“If it was never new and it never gets old, then it’s a folk song,” explains the fictional folk singer at the center of Joel and Ethan Coen's brooding and utterly original film, Inside Llewyn Davis. It’s an apt description of a style of music unique to a particular time and place: New York City’s Greenwich Village just before Bob Dylan arrived (in February 1961) and everything began to change. Those words also serve as an elegy for the era lovingly recreated by the film — one that lacks the cultural currency of both the Beat Generation that preceded it and the rock ’n’ roll era that followed. But the Coens find something universal in this unlikely setting, a window on the price paid by artists of any time who value authenticity above all else. As brilliantly played and sung by musician-turned-actor Oscar Isaac, Davis represents the legions of artists with enough talent to earn a wide audience but who mostly fall victim to bad timing, their own poor choices or the harsh realities of the culture industries.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP...
New Orleans Health Department Commissioner Karen DeSalvo announced she will join the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) next month. DeSalvo has been appointed National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, replacing acting head Jacob Reider, who himself replaced Farzad Mostashari in August.
DeSalvo joined Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration in 2011, and she led the Health Department grow Landrieu's public heath agenda — including expanding hospital and community clinic services through the innovative Greater New Orleans Community Health Connection program, in which Medicaid waivers help low-income patients connect with primary care physicians. DeSalvo implemented programs in the NOLA for Life program, from family and youth violence intervention and prevention and mental health counseling. She also has implemented a renewed domestic violence program, recently profiled by Gambit, and works in concert with criminal justice agencies to help victims and families. The department has secured several yearslong grants totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Before her gig with the Landrieu administration, DeSalvo served as a dean for community affairs and health policy at Tulane University's School of Medicine.
DeSalvo said in a statement, “It has been a tremendous honor and a life-changing experience to serve our community as Health Commissioner. ... Mayor Landrieu has been a true champion for health and I am grateful for his support and leadership throughout my appointment. Knowing firsthand the kind of focus this Administration has had on the public’s health, I remain optimistic that both now and in future generations, the health and lives of New Orleanians will continue to improve.”
Health department deputy director Charlotte Parent will step up to oversee the department.
A&E, the network that runs the hyper-popular Louisiana reality show Duck Dynasty, suspended its star Phil Robertson following comments he made in a GQ profile. Writer Drew Magary talked to an off-camera Robertson, who made self-described "Bible-thumping" and "controversial" statements including: "a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus," black people "were happy" during Jim Crow, and being gay is sin similar to bestiality.
In a statement, A&E representatives said they are "extremely disappointed" in Robertson's comments, adding, "His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely."
Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal weighed in:
“Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended."
Duck Dynasty's fifth season airs 9 p.m. Jan. 15.
I was going to write about possible playoff scenarios today. We could have called them the ghosts of playoffs future, maybe, and could have considered the repercussions of each. I was going to say that the biggest hinge is the obvious one: The result of the game the Saints will play against Carolina this coming Sunday.
Win that game and the Saints seem likely to advance in the playoffs and earn a berth in their third NFC Championship Game. Lose it, and they'll find themselves a 5 seed wildcard that would face a major challenge winning a playoff game; lose it, and they could even miss the playoffs entirely by also losing to Tampa, along with a pair of Arizona wins.
But let's talk about Garrett Hartley, who was released last night, and who is a Saints hero and a Saints failure, and also a Saints legend. He is, probably, the most important and memorable kicker in team history, even including Morten Andersen, despite his failings.
Let's take a look at Garrett Hartley's five best moments.
Lightwire Theater impressed America’s Got Talent audiences with glowing, romping dinosaurs, soaring birds and a lightsaber fight. The company’s holiday show Lightwire: A Very Electric Christmas, which debuted at the Joy Theater, has some of that dazzling high-flying spectacle — as when a family of birds gets caught in a snowstorm — but it’s a charming kid-friendly show with a little bit of menace, whimsical dancing flowers and plenty of vibrant choreography.
Lightwire founders Ian and Eleanor Carney have danced in holiday productions of The Nutcraker for 27 years, and some of the best elements of the ballet are part of this dance-based light spectacle, which is performed in almost total darkness. In the opening scenes, toy soldiers wrap gifts and place them under a towering tree. Soon a group of purple rats snoop around the goodies and steal a few. But like all holiday foragers, they would like to find a better gift, and when they hear that a baby bird is lost, they set out to find it before it is rescued.
Today, Sex Workers Outreach Project New Orleans (SWOP-NOLA) observes the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers with a second line parade through the French Quarter.
"We're going to meet at Canal and Bourbon (streets) for a second line to celebrate sex workers who were lost to violence this year," says Hellena*, director and founder of SWOP-NOLA. Participants will hand out safe sex supplies and brochures about the organization. The second line will conclude with a memorial service at Allways Lounge (2240 St. Claude Ave.), where there will be readings, refreshments and an open mic from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Phil's Grill, a build-your-own-burger joint, is opening a Warehouse District location Saturday at 748 Camp St. Phil de Gruy opened the original Phi's Grill in Metairie (3020 Severn Ave.) in 2007, and there's also a Harahan (1640 Hickory Ave.) location.
Phil's Grill allows patrons to choose everything from patty (beef, turkey, bison, tuna, portobello, veggie) and bun (white, whole wheat, onion, French bread) to cheese (Havarti, cheddar, Parmesan, herbed goat cheese, etc.), toppings (pickles, sautéed mushrooms, fried egg, pineapple, coleslaw, etc.), premium toppings for $1-$2 more (smoked bacon, avocado-tomato relish, black bean and turkey chili) and condiments (barbecue sauce, ranch dressing jalapeño aioli, horseradish honey-mustard, etc.). The menu also features a selection of gourmet burgers, including a turducken burger and the Fat City, a deep fried American cheese-stuffed Angus beef patty. There also are sides, shakes, floats, desserts, craft beers and a full bar.
The Camp Street location is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Its phone number is (504) 309-7702.
Bayou Teche Brewing co-founder Karlos Knott says he created a cultural brewery more than a craft brewery. “We always have a story around the beer, whether it's the (LA 31) Boucanee with the smoked meats that we all ate, or the (LA 31) Passionne with the passion fruit we picked and ate in the summertime growing up,” Knott says. “We keep an eye toward that — keeping that tradition alive.”
Bayou Teche’s brewers have always been passionate about Cajun food and music. The brewery has hosted a number of beer pairing dinners and Cajun music — live or recorded — has always a part of the experience.
For New Year’s Eve, Bayou Teche is partnering with Crescent Pie & Sausage to present a meal highlighting an array of Cajun flavors and cooking techniques. In 2009, Crescent Pie & Sausage became Bayou Teche’s first draft beer account, and the two businesses' Cajun styles complement each other.
At 6 p.m., the pre-dinner happy hour will feature fried boudin balls, smoked andouille, crawfish pies and the brewery’s newest seasonal offering, Loup Garou, a Belgian-style stout. Dinner is at 7 p.m., and the first course is poached Louisiana seafood sausage with fermented mirliton and dill aioli, served with LA 31 Biere Pale. The second course is pan-fried rabbit terrine with root vegetable chutney and a caramelized yam, served with LA 31 Boucanee smoked wheat ale. Next is a dark roux wild game gumbo made with duck and venison sausage and served with Acadie biere de garde. For dessert, La. 31 Biere Noire ice cream is served over cake.
The dinner costs $65 per person, and there is only one seating. For reservations, call Crescent Pie & Sausage at (504) 482-2426.
God's speed, Rodrigue
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