Category Archives: The South Magazine

‘I Tell People We’re Like the United Nations’: How Ben Jaffe Preserves Preservation Hall

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South Magazine — There aren’t many music rooms in the land more safeguarded, undiluted and pleasingly frozen in time than Preservation Hall in New Orleans, a low-lit and spookily evocative venue that’s about the size of your living room and way more sparsely decorated.

Since 1961, the room has hosted one primary tenant: the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, whose members have both lit up St. Peter Street and served as traveling evangelists of the New Orleans music for 50 years. But though the band has been guarding and perpetuating the sound of its birthplace for more than a half a century, last year they did something they’d never done before: drop an album of original material. That record, “That’s It!’, composed by the band and produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, earned the group fresh ears, got it playing with the Roots on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and properly kicked off the next 50 years of its history.

“That’s It!” was partly the brainchild of bassist/sousaphonist Ben Jaffe, who, as the hall’s creative director as well as the son of founders Allan and Sandy Jaffe, is charged with guarding and expanding the foundations laid by everyone from Jelly Roll Morton to King Oliver to Louis Armstrong. He talked to South about how to get that done.

Does your daughter have any notion what her dad does for a living?
Well she doesn’t know we make money doing it (laughs). But she understands that music is going on. She comes to the Hall to see us, and she wants to be around the music. She loves it; kids are such little blank hard drives.

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Howard Wasdin: The SEAL Down the Street (South Magazine)

Dr. Howard Wasdin / South Magazine

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South Magazine — You know how it is: You’re a New York Times best-selling author, out for the weekend piloting your plane over Florida coast, when out of nowhere, right on your tail, bam, there’s John Grisham. “I’ve got a 235 Charger, basically a really nice single-engine plane,” says Dr. Howard Wasdin, 51, Georgia chiropractor, former member of SEAL Team Six, Purple Heart-awarded veteran of the Black Hawk Down battle of Mogadishu, author and guy who’s probably underselling his plane right now.

“And [Grisham] comes flying in behind me in a Citation, this really nice jet. His house is down the beach from my condo — I always show people his place, saying I’ve got to sell a whole bunch more books to get that. And his Citation overtakes me flying into Fernandina — I had to hold out over the ocean and come in behind him,” he says, laughing at the idea of two best-selling authors landing on a little spit of land in northern Florida at the same time. “It’s all good.” Actually, make that three.

“The funny thing is, between where I am and Grisham’s place, Stephen King is building his new house.” Three big-shot authors, within a half-mile of each other, in one sleepy, humid corner of the world. “Now keep in mind,” Wasdin says, “King is king, and Grisham has 22 New York Times best-sellers. I’ve had one.” Luckily, it’s a pretty good one.

Read more in the December/January issue of South Magazine.

 

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Steve G. Jones: Sometimes Your Words Just Hypnotize Me (South Magazine)

(Photo by Ryan Gibson)

(Photo by Ryan Gibson)

South Magazine — There are two problems with interviewing hypnotists:

1. You don’t believe them and

2. You do believe them, and you’re constantly on a heightened sense of manufactured alert wondering if they’re working magic on you that you don’t know about. You also, at all times, worry a little bit about turning into a chicken.

But if you subscribe to the culturally common idea of hypnosis, if you’ve already begun thinking purple capes and handlebar mustaches and spinning discs adorned with cool spiral designs, you’re missing a few important subtleties. You’re also not thinking of Steve G. Jones.

There are two kinds of hypnosis in this world: stage and clinical. Stage hypnosis is when you are pulled onstage in Vegas and compelled to make animal noises for a bar full of Midwesterners. It’s done for entertainment, for you to look silly in public and purchase a DVD of it for some reason. Clinical hypnosis, meanwhile, is when you need to effect a positive change in your life, anything from smoking cessation to weight loss to toppling a fear of anything—failure, self-doubt, commitment or even clowns. It’s not a show. It is, however, Jones’ livelihood and it’s a good livelihood. Steve G. Jones is, it is safe to say, Savannah’s pre-eminent celebrity hypnotherapist/reality-show contestant/self-made one-man empire of hypnotherapy.

Read more in the October/November issue of South Magazine.

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Jaimie Alexander, Goddess Of War (South Magazine)

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The South Magazine — If you come across actress Jaimie Alexander on the movie or TV screen, chances are good she’s winning in a fight.

The Greenville, South Carolina, native appears as the warrior-goddess Sif in the first Thor movie and sequel, Thor: The Dark World, due in November. (That would be her in the trailer battling stone-monsters alongside Chris Hemsworth and holding a sword to the throat of Tom Hiddleston’s evil, awesome demigod, Loki.) This past January she starred with former politician Arnold Schwarzenegger in the throwback action film, The Last Stand.  She appeared for two seasons on the cult ABC sci-fi series Kyle XY with cool superhuman powers.

For the first Thor movie she even got an extreme close-up teaser poster of her face, overlaid with the text “THE GODDESS OF WAR.” And sometimes she gets involved in sword accidents. “I love doing the stunts, but they can be dangerous, like when I accidentally hit someone in the face with a sword,” she says. “Luckily he had a lot of padding, so it didn’t hurt that badly.” We’ll pause here to let you think about the last time you came home from work after hitting someone in the face with a sword, just not that badly.

Read more in the new issue of South magazine.

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Warriors For The Wounded (South Magazine)

wounded warriorsSouth Magazine — Everything you know about paralyzed athletes, says Carlos Moleda, is wrong.

“Some people, for whatever reason, have a picture of people in a chair and think that they’re unhappy or depressed,” says Moleda, a former Navy SEAL who was paralyzed in a 1989 raid. “It’s totally the opposite. Of course there’s a phase where they have to relearn things, but once they have a grasp on who they are and what the possibilities are, they’re the greatest people to have around. They have a tendency to look at the good, because they know that things can change in the blink of an eye.”

Read the full story in the current issue of South Magazine.


Dan Winters: Ingenious Iconographer (South Magazine)

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The South Magazine — To call Dan Winters a “celebrity photographer” is to miss much of the story.

It’s understandable that people default to the celebrity hook when describing Winters’ work. His style of portraiture is atmospheric, instantly recognizable and a touch other-wordly. There are shots of Tom Hanks, Tupac, Michael Jordan, Jack White, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leonardo DiCaprio, Heath Ledger, Christopher Walken, and a ’50s-inspired version of Laura Dern, lost in some off-camera distance, treated to a desaturated color palette and feeling more permanent and mortal than most ephemeral celebrity photographs. It doesn’t take many glances for even untrained eyes to begin instinctively identifying a Winters portrait.

But if labels make things easier, then Winters—who turns 50 in October and has kept a house on Tybee Island for 14 years—is also an aerospace photographer, an entomological photographer (with a lively interest in electron microscopes), a documenter of America, a chronicler of Texas gang life, a photographer of women in the military, a builder, illustrator and creator of collages and much more. His is a broad, stretching body of work that, he admits, is frustrating to see distilled down to that of a guy who only takes pictures of famous people.

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Find the full story in the October/November issue of South Magazine.

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Sean Haire: When The Devil Came Down To Georgia (South Magazine)

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The South Magazine— Sean Haire is a former professional wrestler/mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter who has also been a 17-time Toughman competition winner, boxer, personal trainer, strip club bouncer, bodyguard, trainer of other bodyguards, and three-time WCW World Tag Team Wrestling Champion. He still looks the part: At 41, he’s 6′5″, 280 pounds, and with the fire-and-spiderweb tattoos, it’s hard to miss him in a coffee shop that’s currently really into Jack Johnson music.Two or three times during our interview, Haire says something cool and outside the window, perfectly timed lightning shatters the sky. Some people have a flair for the dramatic. Which is one of the reasons he plans to make a great hair stylist..
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