Opinion Blog: ‘Glee’ Creator Causes Grief

April 15, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Joey Richardson
joeyr@smu.edu

No one should tell musicians, poets or artists what to do with their songs, poems or paintings.

Ryan Murphy, the creator of the inexplicably popular show Glee, never got that memo.

He lashed out at the musicians who refused to let him use their music. The musicians don’t like the show. They don’t want their music to be associated with the show and they shouldn’t be called names for that.

The fact that Murphy feels he needs to malign the individual bands that said no to him, tells me that the success of his show has gotten to his head.

Who made him king of all things music?

Ryan Murphy has since learned the error of his ways and apologized. But his comments exposed an interesting divide in the music community.

On one side are those devils, those irresponsible monsters who said no to him. Slash of Guns and Roses, Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon, and Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters all form the camp against Glee.

On the other side is the man at the piano, Sir Elton John and other self proclaimed “Gleeks.” John told the anti-glee element to “lighten up” but the man misses the point.

It is the artist’s prerogative to dictate how their music is used. They felt their music would suffer by being on the show and they refused. They were right to do so. Artists should not compromise themselves simply because there is a threat of a backlash.

These artists have been painted as villains who spray bad language around like it’s bad cologne. In reality, Murphy pulled the insult trigger first.

His language and anger toward the groups was so vehement it confused the front man of Kings of Leon, Caleb Followill.

“This was never meant as a slap in the face to ‘Glee’ or to music education or to fans of the show,” Followill said, “We’re not sure where the anger is coming from.”

If Glee’s creator can’t handle rejection, maybe he picked the wrong business. He should just stick to terrible artists like Ke$ha, Lady Gaga or Color Me Bad and leave the musicians who pour everything they have into their music alone.

Fun on the Run: Karaoke Cabs in Dallas

February 25, 2011 by · Comments Off 

BEYOND THE BUBBLE

By Meredith Carlton
mcarlton@smu.edu

Monday Omoregbee’s cab is anything but ordinary. Flashing lights stream from the trunk, a disco ball dangles from the ceiling, CDs decorate the interior and music bumps from the speakers. No, customers have not crashed a party; they’ve entered a karaoke cab.

Men and women, ranging from sober to beyond inebriated, come and go from the back of Omoregbee’s decked out minivan on any given night, every one of them greeted by sparkly curtains, wireless microphones and a book with over 6,000 song choices.

“I wanted my cab to be different from every other cab in the city,” said Omoregbee, whose cab is one of four in Dallas with a full-blown karaoke set up.

Upon settling in to one of the cabs, passengers choose a song, follow the lyrics that appear on a TV screen hanging behind the driver and belt their hearts out. Songs that filled the cab one recent Friday included those by The Black Eyed Peas, Ke$ha and 2Pac.

At about midnight, a group of female young professionals celebrating a birthday shuffled into Omoregbee’s ride on their way to lower Greenville. Upon closing the door, passengers yelled out a song of their choice ranging from “Teenage Dream” to “God Bless the USA.” After much debate, someone spoke up. “Can we get some Gaga,” someone yelled from the back and Omoregbee happily met the request.

Eve Kimani, right, belts out The Black Eyed Pea's "Boom Boom Pow" with friends as she travels to her destination in Monday's cab. (Photo By Meredith Carlton/Beyond the Bubble)

“LoveGame” streamed from the speakers while the group attempted to sing like Gaga. Their four-minute performance ended in giggles but soon after, the genres changed significantly.

“Oh my God, Becky look at her butt. It is so big….”

Every passenger knew what song that was, Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” The enthusiastic group singing died off after the beginning rap but some brave souls continued to belt it out until the door opened near their desired location.

Karaoke itself originated in Japan in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the early 1990s that it became popular in the United States, as clubs featuring the activity started to sprout in cities. With the rise of shows like “American Idol,” it may not come as a surprise that many enjoy belting out tunes whether they are in the privacy of their own home or singing karaoke in a club or car.

Dr. Pamela Elrod, director of choral studies at Southern Methodist University, believes the concept of karaoke gives the participants permission to make mistakes.

“I guess karaoke is sort of like being a kid again because you have that abandon,” she said. “You’re not judging and no one is going to judge you.”

Omoregbee has been in the karaoke cab business for a few years, but said there is no holding back for some of his customers. They range from those who are really good, to those who can’t even sing, he said. Good thing the microphone board is right next to Omoregbee, giving him the ability to mute any person’s microphone with the turn of a knob.

Although Elrod is a proponent of singing no matter the circumstance, she believes karaoke is supposed to be shared.

“I just feel like karaoke is something you want to do in front of people, particularly in front of your friends and sort of just get crazy,” she said. Passengers tend to agree.

Todd Hart, a single rider who had rode in a karaoke cab in the past, chose not to sing on his ride from an Uptown bar to an apartment complex in Dallas.

“If I had all of my friends here, and we were actually going out we would be singing the hell out of this place,” he said.

Another single rider, Cody Callaway, recalled the fun times he has had with friends in the karaoke cabs.
“He [Omoregbee] makes it happen in Dallas. Last time me and a few of my friends were in here. We just had a good time, he just like made it happen.”

Once an ordinary cab driver, Francisco Loaiza wanted to make his cab unlike others. At first, he decided to place a laptop, printer, scanner, fax machine and copy machine in the front of his cab as a convenience for customers in need of a boarding pass. This amenity was available free of charge, but Loaiza knew he could go beyond what he called “an office on wheels.”

Monday Omoregbee in his karaoke cab. (Photo by Meredith Carlton/Beyond the Bubble)

Eventually, Loaiza made his way to New Orleans where he toyed with the idea of placing a DVD-style karaoke disk into a laptop, hooking the laptop up to the radio sound system and connecting a microphone to the laptop. It was from that idea that his karaoke cab company was born. After Hurricane Katrina, he relocated his company, Karaoke Cab LLC, to Dallas, where people of all ages have been able to experience the musical ride.

Dr. Robert Krout, professor and director of the music therapy department at SMU, believes music has a special impact on people of all ages.

“Music has the special ability to provide both a safe, familiar, comforting environment, for people to improve or maintain their physical health, mental health, emotional, motor, cognitive and all the different demands of learning,” he said.

Loaiza agrees. He described a time when he drove a customer to her doctor’s appointment. At the beginning of the ride, the customer was experiencing pain, but by the time they reached the doctors, the pain was gone. Singing is an activity that makes “the spirit go happy,” he said.

Customers are able to reserve the karaoke cabs for special occasions like birthdays, bachelorette parties or celebrations out on the town. Since there are only four cabs in Dallas, drivers say to book in advance. However, when Omoregbee and Loaiza don’t have appointments they operate like traditional cabs, causing some people to become passengers out of pure luck.

Contact Monday Omorebee’s Dallas Karaoke Cab Company at (817)-266-1071 and Francisco Loaiza’s Karaoke Cab LLC. at (214)-893-0613. Visit their websites at http://www.dallaskaraokecab.webs.com/ or http://www.karaokeyellowcab.com/

Big D Blog: Trees Makes Lots of Noise

December 10, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted By Jackson Butt

For the last three years, the Granada Theater has been the top mid-size venue in Dallas. It has also been my favorite. However, Trees has been growing on me steadily since its reopening in the summer of last year. I went to the venue before it closed down in 2007, and was not impressed: There was water everywhere, and it smelled like sewage; the staff wasn’t rude, but they weren’t fostering a welcoming vibe; and the sound system was lacking.

The first things I noticed when I returned to trees was that it was clean, and the staff was friendly. And then, the show started and I got to hear the new sound system: amazing. The new owners hired Lee, who used to run sound for Tesla in the 1980’s. Lee brought his own sound system that he likes to show off.

It’s loud, but not loud in the sense that you can’t distinguish all the sounds. Everything is clear from the highest treble to the chest-caving bass. Did I mention that this sound system had teeth jarring, chest-caving bass? The sound that comes from a kick drum is commanding and fills the room like no other venue in Dallas.

Trees has been known for booking harder edged acts in rock and metal, but has been booking plenty of electronic, pop, reggae, and some country. I suggest browsing their show calendar, picking something good, and checking out the sound system. Bring earplugs.

Big D Blog: Bass Science Returns to Dallas at Arnetic

December 9, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted By Jackson Butt

When DJ/drum duo Bass Science came to town in late July, they had such a good time, they decided to come back.  They Played December 3 at 2826 Arnetic in Deep Ellum with local DJ collective Dub Assembly. 

Consisting of DJ/Producer MattB and drummer Devin Landau, Bass Science has a unique sound in the electronica genre of what Matt calls “glitch-hop.”  Their Friday night show was their first on a string of 12 dates, and it was a good start, with a crowd over 300 for the whole night.

This tour features a new set list, with a few remixes of songs from the last tour that Bass Science rocked until 2:15 a.m.  MattB proved that he is one of the finest DJ’s in the business with his impeccable sounds and commanding stage presence.

Arnetic has only been open for five months, but has been booking nationally touring acts, and become a viable choice for a club-size venue in Dallas.  However, the bar is slimly stocked, with a prickly bar staff.  The light production was great at the show with lasers, fog, and a light that made the floor look like Saturday Night Fever. The sound quality was adequate, but an untraditional speaker arrangement led to a lack of bass that is needed for this type of genre.

Big D Blog: Deep Ellum Update

December 9, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted By Jackson Butt

It’s nice to see some life out of Deep Ellum since the area’s collapse in 2005-2007.  There are still many empty storefronts and for lease/sale signs, but there are also some new places that I hope can stick around.  The chances of Deep Ellum returning to past glory are slim to none, but that can be a good thing.  It was the overwhelming popularity of the area that led to higher rent, larger dance clubs, and less daytime businesses. 

Besides the re-opening of Trees, there are two new music venues on Elm Street, 2826 Arnetic and La Grange.  Both of these are mid-size clubs that can accommodate around 300 people.  La Grange also has an attached restaurant. Other Restaurants that have opened in the area are the Anvil Pub, Cowboy Chow, and Po-Bill’s Cafe.

Deep Ellum still needs more foot traffic to help out business, but daytime businesses, like restaurants, shops, and galleries, will help with that. I hope that Deep Ellum continues to grow back with the support of legitimate businesses whose interest is in the neighborhood.

Campus News Blog: Meadows Hosts Group Alash for Brown Bag Concert

March 29, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted By Monica Sharma

This Wednesday, March 31, members of the award-winning singing group Alash will be performing a Brown Bag concert in Owen Arts Center.

In this performance, called Expanding Your Horizons, members will show off their mastery of the Tuvan style of singing. Tuvian throat-singing can be described as an ancient Central Asian musical tradition.

What’s unique about this type of singing is the way the individual vocalists sing multiple pitches at the same time creating sounds of the natural world like birds or streams.

Along with the vocalists, the Brown Bag performance will be accompanied by traditional Tuvan instruments.

Alash is deeply committed to the music and culture of Tuva, but they also mix western elements into their performances. This creates a personal style that is both fresh and cultural at the same time.

This free perfromance will be held at noon. For more information, click here.

Arts Beat: ACL Lineup

April 29, 2009 by · Comments Off 

It is finally here! ? After much anticipation as to what artists that will perform at the much coveted Austin City Limit Festival this year the lineup is finally posted.

Bands from Dave Matthew’s, John Legend, Girl Talk, Lily Allen, and Passion Pit are all coming. ? For a list of all the artist visit aclfestival.com and click on the lineup tab.

The festival, which attracts thousands of people each year, is held on October 2-4 at Zilker Park in Austin, TX.

Tickets are going fast! ? The early bird three-day pass along with the advanced three-day pass are already sold out. ? If you plan on going do not wait, buy now! ? They are $185 and can be bought at aclfestival.com. ? Do not wait and craigslist these tickets at the last minute. ? This year has got a great lineup so go online and buy now! ? See you there.

–Posted by Mary Summers

Arts Beat: Happy Birthday: Keith Moon completes The Who lineup 45 years ago

April 28, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

It was 45 years ago this month that a young Keith Moon first sat behind the drum kit for a band called The High Numbers. By November 1964, the band had changed its name (back) to The Who, and it was Moon who provided the frenetic backbeat for iconic numbers from ‘My Generation’ (1965)? to ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ (1971).

In between, The Who took the bronze medal in the pantheon of great British rock groups – behind The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Alongside singer Roger Daltrey, bassist John Entwistle and lead guitarist/songwriter Pete Townsend, Moon broke plenty of barriers (and equipment) along the way.

Moon was the first drummer that people actually watched, as opposed to many of his predecessors who kept a simple and refined backbeat. Keith Moon, or course, was neither simple nor refined; he was wild, out of control and undoubtedly one-of-a-kind. It wasn’t so much that he was a technically good drummer, rather that Moon combined an unprecedented combination of speed, spontaneity and spot-on accuracy to give The Who their own unique blend on British rock.

With The Rolling Stones, The Who moved into the 70s as headliners in stadiums and concert venues across the United States, the second home of both bands. Moon battled alcoholism and various esteem issues until his untimely death from an overdose of pills in September 1978. The previous month, the band had released its last album featuring Moon on drums, and the song title itself serves as a fitting tribute to the many personalities present in Keith Moon: ‘Who Are You.’

Posted by Nate Regan

Arts Beat: Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! And More Yeah!

April 14, 2009 by · Comments Off 

I had never heard music by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs until their newest CD, It’s Blitz!, came out in March. ? Now I can’t listen to anything else! ? It’s Blitz! is full high energy tunes that straddle the line between the giddy, girly pop and loud, punk rock genres.

To be more specific, the style of this CD sounds like Meg White‘s drum kit meets St. Vincent’s solo act and the two of them asked a synthesizer to come party.

It’s Blitz! may not be the best album I’ve ever heard, but it is definitely the most captivating. ? Lead singer, Karen O’s voice floored me when I heard the band’s first single “Zero“. ? her voice has the airy essence of Feist mixed with the flamboyance of Katie White from the Ting Tings.

The best song on the new album appears early on the track list. ? “Heads Will Roll” is a vivacious, head banger that sends the listener to the underground club scene of post 21st century London. ? When Karen chants “Off, off, off with your head. ? Dance, dance, dance ’til your dead,” I feel like an anarchist ready to destroy the government with my dancing skills.

So, take the Yeah Yeah Yeahs challenge: try switching websites after sampling songs off It’s Blitz! [here]. ? I dare you.

--Posted by Christine Ricciardi

Campus News Blog: Music Director Robert Dodson Brings Enthusiasm to Meadows Administration

March 31, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Rachel Orr

The Meadows School of the Arts has seen a lot a administrative changes in the past few years, but it looks as if new SMU’s division of music director Robert Dodson, who came here last June, is here to stay. To say the least, the SMU faculty is filled with cheers and could not be happier.

Dodson, who is 67, might be on the mature side to receive such a new position but his résumé spans the globe with administrative positions from Toronto’s Royal Conservatory to, just before coming to SMU, the New England Conservatory of Music.

According to Larry Palmer, professor of harpsichord and organ, the SMU faculty appreciates and admires Dodson’s perfect balance of enthusiasm and decency coupled with his genuine concern for and interest in the faculty’s own thoughts and opinions. Palmer alluded that this was not always the case.

“I already note a renewed sense of collegiality among my colleagues,” he said.

Dodson’s enthusiasm for SMU’s music division. is quite evident when he referred to it as “one of SMU’s and Dallas’ best-kept secrets.”

This Wednesday, Dodson hopes to make his great enthusiasm for SMU music no longer his own at SMU’s annual Meadows at the Meyerson, which will feature the Meadows Symphony Orchestra, the Meadows Chorale and the Meadows Concert Choir.

Meadows at the Meyerson promises to showcase some of the best student and faculty talent and, along with the help of Dodson, a new enthusiasm.

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