Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Debate club!

Posted By on Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Hey New Orleans voters! Have David Vitter and Charlie Melancon's dueling ads left you confused? Intrigued? Exasperated? Or are you just a debate junkie? Well, you're in luck — the Senate candidates will be participating in two live debates on the New Orleans airwaves this week. The first is Wed. Oct. 27 on WDSU-TV beginning at 6 pm, and the second will be aired on WWL-TV Thursday night at 6 pm. (If you're not near a TV but would like to follow along, we'll be live-tweeting it all on Gambit's Twitter feed.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Bobby Jindal makes Vanity Fair's political beefcake calendar

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 5:07 PM

So Vanity Fair decided to have a bit of fun with Photoshop and create a fake 2011 Republican beefcake calendar featuring GOP hotshots like John Boehner and Newt Gingrich, and when they got to Mr. September, they ...

You know what? We're just going to put this down here and walk away, and you can do what you like with it.

Mr. September.
  • Mr. September.

Michael Ondaatje reads at Tulane

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Michael Ondaatje
  • Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient, reads from his work at 7 p.m. in Dixon Hall at Tulane University tonight. Most likely, many more people are familiar with the Academy Award-winning film adaptation of his novel than with the author himself. Ondaatje is a Sri Lankan-born Canadian who has written several novels, many volumes of poetry (most notably the collected works released as There's a Trick With a Knife I am Learning to Do) and a couple adaptations of his work for stage, including The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. He's been awarded a Booker Prize and two Governor's General awards in Canada. The reading is free and Ondaatje will sign books afterwards.

Who said you can never go home again?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 12:08 PM

Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita tackles New Orleans Saints wide receiver Devery Henderson
  • Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita tackles New Orleans Saints wide receiver Devery Henderson.

Note: I was in Chicago for a friend's birthday and to watch the Redskins beat the Chicago Bears so I was unable to see the Saints' disaster in the Dome yesterday. Clay Smith, though, was and here is his report from that game:

The Saints may have taken their home field as reigning Super Bowl Champs Sunday, but the visiting Browns brought along their own big game magic in LB Scott Fujita-the patron Saint of yesteryear. For the second time in three weeks, New Orleans has been on the head-scratching end of an inter-conference upset (30-17), thanks in part to eleven tackles, one sack, and one interception from the former Saints stand-out.

Fujita’s return to the Superdome was supposed to be a heart-warming sub-plot to a story ending in the Saints’ fifth win of the season. Instead, the New Orleans faithful were left wondering how the league’s 23rd ranked defense managed to keep its 8th ranked offense out of the end zone for three consecutive quarters.

The numbers don’t add up. New Orleans passed for 336 yards and held Cleveland to just 210 total. Rookie signal caller Colt McCoy posted a 68.2 quarterback rating with a pedestrian 74 yard performance, and the Browns offense only accounted for 16 of the team‘s 30 points. So how does a 1-5 team usurp the NFL’s best? Coaching.

The Saints were Mangini-ed. Brown’s head coach Eric Mangini, the former Bill Belichick disciple lovingly referred to as Man-genius, threw every page of the Browns’ playbook at New Orleans. Whenever it seemed as if the Saints were making a run, Mangini was making a gutsy call: first on a 62 yard punt return from Eric Wright via a Josh Cribbs lateral (setting up a Phil Dawson field goal), then on a 68 yard fake punt by punter Reggie Hodges with 4:30 left in the first half, and again to close the door on any realistic chance of a Saints comeback with a 13 yard pass from running back Peyton Hillis to McCoy.

But it wasn’t all Mangini. The Saints played their role in this comedy of errors. Perhaps channeling their inner Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans - despite filling up the stat sheet - has been violating two cardinal rules of Championship football as of late: don't commit turnovers or boneheaded penalties.

Quarterback Drew Brees (sacked three times Sunday) threw four interceptions, two to twelve year veteran David Bowens who returned both for touchdowns. Guard Carl Nicks incurred 25 yards worth of penalties on one play, just as the offense seemed to have gotten their act together. Second year safety Malcolm Jenkins’ 38-yard pass interference penalty set up a four-yard touchdown run by Hillis. Jahri Evans’ illegal hands to the face penalty wiped out a 20 yard touchdown pass from Brees to Lance Moore and on a critical third and five, Jenkins’ illegal hands to the face negated what could have been a momentum swinging stop for the Black and Gold.

"I think we are all doing a little soul searching,’ said Brees after the game. ”We know how good we can be. Obviously, we aren't playing that way right now."

As it stands, the Saints are approaching mid-season 4-3 and third in the NFC south behind Tampa Bay. With the Falcons looking like the league’s breakout team, Brees and the gang had better speed up the soul search, or they could find themselves searching for tickets to Super Bowl XLV.

City Council budget hearings underway

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 11:31 AM

City Councilmember Stacy Head
  • City Councilmember Stacy Head
The first session of the city's 2011 budget hearings are underway at City Council (watch all the excitement in streaming video here). All was kissy-kissy when Mayor Mitch Landrieu presented his budget overview last week, but it's nuts-and-bolts time and Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin is being peppered with some pretty specific questions by councilmembers.

Below the jump is a list of this week's committee discussions, but here's a downloadable agenda of all that's to be discussed before the mayor's office and the council in the next few weeks.

According to the New Orleans city charter, a budget must be finalized by Dec. 1.

Continue reading »

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween on the Bayou

Posted By on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 10:57 PM

The 1978 “slasher” film classic Halloween tells the story of a young boy who killed his sister, was committed to an asylum, and then escaped years later to stalk and slash babysitters — and his family. In Louisiana politics, we could write a companion series based on Gov. Bobby Jindal’s approach to the higher-ed budget — Bayou Halloween: Jindal’s Curse.

In the original, the slasher is driven by madness to kill members of his family. In Louisiana, Jindal is driven by a political madness to slash budgets rather than lose his “tax virginity.” For Jindal, an Ivy-Leaguer and Rhodes Scholar, cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from higher education is the fiscal equivalent of killing one’s family.

You would think that a highly educated governor would make higher education the LAST budget to be slashed. Of course, that would require that he put higher education ahead of his political ambitions and “tax virginity.”

Here’s Jindal’s record on state support for higher education:

• He has cut public colleges and universities by $208 million since 2008.

• This past week, he received plans to cut another $35 million from higher ed in the current fiscal year. Most of those cuts will come from the LSU system, which, coincidentally, provided the impetus for his parents to emigrate from India. His mother attended LSU as a doctoral student.

• In the coming fiscal year (the one that starts next July 1), colleges and universities are bracing for another $290 million — or more — in Jindal-ordered cuts.

That’s a total of more than half a billion dollars in cuts to higher education from a guy who arguably is the best-educated governor Louisiana has ever had. It just goes to show that the value of a good education isn’t what it used to be. Not, at least, when it collides with personal ambition.

Continue reading »

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Sat., noon - 5pm: Red Bull's Street Kings Brass Band Blowout

Posted By on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Red Bull Brass Band Competition
  • Red Bull Brass Band Competition

Four New Orleans brass bands - The Free Agents, The Stooges, To Be Continued, and The Soul Rebels - will compete in a battle of the bands Saturday October 23 from 12noon - 5pm under the Claiborne Bridge in Treme for the title of ‘Street Kings of New Orleans’. The event, sponsored by Red Bull Studio, is the first competition hosted by the California-based recording company and will be hosted by trombonist extraordinaire and ‘Crowned Prince of Tremé’ Glen David Andrews.

Your girl Big Red caught up with three of the four band leaders to discuss their band’s goal of winning the competition. (The Soul Rebels haven’t responded at press time - we’ll update you if/when we hear from them.)

Free Agents Brass Band- Ellis ‘EJo’ Joseph (bass drum):

Q: How would your band benefit from the grand prize, an all-expense paid trip to Santa Monica, CA for a three-day recording and mentorship session with a veteran producer?

They told us we get to pick the person we want to work with. We would definitely pick mainstream artist help us, someone like Stevie Wonder or Kanye West. We listen to all forms of music, we all have different influences. We just incorporate music into everything rock, hip hop, rap, old school jazz, new school jazz. We have two cd’s recorded already and (all the band members) have recorded with other bands before. The band is six years old our chemistry is like no other.

Q: How is your band’s potential to win different than the other brass band’s competing against you?

A: Music on the street has depreciated. Our music and the quality of it, we’re trying to bring it back to real music. Our emphasis is on funky horns - that’s what the instruments are there for. We play music that’s soulful, horns are playing, not all that singing. We play stuff people can really groove to, not just pop tunes you hear on BET and Q93.

Stooges Brass Band - Walter ‘Whoadie’ Ramsey (Sousaphone):

Q: How would your band benefit from the grand prize, an all-expense paid trip to Santa Monica, CA for a three-day recording and mentorship session with a veteran producer?

A: We would use the opportunity to record with a national producer to learn what he or she does, what their perception is on how to make a major hit. And to have the kids in New Orleans to see how good music is, that you can make a living from it and how far it could take you. Our first producer pick to work with would be Kanye West. Next would be Will.I.Am.

Q: How is your band’s potential to win different than the other brass band’s competing against you?

We are the king of the streets already. We play the most second lines, book the most gigs, are the most popular with the people in New Orleans.

TBC - Edward ‘Juicy’ Jackson (trombone):

Q: How would your band benefit from the grand prize, an all-expense paid trip to Santa Monica, CA for a three-day recording and mentorship session with a veteran producer?

A: The recording session was the main perk that made us want to participate in the competition. The main producer we’d like to work with is Andre 3000. That would be a big up for us. He’s symphony-trained with a lot of credentials. We try to mimic his work ethic and quality of work and that’s the type of producer we’d like to work with.

Q: How is your band’s potential to win different than the other brass band's competing against you?

A: Anybody from New Orleans knows we’re from Carver (high school) and Carver’s band was known for harmony and great sound. By us coming from that type of background, we know we’re gonna be the best sounding band. The way we play, by us being young and enthusiastic and our swagger - we do exactly what a brass band is supposed to do. We have the old traditions down pat, better than these other bands.

Click here for event schedule and list of judges.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Such A Night

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 10:37 PM

If you didn't attend Thursday night's Reds, Whites and the Blues fundraiser at City Park's Pavilion of the Two Sisters, you missed one gorgeous night. In addition to raising money for a very worthwhile cause (the Big Easy Awards foundation, which gives grants and scholarships to local performing arts students), it was one of those postcard evenings — perfect weather, more great wines than you could count, outstanding food from many local restaurants, and the sounds of beautiful classical guitar by Javier Adrian Olondo wafting outside from in front of an Enrique Alférez statue and fountain in the Botanical Gardens, beneath a moss-draped live oak with a full moon overhead and NOMA in the background. Too beautiful for words. It was one of those nights that made many of us say, "There's no place else on earth I'd rather be tonight than right here, right now." Truly.


Love you, New Orleans.

WWL-TV: Gambit's 3-Day Weekend entertainment picks

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 9:06 PM

Gambit's Noah Bonaparte Pais made his weekly pilgrimage to WWL-TV this morning to break down this weekend's best entertainment picks, from The Wacky World of Dr. Morgus at the Chalmette Movies to the Thermals at One Eyed Jacks and the Mid-City Porch Crawl in, yes, Mid-City.

Tonight: La Doogie Vita

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 4:09 PM

The New Orleans Film Festival's final screening of its 2010 event comes from... the West Bank. Gretna's goofball bounce pioneers Ballzack and Odoms screen the collection La Doogie Vita, which includes early shorts and music videos featuring their friend, the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog of Marrero hip hop: Lil Doogie.

The 25-inch tall puppet came up hard as Douglas Fontaine (as chronicled in "Lil' One," from the debut The Thoughts of My Mind) and has since starred on his own Dirty Coast T-shirt, dropped an iPhone app (Doogie's Bounce Machine) and penned the best New Orleans Saints anthem, "Saints, Ya Dig?"

La Doogie Vita screens at midnight tonight at The Prytania Theater (5339 Prytania St., 891-2787; www.theprytania.com). Find ticket information here.

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