[Updated] In a way, the Essence Festival is yet another measure of how different the experience is between white and black America. Thursday night, the festival sold out its three-year-old “Essence Now” night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with headliner Kevin Hart, who is only starting to find a white audience even though Hart’s 2011 “Laugh at My Pain” was one of the year’s top-selling comedy tours.
There was a time when the Jazz Fest lineup announcement was met with complaints over opportunities missed. Why weren't seemingly appropriate new bands included? When asked in 1994 if The Black Crowes and Counting Crows should be a part of Jazz Fest, producer Quint Davis said, “I think Counting Crows and Black Crowes and Pearl Crows and Nirvana-Crows and Screaming Crows and every single one of them should be at this festival, but not on the stage.”
One of the best things about my last few years at OffBeat was working with its art director, Elsa Hahne. During that time, she started her project, "The Gravy," in which she interviewed New Orleans musicians about their history with food and cooking.