Jazz Fest 2015 – First Weekend

This is already the wettest Jazz Fest I can remember, and it’s barely half over. It’s not unusual to see rain once between both weekends, but we saw thunder showers on both Friday and Saturday. That didn’t detract from my enjoyment, partly because I managed to stay try until later in the afternoons. It’s one thing to get drenched at the start of the day, but by the time the closing act rolls around, nobody cares anymore.

My brother Jeff was in town this weekend for the festival, so I had another break in my usual solo festing. I also drove myself to the festival each day, which is a first for me. I also got exceptionally lucking in finding a great parking spot. It’s relatively secluded but only a couple blocks from the Gentilly entrance.

We started the first day of the fest in the Jazz Tent where NOCCA product John Michael Bradford headlined the first set in the Jazz Tent. I’ve seen him play numerous times since he was a little kid, and it’s been fun watching him grow into a superb trumpet player. Jeff and I parted ways after that performance and I went to see Brass-a-Holics. We nearly reunited later for the closing act, Keith Urban. He was about ten paces closer to the stage than me. I’m not a country music fan, buy I did enjoy Urban’s performance. A light rain persisted through most of the set, but but was cut short by lightning nearby.

The rain continued on Saturday, and I spent most of that day in tents. I saw the New Leviathan Oriental Fox-Trot Orchestra in Economy Hall. After a detour to Gentilly for the tail end of Tank and the Bangas, I retreated for the Jazz Tent for a couple hours and heard The Wee Trio, Ellis Marsalis and Jeremy Davenport.

And the end of Saturday, I had to miss Treme Brass Band to catch The Who at the Acura Stage. Having never seen them live, I had no expectations and enjoyed their faithful renditions of everything from “My Generation” to “Eminence Front.” A lot of the people around me had a lot more experience with their music. One gentlemen I was standing next to saw them live in 1968, when my dad was nine years old.

Sunday was the highlight of the weekend for me. I spent most of the day up front at the Gentilly Stage. I wanted a good spot for Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. The two acts preceding them were also great, so it was no chore camping out there. Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra put on a great show with special guest Dee Dee Bridgewater, a Grammy-winning jazz singer. Allen Toussaint followed them and delivered a fine performance with his sizable ensemble.

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga closed out the first weekend at the Gentilly Stage. I saw Tony Bennett during the 2009 Jazz Fest, but this was the first time I’d ever seen Lady Gaga perform. On the face of it, there’s no reason to think a partnership between the two should work, but it just does. Tony and Lady Gaga have excellent chemistry together. I was sorry to learn later after I got home that many people there for the show didn’t have a particularly enjoyable experience because they couldn’t hear the performance, both because the malfunctioning speakers in the back and the enormous sound bleed from Pitbull’s performance nearby at Congo Square.

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Responsive Design

My writings here often open with my disinclination to write here. There would have been at least a few things to write about over the last 26 months. I left WVUE-TV in December 2013 after four years in the newsroom. In early 2014 I dated one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever laid eyes on, which was as enjoyable as it was astonishing. Back in October, I bought a new car.

Neglecting this log despite all that is perfectly fine, but I’ve done myself a disservice neglecting the website itself for the last five years Mobile web browsing was already quite popular with I rebuilt Mr. B’s Domain in 2010, but I decided to skip the hassle. Now it’s nearly ubiquitous is the western world, with just about everybody surfing on smartphones and tablets. Elsewhere in the world, mobile web browsing has outpaced desktop browsing for years.

That state of affairs and a piece of advice I read finally gave me the motivation to revisit the issue: “Always have a project.” I spent a lot of time last month reading up on how mobile web development has evolved since I was last paying attention to such things. It’s now ridiculously easy to code your own website that works across platforms. CSS has allowed screen-specific rules for several years, but their implementation has since been packaged in easy to use “frameworks” like Bootstrap and Foundation.

I decided to use Bootstrap to build the latest iteration of Mr. B’s Domain. I still hand-coded everything, but downloading this “template” gave me a massive head start. One downside is the excessive overhead involved. Bootstrap has about 150 kB of CSS out of the box. I cut that down significantly in the course of completing version 10, but I can probably do more. The only other issue is my website now looks an awful lot like many other websites also built with the framework. There’s a new homogeny on the web as developers crank out Bootstrap websites for their clients by the thousand. I’ve made some effort to combat that as well, and hopefully I’ll maintain interest in the months to come.

One other objective with this new website is to further shift its focus to my amateur photography. It’s the one trickle of updates that has continued without interruption for the last 10 years. My newest albums now dominate the home page. Moving forward, each new one should have an article to match. This writing comes mere hours before Jazz Fest 2015 begins. I’ll probably be adding 1,500 photos to the website over the next two weekends. Hopefully I can add half as many words.

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