Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Listening Session (With Mojitos)

Diary Of A Layoff/Post 9: Whose Heights?

Hey, whose neighborhood is this? Boy, Brooklyn Heights during the day is sure different from the nighttime nabe that I am used to returning to after work. I took a long, leisurely walk today and was dumbfounded by the amount of local workers and school kids in the hood. While I used to be in Manhattan everyday, the texture of the Heights is utterly, wholly, surprisingly of a different texture. Damn.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Green, My Ass

"March 28 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. is Earth Hour to show that energy conservation is important. Famous buildings will go dark on Saturday, including the Empire State Building in New York, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the St. Louis Gateway Arch, the Sydney Opera House, the Sears Tower in Chicago, Seattle's Space Needle, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Broadway theater marquees in New York City. Even the flashy Las Vegas Strip will turn dark for an hour."

Give me a fucking break against this well-meaning, meaningless pretentious green shit. I think I'll turn on every light in my apartment. Of course, with NYC's Con Edison providing the most expensive power bills in the nation, perhaps I should rethink... Okay then, I'm going to moon my hind-quarters out the front window. How about that for shining light on the cause? Indeedy.

Lunacy @ Lunasa/March 27, 2009

Thanks to daylight savings time, at last, Friday's den of iniquity at last is revealed.A lean & mean night at Lunasa. From left, Chuckle, Allieicious, gorgeous Natalie, Lisa & Susie V, Mitch, Donna, Christa and, uh, her friend Batman.Meese, Mitch & Donna.Christa & Lisa.Christa proudly displays her Queensryche feature in Billboard.Ed Christman, a late arrival post-7 p.m. Lunacy pic.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Zorba Back In The Houze

Mitch Zorba, who we visited earlier this month in his native San Juan, is back in New York to record final vocals on his debut album with Ayhan Sahin.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sertab In Print

Billboard, April 4, 2009 issue.March 27, 2009 issue.

Just One Of 652,000 Bums

So I told Fred Bronson when I got laid off—after his layoff from Billboard—that I'd joined an exclusive club. His response: "It's not so exclusive anymore." And how...

The number of Americans continuing to claim jobless benefits set a record for the ninth straight week, the Labor Department said Thursday. First-time claims for unemployment insurance rose to 652,000 from the previous week's figure of 644,000. A year ago, the number stood at 367,000.

Continuing claims have increased by more than 100,000 four times in the past five weeks. The number of people receiving benefits is at its highest level since May 1983, when the economy was recovering from a steep recession. The total is nearly double the amount a year ago, when about 2.8 million people were receiving unemployment checks.

Gee, I feel special.

Wikipedia: He WAS...

Sigh... I just updated my own Wikipedia.org entry to change Billboard to past tense.

Chuck Taylor (born 28 September 1962 in Lynchburg, Virginia) is an American music journalist. He was a writer and senior editor at Billboard magazine from 1995 to 2009. There, he held the titles of Senior Editor/Talent, Senior Writer, Radio Editor, columnist of AirWaves and, perhaps most notably, Single Reviews Editor since 1998; as well as Managing Editor of Top 40/AC for affiliated publication Billboard Radio Monitor, and senior editor/features and AC format editor for Billboard sister Radio & Records.

Taylor has written profiles on numerous artist for Billboard, including Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Diana Krall, Elton John, Bette Midler, James Taylor, Tony Bennett, Barry White and many more. In all, he has interviewed more than 300 artists. He also penned liner notes for "N Sync's Greatest Hits" and has been a regular contributor to Time-Life's multitude of themed music compilations.

He has been interviewed on an array of music and pop culture topics on such programs and networks as ABC's “20/20,” “CBS Evening News,” CNN FN, VH1's “Behind the Music,” MTV, BBC, A&E's Biography" and E!; and has been quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, TV Guide, People, Parade, Us, Entertainment Weekly and numerous others. He was extensively interviewed in the career manual, "How To Get A Job in the Music Industry," written in 2007 by Keith Hatschek.

Taylor's artist specialty over the past decade has been CĂ©line Dion. He has penned five front-page articles in Billboard about the singer, most recently for her 2007 "Taking Chances" disc, released Nov. 13. He wrote liner notes for the re-release of both Dion's "These Are Special Times" Christmas album and "A New Day Has Come" on Sony Records, and has been a media spokesman on VH1's "Behind the Music" and E!'s "True Hollywood Story" on Dion, and has been quoted in several publications regarding the artist, including The New York Times.

He is a voting member of NARAS (the Grammy Awards) and a published songwriter for Young Pals Music/BMI. His lyrical composition "Lost and Found," performed by Miz Metro, with music by Ayhan Sahin and Eve Nelson, was featured in an episode of MTV's "Made" in March 2008.

Broadcasting experience includes an on-air stint at country WWOD-AM/WKZZ-FM in Lynchburg, Virginia, his hometown, as well as voiceover work for commercials and theater. He hosted Billboard's weekly online countdown at billboardradio.com, from its inception in March 1998 through January 2006. The show was scripted by legendary Billboard veteran and author Fred Bronson.

Taylor is a communication arts (journalism and speech/English) graduate of James Madison University, then lived and worked in Washington, D.C., for 11 years, including journalism jobs at the Washington Business Journal and Radio World. He lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Diary Of A Layoff/Post Eight: Finis

The fat lady sings. Today, after 14 years, 5 months and 23 days—5,288 days—I marked my finale at Billboard magazine. I went into the office at 10 a.m., as usual, and started editing the week's copy, as usual. I filed those babies until nearly 5:30 p.m. It was all so normal... and yet... bordered on what is now a brand new normal. Honestly, after the last month of counting down to this day, I'm ready. Let's just be done with it, for god's sake.

One fun surprise: Billboard.com editor J told me late in the morning that "High School Musical" Emmy-winning actress and hitmaker Ashley Tisdale was coming to the office to play music from her upcoming second CD and she wanted someone to conduct a video interview for bb.com. Well, guess who is best-suited to talk with a pop star? My working knowledge of Tisdale was limited, so I poured through Wikipedia and her Web site, got chart stats and memorized a career in 20 minutes.

Her new music—single "I'm Alright, I'm OK" hits radio April and a second album in June—is wonderfully spirited pop-rock, with stunning layers of melodic vocals. Loved it. And she could not have been more charming (and beautiful—and now brunette). We conducted our video back-and-forth for a good 15 minutes and I had a damn romp with the 23 year old... What a cool little final act for me.

Finally, at 5:30 p.m., I packed... and hesitated... My e-mail was empty, my Web bookmarks erased, my cubicle drained of all signs of my presence in that office space over the past nine years (okay, I did leave a purple Flair on my computer for sport), but just didn't... couldn't quite... leave. Some hugs, and then editor P came by to walk me out. Some shout-outs of "Bye, Chuck," and P repeated some lovely sentiments about our four years working together. Sure enough, I choked and teared up. I suppose I knew that was coming.

I hit the street and felt the same numbness as the day I was laid off, as if I were walking in someone else's body. So I just walked. Two tears fell. I hoofed it five blocks to Union Square, wove around the vendors there and resigned myself (hee, amusing term, eh?) to the fact that life has changed in a big way, and it's time to swallow it and just go home.

9 p.m. now and I feel a-OK. I'm making dinner and cooking a chocolate pie for my man. So life goes on. I assume the next week is going to bring more curiosity in this ever-evolving process, but the drama is over. Now it's time to focus forward.

P.S. Today is my mammer's 83rd birthday and she is in fine health. We had a nice midday chat. There is plenty to celebrate.