Monthly Archives: October 2011

Forever Loose: Republic of Loose Interview x2

Published on the 4th October 2011 by the University Observer

2001 was the year that changed global politics forever; the first cloned monkey was born, George Harrison died, Ireland didn’t win the Eurovision and (luckily for the compilation of this sort of unsystematic list) Wikipedia was launched on the internet. It was also the year that “a huge metaphysical overturning” of Mick Pyro’s value system provided the catalyst for a young troop of fortune hunters to become united with the aim of creating beautiful, funky music.

Ten years later and Republic of Loose are still very much together. Bono has called them “trailblazing sophisticated soul bootboys”, and Gary Lightbody, “the best band in the country.” Sinead O’Connor asked could she abandon her solo career to become a member, and Irvine Welsh said ‘Comeback Girl’ was “one of the greatest songs ever recorded”. With four albums and fifteen singles behind them, their fervour shows no sign of abating. However, it would be easy to see why, perhaps, a decade without properly progressing beyond the Irish market might create some level of despondency amongst the band.

“The hustle never stops”, as Benjamin Loose puts it to Otwo. “I think we’re going to release ‘Comeback Girl’ in the States in November and we’re looking to release another single around February and then to go over around Paddy’s Day and tour the east coast.” In addition to these plans, they’re soon creating a compilation album, to be available worldwide online and physically in France and Germany, along with recording several new songs in Ireland with the aim of releasing another single here in October.

Grand designs aside, the band are also currently promoting their involvement in the First Fortnight Student Tour, which has been organised by First Fortnight, a non-profit charity aiming to challenge mental health prejudice and discrimination through the arts. Loose doesn’t claim that the band are in any way experts in the area of mental health, but emphasises that their support for the cause is sincere.

“Well it was an exciting idea to play a bunch of colleges in a short period of time. And it is a good cause, so it’s something to be involved with. It’s not something that we know a whole lot about but it’s a crazy world we live in so anything that wants to give help to people or give solace to people has got to be a good thing.”

Their gig at the Student Bar next week marks a regular return for the lead singer to his alma mater. “Mick and one of our guitar players both went to UCD for years. Mick did a Masters in Renaissance Literature and, I think, English and Spanish”. Loose, however, studied theology in Trinity. “I try not to mention that too much.”

With competing ideas, growing egos and close quarters, many musicians fail to find the perfect working relationship within their bands, leading to tumultuous public break-ups that can put Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston to shame. “We hate each other,” Loose laughs. “I’m only kidding, we’re pretty tight. It’s kind of like a family. You get so used to each other that you don’t even need to do the usual things that friends usually do, you know each other that well.”

Loose also admits that the State of Loose isn’t always a democratic republic but then again,  democracy isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. “We know when someone’s got a vision for something, whether it’s a song, or a gig, or an idea for a link in a live set. Sometimes democracies don’t work. Sometimes you need visions and sometimes visions can’t be compromised and can’t accommodate another opinion. I remember reading an interview with your man from Bell X1 saying that their band is very democratic and as a result he feels that an idea can be compromised. Sometimes things need to be unadulterated and seen through to their bloody end whether for good or for bad.”

Internal politics notwithstanding, is there life outside of funk-rock for this musician? “If I wasn’t making music, I’d be in trouble,” Loose declares emphatically. And Otwo has to agree; if you have someone to listen, there are certainly worse ways to spend ten years than playing in a band, whether your location be Belfield, Paris or Miami.

Wherever the next decade takes them (Loose thinks a duet with Cee Lo Green would be cool), Mick, Ben and their confusingly assorted associates will always be counted among our own, but hopefully they’ll have more of a chance to escape their poor meteorological luck once they’re abroad. “Usually when we play outdoors it rains, it’s the ‘Curse of the Loose’. It’s happened to us in every country.” Sounds more like the curse of the Irish to Otwo.

Republic of Loose play the Student Bar on October 10th as part of the First Fortnight Student Tour, which aims to challenge mental health prejudice and discrimination. For more information see Firstfortnight.com

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Tibetan Buddhist Monk to Conduct Workshop

Published on the 5th July 2010 by the Santa Barbara Independent

Khenpo Tsering Samdup, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, will return to Santa Barbara to conduct a weekend program entitled “A Friend in the World: The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva.” According to the advance publicity, he will explores how the Bodhisattva ideals of compassion and loving kindness can transform our lives and the lives of others.

khenpo is a Buddhist scholar who has studied the Buddha’s teachings for anywhere from nine to 15 years. Khenpo Tsering Samdup began his training at the Shri Karma Nalada Institute on the border of Tibet, now part of India, and in 1990 received the degree of acharya, which is characterized as the equivalent of a PhD in Buddhist philosophy. In 2002 he was appointed the headmaster of Shri Diwakar Vihara Buddhist Institute in Kalimpong, India, and he also continues to teach throughout Southeast Asia, Europe, and America.

“Khenpo Tsering combines a rare blend of great humor, kindness, and superior knowledge that make meeting him a pleasure and learning from him an experience,” said Dawa Tarchin Phillips, resident teacher of the Bodhi Path Buddhist Center of Santa Barbara, in a written statement. ”Santa Barbara benefits from his visits and lectures especially in times like these when people are looking for answers that offer alternatives to existing ideas.”

4-1-1: The weekend course is scheduled on Friday, July 9, from 7 to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, July 10 and 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon and 2 to 5 p.m.. It will take place at the Bodhi Path Buddhist Center, 30 West Mission Street, #7. The fee is $100, or $25/session, and everyone is welcome. For information or to preregister, call (805) 252-6137, or visit the Bodhi Path Buddhist Center Web site.

Internet Photo Gallery Raises Money For Haiti

Published on the 29th June 2010 by the Santa Barbara Independent

 

Printsforhaiti.com has donated $5,000 to Direct Relief International, funds that were all raised from its Internet photo gallery sale.

Founded following the earthquake by Santa Barbara-based Specialty Color Services and Greg Lawlor, the special collection consists completely of donated photographs.

These currently include award-winning Western art and horse photography by Norm Clasen; several contributions by Amit Gupta, the founder of Photojojo; and a single edition of the iconic “Suzanne” by Joyce Tennyson. Discount codes on the site are designed to make purchases possible at any budget. Once purchased, museum-quality archival silver-halide prints are produced by Specialty Color Services, a custom photo lab, and shipped to the buyer.

In a written statement, Lawlor, a photographer and technology solutions consultant, said, “Our next donation will be allocated to the American Red Cross. We hope that people will continue to support our effort. There is still a massive amount of recovery work to be done. The great thing about this project is that contributors have the opportunity to build a beautiful collection of photography for themselves at very reasonable prices while helping others.

The earthquake in Haiti occurred on January 12, 2010, after which the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies estimated that 230,000 people died while as many as one million people were made homeless.

The Berry Man and McConnell’s Join Forces

 

 

Published on the 29th June 2010 by the Santa Barbara Independent 

The Berry Man, Inc. is now distributingMcConnell’s ice cream out of its two distribution centers in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

Jim McCoy, owner of McConnell’s Ice Cream — a Santa Barbara fixture for the last 47 years — stated, “I remember when [Berry Man owner Guy De Mangeon] used to rent space from me. He had one truck and one employee. I would never have guessed that 20 years later I would be sitting across from him in his office pitching my products, but there we were. Life is funny like that.”

“It’s a sweet partnership anyway you look it,” said De Mangeon, owner and president of The Berry Man, Inc. “I thought it was a great idea from the moment Jim mentioned it. McConnell’s delivers two days a week but I deliver seven and I’m already going to most of the places Jim sells his product…It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

UCSB Charity Yard Sale Breaks Record

Published on the 29th June 2010 by the Santa Barbara Independent

UCSB project GIVE will donate a record-breaking $27,000 to various Isla Vista non-profit and community organizations at a ceremony on Friday, July 2, following the organization’s 20th annual sale held June 19 and 20.

Catherine Boyer, the Isla Vista/UCSB liaison, described GIVE as an initiative that encourages students to donate their unwanted items rather than discard them. As students moved out of their apartments, condos, houses, and residence halls earlier this month to embark on summer holidays, the GIVE staff and volunteers accepted donations of clothing, books, furniture, kitchenware, household goods, electronics, bicycles, and other miscellaneous items and sold them over the weekend at Embarcadero Hall in Isla Vista.

Some of the beneficiaries of the sale will be the Isla Vista Elementary School Latino Parent Night, Science Camp Scholarship Fund, and Viva el Arte; as well as the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District’s Adopt-a-Block program, Isla Vista Teen Center, Isla Vista Youth Projects, IV Arts, the Olive Tree Initiative, the Optimist Club at UCSB and the Breakfast Optimist Club of Goleta, St. Brigid Fellowship, St. Michael’s University Church, Santa Barbara Student Housing Co-op, and the Business Club Youth Outreach Program at UCSB.

The major sponsors of GIVE include the Isla Vista/UCSB Liaison Office, the Isla Vista

Tenants Union, Associated Students Community Affairs Board,UCSB Housing and Residential Services, and the Environmental Office at UCSB. Additional support is provided by Associated Students Recycling, County of Santa Barbara Resource Recovery &Waste Management Division, Isla Vista Recreation & Park District Adopt-a-Block, Isla Vista School Afterschool Grant, MarBorg Industries, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, UCSB Community Housing Office, UCSB Office of Student Life, UCSB Parking Services,UCSB Physical Facilities, and UCSB and community volunteers.

Highway 154 Roadwork to Slow Traffic

Published on the 28th June 2010 by the Santa Barbara Independent

A $1.5 million repaving project will begin on Wednesday, June 30, on a section of Highway 154 between Stagecoach Road and Highway 101.

According to a Caltrans spokesperson, work will take place overnight — 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. — from Sunday to Friday morning. Motorists can expect delays of up to 20 minutes, said the spokesperson, and there will be one-way traffic control present to aid movement through the area. All businesses and attractions in the Santa Ynez/Santa Barbara area will remain accessible via Highway 154, which will stay open at all times throughout construction.

The project is to be carried out by Granite Construction of Goleta, which expects it to be completed by the end of August.

For traffic updates on other state highways in Santa Barbara County, motorists can call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at (805) 549-3318 or visit the District 5 website.

Construction to Slow Airport Vehicle Traffic

Published on the 22nd June 2010 by the Santa Barbara Independent

Traffic on Fairview Avenue between Hollister Avenue and James Fowler Road will be slower than usual as the Goleta Sanitary District begins a six month-long sewer line replacement project this week. According to a spokesperson with the Santa Barbara Airport, near where the construction will be taking place, the project will include the installation of a new trunk sewer main, with construction taking place on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. with some night work as well.

Vehicles driving into the Airline Terminal (at 500 James Fowler Road) will be subject to 1-5 minute delays each way, said the spokesperson. To avoid delays while traveling northbound on Highway 101, it is suggested that passengers and other visitors heading to the Airline Terminal use Highway 217, taking the Sandspit Road exit onto Moffett Place.

With passengers, airline terminal employees, rental car turn-arounds, parking lot shuttles, taxis and Goleta Beach visitors, this stretch of road is already very busy, and alternate routes and avoiding the area are advised whenever possible, said the spokesperson.

Passengers are also advised to arrive earlier than the usual (two hours prior to flight departure time) if they plan to use Long Term Parking Lot 2 off Hollister Avenue, as the complimentary airport shuttle travel time to the airline terminal will be affected by the construction