Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

It’s not the destination

Phone Box at Washington Square park It’s the journey. And today was a perfect example of why that saying is spot on. The Little Guy and I headed out to the Creole Tomato Festival at the French Market today after nap time.

If anyone went outside at all today you will know it was damn hot so our adventure had a lot of pit stops and every single one of them was better than the actual festival.First we stopped over at Washington Square Park to play and rest, there were more than the usual crowd in the park, I think there was a memory service being held for someone who has passed but with the little one I did not want to disturb anyone and so I could not get close enough to really hear what was going on. As we left the park we noticed what someone has done with the old pay phone box on the Royal side, it does not specify what the money is for but there are flowers and other decoration inside a custom made shadow box and a request for change. If I had any change on me i would have given to Chance to put in the box. We didn’t get much farther before it was pit stop time again as we passed Cafe Rose Nicaud I was informed that we needed a cookie from the coffee shop so in we went and cookie we did procure. Cookie at Cafe Rose Nicaud After we filled up on cookie off we set for the push to the actual festival crossing Esplanade and crossing Decatur over to the French Market and into the action or more realistically the crowd of tourists in fleur-de-leis T-shirts and too short, impossibly plaid shorts fanning themselves with cardboard fans shaped like (Creole?) tomatos, talking loud and occationally doing what they could to insult the local people.

I was told (though under their breath) in so many words more than once that because I wasn’t carrying my son he would get kidnapped. Well, I am happy to say there were not a million people around, I was walking two feet behind him at all times, it’s none of your damn business and as far as i could tell the worst people around at that time were their sorry asses. fountain I’m sorry but the next time a swarovski crystal embellished grandma wants to give me parenting tips, I say bring it on but, Do It To My Face!

Where was i? Oh yeah it was hot really, really hot and the booths for the festival were all out in the sun so we took ourselves through the festivities at a pretty quick pace, landing ourselves at the fountain near Decatur and Ursuline where we rested another few minutes in the shade, I could have sat a little longer but a two year old never really rests no matter how hot and tired they are so off we went again. This time we followed Decatur back till we hit Angeli’s a tasty restaurant with highchairs (even though we didn’t need one this time) where we went in for a drink and a bite to eat. The place was nearly empty which I though strange for all the people that were out and about but I guess we were a little early for the dinner rush. The little guy amazingly sat in a regular chair the whole time amusing himself by making faces in one of the mirrors that decorate the dinning area.
We made one more stop at Washington Square Park, much shorter this time, before heading on home. Just a block from the house someone stopped us and told me that “something smells dead back there” as he gestured over his shoulder in the direction we were going. Nothing came of it since I did not smell or see anything that smelled/looked dead all the way home but it did add to the adventure of the day.

Bad Lieutenant = Rubin and Ed + Boogie Nights + Mint Juleps

Bad Lieutenant: Port of New Orleans

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Oh, green goddess in a bottle. Have you seen the trailer for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Among the many objections I have to the entire harmonicaporn genre, please tell me: WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO JENNIFER COOLIDGE? AND WHY?

[via TheAwl]

Louisiana Oyster Jubilee


C’mon down to the Quarter this weekend for the Louisiana Roadfood Festival. Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 7pm on Royal Street, tons will be going on including the World’s Longest Oyster Po’Boy. Music of course will be on hand both days, up and down Royal Street, including Loose Marbles, Lee Floyd Trio and the Doreen Letchens Jazz Band.No charge for the event, but bring some cash cause you will want to taste some of these offerings:

Meat Pies, Crawfish Pies, Fried Catfish, White Beans, Creole Hot Sausage Po’Boys, Jambalaya, Shrimp Remolaude Po’Boys, Gumbo, Smoked Turkey Legs, Cochon de Lait Po’Boy, Red Beans, Alligator Ettoufee, plus tons of sweets, think pralines, snowballs etc…

Proceeds from the food go to the participating restaurants, including Cafe Reconcile

Orpheus cans Carlos Mencia

Here is a photo of Carlos “The Asshat” Mencia, which I pilfered from the BestOfNewOrleans blog:

He’s atrocious, right? A total douchebag? Perhaps a fucktard, even?

Well, you’ll be happy to know that the once and future rider in Orpheus has been officially uninvited. Doesn’t that make you feel good?

Kid Friendly Truckstop Show

Last night we packed up the toddler and went out for a “kid friendly” concert by Truckstop Honeymoon. The first week we moved to New Orleans we heard Truckstop Honeymoon on the radio telling their Hurricane story and playing their music. Ever since then we have been buying their albums, they have become a staple of both my husband’s and my Ipods. I saw them for the first time two years ago when I was still pregnant, it was the best night out I had had in a while at that point. Last night it was great to be able to take the little one to see them in person and not just in the womb or through speakers in the car. We saw them at L’art Noir a great little art gallery on St. Claude. It is an intimate venue, we were sitting on the couch not three feet from them for most of the show (ok for the parts where we weren’t chasing the little one). Everyone was very nice to him by-the-way letting him lay on the carpet in the middle of the room and pet the resident cat.

If you want to see Truckstop Honeymoon but missed them last night, no problem, they are playing tonight at d.b.a. and Thursday night at The Circle Bar.

3rd and Final Voodoo-o-Rama

Third day at Voodoo Fest, and I am tired. I know the drill now, and I think the thrill is gone. We go in through the secret enterance, get a smoothie and head back stage for the first interview with The Blind Boys of Alabama and the Preservation Hall Band. Since I’m cynical after three days of trudging around with equipment, I get caught off guard when they start to sing “Amazing Grace.” It brings tears to my eyes, and I remind myself how lucky I am.

While we’re waiting to interview the blind boys, Patrick gets to chatting with the security guard about politics. He is a moderate Muslim and is extremely well informed on all of the issues. Patrick asks if he’s going to vote. “You’re too late, brother,” he says. “I’ve already voted.” This dude is the first Muslim we’ve met here. Back in the UK there is a large moderate Muslim population, and one of our best mates from film school is Muslim. (I’m sure that by writing this, I will be put on some list that will prevent me from flying, buying groceries or voting in future elections.)

We get to interview the lovely guys from the New Orleans Bingo Show, and catch a bit of their third show. Then we rush off to catch a bit of Cowboy Mouth and interview Fred LeBlanc and Regina Zernay. They are  hilarious and have a lot of fun with the interview. It doesn’t occur to me later that I met LeBlanc back in 1984 when we were both youngsters. I had gone to see Dash Rip Rock at Jimmy’s. It was still a young band, so they mingled with the crowd after.

Lastly, we barely catch Irma Thomas’ last song. After, she does a great interview. She looks awesome, “sweat and all.”

Our day is finished, and we should try to see the last of the bands. But we are so exhausted that all we can do is abuse the free PlayStation games and drink the free booze in the VIP Lounge.

2nd Day at the Voodoo Fest

Stopping for a Wee in the backstage Port-o-Loo

Stopping for a Wee in the backstage Port-o-Loo

On the second day of VIP Voodoo Festing, I finally make it over to the Smokers’ Lounge set up by The Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company (American Spirit). I’m not really supposed to be smoking, but I figure, if I do, it might as well be American Spirit.

Our mate from New York wanted to have some real New Orleans cooking, so we stopped by the Voodoo Eats vendors and got some chow. He got BBQ Shrimp. Some people claiming to be locals tried to convince him that he was eating crawfish. They said that it was too late in the season for them and then proceeded to eat half of his shrimp. I would have intervened, but I was too busy chowing down on my shrimp tacos. But, I ask you, what kind of local would mistake shrimp for crawfish?

First on our musical lineup was Lil’ Wayne. We thought we might hang out in front of the stage, but we could only get half way up. The crowd was so thick that we couldn’t see anything, so we decided to go back stage. Security was  a combination of military, New Orleans po-lice, and Lil’ Wayne’s own crew who were, by far, the tightest of the bunch. They were only allowing hot girls on the actual stage. Being young and cute, Delilah made it up there and chatted with Lil’ Wayne after. I hear he’s quite the ladies man.

The rest of the afternoon was spent running around getting interviews. We kept bumping into people we knew, which was weird as there were so many people there. Saw Chris who was there chaperoning his 16 year old. He said he had seen The New Orleans Bingo Show and they had changed his life. This group has such an amazing sound, and their lyrics are gritty poetry. The multimedia experience that is their show “includes original black-and-white silent films, aerialists, dancers, ingénues, clowns, audience interaction, bingo games, slapstick comedy and shady characters who remind you that every stage door opens into a dark alley.” They are playing one more time at 2:00 p.m. today. Do not miss this show.

As darkness arrived, dudes pushed portable disco machines throughout the festival, and a marching brass band played up and down the streets drawing crowds of dancers and strippers. We made our way over to the Loa Lounge to see NIN. We were quite amazed at the tunes Trent chose to perform. It was challenging stuff for a festival venue…more suitable for an intimate listen through head phones while floating in a water tank. But that was what was so cool. Who else can perform this kind of magic?

I thought it was gonna be a nightmare to get a taxi, but as we made our way out onto Marconi, Ken James, owner of the New Orleans Jazz City Tours, was cruising by and offered to take us home. Ken is also a sax player and a wonderful conversationalist. The ride home was chilled, and he told us to call him whenever we needed a taxi and couldn’t find one. I would highly recommend him:

Rockin’ the Voodoo Fest

Somehow managed to wrangle VIP passes to the Voodoo Fest, so yesterday was pretty awesome. We arrived at around 1 p.m. via the secret entrance from the secret parking area. Went back stage to see Big Blue Marble and Joseph Arthur and the Lonely Astronauts and then interviewed them after. Both bands were very funny and quick with the improv. They were also polite, cool and professional.

Hung out in the Loa Lounge for a bit to chill. It’s sponsored by PlayStation, so it feels like some one’s pimped out living room. Free drinks, but no Doritos. I was really surprised at the amount of children hanging out in the VIP areas, but I guess rock stars have kids too.

Wandered over to see Mirva Wright and the BMWs and Joss Stone. Both of these women have amazing, powerful voices. Wright’s “Katrina Blues” really resonated with the crowd, but she followed up with “Ain’t got no Drawers On” to avoid feelings of Katrina fatigue.

The back stage thing is cool because I want to be right up there with the artist, but, at my age ya’ll, I can’t handle the crowds. And, there is a different crowd backstage. Everyone is cool with each other. No one copping a tude. Especially back stage with the New Orleans Bingo Show. Lloyd was feeding me free American Spirits…actually, come to think of it, everyone was being very free with the American Spirits. I later found out that you could get three free packs in the Smoker’s Lounge.

Finished up with the Stone Temple Pilots. What can I say? They really rocked.

After, in the Loa Lounge, I ended up hanging out with the Big Blue Marble for a little while. And my friend Gerrish was back there, so I spent a lot of time chewing the fat, which is my absolute favorite thing to do.

I think I’m gonna try the massage tent today.

Come find me and say hello if you’re there.

More tempest re: Tempest in Crescent City

Another developer for Tempest in Crescent City has written me. He did so in confidence, so I don’t feel comfortable posting his email, but here’s my response–slightly redacted–which pretty well sums up my feelings at this point:

Thanks for the note. I’m happy to hear that you spoke to a New Orleanian about the project…. And rest assured, I didn’t dismiss your project simply because it’s a game. Obviously, I’m a pretty avid gamer myself–otherwise, I never would’ve stumbled across the link at

Here’s my problem: I don’t believe you’ve fully and honestly addressed the “shock” factor of Tempest. You could’ve focused the plot on any number of disaster scenarios, real or imagined: fires in the Southwest, tornadoes in the Midwest, an earthquake in San Francisco, etc. I’m guessing you chose Hurricane Katrina because it’s known to students and because it’s emotionally and politically charged.

Which is fine, but many New Orleanians–myself included–are tired of Katrina being used to foment race/class conflict and for other political ends. We just want our city, homes, lives back. You’ve appropriated the disaster for your own purposes, with little obvious benefit to the people who’ve actually suffered from the disaster. (FYI, if you were intending to use it to ease the stress of school children in New Orleans, you’re probably a couple of years too late.)

I hate to sound essentialist or parochial, but here’s the fact of the matter: for the past three years or so, we’ve had non-locals giving us advice–mostly unsolicited. What we’re doing wrong. What we ought to be doing. How we ought to feel. They don’t speak with us so much as at us. Their hearts may be in the right place, but their words are often patronizing and very, very offensive. Whether you like it or not, your team and this game have fallen into exactly the same trap.

So my suggestion to you–and can take it for what it’s worth, but bear in mind, I have the pleasure of negotiating these issues every day–is don’t worry about the New Orleans market, because you’re probably pretty doomed on that front. If nothing else, your identity as a non-New Orleanian–to say nothing of your race/class identity, about which I know nothing (beyond a pretty accurate Google Image search)–will prevent you from being taken seriously by many here. Although a lot of people have moved on from the disaster, Katrina is still a HIGHLY volatile issue, and the mere fact that you’ve made it a game will render it offensive to most. Add to that the fact that you’ve done little on-the-ground outreach here in New Orleans, and you sink another few inches.

I don’t speak for all New Orleanians. I can only guess at what they’d say. But based on my experience of the city and its communities and outreach efforts and everything else, I can pretty much guarantee that the cards are stacked against you.

Your target demo, as I’ve said, may be more comfortable with the game, but if I were you, I’d use this for the kids in your own neighborhood who aren’t weighed down by the baggage of homes, lives, and family members lost to a sudden, violent, unstoppable meteorological event–one that, given climate trends, is likely to re-occur any summer now.

Am I way off base?

Some free stuff I did today…

Gnarled Tree at Palmer Park from Alex Castros Flickr Photostream

Gnarled Tree at Palmer Park from Alex Castro's Flickr Photostream

Yeah! We found another bus that goes from near ma maama’s* on the West Bank, over the Crescent City Connection and to Canal Street in just 22 minutes. I love the Algiers Ferry, but it takes too damn long to get to it. 

The Gen. Meyer bus (102) lets off just one block away from the downtown branch of the New Orleans Public Library. I love this branch of the library. There is a great little patio on the third floor (smoke ’em if you have ’em) where you can take books and mags to read when the weather is good. Next to the patio entrance is a fascinating display of turn-of-the-century mug shots. I stared into the eyes of these people and tried to imagine what they were thinking. Some were scared shitless. But a few looked satisfied, contented. I made up the stories in my head. 

The magazine section at the NOPL sports anything from “The Atlantic Monthly” to “Vogue.” This is a really good way to spend my tax dollars, thank you very much. We spent two hours in there before meeting Melissa in Palmer Park for the free outdoor concert by the Louisiana Philharmonic.

We waited by the side of the stage for all of our party to show up. I saw a shiny bald head and said to Melissa: “I know that guy.” “He’s hot,” she said. “But he lives in Dallas.” I didn’t realize it was Nagin until his minders were ushering him away. I wonder if they were going to take public transportation.

Palmer Park is a weird one. A few weeks ago, my maama was chaffeuring us around, and we passed by Palmer Park. She crossed herself and told us to never go there. It was dangerous, she said. Gangs. Well, I did find an article about how the gangs were ruling the park, but the park also hosts a monthly Artist Market sponsored by the Arts Council, so you be the judge.

I have become fascinated by the names of things here. Where does Palmer Park get its name from? I googled and googled and could only come up with Reverend Benjamin Morgan Palmer. Now this guy was a pretty nasty piece of work and used his pulpit to proclaim that slavery was the will of God, so I can’t really figure out why there is a park named after him in this city of all places. The park had originally been called Hamilton Park, but the name was changed in 1902. Sometimes google does not give the full story, so I am going to ask at the library the next time I am there.

After the concert, Melissa dropped us off for the bus on Elk and Canal. We had an hour wait, and I was a little nervous. I kept hearing a cacophony of voices in my head saying that this was not a great place for a couple of alabaster people to be hanging around after dark. But it was fine.

And, here’s the rub: I want to be careful. I don’t want to be arrogant or brazen or disrespectful to anyone. But I feel that I should be able to go anywhere I want to in this city at any time of the day or night. Isn’t that freedom? People in this city are more afraid of what other Americans might do to them than they are by what any terrorist might do. So, why exactly are we spending 341 million dollars a day** on making people in Iraq free? I want to be free too. 

*We are gonna have to leave ma maama’s soon as we are starting to bother her landlord. Who wants to put us up next? Email me.

**This, by the way, is a very bad way to spend my tax dollars…bad, capitalism, bad.

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