Dr. Francis and Me

Dr. Francis and Me

Here I am just hanging out with my favorite college president, Dr. Norman Francis.

Actually this photo was taken by Irving Johnson at a banquet where I was recognized for ten years of service here at the University.

I first realized Dr. Francis would be an inspirational figure to work for back in 1999, when I tuned into a national NPR story and he was quoted as an authority on the struggle for racial equality in America.

We don’t really interact much on campus, since he has much bigger fish to fry. I was honored to have my photo taken with him, and excited to receive it today. Definitely a keeper. Thanks Irving!

Fan Mail

We got a letter from a lawyer in Metairie. It included a clipping of Stephanie Bruno’s story from Saturday’s paper, and the following handwritten note:

I have so enjoyed reading about your journey back home.

I was in exile for 11 months.

You are the backbone of New Orleans society. Mid-City does have a future. You see the future in the eyes of your child.

And yet I’m still astonishingly humble.

Christopher Elliott Writes About My Case

Thanks to Carol G for getting me in touch with the very helpful Christopher Elliott. He’s the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine. Today he published my case. I found it in the Arizona Daily Star, though not, strangely enough, in our Times-Picayune which usually carries his column in the Sunday Travel section. I can tell you that $83 was very helpful. Orbitz actually refunded our tax paid as well so we came out ahead on this deal.
Continue reading “Christopher Elliott Writes About My Case”

Story #28

Wow. Check out the cover of the today’s Inside Out, the Times-Picayune’s weekly home and garden supplement. There’s a picture of Kilowatt Rising rocking our house party, and sure enough there’s Michael Homan (with unbroken clavicle) continuing his sinister project of confusing himself with me. Open it up and we’re in the center spread with pictures and a timeline of our whole renovation. This is the final story in the series, ostensibly, #28 by my count. This can’t be reproduced online easily, but head over to nola.com to for a reasonable approximation with some cool pictures. I’ll include the text here for future reference just because you never know how long nola.com plans to keep their content online.

And of course I must note that although Stephanie gives my wife credit, that’s actually my jambalaya.
Continue reading “Story #28”

My Answers to Some Interview Questions

Dear B,

My name is Adam and I have been recently tasked with interviewing a media figure for a journalism class. Since I was unable to contact the Watson’s girl, I am hoping that you can help me out. I have been a long-time and appreciative viewer of J&B on the ROX. The new episodes are excellent. J&B on the ROX was one of the important elements that made Bloomington a great place in the past (it’s kind of sad to watch the old episodes as so much has changed, Bloomington’s just not the same anymore), and I am happy to see you currently working your magic in New Orleans. You guys are living legends, folk heroes, and an inspiration to us all (this ass-kissing will definitely get a response).

Please answer as many of these as you want to. Feel free to elaborate.

1. What first motivated or inspired you to make ROX?

We thought it would be big silly fun to make our own weekly TV show. We had no idea how it would come to shape our lives.

2. What is the current state of ROX? How is it broadcast?

These days most people probably see ROX via Free Speech TV, which is broadcast via satellite on the Dish Network. Of course we’re still on the internet and a few cable access stations (including our first and favorite TV station, BCAT or CATS or whatever they’re calling it in Bloomington now).

3. What goes into the production/editing of an episode? How much time does it take?

Editing is by far the most time-consuming part of our production process. Back during our third season it took about 40 hours to edit a single show. Now that we’re fully digital I think it may take longer but I no longer clock my editing time so carefully so I’m not sure. It certainly feels longer because I’m generally not able to sit down and edit for eight hours straight, so I’m grabbing an hour here, an hour there.

4. In ’95, ROX was heralded as the first TV show in cyberspace by TIME magazine. What are some of the pros and cons of broadcasting independent media on the internet?

There was no YouTube in 1995, so one of the big challenges was that we were wrestling with the technology every step of the way. Video clips had to be massively compressed, and computing power was in short supply. We had to set a computer to crunch files overnight. And since we didn’t have a computer that could do that, we had to beg, borrow and steal from others.

5. What is your opinion of the current state of professional/commercial television and mass media in general?

Despite amazing technical advances, commercial television remains a vast wasteland. Cinematography is vastly improved, the writing is more sophisticated, yet television remains a morally bankrupt medium. I’m particularly troubled by the popularity of “crime fantasy” shows like CSI. I think they’re symptomatic of some very deep issues in our society. Of course the trend of media consolidation continues at an alarming rate. Here’s the latest. [Hat tip to the American Zombie.]

6. What are some of the challenges involved in making ROX?

One of our biggest challenges today is the 2000-odd miles between J and I. We don’t see each other every day or even talk every week any more, and that makes it a little more difficult for ideas to just well up spontaneously. Also, we’re both very busy these days. We both have full-time jobs now. J and Day have a little boy, and Xy and I are expecting a child in the spring. Add in the challenges of living in post-Katrina New Orleans and renovating our flooded home, and it doesn’t leave a lot of time for television production.

7. What are some of the rewards?

The primary reward is the satisfaction of seeing a narrative you’ve constructed unfold, and sharing that with others.

8. What are the future plans for ROX?

Right now we’re just struggling to complete this season (our fourth). Actually we’re struggling to get started on the next episode. A friend of mine, filmmaker Helen Hill, was murdered in January just after we finished our last episode of ROX. I knew our next episode would have to account for Helen in some way, and frankly that’s just been overwhelming.

I would like to thank you in advance for reading this e-mail. If you decide not to respond, I would like to NOT thank you as I will be scrambling to contact some Clear Channel radio jerk. Either way, thanks for your time and thanks also for all of the years of ROX. I really appreciate it, seriously.

Speechless

At lunch today Frank said that I was part of the reason he and his wife decided to stay in New Orleans. Whoa, I thought. That’s heavy. But how could it be? By deliberate choice, I’ve never encouraged anyone to stay here. He said it was not because of any one specific thing, just the choices I’ve made, the way that I’ve lived. I reminded Frank that we’re only staying here for now. He said no matter what we decided he was grateful. I was speechless.

Down with the Virus

I was just feeling overwhelmed by how many, many New Orleans blogs have appeared since Katrina. Then I got bitten by this viral linking campaign from Link Think New Orleans. So I suppose I should say a thing or two about myself.

I started this blog a couple years ago, and then filled in some posts back to when I first moved to New Orleans, so it actually looks like I’ve been blogging since 1999, but I haven’t.

Yet, in another sense I have been blogging for even longer. I just didn’t know the word “blog” back then. I’ve always had an impulse to keep journals, and I’ve always had an exhibitionistic streak, and I’ve been a fan of the web ever since I first surfed it. Check out, for example, Stone Cold 97, a collaborative journal I kept with my dad.

Good lord, that was ten years ago.

Then there’s ROX which is kind of like a blog, except it’s a television show with mixed drinks. I’ve been producing it (with my friend and compatriot J) since 1992, and we just finished our 93rd episode.

Other things you should know about me: I have been married to Xy for a dozen years and we still don’t have any kids, which is kind of amazing. We have three cats. I live in Mid-City. Our house was flooded but it’s a raised basement style so we’ve been living there since November. I work at a university here in town. It’s historically black and also Catholic. If that doesn’t narrow it down, you must not be from around here. I gave up alcohol for Lent but I’m not actually religious.

But back to the explosion in the local blogsphere. How am I supposed to keep up? How can I read all these blogs? It’s impossible. I can’t do it. So you will have to do it for me. I’m linking to two New Orleans Bloggers and hoping they will do the same.

Let’s see:

And there are so many more, but I’m going to limit myself to two as suggested by Link Think New Orleans. Pass it on, y’all…

Blog Posts Via E-mail

If you’d like to be apprised of new posts to this weblog, you can now subscribe (through a plugin I’ve installed) and you’ll get an e-mail whenever I post something new.

Alternatively, you can subscribe via FeedBlitz. The difference is that with FeedBlitz you’ll get an e-mail sometime within 24 hours after a new post. You can also get more fancy formatting, but they are a third party and I know virtually nothing about them, so proceed at your own risk.

Of course, it’s probably better to use a news aggregator, but if you know what that is you probably don’t need any help from me. Then again: If you use MyYahoo, you can add headlines from this blog to your custom start page just by following this link.