?GREENE:  Trump isn’t merely saying things that his base likes to hear. All politicians do that, and to the extent that they can do so honestly, that’s exactly what they are supposed to do. But Trump does more than this in his use of “costly signals.” A tattoo is a costly signal. You can tell your romantic partner that you love them, but there’s nothing stopping you from changing your mind the next day. But if you get a tattoo of your partner’s name, you’ve sent a much stronger signal about how committed you are. Likewise, a gang tattoo binds you to the gang, especially if it’s in a highly visible place such as the neck or the face. It makes you scary and unappealing to most people, limiting your social options, and thus, binding you to the gang. Trump’s blatant bigotry, misogyny, and incitements to violence make him completely unacceptable to liberals and moderates. And, thus, his comments function like gang tattoos. He’s not merely saying things that his supporters want to hear. By making himself permanently and unequivocally unacceptable to the opposition, he’s “proving” his loyalty to their side. This is why, I think, the Republican base trusts Trump like no other.There is costly signaling on the left, but it’s not coming from Biden, who is trying to appeal to as many voters as possible. Bernie Sanders is a better example. Why does Bernie Sanders call himself a socialist? What he advocates does not meet the traditional dictionary definition of socialism. And politicians in Europe who hold similar views typically refer to themselves as “social democrats” rather than “democratic socialists.” “Socialism” has traditionally been a scare word in American politics. Conservatives use it as an epithet to describe policies such as the Affordable Care Act, which, ironically, is very much a market-oriented approach to achieving universal health insurance. It’s puzzling, then, that a politician would choose to describe himself with a scare word when he could accurately describe his views with less-scary words. But it makes sense if one thinks of this as a costly signal. By calling himself a socialist, Sanders makes it very clear where his loyalty lies, as vanishingly few Republicans would support someone who calls himself a socialist.GAZETTE:  Biden’s frequent references to the loss of his first wife and daughter and to his early career in Congress as a “single dad” widower are intended to highlight his character and relatability to working parents. And yet, these tragic experiences are fairly uncommon and may suggest to some who cannot relate to them that perhaps Biden is different from them or, worse, may instill the idea that because Biden suffered emotional trauma, he would be a problematic leader. Are those examples of costly signals?GREENE:  I would not characterize those as costly signals. A costly signal is not any signal about a cost that one has paid. And it is not just any case of “signaling.” A costly signal in the relevant sense is a signal that demonstrates one’s commitment (or other valued trait) through the paying of a cost. Biden has presumably suffered greatly as a result of his personal losses, but the fact that he’s suffered those losses and is willing to talk about them does nothing to demonstrate (or undermine) his commitment to his political team. It may make him a more sympathetic, relatable, or otherwise appealing person, but in sending these messages he is, again, saying things that he hopes will appeal to both sides. By contrast, when Trump leads chants of “Lock her up” and makes vague comments about how maybe the “Second Amendment people” can do something about Hillary Clinton if she becomes president, he’s not attempting to broaden his appeal. He is bonding with his base by saying things that are completely unacceptable to liberals and moderates, and thus demonstrating that he will never betray them, never change sides.In short, if you’re saying broadly appealing things without giving something up, without limiting your options, you’re not sending costly signals. If you’re saying things that prove your loyalty to “Us” by making yourself completely unacceptable to “Them,” then you are sending costly signals.GAZETTE:  How effective is “costly signal deployment,” and what are the potential harms? It used to be thought that winning in politics was about expanding appeal, not narrowing it. Don’t Us versus Them ultimatums based on political ideology, race, class, religion, education, etc., drive away all but extremists?GREENE:  Yes, it’s absolutely a problem. For Republicans, it’s an inter-party problem: You’re either for Trump or against him, and there’s nothing in between. The Republican Party has exiled or subdued pretty much all non-Trumpy Republican politicians. For Democrats, it’s an intra-party problem: If you’re not sufficiently progressive, then you’re “as bad” as Trump.GAZETTE:  What’s changed since you wrote “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them,” and how?GREENE:  Conservatives and Republicans have traditionally characterized themselves as champions of limited government and individual freedom, as well as champions of traditional values, such as honesty and commitment to community and family. In “Moral Tribes,” I took a different view:“In sum, American social conservatives are not best described as people who place special value on authority, sanctity, and loyalty, but rather as tribal loyalists — loyal to their own authorities, their own religion, and themselves. This doesn’t make them evil, but it does make them parochial, tribal. In this they’re akin to the world’s other socially conservative tribes, from the Taliban in Afghanistan to European nationalists.”Back in 2013, the idea that the Republican Party was the party of American nationalism was not so obvious. Now, it’s pretty obvious. Indeed, Trump has called himself a nationalist, something that prominent politicians did not do before Trump.This interview was lightly edited for clarity and length.last_img read more

Consumer food safety

first_imgHundreds of illnesses from contaminated spinach, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes and even peanut butter have made recent U.S. headlines. Other reports tell of tainted shellfish, pet food and a variety of foods and food ingredients imported from other countries. Nearly 15 percent of the food Americans eat is imported from other countries, mostly from Canada, Mexico and China. This may sound like a small percentage, but it represents 80 percent of the seafood, 45 percent of the fresh fruit and 16 percent of the vegetables consumed in the U.S. Less than 1 percent of this food is visually inspected by the Food and Drug Administration. Less than .5 percent is currently inspected for pathogens.According to a national survey, Alali said, 90 percent of U.S. consumers are somewhat comfortable to very comfortable with the safety of U.S.-grown food. Only 42 percent feel the same way about food grown outside the U.S. Foodborne illness is a leading cause of disease in the United States. And, now more than ever, it’s a leading subject of headlines. Where food comes from now and how those illnesses are reported and tracked could be the reason why people are paying more attention, say University of Georgia food experts.In the U.S., there are 76 million food-related illnesses annually. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 325,000 people are hospitalized and 5,000 die from foodborne illnesses.Foodborne illnesses appear to be increasing and reported outbreaks getting larger, said Walid Alali, an assistant professor of food safety at the UGA Center for Food Safety.“We know more as we have improved surveillance systems and people are reporting more than ever before,” said Alali, speaking at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ 2010 Georgia Ag Forecast in Gainesville, Ga., Jan. 26. “People are more aware of food sickness, and they report illness and what they consume. It might not be that more people are getting sick. It might be that we have better reporting, analysis and interpretation of foodborne data mechanisms in place.” Using a system called PulseNet, the CDC is now more able to quickly track and respond to such illnesses and outbreaks. The molecular foodborne pathogen surveillance system, debuted in 1995. When a sickness happens, state health departments send bacterial DNA information to the database where information from across the U.S. is monitored for outbreaks.“Because of the improved DNA fingerprinting methods, you are able to identify clusters of similar bacteria from infected people and to detect the food source of all these bacteria,” Alali said. “We have an increased ability to detect connected outbreaks from all over the country,” said Elizabeth Andress, a UGA Cooperative Extension food safety specialist attending the meeting. “We can DNA fingerprint the particular bacteria associated either from the food or the person that got sick. And because we can do that, we can make these links, and we can show these multi-state outbreaks more than we ever could before.” Most foodborne illness outbreaks used to be localized and caused by a common food source, such as at a community event or social gathering. But things have changed, Andress said.“Technologies for reporting food illnesses are changing as well as the food vehicles for outbreaks,” she said. “We still see outbreaks from mistakes people make like undercooking meat or not holding foods at the right temperatures, but in addition in the past few years we’ve had these widespread national outbreaks from either processed foods or raw commodities distributed all around the country.”last_img read more

Darn Tough Vermont to supply US Marine Corps with 450,000 Merino wool boot socks

first_imgDarn Tough Vermont,Darn Tough Vermont, domestic manufacturer of premium all-weather performance socks, has been awarded a contract to supply the United States Marine Corps (USMC) with 450,000 pairs of its Extreme Cold Weather Merino Wool Boot Socks, a style in the company’s Tactical sock line. The contract is worth about $3 million. According to Ric Cabot, president of Darn Tough Vermont, this latest award represents the company’s largest Tactical order to date and demonstrates its commitment to creating uncompromising products for U.S. warfighters. US Senator Patrick Leahy, who secured a $1.6 million military contract for Darn Tough in 2008, said he was very pleased to see how Darn Tough leveraged that opportunity to create a major clothing line with a growing fan base among deployed troops fighting in harsh environments. ‘This contract proves that a seedling contract can blossom into substantial business for a Vermont manufacturer,’ said Leahy.  ‘All these Vermonters needed was a chance to put their best foot forward. It also proves that Vermont quality counts when it comes to outfitting and protecting our troops.’Ric Cabot, President of Darn Tough Vermont, said, ‘We Vermonters are a proud bunch. When you give us a job to do, we do it with heart and soul. The contract Senator Leahy secured for us in 2008 was an acknowledgment of this work ethic. Since making good on that contract and putting our best into every pair of socks we knit, we’ve been able to consistently grow the tactical side of our business, adding more jobs and investing more in our infrastructure every year.  Northfield, Vermont, is, in my mind, the sock capital of the world ‘ we produce the best with the best. And obviously,’ Cabot added, ‘FOR the best.’   A single award was issued by the Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) to Darn Tough Vermont, in partnership with long-time industry partner ADS Inc., for 450,000 pairs of socks to be delivered by September 2012. Marines will receive four pairs each of Darn Tough Vermont’s Extreme Cold Weather Merino Wool Boot Sock (style #14033). The Extreme Cold Weather Merino Wool Boot Sock uses densely knit Merino wool fibers to provide moisture transfer away from the foot, minimizingthe risk of lower extremity injury (e.g., blisters, cellulites, frostbite, hypothermia, trench foot) and ensuring insulation and protection from cold weather environments.‘There’s no sock that better meets the mission-specific requirements of the USMC and provides an immediate improvement to the quality of life for our Marines,’ said Shannon McKenna, director of government sales at Darn Tough Vermont. ‘Our military personnel demands the best, without compromise, and Darn Tough Vermont has repeatedly been the sock they turn to.’ The previous Darn Tough Vermont award was a contract with the USMC, in partnership with ADS Inc., for nearly 200,000 pairs of its All-Weather Boot Socks. Additionally, the sock maker continues to deliver on a four-year contract with PEO Soldier for the Team Soldier Certified Gear sock of the US Army’s Fire Resistant Environmental Ensemble (FREE). This is a multilayered insulating system that is adaptable to varying mission requirements and environmental conditions, involving numerous manufacturers, awarded under a single contract to ADS Inc.  ‘Our troops need the best equipment and their families back in the States need jobs. Working with the military allows us to achieve both,’ said McKenna. ‘In fact, our business growth in the Tactical sector has helped us add jobs to our hosiery mill and make infrastructure upgrades, all during a time when almost every U.S.-based hosiery mill, and most of the textile industry, has taken their manufacturing and jobs overseas.’Darn Tough Vermont’s combat proven Tactical sock line is designed to meet the demanding requirements of the U.S. Armed Forces by improving quality of life, increasing soldier safety, enhancing force protection and heightening overall warfighter survivability. Custom, ultra-fine merino wool yarns and the highest density stitch count in the industry result in a sock that achieves ‘ and often exceeds ‘ the military’s rigorous standards.‘We’re one of just a few companies that ensure uncompromising quality standards by making our socks in the U.S., with U.S. labor, in our own mill.’ said McKenna. ‘A lot of pride goes into every pair; it’s especially rewarding when our socks go to those who serve.’  For more information about Darn Tough Vermont, please visit is external). For more information on ADS Inc. Operational Equipment and Logistics Solutions please see is external).About Darn Tough VermontDarn Tough Vermont is a manufacturer of premium, all-weather outdoor socks, with headquarters in Northfield, Vermont, offering both Tactical and Specialty product lines. The company’s Tactical line of footwear includes Tactical PT, Tactical Dress and Tactical Boot socks comprising 23 styles ranging from True-Seamlessâ ¢ mesh, no-show PT socks to over-the-calf extreme cold weather mountaineering boot socks. Darn Tough Vermont’s Berry Amendment Compliant style selection is one of the largest in the tactical industry.  Darn Tough Vermont’s Specialty line offers footwear in six active wear categories: ski/ride, hike/trek, run/bike, lifestyle, hunt and kid’s styles. The company’s product is distinguished from industry competitors by 100 percent USA manufacturing; small-needle knitting which results in more stitches per inch, and exceptional durability and cushioning; an exclusive blend of either Coolmax® or ultra-fine merino wool for softness, fit, durability and moisture management.  For more information, visit: is external).last_img read more

Chile’s Piñera Sees Creation of 250,000 Jobs in 2010

first_img Chilean president Sebastián Piñera raised his goal for creating jobs in 2010 to around 250,000 Wednesday, based on the recovery of the economy, which is expected to expand nearly five percent in 2010. A day after the government announced that poverty in Chile increased over the three years between 2006 and 2009 to 15.1 percent of the population, Piñera affirmed that this number will decrease over the next few years thanks to new jobs and economic recovery. “During the presidential campaign, we promised to create one million new jobs between 2010 and 2014, that is, 200,000 a year,” Piñera said. “Today, I’m convinced that we’re not only going to meet this goal, but surpass it, creating 250,000 good new jobs this year,” he added in a message broadcast to the nation by a voluntary network of radio and television stations. The right-wing president, who took office in March following two decades of center-left administrations, said that “despite this painful setback (…) we’re going to defeat extreme poverty in Chile during our administration.” By Dialogo July 16, 2010last_img read more

Colombian Army Rebuilds Rural Roads

first_imgBy Marian Romero/Diálogo May 11, 2017 The Colombian Army Corps of Engineers has been working since January on 20 rural road improvement projects designed to benefit the communities farthest from cities. The projects also aim to improve access to the Provisional Demobilization Zones (ZVTN, per their Spanish acronym), established under the peace accords. The road between Icononzo and La Fila in the department of Tolima was built by the Maintenance Engineers Battalion and was opened in February. The 2.4-kilometer road has allowed vehicle traffic to return to the area, to the benefit of 250,000 people. “The idea to improve rural roads came out of the peace accords as a way of providing easier access to ZVTNs, but more importantly, it is about creating better living conditions for people living in the region. Locals have borne the brunt of this conflict’s twists and turns,” explained Brigadier General Emilio Cardozo Santamaría, commander of the Colombian Army Corps of Engineers. ZVTNs are spaces distributed over different rural areas around the country, specifically where the armed conflict was most intense. They were created to ensure a lasting ceasefire by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), to reintegrate its members into civilian life, and to carry out the process of surrendering arms to the UN Mission in Colombia. There are 23 ZVTNs located within the jurisdiction of 22 municipalities in 12 departments around the country. There, temporary camps were set up to take guerillas through the process of transitioning to a law-abiding life. Only the government and FARC have access to these camps. However, the roads there are transited daily by people living in the area. From January to April, 18 of the 20 projects assigned to military engineers by the Ministry of Defense were completed. These projects were done in coordination with local authorities, the Ministry of Transportation, the National Roadways Institute, and the Special Programs for Peace Fund, a special account used by the Office of the President to manage the post-conflict budget. The Colombian Army is contributing its technical capabilities, labor, and construction equipment, and is providing the security needed to build roads in those areas. In all, 96 percent of the planned roads have been built, with general maintenance of 304,769 kilometers of roadway. Military engineering serving rural areas The Corps of Engineers has a special brigade for building primary, secondary, and tertiary roads. The brigade was created to improve troop mobility and it is a valuable tool for the most isolated communities. Thanks to this initiative, locals can expand the marketing chain for their agricultural products and sell them in other communities. “The wartime missions undertaken by our military engineers have strengthened and honed their specialized technical capacity which is now being used to contribute to this nation’s development,” said Gen. Cardozo. “We have a presence throughout the country and have detailed knowledge of each region. This allows us to build a bridge or fix a road in record time, dig a well to provide water for a desert community in Guajira, or efficiently build a compound.” The engineers support maneuver units in four key areas: mobility, allowing troops to advance to their target, for example in military demining ops; counter-mobility, to prevent the enemy from advancing on the troops; survival, to ensure the troops’ well-being. and engineering, to improve roads and facilitate the flow of logistics to carry out the Army’s mission. Each road construction project is protected by a security squad of about 40 men. The projects are in areas that still have security issues because of ongoing threats from dissidents within the FARC and the National Liberation Army, or from armed organized groups set up to traffic drugs and work illegal mines. “In some regions, soldiers have to work construction with their rifle slung over their shoulder. We’ve paid a high price sacrificing our men to reach these territories. In these projects, soldiers [have been killed] by snipers or antipersonnel mines,” Gen. Cardozo said. The Icononzo–La Fila road The Corps of Engineers has 17 local battalions capable of doing technical surveys and determining project viability. “We know this territory like the back of our hand, better than any other private or public company because we have been on the ground here for a long time. We know which weather conditions carry a threat of rain, and we are up to speed on the social dynamics. This streamlines our logistics,” said Lieutenant Colonel José Luis Bastidas, commander of the Maintenance Engineers Battalion. “Time is of the essence in these kinds of projects. To take advantage of the dry season, we had to make our soldiers available 24 hours a day and even on weekends,” he added. The Maintenance Engineers Battalion in the department of Tolima is tasked with upgrading the road between Icononzo and La Fila. The plan is to work on a 13.3-kilometer stretch to cut and widen the road, improve ditches, and compact and grade the ground. Though the road is unpaved, the water run-off and drainage works are enough to give it the durability needed by its 6,400 beneficiaries. As of now, 2.5 kilometers of the road have been finished. “Icononzo is a farming district, and its economy centers on coffee and fruit crops, but its topography and security issues have hindered its development. Now people have access to larger markets for the sale of their products. That’s what’s happening in many other areas around the country with the same characteristics,” Lt. Col. Bastidas said. The Corps of Engineers’ road improvements are not meant to compete with the Colombian government’s engineering or with road building companies. “For us, issues like project profitability are irrelevant, as it’s the government that puts up the resources and we’re not generating any profits. But the relationship is mutually beneficial because these ongoing projects keep our personnel trained,” Gen. Cardozo concluded.last_img read more

LI’s Cosmos Beat MLS’ NYCFC in Inaugural Rivalry Game

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York It was a common refrain made by Long Islanders as the final moments ticked away on the Islanders’ season this year: The Island was losing its sole professional sports team.New York Cosmos fans would likely disagree.After trailing by two goals Wednesday night in its inaugural match against Major League Soccer’s New York City FC, the underdog Cosmos battled back to tie the score seconds before the end of regulation and capped a dramatic, 2-2 game by winning on penalty kicks (4-3)—prompting players, and a spattering of fans, to run onto the field, their faces beaming with child-like joy as they embraced anyone who reciprocated their hard-earned moment of sheer jubilance.The circus-like atmosphere was noticeable hours before the game, with a group of Cosmos fans nonchalantly kicking a soccer ball across the pavement while rhythmic pop music blared from James H. Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University, the home of the Cosmos.Always cognizant of their team’s long history, fans draped a flag emblazoned with the face of legendary Brazilian Pelé over a nearby wrought-iron fence, a reminder of the club’s glory days.NYCFC fans have no such history to boast about or look back on in tough times, though you wouldn’t know it by the way they were whaling and gesticulating for the upstart team, albeit one with an outsized budget.Cosmos fans had been waiting for this matchup for a long time—at least since the expansion NYCFC made their long-awaited debut this spring.Because the two clubs are in different leagues—Cosmos in the North American Soccer League and NYFC in Major League Soccer, the more high-profile of the two leagues—they wouldn’t typically play one another. But the US Open Cup brought them together for a fourth-round match, with the winner advancing to the Round of 16. Up until Wednesday, all the teams that had advanced resided in MLS.For one night, Long Island was the center of the soccer universe in New York.Both teams had been on top of their game coming into the match. NYCFC notched consecutive wins for the first time in its brief history and the Cosmos this past Saturday had been crowned NASL Spring Champions.“N-Y-C-F-C! N-Y-C-F-C! N-Y-C-F-C!” fans of the Bronx-based club chanted in succession as they found their bleacher seats.As warmups progressed, NYCFC fans—a group known as “The Third Rail”—yelled and swung their arms. They defiantly raised their blue scarves toward the overcast sky, gyrating and hopping around as though they were back home at Yankee Stadium.The upbeat Cosmos contingent seated on the opposite side of the pitch waved green and white Cosmos flags. Not to be outdone by vocal rivals, the home team’s supporters sprung into action, their fists smacking the air and voices crackling across the stadium.The Cosmos had been seeking back-to-back US Open Cup wins against its New York rivals; last year, the Long Island-based club defeated the favored New York Red Bulls, which played without international star Thierry Henry and several other key starters.In front of more than 11,000 fans, the clubs walked onto the field, NYCFC in their powder blues and Cosmos in royal blue. A much-anticipated match-up between Spanish legends David Villa of NYCFC and Cosmos’ Raúl didn’t materialize, with NYCFC coach David Kreiss choosing to rest the injury-plagued captain. But NYCFC did play most of its starters, including Mix Diskerud, a member of the US national team.The opening whistle blew and the Cosmos appeared to be the more spirited side, navigating congested lanes with deft passing and opportunistic runs. The home club dominated the early moments and had a chance to break the scoreless tie with a Raúl header in the 13th minute, but the Spanish star was called offsides.Cosmos forward Luckymore “Lucky” Mkosana gave NYCFC’s defensive back line fits all game, making strong runs up the middle of the field, at times outpacing defenders.“We started the game very well; we created chances,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said after the game. “I think we had the better of the play.”Goaltender James Maurer was named Cosmos Man of the Match after making three superb saves during the shootout. (Photo credit: New York Cosmos)But it was NYCFC who struck first with an acrobatic goal in the 24th minute from forward Kwadwo Poku.Poku raced toward the net and signaled for the ball as he approached the box. RJ Allen lofted a nifty ball into the center of the box for a streaking Poku, who guided the ball down with his chest and calmly directed it over his head before twisting and striking it into the net with an overhead kick as he landed on his back. NYCFC fans erupted into cheers, dozens in blue thumping like a pulsating river.The Cosmos had several opportunities to tie the score early on.An unmarked Raul missed a chance for an equalizer in the 35th minute, overrunning a pass from Mkosana that appeared destined for the back of the net.After going into the halftime down one, the Cosmos came out with the same energy as they did to open the game.But Poku struck again.The striker beat his defender and controlled a pass from Pablo Alvarez that slipped passed goaltender James Maurer, who made three saves during regulation and extra time. He was impressive in the shootout. Poku appeared to be several yards offsides but the apparent violation was never called. NYCFC led by two goals to none.The Cosmos finally responded in the 64th minute when reserve Leonardo Fernandes, barely in the game for two minutes, calmly directed a deflected header from Mkosana into the net, cutting NYCFC’s lead in half.NYCFC had a chance to extend the lead with roughly 10 minutes left in the game, but Maurer made a tough save on a Mehdi Ballouchy shot to keep his club within striking distance.With time winding down on the Cosmos’ US Open Cup run, the Cosmos in dramatic fashion knotted the game at two seconds before the 90th minute when Hunter Freeman floated a cross into the middle of the box, which Mkosana converted for a score. The home crowd went delirious, chanting and waving as one.The Cosmos carried their late second-half momentum into extra time with Mkosana nearly breaking the tie, but his shot smacked off the right post.NYCFC had a gift-wrapped opportunity to take the lead in extra time when the Cosmos were called for a penalty in the box. But Pablo Alvarez’s penalty kick hit the crossbar and the rebound sailed wildly over the net.Thirty minutes of extra time expired, and both teams headed to a shootout.Babylon-native Chris Wingert started off the scoring by beating Maurer for the first goal of the shootout, but he was matched immediately by the Cosmos’ Mads Stokkelien.Both goaltenders made impressive stops in the second round of the shootout, but after four rounds NYCFC had a 3-2 lead.Maurer made a game-saving goal on Patrick Mullins, setting up do-or-die opportunity for the Cosmos’ Adam Moffat. Moffat struck, and the ball passed the goaltender’s outstretched arms, sending the shootout into sudden death.Mauer made yet another clutch save on Shay Facey’s attempt, his third of the shootout.Hunter Gorskie stepped up for what turned out to be the game-clinching goal, burying his shot into the net. A celebration ensued.After the game, Savarese, the Cosmos coach, credited his team for having a tough mentality.“We have a very strong group now,” he said.Despite beating the Red Bulls and NYCFC in consecutive years, Savarese demurred when asked about being the best team in New York. Such comparisons, he said, are for fans to make.“I think the most important thing is that they take us seriously,” Savarese said. “They know that we are capable of big things, and that we can compete with anyone.”It’s been a whirlwind month for the Cosmos, traveling to Cuba, where they beat its national team and then securing the Spring Championship weeks later. On Wednesday they came out ahead of the favored MLS club.Long Island may not have the Islanders anymore, but the Cosmos are doing all they can to inject much-needed energy into a sports-obsessed region constantly lamenting the exodus of its hockey team.And all they do is win.last_img read more

Villarreal confirm Santi Cazorla is leaving the club amid links with a return to Arsenal as Mikel Arteta’s coach

first_imgVillarreal confirm Santi Cazorla is leaving the club amid links with a return to Arsenal as Mikel Arteta’s coach Comment Esta temporada será inolvidable por muchos motivos…La pena es que no podamos vivirlo juntos, afición.💛 #LlegendesGroguetes 💛#VillarrealEibar— Villarreal CF (@VillarrealCF) July 18, 2020 Cazorla has yet to announce where he will go next, but he has two clear options: a reunion with Arteta in north London, or a lucrative deal with Qatari side Al Sadd.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalTalks with the latter club are believed to be at an advanced stage, with the midfielder potentially taking up a player-coach role under countryman Xavi.However, Arsenal’s hopes of seeing Cazorla in the Emirates dugout may not be over just yet, with the move dependent on Xavi remaining in charge of Al Sadd. Cazorla is believed to have spoken with Arteta about returning to Arsenal (Picture: Getty)And Cazorla has opted to end his time at Villarreal, with his final match – and that of long-time teammate Bruno Soriano – coming on Sunday against Eibar.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘Villarreal have given me everything,’ said Cazorla in a video posted by the club. ‘At the age of 18, they opted to sign a boy from Oviedo who knew no-one. I am proud to be able to finish my career with Bruno.‘I hope that, as happened with my previous farewell match [when Cazorla left in 2006], it will be a “see you later”.’ Metro Sport ReporterSaturday 18 Jul 2020 12:37 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link8.2kSharescenter_img The Spanish playmaker will make his final appearance on Sunday (Picture: Getty Images)Villarreal have confirmed that Santi Cazorla has opted not to renew his contract with the club and will make his final appearance this weekend before decided his next move.The 35-year-old has enjoyed a renaissance in La Liga this season having overcome his injury problems, scoring 11 goals and laying on nine assists in 34 appearances.He had been weighing up whether to continue his playing career at Villarreal or start a new chapter elsewhere, having been linked with a return to Arsenal as a coach under Mikel Arteta. Cazorla’s move to Al Sadd hinges on whether Xavi will still be there (Picture: Getty)But Barcelona’s miserable form has seen Quique Setien come under significant pressure and while he will take charge of their Champions League matches in August, he is not expected to be in charge beyond that.Xavi is the leading contender to replace Setien, with Barca presidential candidate Victor Font having made it clear that he wants the Catalan legend to be the club’s next manager should he win the election.Cazorla has previously hinted at a return to Arsenal, telling Vamos earlier this year: ‘I don’t know what my legacy is [at Arsenal]. You have to ask the fans, but I want to thank everyone. I don’t know what I will do next, maybe a coach, maybe a sports director, but I would like to come back.’MORE: Mikel Arteta responds to Tony Adams’ attack on Arsenal transfer chiefs Edu and Raul SanllehiMORE: Santi Cazorla explains why Mikel Arteta has ‘everything’ to succeed as Arsenal managerFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page. Advertisement Advertisementlast_img read more

Governor Wolf Announces New Jobs in Huntingdon County with Establishment of Curbs Plus Inc.

first_img Jobs That Pay,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Wolf announced today that Curbs Plus, Inc., a manufacturer of roof curbs for HVAC units, will establish a new production facility in Mount Union Borough, Huntington County and will create 26 new, full-time jobs.“Curbs Plus is yet another manufacturer that has chosen Pennsylvania as the best place to nurture its business,” said Governor Wolf. “Not only will the company create 26 full-time jobs, but its reuse of a vacant facility combined with a significant capital investment infused into the local economy promises great news for the region.”Putting to good use a vacant facility, creating 26 new, full-time jobs, and infusing the local economy with a significant capital investment are just the beginning of the positive effects Curbs Plus’s new facility will have on Mount Union and beyond in the years to come,” said Governor Wolf.Curbs Plus will occupy a 56,000-square-foot manufacturing facility located at 208 North Division Street, Mount Union Borough, and will invest more than $717,000 in the project including building modifications required for the company’s manufacturing process and the purchase of new equipment. Curbs Plus has committed to the creation of 26 new, full-time positions over the next three years, with hiring set to begin this month.“For the last two years we have been searching for the best location for a much needed expansion,” said Curbs Plus Vice President Marc Brower. “We focused our search on Ohio, New York, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  After evaluating the location, building costs, taxes, and incentive packages, Mount Union was the obvious choice. We are very excited about the opportunities ahead for Curbs Plus, Inc., our customers, and our employees.”Curbs Plus received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development that includes a $50,000 Pennsylvania First program grant, $11,700 in WEDnetPA funding for employee training, and $26,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed when the jobs have been created. Curbs Plus has also been encouraged to apply for a $250,000 low-interest loan through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA).The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission and the Huntingdon County Investment Board.“Huntingdon County Business and Industry was happy to help Curbs Plus move into the area, assisting the company locate information and connecting them to resources as they ramp up production in the Mount Union location,” said Bob Reitman, executive director of Huntingdon County Business and Industry. “Curbs Plus is poised to become a true asset to the community.”Curbs Plus, Inc. is a manufacturer of conventional and pre-engineered metal building roof curbs, curb adapters, architectural equipment screens, and diffusers. From raw material to labor, Curbs Plus products are 100 percent American made.In 2016, DCED approved nearly $1.1 billion in low-interest loans, tax credits, and grants for projects across the commonwealth and secured private sector commitments for the creation and retention of more than 245,000 full-time jobs. In the same timeframe, the Governor’s Action Team completed 77 projects – creating and retaining more than 36,800 jobs. For more information about the Governor’s Action Team or DCED visit Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Governor Wolf Announces New Jobs in Huntingdon County with Establishment of Curbs Plus Inc. SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img February 06, 2017last_img read more