Monday, February 28, 2011

Celebrity greasers

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 11:44 PM

2010 pole greasing champion Randi Rousseau will judge this years competition at the Royal Sonesta.
  • 2010 pole greasing champion Randi Rousseau will judge this year's competition at the Royal Sonesta.

It’s time to start working on your sniffles and sneezes so by Friday you can convincingly call in sick and head to the Royal Sonesta hotel (300 Bourbon St.) at 10 a.m. Friday, March 4, for the time-honored Carnival tradition of “greasing the poles” that support the hotel’s balconies so revelers can’t shimmy up them on Mardi Gras.

The practice started 41 years ago as a functional answer to a pesky problem, but has become a tradition Mardi Gras historian Arthur Hardy calls an “event not to be missed.” Over the years, greasing the poles with petroleum jelly has developed into a major event, attracting hundreds of spectators to watch a competition among local celebrities armed with petroleum jelly, a second-line parade, a toast to Zulu royalty and live music.

Celebrity greasers include WVUE Fox 8 meteorologist Nicondra Norwood, WDSU-TV reporter Siemny Chhuon, WGNO-TV reporter Chriss Knight, and WWL-TV reporter Jill Hezeau. Their techniques and greasing styles will be judged by Hardy, musician Al “Carnival Time” Johnson, and WDSU-TV anchor Randi Rousseau, who won the champion title in 2010. Spectators also get to vote on a “People’s Choice Award” winner. Masters of Ceremonies are Mix 92.3 radio personality Mike Theis and New Orleans Saints owner Rita Benson LeBlanc.

Trumpeter Leroy Jones and the Original Hurricane Brass Band will lead a second line parade through the Quarter, culminating at the hotel at 10 a.m. The event also includes an appearance by the New Orleans Saintsations cheerleaders, a performance by Johnson and a champaign toast with the Zulu king, queen and their court.

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Will write for beer

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 10:17 PM


The Jackeens over in Dublin are working hard loading the Black Stuff to make sure there’s enough Guinness for Finn McCool’s Irish Pub’s St. Patrick’s Day hooley — and one of them could be yours.

Janey Mack! Instead of foostering through the early days of March, pull up your socks, exercise your napper and write a short story that ties into St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. You could win the grand prize of a keg — more than 100 pints — of Guinness.

There are a few rules: The short story must be 500 to 1,000 words long, can be poetry or prose, and must contain the following words: believe, relic, buzz, shake-weight, barrel, Jameson, Kilwilkie, balls, cult and banks. There is a $1 entry fee and you must hand in your masterpiece at the Mid-City bar (3701 Banks Street) by noon on March 11.

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Curbside recycling coming soon, sign up for a bin

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 5:54 PM


The City announced today residents in areas serviced by Metro Disposal and Richard’s Disposal can start signing up to receive recycling carts. (Visit this website to register, fill in an application at City Hall or fax it to 658-3801.)

There's no timeline for when the program will begin — the mayor's office said services begin sometime in the "second quarter." Acceptable recyclable materials for pickup include papers, plastic Nos. 1-7, cans and cardboard. (Glass recycling will continue its streak of unavailability in New Orleans.)

Meanwhile, the city's recycling drop off at 2829 Elysian Fields Ave. remains open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Lil Doogie replaces Peter Mayhew as King Chewbacchus

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Nancy Hartman presents the Chewbacchus crown.

In this week's Gambit, the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus takes Gambit behind the scenes at its workshop and den before its Carnival debut. Peter Mayhew, the man-behind-the-fur in the Star Wars films, was scheduled to ride as the krewe's King Chewbacchus — but today, krewe co-founder Ryan Ballard announced Mayhew won't make it (citing personal reasons). He had been active on the krewe's Facebook page, where he said he was looking forward to the parade.

However, Lil Doogie, the provocative Westbank puppet and rapper, will take Mayhew's place on the throne. Ballard said, "In the absence of King Chewbacca, the Overlords of Chewbacchus have declared a state of Intergalactic Emergency and have installed Lil Doogie as our ad hoc 'Puppet Government' and granted him emergency lethal magical powers."

The Chewbacchus parade leaves 3 Ring Circus' The Big Top at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 6, and takes a backwards route, heading down St. Charles Avenue towards Jackson Avenue.

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Anti-gay Southern Decadence preacher arrested on obscenity charges

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Rev. Grant Storms
  • JPSO
  • Rev. Grant Storms
The Rev. Grant Storms, who made headlines in 2003 when he attempted to shut down the annual Southern Decadence festival in the French Quarter, was arrested in Jefferson Parish on obscenity charges Feb. 25.

Storms, who famously denounced the largely gay Labor Day celebration as "perversion," was arrested for allegedly masturbating near a Lafreniere Park playspot where children were present. According to an arrest report, Storms told the attending officer he wasn't masturbating, but had simply opted to urinate in a bottle in his van rather than find a park restroom.

In 2003, Storms and his followers marched on the Southern Decadence festival with bullhorns, and told ABC News' Primetime Live he wanted Southern Decadence shut down "utterly and totally. We want them out of town." At the time, he told The Times-Picayune, "Having oral sex in the middle of the street or masturbating is illegal and immoral," and worried that NOPD officers patrolling the festival might work "some kind of back-room deal to have an orgy in the street."

The following year, a group of French Quarter business owners led by the Bourbon Street Alliance successfully obtained a restraining order against Storms and his protestors, and the City Council voted to bar the use of bullhorns during Decadence.

Storms disappeared from the public eye shortly thereafter, but a lawsuit he had filed against a Wisconsin group backfired on the pastor in 2006 when a judge found his suit lacked merit and ordered him to pay $87,000 to the group he was suing.

Storms was released from the Gretna jail Feb. 27 due to overcrowding. According to Louisiana law, "whoever commits the crime of obscenity shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than six months nor more than three years, or both."

Del McCoury with Preservation Hall at Mardi Gras

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 4:04 PM


In the wake of his popular contribution to Preservation Hall's 2010 collection of collaborations Preservation, Del McCoury returned to record an entire album with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, finding the place where traditional jazz and bluegrass meet. American Legacies is due out on April 12. But McCoury is in town for Mardi Gras. He and the Preservation Hall band will perform on Lundi Gras (exact time TBA). On Mardi Gras, McCoury and the band will parade from Washington Square in the Faubourg Marigny into the French Quarter. The parade is scheduled to begin somewhere between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

There also will be an advance release of American Legacies on vinyl in Mardi Gras Colors. The discs are green on one side, gold on the other and the label is purple. There will be 1,000 printed, and some will be available at Preservation Hall on Lundi Gras.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hobnob with Gaga

Posted By on Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 8:39 PM


If your dream is to spend some time with Lady Gaga in her own environment, then now is the time to reach for the stars. Virgin Mobile Live and Talenthouse are offering bloggers, video journalists and fans an opportunity to help blogger Dannielle Owens-Read cover the singer/songwriter’s Monster Ball Tour stop in New Orleans April 9.

To enter the contest, submit a video up to two minutes long explaining why you should be chosen to interview Lady Gaga and assist Owens-Reid backstage in covering the New Orleans concert. Submit the video by March 7 on the contest Facebook page.

The winner will be announced on March 17. Get more information here.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Le Chat Noir for sale

Posted By on Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 8:17 PM

The building housing Le Chat Noir, the cabaret and theater space on St. Charles Avenue in the Warehouse District, has been put up for sale, according to Le Chat Noir proprietor Barbara Motley.

In an email this evening, Motley said she and her husband Biff Motley, a longtime executive with Whitney Bank, have put 715 St. Charles Avenue on the market, though the theater inside (a separate business owned by the Motleys) will remain open at least "until a buyer emerges." The theater is currently booked through June with several productions, according to Motley, including Ricky Graham's Renew Revue and Varla Jean Merman's The Loose Chanteuse.

In a statement, Motley said, "This is of course bittersweet news to most people. ... So many have put so much into builidng Le Chat Noir into the comfy little theater it has become. But life stops for no man, woman or business. My staff is committed to having a great time and continuing to welcome artists/patrons and to meet expectations."

Since its opening in 1999, Le Chat has become one of New Orleans' most vital theaters, presenting local original work as well as national cabaret entertainment from New York. For several years, Le Chat held a playwrights' festival for up-and-coming writers; in recent years, the theater entered into a partnership with Southern Repertory Theatre. It was the first stage to reopen after Hurricane Katrina with Graham's show, I'm Still Here, Me!, and has presented work by nearly every producing company in the city, from All Kinds of Theater to Running With Scissors. It has been the recipient of the Best Theater award many times in Gambit's annual Best of New Orleans poll, and its Bar Noir, with its red walls and black-and-white tiles, was a hangout for actors and other performers.

The sale and possible closure is another blow to New Orleans' performing community, which was rocked in December when Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, the country's oldest community theater, abruptly canceled all its upcoming productions midway through its 95th season, leaving its future in doubt.

Le Chat is closed for Carnival parades this weekend; it reopens Sunday with a revival of Graham's durable Mardi Gras comedy, ... And the Ball and All.

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New Orleans is in the spotlight

Posted By on Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Music critic-cum-hipster anthropologist Carles of stirred up a lot of vitriol and triggered one of New Orleans' collective sore spots when he blogged a critique of/rumination on/homage to "crusty kids" (aka the large, itinerant groups of 20-somethings who shun baths and bright colors and descend upon New Orleans to spange en masse during the cooler months while bearing cans of Schlitz and large dogs attached to frayed rope leashes). Admittedly, that group is a pretty easy target and a particularly interesting breed of hipster, but what really got commenters up in arms is the fact that the photos (which Carles allegedly ripped off from the Facebook page of a local Tulane grad) were taken at a 9th ward memorial service for the eight adults who perished in a fire last December.


Here's the post in its entirety:

The 2011 Oscars: Where to watch

Posted By on Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 4:21 PM


You've spent the last few weeks wasting your money on movie tickets, working on your Black Swan diet and following James Franco on Twitter — and now, the 2011 Academy Awards are less than two days away. E! has probably already begun its red carpet coverage.

If you're not planning your own Oscar viewing party at home, you can opt to watch the Super Bowl for Movie Nerds on the big screen at a few places around town. These viewing parties offer the chance to watch the show while eating, drinking, winning prizes and arguing with strangers about Natalie Portman's acting abilities. Besides, Anne Hathaway hosting means at least an hour's exposure to the actress, so you probably want to be as far away from your kitchen knives as possible during the telecast.

Here's some picks for Oscar viewing parties. Enjoy!:

The Theaters at Canal Place hosts the city's only Oscar Night America event, which means it's officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — and you get an official Academy Awards program with the price of admission. Besides getting to watch the show in the theater's plush leather chairs while enjoying food and drinks from Adolfo Garcia's Gusto Cafe, the viewing party benefits the Southeast Louisiana chapter of the American Red Cross. There will also be prize giveaways, a silent auction and a predict-the-winner contest. Festivities start at 6:30 p.m. and admission is $75. Click here for more details.

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