Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Al Copeland's Christmas lights to go dark

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 10:41 PM


This will be the year that the Copeland family stages their final holiday display at the late chicken mogul's house near the lakefront. And whatever you (or the Copeland neighbors) thought of the annual Xmastravaganza, it's kinda sad to see another New Orleans holiday tradition felled, going the way of the Angel Hair Lobby at the Fairmont and Mr. Bingle on the front of Maison Blanche...

The late Al Copeland's famous Christmas

display to make its final appearance

Copeland Family To Hold Last Christmas Display Lighting

on Saturday, November 29

WHAT: Locals and tourists alike recognize the symbolic tradition of the Copeland Christmas lights, as the official mark of the holiday season in New Orleans In a tribute to the legend--the late Al Copeland Sr.--his family will put the famous lights on display for the last time.

WHEN: Saturday, November 29, 2008, 6:00PM

*Media to arrive by 5:45PM*

LOCATION: The Home of the Late Al Copeland, 5001 Folse Drive, Metairie, LA

ADDITIONAL INFO: Al Copeland Sr. passed away earlier this year to Merkel Cell Carcinoma, a rare and deadly form of cancer. To honor his legacy, his family created the Al Copeland Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to contributing money for research to eradicate this rare cancer. To further culminate this holiday, the Copeland Family will be hosting a “Heaven on Earth” gala on Saturday, December 13. Admission is $100 and all proceeds go to The Al Copeland Foundation in support of Merkel Cell Carcinoma Research in Partnership with The University of Pittsburgh Merkel Cell Carcinoma Research Program. To learn more, please visit alcopelandfoundation.org.

Get a festive, gaudy eyeful of an Al Copeland Christmas while you can.

(tipoff courtesy of Sturtle.com)

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Saints' Fans' Signs of the Times: The Saints should be more careful with their wording.

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 10:27 PM

Saints season sell outs


All photos are by Jonathan Bachman


Last night's win was pretty great for Saints fans on so many levels. Their team finally played up to all the pre-season expectations, matching a franchise-best 51 points and four passing touchdowns against the league's sixth-best passing defense. The Saints seemingly re-energized their season and kept their playoff hopes alive and all on national television, no less.


And Saints season ticket holders were even honored before the game with this big banner in the Superdome. Now far be it from me to criticize the symbolic tribute to their fans – not to mention the unprecedented (and financially wise) decision to freeze prices for next season – but who is spell checking over there? Just stare at that banner for a second and that "2007 2008 Season Sell Outs" can't be misinterpreted to sound bad?


Maybe it's just me. Onto the fan signs, which were better prepared in my opinion.


Continue reading »

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Seriously cool wine website.

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 8:45 PM

La Crema

In conjunction with the inaugural release of their new Monterey line, La Crema, a producer of good, reasonably priced, cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines (each in the mid-$20 range)  also launched a new website to help consumers understand what is behind the flavor and aroma descriptors used on their wines.


The website is www.lacrema.com.  The site takes a while to load and, for your own sanity, make sure you are on a high speed connection, but once you are there it is well worth the journey.  Winemaker Melissa Stackhouse talks you through a "virtual tasting" of their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines explaining the various aromas and flavors you can expect from their wines.  Another option finds her coaching you on how to host a  "tasting party" for friends.  The idea being that you can purchase and prepare aroma and flavour components frequently mentioned in wine (examples:  cherries, black tea, butterscotch).  You buy these components, put them in containers, let your friends sniff everything out then see if you can find that aroma in the wine.  It is an excellent idea - is a lot of fun for both a novice and an experienced wino alike.


So, for anyone who is still in front of a computer at work, not yet on official Thanksgiving holiday leave...check it out!


Jive turkeys jiving, all around town

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 6:52 PM


In case slipping into a tryptophan stupor for the rest of the evening doesn't sound like an intriguing plan for this Thursday, (or if you need a place to bring the relatives - or escape from them) there's plenty of action going on in New Orleans' clubs on Thanksgiving night. Here are a few of my picks for music scheduled Thursday night that'll top of the holiday better than an extra slice of pumpkin pie.

The Rebirth Brass Band presents their Thanksgiving Blowout at the Howlin' Wolf; garage-rock stalwarts the Royal Pendletons hold it down at dba on Frenchmen St, and Kermit Ruffins (and a ton of food, if you feel like reprising Thanksgiving dinner) will be at Vaughan's in the Bywater. At the Cricket Club on St. Charles Ave., DJ Jubilee will be getting sluggish, overfed clubgoers onto the dance floor to work off some of that stuffing. The Soul Rebels play their regular gig at Le Bon Temps Roule. And the enticingly peculiar Ratty Scurvics plays upstairs at Mimi's in the Marigny. Come on, this is New Orleans: the mail may not be coming on a national holiday, but that's no excuse not to go to a bar.

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Introducing: Best of Tyson Chandler

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 2:30 PM

Tyson block


Photo by Jonathan Bachman


In an effort to give Hornets fans the best look at their favorite team, I'm presenting a new series of video interviews with various players in Gambit's "Best of" theme. Some will be short and sweet while others will be a bit longer and still sweet. Today I present to you the Best of Tyson Chandler. FYI: the person that walks through the shot towards the end is, in fact, Mike James. Tyson had some choice words about his teammate after interrupting his take. Hit the jump for the video.


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Home Sweet Dome: Saints finally win two in a row

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 5:48 AM

Colston TD catch


Photo by Jonathan Bachman

For a few moments there, it seemed like both the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints were content with not playing a lick of defense tonight and to just let the offenses shoot it out. Then, with the Saints leading 31–21 with 7:52 left in the third quarter, Jason David (yes, that Jason David) picked off an Aaron Rodgers pass and returned it all the way to the 3-yard-line.


That set up a Deuce McAllister touchdown two plays later that made the Saints' running back the franchises all-time leader in touchdowns and possibly one of the most moving moments in recent Superdome history.


"It was definitely emotional," Deuce said afterward. "Knowing that when you started playing you set certain goals and when you're able to achieve it, you're definitely thankful for it."


Not content to give the Packers any more breathing room, Jason David intercepted Rodgers again. And that's when the Packers got into the act. Thanks to maybe a little too much cuteness on the part of Sean Payton, Aaron Rouse intercepted Lance Moore on an ill-conceived trick play.


And those weren't even the most exciting moments of the game.

Continue reading »

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A streaming drinking song playlist curated by experts: New Orleans musicians.

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 1:16 AM


While researching "Party Like A Rock Star," the piece I wrote for the Swizzle pullout in the issue of Gambit Weekly currently on the stands, I asked a few local musicians and music business types to tell me their favorite drinking song. The response was, dare I say. overwhelming. Below is a streaming playlist of 35 songs hand-selected by the folks who may know New Orleans' bars best - please enjoy responsibly. (And apologies to DJ Soul Sister: I couldn't find the cover version she preferred of the Chi-Lites' "Stoned Out Of My Mind," so I went with the original. Click "read more" for a full track list.

Continue reading »


"Unknown New Orleanians" at NOPL

Posted By on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 12:48 AM


The Louisiana collection at the main branch of the New Orleans Public Library is already a great place to lose a few hours pawing through the archives and boning up on the long, strange history of New Orleans via vintage phone books, maps, genealogy texts and newspapers dating back to the nineteenth century. In October, they added something even cooler: the exhibit Hidden from History: Unknown New Orleanians. The exhibit, a collection of mug shots and municipal documents from the turn of the last century, was curated by Dr. Emily Epstein Landau, a scholar whose 2005 doctoral disseration at Yale was a history of Storyville. The denizens of the infamous red light district are well-represented (of particular note are several mug shots of the legendary Creole madam Lulu White, plus paperwork regarding her various court cases), as are more hapless New Orleanians whose lives, as the exhibit phrases it, "intersected with the municipality."The language of some of the documents is fascinating. In 1900, for example, one could get picked up for offenses like "dangerous and suspicious," "sneak thief," and "reviling police." Police files also listed the offenders' "criminal specialty" - very resume-like. Plus, the letterhead on the stationery for the New Orleans Police Jail (not to mention the penmanship of Asst. Superintendent and Clerk J.M. Kennedy) is to die for. I wish they sold it at Scriptura. 

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Monday, November 24, 2008

New Plays Entertain at Le Chat

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 11:55 PM


Le Chat Noir's annual New Plays Festival continued its concept of stringing together short works by contest participants. This year's winners featured some new faces. Jamie Wax offered the most engaging and stark piece, "The Scutley Papers," about a woman whose creativity and independence pose an implicit threat to her abusive husband. Actress Clare Moncrief handled the solo piece nicely. Wax and Vernel Bagneris worked together on two pieces that also stood out.  Bud Faust's "To Hell and Back (Somewhat)" (pictured) was a humorous scene between a movie producer (Wax, right), who prefers to hold business meetings in strip clubs, and a city official (Bagneris), who is concerned about how a film will depict the city. They appeared again in Mindy Mayer's "Water Business," a sentimental piece about a young, aspiring musician and an older man who had always been a jazz fan. Also notable was Mary Louise Wilson's "Lost" and R.J. Tsarov's swear like a sailor, think like a cook (excerpt from a longer work) "Cheffing."


Steven Seagal is the new Harry Lee

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 11:45 PM


I will just quote from showbiz trade-Bible Variety here, as I don't know what to say (A&E editor Will Coviello's succinct response was a simple "Awesome!")...

Steven Seagal can now add "reality TV lead" to his resume, as A&E is in production on nonfiction skein "Steven Seagal: Lawman" in New Orleans.

According to the net, Seagal has been working on and off as a fully commissioned deputy with the Jefferson Parish County Sheriff's Office for nearly two decades. One of his stints found him assisting with recovery efforts during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"Lawman" also will document his life off the beat, including his musical and philanthropic activities in the Big Easy.

"I decided to work with A&E on this series now because I believe it's important to show the nation all the positive work being accomplished here in Louisiana," Seagal said of the new venture.

Seagal "helps fight crime because he cares about the community," said Robert Sharenow, A&E's senior veep of nonfiction and alternative programming. "Lawman" is skedded for a late 2009 bow.

Move aside, Walker: Texas Ranger.

Seagal: Veterans Boulevard Ranger is in the parish.

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