Old New Orleans Rum

Earlier this year we went down to New Orleans’ only distillery – Old New Orleans Rum.  Great people.  Outstanding product.  I highly recommend you get a bottle or two or ten.  If you’re in town and want something interesting to do, I suggest taking the distillery tour.  You won’t regret it.  The smell alone is worth the price of admission.

We shot this on a Canon 7D with a 50mm Canon lens as the primary camera, and a Sony EX3 as our “B” camera.  All the footage was edited and color corrected using Adobe Premiere.

Do the Rolling Stones matter anymore?

This year the Rolling Stones celebrate their 50th anniversary.  There’s a new documentary, book, and possible world tour in the works.  More importantly, an album of new material is rumored.  Yes, this group is my favorite band.  I revere them more than The Beatles (sacrilege amongst many, I know) and Led Zeppelin (I can only take so much of Robert Plant’s screeching in one sitting).

That being said, frankly, the Rolling Stones just aren’t relevant in popular music anymore.  Let’s look at some facts.  They haven’t had a number one album since 1981 (the year I was a rambunctious one year old).  Their music hasn’t been on Top 40 radio in years.  The words “old, prehistoric, ancient” tend to follow them around.  Sure, their super-tours grow larger and larger each go around.  Their last one, A Bigger Bang tour, is still the second-highest grossing tour behind U2′s titanic 360 tour.  But why?

To answer that, we have to look at today’s music, which frankly, sucks.  Let me share a story.  The other day I was riding in my girlfriend’s car.  She’s only got an AM/FM radio and she is partial to current pop songs.  Naturally, the radio was tuned to the Top 40 station.  In the 15-20 minute ride, I swear I heard the same song back to back.  When I shared my thought, my girlfriend replied that they were two completely different songs.  You could have fooled me.  After we finished running our errands, wouldn’t you know those same two songs hit the air again.  Really?  Are we that ADD as a culture that we need to listen to the same four or five songs in a 15-minute rotation over and over and over?  Maybe, but I think the radio stations are just playing what the record companies want them to play:  songs and albums they want to sell to teeny-boppers.  You might tell me to listen to another radio station.  The so-called rock station in town is too, for lack of a better word, corporate.  The kind of station that would play Nickelback over and over is not my kind of station.  In fact, any radio station that plays Nickelback should have it’s FCC license revoked.

Back to the Stones.  From the opening chords of “Satisfaction” or “Brown Sugar”, their music begs instant recognition, even 40+ years later.  Their last couple of reissues (“Exile on Main Street” & “Some Girls”) each included an album’s worth of discarded music tracks.  Sure, a 67 year old Mick added some new vocals and war-battered Keith added a guitar overdub or two.  It doesn’t matter.   There’s still a rawness in their music and a sleaziness in their lyrics, even 50 years later.  No auto-tune.  No super-producer.  Just great music.  Their new music might not matter to the masses, but their legacy lives on through people like Jack White or bands like the Black Keys or the Black Crowes.  Hell, Keith Richards guitar licks even inspired me to pick up guitar.

These septuagenarians may have been in the business for 50 years, but the world will always see them for their achievements made in their first 20.  The Stones’ latest scorcher of a single “Doom and Gloom”, their first song recorded together since 2005, shows they still have what it takes half a century after their first single.  Let’s hope it’s a taste of things to come.

 

Burlesque in New Orleans

We recently got a hold of some new toys at work, and if you know me, you know I’m a technology geek.  And I’m also a guy.  So I couldn’t ask for a better marriage of the two than doing something on burlesque.

As you saw in the video, burlesque is not just some strip show.  I’ve been to a couple of shows here and there at my girlfriend’s behest, and I’ve got to be honest – wow!  The perfect marriage of theatre, comedy, dance, and, well, nearly naked women.  It walks a fine line between art and sleaze.  Sure the comedy is raunchy, and you’re bound to see pasties, but there’s more to it.  Some intangible factor I can’t place my finger on.  Burlesque is sort of like vaudeville for the 21st century.

Most of the performance footage comes from a Fleur de Tease show.  It was their take on “The Wizard of Oz”, only it took place in New Orleans.  The Scarecrow was a stripper, the Tin Man (or woman in this case) a ‘living statue’, and the Cowardly Lion was a shy gutter punk from the 9th Ward.  The best part of the show was when Dorothy was ordered by the Wizard to bring back the flaming tassels from the Wicked Witch of the Westbank.  If you’re from the Eastbank, you’ll get the joke.

Burlesque performer extraordinaire Trixie Minx graciously stopped by our studio to shoot what we in the business call the “beauty shots.”  She stripped down to her revealing performance costume and we graciously started shooting.  In the 45 minutes that followed, we shot take after take of over half a dozen sexy poses that filled the opening and closing moments of the video.  This was the first controlled studio shoot with our new equipment – a Canon 5D Mark III and several Zeiss Compact Prime lenses.    Two of my fellow producers, Rich Sprinkle and Jared Burns assisted on the entire shoot. Those guys are true artists when it comes to lighting.  The red of Trixie’s costume against the black backdrop really pops.  Notice the way the light plays with the white feathers.  Beautiful stuff.  Nice job guys.

The Cocktail

I’m not one for drinking much.  But, on the occasion I partake in a libation, I prefer something well made.  My favorite spirit?  Bourbon.  So naturally I tend to lean towards bourbon cocktails, such as a sazerac or an old fashioned.  However, I rarely order cocktails when I’m out on the town.  The bartender never really gets it right.  Too much alcohol.  Too much syrup.  Never mixed well.  So I generally stick with bourbon, served neat.  When making cocktails at home, I take the time to properly measure all ingredients.  And boy, do I enjoy that drink.  Does that make me a drink snob?  I’ll proudly wear that label.