There's a world of music-inspired merchandise nestled in a small Magazine Street shop that triples as a music store, fashion outlet and live music purveyor (for much of the year).
The 3-year-old Rocks Off Rags, Prints & Music LLC (4739 Magazine St., 895-9513; www.rocksoffrpm.com) -- Rocks Off RPM for short -- focuses mainly on punk and rock-n-roll-inspired recordings, T-shirts, posters and edgy fashions, but it also has a selection of heavy metal music, some blues and jazz and maintains an expanding section of local artists.
"We try to showcase local stuff here, New Orleans musicians," says Stephanie Booth, who owns the shop with her husband, Chad. "If someone's looking for local rock-n-roll, they can find it here, or we can find it for them." The Booths sell new and used music in the form of vinyl albums, 45 singles and CDs from well-known groups as well as lesser-known local and touring bands. They also have a generous number of silk-screened band posters, most of them signed and numbered by the artist. In addition to music, the store also carries lots of new and used clothing, including fashion-forward skirts, tops and pants, a large selection of jackets and coats, some funky previously worn items, cowboy boots, hats and caps, some wigs and fashion accessories. "We try to be a little unconventional," Stephanie says. "Almost everything is music oriented in one way or another. ... We have a small music selection, but it's quality. We're trying to expand and make it half the store." The Booths opened the store after moving to New Orleans from Mobile, Ala., in order to fulfill a somewhat mutual dream. "I wanted a clothing store and Chad wanted a record store so we decided to put them together," Stephanie says. "It wouldn't really fly in Mobile; New Orleans was a logical choice." That was three years ago and the concept is catching on with customers, who range in age from teenagers to much older. "We don't really have a 'standard' customer profile," she says. "[There are] all kinds of people who come in." Some first discover the retail business when they stop in to see the free in-store music acts that generally start in October and continue regularly through Mardi Gras. Typically, the store's live music offerings end on the day of the Thoth parade, with this year's blow-out including five different groups. In addition to staging in-store shows and running a retail shop, the couple maintains a Web site, www.rocksoffrpm.com, on which they try to keep music fans informed about different music performances around town. Often touring bands will bring in their CDs, T-shirts and other merchandise for Rocks Off to sell. The Booths also encourage New Orleans groups of all musical types to bring in their band merchandise on consignment. "Anyone who is local can bring their stuff in," she says. "We give everyone a chance."
Keeping Marigny Attractive
There's no real secret behind the success of the new Atria Salon (839 Spain St., 948-4240), the first couture hair salon in the Marigny, just common sense.
"We specialize in color and cut," says Jill Vitmer, manager of the six-chair salon that opened several months ago and offers hair services to men, women and children. "Our philosophy is that we want to do something we're really good at, and we're really good at cutting and coloring, so we focus on that." To keep their focus, salon employees undergo continual training to keep at the top of their game and in a good position to grow. Atria currently is accepting applications from qualified stylists. It's not enough just to know how to cut and color hair, however. Vitmer and Atria stylist Carly Hellesen also are eager to give customers styles that emphasize their personal assets. "We want to help them (look as good as they can)," Vitmer says. "Carly looks to them to see what they want but also gives her expertise. She helps you see what she sees." Many of Atria's current customers come from the surrounding Faubourg Marigny and seem pleased they no longer have to travel far to find an upscale salon or quality products. "What we do is great work," Vitmer says. "We feel like in the neighborhood here, we've not seen anything like what we have. We're very trendy; we think once people get in they'll be very happy." In addition to hair services, Atria also carries its own signature lines of shampoo, conditioner and styling products as well as beauty products from Bumble & Bumble.
In conjunction with Global AIDS week, a group of Tulane medical students is holding a Global AIDS Multicultural Fundraiser to help mobile clinics deliver HIV testing and medications to patients in Mirebalais, Haiti.
The fundraiser is scheduled at 7 p.m. April 2 at the Hotel Monteleone (214 Royal St.) and includes a fashion show of designs by West African artist Kadidiatou Mariko, music by a Haitian band, and a silent auction of Haitian and African art. Tickets are $30 and include drinks and dessert.
- Stephanie Booth stands among racks of CDs and vinyl albums at Rocks Off RPM, which she owns with her husband, Chad.