•Is it worth it? Yes. For about $40, you get to experience dishes at (usually) four different restaurants all in one night.
•Are people like myself there? There were people of all ages and backgrounds there, locals, transplants and tourists. Some people came in groups, but several were rolling solo. I met someone who works for Apple, a reiki practitioner, a home health care nurse and a college counselor.
•How is the food? Pretty good. The tacos I had were all decent, with one restaurant's being stellar. I'm sure other Dishcrawls are better, since the chefs can provide their best dishes instead of dishes that fit with the theme.
•What's the booze situation like? You can buy drinks.
•Can the restaurants handle my dietary restrictions? Yes. Just let your Dishcrawl ambassador know in advance, and it will be done.
•Do you have to do a lot of walking? Everything is within walking distance.
For Phil Olsen, the question isn’t why grow a beard. It’s why shave one off.
“I can’t think of any advantages to shaving,” he says. “The natural result is that I have a beard.”
The “Godfather” of facial hair enthusiasts and the founder of the National Beard and Mustache Championships — to be held this year in New Orleans (Sept. 6-7), complete with a parade down Bourbon Street — has never competed in the competition he established, though he does don a Garibaldi: a full, round beard and one of 12 subcategories in the beard contest (moustaches have six). Others include the Fu Manchu, the Musketeer, the Verdi and “freestyle.” The rules: no artificial hair.
“Singing ‘oohs and aahs’, it’s kind of fun for a minute,” says Mick Jagger in 20 Feet From Stardom, a long-overdue documentary about the lives and artistic contributions of background singers in popular music. “But I’m not sure I’d like to do it for a living.” Jagger’s callous remarks are uncharacteristic of both the singer and the film, but they help director Morgan Neville make a case for the fascinating idea that the main difference between virtually unknown background singers and household names like Jagger is one of personality. It’s certainly not a matter of talent — every background singer profiled in 20 Feet From Stardom can sing circles around Jagger and most of his peers. But as the stories told in the film illustrate so well, there are many factors besides ability that shape a person’s life, even among the most gifted artists.
Those stories date back to a time when background singers were exclusively white and read their parts off sheet music, and individuality of voice was desired by neither the artists out front nor their record producers. That all changed with a group known as The Blossoms — lead by the incomparable Darlene Love — and a producer named Phil Spector. Like so many background singers, the Blossoms had learned to blend their voices in church. But in the music industry, Spector virtually owned Love and her fellow singers, going so far as to record them and release their records under other artists’ names without apology. 20 Feet From Stardom lovingly traces the history of background singers as music rapidly evolves in the direction of raw and idiosyncratic performance thanks to the cultural onslaught of rock’n’roll in the 1960s.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP...
Chefs have to please diners every time they send a plate out of their kitchens, but the competition at Gambit’s Emerging Chefs Challenge upped the pressure — and the reward. At The Cannery on Wednesday, Aug. 28, Chefs handed dishes directly to attendees, who sampled items from the dozen finalists and voted for their favorite.
The dishes ranged from creative comfort food inspirations to elegantly simple haute cuisine. Barcadia chef Nick Hufft reinterpreted spaghetti Bolognese with Korean-accented kimchi noodles and spicy beef bulgogi. Ye Olde College Inn’s Brad McGehee reconfigured chicken and waffles into mini-waffle cones topped with peach preserves. Bayona’s Brett Duffee highlighted locally sourced foods with braised Chappapeela Farms duck in a peanut mole atop caramelized banana sopes. Chef Anthony Scanio of Emeril’s Delmonico tossed spinach and ricotta gnudi with braised Mississippi rabbit, tomato and green olives and topped it with brown butter-toasted almonds.
When the more than 460 ballots were tallied, the favorite was Gautreau’s chef Nick Lama’s citrus-poached shrimp with jumbo lump crab, mango slaw and lemon grass broth. In the pretty presentation, a large pink knuckle of shrimp rested on julienned yellow and red peppers and jalapenos in a zesty broth made with coconut milk.
Environmental groups slammed "Million Dollar Man" Gov. Bobby Jindal for what they call his "aggressive stance" against the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East lawsuit, which targets 97 oil and gas companies for their role in wetlands loss. The groups — Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Global Green, League of Women Voters, Levees.org, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Sierra Club and Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans — revealed on Aug. 28 more than $1 million in campaign contributions that Jindal received from oil and gas companies.
The groups showed a list of contributors to his gubernatorial campaigns beginning in 2003 with his first push for governor. The list did not include contributions to his congressional campaign. It's no secret that the oil and gas industry — among the state's largest — backs Louisiana political campaigns. The issue here, according to the groups, is Jindal's contributions fuel his opposition to the lawsuit.
"There is absolutely no other reason why Bobby Jindal refuses to make the oil industry pay for the coast it acknowledges it destroyed," said Anne Rolfes, director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. "There's no other explanation other than the fact he has received over $1 million in contributions."
Among the 230 contributions the group showed, Jindal received an average of $4,000 beginning in 2003, according to campaign filings with the state Board of Ethics. Helis Oil and Gas contributed $25,000 alone.
What the group didn't show: based on filings with the Federal Election Commission, in his 2004 campaign for Louisiana's first congressional district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Jindal received thousands of dollars from oil and gas companies, including $16,000 from Magnum Producing and $13,000 from Oil & Gas Rental Services Inc. His contributions from oil and gas in his tenure total $251,000. (Oil and gas comes in second only to the health industry, which contributed $324,794 to his campaigns.)
Eyehategod drummer Joey LaCaze died Aug. 23 in New Orleans following a European tour with the long-running, influential New Orleans metal band. In statement from Eyehategod frontman Mike IX Williams posted on the band's website this morning, Williams said LaCaze died of respiratory failure and had suffered from long-term asthma. News of his death circulated late last week among music websites and metal blogs.
LaCaze founded Eyehategod in 1988 with guitarist Jimmy Bower. The band pioneered sludge and helped put New Orleans on the map for heavy metal, inspiring acts from Georgia's Mastodon to Japan's Boris.
The band released only four studio albums, including the landmark debut, 1992's In the Name of Suffering. Last year it released the single "New Orleans Is The New Vietnam," and this year, Eyehategod was finishing a new album, recorded at Phil Anselmo's Housecore Records studio at his home. Its 25th anniversary tour included global dates as well as a headlining slot for Anselmo's Housecore Horror Film & Music Festival in October.
An account has been set up for LaCaze's daughter, Lilith, and checks can be made to Lilith or Joseph LaCaze at any Capital One bank branches.
Here's the band performing "Medicine Noose" at Brooklyn's St. Vitus last year:
With the astronomical supermoon hanging closer to the earth than it had been all year, the Super Moon Wokery, a pop-up helmed by bandmates Grantley Rushing and Alex Siler, was serving up stir-fry alongside the Mid-City neighborhood bar all night, waiting for passersby and night owls eager for gems from the wok.
Rushing and Siler have done seven pop-ups at Pal’s since their debut, changing their Chinese-Korean-Vietnamese-Thai menu each week, keeping what works and tossing out what doesn’t. Last week, the duo served up what Rushing dubbed “the tastiest dish yet”: a stir-fry of kale and butternut squash topped with peanut and chicken sauce.
This Sunday, Rushing says the menu will stay the same, in part because he over-prepared for last week, and in part because it was so good. He’ll include another hit from last week: Korean pork with hot kimchi and fermented red bean paste.
Rushing, who by day is a chef at Café Degas, is learning the art of the pop-up as he goes. The first week, a pot of Chinese noodles went mushy in the colander, thanks to the Pal’s sink not having a cold-water spout to keep them from overcooking.
Civic Center, a "creative studio" at 3067 North Rampart in the Bywater, will present a free screening of Land of Opportunity at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 29, the eighth anniversary of Katrina. The documentary focuses on a group of New Orleanians struggling to rebuild their lives in the years following the storm. The screening is a part of the ongoing Civic Film Series, which spotlights locally made works. Light refreshments and a conversation with director Luisa Dantas will follow the screening. More info here.
As reported by Gambit's Alex Woodward in June, Fuse TV teamed up with New Orleans bounce sensation Big Freedia for an upcoming reality show. Now Fuse TV has released the first trailer (seen above) and while earlier reports noted that Mr. Ghetto and Sissy Nobby would also be featured, it mostly focuses on the "Queen Diva" (and Gambit cover girl) Big Freedia.
The show, set to premiere October 2, follows Freedia and other New Orleans bounce artists as they try to push New Orleans bounce music into the mainstream. Considering all the hoopla this past weekend over a20-something pop star's sad attempt at "twerking", mainstream America may not be ready for Freedia and her crew. That doesn't make the show any less promising and we're looking forward to getting an up close view of of the self-proclaimed Queen of New Orleans bounce.
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