M57 On-Air Urban Salon NOLA Interviews
Ellen and the M57 team produced Episode 3 of the podcast in both New Orleans and New York in the Fall 2013, here are the interviews with musicians, artists, and chefs from that episode.
"I'm interested in creating art that explores post-modern identity issues, the essence of language, consumer culture, entertainment, and human impact on the environment. I believe that sculpture has a ritual function, making my art objects essentially 'useful' in a psychological sense. Over a decade of extensive international travel has had a powerful influence on my personal and conceptual development. I have a wicked sense of humor and a thick subversive streak. In my work, as well as in my life, I'm interested in exploring the boundary between the sacred and the mundane. I create work in a vast range of 2D and 3D media. Many of my pieces incorporate DIY electronics and experimental interactive components. I tend towards using heavy contrast, bright colors, and intricately decorated surfaces in all of my work regardless of media. My work falls somewhere between folk/outsider art and mad scientist experiments and is full of symbolic ritual and psychological imagery combined with kitsch. The art objects I create appear playful and humorous at first, but when the viewer looks deeper they realize that they are also full of double meanings, twisted games, dirty jokes, and challenging social, political, and personal implications. By using glossy, jewel-like surfaces and whimsical forms I pull the viewer into my narrative where they discover that underneath this surface glitz are deeper themes that satirize consumer culture and the status quo. My work is like cosmic candy that is full of the razor blades of truth."
Gary Granata, PhD, RD, LDN
Gary's approach to food combines his southern roots and passion for all things New Orleans, his home for the past 13 years. He is a New Orleans-based nutrition and exercise scientist, cook, gardener, teacher, writer & occasional drummer. Gary is the mentor farmer at the Hollygrove Market and Farm in New Orleans. In 2012, he established the New Orleans chapter of Slow Food in partnership with the New Orleans Musicians' Health Clinic. Gary's cooking layers simple preparations of food that is grown locally, seasonally and sustainably, and educates adults and youth on how eating locally promotes personal health and wellness, supports local economies, empowers communities, saves both time and money and tastes better than the stuff produced on assembly lines. www.performwell.net.
Elsa Hahne is the author of "The Gravy - In the Kitchen with New Orleans Musicians" and "You Are Where You Eat - Stories and Recipes from the Neighborhoods of New Orleans,” which was supported by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc. She is the Art Director and Food Editor of OffBeat, New Orleans' premier music magazine, and a journalist by trade. Her writing and photography have appeared in numerous international magazines and newspapers, including Time and New York Magazine. Elsa Hahne has won several New Orleans Press Club awards for her photography and design, including two for Best Cover, and the Hal Ledet Award for Print Photography. Originally from Sweden, Elsa Hahne has lived in New Orleans since 2002
Dana Honn grew up working at his family's Mexican restaurant, La Placita. He was cooking and waiting tables by the age of 11, and loved every minute of it ... well, almost. By the time he graduated from college (music composition with a minor in Hindi/East Indian studies), he had worked continuously in the food service industry for more than 15 years. His passion for composing and teaching music was always accompanied by a desire to expand his culinary horizons and he took advantage of every opportunity to taste, research and prepare various ethnic cuisines. In 1992, he moved to Brazil with his wife Christina, where he taught music and theatre at an American international school. Living in Brazil and taking trips throughout South America and Spain had lasting impacts on Dana's palate. Upon his return to the U.S., he founded Telarts, a film production and media company in San Francisco which he continues to oversee, and gave cooking classes in his spare time with Christina. In New Orleans, Dana and Christina founded Cafe Carmo. He is inspired by and committed to New Orleans and believes that "this city invites us to see beyond convention, through a looking glass of history and tradition to find those things which are superbly unique... it's a conduit for creativity, originality and coincidence. I guess that has some relevance as far as what excites me most as a cook, discovering the essence of a recipe, taking it back to its origins, reinterpreting and eventually presenting it on a plate at Carmo, hopefully to the delight of our diners."
Johnny Marcia, producer of "Que Pasa," was born in New Orleans to Honduran parents. Marcia started his musical career at a very young age, joining his father's Latin band, Los Sagitarios, at the age of 16. Los Sagitarios was extremely popular, playing for about 35 years. In 2001, with a new vision, he gradually took over the group and changed the name to Rumba Buena. Rumba Buena expanded to playing more genres of music and performing at different and larger venues. Today, this group is one of the most popular local Latin groups specializing in salsa, merengue and bachata rhythms, just to name a few. Johnny felt something was still missing when it came to promoting Latino culture, and, together with Javier Olondo and a local Telemundo affiliate in New Orleans, Johnny brought his ideas to the table and is now a producer for the weekly 30 minute television show, “Que Pasa New Orleans.”
Brenda Melara is a writer with a diverse background in Hispanic media in the Greater New Orleans area. Her work experience includes journalism, television, radio, marketing, advertising, bilingual education and music promotion. Over a span of 25 years, with a strong involvement in the Hispanic community, she has witnessed the changing trends and needs, targeting this important demographic in the United States. Brenda was born and raised in New Orleans and is fluent in both English and Spanish. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Drama & Communications from the University of New Orleans. Brenda works in advertising and marketing, is the Editor of the bilingual newspaper “El Tiempo New Orleans,” and is Media Consultant for the television show, “Que Pasa New Orleans.”
Javier Olondo, producer and host of "Que Pasa New Orleans," was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Havana, Cuba where he first learned classical guitar. He teaches classical guitar at Tulane University in New Orleans and tours throughout the US and Europe. Javier regularly promotes Latino culture and artists, hosting a radio show in Barcelona ("Dijous amb Salsa").
Murf began his career in restaurants at 15 and has only occasionally looked back. A New Orleans resident since 2001, Murf focused on cooking until stumbling into the world of bourbon as a waiter at Bourbon House. Thus was born a love of spirits. After Katrina, Murf returned to New Orleans having studied under Clif Travers at Om in Boston. Murf brought his newfound passion for craft cocktails to Elizabeth's, Bombay Club, and Bar Tonique before managing the bar at Sylvain and eventually becoming General Manager there. Sainte Marie Brasserie offered Murf an opportunity to craft an entirely new beverage program in the developing Central Business District.
Emilie, a third-generation painter, is the daughter of Noel Rockmore (sometimes referred to as the Picasso of New Orleans). Emilie has been painting for more than 30 years, and now regularly sketches the musicians working in New Orleans today. She was always a painter first, but in the past two years, drawing has taken precedence and, happily, a sketchpad is well suited to the environment of music clubs. She says, "I am moved by music and I admire musicians more than anything in the world. That is what propels me to show up and once there, I can no more not draw than not breathe. Everything is moving, in flux, and yet I see details and the whole scene at times in snapshots which I suppose forces me to capture the image in bursts. Every drawing is an amalgam of moments observed and experienced during the evening. And of course, the rhythm of the music influences the patterns of pen strokes."
Spencer Wiggins is an American soul and gospel singer. He is considered to be one of the best kept secrets in soul music. Spencer started recording singles with Goldwax Records in 1964 with "Lovers Crime." Wiggins recorded 8 more singles with Goldwax, including the single "I Never Loved A Woman (The Way I Love You)" which featured Duane Allman on the guitar. Spencer that moved to Fame records and recorded two more singles, including the single "Double Lovin" which was a minor hit on the R&B charts. Spencer then moved to Miami and became a deacon of a Baptist church there. In 2002 he released "Keys to The Kingdom", a full length spiritual LP which featured his powerful singing and modern production techniques. In 1999 he began touring again, performing in various venues including The Ponderosa Stomp Festival in New Orleans in 2013.