Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Another week, another front-page murder...

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Another crime-fighting strategy.

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Following this morning's killing of Harry Ainsworth, who police say was shot to death in Algiers while trying to stop a carjacking, Mayor Mitch Landrieu this afternoon called on the city's judges to help in stopping violent gun crime before it happens.

The judges of Orleans Parish Criminal District Court as well as New Orelans Municipal Court are being asked to require a minimum bond of $30,000 for any defendant "facing charges of illegal concealment of a weapon or other weapons charges," Landrieu wrote in a letter to CDC Chief Judge Camille Buras and Municipal Court Chief Judge Paul Sens.

The idea is based on one implemented in St. Louis, Landrieu said. (According to this article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it's only about 8 months old. And of course murder numbers in St. Louis, as elsewhere, do tend to vary significantly from year to year. )

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In case you haven't heard, Monsterjam is coming to the Superdome

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 12:27 PM

If you're a young boy that's grown up in United States, chances are that at one point or another, you've experienced the urge to go see Monster Trucks. For me, it was when the Simpsons aired their "Truckasaurus" episode and then I later realized that was based on a real-life, fire-breathing, car-eating machine. As I grew older, I realized that there is something about the comically large and deafeningly loud trucks carving paths of destruction everywhere they go has a raw appeal to young kids everywhere (not to mention any adults who are still young at heart).

So it's no surprise that a little bit of that childhood glee got stirred up inside me when news that Advanced Auto Parts Monster Jam would be making its return to the Superdome this Saturday. Saturday! SATURDAY! (Sorry, I couldn't resist). If you haven't seen it in person, it really is a sight to behold. The video above, as ridiculous as it is, doesn't really capture just how large — the tires alone are over five-feet tall — and how powerful — the engines put out some 2,000 horsepower or 13 times more than your average mid-sized sedan — these behemoth trucks really are.

Anyone wishing to satisfy their inner child (or better yet, their real children) should definitely make the trek out to the Superdome this Saturday. There's a pit party from 2-5 p.m. and the actual event starts at 7 p.m., so you'll have plenty of time to ogle these beasts of automotive engineering. Tickets are still available through Ticketmaster.

Oh, and if you've ever wondered what it's like to ride in one of those things, we'll have a video up on Friday to show you just that.

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It’s Girl Scout cookie time!

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 10:13 AM

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It’s time to find your favorite Girl Scout, Brownie or Daisy and place your order for Girl Scout cookies. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts — Juliette Gordon Low formed the group in Savannah, Ga., In March 1912 — a new cookie has been added. Savannah Smiles are lemon wedge cookies (in the shape of a smile) coated in powdered sugar.

We sampled the new cookie during an informal tasting in the Gambit office this morning. It’s a good cookie, but most hands then went for the Thin Mints. The third cookie in the photo is the Thank U Berry Munch (with cranberry pieces), which is crispy, but not attracting much attention in this office.

The Girl Scouts also are selling Samoas (chocolate, caramel and coconut), Tagalongs (chocolate-covered peanut butter patties), Do-Si-Dos (peanut butter sandwich cookie), Trefoils (shortbreadd) and Dulce de Leche (caramel flavored).

Boxes sell for $3.50 each (there’s no discount for pre-orders), and the cookies will be delivered in early March. Girl Scouts also will sell cookies at booths around the metro area March 2-18 (time to start making room in the freezer).

Read about the mobile app below the jump.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

J'Anita's closes once more

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 7:36 PM

The bar at the Rendon Inn.

One of the better purveyors of bar food in New Orleans is cooking its last redfish sandwich and sautéed duck grilled cheese.

Craig Giesecke, proprietor of J’Anita’s at the Rendon Inn along with his wife Kimmie, confirms that Wednesday, Jan. 24, is their last night. Giesecke says a combination of financial issues and staffing problems for the late-night kitchen forced his hand.

“At least for now, this will end J’Anita’s,” he says.

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This offline dating service ad raises more questions than it answers

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 5:26 PM

On the public phone at the corner of Canal Street and N. Carrollton Avenue, there's an ad for Love Quest, a “free off-line blind dating service created to inspire romance.” Now, I’m not a single gal, but as the daughter of a flower child and the soul sister of Lisa Simpson, I had to check it out. One doesn’t take her fiancé into consideration when there are unicorns involved.

“After meeting with our talented matchmakers, you and your potential sweetheart will share chocolate and champagne as part of an upcoming art installation devoted to true love.”
  • "After meeting with our talented matchmakers, you and your potential sweetheart will share chocolate and champagne as part of an upcoming art installation devoted to true love."

“But where do the unicorns come in?!” I asked myself.

Upon my arrival at Gambit HQ, I called the number listed on the poster (504-233-XOXO) in hopes of finding the unicorns, or at least helping my friends get chocolate, champagne and a date. No such luck — just a 1-900 number-sounding voicemail.

The lusty tone on the voicemail made me wonder if unicorns were some sort of secret symbol. I Googled “unicorns dating” and uncovered the truth: a “unicorn” is a single female who attends swinger parties in hopes of scoring a threesome or group sex. She’s called a unicorn because a chick like that is as rare as a unicorn.

Color me disappointed. No unicorns, no chocolate, no champagne — only a threesome.

Dinner at Dooky Chase

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM

The main dining room at Dooky Chase Restaurant.
  • Ian McNulty
  • The main dining room at Dooky Chase Restaurant.

Dinner service is back at Dooky Chase Restaurant (2301 Orleans Ave., 821-0535), the Sixth Ward culinary landmark and home base of chef Leah Chase.

Hours are limited to Friday evenings for now, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the restaurant still serves lunch Tuesday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We’re looking to add more nights (for dinner) but we’re starting with Friday because that’s the day our customers told us they wanted,” says Stella Chase Reese, a restaurant manager and daughter of chef/owner Leah Chase. The restaurant will likely add Saturday evening hours next, she says.

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2012 Jazz Fest daily lineups also announced

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 10:21 AM

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The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has made a couple of big announcements in the last 24 hours, adding Eddie Vedder and Bruce Springsteen to the roster. It also has posted the daily lineups. The day by day breakdowns begin here.

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Hugo and The Artist top list of Oscar nominations

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 9:58 AM

Two worthy films that lovingly illuminate the early history of Hollywood scored big this morning when this year's Oscar nominations were announced. Martin Scorsese's Hugo earned 11 nominations, and Michel Hazanavicius's The Artist was nominated for 10 Oscars. War Horse got six Oscar nods and The Descendants took five.

As we mentioned yesterday, the Academy this year adopted an esoteric new set of rules for its Best Picture nominating process, which can yield anywhere from five to ten nominees each year. The magic number this year turned out to be nine, a savings of one from the last two years' mandated ten Best Picture nominations.

In addition to the films listed above, the Best Picture nominees are Moneyball, The Help, The Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris, and, surprisingly, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The New York Times dismissed the 9/11 drama as "kitsch" and an "impossible movie that has no reason for being other than as another pop-culture palliative for a trauma it can’t bear to face." Ouch.

The Academy Awards will take place on February 26. You can read the full list of Oscar nominees here.

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Bruce Springsteen added to 2012 Jazz Fest lineup

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 8:40 AM

New Jersey's favorite son and American hero Bruce Springsteen will perform at the 2012 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival April 29. Springsteen's busy 2012 includes a full slate of U.S. tour dates (to be announced soon) and a new album — Springsteen also will deliver the keynote address at the 2012 South By Southwest festival. The Boss last performed in New Orleans at the 2006 Jazz Fest, the first following Hurricane Katrina, delivering a two-hour set closing with "When the Saints Go Marching In."

He kept busy since then. He dropped two LPs, and 2010 saw the superb reissue of 1978's Darkness on the Edge of Town, paired with The Promise, which would be a crime to call an "outtakes" album despite it coming from Springsteen's mammoth Darkness sessions.

At the close of 2011, Springsteen announced he'll release Wrecking Ball, his first effort since 2009's Working on a Dream and the first without longtime buddy and E-Street Band saxophone wizard Clarence Clemons, who died last June following complications from a stroke. Wrecking Ball will be released March 6.

Below, the album's first single, "We Take Care of Our Own," a rally cry for the powerless, with Springsteen's signature jangling guitar cascades and a driving E-Street backbone, as the Boss hails "from Chicago to New Orleans, from the muscle to the bone, from the shotgun shack to the Superdome":

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: Spring Awakening

Posted By on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 5:48 PM

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Like an episode of Gossip Girl set in 19th-century Germany, Spring Awakening is a bit melodramatic — in the show’s two-and-a-half hour run time, it broaches such hot-button topics as teen sex, homosexuality, sexual abuse, abortion, rape and suicide. There’s even some nudity and simulated sex that closes out the first act. But what earned Duncan Sheik (the singer/songwriter of “Barely Breathing” fame) and Steven Sater’s musical the 2007 Tony Award for Best Musical is its unexpected staging and score — a rarity in a Broadway landscape where revivals and other unoriginal works dominate — and the talented cast and directors in Theater 13’s production at Southern Rep augment the original show’s finest qualities.

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