There — someone with some clout finally said it, and in an industry bible, no less. Zack Stentz, successful screenwriter for movies like Thor and Top Gun 2 has published an opinion piece in The Hollywood Reporter taking the movie industry to task for spending most of its resources on movies in which the predictable main event is the CGI destruction of a major city. There's nothing new about blowing stuff up on film. But now that digital effects allow any well-resourced filmmaker to depict anything imaginable on screen, everyone seems to be imagining the same epic destruction of New York, London, or San Francisco. "The more destruction you see, the more hollow it feels," Stentz writes. Amen. Read the full text of the piece here.
The 48 Hour Film Project is an annual competition in which teams write, shoot and edit a complete film (no more than 7 minutes in length) in 48 hours. More than 120 cities around the globe host competitions. The winners are presented at the annual Filmapalooza, and ten top films are screened at the Cannes Film Festival. (New Orleans is a finalist to host Filmapalooza 2014.) The Perfunctory Discord (above) was the audience award winner from New Orleans' 2012 competition.
The 2013 New Orleans competition takes place Friday, July 26 to Sunday, July 28. Completed films will be screened Aug. 1-2 at the National World War II Museum.
There is a mixer from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, July 11 at The Big Top for anyone interested in learning more, putting together a team or joining a team in need of help.
The overall 2012 winner (below) came from Paris. More New Orleans 2012 New Orleans Films after the jump.
It doesn’t look like much from the outside, and for the past few weeks it might even have looked like a mock up for the elaborate “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” set just around the corner. But in fact, the new business near the corner of Common Street and University Place is a combination Middle Eastern café and convenience store that is serving inexpensive and impressively well-composed dishes on a 24/7 schedule.
Cleo’s Cuisine & Convenience (165 University Pl., 504-522-4504) opened recently in the ground floor of a parking garage. Just beyond the grocery shelves, there’s a small seating area and an open kitchen preparing an extensive list of Middle Eastern standards, from fried haloumi cheese to gyro sandwiches to generous kebab combo platters. Falafel arrived as large, crusty bulbs with green, parsley-laced interiors and the hummus was garnished with a bright-red dollop of garlicky hot sauce.
Wayne Self’s musical Upstairs, which recently premiered locally at Cafe Istanbul, takes on the difficult task of telling stories about the 1973 fire at the Up Stairs Lounge in the French Quarter. An arson fire killed 32 people trapped at the second-floor gay bar that was destroyed in the city’s single deadliest fire. The play sticks close to the facts, but it’s a work of fiction that creates an arsonist (albeit one similar to a suspect in the case, although no one was arrested or charged with a crime). Upstairs also imagines the lives of some of the victims, whose real names are used in some cases. Telling those stories without letting the deaths of 32 people overshadow the action is not easy. Starting from before the tragedy and following a trajectory through the violence of the arson, the grief and the possiblity of redemption is a lot of ground to cover. Self is ambitious in the breadth of issues he raises. He succeeds in some places and falls short in others.
The musical has two settings: the Up Stairs Lounge in the hours before the fire, and a year after the fire in the apartment of the arsonist. Edward Cox’s set and Alison Parker and Kate Adair’s costumes convincingly evoke the time and place. The central characters are Buddy (Garrett Marshall), the bartender who saves many patrons by leading them to a back exit when the fire erupts, Agneau (Alxander Jon), who sets the fire after he is kicked out of the bar and Adam (Nicholas Losorelli), who dates Buddy and has an awkward encounter with Agneau. The Buddy and Agneau share a haunting duet before Buddy realizes Agneau set the fire.
WWL-TV's Derek Kevra has your Gambit weekend forecast:
The average high temperature for the last weekend of June is roughly 91 degrees... which I guess means this weekend will be incredibly average. Highs will sit in the lower 90s but it will (of course) feel like 98. Scattered storms are expected each afternoon, with Saturday being the wetter of the two days. Other than this weather, there is nothing average about New Orleans... and that's just the way we like it.
And Noah Bonaparte Pais was on the WWL Eyewitness Morning News to break down your weekend entertainment options, from DJ ?uestlove to Herman's House and Rob Delaney and Dave Attell.
Continuing the pop duo's June residency at Mid City music venue Chickie Wah Wah, Alexis & The Samurai will return every Monday in July.
The band — featuring killer-voiced singer-songwriter and The Voice contestant Alexis Marceaux, with muti-instrumentalist songwriter Sam Craft — will feature special guests throughout the month. Bonerama's Craig Klein appears July 1; local powerhouse Susan Cowsill appears July 22; and other performers — including members of Ramblin' Letters and Honey Island Swamp Band — will also join. (During the band's June residency, guests included producer and Afghan Whigs and Polyphonic Spree member Rick Nelson and singer-songwriter Alex McMurray.)
The duo also was featured as an artist to watch in Gambit's 2012 music issue.
Meanwhile, Marceaux and Craft also perform in Cajun-French-influenced indie pop outfit Sweet Crude, which made its debut earlier this year and released the tracks "Hornet's Nest" and "One in the Hand" — available to download or stream here.
Alexis & The Samurai's July residency at Chickie Wah Wah (2828 Canal St.) begins 8 p.m. July 1.
A new café from a familiar name in the local landscape of Vietnamese restaurants is taking shape along Airline Drive in Metairie.
Dave Nguyen of Pho Orchid plans to open his Pho Orchid Express (1401 Airline Dr., phone n.a.) later this summer. Its menu will be shorter but also a bit more modern than the sprawling list at the original restaurant, with a focus on banh mi, soup, spring rolls and “Orchid tacos,” which represent another example of the growing use of steamed buns filled like tacos or sandwiches.
“We want it to reflect more of the modern trends,” says restaurant spokeswoman Le Thu Nguyen. “Pho Orchid has a lot of dishes that are served family style, but here it will be more about single servings and quicker meals.”
The New Orleans Film Society screening of Cool Hand Luke that was planned for tonight, Thursday, June 27, has been rescheduled to Friday, July 12. On that night, the film will be presented as part of a double feature with Panic in the Streets, which had been scheduled for last week but was cancelled due to rainy weather. The double feature will happen outdoors on the grounds of the Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Avenue in the French Quarter. Panic in the Streets begins at 8 p.m. and Cool Hand Luke will follow at 9:45 p.m. after a 10-minute intermission. Tickets are $5 for members of the Film Society, Louisiana Museum Foundation, and Friends fo the Cabildo, and general admission is $7. More Info here.
Following this morning's Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8, conservative advocacy group Louisiana Family Forum is both "pleased" with and disturbed and perplexed by the court's decisions.
“The key message for Louisiana from the U.S. Supreme Court today is this: Your right to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman is preserved,” said president Gene Mills in a statement. “It is important to note that the Court did not find a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage."
LFF "is pleased" that the court "refused to completely undermine traditional marriage throughout all 50 states, including Louisiana," adding, "However, it is disturbing and perplexing that the court has ruled that the federal government has no right to affirm natural marriage."
"Marriage remains a religious and civil institution stewarded by the people," the statement continued. "LFF, since inception, has provided a voice for traditional marriage. LFF represents those who embrace the orthodox view that marriage and the family are instituted by God and affirmed by the sacred Scripture as the union of one man and one woman. As a civil institution, societies for centuries have recognized that the union of a man and a woman are the optimal environment for the care and nurture of children. It is upon this bedrock that all other societal institutions exist."
The Spirited Dinner Series has been part of the annual drinks extravaganza Tales of the Cocktail from its first edition in 2002. These events are modeled after wine dinners, but at the start the idea of pairing multiple cocktails and courses was fairly novel and sometimes a hard sell.
“I’d approach people about it and they just thought I was crazy,” says Tales of the Cocktail founder Ann Tuennerman. “That first year we had 10 of them. I was able to go around and visit all of them in one night.”
Times have changed, of course. This year the dinners will be held July 18 with greater numbers and diversity than ever. Many of the dinners will sell out well ahead of time, and in fact some are already booked up. That means if you want to attend one you’d better start looking over the options.
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