Email On the brink of his May residency in NYC’s East Village, Escovedo talks songwriting, future plans, and how “Velvet Underground stole my whole consciousness”Nate HertweckGRAMMYs May 2, 2018 – 6:09 pm Tonight in New York’s East Village, acclaimed songwriter Alejandro Escovedo begins his May residency with the first of five shows in the neighborhood. The gritty, vibrant streets exploding with character and nuance suit his music perfectly. I tracked him down during rehearsal at the Bowery Electric, just a few doors down from where CBGB once stood, to ask him about his New York heroes, the making of his latest masterpiece Burn Something Beautiful, and what surprises he’s got in store for his May residency.”I lived right around the corner,” says Escovedo, reflecting on the East Village vibe. “I used to watch the Cramps cross the street every day to go to breakfast, which was at two in the afternoon, and they were amazing, it was just like this movie that opened up in front of you that was incredible. I just have so many memories here, and every time I come back I gravitate to the Lower East Side.”On this particular return to NYC, Escovedo has mapped out an ambitious month-long residency exploring a variety of formats and incorporating a fascinating list of guests such as singer/songwriter and musical historian Richard Barone, Nuggets collection compiler and Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye, and New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain. The residency kicks off with a show at Coney Island Baby on May 2 and closes with a special all-star band at Bowery Electric on May 30.”Back in Austin at the Continental Club, I would do residencies. I would always do something different, whether it was acoustic or feedback with strings,” says Escovedo. “The idea came to do one here when Jesse [Malin] and I were playing a lot of gigs together … I love the intimacy of these places, and I thought this would be a great place to do something like that. … I thought, ‘Well, let’s make every week a little different.'””We’re going to pick the songs together,” says Barone, who works and performs with Escovedo often. “We’ll be using our own songs with songs by artists we admire to tell our stories. It’s a biographical show … I’m going to do one of Alejandro’s songs that I always loved because I think it talks about both of us … it really tells our story.” Alejandro Escovedo and Richard BaronePhoto: Nancy Rankin Escovedo”Richard and I have always had that connection,” Escovedo says, talking about his mutual admiration for Barone, his long history with each special guest and teasing the residency’s finale with a knowing smile. His ambition harkens back to how the city of New York originally grabbed his heart.”When I was a kid in high school and that first Velvet Underground album came out, in our little town, Huntington Beach, California, you could go to any party amongst our group of friends and that record was playing, and we’d listen to it from the very beginning to the very end,” says Escovedo. “Growing up, my friends all wanted to travel to Europe … [but] I wanted to go to New York because the Velvet Underground was from New York.”Lou Reed’s influence on Escovedo’s work is clear, yet never feels imitative. As Barone puts it, “There’s a Lou Reed song for every emotion.” He and Escovedo produced a remarkable tribute to Reed during SXSW 2014 following his death.”There’s something about the way Lou Reed wrote about New York and what I was feeling at the time that made me want to experience that more than I wanted to experience the hippie thing that was happening in California,” says Escovedo. “That’s not to say I didn’t have interest in Buffalo Springfield and Love and all those bands. I did, but the Velvet Underground totally stole my whole consciousness.”Escovedo finally made it to New York in 1978 with his band the Nuns after they opened for the Sex Pistols’ historic last show at Winterland in San Francisco. His arrival in New York was, well, epic.”We had the consummate New York experience. We lived in the Chelsea hotel,” he says. “One of the first nights we were here I sat at a table with Deborah Harry, all of Blondie, the Nuns, Andy Warhol, [photographer] Francesco Scavullo, and George Clinton. We watched the Heartbreakers play at Max’s Kansas City. And that was kind of the beginning. Our first gig was at CBGBs — there’s David Byrne, there’s David Johansen. Everybody was there.”This punk-rock sentiment manifests itself in Escovedo’s songs even today — however, in a way that feels fresh as opposed to nostalgic. Case in point, his song “Johnny Volume” has a foot firmly planted in East Village legacy, but the other kicks forward with lyrics like, “I’m going down to Max’s, Fender Twin on 10/ I’m going back to St. Mark’s Place, start all over again.””I wrote it in Portland,” says Escovedo. “It was actually Scott’s initial song idea, and then we completed it. It’s about Johnny Thunders coming back and wanting to get it right this time — not that he got it wrong, but he wanted another shot at it. ‘I’m feeling so better/ It’s time to make amends,’ and ‘if you see me on the corner, I’m waiting on a friend’ was a reference to the Stones video we all saw [that was filmed] in the East Village.””Johnny Volume” is a live-wired cut from Escovedo’s latest album, 2016’s Burn Something Beautiful, which offers an exhibition in rock songwriting, production and arrangement. The album was produced by former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and his Pacific Northwest-based partner in crime, bassist Scott McCaughey.”When I made Burn Something Beautiful,” says Escovedo, “I think I got back to where my heart really was with rock and roll, and I think I needed Scott and Peter to do that, and all the musicians who played on that record. … It was liberating.”Escovedo also talks with reverence and candor about his experience working with legendary producer Tony Visconti on his three albums prior to Burn Something Beautiful. Visconti is best known for his work with the incomparable David Bowie, one of Escovedo’s heroes.”[Bowie] passed away on my birthday,” he says. “David had been a major, major influence on me. Not only did he teach me about music, he taught me about art, and books, and theatre, and cinema, and mime, and Buddhism, and [he] taught us how to dress, [and] also how to be a man in a different way. He suddenly opened a door to a world that made it okay to be flamboyant, to be an actor in a way.”With equal parts imagination from Bowie and storytelling from Reed, Escovedo says his songwriting process is all about honesty and imagery.”This last record that I just finished, which is a concept record, it’s telling a story and so people say, ‘Well, the verses don’t rhyme,’ and then I go back and I listen to Lou — he’s telling a story,” says Escovedo. “The images are more important than whether the meter is correct in a poetic sense or lyrical sense. It’s more about the impact of the words and the story and the images that he creates.”I really don’t worry about the craft as much as I worry about making sure that I’m honest about what I’m trying to say and true to what I’m trying to say and not being pretentious in any way.””What sets [Escovedo] apart is how he continues to grow as an artist without losing track of his core musical identity,” says Barone. “He experiments … but it never loses that ethos of the punk era.”Looking forward, Escovedo says he’s writing a book with San Antonio-based author John Phillip Santos, telling his story in what he calls a “mythical memoir.” But he isn’t done making music yet.”I’m going to make another record with Peter and Scott, then I’m making a record of duets, and then I want to make one final record really encompassing the grandness of strings with distortion, almost like orchestrated metal machine music,” Escovedo says. “Then I think it’s time to put my feet up for a little bit. I travel hard and I’ve battled illnesses and whatnot, so it’s time to enjoy the fresh air.”As he runs through a career-spanning set during rehearsal the day before the first show of his May residency in the East Village, Escovedo couldn’t be more relaxed. He stops a song here and there to point out a string line for the guitar player to cover or to lock in a harmony part with his background vocalists, but you get the sense Escovedo is very comfortable yielding to the energy of rock and roll and putting faith in the musicians around him. He asks the band what song is next, they all casually call him “Al,” and his wife Nancy hangs out close by with their pup, Suki. From California to New York, Austin, Texas, and back again — for all of Escovedo’s travels — rock and roll is his true home.Catching Up On Music News Powered By The Recording Academy Just Got Easier. 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Comments 13:29 YouTube also said Wednesday it would remove channels that “brush up” against its hate speech rules — but don’t necessarily break them — from its YouTube Partner Program, which lets creators run ads on their channel and use other monetization features. For other “borderline” content, YouTube said it would reduce the reach of the video and surround it by more authoritative content, like putting a video on the topic from a trusted news source in the “Watch next” panel.YouTube hasn’t banned Crowder’s channel, but later Wednesday said it would suspend its monetization. “We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies,” the company tweeted. However, the company said in a follow-up tweet that Crowder would be able to monetize his channel again if he addressed certain issues, including removing a link from the video selling his T-shirts and merchandise. YouTube didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about what else would need to be fixed. The new hate speech policy also comes as platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter face intense scrutiny for their ability to police the content on their platforms. Facebook in March announced it was banning white nationalist and separatist content. But it has also faced blowback for its decision to leave up a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that had been doctored to make her appear drunk. (YouTube decided the video was inappropriate and removed it from its service.)YouTube also said it has partnered with lawmakers and other organizations to help combat the spread of extremism on its service. On Wednesday, one of those partners, the Anti-Defamation League, applauded the new policy by YouTube but called on the company to do more. “We were glad to share our expertise on this and look forward to continuing to provide input,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO and national director, said in a statement. “While this is an important step forward, this move alone is insufficient and must be followed by many more changes from YouTube and other tech companies to adequately counter the scourge of online hate and extremism.” Now playing: Watch this: What Facebook and Google say they’re doing to combat… Google Alphabet Inc. Tags Tech Industry 21 YouTube is axing videos that push extremist views or deny events like the Holocaust. Getty YouTube on Wednesday said it’s removing videos that push extremist views like white supremacy or deny events like the Holocaust or Sandy Hook shooting. The new policy is an attempt to crack down on hate speech on the Google-owned video service. The new rules prohibit any video “alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.”YouTube didn’t specifically say which channels or videos it’s removing. The company has drawn criticism for how it enforces its policies and its decision-making process when it comes to leaving up videos that some deem hateful.The update follows a controversy Tuesday evening, when YouTube refused to take down the channel of a prominent conservative personality named Stephen Crowder for using homophobic slurs against journalist Carlos Maza, a writer and video host at Vox. Maza, who is gay, created a supercut of Crowder calling him a “lispy sprite” and “little queer.”YouTube said Crowder’s videos didn’t violate the site’s rules. “Our teams spent the last few days conducting an in-depth review of the videos flagged to us, and while we found language that was clearly hurtful, the videos as posted don’t violate our policies,” the company said in a series of tweets Tuesday night. “Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site.” Share your voice (2/4) Our teams spent the last few days conducting an in-depth review of the videos flagged to us, and while we found language that was clearly hurtful, the videos as posted don’t violate our policies. We’ve included more info below to explain this decision:— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 4, 2019 Originally published June 5, 9:54 a.m. PT.Update, 12:03 p.m. PT: Adds news that YouTube suspended monetization of Crowder’s channel; 1 p.m. PT and 2:06 p.m. PT: Adds YouTube’s followup statements about Crowder’s demonetization.
Indian currency took another beating on Monday, sinking to a record low of 54.99 against the US dollar in the late afternoon trade session. The rupee stood at 54.96/97 to the dollar at 4:26 p.m. (1056 GMT), and had earlier plunged to the key psychological level of 55 to the dollar, Reuters said. High dollar demand, negative global cues and heavy foreign fund outflow were amongst the factors for further weakening of the Indian currency.The fall to 54.99 is the rupee’s fourth consecutive low recorded, and is a drop of over one percent from 54.42/44 close on Friday.There has been no intervention from the Reserve Bank of India in the recent session, traders said according to the news service. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said that the government is keeping a close watch on the depreciating value of the currency and that the government “is not sitting idle”, reports said. Meanwhile, the BSE bench mark reached 16183.26, up 30.51 points, while the Nifty benchmark gained 14.60 points to 4,906.05.
Why Shah Rukh Khan’s movies are getting flopped at box office.Varinder ChawlaShah Rukh Khan is one of the biggest superstars of India, who not only has a huge fan base in the country, but across the globe. However, the actor’s movies have not been doing well at the box office lately.Although Shah Rukh’s films still take huge opening at the box office, none of the recent movies could create the desired impact at the commercial circuits. In fact, most of his recent films ended up being flop at the box office.His last two films – Jab Harry Met Sejal and Zero were highly anticipated movies as those had strong star cast and were helmed by popular directors. But both the movies failed to impress the audience, and hence, flopped at the box office.Trade analyst, Sumit Kadel in a video put forward a number of reasons that according to him, are responsible for Shah Rukh’s movies going flop at the box office.First, Shah Rukh has been doing high budget experimental movies like Fan and Zero. He feels that such experimental films die at the box office after making a limited earning of around Rs 80 to 100 crore. Sumit said that as SRK has invested too much money on such films, these ended up being flop despite making decent collection. He stated that Fan had a budget of around Rs 90 crore, and Zero was made on Rs 150 crore.Secondly, Sumit feels that the audience is now tired of seeing Shah Rukh in romantic roles. Zero was expected to present him in a different light, but he was again seen romancing Anushka Sharma’s character in the film. He feels the audience does not want to see him in the same old romantic avatar anymore.Thirdly, the trade expert said that wrong kind of directors are being given the responsibility to direct wrong kind of films. He said that most of Shah Rukh recent movies have been directed by people, who are not known for making such films. They have been taken out of their comfort zone in a bid to direct the superstar’s films. Sumit said that light-comedy directors like Maneesh Sharma was given a complex film like Fan, Aanand L Rai was given Zero, which was opposite to his usual genre. Shah Rukh Khan as Bauua Singh in ZeroTwitterThe trade analyst then spoke about the release dates of the King Khan’s films. SRK’s movies are not being released on good dates, and are often clashing with other big movies, he said.Sumit further said that the audience’s faith in Shah Rukh’s movies has come down after repeated flops. His films witness massive occupancy because of his huge fan base, but the collection subsides after the weekend as the word of mouth remains bad.Talking about the corrective measures the superstar should take, Sumit said that he should start choosing more commercial and universally appealing movies. And even if SRK wants to do experimental films, he should restrict the cost of production to around Rs 40 crore.Sumit also said that it is high time that Shah Rukh works with big film-makers like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rajkumar Hirani and Karan Johar.
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. File PhotoBNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday termed ‘baseless’ different media reports on their chairperson Khaleda Zia’s release on parole saying that there has been no decision yet in this regard.”Several newspapers have been publishing news with different headlines on the issue (of parole) for a few days. I would like to clearly say Khaleda Zia didn’t give any decision to go (abroad) for treatment on parole,” he said.The BNP leader came up with the remarks while speaking at the annual general meeting of a faction of Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) at the National Press Club.About their meeting with Khaleda at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) on Sunday, he said as prisoners are allowed to meet their relatives and friends on the special occasions like New Year, they took the chance and met their chairperson. “But there’s nothing to invent from such a meeting.”Reacting to a media report on Khaleda’s release on parole for going to the UK, Fakhrul said an English newspaper ran news with specific date and day of their chairperson’s release on parole. “It’s very unfair.””It’s also regrettable that they (the English daily) contacted me for comment, and I said it’s completely baseless and untrue. Even after that, they published it prominently. We urge all to refrain from exercising such yellow journalism and not to confuse people,” he said.The BNP secretary general also called upon journalists to talk to responsible BNP leaders before running any news on important issues relating to their party.He also observed that social media platforms are now being used for the character assassination of people, including the politicians. “It’s a social crisis, and the media people should think about it.”The BNP leader alleged that a ruling party-backed quarter is controlling the media in a planned way and working to build society as per the government’s desire.He said the media is being controlled in such a way by creating an appalling situation that many popular intellectuals now cannot join television talk shows. “Now, it has become difficult to provide authentic information.”Fakhrul said many journalists who tried to present accurate information lost their jobs after the national election. “A section of journalists is now in a good position, but not majority ones while many are jobless.”He called upon all to mobilise public support to change the current situation and protect press freedom and people’s rights.The BNP leader alleged that the law-and-order situation has badly deteriorated in the country as the current government has no accountability to people. “The law enforcers have taken a position against people.”Fakhrul also bemoaned that politics has now got polluted so badly that it is difficult for good people to survive in politics.
Advertisement From today on-wards Gtalk will nolonger be functional since Google is shutting down the Gtalk services and forcing its users to embrace Hangouts.Google had announced it few weeks ago that it would shut its Gtalk services from today. Although Google’s Hangouts is not as popular as WhatsApp, Hike, WeChat, and others, but the search engine giant sees its future in Hangouts.Google had last year replaced Gtalk with Hangouts and the users who would download Gtalk were redirected to Google Hangouts download page. Now Google has made it quite clear that Gtalk will no longer be functioning from February 16. – Advertisement – Most users are used to the familiar Gtalk interface, which is also believed to work better than Google Hangouts even on slow internet connections.Were you still using Gtalk? Let us know in the comments section below.