Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Marigny Pho on the Move

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 10:27 PM

Banh mi at Marigny Pho

For the past few months, folks in the Faubourg Marigny have been enjoying how well casual Vietnamese food works in the setting of a New Orleans bar. Soon, they’ll get to see how it works in a neighborhood bakery.

Not long after opening this spring, the Lost Love Lounge leased its kitchen space to local chef Chris Reel, who began serving the casual Vietnamese classics like pho, bun and banh mi (pictured above) to the bar crowd. Reel called the operation Marigny Pho and it seemed to be doing well.

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LPO Promotes Video Game Violence on PBS

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 9:59 PM

Video Games Live is on a mission to prove that orchestral music and gamers can peacefully co-exist. The tour is the brainchild of composer Tommy Tallarico (cousin to Aerosmith's Steven Tyler). A tour performance featuring the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra at Kenner's Pontchartrain Center in April (previewed here) was filmed by PBS, and the show premieres on local station WYES at 4 p.m. Sunday, August 1. The tour features contemporary classical music scored for popular video games including Halo, Blizzard, Mario and God of War. (Watch the trailer above to hear Jamie Lee Curtiss explain why World of Warcraft is better than James Cameron's Avatar.) Performances combine live music and scenes from popular games projected on screens above the orchestra and add other effects.

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Louisiana: the lazy, smelly state

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 8:30 PM

A Louisiana man naps after an exhausting three-hour workday
  • A Louisiana man naps after an exhausting three-hour workday

It seems there's always a new ranking — usually created by an esteemed scientific research institution such as Condomania — floating around the Internet that bestows some kind of superlative onto our city or state. In case you've lost track of how we're faring in these rankings, allow me to synthesize some recent findings: the residents of New Orleans and Louisiana are blissfully fat, smelly people with big penises. Sexy, right?

Now we can add "slothful" to that sterling description, thanks to Bloomberg Businessweek's America's Laziest States list that puts Louisiana right on top. Louisiana residents, according to the study, typically spend almost nine hours sleeping, three hours watching TV and — amazingly — two hours and 41 minutes working every day. I mean, I know Commander's Palace martini lunches can go on a little long, but who only works for three hours every day? Bloomberg says the findings were culled from the self-reported data in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey, which means that Louisiana residents are very forthcoming about their sedentary habits. Maybe we'll top someone's Most Honest States list one day?

The nola.com comment section for the article is abuzz with readers discussing the ranking. Naturally, racism and other inanities abound.

Now get back to work, lazies! You still have nearly two full hours left.

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Today in BP Oil Disaster: Day ...

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 3:33 PM

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Because putting Drew Brees on the cover wasn't enough

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 10:30 PM

First came Drew Brees gracing the cover of the video game Madden NFL 2010 and now there is this YouTube clip of the Saints repeating as Super Bowl Champions in the video game, complete with victory parade and trip to the White House.

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Now, as my Saints preview illustrated, Who Dats may not be stressed out about the Saints' upcoming season (at least not compared to years past) so this may be but a blip on people's radar, but isn't this city all about superstition? Last year, as my hometown Redskins floundered and the Saints piled up wins, I would spitefully (and drunkenly) make ridiculous predictions about the Saints winning it all, much to the chagrin of every Who Dat (I'm surprised I never got punched). But now the Saints are champs and Brees is on the cover of Madden and there's a digital celebration of their upcoming repeat.

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How times change.

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Patricia Clarkson: "BP has ruined the Gulf of Mexico"

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Film star and New Orleans native Patricia Clarkson came home in mid-June to tour Barataria Bay with Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser, City Council president Arnie Fielkow, and her mother, City Council vice-president Jackie Clarkson, as C-SPAN cameras recorded the visit. This week, Clarkson became a spokesperson for the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), calling upon Americans to contact their Congressional representatives to urge them to pass clean-energy legislation.

The Academy Award-nominated actress made a powerful short video for the NRDC, using footage from the Clarkson family’s vintage home movies of swimming in Lake Pontchartrain and vacationing on the Gulf Coast, beginning with a shot of Clarkson as a toddler in a blue dress, dancing on the levee with her mother, and ending with a plea for donations to the NRDC’s Gulf Recovery Fund.

In an accompanying essay, Clarkson describes the boom around the marshes as “like Band-Aids on gunshot wounds,” and writes,

I remember the bay as a place filled with wildlife — birds, alligators, sea turtles, and of course abundant oyster, shrimp and crab beds. But since the BP explosion, the bay has become an industrial zone. Oil sheen covered the water as far as we could see, and in every single marsh we passed, it was as if someone had taken a giant brush, dipped it in a big bucket of paint and painted the grass black. We went over to Cat Island, where the pelicans gather. There was no place for them to land that was oil-free, so they touched down in oily water, and their bellies were covered with the stuff.

Clarkson states flat out that “BP has ruined the Gulf of Mexico,” and adds, “We need to strengthen the regulations for offshore drilling so a disaster like this never happens again.” Such sentiments are, of course, easier expressed by an entertainer than a Bayou State politician. Several days before the Barataria Bay trip, Fielkow introduced a resolution into City Council supporting the efforts of President Barack Obama and the federal government in combating the disaster. The resolution ended with a subtle rebuke of Obama’s moratorium on deepwater drilling, urging the feds to “put all available expert resources on each rig subject to the moratorium, to evaluate its safety, and as a rig is deemed safe, to immediately remove the drilling ban on that rig.”

The council resolution passed 7-0.

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Meet Bob Dudley

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 5:02 PM

As former (and self-described "demonized") BP CEO Tony Hayward prepares for Siberia, the oil giant will welcome in its first ever American CEO, Robert Dudley — who grew up in Hattiesburg, Miss., is a 20-year man with Amoco, and is BP's hope to save its stateside reputation.

Putting an American CEO in place, particularly one from the Gulf Coast region, could certainly help BP better manage the public relations nightmare the company is now facing, both locally and nationally.

Dudley repeats Hayward's "personal commitment" refrain when addressing cleanup and capping efforts — maybe in different context as a Mississippian. But compare Dudley's pre-succession comments to Hayward's testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in June — he stonewalled, denied any evidence BP may have prioritized its costs before safety, defended the "fail-safe" blowout preventer (despite its, you know, failure), and defended all of BP's response.

Dudley's interview with PBS earlier this month showed him willing to point out BP's mistakes and imperfections:

... the cleanup effort has not been perfect. We have had to respond and allocate resources from Louisiana all the way across to Florida. And we have had to do that sometimes very quickly. There's been gaps in the defenses, and you almost have to think about this as an invasion of oil to make sure that you're ready for it.

We have had some — some devastating pictures, particularly in Louisiana, of the oil that's got into the marshes. The beaches are easier to clean. The marshes, particularly, are very sensitive. They take a long time. You flush them. We even have crews out there that clean blades of grass.

But it's something you have to be very, very careful about. We see boom that gets washed up. If it's out there, the tides come. The storm that we're having actually today with Hurricane Alex has raised high levels of waves all across the Gulf. It's disrupting the booms. We're going to have to go back and replace those booms.

We're going to bring in even airships or blimps in parts of the Gulf, so they can actually direct the ships. We're learning as we go. It hasn't been perfect, or you wouldn't see sights like that. But the effort has really doubled in the last month.

But Dudley also refuted claims that cleanup crews were bussed in for show when President Barack Obama visited Louisiana's coast in May, and he sidestepped questions about Corexit toxicity.

Tony's still on board until Nov. 30, and will leave Oct. 1 to join as a non-executive director at Russia's TNK-BP.

Its former chief? Robert Dudley.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Louis Prima receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Posted By on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 10:42 PM

Louis Prima, the New Orleans-born trumpeter and lounge entertainer who was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2008, received a national accolade on July 25 when he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. It was the centerpiece of a day celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Prima's children, Louis Jr. and Lena, were on hand to honor their father, and the younger Prima performed his father's music with his band The Witnesses.

If you're going to L.A. and you want to check out Louis, his star is at 1617 Vine Street (in front of the Ricardo Montalban Theater). And his act never, ever get s

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"American Idol" hopefuls invade New Orleans

Posted By on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 5:51 PM

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Now there's a competition-based reality TV show representing just about every skill or profession, all of them promising fame to their winners and top contestants, one might wonder whether we've over-saturated pop culture with talent. American Idol, specifically, has nine seasons under its belt, each with at least 24 contestants who all expect to at least achieve minor fame from the show. There's a few contestants — not all of them season winners — who have distinguished themselves in their post-Idol lives: Kelly Clarkson is a fairly consistent radio hit-maker, Clay Aiken appeared in Spamalot during its Broadway run and is huge among everyone's aunts, Carrie Underwood has achieved success as a country singer and as a professional girlfriend, and Adam Lambert is known for simulating fellatio on national television. But oftentimes, past American Idol cast members find themselves addicted to drugs, back to being poor again, or just generally embarrassing after their 15 minutes are over.

One might assume that the show's dubious track record might deter people from auditioning, but apparently not: hoards of aspiring singers lined up at the New Orleans Arena today to try their luck at getting a spot on the Fox show for its 10th season. We stood right by the doors where Idol rejects, who had auditioned for a panel of producers and other people who aren't Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson and Ellen Degeneres (that special slate of judges is reserved for the really good and the hilariously bad, presumably), were filing out. Some were in upbeat moods, some were in tears, some were enraged and most of them were wearing Mardi Gras beads and/or feather boas. All of them wanted to perform for us.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Glenn Beck tells Tea Party to keep the fight alive

Posted By on Sat, Jul 24, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Glenn Beck declared himself a “revolutionary” on his eponymous Fox News program Saturday while urging Tea Party members not to fall prey to frustration and give up on the developing but unorganized “social movement” for political change.

He called for persistence in conveying opinions to Washington and warned against getting mired in frustration and infighting, calling on Darth Vader to illustrate how negative forces can exploit anger and hatred to quash a movement. He also railed against giving up.

“If you’re done, the Republic is done,” he said.“They’ll have to kill me before I’ll stop. I’ll never stop speaking out.” It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you’re doing, Beck said: “I’m not a journalist. Ten years ago I was a Top 40 DJ. I don’t know what I’m doing.”

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