Friday, December 30, 2011

Blade Runner director returns to sci-fi three decades later

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 10:12 AM

It has been 30 years since Ridley Scott directed Blade Runner, considered by many to be the greatest and most influential science fiction movie of the modern era. In the interim, Scott has tackled just about every movie genre except sci-fi, including war (Black Hawk Down), crime (American Gangster), horror (Hannibal) historical epics (Gladiator), and all-out Oscar bait (Thelma and Louise).

That self-imposed sci-fi drought comes to an end this summer with the release of Scott’s Prometheus, which was originally conceived as a prequel to the director’s early sci-fi smash, Alien, but has since acquired its own universe and mythology. Prometheus was shot in 3-D and stars Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, and Guy Pearce.

Over the Christmas holiday, the official teaser trailer for Prometheus was finally released. It appears that the aliens are, once again, displeased with us:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ujama Kwanzaa celebration tonight

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 7:01 PM

You’ve still got time to make it to a Ujamaa celebration at Christian Unity Baptist Church (1700 Conti St. at N. Claiborne Ave.) tonight from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Ujamaa is the fourth of seven principles of Kwanzaa, and is Swahili for “cooperative economics,” Glynn Johns Reed, publisher of the quarterly Black Pages magazine has undertaken a three-month campaign based on Ujamaa. Her goal is to increase awareness of locally owned African-American businesses and encourage blacks to patronize African-American businesses. The campaign ends Feb. 29, 2012.

The Ujama event tonight includes a panel discussion on cooperative economics with a diverse panel of African-American business owners and pastors. The celebration also includes refreshments, a candle-lighting ceremony, drumming, dancing and more.

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This essay regarding the Saints' "classless" charge is a thing of beauty

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Oh, we are tired of the whining. We are tired of the puling. And we are tired of national sportspundits calling Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints "classless."

We are indeed tired of all of it. But Grandmaster Wang at the blog MooseDenied didn't just get tired of it. He did something about it.

He wrote an essay. And it's long, and a lot of it is pretty NSFW-ish (unless you work in a Quentin Tarantino movie) but I can still see it being printed in its entirety on Fleurty Girl and Dirty Coast shirts. Held up on signs during playoff games. Crocheted into samplers by sweet 7th Ward grandmas.

"We Make the Rules, Pal" is, perhaps, the greatest New Orleans non-apologia since three months after Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods, when the late Ashley Morris so eloquently told the world: FYYFF.

But enough of this palaver. Let us savor the sweet, sweet words of Grandmaster Wang (well, at least as much as we can print here) ...

Memo to #RodneyWhite, #BrettGrimes, Jason Cole and Pete Prisco: We're not sorry. Got a problem with that? Go ...

Let me lay it out for you so that you can understand. This just in: Our goals trump your feelings. Every time.

We're in this thing for us. Nobody else. Definitely not you. And if achieving those goals leaves you humiliated and outraged, that's your problem. Deal with it. Clutch your pearls if you must, but you'd be better served to grow a pair instead.

Oh sure, they pretended to love us for about 15 minutes in February 2010. They capitalized on the chumps-to-champs angle. They emoted as publicly as possible and tugged on as many heartstrings as they could over the Federal Flood. They said "Nawlins" over and over and over. Gumbo this and Mardi Gras that. They exploited the shit out of us and milked it for all 'Murika considered it worth.

It was all so cute and quirky and hip. A little "edgy" yet wholesome as milk. Real funky but not threatening. Made for great media. A tightly-scripted little melodrama that if you didn't know any better you might have mistaken for an HBO Original Series.

And the critics raved for some reason.

But it wasn't supposed to get renewed.

Just go read the whole thing.

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Patricia Clarkson to ride in 2012 Muses parade

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Clarkson and the Muses raise a toast.
  • Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Clarkson and the Muses raise a toast.

On her birthday, Patricia Clarkson was named the Krewe of Muses' first "Every-Muse," or first official celebrity guest. She will ride in the krewe's signature shoe float in the parade on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. City Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson toasted her youngest daughter at the announcement at the Windsor Court Hotel, saying "What's greater than walking a red carpet is that you're home."

The 2012 event will be the all-female satirical krewe's 12th parade.

In other Carnival news, the Riverwalk Marketplace announced the entertainment lineup for the annual Lundi Gras (Monday, Feb. 20) arrival of Rex at Spanish Plaza. Rex arrives at 6 p.m. and the bands include John "Papa" Gros and the Krewe du Karnival, Shamarr Allen and the Topcats.

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Ken Korman joins Gambit as contributing writer

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 2:49 PM

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Beginning with Gambit’s first issue of 2012, New Orleans writer Ken Korman will be joining the paper’s list of contributors, writing about movies, DVD releases, Hollywood South and other film-related topics.

Korman’s work has appeared in a wide variety of national and regional publications, including Rolling Stone, The Austin Chronicle, Sound & Vision and Time Out New York. He has published more than 4,000 movie reviews over the course of his career, and he has interviewed filmmakers and actors from Robert Altman and Terry Gilliam to Meryl Streep and Harrison Ford. (He’s also a guitarist with the local band The Lushingtons.)

Korman’s reviews will appear in the weekly edition of Gambit, and he’ll be a frequent contributor here on the Blog of New Orleans. We’re glad to have him aboard.

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City's blight program update: 28,024 inspections; 2,280 demolitions; 1,000-plus writs of seizure

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 2:08 PM

From the City of New Orleans Blight Strategy Annual Report
  • From the City of New Orleans Blight Strategy Annual Report

Mayor Mitch Landrieu launched his blight eradication program near the end of last year, with a goal of reducing the city's number of blighted properties by 10,000 by 2014. Today, in its annual report, the city's blight office offers its annual progress report. City officials report a 200 percent increase in demolitions since the beginning of the program, as well as a 100 percent increase in revenue from fines and fees.

Read the city's Office of Blight Policy and Neighborhood Revitalization's annual report: Annual_Blight_Strategy_Report_-_Dec-29-2011.pdf

And the accompanying press release:


CITY SHOWS PROGRESS IN FIGHTING BLIGHT
Releases Blight Strategy Report on 2011 Progress

NEW ORLEANS, LA—It has been over one year since Mayor Landrieu launched a new, aggressive blight strategy aimed at reducing 10,000 blighted properties in New Orleans by 2014. Since then, the City has conducted 28,024 inspections, demolished 2,280 blighted units, moved over 1000 properties to code lien foreclosure, and collected over $1.5 million in blight liens and fines. The City has also held 29 BlightStat performance management meetings.

“We’ve accomplished a great deal this past year—making our neighborhoods a better, safer place to live by reducing the number of dangerous, blighted properties in our neighborhoods,” said Jeff Hebert, Director of Blight Policy and Neighborhood Revitalization. “But in order to meet and surpass our mutual goal of revitalizing the neighborhoods of this city, we have a long road to go.”

According to the 2011 report, the City has already shown improvement in performance and results [Note: after the jump]:

Continue reading »

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Review: New works in the St. Claude art district

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Cynthia Scotts Chandeleur
  • Cynthia Scott's Chandeleur

In a recent interview, Prospect New Orleans founder Dan Cameron opined that New Orleans doesn’t do enough “to support its local visual artists, yet ... the St. Claude district now constitutes the critical mass of artist-run spaces for the entire country.” While his opinions are open to debate, his comment about St. Claude being a national epicenter for artist-run co-op galleries is hard to dispute; no other city has so many in such concentration.

The newest gallery is Staple Goods, a former corner grocery on St. Roch Avenue at Villere Street. Its current show features work by its member artists, and it’s surprisingly cohesive despite the diversity. Cynthia Scott’s Chandeleur (pictured) series of sculptures transform everyday manufactured items into airy, chandelier-like mobiles with a Zen-like delicacy that belies their prosaic origins while complementing Daniel Kelly’s grid drawings, in which loosely rendered lines and marks suggest a ghostly sort of architectural space, as if modernism had evolved directly from stone age cave paintings. A notable exception to the prevailing abstraction is Thomasine Bartlett’s Hot Mamas photo series of women in archaic Storyville attire lounging languidly in steamy summer torpor in a visual meditation on “the brutality of fashion and style” in a tropical environment.

More Storyville-based imagery turns up down the street at another co-op, the Homespace Gallery, in a series of tintype photographic portraits by Bruce Schultz. In fact, the entire gallery is given over to the archaic 19th century tintype process with additional portraits as well as abstract compositions by Euphus Ruth, Jenny Sampson and S. Gayle Stevens. Beyond novelty, these works take us to a parallel universe where technique becomes a ritual and where the expressions of the sitters, extended over long exposure times, become windows into their souls.

Through Jan. 8
Fresh Produce: Works by Thomasine Bartlett, Aaron Collier, Robyn Denny, William DePauw, Daniel Kelly, Anne C. Nelson, Laura Richens and Cynthia Scott
Saturday-Sunday
Staple Goods, 1340 St. Roch Ave., 908-7331

Tintype: Photographs by Euphus Ruth, Jenny Sampson, S. Gayle Stevens and Bruce Schultz
Saturday-Sunday
Homespace Gallery, 1128 St. Roch Ave., (917) 584-9867

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Will BP face criminal charges?

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 12:30 PM

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  • U.S. Coast Guard

The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Fox News and NPR are all reporting U.S. prosecutors are preparing a criminal case against BP employees following the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig and the 2010 Gulf oil disaster.

The prosecutors, according to WSJ, are aiming for Houston-based engineers and at least one BP supervisor. Prosecutors are leaning on evidence that those BP employees may have given drilling regulators false information about the deepwater drilling risks.

Last year, the Guardian speculated "what if" the business end of Big Oil faced felony charges for its accidents. The question was prompted after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the administration's end of a temporary drilling moratorium, before any Oil Spill Commission reports or internal investigations revealed any of their findings — a free pass to Big Oil on their word that they'd addressed the problem. So, "what if?"

NPR's Carrie Johnson reported that the U.S. Department of Justice task force investigating the disaster, led by Brooklyn prosecutor John Buretta, is deciding whether to prosecute, and engineers already are lawyering up. (In September, DOJ officials announced the department was looking into whether BP properly reported pressure measurements during drilling.) In February, BP will enter trial anyway, to determine liability for the explosion that killed 11 men. Meanwhile, the company faces stacks of lawsuits for compensation not addressed by its claims process.

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New Orleans named best city to celebrate New Year's Eve

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Another day, another list. Who dat say New Orleans is the best city for ringing in the New Year?* Travel+Leisure say we're the best city for ringing in the New Year!

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New Orleans beat out San Juan, P.R., Honolulu, Savannah and Las Vegas for the honor. Surprisingly, New York only came in at No. 13.

* Yes, we know it's from last year, but T+L didn't do a similar list this year.

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WWL-TV: The year in restaurants, with Ian McNulty

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Gambit food critic Ian McNulty appeared on WWL-TV last night to discuss the state of the restaurant community at year's end. It was prompted by an article by Tom Fitzmorris in New Orleans CityBusiness (behind a pay wall, unfortunately) that also carried a few tart/cranky comments about the spate of "gourmet" burger and pizza eateries that opened in 2011. Can't link you to everything Fitzmorris had to say about pumped-up burgers and tricked-out pizzas, but the dean of New Orleans dining wrote a poem about it on his New Orleans Menu website. An excerpt:

Here's a gold mine! say chefs
Who once made us say "Wow!"
Now ask for ten dollars
For a bun and ground cow.
And don't get me started
On gourmet pizza pie!

Anyway, here's Ian in an interesting report by Scott Satchfield:


And here's Ian's take on the topic from this week's paper.

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