Friday, April 17, 2015

Harrah's and French Quarter bars sue the City of New Orleans in smoking ban dispute

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 4:30 PM

Harrah's Casino and many French Quarter bars and clubs have filed a suit against the City of New Orleans to halt the impending smoking ban set to take effect April 22. The suit was filed in Civil District Court, which has set a hearing date for the case on May 21. The court, however, denied Harrah's request for a restraining order that aimed to stop the ordinance before it was to take effect.

With no immediate barriers in its way, the smoke-free ordinance — which imposes smoke-free rules in all bars and casinos and public places — will go into effect this Wednesday. City officials — including ordinance author and District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, Health Department Director Charlotte Parent, and health advocates within the Smoke-Free New Orleans Coalition — will host a press conference that morning to celebrate the new law.

Harrah's has pushed for a compromise measure to allow smoking in parts of its casino and has threatened to renegotiate the terms of its lease with the city if the ban persists. Harrah's also warned that fewer smokers in the casino could create a revenue shortfall that would trickle-down to police and fire protection, education, and loss of employees. As first reported by The New Orleans Advocate's Jeff Adelson, Harrah's joined more than 50 businesses, including Pat O'Briens, Tropical Isle, Court of Two Sisters, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, Bombay Club, and many others, in filing a suit to throw out the ban.

French Quarter Business League president Alex Fine says despite the City Council's efforts to listen to their pleas, it did not fully "consider the ramifications of any ban that is passed," including an anticipated 20 percent drop in revenue among businesses, according to Fine. "They gave us the opportunity but did not take enough time to analyze the data and come to a conclusion that is fair to everybody," he said, adding that the council has not made plans to offset the loss. "They never vetted that completely, and that's why we're here," Fine said. 

Without a restraining order to hold back the smoke-free laws until the suit is resolved, Harrah's and New Orleans bars will have a month of experience under the law before they head to court.

"We've been preparing for any outcome, whether it goes into effect or we have to delay," Fine said.

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Tonight: Order pizza with a side of poetry

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 4:27 PM


The last food item that you need additional incentive to eat is probably pizza, but just in case you were hesitating to pick up a pie, tonight you can get it served with a side of poetry and eat for a good cause, in honor of National Poetry Month. 

Big Class, the writing and tutoring arm of Press Street that brings free creative writing programs to underserved youth, is attaching student poetry to pizza boxes for pickup and delivery from G's Pizza, Garage Pizza, Magazine Pizza, Mid City Pizza, Pizza Delicious, and all Reginelli's Pizzeria locations. Poets range in age from six to 18.

Ten percent of proceeds earned tonight will support Big Class and the work it does year-round.

In addition to the poems attached to pizzas, Big Class is also compiling a book of student work about Italian pies, and will select 20 "pizza poet laureates." The organization has asked recipients of pizza and poetry to share their poems on social media suing the hashtag #pizzapoetry15. A Pizza Poetry Project party is scheduled for April 29 to celebrate student work at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center. 

Check out the Pizza Poetry blog for writing prompts, poems, stories and interviews. 

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Skrillex, ILoveMakonnen headline Mad Decent tour in New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 1:21 PM

Skrillex. - JASON NOCITO
  • Skrillex.

Record label Mad Decent will bring its label tour, the Mad Decent Block Party, back to New Orleans this year following its debut in 2014. Among the performers are golden child EDM haircut Skrillex and sleepy bear rap phenomenon ILoveMakonnen, who just performed at the 2015 Buku Music + Art Project, the big brother to Mad Decent's unhinged younger sibling. Skrillex is also a Buku veteran and has headlined the Voodoo Music + Arts Project twice, in 2012 and in 2014.

The New Orleans leg of the Block Party tour also features Alison Wonderland, DJ 4B, Mija and Party Flavor, though the tour includes Borgore, Diplo, Major Lazer and Tyler, The Creator, among many others, on other dates. The event is 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21 in Champions Square. Tickets are $34-$88.85.

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Sunday: Ole & Nu Style Fellas second line

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 12:14 PM

SUNDAY, APRIL 19, 2015 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Theme: "It's Our Time to Turn Up!!! For Old Time Sake"
King 2015: Sir Markeith Tero
Queen 2015: Lady Trishekka Tero

(route below)

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Review: Leviathan

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 12:13 PM


The century-plus history of Russian and Soviet cinema is one of intermittent brilliance (Sergei Eisenstein and Andrei Tarkovsky are prime examples) followed by long periods of bureaucratic interference and censorship. So it came as no surprise when the worldwide acclaim accorded Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan was met with scorn by a Russian government that actually helped finance the film.

Leviathan (not to be confused with the 2012 maritime documentary of the same name) delivers a scathing social critique of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It won Best Screenplay at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival (and later, many other awards in Europe, India and the U.S.), which only caused Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky to denounce the film’s depiction of official corruption and a hard-drinking working class as not representative of “real Russians.”

That disapproval didn’t stop Leviathan from becoming Russia’s official entry to this year’s Oscars, where it became one of five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. Medinsky — who claims he had nothing to do with his government’s significant financial support for the film — inspired mirth on an international scale when he went on to complain that Leviathan promotes “existential hopelessness,” which some might reasonably describe as the country’s primary cultural export.

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Politico: James Carville was almost the next Judge Judy

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 11:53 AM


Score one for yesterday's Wikileaks hack: Out of that document dump came the news that New Orleans-based professor and political consultant James Carville shot a pilot last October called Carville's Court, which would have put Carville behind the faux-bench of a faux-courtroom in a New Orleans-shot faux-judge show. Politico's "On Media" column broke the story:

The reality show featured the former Bill Cinton campaign strategist presiding over small claims cases in New Orleans and issuing both legal rulings and moral advice. In a pilot episode, Judge Carville rules that a man owed $3,800 to a woman for failing to adequately decal her car in Betty-Boop paraphernalia. In another case, Carville denies a woman's request for $1,000 from injuries sustained while she and her future sister-in-law were drunk on a rafting trip.

And now you can watch the pilot and dream of what might have been — the Ragin' Cajun faux-adjudicating over neighbors suing noisy French Quarter bars, Brennans vs. Brennans, and all manner of small-claims cases ginned up for Hollywood South. But Sony Television passed, and the crown of Judge Judy Sheindlin seems safe for now.

CARVILLE'S COURT CC Master V3 110114 h264 from BLP on Vimeo.

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Tonight: New Orleans punks Adults release This Is Our Year

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 10:30 AM

In the wastelands, sandpits, graveyards and scrap heaps of New Orleans' short-lived (and even long-lasting, comparatively) punk rock bands, the bits and pieces always pull themselves together, Transformers-style, and turn older things new, grow better and stronger, and make some great music — however short-term that may be — only to do it again, and again. Adults is one of those bands.

On its first album (and first release on new local label Hurry Up and Wait), the five-year-old pop-punk trio blasts through two-minute odes to broken relationships and corroded city life (and a sped-up cover of Archers of Loaf's "Web in Front").

The band celebrates This Is Our Year with a record release show at 9 p.m. tonight, Friday, April 17 at Saturn Bar (3067 St. Claude Ave.) Also on the bill are Portland's Divers, We Need to Talk and Secret Passage. Admission $5.

You can stream the album here and listen to album closer and mission statement "Anyone Thinks" below.

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New Star Wars trailer released

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 9:33 AM


A second and more substantial teaser trailer (below) for J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released yesterday, and it actually includes a shot of Harrison Ford (and sidekick Chewbacca), who is back as Han Solo 38 years after the release of the original Star Wars. The film is scheduled for release on December 18, 2015.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

UberX launches after all

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 3:53 PM

A packed chambers as the New Orleans City Council debated a ridesharing ordinance Thursday, April 9. - JEANIE RIESS
  • A packed chambers as the New Orleans City Council debated a ridesharing ordinance Thursday, April 9.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed a ridesharing ordinance into law yesterday, and today, San Francisco-based ridesharing app Uber began operating in the city of New Orleans. That's less an a week after local representatives of the company said it would not be able to operate under the ordinance's legal restrictions. 

Riders can now hail an UberX car by turning on the app and requesting rides. Last year, Uber introduced its black car service into New Orleans, Uber Black, but the rides were expensive and rarely available in the city. 

Uber's local general manager Tom Hayes told Gambit that the company has "determined that it was possible for us to launch uberX and begin providing ridesharing services through our platform, and we will continue to work closely with the Council and the Mayor's office as we move forward on this effort."

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Incubus and Deftones to co-headline Champions Square in August

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 11:20 AM

Deftones. - 13TH WITNESS
  • Deftones.

Because the Willenium is a sacred hour in the lives of those who witnessed it, Champions Square will host not one but two co-headlined "alternative rock" concerts from '90s radio powerhouses this summer. As previously announced, Marilyn Manson and what's left of The Smashing Pumpkins will perform in July. And in August, Incubus and Deftones take the stage.

Incubus released its first album, Fungus Amongus, 20 years ago this year. The band will release the four-song EP Trust Fall (Side A) in May with a full-length release out later this year. Within its 20-year span, the band has racked up hits like "Drive" from 1999's Make Yourself, and "Wish You Were Here" and "Nice to Know You" from its acclaimed followup Morning View. Deftones are also prepping a 2015 album release, its first since 2012's Koi No Yokan. The band's darker, alt-metal radio rock spawned well-received albums like 1997's Around the Fur and its successor White Pony (as well as that album's single "Back to School," which I ordered several times on The Box).

The show is Sunday, August 16. Recently reunited duo and Voodoo Fest veterans Death from Above 1979 and The Bots are set to open, and tickets are on sale May 8.

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