If you're heading to the the fairgrounds today, or not, here are some jams to guide you. (Find Gambit's complete Jazz Fest listings and artist previews here.) You can find me at the Metal Tent.
Grab rapper Dee-1's (12:40 p.m., Congo Square) latest mixtape I Hope They Hear Me Vol. 2 here, and download his previous drops here. Standout track (and video): the Mannie Fresh collab "The One That Got Away." Watch his latest video, "Writer's Block," here.
Watch Lafayette sunny psych-pop GIVERS (3:45 p.m., Gentilly Stage) latest video for "Ceiling of Plankton" here, and stream album tracks here. (And hey, read Gambit's cover story on the band before its breakout album release for In Light.)
Download Grammy-winning dream-folk artist Bon Iver's (5:25 p.m., Gentilly Stage) "Holocene" here and "Calgary" here, both from last year's Bon Iver, Bon Iver. Also download "Skinny Love" from his 2008 debut, and "Blood Bank" from his 2009 self-titled EP.
More music after the jump.
As I watched Stacy Head eke out her 281-vote victory in the special election for an at-large seat on the New Orleans City Council on April 21, I wondered if she planned to write Mayor Mitch Landrieu a thank-you note. She should. Landrieu’s endorsement of Cynthia Willard-Lewis nine days before the election clearly energized Head’s electoral base as much as it did Willard-Lewis’.
The late Jim Carvin, dean of Louisiana political consultants, always reminded me that every election is a unique event. Had the at-large race been held a week earlier, or a week later, the results may not have been the same.
That’s not intended to take anything away from Head’s win. She deserved it — just as Willard-Lewis would have deserved it had she won. Both candidates worked as hard as any I’ve seen in nearly 40 years of covering politics.
But I don’t take away the same things from this election as others. I don’t, for example, consider this election a “game changer.” That term has become over-used, almost to the point of rendering it meaningless.
Katrina was a game-changer. Ray Nagin’s 2006 re-election was a mayoral game-changer, as was his subsequent failure to unite and lead — along with his utter incompetence and alleged corruption. Without Nagin’s failures, Landrieu might not have won in 2010, or at least not with the overwhelming (and potentially game-changing) support of white and black voters in an open primary.
As for Head’s election, I think it fits an emerging pattern on the Council — another game changer — that first took hold in 2006. To understand this pattern, we first must stop looking at the Head-Willard-Lewis contest in racial terms. (This is another example of me not agreeing with others’ analysis of the election.)
If you’re like me, brass band music is a priority. And while our little empire of New Orleans is fabulously over-saturated with music for the next 10-plus days of Jazz Fest, it can be a bit of a pain to root through all the various website listings of acts, events and performances to find options specific to your taste buds. Fear not! Your girl Big Red helps you stay ahead of the game with an easy-to-navigate online calendar created specifically for brass band addicts like you and me. I’ve dug through the catacombs of every live performance listing and extracted the good sh*t so you don’t have to.
(details below the jump!)
A couple of weeks ago we shared the formerly secret plot details for Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, which is currently shooting in New Orleans. Today, the first official photos for the film were released. It looks like Django may be a full-blown Spaghetti Western, which is something Tarantino fans (like us) have long hoped the director would try. Tarantino frequently expresses his admiration for the form and its creator, Sergio Leone, who added surrealist and existential touches to the traditional Western in the 1960s with movies like The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West. We must admit, now we're excited about Django Unchained. Photos below.
Two trends have been running concurrently as the torrent of new restaurants join the New Orleans dining scene these past few years: a greater variety of food and later hours.
But as Jazz Fest pushes bedtimes later this week, I’ve provided notes on new places that have opened up the late-night options.
This list is by no means exhaustive – and many restaurants extend their normal hour during Jazz Fest time anyway – so if you have a good addition please post it in the comments section below.
Mike Corrigan fixes musical instruments. It's a rare field, kind of like TV repairman — few are left because most people replace rather than repair the devices. But horns and other instruments do need maintenance and can be refurbished when damaged. Given the wear and tear horns can take in a city full of raucous second-line parades, it's odd the city doesn't have its own horn doctor.
Corrigan's schedule is as follows:
Sunday, April 29 - noon to 8 p.m. at Howlin Wolf (prior to the benefit)
Monday, April 30 - 9 a.m.-4 p.m. with Roots of Music Crusader Band
Monday, April 30 - 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at Tipitina's Instruments A Comin'
Tuesday, May 1 - 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the New Orleans Healing Center
Wednesday, May 2 - visiting public schools
When I stopped by the site of the proposed Marigny ball pit house today, the project's leader, Josh Ente, was grabbing lunch. His friend Matt, who was visiting from San Francisco, was busy helping take down the back of the blighted Creole cottage to the wall frames. When they're done, they plan to wrap the whole structure in batting-cage plastic and dump plastic balls on the floor four feet deep. Then anyone — adults, kids, whomever — who wants to jump in is welcome.
Yesterday's blog entry about the ball pit project drew some serious (and sometimes scathing) discussion both on Gambit's website and Facebook page. Ente said he'd read it all, including the "Brooklyn-goes-to-Bywater" remark. Turns out that, yes, he is from Brooklyn (I had no idea), and, yes, he's lived in the Marigny-Bywater for fewer than two years. Ente is a filmmaker whose recently directed Big Freedia's music video "Y'all Get Back Now."
"I understand the concerns about privilege," he said, referring to comments like the one that accused him of "hipster Romper Room BS." As we talked, behind him, in an overgrown lot marked with HANO signs and discarded tires, a woman played with a young pit bull. Whatever you think of the project, it's true that Ente has put more sweat equity into a property he doesn't own than the city has put into adjacent property it does own.
The conversation only got really awkward once ...
Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration is surveying citizens and holding meetings about the development of dog parks in New Orleans. More than 1,400 residents have responded to an online survey aimed at determining the needs of dog owners (you're welcome to do so; the survey closes Friday). This week, the city’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement is holding a series of six public meetings last week (one in each council district; two in District C) to explain the fact-gathering process and get more community input. Tonight's meetings are at 6 pm at Holy Angels Church (3500 St. Claude Ave.) and the Cut-Off Recreation Center (6600 Belgrade St.).
“The goal is to put one dog park and one dog run in each council district,” explained Vince Smith, director of capital projects, to a group of about eight people gathered at the District A meeting last night at the Robert E. Smith Library in Lakeview. Smith said the city had identified 23 unofficial dog parks across the city — 10 of which are in District A — in addition to “City Bark,” the membership-only dog park in New Orleans City Park. Dog owners pay $43 per year for a permit to use the 4.3-acre off-leash park, a fenced area with amenities that include a dog wash and a smaller fenced-in area for little dogs.
It’s not only the sites that are unknown right now — it’s the funding. “We have no dedicated funds,” Smith said. “This is a site-selection process only.” Smith explained that the city isn’t sure yet whether any dog park monies would come from the capital operating budget or from New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD) funds, so there’s no timetable on building.
Those who can't make the meetings can still provide feedback to the city at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ignatius Eatery (3121 Magazine St., 896-0242) recently completed a nine-block leap down Magazine Street, taking over the former location of the Rue de la Course coffee shop. The move greatly expands the restaurant’s size, and perhaps just as significantly returns alcohol service to an operation that originally served beer and wine but later ran into licensing problems.
The choice of just where to relocate the restaurant was probably an easy one. Ignatius and Rue de la Course are both owned by Jerry Roppolo.
The new Ignatius serves lunch and dinner Thursday through Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday), with brunch offered on the weekends. The menu is largely the same as before, with New Orleans standards like roast beef po-boys, gumbo and shrimp Creole mixed in with dishes like boudin meatloaf and shrimp remoulade po-boys.
bg keep ya head up keep it real in the cell
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