CHUCK TAGGART

 

Me, having a Sazerac at Bayona
I'm from New Orleans, Louisiana, in da Ninth Ward.

I live in northeast Los Angeles, California, and I like it a lot. (Except for the traffic.) I'm often homesick for New Orleans, and although I don't live there anymore I am a New Orleanian until death and beyond, and always will be, and will never be an "Angeleno."

I worked in public radio in Los Angeles for 20 years, starting in 1988 at KCRW (doing the shows "Gumbo Ya-Ya," "Global Gumbo," "Late Nite Notes (Sunday)", and "Gumbo") until 1998, and then doing the program "Down Home" at KCSN until 2008. I am currently retired from radio, but would come back for the right gig.

I make and imbibe cocktails, and immensely enjoy the world of spirits, mixology and bartending.

I do not work as a professional bartender (although I'll bartend your party), but I am a member of the Los Angeles chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild, and I've received BarSmarts Advanced training and education from Beverage Alcohol Resource.

I love food, cooking and dining. I believe one doesn't eat to live, one lives to eat. As a New Orleanian, while I'm having a meal I'm discussing the last one and planning the next one.

Keep that flowery bullshit out of my iced tea, if you please. Black tea and water and ice. Lemon if you've got it. Thank you.

My last meal, if I were able to choose it, would be a Creole hot sausage po-boy from Gene's Po-Boys on Elysian Fields and St. Claude in New Orleans, a shrimp po-boy from Domilise's or Parkway Bakery, a plate of red beans 'n rice with smoked sausage and pickled onions, a plate of French fries with ketchup mixed with Tabasco, and bread pudding with rum sauce. This would probably take all day.

No tomatoes in gumbo.

Bacon. Crispy, not flaccid.

Zagnut bars.

I love music. Music is a passion. Myriad genres, from the classic rock I grew up with through new wave, alternative and indie rock of today, New Orleans music, funk, soul, R&B, jazz (although not much modern jazz), Irish traditional music and roots and traditional music of many kinds.

The greatest musical experience of my life was seeing the reunion of the Irish band Planxty at Vicar Street in Dublin, Ireland on February 18, 2004 -- a concert I had quite literally waited more than half my life to see. I wept unashamedly. My review of the show is here. (The other two greatest were, I think, seeing R.E.M. perform live and acoustic right in front of me with less than a dozen people present, in the performance studio at KCRW for Deirdre O'Donoghue's beloved radio program "SNAP" on April 3, 1991; also, singing shape note music with the members of Cordelia's Dad.)

There are pieces of music that can make me cry.

I played music as a kid, and wish I had more talent and time to practice. I love playing Irish music on my various flutes and tin whistles, and wish I was better at it. I have a Cajun accordion (diatonic, key of C), "Acadian" brand, built by Marc Savoy of Eunice, Louisiana. It's beautiful, made of curly maple with a red mahogany stain. Playing it is a lot harder than it looks.

I'm a supporter of two public radio stations: WWOZ 90.7 FM in New Orleans, and KCRW 89.9 FM in Santa Monica/Los Angeles. I send them money every month; you should support any public/non-commercial radio stations you listen to with at least an annual $25-30 pledge.

I collect antique radios, but I unfortunately don't have room for very many. My ultimate goal is to own a Zenith console radio from the 1930s. My penultimate goal is to find a place to put it.

I'm a huge fan of the 1939 New York World's Fair and I collect memorabilia from it, as well as some stuff from the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco. I'm not terribly interested in the 1964 fair, although seeing the Unisphere up close was really cool.

I read a lot, especially science fiction.

I love movies.

I'm a Browncoat. When I die, upload me to The Verse and get me a job as the cook on Serenity. I'll be Kaylee's sly best friend.

Battlestar Galactica. (The 2003 version, of course).

Picard. (Although I do have a nostalgic fondness for Kirk.)

I love to travel. Besides many favorite places in the U.S., I've been to Ireland four times. Scotland, England, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia. I hope to add Italy to the list next.

I like seersucker suits.

I like fountain pens. These days I'm partial to the Waterman Phileas; it's elegant, reliable and very affordable.

iMac, 27", 3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 16GB RAM, 1TB HD, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Yes, I have drunk the iPhone (5) and iPad (2) kool-aid. They are practically appendages.

I drive a Prius.

My surname is an Anglicization of the Irish Gaelic surname "Mac an tSagairt" (no, it's not a typo, it's an eclipsis), which means "son of the priest". According to my Irish language teacher Séamus Ó Díreáin, it dates back several centuries to a time and a region in Ireland when the rules of priestly celibacy were "not strictly enforced". Heh.

Tá beagán Gaeilge agam, agus is an-mhaith liom ceol tradisiúnta na hÉireann.
(I speak a little Irish, and I love traditional Irish music.)

I run SETI@home, because I secretly wanna be Jodie Foster in "Contact."

I like this quote, and find it meaningful:


"Whatever you is ... BE that!"
-- A customer of Clifton Chenier's barber, Opelousas, Louisiana, from the film Hot Pepper, by Les Blank and Flower Films


However, I usually leave out the second part: "If you old and ugly, BE old and ugly!"

I share a birthday with a number of famous and infamous people: One of my favorite writers, Kurt Vonnegut (1922), one of my favorite musicians, XTC singer and songwriter Andy Partridge (1953), actor Leonardo DiCaprio (1974), comedian Jonathan Winters (1925), Swedish actress in many Ingmar Bergman films, Bibi Andersson (1935), Gen. George S. "I shoveled shit in Louisiana" Patton (1885), alleged Communist spy Alger Hiss (1904), actress Calista Flockhart (1964), cinematographer Fred J. Koenekamp (1922), "I Love Lucy" head writer Jess Oppenheimer (1913), darkly humorous monologuist Brother Theodore (1906), Russian novelist Fëdor Dostoevski (1821), U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. (1940), mafioso Charles "Lucky" Luciano (1896), French film director René Clair (1898) and Jigme Singye Wangchuk, the King of Bhutan (1955).

I'm a graduate of Holy Cross School in New Orleans, formerly of the Lower Ninth Ward and currently located in Gentilly. I have a B.A. in Communications from Loyola University in New Orleans and an M.A. in Communication Arts from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and was very active in what is now their School of Film and Television.

I'm very devoted to my friends, I travel often back home to New Orleans and to Houston to see my family, and we own a 75-year-old house with all its commensurate maintenance needs. This all keeps me rather busy.

 
Finally, a bit about time management, for those who may ask, "When does Chuck find time to sleep with all this stuff going on? And why does he take so long to answer my e-mail the bastard?" Read this if you plan to email me and you're not someone I already know.

 
Okay, tired of talking about myself now. Believe it or not, I'm kinda shy. With the above caveat about email in mind ... as the Grateful Dead Hot Line used to say, "stay in touch." Live long and prosper. Peace, and long life. So say we all.

Shiny.

 

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