Samuelsson is a native or Ethiopia who was adopted by a Swedish family at 4 years old. He began cooking in his mid-teens and climbed to culinary fame at the age of 23 at the Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit in New York, which received a three-star review from The New York Times. He's since appeared on TV and won Bravo!'s Top Chef Masters. Red Rooster in Harlem is one of his restaurants, and he recently released the memoir Yes, Chef. In it, he expresses an admiration for and kinship with Leah Chase. The two chefs are preparing a $200 per person dinner at August. Signed copies of Samuelsson's book are available at Octavia Books.
Samuelsson also will appear and sign books at Whole Foods Market in Metairie from noon to 2 p.m. Friday.
Since the Tchoupitoulas bus comes only once an hour—with the exception of coming once every half hour in the early morning, late afternoon and early evening—this bus adventure was more of a walking tour. A very exhausting walking tour. Still, I explored different socioeconomic areas, stopped at some fun places and met some nice people who were eager to talk with me...
Parisians are obsessed with cherry tomatoes, and they're crazy for sushi. They feel guilty about sweets, yet they can justify any dessert so long as it includes salted caramel, which they find “makes indulging almost enjoyable.”
Every Parisian under age 50 wears jeans, but they consider people who wear white socks beneath contempt. And while many Parisians like to disdain Americans as being stupid, or at least without culture, these same Parisians fall into two categories: “on the one hand, people whose favorite after-work occupations consist of watching CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, or Sex and the City; on the other, people who worship Woody Allen and Philip Roth.”
“Parisian are avid consumers of American culture and at the same time are fiercely convinced that such a thing does not exist,” writes Paris native Olivier Magny, who includes all of the above observations in his book “Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi.”
Magny seems to have no hang-ups about American culture. He’s especially fond of New Orleans food in general and one Southern lady in particular. That would be his fiancée, for whom this author and wine expert moved from France to New Orleans.
On Saturday, June 2, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., he’ll sign copies of “Stuff Parisians Like” and discuss both Parisian peculiarities and wine at Vine Dine, a wine shop/wine bar reviewed here a few weeks ago.
The trailer for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby adaptation and the news that Zach Galifianakis may be cast as the hero of John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces broke almost at the same time — confirming many people in my Facebook feed haven't read much after high school.
Dunces has never, ever successfully made the big screen leap. Harold Ramis and, more recently (and infamously unplugged), David Gordon Green, tried and failed to adapt Toole's landmark mess. Terry Gilliam said it couldn't be filmed. (Read Kevin Allman's piece on Toole's latest biography in Gambit.)
Last night, Vulture reported that comedian and actor Galifianakis (who starts in the New Orleans-shot The Campaign) has been cast in an adaptation by Flight of the Conchords co-creator and The Muppets director James Bobin for Paramount Pictures. Vulture also says the script is helmed by Phil Johnston, who wrote 2011's Cedar Rapids and the forthcoming Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways, The Descendants) film Nebraska.
Confederacy is one of those books that people sometimes describe as "unfilmable" (I think a four- or six-hour HBO miniseries would be better than a regular movie), but trying to cast it is a fun, fantasy-footballish exercise. Here's my list (note: Spud McConnell has aged out of Ignatius territory, at least in the movies):
• Philip Seymour Hoffman as Ignatius
• Jessica Lange as Irene Reilly
• Estelle Parsons as Miss Trixie
• Becky Allen or Amanda Hebert as Santa Battaglia
• John Reilly as Patrolman Mancuso
• Jessie Terrebonne as Darlene
• Patricia Clarkson as Lana Lee
• Damon Wayans Jr. as Jones
• Neil Patrick Harris as Dorian Greene
• Zooey Deschanel as Myrna Minkoff
Any better ideas?
(Here's our recent cover story on Confederacy and Butterfly in the Typewriter, the new biography of Confederacy's author, John Kennedy Toole.)
How did the 45-minute speech (before dinner!) go? Take it away, Reid Pillifant of Capital New York:
Some people liked it.
"Bobby Jindal is inspirational," said Carl Paladino, the party's last gubernatorial nominee, after the speech. "He's rocking."
Others seemed less inspired. As the speech wore on, Jindal's applause lines drew less and less of a response, and tables broke out into their own visible side conversations, while Jindal joked about how the vacuums used to clean up after the Deepwater Horizon spill were the same ones used to empty "port-o-potties after a football game on a Friday night."
Dinner waited in the wings until he finished, right around the 45-minute mark.
"I can assure you that I will speak shorter than our prior speakers, because the food is here," said State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos when he finally took to the podium, to laughs and cheers.
$5,000 may seem steep for dinner, but then again, it's dinner in New York. Heck, even in the East Village, two measly pounds of crawfish will put you back $30. But you don't get a copy of Leadership in Crisis with the mudbugs.EDITED TO ADD: Charles Maldonado points out this account of the evening from Newsday. After reading it, it sounds like Jindal went on too long, which is excusable, and that the hosts were breathtakingly rude, which is not:
And, after a dinner break and Jindal’s departure, the next two speakers made pointed references. “I’m going to speak a little shorter than the prior speaker,” Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said -- generating applause. “My father gave me some great advice, too,” Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua), said referring to a part of Jindal’s speech. “Be brief and be gone.” Jindal’s team placed copies of his book, “Leadership and Crisis,” on the chairs throughout the Sheraton ballroom. Afterward, some New York Republicans joked about trying to give their copy away.
There have been a couple of books written about John Kennedy Toole and A Confederacy of Dunces — one a charming personal reminiscence, the other unworthy of its subject — but we now have Cory MacLauchlin's Butterfly in the Typewriter, which is the first serious biography of Toole.
New Orleans native Walter Isaacson wrote the book on Steve Jobs — literally — and he'll be discussing it tomorrow at the New Orleans Public Library (219 Loyola Ave.) from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Back in October, Isaacson appeared on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart:
Michael Ian Black visited New Orleans at precisely the best and worst time, depending why you're here and how long. Black, a veteran of sketch groups The State and Stella and their respective TV shows (and a member of that deep rolling David Wain posse, with credits from cult favorite Wet Hot American Summer to the recently released Wanderlust), was in New Orleans on Lundi Gras to promote HGTV's popular series House Hunters — specifically, a bingo game centered on the program (which you can download here). The game tests viewers on some common words and phrases falling from home buyers' and Realtors' mouths. Black (who also is an author, standup comedian and renaissance comedy man) is very much a fan of the show, so much so he devoted himself to the game in New Orleans amid Mardi Gras festivities.
Tonight at 9 p.m., House Hunters premieres its New Orleans episode, in which a couple with a young son and a baby on the way looks to "New Orleans suburbs." But, as per HGTV, "they're on different pages when it comes to their wish list. Will they be able to find a home that makes them both happy?"
Below, Black gives Gambit some bingo tips and tricks and lessons in comedy in the 21st century.
How did you become a self-described superfan?
One thing my wife and I are able to enjoy together is yelling, at the television, when people pick the wrong house on House Hunters, which they do every single time. I don’t know what’s wrong with these people.
So in coming to New Orleans to do a bingo show, you get to act out some of that rage?
One of the nice things about bingo is you can play it aggressively. You’ve got a stamper, and you can really go to town on a bingo board if you need to. Bingo doesn’t need to be passive. It doesn’t need to be grandma’s sport. It can be a down and dirty, bloody, sweaty endeavor.
The author has graced the cover of Time, won the National Book Award for The Corrections (which is being adapted for an HBO series), and has been subject to a slew of soaring accolades as well as criticism.
The free reading is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.
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