Atlanta funk ensemble Voodoo Visionary will release their highly anticipated sophomore album, Off The Ground, on Friday, February 17, 2017. The group will be celebrating with a show that night at Aisle 5 in Atlanta, where they will be joined by Alabama’s Little Raine Band and Tennessee’s Opposite Box. Voodoo Visionary’s last two Atlanta shows were both sold out performances, playing at Terminal West on December 3rd where they opened for Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe with Jimmy Herring, and previously on November 18th at Variety Playhouse where they opened for TAUK.To get a glimpse of the action, Voodoo Visionary has shared a live video from the Variety Playhouse, performing their debut single “Hold Tight” from the upcoming album. You can listen to the studio version of “Hold Tight” here, and catch the live version in the video below.Voodoo Visionary is also releasing their second single from the new album, titled “Hero On The Horizon.” In March of 2015, Voodoo Visionary was approached by Austin Atteberry from the Sing Me A Story Foundation, who asked them to participate in an effort to bring the voices of children in need to the world through music. The premise behind Sing Me a Story is that children in need create stories about anything they want, and songwriters turn them into songs and send them back to the kids. In partnership with Camp Twin Lakes, a network of camps in Georgia providing programs for children with serious illnesses, disabilities and other challenges, and SweetWater 420 Fest, performing artists had the opportunity to record a song onsite at the festival.Voodoo Visionary chose a story by 11 year Noel from Camp Twin Lakes, called “A Hero On The Horizon.” In the story, Noel is a robotics genius who can talk to animals, his sidekick, Hunter, is a tiger with a robotic leg, and their nemesis is Natura, who can control nature. Noel brilliantly describes Natura’s weaknesses as a giant ego and overconfidence. After defeating Natura, Noel humbly returns home, cloaked from the public eye, and wonders if being a superhero is worth it given that his loved ones would be endangered if his secret identity was ever discovered. Just as he is about to give up his heroic antics, he gets an alert of more people in danger and knows it is his duty to rescue them. Noel’s story of adventure, internal conflict, and ultimate selflessness inspired Voodoo Visionary to adapt the story into a song, which they debuted at SweetWater 420 Fest and will include on their upcoming album.The song is available to stream and download now from the Sing Me A Story Foundation website. A minimum donation of $1 will receive an mp3 download with the donation receipt, and all proceeds are split between Camp Twin Lakes and Sing Me A Story Foundation. You can also read Noel’s original story below.Photo courtesy of Bonnie Morét.Video courtesy of Kyle Indiana Robbins.
In a vote last Friday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously supported the call for a resolution that would include South Los Angeles in the city’s federal Promise Zone, a program that could qualify the district for millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements.Zoned out · The Price School of Public Policy evaluated the needs of the districts that were selected in the first round as well as South Los Angeles. – Mariya Dondonyan | Daily Trojan Los Angeles was one of five cities across the United States selected for the program. The designated districts chosen from the first round included Hollywood, MacArthur Park and Koreatown.“The first round had a series of grant requirements to be eligible to apply that no organization in South L.A. had received at the time,” said Connie Llanos, communications director and strategic advisor for Council District Nine. “This time around, the government has lifted this requirement.”The Promise Zone designation would give South Los Angeles preferential status to collect federal grants.“We have been organizing community partners to make sure we put in a strong application in this highly competitive process,” Llanos said. “We garner support from elected officials on local, state and even federal levels.”Introduced by Obama’s State of the Union Address last year, the Promise Zone Initiative aims to form partnerships between cities and their local communities and businesses with the goal of bolstering the middle class through providing more educational opportunities, improving public safety and making affordable housing more accessible.“The needs of South Los Angeles are undeniable,” Llanos said. “It has a poverty rate of 46 percent, which is three times that of the nation and almost double the city of Los Angeles. Beyond that, crime rates and unemployment are well above the national average, and the school dropout rate is still chronically high.”The Price School of Public Policy has played a role in assessing the needs of the districts selected in the first round as well as the needs of South Los Angeles, with the hopes that it will be included with the second wave of selections.“Our promise is to help the Promise Zone with their evaluation efforts and to develop a framework to help them create measureable progress within the zone,” said Gary Dean Painter, professor and director of graduate programs in public policy. “This involves meeting with community stakeholders and extending measurements to South L.A.”Regardless of Promise Zone status, though, the Price School aims to measure community vitality across the county, focusing on places of need like South Los Angeles in addition to the selected districts.“We want to do an evaluation of the first Promise Zone and the hopeful second promise zone,” Painter said. “We use categories of indicators such as economic, educational, housing, public health and safety to analyze how things are doing. While we start with communities of need like South L.A., our effort is to extend the set of indicators to, ultimately, the whole county.”Llanos has high hopes for South Los Angeles in the upcoming application process, which has a nationwide deadline this Friday.“The need itself, coupled with some real promise by local organizations really creates a perfect narrative for why South Los Angeles should be included in the city’s Promise Zone,” she said.The impending resolution is now in the hands of Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Obama administration will not make decisions about the second round of selections until next year.“We think with the collection of voices, in addition to securing the mayor’s support, we can effectively campaign for this designation,” Llanos said.