Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rare Exports puts the nightmare in Christmas

Posted By on Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 12:48 PM

If you think you've experienced a nightmarish holiday before, check out the unwelcome surprises in the Finnish holiday horror Rare Exports. It has humorous moments, but the film follows some of the conventions of horror genre classics. When an exploration company starts treasure hunting at what looks like a massive burial tomb in Finland, it unearths some odd clues as to what's below. A la Jurassic Park or Alien, the corporation can't wait to mine these mysterious resources. A young boy soon realizes that something is amiss. He's being watched, and children are disappearing. His father is more concerned with the slaughter of wild reindeer. And soon, Santa may be making some unwanted rounds. It screens at Zeitgeist starting Dec. 25.

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WWL-TV: Gambit's 3-Day Weekend entertainment picks

Posted By on Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Another Thursday, another appearance by Gambit entertainment guy Noah Bonaparte Pais on the WWL Eyewitness Morning News. Among the highlights: Trombone Shorty's Funky X-Mas Jam, George Porter Jr.'s Birthday Bash, Scrooge in Rouge, PhotoNOLA 2010 and more. Check it out:

Landrieu announces Christmas tree recycling

Posted By on Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 9:46 AM

Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced yesterday that the city will continue its Christmas tree recycling program for wetlands restoration. Residents should leave their trees on the curb from Jan. 6 to Jan. 8, when they'll be picked up by trash crews. Tree collection for the French Quarter/Downtown Development District will be Jan. 6 only.

If anyone wants to volunteer to help put the trees along coastal areas, call Dani Levine in the Office of Coastal & Environmental Affairs at 658-4071. Volunteers must be 18 or older and should be able to lift at least 30 pounds.

Beginning in February, the Louisiana National Guard will collect the trees via helicopter and place them along the coast with the aid of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Read more about the process in Lauren LaBorde's interview with Jefferson Parish's Department of Environmental Affairs.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bath salts are killing your children

Posted By on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 1:21 PM

There's a new killer in town, and it could be hiding in your house. Or lurking in your bathroom. Or in that gift for your kid's 6th grade teacher or that weird person in accounting you drew for office Secret Santa. This lavender-scented murderer is bath salts, and it's killing our children.

The Traveling Soap Lady? More like the Traveling Dope Lady.
  • The Traveling Soap Lady? More like the Traveling Dope Lady.

In case you weren’t previously aware, kids just wanna get high! Whether it’s through fake weed or $5 heroin, they want to get Miley Cyrus-ed and will stop at nothing to do it. The latest way in which they’re doing this is through a dangerous substance masquerading as a “harmless bath supplement,” according to a report by WDSU on Tuesday’s 10 p.m. news. The report says Cloud 9 bath salts, peddled by the innocuous sounding Traveling Soap Lady vendor on Amazon.com, can cause “delirium, hallucination, combative behavior and intense highs lasting up to 48 hours.” Sounds fun! Oh, but the salts also cause “swelling of the brain.” Not so fun.

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Rejecting the metaphor: Discovering modern art in West Texas

Posted By on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 1:29 AM

“The history of modern art is also the history of the progressive loss of art’s audience. Art has increasingly become the concern of the artist and the bafflement of the public.” —Paul Gaugin

One of two identical copper cones (1986) by Roni Horn, located in a former military supplies storage building at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX
  • One of two identical copper cones (1986) by Roni Horn, located in a former military supplies storage building at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX

I transcribed my travel notes of the past several days from a downtown hotel in Roswell, New Mexico, home of alien encounters, on the night of the winter solstice and the lunar eclipse. To our surprise, there was no parade, no convention of abductees, and no massive influx of UFO enthusiasts. We stayed anyway, enjoying the irony, only two hundred miles from our final destination.

My husband George and I are spending the holidays this year in Santa Fe, New Mexico. On our road trip we once again crossed Texas, this time lingering for a few days far west, in a town called Marfa, named in 1882 for a Russian heroine in Dostoyevsky’s classic novel, The Brothers Karamazov. The tiny town is also a movie buff’s destination, since hosting the stars and set of Giant in 1955.

Marfa_downtown.jpg

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best Star Wars holiday parody ever

Posted By on Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 3:47 PM

As much as I like the original Star Wars, I believe the whole saga's main goal is to boost holiday shopping. Some truly hardcore fans may remember The Star Wars Holiday Special (Defamer also linked to it). But get ready for the best thing anyone has done with Star Wars footage since the second film was released. The people at Gamervision created this brilliant holiday e-gift.

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2011 Tennessee Williams festival lineup

Posted By on Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 3:42 PM

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The 2011 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is being billed as the CenTENNial Celebration (it would have been Williams' 100th birthday — get it?) and the silver anniversary of the festival itself, which began 25 years ago.

So what's in store? The writing lineup includes Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler; Forrest Gump author Winston Groom; Armistead Maupin, whose Tales of the City series is going strong again; mystery writers John Connolly, Laura Lippman and Nevada Barr; National Book Award finalists Dorothy Allison and Susan Straight; New Orleans' own Bryan Batt (interviewed in Gambit earlier this year on the publication of his 'mom-oir'); and writer and filmmaker John Waters (Gambit interview here).

Actors on the list include Estelle Parsons; Shirley Knight; Zoe Caldwell; Harriet Harris; and New Orleans native Grace Zabriskie.

As usual, the festival will be held during the last weekend in March (March 23-27) at various locations around the French Quarter. Check out the Tenn Fest website for more info.

Time asks "Whatever Happened to the Gulf Oil Spill?"

Posted By on Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Back in July, Michael Grunwald wrote this piece for Time, in which he said the oil disaster "does not seem to be inflicting severe environmental damage.” Other reports followed — "Less severe than we thought?", "Where is the oil?", "Was Tony Hayward right after all?", all challenging speculation and actual research that the oil was A., still in the Gulf, and B., doing terrible things to it.

Time's Bryan Walsh now asks, "Whatever Happened to the Gulf Oil Spill?" — sarcastically, sort of. Walsh says the disaster didn't directly affect most news ADD-raddled Americans, so it vanished from the media's radar. (Sound familiar?). But then there's this:

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New Orleans mourns rapper Magnolia Shorty

Posted By on Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Rentta Magnolia Shorty Lowe
  • Rentta "Magnolia Shorty" Lowe

Multiple sources are reporting that New Orleans rap artist Renetta "Magnolia Shorty" Lowe was shot and killed Monday in eastern New Orleans. She was 28 years old. AllHipHop reported it here. NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune have details. There's a memorial page on Facebook. There is more information about her on her MySpace page and some background on Lowe on the online version of Alison Fensterstock and Aubrey Edwards' documentary project about New Orleans bounce and rap Where They At.

Note: The AllHipHop story does have several errors in it. A few have been corrected. I left the link up because the site did report the death, as sited above. WC

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Coming up in this week's Gambit

Posted By on Sat, Dec 18, 2010 at 9:00 AM

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Coming up in the new Gambit, which starts hitting the stands Sunday ...

Berm, baby, berm: After the U.S. government issued a scathing report Thursday about the efficacy of Gov. Bobby Jindal's oil-blocking berm project, the Jindal administration defended the move by saying the berms will be valuable in coastal restoration. Jeremy Alford spent six weeks talking to boosters and detractors of the big piles of sand, and finds out just what Louisiana is getting for $360 million of BP's money — and who's getting a big chunk of it ...

Alex Woodward on the split between the city of New Orleans and the LA/SPCA. Who's going to provide animal control for the city in 2011?

Clancy DuBos breaks down the Top 10 20 Political Stories of the Year, and Will Coviello looks at the year in arts ...

Ian McNulty hangs up his critic's pen to pen a holiday paean to Liberty's Kitchen, the nonprofit that's turning around kids' lives through the power of cookery ...

Noah Bonaparte Pais reviews the new release from the Generationals ...

Plus: last-minute gifts, and a whole bunch of Christmas weekend picks to get you out of the house when your family has made you ready to scream.

And coming up in next week's issue: Blake Pontchartrain finally answers the No. 1 question he gets here at Gambit: Who is Blake Pontchartrain?

One last shot of holiday spirit: Aaron Neville singing "Louisiana Christmas Day":

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