The benefit concert for Dear New Orleans Monday night at the Black Cat was fantastically fun.

New Orleans legends Bonerama played house band and they’ve posted a summary of the night on their blog. Joining them onstage: Jean Cook (Beauty Pill), Jenny Toomey (Tsunami) Tim Quirk (Too Much Joy/Wonderlick), Alex Maiolo, Mike Mills (REM), Damian Kulash (OK Go), Rebecca Gates (Spinanes), Erin McKeown, Hank Shocklee (Bomb Squad/Public Enemy), Timothy Bracy, Jonny 5 (Flowbots), and Jill Sobule.

You can buy the Dear New Orleans disk at the DearNo.La site, on Amazon and on itunes.

The background noise makes it a little bit of a labor of love to listen to, but this short interview with the always-groovy Tim Quirk explains how this show came about. (If you give it a view & just embrace the background noise, you’ll experience what it was like to be in my head when I woke up the morning after the show).

About Dear New Orleans

Air Traffic Control has been co-hosting artist activism retreats in New Orleans for the last four years. To mark the 5 year anniversary of the storm and floods we thought it appropriate to produce a benefit album. We started by asking the 60 alumni artists who participated in the retreats if they’d be interested in donating a track for a benefit album – we had no idea over half of them would send us music.

We are grateful they did.

Some of the songs that appear on this album are specifically about the city, or the disaster. Others pay a more oblique tribute, and still others are songs that the artist played at the concert we close each retreat with.

Dear New Orleans is a letter of gratitude and promise to the city and her people — to never forget what happened and to continue to rebuild.

For more on Air Traffic Control visit

Dear New Orleans Beneficiary Organizations

Proceeds from the sale of this album will be granted to New Orleans based nonprofits working to support and sustain the region’s unique musical and cultural traditions, and to protect and restore vital environmental and community resources for future generations, such as:

Sweet Home New Orleans
Gulf Restoration Network

The concert was produced by Air Traffic Control and the Future of Music Coalition in conjunction with the Future of Music Coalition’s 10th Anniversary Policy Summit.

FMC Policy Summit 2010

It’s time for the 10th Anniversary Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit.

TENTH? This event is 10 years old? No way. I was still in Grad School when this event started and that was just…nevermind. Let’s move on.

Musicians can still apply for scholarships to the Summit and anyone who wants to engage or learn more about public policy, music technology, and technology can still buy a ticket.

Come on, get your music & tech policy fix where all the cool kids hang out! The event starts Sunday (the 3rd) and runs through Tuesday (the 5th) – check the website for programming details and panelist bios.

Monday night, there’s a rock show. And not just any rock show, this is a benefit for Dear New Orleans presented by Air Traffic Control and the Future of Music Coalition.

The show is at the Black Cat and tickets (regular and VIP packages) are still available. Check out this partial line-up:

Bonerama with
Damian Kulash of OK Go
Jenny Toomey and Franklin Bruno
Hank Shocklee (of The Bomb Squad, Public Enemy)
Jonny 5 of Flobots
Wonderlick (and half of Too Much Joy!)
Rebecca Gates
Crossover Clarinetist Mariam Adam
plus special guests!

And, of course, I’ll be there (in the audience). How can you possibly resist?

Still need a push? Don’t know who Bonerama are? Here’s video I found (on their website) of them covering “War Pigs” last year in San Francisco.

I tried harder to find video of them covering “When the Levee Breaks” on youtube because that’s more appropriate but all the videos I found sucked so you get this instead. (I did find video from last year’s FMC rockshow but the quality was not so high – a hazzard of recording trombones with a portable cam and then compounding the loss of low-frequency content by playing it back on computer speaker. You can watch it anyway if you want).

I bet you could see them cover it live if you bought a ticket and showed up at the Black Cat Monday night.

If you want to hear great DJs at the 9:30 Club and eat lots of tasty food at a benefit for the DC Central Kitchen, you’re in luck because “Sound Bites” is exactly that, and it’s happening this Sunday (the 23rd).

Benefiting the D.C. Central Kitchen, a community kitchen focused on solving the interconnected problems of poverty, hunger, and homelessness, SoundBites is a half-outdoor feast, half-indoor concert full of tasty eats and hot jams. Starting the event is a tented food bazaar outside of 9:30 Club, chock-full of free samples from lots of the area’s finest cuisine-purveyors.

After getting your nosh on, we’ll open the Club’s doors, where you can work off all of that deliciousness by grooving with five of the scene’s best DJs and bands.

This May, help a D.C. establishment that truly deserves it, while having some of the best food-fueled fun of your life. With free samples from area restaurants including: BGR the Burger Joint • Busboys and Poets • ChurchKey • CommonWealth Gastropub • Cork EatBar • Fresh Start Catering • Harry’s Tap Room • Indique • Jaleo • Maddy’s Bar & Grill • Marvin • Masa 14 • Mie N Yu • Radius Pizza • Sâuçá • Taylor Gourmet • Zola Kitchen and Wine Bar

DC Central Kitchen is a worthy organization, and I’m not just saying that because their Chief Development Officer is one of our cool neighbors. You can buy tickets here

Art Enables is an amazing art studio program and gallery for emerging artists with developmental and/or mental disabilities. They’re celebrating their 8th birthday with a party today. There’s lots of impressive outsider art for sale and also a raffle with creative prizes that include having a former VP from the World Bank come to your house and cook you crabcakes. (Really. I’m not making that up).

Eight is great! … and Art Enables is celebrating with a double dip!

1. A fabulous birthday party & exhibit – with DJ Uncle Eric.

2. A random raffle (very eclectic items and only $1 a ticket) and (the silent) auction of a single gorgeous painting on canvas to help us generate some extra funds to upgrade our security after a break-in and theft in January.

The party will help Art Enables after they were recently burglarized and lost all of the computers and electronic devices necessary for them to reach their community.


SATURDAY, February 27, 2010, 2 – 5 pm @ Art Enables
411 New York Avenue, NE — Washington, DC 20002

My friends Stephanie and Beth work at Art Enables so while you’re at the party today say hi to them. (ahem. You will be at the party today, right? Right.)

I hate crowds, I hate shopping, I really didn’t want to be anywhere that might lead to being elbowed in the kidney, and most perfume gives me a headache. So it makes perfect sense that I went to the District Sample Sale last night. I was extremely well-behaved, I mostly bought presents for other people.*

Mostly, I was there because it was a good cause, but a small part of me was there as an anthropologist, and my-oh-my was it an entertaining evening.

I admit I’m a big coward, so I only stayed downstairs during the VIP hour, when there were only 100 or so other shoppers milling around and the only major obstacle was the caterers who seemed determined to make sure no one starved. Some of my friends were fasting because it’s Ramadan, and sunset wasn’t for hours. They were being tortured by the fab food and the free-flowing champaign. Because we’re post-ironic, they helped me pick out some Chanukah gifts for the in-laws.

When the doors opened to the public I grabbed a glass of champaign and scurried upstairs to chat with the Development Director from the DC Rape Crisis Center, the main beneficiaries of the night’s proceeds. I observed the mayhem for another 30 minutes from a safe perch, and then I fled, because it had gotten kinda scary.

I noticed that the clothes – at least the items that appealed to me – were generally either extra small or too large. Physically too large or too small, that is. Being designer items, a size L or XL could easily equal a Target size 4 or 6, so I don’t mean the size labels themselves were an indicator of the actual range of sizes represented.

At one point a woman asked her friends if they wanted to grab some food, and the other women recoiled from all that carb-tastic goodness as if she’d suggested they shoot lighter fluid into their eyeballs. It reminded me of the exchange from the Devil Wears Prada:

Andy Sachs: So none of the girls here eat anything?
Nigel: Not since two became new four and zero became the new two.
Andy Sachs: Well, I’m a six…
Nigel: Which is the new fourteen.

That didn’t stop the line for tasty Georgetown Cupcakes from snaking down the hall later, however.

And on that note, let me direct you to DC Damsel, who has a terrificly interesting post up about the way her experience at the sale made her think about her body image now and her recovery from eating disorders.

Now, back to the less serious note that this post (which was intended to be one sentence) started out with. When I started pawing through the bulging swag bag, I pulled out an assortment of Graham Webb cosmetics. I happened to read the fine print on the box, and was fascinated with the warning label:

Caution: For external use only. Keep out of eyes. Discontinue use if signs of irritation appear. Not for infants under 6 months.

What on earth has someone done with this product in the past that their lawyers feel a disclaimer with this level of specificity is in order?


*Okay, I admit it. I’ve already fallen in love with, washed and worn the shirt I allegedly bought for my mom. But still, the other items? Definitely gifts. The seriously hot Benedikte Utzon dress I scored for 30 bucks? That remains mine, all mine.