The Power of Celebrity


It's hard to fathom that the show biz folks were able to throw together a benefit concert for live broadcast on network television before FEMA or the National Gaurd could do anything of note, isn't it?

As outraged as I've been by what I've seen the last couple of days, I don't think I've felt any emotion about this situation other than that. Seeing Harry Connick Jr. so ragged and rough around the edges, so heartbroken took care of that. The sound of Wynton Marsalis and his glorious trumpet cuts you to the core. They are beautiful, defiant and strong. And the thing is, they speak my language. These are "my people". Here I sit, experiencing the power of celebrity, right? These men who I admire as artists, who I have seen perform live countless times, and Wynton who I had the absolute pleasure of meeting and conversing with, allow the magnitude of this event to finally hit home. It might make me feel a little shallow, but there is no denying the impact.

Musically, I just thought it was wonderful to behold. Wynton was so perfectly sparse on Do You Know What it Means...and Harry's Vocal was great, even though he was losing his voice. I love to hear singers perform under limitations like that. For every Joe Williams or Ella who sounded even better as they aged, there is a John Hendricks whose instrument seems to have been compromised but who manages to become a more interesting singer despite that. It was a pleasure to see Harry make the thing work.

This is much bigger than the music, but New Orleans was so much about the music, it seems acceptable to discuss somehow. "New Orleans was". Damn.

KanYe West's outburst was difficult. It seemed like his heart was in the right place, but I couldn't help but think that it was just highly innapropriate. That would be the staid Canadian in me, I guess. The thing is, it was brave what he did, and if not then...when? I don't know. I will admit that I did giggle as Mike Meyers stood there next to him, trying to maintain some dignity and keep it together. I mean Wynton and Harry I felt connected to, but Meyers, hell, he IS one of my people. Literally. Pasty white Torontonian in the comedy business. Slam dunk!

I wonder how my people would all fair in a disaster?


There are a couple of ways that I have decided to give, which are more personal and meaningful to me. We all have to find our ways to chip in, but if you're like me, as a pet lover, it breaks your heart to see the animals that have been left behind. You can donate through The
  • Humane Society Disaster Relief Fund

  • Jazz lovers and members of the music community who want to help their own can send money directly to those affected. The wonderful Irvin Mayfield, founder of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, is accepting donations for local musicians. All donations can be sent c/o:

    Irvin Mayfield
    PO Box # 82385
    Baton Rouge, LA

    I will be holding a used clothing drive at my office. If you are in the Toronto area and would like to give, email me at and I will give you the details.

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