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Thursday, October 26, 2006

The good, the bad and the ugly karaoke songs

Karaoke is a contact sport. It's a battle to see who's stronger -- the audience's bleeding ears vs. one man and a microphone. Unfortunately the ears rarely win.

In this week's Preview, I share my adventures in karaoke. Although I never held the microphone or took the stage myself, I heard a lot of really good songs and some horrifying hits as well.

The escapade sparked conversation in The Times office and some staffers began chatting about the best and worst songs for karaoke.

Here's how the list has shaped up. Of course not everyone agreed -- therefore I established a category for hit-and-miss songs.

Yes: Songs you can't go wrong singing

  • "Like a Virgin" by Madonna
  • "Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leppard
  • "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles
  • "When a Man Loves a Woman" by Percy Sledge
  • "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi
  • "You Better Shape Up" by Olivia Newton John
  • "Raspberry Beret" by Prince
  • "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
  • "Take This Job and Shove It" by Johnny Paycheck
  • "Lady" by Kenny Rogers
  • "I'd Do Anything for Love" by Meatloaf
  • "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers
  • "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" by Meatloaf
  • "If I Had $1,000,000" by Barenaked Ladies
  • "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey
  • "Mr. Jones" by Counting Crows
  • "Proud Mary" by Tina Turner
  • "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond
  • "Shoop" by Salt and Peppa

Risky: You may or may not wow with these hits

  • "Hey Jude" by The Beatles
  • "Strokin'" by Clarence Carter
  • "Love Lift Us Up"by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
No: We weren't ready to leave yet, so don't sing these

  • "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeplin
  • "Sound of Silence" by Simon Garfunkel
  • "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses
  • "You Light Up My Life" by Debbie Boone
  • "Star Spangled Banner"
  • "I Will Survive"by Gloria Gaynor
  • "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston
  • "Gin and Juice" by Snoop Dogg
  • "I Touch Myself" by DiVinyls
  • "Funkytown" by Lipps Inc.
  • "Achy-Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cirus
  • "I Got Friends in Low Places" by Garth Brooks
  • "Sweet Child of Mine" by Guns N' Roses

Your suggestions are welcomed. Perhaps there's a song we missed along the way. Or maybe you really like to sing "You Light Up My Life" -- feel free to fight us on it.

(Carie Cotter sings "Proud Mary" by Tina Turner at Camelot Lounge on Oct. 20.)

Frontmen to play for Brandon Young

Frontmen from five local favorite bands will perform acoustic sets at Flannigan's on Saturday to raise money for Brandon Young.

The cover charge is $10 and proceeds will go toward medical expenses for the Terms bassist, who was injured in an auto wreck on Sept. 30. Young suffered extensive head injuries but is expected to make a full recovery. Yet, the rehabilitation will be long and expensive.

Flanningan's is at 521 E. Kings Highway, Shreveport and the show begins at 9 p.m.

Ben Labat from The Terms, Adam Dale from American Tragedy, Michael Donner from Losing Anna, Brandon Gonyea and Todd Tracy from Ultraswade and Josh Hollis from Mansuits will perform at the show.

"I think you automatically put yourself in their shoes," Donner said. "You obviously want someone to reach out to you or any of your band members in this way. I'm glad we can do something to help in the process."

(Terms members Clyde Hargrove (left to right), Scott Lasseigne, Ben Labat, Brandon Young and Blake Oliver on April 8. Photo taken by Times photographer Greg Pearson)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hear some music you can see

What do you get when music and film collide? Small Sails, a Portland-based band that will be at Minicine in Shreveport on Sunday.

In 2005, the band performed over 50 shows across the United States and Canada. Small Sails combines interesting rhythms and original 16mm film loops to create music listeners can actually see.

"People really latch onto the film aspect. It's an expression of the way we view music," Ethan Rose, vocalist for the group, said. "The film adds a whole other level to the experience. Generally, it sets a mood."

Minicine will be an escape from traditional performances for Small Sails. The group says they prefers performing artsy cinema scene more than the rock bar scene.

"We look forward to playing in Shreveport. We've played there before and had a really good time," Rose said.

You can see Small Sails perform Sunday at Minicine, 824 Texas Street, Shreveport. Doors open at 8 p.m. and there is a $5 cover charge.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Investigators witness strange activity during ghost hunt

For those of you who've already picked up Preview today, you know I spent last Friday night meandering through the Municipal Auditorium's hallways, tape recorder in hand, searching for paranormal activity.

I wasn't alone. I joined a group of 60 participants who accompanied Louisiana Spirits on their second investigation through the historic music hall. Although my tape recorder picked up a lot of laughs, it failed to capture the whispering of any spirits. However, Louisiana Spirits says the investigation yielded more evidence for their organization. The group is still reviewing evidence and isn't in any hurry to classify their findings as paranormal. But here's what they've told me about the evidence they've recovered so far and experiences they had Friday night.

  • Shelly Mills, an investigator with Louisiana Spirits, shared of her experiences with me through e-mail. During the investigation she said she and another investigator were sitting alone in the upper balcony of the auditorium when they heard what sounded like a metal key dropping directly behind them and to their left. The investigators turned on their flashlights but after walking several aisles, were unable to find anything metallic on the ground.
  • Another experience took place in the basement. Four investigators were in a room rumored to have recent activity. The group was doing EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) work and after a little provoking, a loud scratch was heard. The sound came from behind Todd Weaver, co-founder of Louisiana Spirits. Others directed their flashlights to the area and saw a large pipe swaying heavily.
  • One member may have caught a few EVPs. Investigators are going over the evidence to make sure the sounds/voices are not causes of anything electrical or simply other voices.

Louisiana Spirits should have all the evidence collected and posted on their Web site by next week. You can check out what the ghost hunters have captured previously at the Municipal and other locations at Or check back with the IN blog for more information on the investigation next week.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hear American Tragedy while you still can

American Tragedy's Myspace page claims new material is coming soon, but that couldn't be further from the band's actual plans.

With only six dates left on the calendar, Oct. 27 at Flannigan's may be the last opportunity to see American Tragedy perform locally.

Following the band's last performance slated for Nov. 17, the future of Tragedy is uncertain.

Lead guitarist Jackie Brock said the band was taking a hiatus or "a break for an indefinite period of time." But he wouldn't officially say the band was breaking up.

For the past five years Tragedy members have focused on music and performing. Now the plan is to shift their sights to personal things.

In a few months, Brock says the band will reevaluate the decision and see if they would like to regroup.

If you need your American Tragedy fix -- for a least a while and maybe indefinitely -- stop by Flannigan's at 9 p.m. on Oct. 27.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Family, friends set up account for band member

After the wreck that injured three members of Louisiana band The Terms, support continues to overwhelm members of the group.

As Myspace comments continue to pour in, an account has been set up with Capital One Bank for people to make donations to help with bassist Brandon Young's medical expenses.

Young suffered extensive head injuries during the Sept. 30 wreck and his recovery is expected to be a long process.

Young is still in critical, but stable condition at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe and drummer Scott Lasseigne says he gets considerably better each day.

Guitarist Clyde Hargrove and percussionist Blake Oliver also were injured in the wreck.

Hargrove suffered a fractured pelvis bone and is now recovering at home in Shreveport. Oliver suffered a fractured vertebrae in his neck and is recovering at his home in Monroe.

To make a donation visit any Capital One Bank branch or mail your donation to Capital One, 1927 N. Market Street, Shreveport, LA, 71107. Checks should be made out to "Brandon Young Donation Account."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Justin Timberlake tour stop slated for CenturyTel

Even though CenturyTel won't admit it just yet, the secret is out. Justin Timberlake and his FutureSex/LoveShow Tour will stop in Shreveport-Bossier on March 3 for one steamy night with fans, according to the artist's official Web site.

Timberlake is slated to romance 33 other cities during the North American leg of his tour. Bad girl Pink will also join Timberlake on the tour.

Tickets aren't on sale here yet, but they can be purchased through

Friday, October 13, 2006

Better than Ezra charms Ruston

Better than Ezra puts Ruston in the heart of what it calls their "Louisiana love triangle."

By the feel of the Louisiana-rooted band's show last night, the feeling is mutual. The band played old favorites like "Good" and "Desperately Wanting" as well as new hits including "Juicy."

Although the concert was held in the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston, home of the Lady Techsters, the romance between the stage and the audience was hot. Fans hung on to lead singer Kevin Griffin's every word and smart aleck comments. He was amusing, dry, charming -- everything you want a frontman to be.

Between songs and off the cuff, Griffin began singing Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack," admitting to fans that's all he'd been listening to lately. Of course, I couldn't tell how serious Griffin was -- his humor makes him mysterious. Once again, it was charming.

Ask anyone and they'll tell you, long-distance relationships are tough. But this is one love affair I think will last.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Visual artists offer much to festivalgoers

Each year visual artists come to the Red River Revel eager to share their products and artwork.

However, these artists may not realize what they're giving to us -- paintings, drawings, photography, jewelry, sculptures, ceramics and a variety of other forms of creativity anchored in one place for nine days.

Each time I walk by the booths I'm tempted to spend. Especially at Miki Oliver's stained glass booth. The Kaufman, Texas, artist does beautiful work.

Jewelry also is abundant at the Revel this year, in fact, it nearly overpowers the traditional artwork booths. Whatever you enjoy, there is plenty to browse. If only I had plenty to spend!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Jack and Coke Icee puts a new twist on an old favorite

Considering I've eaten nothing but Revel food recently -- that and McDonald's since it's Monopoly time -- last night I figured it was time to try out a drink.

At festivals, all I really expect to find is beer, but I'm not the biggest beer fan. I'll drink it from time to time, but typically it's not something I go for. So, as I was walking around checking out my other options, I came across possibly the best alcoholic beverage I've ever tasted -- a Jack Daniels and Coke Icee.

The drink tastes just like a regular Coke Icee, but with a little extra kick. My friends all passed it around oohing and aahing over just how good it tasted. I figure if my current career doesn't pan out I can open my own adult Icee store complete with Crown and Coke Icees, Vodka and 7up Icees, Jack and Coke Icees, etc. It's too bad you can only get these once a year.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Food steals the show at festival

The Revel is never shy when it comes to food.

It's hard to find something that isn't knock-you-off-your-feet delicious. Sure, to some, the deep fried, stuffed, loaded and all-together messy meals are downright glutinous. But to me it's the Revel's stamp of perfection.

This year, I decided I didn't want to miss any of my favorites, so I roughly mapped out the booths where I'd be making a stop. The first booth that snagged my attention was St. Joseph School serving muffaletta pizza. I'd heard it was good from my co-workers. In fact, when I mentioned I'd never had a slice I was all but flogged.

Sunday night, when I took my first bite, I found out what all the fuss was about. The pizza is filled with ham, salami, olive mix and topped off with several cheeses. Ranking booth No. 13 at the top of my list.

Today, I returned to Festival Plaza to continue my food-eating strategy. This time I stopped by the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet booth for a crawfish pistolette. I loved the muffaletta pizza, but the pistolette give it a run for its money. The creamy crawfish bisque fills a deep-fried roll that quickly absorbs most of the delicious sauce. Booth No. 18 makes the pistolette a worthy choice for festivalgoers.

Regardless of what tempts your taste buds, my advice is simple. Eat up.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Hundreds gather to hear local favorite

The weather was gorgeous tonight and the music at the Revel was just as good.

Losing Anna's last minute addition to the festival had little impact on audience attendance. A few hundred fans gathered at the riverfront to hear the local band. The lineup included a mix of band originals, a few popular covers that got the crowd singing and even the debut of a new song the band wrote Wednesday.

Shreveport local and lead singer Michael Donner showed support for the arts festival by sporting an '83 Revel t-shirt he found at Goodwill similar to the one he had as a child.

With seven days left in the festival, there's more great music to come.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Traveling bar stops at Revel

The Revel kicked off today in fine fashion. All the things you know and love about the festival are there. Great food, variety of music, vendors, drinks and more await festivalgoers.

But the Revel also offers a new attraction this year with the Bud Light Lounge. Entry to the lounge is free and gives complementary samples of Bud Light and Budweiser to those who stop by.

The atmosphere seems to be come-and-go, but the lounge brings something new and young to the festival.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Revel is in the air

When I walked out of the office today I could smell it -- the Revel was in the air. The scent of funnel cakes and all things fried filled downtown Shreveport and at that moment, I couldn't wait for the festival to begin.

Tomorrow the Red River Revel kicks off in Festival Plaza. The seven day event offers a plethora of food and entertainment options.

Check back each day as I take in all the Revel has to offer.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Travis Hart at Diamond Jack's

If you're looking to hear some good music this weekend, check out Travis Hart at 9 p.m. Friday at Diamond Jack's Casino.

The Shreveport native recently moved back to the area from Austin. This is one of his first performances since returning to the area. The artist's folk/rock songs are easy listening -- filled with good storytelling and a down-home sound.

Check out his music on Myspace at

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Terms member remains in critical condition

The Terms bass guitarist Brandon Young remains in critical condition at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe following a wreck that occurred as the group was traveling to a performance in Monroe.

Cpl. Jeff Pilcher, of the Monroe Police Department, said a maroon 1997 Ford Escort driven by Houston Cale, 18, of Monroe, was distracted by his cell phone and ran a stop sign that struck the silver 1999 Toyota Four-Runner SUV driven by Blake Oliver.

The SUV then slid into a telephone pole, ejecting Clyde Hargrove from the passenger window and causing Young to go through the back windshield, hitting his head on the telephone pole.

According to a news release, Hargrove was transported to St. Francis North Medical Center in Monroe with a broken pelvic bone and bruising in the mid section. Oliver was taken to St. Francis Medical Center with a broken vertebrae in his neck.

Fans have reacted strongly to the news, posting comments, prayers and best wishes on the band's Myspace site. The Terms were scheduled to perform at the Music City Texas Theater in Linden, Tx., on Saturday along with Richard Bowden and Moon & the Starz. Popular area band Chasing Rita will perform in place of The Terms.

Find The Terms online at these sites:
The Terms Web site:
The Terms' Myspace:
Fan support page:

Losing Anna added to Revel lineup

As a last minute addition, local band Losing Anna will perform Sunday at the Red River Revel. The group will begin playing at 7:30 on the Eldorado Riverfront Stage.

However because of the short notice, the performance will not be listed on Revel schedules. The band is passing out flyers and relying on word of mouth to draw a crowd. With Losing Anna's loyal local following that shouldn't be a problem.

If you haven't heard these guys play, this is a great opportunity to take in some great music and just one more reason to head downtown for the Revel.