Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Good People Go to Hell: An interview with filmmaker Holly Hardman

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 11:32 PM


Holly Hardman's new documentary film Good People Go to Hell, Saved People Go to Heaven takes as its subject the everyday lives of Louisianans coping with the impending end of the world. Without commentary or an obvious agenda, Hardman gives us blue-collar, mostly white, mostly West- and North-Louisiana folks trying to rebuild their own lives between disasters (Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Isaac) while spreading the word of an impending, scripturally guaranteed mega-disaster that only the souls of the saved can survive.

The overall approach is impressionistic, a pastiche of moments and interactions. With the exception of a few glimpses of megachurch executives, the people in this movie don't have money or power. They're fighting to keep their families housed and their marriages from collapsing, struggling to overcome very familiar varieties of post-flood depression and chemical dependency.

Making someone the subject of a documentary inherently exoticizes him or her. Hardman's film is refreshingly free of classism or Yankee snobbery; her subjects come across on their own terms, and besides a few doctrinal quirks — believing almost every human ever born deserves eternal torture at the hands of a sadistically deranged demiurge — they seem sympathetic and likable.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Watch Mystikal perform on The Tonight Show

Posted By on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 10:15 AM

Mystikal performs with Mark Ronson and The Roots on The Tonight Show Feb. 10. - NBC
  • NBC
  • Mystikal performs with Mark Ronson and The Roots on The Tonight Show Feb. 10.

One of the strongest turns on Mark Ronson's funk tour de force Uptown Special (featuring Mardi Gras 2015's parade route hit "Uptown Funk") is "Feel Right" featuring a true-to-form, no-holds-barrred Mystikal and his unpredictable and often funny lyrical karate. "Feel Right" is the album's latest single following the chart-topping "Uptown Funk," putting the New Orleans rapper back in the limelight in the biggest way.

Ronson, Mystikal and Bruno Mars performed "Feel Right" on Saturday Night Live in November, and Ronson and Mystikal reunited on The Tonight Show last night, with house band The Roots filling in the full-band funk. And yes, that's The Roots teasing a few bars of "Shake Ya Ass" on the verse.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Watch: Andy Richter talks Chewbacchus on Conan

Posted By on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 10:39 AM


Conan O'Brien sidekick Andy Richter served as Pope for the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus and he talked about the experience on last night's Conan. In the all-too-brief clip below, Richter talks about his time with people "who drink a lot and take a lot of drugs and make a lot of cool stuff." 

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Y@ Speak: super bowling

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 12:45 PM

Whether you hung out on Twitter and "just watched it for the commercials" or stood 2 feet from the screen and screamed for three hours, you survived Super Bowl Sunday — and for those in Krewe du Vieux, a super bowl on Saturday. Also in this Carnival-high edition of Y@ Speak: Drew Brees throws a football terribly, Curren$y watches Pocahontas, and New Orleans celebrates the life of Bo Dollis.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Watch: Drew Brees was charming and funny on Conan last night

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 9:31 AM

We give Drew Brees a hard time for being a walking billboard so it's easy to forget that the reason he's such an good corporate spokesman is because of his affable personality. Last night on Conan, the Brees charm was in full effect as he discussed a range of topics including "deflategate," people who thank him for his fantasy football performances and his love for New Orleans.

In this first segment, Brees talks to Conan O'Brien about the ball deflation scandal that has plagued the New England Patriots since they won the AFC Championship game. O'Brien hands Brees a few balls for the Saints quarterback to try and guess if they are properly inflated. The real fun starts when Brees asks if he can throw a ball into the crowd (watch out for the lights, Drew!)

The next segment deals with Brees' popularity as a quarterback in fantasy football. Conan shares a few funny fantasy football names that employ excellent wordplay and Brees discusses what it's like living in a city where he's equally idolized for winning the (actual, in real life) Super Bowl and winning multiple (fake, not real life) fantasy football championships.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

TurboTax's Mardi Gras commercial: Part Deux

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 10:22 AM


Two weeks ago we brought you a rundown of one of TurboTax's awful Mardi Gras-themed commercials they released this year. We met the worst businessmen in the world and a wedding ring related to the JFK "magic bullet," everyone had a good laugh and we all moved on.

Then this commercial was brought to my attention:

At first I thought: Hey, that's actually kind of sweet. Then I remembered I write words on the Internet and I don't know what sweet is. I just know bitter, condescending scorn. Through that scorn, I have discovered that this isn't a commercial at all. Rather, this is a meditation on gender inequality and the decreasing value of art in our modern society.

Don't believe me? Observe

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tonight: Drunk History is in New Orleans

Posted By on Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 1:03 PM

Alia Shawkat as Frances Cleveland and Bobby Moynihan as Grover Cleveland on Drunk History. - COURTESY COMEDY CENTRAL
  • Alia Shawkat as Frances Cleveland and Bobby Moynihan as Grover Cleveland on Drunk History.

For its upcoming season, sauced history lesson Drunk History will include a New Orleans-focused episode, in which inebriated comedians loosely narrate an event of note from the city and region's past. The Comedy Central series is filming tonight at Spitfire (1135 Decatur St.) from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Show creator Derek Waters will also be there. These "man-on-the-street" segments in bars feature b-roll and a few brief chats with locals.

What New Orleans history would you like to see and hear very not sober comedians recall through story (and hopefully) song?

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Home decorating tips from HGTV's John Gidding of Curb Appeal

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 3:15 PM

John Gidding has a master's degree in architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design.
  • John Gidding has a master's degree in architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design.
This weekend, the NOLA Home Show hosts more home improvement experts, professionals and celebrity guests than you can shake a spade at. Among them is John Gidding, architect turned host of HGTV's Curb Appeal. On the show, he helps homeowners make their house exteriors more eye-catching.

Gambit interviewed Gidding for tips on maximizing the appeal of porch-centric NOLA homes.

Gambit: As I’m sure you’ve noticed, New Orleans has some beautiful architecture. What do you like about the homes here?
John Gidding: I've always been drawn to porches, covered verandas and balconies — all of which are expressed beautifully and in a multitude of ways in New Orleans. They're a much appreciated extension of the interior and a way of bringing in the exterior, but what I love is the sense of community they engender. Neighborhoods with porches and balconies encourage the kind of casual, unplanned interactions among neighbors and passersby that create stronger communities with the additional benefit of better upkeep and maintenance. Just what the Curb Appeal guy likes.

G: What does "curb appeal" mean, and is it something only people selling their homes should be concerned with?
JG: It was initially a real estate term. When people pull up to a house for sale, it's the first thing to judge by -— but HGTV's long-running show with the same name has taken the term to a broader platform, and for good reason. All too often, home improvements are for the benefit of an upcoming sale — when they'd be much better appreciated by the inhabitants of the home as they lived in it. This is especially true for curb appeal: it affects your neighborhood, it improves safety, and also impacts how you feel when you get home. These are things that people should create for themselves and benefit from, and that's why I think Curb Appeal has developed broad appeal.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Let's count all the ways TurboTax gets Mardi Gras wrong in this commercial

Posted By on Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 4:57 PM


So TurboTax is kicking off the New Year with a series of ads set during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. As you might expect, they get almost everything about Mardi Gras wrong. I'm feeling extra curmudgeonly today, so let's point out every mistake this 63-second commercial makes, point-by-point:

0:05 - Right off the bat, we're off to a bad start. The commercial asks us to believe that these three men have traveled to New Orleans on business. During Mardi Gras. As a parade rolls by. Sure thing, TurboTax. Sure thing.

0:10 - A huge ball of fire shoots up from the crowd. Because nothing says Mardi Gras like a fireball. 

0:11 - An incredibly uncomfortable-looking couple sit in silence at a restaurant overlooking the parade. They seem both uninterested in each other, the parade and their desserts. This couple is the anti-Mardi Gras. 

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Drunk History is coming to New Orleans and wants to hear from you

Posted By on Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Drunk History's premiere episode "Washington D.C." stars Bob Odenkirk as President Richard Nixon, Jack McBrayer as advisor H.R. Haldeman, and Jack Black as Elvis. - RON BARTZDORFF/COMEDY CENTRAL
  • Drunk History's premiere episode "Washington D.C." stars Bob Odenkirk as President Richard Nixon, Jack McBrayer as advisor H.R. Haldeman, and Jack Black as Elvis.

It took two seasons for it to get to the cocktail capital of the U.S., but Comedy Central's Drunk History will shoot in New Orleans for its upcoming third season. The show, created by comic Derek Waters, is based on a Funny or Die web series in which comedians turn into booze goblins and try to articulate a nugget of American history, which is then staged by actors and comics. Previous seasons have recreated historic events in southern cities like Atlanta (in which Jenny Slate tells the story of Coca-Cola's founding), Montgomery (Morgan Murphy on the Joe Louis and Max Schmeling prizefight) and Nashville (starring Casey Wilson as Dolly Parton), and now New Orleans will get a turn. The third season will also include Las Vegas, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Miami, Cleveland, New Mexico and Los Angeles.

Show producers have asked people living in those cities to record themselves (between 30 seconds and 1 minute) telling the camera what they love most about their town, then send the footage to Here's the announcement, via Facebook:
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! Season 3 of Drunk History is going to include trips to New Orleans, Las Vegas, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Miami, Cleveland, New Mexico and Los Angeles. If you think Derek Waters should talk to you about one of those places, and you live in that place now, do this:
-Open the camera on your phone. (If you’re at work, walk into the kitchen or something.)
-Record 0:30 - 1 minute of you talking about what you love about where you live.
-Send it to

Just to be super clear, we’re not asking you to submit an idea for a story to feature on the show, and we’re not looking for narrators. What we do want is to talk to people who live where we’re going, about what their home is all about. So, open your phone and tell us right now, and we’ll be coming to see you soon! Thank you!!
New Orleans also isn't short on comics to give some very sloppy history lessons, nor is it skimpy on history. What stories would you like to see told, badly?

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