Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Homemade beer, German-made sausage, repeat as necessary

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 1:59 PM

A few handles from the home-made line up at an earlier Winterfest.
  • Ian McNulty
  • A few handles from the home-made line up at an earlier Winterfest.

Derek Lintern picked up a few Pinot Noir barrels on a trip through Oregon not long ago. They were empty, but that was just fine for his needs. Lintern is a home brewer and those pre-loved wine barrels would become the vessels for a beer he’s dubbed “White Whine,” a Belgian-style white ale made under the influence of residual Pinot Noir.

Go to a barbecue competition and you’ll hear stories behind this team’s sauce or that contestant’s customized smoker. Go to the Crescent City Homebrewers’ upcoming Winterfest and you can hear similar stories of origin tales and technical notes and then taste the results all night long, along with plenty of food and live blues music.

Winterfest, scheduled for Nov. 5 this year at the temporary Deutsches Haus headquarters in Metairie, has long been an annual, low-key follow-up to Oktoberfest for beer geeks in the know.

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Fishbone and Everyday Sunshine come to New Orleans

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Funk-punk genre-bending rockers Fishbone never achieved the same head-turning notoriety or impact nationally that the band had in Los Angeles in the 1980s and early 1990s. (The punk fury of its live shows in local clubs wasn't easy to translate onto recordings.) Other genre benders from the city, however, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction, fared much better than Fishbone outside the city. Fishbone suffered some internal problems as well as marketing obstacles, changed membership and somehow has been maintained by leaders Norwood Fisher and Angelo Moore. The band performs at Tipitina's Friday night and at Voodoo Sunday. Meanwhile, a documentary about the band, Everyday Sunshine, screens at Zeitgeist(7:30 p.m. Friday through Thursday), and members of the band and the filmmaker will be on hand for Q&A sessions this weekend.

The trailer above distills the film well. (Review here.) The first minute of the trailer tries to locate the film in racial divides and politics of the 1980s. (The film stretches to root the band's identity in black migration from the South to Los Angeles after the Depression and into wartime manufacturing — it comes off as somewhat of a stretch to say those broad social changes shaped a band that was marked by its uniqueness.) It's true the band was between two worlds — a fixture in the (predominantly white) LA punk scene but buttonholed into what one Columbia employee refers to as the label's black music section.

The story of the band never realizing what many thought was its potential isn't only about race. And the film becomes more about the personal issues between band members. That material begs for a voiceover different than the somber and heroic tones of Laurence Fishburne's narration. The band bottomed out hard, and much of the film focuses on the lean years. Angelo Moore seems stuck in denial, living with his mother but clinging to his self-concept of being the frontman of a significant rock band. At times, I expected Sly from the Family Stone to wander into the picture and talk shop with him. For a while, Moore took up the persona of Dr. Madd Vibe, introduced a theremin to the band and that diversion didn't help anything.

Preserving the band may have been theraputic for Moore's and Fisher's friendship, but the film seems to suggest that the band is far greater than history has treated it. Perhaps, but that comes off more like the devotion of a fan than an analysis. It's also possible the band did as much as it was capable of, and perhaps all of the members should have moved on. That's a choice the members had to make for themselves, but I came away thinking that even if there was great work left undone, by the time all the strife settled, the band was coasting on its former reputation, not creating innovative new music. Many artists have coasted on their reputations, but it doesn't seem compelling to root for Fishbone to be able to do that. Fisher's maturity in dealing with it all is one of the more inspiring highlights of the film. Tangential but entertaining are Ice-T's comments on how Los Angeles' rap scene regarded Fishbone.

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Ten thoughts on the Advance Publications Saints-tweet deal

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 12:46 PM

By now Saints fans and Twitter aficionados have heard the news: Advance Publications, the New York-based parent company of The Times-Picayune, was paying certain New Orleans Saints players to use their personal Twitter accounts to pimp the T-P's new Saints forum page. Like all things Advance, the new Saints forum takes good content and puts it in an ugly, hard-to-navigate wrapper — but rather than sink some cash into redeveloping a website that's been a mistake for more than a decade, Advance thought it could drum up some interest in the page by getting Drew Brees, Jon Vilma, Lance Moore, Tracy Porter and Pierre Thomas to endorse it.

The Times-Picayune had no say in this matter, as Jaquetta White makes clear in a very good, painful, honest story that doesn't pull punches when it discusses this breach of journalistic ethics. The marketing foolery is being discussed over at Poynter's Medianews, as well as Big Lead Sports.

1. Journalistic ethics aside: This is an act by a bunch of out-of-town beancounters who don't care about cheapening the very real relationship between the Saints and their fans.

2. The timing on this couldn't be worse for morale at 3800 Howard, as the paper is concluding its most recent round of staff buyouts this month, and employees are waiting to see who's staying, who's going ... and who's going to have to take on the extra work.

3. It's also a slap in the face to the sports department that built the very section Advance is cheapening. The T-P has good writers and editors, with no phony prima donnas or lazybones phoning it in.

4. Will it affect the sports department's coverage? Certainly not. Truth is, the Saints organization isn't fond of the media in general, regardless of whether the coverage is good or bad; it's impossible to imagine Jeff Duncan, John DeShazier, Mike Triplett or anyone else there feeling pressured to turn into a bunch of fanboys or pull their editorial punches based on this one stupid deal.

5. No one's talked about the players' role in this, but they can't be getting rich from 140-letter dispatches urging their fans to read nola.com. (Certainly Advance can't be paying as well as Vicks VapoRub.) So: is it a deal cut by the Saints organization itself? And who exactly has access to the individual Saints' Twitter accounts?

6. White's story says that the tweets were supposed to be marked #sponsor or #spon (?) to show they were bought and paid for. But these are football players, not journalists, so of course they don't always remember to follow the rules:

From the Twitter account @drewbrees.
  • From the Twitter account @drewbrees.

7. Saints players endorsing a corporate website is kind of a kick in the teeth to some of the homegrown, fan-driven Saints websites and forums, such as Who Dat Zone and Canal Street Chronicles. Would be nice if they could throw the little guys a little Twitter love, gratis.

8. Why stop there? Why not pay the Junior League of New Orleans and the members of the Boston Club to tweet about Nell Nolan's column? Us sports-lovin' Who Dats love us some fantasy debutante leagues, after all.

9. The new Saints forum page is described as "a new home for Saints news and community interaction. The new page greatly enhances the tools you need to read about your Saints and talk with the rest of the Who Dat Nation." One: New Orleanians don't need "tools" to read about the Saints. Two: Most of the other newspaper chains in the country have finally figured out people go to their websites to read the paper, not to replicate the Facebook experience. But Advance Publications is still trying to sell "community," not journalism.

10. And — confidential to Advance Publications: if you're hell-bent on doing this, the least you could do is get the goddamn little helmets right. Red??? We're not Kansas City.

Red helmets? Really?
  • Red helmets? Really?

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Happy birthday Mahalia Jackson

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Today is the centennial of gospel legend Mahalia Jackson's birth. She was born in Uptown New Orleans and became a prominent singer in her church by the time she was a teenager. She released the million-selling single "Move on Up a Little Higher" in 1948 and in her career collected five Grammys. Jackson brought new audiences to gospel music, became involved in the Civil Rights movement and refused to sing the blues. She died in 1972.

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Voodoo interviews: Ray Davies

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Ray Davies
  • Ray Davies

Ray DaviesKinks frontman and founder, along with brother Dave — debuts his latest crew, The 88, at this year's Voodoo Experience. They'll pull songs from Davies' more than 40 years of songwriting, from early Kinks hits to late-'60s pop masterpieces to offbeat jazz (with likely some help from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band). (Read more on Davies and his latest musical ventures in this week's Gambit.)

Ray Davies and The 88 perform 4:15 p.m. Saturday on the Le Flambeau/Preservation Hall stage.

Below is the Gambit interview with Davies — he talks about working with Alex Chilton and Bruce Springsteen, getting shot in New Orleans, and growing up with jazz.

GAMBIT: How’d you bring the group together?

RD: They played a couple of old Kinks songs. They sent in an audition tape, there were about 5 or 6 bands, ... and I played it and said without a doubt they were the best of the bands. And it evolved from there, really, and I did this album See My Friends, with other people, and I did Lucinda Williams and Alex Chilton, and we did those acoustically before the band went on, and The 88 came in later that year, on Alex’s track and Lucinda’s track. Sadly I think that’s one of the last tracks Alex did, before he past away.

Were you close?

I first met him when I used to go down there. Musicians never get close. We were polite friends. He was very helpful to me when I was down there, and a very knowledgeable guy, a very quiet sort of guy. Probably had his demons like everyone else, but we got along very well. We tried another track called “Set Me Free” on the same sessions. When I was in New Orleans, Alex wanted me to write some songs. He was doing another album. He asked me to write some originals. I said I’d think about it. One of the last things I did with him we did toward the end of the day, I said, "You know, I’ll get some songs together and I’ll play them to you next time I see you." And of course I never saw him again. That was that. ... It’s a sad loss, but I’m glad he got to sing that one song ("Till the End of the Day").

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A restaurant in Maine serves Abita Turbodog Milkshakes

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 8:03 AM

A po-boy shop in Maine, who knew?
  • Screengrab taken from poboysandpickles.com
  • A po-boy shop in Maine, who knew?

Via a shop outside Portland, Maine called "Po' Boys & Pickles", there is an Abita milkshake consisting solely of Abita Turbodog beer, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

The menu provided on the website doesn't have it so it must be a special. I'm building a time machine so I can get the supplies at a supermarket and make one yesterday.

In related incredible news: Maine has a po-boy shop.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Condoleezza Rice on her Katrina experience

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has a new memoir, No Higher Honor, and it's the most thorough look at her widely publicized (and criticized) New York vacation, which continued after the levee collapse in New Orleans and the devastation in Mississippi.

Newsweek has a substantial excerpt in this week's issue:

newsweek.jpeg
That evening, upon arriving at the Palace Hotel, I flipped on the television. Indeed, the hurricane had hit New Orleans. I called Henrietta, who said that the main issue was making sure our people were safe. She’d also convened a departmental task force because offers of foreign assistance were pouring in. I called Secretary of Homeland Security Mike Chertoff, inquiring if there was anything I could do. “It’s pretty bad,” he said. We discussed the question of foreign help briefly, but Mike was clearly in a hurry. He said he’d call if he needed me. I hung up, got dressed, and went to see Spamalot.

The next morning, I went shopping at the Ferragamo shoe store down the block from my hotel, returned to the Palace to await Randy and Mariann’s arrival, and again turned on the television. The airwaves were filled with devastating pictures from New Orleans. And the faces of most of the people in distress were black. I knew right away that I should never have left Washington.

Not mentioned in the memoir excerpt is this bit of coverage that day from Gawker:

Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we've confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo's Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice's timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, "How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!"

Back to the Rice memoir:

A few minutes later, my senior advisor, Jim Wilkinson, walked into my suite. “Boss, I should have seen this coming,” he said. He showed me the day’s Drudge Report headline on the Web: “Eyewitness: Sec of State Condi Rice laughs it up at ‘Spamalot’ while Gulf Coast lays in tatter.” “Get a plane up here to take me home,” I said. I called Mariann and Randy and apologized and then sat there kicking myself for having been so tone-deaf. I wasn’t just the secretary of state with responsibility for foreign affairs; I was the highest-ranking black in the administration and a key advisor to the President. What had I been thinking?

Rice subsequently returned to Washington and then to Mobile, Ala., where she stopped at a black church and visited with some Vietnamese shrimpers. In the book, she describes her "lingering wound":

Yet for me the lingering wound of Katrina is that some used the explosive “race card” to paint the President as a prejudiced, uncaring man. It was so unfair, cynical, and irresponsible.

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Fatboy Slim offers free mix in advance of Voodoo

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 5:47 PM

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Review: Prospect.2's opening day

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 5:15 PM

The Music Box, or Dithyrambalina, on Piety Street.

Prospect.1 is a hard act to follow. It was big, sometimes gaudy, sometimes subtle, but always substantial and very expensive, with cost overruns exceeding $1 million. Prospect.2 is more modest — its 27-artist roster is one-third the size of P.1’s — and its exhibitions are less extravagant. It was hard to get any sense of what it would look like from its eclectic mix of featured artists slated for a constantly changing list of venues, but now that the expo is open it can truthfully be said that former director Dan Cameron has again pulled a rabbit out of his hat. It’s not knock-your-socks-off impressive like P.1, but it is a very intriguing expo with an intimate quality perhaps more appropriate for these financially constrained times. What makes it work is Cameron’s intuitive genius for weaving the art with various parts of the city in ways that can be unexpected or occasionally even epiphanous. I’m not big on Sophie Calle, whose word and image narratives can be repetitious, but her tiny text panels at the 1850 House in the Pontalba are refreshingly subversive in that setting. Similarly, William Eggleston’s rarely seen black-and-white portraits work well with his bizarre 1974 Stranded in Canton video vignettes of crazed Southerners — like a Hunter S. Thompson take on William Faulkner — at the Old U.S. Mint, where they somehow complement An-My Le’s delicate photographs of Vietnamese communities in the Mekong Delta and eastern New Orleans.

Like its predecessor, Prospect.2 seems to have brought out the best in some elements of our burgeoning community of emerging artists. The most spectacular single thing I saw on P.2’s opening Saturday was at a satellite facility, at the 9 p.m. performance of New Orleans Airlift’s Music Box installation of musical shanties (pictured), fanciful huts constructed from salvaged house parts as electronic and acoustic musical instruments. Curated by Delaney Martin, Swoon and Theo Eliezer, and conducted by maestro Quintron, it fulfilled art’s original function as an expression of metaphysical magic. It was truly unforgettable.

Prospect.2
Through Jan. 29, 2012
Various venues, 756-6438

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The Real World casting in Baton Rouge, plus other MTV news

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Do you remember when MTV's flagship reality show The Real World cast people other than generically hot 20-somethings? There were quirky, non-traditionally attractive Janeane Garofalo types; Catholics, Mormons and devout believers of other religions seemingly at odds with MTV's ethos; endearingly nerdy guys and — you may not believe this — adult virgins who were virgins by choice. Now everyone on the show sees The Real World as a jumping point for a career in reality TV, so all cast members are fake-tanned functional alcoholics hoping to one day be on Celebrity Apprentice (or at least on one of MTV's Challenge shows).

But now it seems MTV is trying to get back to those days of intriguing housemates in this round of casting calls, and they're stopping at Baton Rouge this Saturday, Oct. 29 at a place called Mugshots (appropriate) on 7425 Corporate Blvd. Looks like they're not casting in THE NOLA BABYY (Real World: New Orleans reference) this go 'round.

Fox 8 reports MTV is looking for "applicants who have challenges living an everyday life that most take for granted." Some examples of ideal candidates include people who are ...

... struggling with weight issues, affected by a natural disaster, products of home or alternative schooling, followers of unrecognized or non-mainstream belief systems, elite athletes, recent graduates affected by the economic downturn, those involved with goth, emo, or punk subculture, members of a pro-abstinence organization, those who are recently single due to a tragedy, someone who has recently gotten out of the foster care system, and individuals who want to bring the spotlight of The Real World to a cause, condition, or social issue they care deeply about or are personally affected by. They are also particularly interested in cast members who have had to work hard to support themselves and move ahead in their lives.

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