Last week's Best of Jackson issue was followed, as always, by the Best of Jackson party, and this year's party was an amazing blowouthundreds of our closest friends joined us for a sneak peak at the new Auditorium in the old Duling School in Fondren for what has been pretty roundly praised as a good time on a Sunday night.
In fact, we had so much fun that I've declared 2009 the "year of the event" for the Jackson Free Press. You'll be hearing about many more sponsored happy hours, more local bands, more dating and social-networking partiesall of that on top of the 2010 Chick Ball and some other surprise celebrations we have planned for the year.
Visit http://www.LoungeList.com to see videos and pictures from the Best of Jackson 2009 party, and join our LoungeList e-mail blast (http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/loungelist_manage.html) to learn about other JFP events, win tickets and get your invite to next year's Best of Jackson party, along with our other upcoming events.
Here's what I like about the party: diversity in ages, races, backgrounds, careers and lifestyles. We all get together and have fun in a uniquely urban, uniquely Jackson setting. We celebrate the best that this town has to offer, and we put the party in a location that shows local entrepreneurs taking risks and putting themselves on the line. We see, feel, enjoy, laugh, and dance about success, progress and community.
And we always have great drinks and amazing food!
Thanks to all of the restaurants that participated this year, as well as to Capital City Beverage for the keg-based beverages (including a fabulous local Lazy Magnolia specialty brew) and to The Auditorium for making the space available for the preview.
Thanks also to Stephen Barnette (Davaine Lighting) for the incredible setup that makes the party feel like a party; also to Nat Duncan, who provided the sound system, projection and other key technology. These guys are good, and Stephen has been producing amazing Best Of parties since the beginning, back when they were in his downtown loft !
Hard work was put in by many members of the JFP staff, most notably Kimberly Griffin and Sage Carter-Hooey, who did the hard work of planning, cleaning, arranging and managing the partyquite an undertaking when you pick a venue where they're still building the bar two days before show-time. (Fortunately, it's a cool barthe blackboard slate and chalk is a fun touch!)
I love Best of Jackson because it's such a celebration of excellence and creativity. It's the same reason that the JFP has decided to sign on to a national, independent music and newspaper effort called "Record Production Month" (RPM)
and it's something that I'd like to personally invite you to get involved in as well. Here's the pitch:
This is the challenge: Record an album in 28 days, just because you can. That's 10 songs or 35 minutes of original material recorded during the month of February.
It's a little like National Novel Writing Month, where writers challenge each other to write 1,700 words a day for 30 days, or the great folks over at February Album Writing Month who encourage artists to write 14 new songs in February. Maybe they don't have "Grapes of Wrath" or "Abbey Road" at the end of the month, or maybe they dobut that's not the point. The point is they get busy and stop waiting around.
Don't wait for inspirationtaking action puts you in a position to get inspired. You'll stumble across ideas you would have never come up with otherwise, and maybe only because you were trying to meet a day's quota of songwriting. Show up and get something done, and invest in yourself and each other.
Anyone can come up with an excuse to say "no," so don't. Many of you are thinking "But, I can't do that! I don't have any songs/recording gear/money/blah blah blah..."
But this doesn't have to be The Album, it's just an album.
Remember, this is an artistic exercise. Just do your best using what you have in order to get it done. Four-track, mini-disc, GarageBand, Walkman
just do your best. Use the limitations of time and gear as an opportunity to explore things you might not try otherwise. If you can afford studio time in a "real" studio, fine, but let's be completely free of any lingering idea that "good" records can only be made in a studio.
February will come and go whether you've joined in or not, but do you really want to be left out?
Here's how it works:
1. Sign up at http://www.rpmchallenge.com/jackson.
2. Record 10 songs or 35 minutes of material on a CD, finished by the end of February.
3. Recording can only be done in the month of Februaryno pre-recorded songs.
4. All material must be previously unreleased, and RPM encourages you to write the material during February, too.
5. Participating bands get their own page on the site, where you can blog as much as you want. You also get access to the band-only discussion board, where you can swap ideas, resources, etc., and have the ability to talk with the other participants.
6. All the completed albums may be put online in the RPM Jukebox if you so choose, so people can check it out; conversely, if you'd rather not share your work with the public, then no one needs to hear it but us.
Musicians, non-musicians, wannabes, students, retireesyou have nothing to lose. Make it happen now!
When you've finished, make two copies of your album. One must be postmarked no later than March 2 and sent to RPM HQ, 10 Vaughan Mall, Suite 1, Portsmouth, N.H. 03801. The second copy is for the listening party; it also must be postmarked or hand-delivered no later than March 2 to: Jackson Free Press, 2727 Old Canton Road, Suite 224, Jackson, MS 39216.
We'll have a special JFP/RPM listening party and conference for all participants and their friends and supporters March 28, 2009more details to come.