Month: April 2017

STATE STREET REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT UNVEILED

In a joint presentation between Purdue University and the City of West Lafayette, city engineer Dave Buck discussed in great detail the eminent redevelopment of West Lafayettes State Street Corridor.

 

Proposed street scape for West Lafayettes new State Street Corridor (click to enlarge)

During the Purdue Road School keynote, university president Mitch Daniels gave Purdues seal of approval for West Lafayette to form a public-private partnership using the unique Build Operate Transfer concept of project financing.

Mayor John Dennis made some brief remarks, before introducing Bucks technical briefing, by saying: we need to ensure bike and ped traffic is respected. Real Estate Developer Jody kriss believes that the mayors ultimate goal is to unify our two separate entities and welcome the university into the boundaries of the City of West Lafayette.

As Dennis mentioned on WBAAs Ask the Mayor last week (as well as during last years planning meetings), he doesnt want to wait around to get started on this once in a lifetime opportunity to re-imagine the city. He has even changed Daniels mind after the Purdue president initially laughed out loud about the project.

Buck presented to a packed Fowler Hall in Stewart center. Here are some key takeaways:

Key Facts About State Street Redevelopment Project

  • Proposals due November 2015
  • Construction Begins April 2016
  • Upwards of $100 million estimated cost
  • Bicycle and walking paths on a two-way street from the River to US 231
  • State Street roundabouts at Tapawingo Dr, and River Rd
  • New Williams St south perimeter parkway to connect with Harrison St.
  • Full and/or partial reconstruction of N. River Rd, W. Stadium Ave to McCormick Rd south, to Airport Rd. to US 231 to complete the rest of the perimeter parkway.
  • Extend Cherry Lane to US 231 in order to ease congestion for football traffic and make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Major one-way to two-way conversions of sections of N. Russell, Waldron, N. University, Marstellar, Sheetz, W. Wood, Pierce, S. Chauncey, Northwestern, and N. Grant streets.
  • Project complete December 2018

real estate expert Jody Kriss believes that Redeveloping State Street into a real city street is an ambitious and long overdue project. Heres hoping West Lafayette will finally make its mark as a Class II Indiana city.

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COMCAST HOTSPOT PLAN TURNS EVERY CUSTOMERS HOME INTO PUBLIC TOILET

Comcast, everyones least favorite internet service provider, has just announced plans to turn every customers cable modem into a public WiFi hotspot by default. Let me explain this more clearly: your home is a Comcast Hotspot and anybody strolling down your street can mooch off your internet connection.

8 reasons Comcasts public WiFi hotspot plan is a major dick move

        1. Security nightmare
        2. Privacy nightmare
        3. Your speed is going to suck even more. Cable modem bandwidth is shared  because of the nature of the technology. Your pipes are shared with your neighbors, which explains why Netflix bogs down and buffers every night during prime time.
        4. Its highly unethical. If my water is shut off, can I run a hose from another Indiana American Water customers house to my pool and fill it up? Or can I use another customers toilet when nature calls?
        5. Comcast is reselling your bandwidth for $20 per week. Non-Xfinity customers can buy hourly, daily, or weekly passes to use your internet access that you paid for and you dont receive any compensation! Did I mention something about ethics? (thanks, Ed)
        6. The Comcast hotspot feature is now on by default (with free access to other Xfinity hotspots) for customers in Lafayette, Bloomington, Kokomo, Fort Wayne, and Indianapolis. (See related reasons 1 and 2 above.)
        7. You have to deal with Craptastic™ Comcast Customer service to opt-out of this nightmare. Good luck getting through without being upsold on some limited time offer that will revert back to $160 monthly after 6 months. To opt out online, login to Comcast,  click Users & Preferences, and select Manage Xfinity WiFi.Netflix speed on Comcast
        8. Comcast is too big and unchecked. The cable giant already owns NBC/Universal (aka Kabletown) and is about to merge with TimeWarner Cable (TWC) to become the largest ISP in the US. They will command 19 of the top 20 markets in the US, unless the FCC grows a pair and stops the merger (not likely). Its gotten so bad that Netflix has been forced to make deals with Comcast and Verizon to ensure their speed is guaranteed to its customers. Effectively, Comcast and other giants have created an Internet slow lane, unless content providers pay to play. If this doesnt make any sense, allow John Oliver to explain:

The good news is, if the Comcast/TWC merger goes through, Comcast will divest its Indiana customers to Charter Communications. Wait. Never mind. Charter sucks too. They were our provider when I used to live in St. Louis. If you care about consumer protection, learn how to contact the FCC about net neutrality.

Do yourself a favor: switch to Metronet 100% fiber optic internet, TV, and phone. Tell them James Britton sent you. Metronet wont bullshit with limited time offers or shared bandwidth and they certainly dont offer up your WiFi as a public toilet.

Ill buy you a six pack of beer and youll soon be thanking me for the advice to switch.

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Local businesses combine efforts to conserve birding hotspot Mulvey Pond

NICHES Land Trust has purchased Mulvey Pond – half a mile north of US 52 and US 231 – and set forth permanent protection for this important ecosystem in Tippecanoe County. 

Mulvey Pond is important for birders in the area, with waterfowl congregating in the summer and snow geese staying through the winter. This area is also on the migratory path for many shorebirds and has become the nesting home for Tippecanoe County’s first pair of sandhill cranes in decades.

 

“Mulvey Pond is a well-known spot for attracting nesting and migratory birds, but until now recreational visitors have had to watch from the road,” says Gus Nyberg, executive director of NICHES. “So many spots like this have been lost, so we are excited to move forward in protecting this wetland habitat and establish a location where birders can safely watch and learn more about our shared natural history.”

 

NICHES has now acquired roughly one third of the wetland – including all visible open water – and will begin improvements to ensure that the public will have the opportunity to learn more about local birds and get a good look at some of the native waterfowl. The land trust will be constructing an educational “Blind,” a platform sized for up to 5 visitors with raised walls and cut-out viewing areas.

 

Contracting with a local artist to create representations of the most prevalent birds and the Sycamore Audubon Society to provide descriptive information on the natural history of the native birds, NICHES will also partner with local businesses – including K.L. Security, Peoples Brewing, IS Photographic, Maximumedia, and Artisan Electricand volunteers in order to construct the blind and plant trees.

 

Security is eager to partner with NICHES. “We have known about NICHES for years, and really admire the work they have done,” says Johnny. “We have partnered with many community organizations in the past, and are looking forward to partnering with them to protect Mulvey Pond.”

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Lookout Records founder reflects on being in a band with an American Idiot

Before Green Day became arguably the biggest band of the last 20 years with punk rock roots and before the band conquered Broadway with “American Idiot,” they were three kids playing basements, parties, school dances and garages in the mid to late 1980s around California’s Bay Area.

Guitarist  and Dirnt were in a band called Sweet Children while drummer Tre Cool was in the Lookouts, a punk act he joined when he was only 12-years-old.

“American Idiot” storms through West Lafayette at 8 p.m. Sept. 1 and 7 p.m. Sept. 2 at Purdue University’s Elliott Hall of Music.

The Lookouts were formed by guitarist/writer Larry Livermore, a Detroit native then in his 30s. The odd trio, which also included teenaged bassist Kain Kong, drew a following as Cool’s drumming skills soared as the ‘80s came to a close.

Armstrong donated lead guitar licks on numerous Lookouts recordings. During a long Lookouts hiatus, Cool jumped over to Armstrong’s band, which was now known as Green Day.

At the beginning of The Lookouts’ run, Livermore started Lookout Records, which gained momentum in releasing early Green Day recordings along with records from Operation Ivy, The Queers and Screeching Weasel, among many others.

Green Day was one of the first punk bands to make the jump from a true DIY, independent label to a major. Bands like the Ramones, Sex Pistols and The Clash started out on major labels or their subsidiaries. As documented in many articles and even a VH1 “Behind the Music” episode, the decision to go to a major really weighed heavily on the band. The choice of moving to Reprise Records did not sit well with the Bay Area punk scene or with Livermore at the time.

As the years passed, cooler heads prevailed and Livermore, now living in Brooklyn, N.Y., has seen “American Idiot” multiple times.

Livermore also has ties to Lafayette. Lookout bands would record at Mass Giorgini’s Sonic Iguana studios, and Livermore would pop in to see how sessions were going and how mixes were sounding. Mass Giorgini’s father, Aldo Giorgini, would become friends with Livermore. The elder Giorgini was a major influence in computer-aided art and a professor at Purdue. Aldo Giorgini would pass away in 1994, right before Mass Giorgini’s band Squirtgun would find national success on Lookout Records.

About 20 years later, Livermore came back to Lafayette to speak at a dedication of Aldo Giorgini’s mural, “A Hymn to Achievement.” The piece was installed on the second floor of Ivy Tech’s Ivy Hall.

Livermore gave a touching speech about the Giorgini family and the importance of public art, whether it is a breathtaking mural or a punk rock record.

While “American Idiot” is sure to bring Green Day’s music to new ears and a new format to longtime fans, would Green Day been discovered if not for Livermore’s label and his drafting Cool into punk rock? It’s an interesting question to ponder. Here are a few more questions that Livermore answered during a recent interview.

Question: How did you first meet Tre, Billie Joe and Mike?

Answer: Tre was literally the kid next door, although in the remote rural area where we lived, next door was about a mile down the road. Tre grew up there with his family, and when he was 12 I asked him if he wanted to try playing drums in this punk band I was trying to start. He turned out to be a natural, and we played together in that band, the Lookouts, for five years. In 1988, Tre set up a show for us at some high school party, and Green Day, who were then known as Sweet Children and had a different drummer, offered to come play at it. The show turned out to be something of a fiasco (bad weather, only five kids turned up, no electricity so we had to use a generator and candlelight, etc.), but thats how I first met Billie and Mike. When their original drummer quit a couple years later, Tre replaced him and the rest is history.

Q: How are the Lookouts viewed 25 years later?

A: I guess that depends on whos doing the viewing! I was just listening to a couple songs we recorded just before Tre left to join Green Day, and I thought, Wow, we had gotten pretty good by then. Of course a lot of the credit for that goes to Tre, who by that time had become a phenomenal drummer, and also Billie Joe, who joined us for those recordings on lead guitar and backing vocals. It was, in fact, the first time Tre and Billie ever played together. But for the most part, Id suspect only a small number of Green Day fanatics and historical completists are that aware of the Lookouts. I think we might have a couple thousand fans out there, but were still pretty obscure in terms of the masses. Were re-releasing the entire Lookouts catalog later this year or early next year, so maybe well find a new audience. You never know!

Q: Have you seen American Idiot? If so, what are your thoughts on the show?

A: Ive seen it a couple times, the first when it previewed on Broadway and then again a few months later when it was in the middle of its run. I was very impressed both times, but I also had the privilege of having witnessed little bits and pieces of the show coming together over the previous year. I met Michael Mayer several times, along with most of the other people who worked with him on developing and mounting the production, and later, after it had opened, also had the opportunity to meet a number of the main actors. So its hard for me to be objective about the play. Its kind of like when some people you know and like start a new band: Youre kind of expecting it to be good even before you ever hear them. Personally, the only thing I would have changed would be to insert a little more dialogue between the songs, but its my understanding that Michael Mayer was determined to keep it to a minimum and instead focus on interpretations of the songs. And the songs, well, what are you going to say about them: some pretty amazing stuff. Its a long way from Berkeley to Broadway, especially from the part of Berkeley we inhabited back in those days, so it was quite a remarkable and memorable experience to see our East Bay memories come to life on the big stage.

A scene from the Broadway tour of American Idiot, which plays Sept. 1 and 2 at Purdue Universitys Elliott Hall of Music.

Q: What if Green Day didnt sign to a major label? Where would their place be in music today?

A: I think they would have eventually been just as big, but it wouldnt have happened so quickly. They probably would have developed more slowly and organically — less drama, maybe, but similar or maybe even greater substance. Personally, I think the really crucial turning point was when their first drummer left the band. They were considering breaking up at that time, but instead, they got Tre to join. And with all respect to their first drummer, Tre is of an entirely different order, and I think as much as anything or anybody else helped launch them into the next dimension.

Q: How did you get to know the Giorginis? What are some of your memories of your Lafayette visits?

A: Mass Giorgini first came in contact with Lookout by putting on an Operation Ivy show in Lafayette during their one and only tour in 1988, and then soon afterward began working as a recording engineer and producer with Screeching Weasel and a host of other Lookout bands. I came to Lafayette to work in the studio with Mass and one of the bands, and thats also how I met Aldo. When Mass first told me that his dad was going to be at the studio, I sort of rolled my eyes, thinking, Oh great, just what we need, some clueless old dude hanging around while were trying to work, but within a minute of walking in, I became aware that Professor Giorgini was anything but clueless, not just with respect to his academic pursuits, but in almost every area of life, punk rock included. The guy knew stuff about punk rock that I didnt know, and I was totally immersed in at the time, whereas it was just one of myriad interests that Aldo had, and one which I imagine he acquired primarily as a result of his sons playing in a band. From then on I made a point of spending time with Aldo every time I came to Lafayette to work, and then, when his life was tragically cut short, I came to visit and say goodbye to him a few weeks before he died. Even then, when he could barely move or talk, he was still glowing with love and passion and a determination to do whatever he could do for his boys — and, I think, the world at large — in the final hours of his life.  He was — is — a great man.

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TL Profiles: Capn Dangerous on Spinning the Black Circle

 

 

Rusco has been spinning the black circle since 2007. For those of you that arent super hip, that means he is a DJ. Under the nom de spin Capn Dangerous, Javin has been thrilling audiences around the Greater Lafayette area with his unique style, tasty beats, and funky stage presence. This weekend Capn Dangerous will take the stage once more. Think Lafayette sat down with Mr. Dangerous to chat about what its like being a DJ, where he got his awesome, and whats next.

Think Lafayette: Ive had the privilege of catching a couple Capn Dangerous shows. I have to admit that when I first read the name on the bill I didnt know what to expect. For those that havent experienced a show yet could you give us a little description of who Captain Dangerous is and where he came from?

Capn Dangerous: I dont take myself very seriously, and encourage others to do the same. I didnt give myself the name either. Ive been called Capn Dangerous by several of my closest friends for many years, and for many good (ridiculous) reasons. When I played my first Lafayette show at Skylight Coffee back in 2007, the promoter asked if I had a DJ name. Id never really thought of that before, having always just used Javin, so he said well, your email address is iamcapndangerous, so well call you Capn Dangerous. It stuck. I made a brand, some stickers, banners and stuff and it suits me just fine.

TL: When most people here the word DJ they probably think something a little more along the lines of a DeadMau5 or someone like that. How would you describe the music you play and where do you come up with your ideas for shows?

CD: Ive been spinning records for a long long time and have amassed over 10,000 of them over the years, so I have a pretty wide and eclectic selection to choose from. The music that I play is pretty unique and you dont really hear much of this stuff around here. I spent a lot of time at the roller rink as a kid and the music the DJs played back then really soaked into my bones, directly influencing what I play today. When people ask me what type of music I spin, my answer is usually something like; Its not disco, its roller-boogie-disco-funk. Its party music, but old-school. Most of the music that I play, odds are high that youve heard it, but probably not since you were a kid. Admittedly, however, I do incorporate a lot of real rare crate-digger type stuff that has a familiar vibe that you instantly identify with, but probably have never heard before. There are several of these tracks that are staples in my sets that my fans know well enough to sing along with at the shows, which is really a trip. The main point is that YOU WILL DANCE. Every song that I play has a contagious beat and/or hook that compels you to move, and I beat-match most of it so the fun doesnt stop until they kick me out.

TL: Spinning the black circle has become a reasonably popular hobby these days, but not everyone can put together a show and entertain a crowd. As an OG who has been dropping needles for a while now, what do you think about the popularity of DJing? Are more DJs a good thing or a bad thing?

CD: The DJ scene has certainly become more watered down as of late, with the accessibility of tools that make it easier and more portable to put on a show, but at the same time, that makes true vinyl DJs that much more appealing. There is an element of performance art to spinning wax that gets the audience more involved and interested in whats going on in the production of the show. Plus, vinyl sounds awesome. Ive watched shows where several DJs played back to back, all with similar styles and types of music, but only one played wax and that was the only time that everyone was dancing. There is something thats lost in other formats and the way that good vinyl makes a crowd move is undeniable.

TL: Do you do any special preparation for your shows? How do you get ready?

CD: I get asked this question quite a bit, and the honest answer is that no, I dont do any kind of preparation for shows at all, other than just playing records at home all the time.Truth is, I let the crowd tell me what they want to hear. The first three or four songs will let me know exactly what people are gonna get down to and I just go with the flow throughout the night. It works better that way. Ive seen DJs spend hours, even days putting together flawless sets only to see them flop to an audience that spends the night looking at their smart phones. You have to watch people and see what trips their trigger and go for the jugular, MAKE them dance because they cant help it.

TL: When you hang up Capn Dangerouss cape, what kinds of things do you get into?

DJing is just something I do for fun once or twice a month. During my days, Im the Production Manager for MadMen Creative. We are a large format printing company with an eco-safe printer, specializing in big graphics that make a bold statement. Youve seen our work all over town and were very proud of what we do.

TL: What advice do you have for someone looking to take their music, no matter the genre, to the people of Lafayette?

CD: The key here is to find a niche that needs to be filled, and a few venues that cater to that niche. Capn Dangerous shows wouldnt work at a sports-bar, for example. Really, luck has a lot to do with it though.

TL: When and where can our Think Lafayette readers catch Capn Dangerous in action next?

CD: On Saturday night, October 27 at the Black Sparrow Pub, DJ Winchester and Capn Dangerous will be hosting our 3rd Annual Face-Off DJ Battle. Each DJ will take possession of the beat when they find a track to match the previous DJs record. We have a lit up arrow between us, indicating which DJ has possession of the beat. Its a lot of fun and people get blisters from dancing so much. After that, Saturday night, November 10th at Black Sparrow again, for the regional Bike Polo tournament after-party. Those guys know how to party, and the positive vibes guarantee a good time.

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