Friday, November 30, 2012

Review: Detropia

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 4:46 PM

How did Detroit — the world’s fastest-growing city in 1950 — become America’s fastest-shrinking city in 2012, complete with 100,000 empty houses and a total 40 square miles of vacant lots? And what does this mean for the rest of the U.S. as manufacturing continues to move offshore? These questions are the starting point for Detropia, a beautiful and wrenching new film by seasoned filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, who earned an Oscar nomination for their 2006 film Jesus Camp. Detropia moves from weary autoworkers continually fending off pay cuts to teen video bloggers trying to make sense of it all to a Mayor overseeing a city so sparsely populated, he actually requests that remaining Detroiters get together and move to a single neighborhood. The result is a kaleidoscopic and visually arresting portrait of a new America, one that hasn’t yet found its post-industrial footing. There’s hope in the form of young artists buying cheap houses to get the studio space they could not otherwise afford, and in the long-term potential of urban farming to help renew communities like this one. But Detropia still feels like a cry for help — and a wake-up call for anyone who still thinks we can tax-cut our way to prosperity.

Detropia begins a one-week run of 7:30 p.m. screenings (except Tuesday at 5:15 p.m.) hosted by Timecode:NOLA tonight at Zeitgeist Movies. A Q&A with co-director Rachel Grady will be conducted via skype after the screening tonight, Friday, November 30.

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Party politics: Dueling statements on judge's ruling that La. school vouchers are unconstitutional

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Baton Rouge Judge Tim Kelley has ruled that the state's newly expanded voucher school program is unconstitutional.

In an emailed statement, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu says she's not surprised that the controversial voucher program was overturned.

“It is no surprise that State District Judge Tim Kelley today ruled the unnecessarily aggressive and overreaching statewide voucher program unconstitutional. A strategic use of state-funded vouchers could be appropriate, but this diversion of public education dollars was a step too far and diminishes resources for meaningful reform efforts already underway at the local level. Judge Kelley was correct in setting appropriate limits.”

Even though today's ruling seems to strike a blow to the voucher program, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's Superintendent of Education John White says, in a very brief emailed statement, that he's not giving up.

"We strongly disagree with the ruling. We are optimistic this decision will be reversed on appeal."

(More after the jump)

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"Drums and Roses" pushes petal to the metal

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Ted Riederer created the art installation Never Records, which for one month served as a recording studio and record store archive of the pressed vinyl projects. New Orleans was the fourth iteration of the project, following New York, London and Ireland. Previewed here in Gambit.

Riederer opens a show of paintings and performance events at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery. "Your love never survived the heat of my heart" opens Saturday, Dec. 1. And it includes a performance of "Drums and Roses" at 7 p.m. The video above is "Drums and Roses" event at a San Francisco gallery in 2010.

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Council passes $492 million city budget

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 3:11 PM

New Orleans City Council today easily passed Mayor Mitch Landrieu's $492 million budget, making a few minor adjustments.

The final budget makes reductions in the council's budget by about $100,000, to $9.8 million from $9.9 million. The Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office's budget was reduced by $300,000 to $22.1 million, with that money taken out of the sheriff's electronic monitoring program.

Council members voted to add about $1.1 million to the New Orleans Police Department's budget, bringing its total general fund allocation to $126.7 million. The additional funding will be used to pay for two new recruit classes next year. Finally, the approved budget restores grant funding for the LSU AgCenter and increases a grant to the New Orleans Council on Aging by $100,000.

(More after the jump)

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Turning on a dime: The "new" Bobby Jindal

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 3:10 PM

As Gov. Bobby Jindal embarks on his barely veiled campaign to be the next great hope of the post-Romney national GOP, it’s worth pausing to reflect on just how good he is at this sort of thing.

Even Jindal’s critics sometimes underestimate his appeal beyond Louisiana, amid the day-to-day policy scuffles and political grudge matches in Baton Rouge, and against the backdrop of normal second-term fatigue, genuine fiscal alarm and a near-universal sense that his priorities lie beyond the state’s borders.

The truth is that Jindal, 41, has a proven talent for writing his own narrative, for positioning himself just where people seem to want him to be. Particularly when those people are still getting to know him, as the national press and American public now are.

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@The_GambitLIVE: Our new Twitter feed for meetings and debates

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 2:07 PM

  • Ta-da.
For a while now, our Twitter followers have been split — some like our livetweeting of things like public meetings and candidate debates, while others really, really don't.

So we're splitting our editorial Twitter feed* in half.

@The_Gambit will continue to bring breaking news, links to stories and general workday goofing around, but when we're covering City Council or a public meeting, you'll find that stream at @The_GambitLIVE.

@The_GambitLIVE will be quiet most of the time, but when a meeting is going on, you'll find all the wonky action there:

Hot budget excitement on @The_GambitLIVE!
  • Hot budget excitement on @The_GambitLIVE!

So, if you're inclined, subscribe to both. And for those of you who really didn't want play-by-play of things like budget hearings: you're welcome.

* You can also subscribe to our giveaway and schwag Twitter feed, @GambitGoods, which is run by our marketing department. Its contests are easier to win than the Powerball, and we give away everything from movie tickets to $1,000 bar tabs.

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Tonight: Vox & The Hound releases Courage

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Vox & The Hound
  • Vox & The Hound

There's something satisfying about watching musicians grow, watching them find the thing they've looked for and own it.

Musicians that push themselves tend to do it publicly. The players tend to meddle in too-busy ideas or successful touring bands, as reigned-in sidemen or inspired leaders with not-quite-there primetime players, or tangle themselves in loose strings of too many bands and too many commitments. With Vox & The Hound, its players have found in each other that "thing."

A part of that is in growing up. Leo DeJesus, Daniel Ray, Andrew Jarman, Eric Rogers and Rory Callais all have worked tremendously over what's likely a combined million years (despite being twenty-somethings) on ambitious, high concept projects, and for most of the time, succeeded, albeit with some brave failures.

Their veterans charts count dozens of bands among them, from short-lived punk bands or bands aping over-hyped New Wave and indie pop. With Vox & The Hound, which debuted in 2010, the band shares a work ethic and a seemingly effortless dynamic unlike anything they've put before it.

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Two second lines Sunday: Dumaine Street Gang and Westbank Steppers

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Route and parade details for both parades below the jump!

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Local Slow Food chapter celebrates Mother Earth

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Cleaver & Co.
  • Ian McNulty
  • Cleaver & Co. will host the Terra Madre Day event.

Slow Food, an international organization for local and traditional foods, celebrates its Terra Madre (“Mother Earth”) Day each year on Dec. 10, when its various chapters around the world each hold their own events. Last year, these numbered over 1,000 celebrations in 125 countries and this year New Orleans will have its own Terra Madre Day event once again too.

After a two-year hiatus, Slow Food New Orleans was re-launched this past fall and on Dec. 10, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the local group will host a Terra Madre Day event at Cleaver & Co., the new, whole-animal butcher shop Uptown.

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Mardi Gras in November: the Lady Buckjumpers’ 28th annual second line

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 9:11 AM

A second line parade by nature is more fun than the law allows in most US states. Then there are those second lines which go over and above the call of duty, that sets your soul afire, leaves you on a natural high (or unnatural hangover) that lasts for days, that goes down in the annals of history as “oh that year they did that!” The Buckjumpers parade last weekend met that criteria. Their parade was beyond epic. Admittedly I have close relationships with some of the club and band members that paraded Sunday so I decided to do an reality check and survey random paraders: “Is it me or is this second line completely off the chain??” I asked to which I was responded to with something along the lines of a “HELL YEAH!!” I’ve since read multiple reviews on social media by attendees comparing it to a Mardi Gras parade by virtue of the sheer massiveness of the crowd.

There were three divisions - Men, women and children. Of the three, the Lady Buckjumpers tends to draw the biggest crowd. Some of that popularity is no doubt a result of the club’s leadership. The president of the ladies division is Linda Tapp, renown and beloved throughout New Orleans. Humble, always smiling, she is royalty times three: president and founding member of the LBJs; mother of the late New Orleans rap icon Soulja Slim; and life partner with the leader of the preeminent Rebirth Brass Band, Phil Frazier. The latter formed a powerful partnership with the supremely popular Rebirth serving as the official band of the Lady Buckjumpers for over two decades, performing year round at their events up to and including their annual parade. This year, however, the LBJs ushered in a changing of their musical guard.

(more below the jump!)

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