January 2008 Archives
One image of jazz in 2007 sticks with me most: Thelonious Monk at Starbucks.
When I paid for my latte at New York's JFK airport in November, there he was, looking right at me from the cover of "The Measure of Monk," the latest checkout-counter CD compilation offered by the coffee chain.
Hell, if those folks ordering frappuccinos can learn to say "Crepuscule with Nellie" (track seven on the new CD), I might just learn to say "tall" when I really mean "small," or "venti" for "large." Had this uncoolest of coffee chains suddenly turned hip? Could Monk's dark tone clusters really sell to the masses alongside the biscotti and bittersweet chocolates? As it turns out, yes.
The Open Society Institute, sponsor of the Katrina Media Fellowship that funded my work in New Orleans, has created a fascinating new website, "Katrina: An Unnatural Disaster". (My own page on the site is here.) It's a great resource, not least because it allows you to explore and cross-reference various strands of the post-Katrina New Orleans experience (culture, insurance, criminal justice, etc.). as well as across media (print, radio, photography, film). I'm in brilliant company in this fellowship, as you'll see, all of us responding to an unnatural disaster by doing what comes naturally -- getting and telling the stories.
The OSI press release is below.