There are more than 285 competitive bagpipe bands in the United States, made up of thousands of pipers and drummers. Bands are divided into grades based on skill: Grade 5 is the lowest, akin to Little League; Grade 1 is the majors. In May 2014, the Massachusetts-based Stuart Highland Pipe Band was promoted to Grade 1, and next month they'll be facing off against other top-level bands in Glasgow at the annual World Pipe Band Championships. But first, the Stewies made their North American debut at the premier level at a competition in Ontario: Blowhards: On the road, down the bottle, and across the border with Boston’s greatest competitive bagpipe band. [more inside]
Gay Talese's "Frank Sinatra Has A Cold" appeared in Esquire Magazine in April 1966. Sinatra had turned down interview requests from Esquire for years and refused to be interviewed for the profile. Rather than give up, Talese spent the three months following and observing the man and interviewing any members of his entourage who were willing to speak -- and the final story was published without Sinatra's cooperation or blessing. In 2003, editors pronounced it the best article the magazine had ever published. Nieman Storyboard interviewed Talese last month about the piece and has annotated it with his comments. [more inside]
Meet Wheelchair Sports Camp, a "psuedo-hip-hop trio from Denver fronted by Kalyn Heffernan, a 56-pound wheelchair-bound badass emcee with CRIP LIFE tattooed on her stomach," who sometimes cover "My Vagina Ain't Handicapped." [more inside]
"In 1955 "Rock Around the Clock" went to the top of the charts and turned Bill Haley into the king of rock and roll. Twenty-five years later, he was holed up in a pool house in Harlingen, TX, drunk, lonely, paranoid, and dying. After three decades of silence, his widow and his children tell the story of his years in Texas and his sad final days." (Via)
"For the majority of Pentagram's career, if you wanted to hear them, you had to know someone who had a bootleg."
Meet Doctor Doom "Forty years ago, with his band Pentagram, Bobby Liebling invented a style of fiendishly heavy metal that hardly anyone heard. He spent the ensuing decades in a haze of hard drugs and big trouble. (5 arrests, 35 detoxes, more than 200 hospital visits.) Now, with the genre he spawned on the rise and a young wife and baby boy in tow, Liebling is feeling the first rumblings of success. Here's where things start to get weird." [more inside]