Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gambit TV: 3-Day Weekend A&E picks

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Don't sit home this weekend when there's stuff to do. Noah Bonaparte Pais broke it all down on this morning's WWL Eyewitness Morning News with Eric Paulsen: Tatsuya Nakatani, Bernadette Peters with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Sutton Foster, The Mystery in Old Bathbath, Flashdance: The Musical and lots more.

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City unveils "one-stop shop" for permits

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 4:12 PM

The three-word phrase has been tossed around City Hall for more than a year as the user-friendly answer for business owners to have access to all they'll need as they navigate permitting bureaucracy.

It was supposed to roll out by fall 2012, yet it remained to be seen whether it would surface in 2013. Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office of cultural economy released a draft of "Permits and Licenses for Cultural Businesses: A Basic Guide" late last year, a sort of prelude to a "one-stop shop." Today, Landrieu announced a website, a beta mobile app, and a physical office opening inside City Hall to function as a "One Stop Shop to improve and streamline the customer experience related to securing permits and licenses." The departments sharing the space include the City Planning Commission, Historic Districts Landmarks Commission, Safety & Permits and Vieux Carre Commission (VCC), and will be moved in "by the end of the week" with a formal ribbon cutting next month. The space is room 7W303 on the seventh floor of City Hall.

From the press release:

This physical site enhances the customer experience by providing an easier, single point of entry for applicants and by improving the review process through cross-departmental collaboration. Permitting and licensing agencies that remain offsite will be able to receive, review, and process applications using a recently introduced enterprise system, and with the benefit of new, updated digital zoning information. The application for other permits and licenses, including occupational licenses and mayoralty permits from the Bureau of Revenue, will also start in the One Stop Shop.

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30th anniversary French Quarter Festival details announced

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 11:56 AM

French Quarter Festival director Marci Schramm (left) watches as Kermit Ruffins and artist Tami Curtis Ellis unveil the official festival poster.
  • French Quarter Festival director Marci Schramm (left) watches as Kermit Ruffins and artist Tami Curtis unveil the official festival poster.

French Quarter Festival director Marci Schramm, a host of sponsors and former mayor and current Urban League president Marc Morial announced details of the 30th anniversary French Quarter Festival (April 11-14). The initial musical lineup is here, and some of the top acts include Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, Donald Harrison Jr., Soul Rebels, Raw Oyster Cult (a revised Radiators lineup), Bonerama, Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Orchestra, Bill Summers and Jazalsa, Dr. Michael White and many others. The festival is also reintroducing evening concerts, and they include performances by Dirty Dozen Brass Band, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet and Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience.

In brief remarks, Morial discussed the founding of the festival during his father Ernest "Dutch" Morial's administration. In advance of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition, improvements to French Quarter sidewalks and infrastructure had caused disruptions for businesses in the historic district.

"The idea (for the first festival) was to celebrate the end of construction," he said. "It might have been a one year event, but look what we have today."

The 2012 festival drew more than 500,000 visitors, half of them local, said Schramm, and it created an economic impact of $260 million. It featured 1,400 musicians on 21 stages and more than 2,000 volunteers worked on the event.

There are several festival posters for the 30th anniversary, and the main one is artist Tami Curtis Ellis' image of Kermit Ruffins in Jackson Square.

Other additions to the four-day free event include more traditional jazz on stages at the French Market and Bourbon Street; local film screenings at the U.S. Mint; more dance lessons; the cabaret stage will move to The Palm Court; oil company Chevron has become the festival's title sponsor and will set up a tent with interactive games and exhibits highlighting math, science and technology. It also will sponsor Satchmo SummerFest. Sponsor Abita Brewing Company is adding mention of the festival to six-pack wraps that will be distributed throughout the country. Capital One is sponsoring free shuttles at the festival and free smart phone apps with festival information.

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Uptown Messenger: Councilwoman Cantrell will push for better parade route enforcement

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Robert Morris at Uptown Messenger has an update on District B City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell's plans to seek tighter enforcement of safety laws along Mardi Gras parade routes, the subject of a January story in Gambit. Uptown Messenger with a story on a recent Cantrell-hosted meeting on the subject:

While walking the routes (or riding them, as she did in Zulu), Cantrell said her top concern was ladders too close to the street.


She observed other problems as well, she said in a short interview after the meeting — people “roping off areas and commandeering public property, and the altercations that occur from that,” the portable toilets that spring up, or the moving trucks that park near the route for instant keg parties.

Over the coming year, Cantrell said she intends to begin convening roundtable meetings with other city officials to discuss issues such as how to empower officers to cite lawbreakers in a way that will stop the problem, or how to target the owners and the renters of portable toilets that are illegally placed.

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City Council notes: Council open to discussion of more jail construction; Judge "blindsided" by Juvenile Justice Center plans

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman appeared before the New Orleans City Council Criminal Justice Committee meeting yesterday. And while the sheriff was predictably tight-lipped with media on the subject of indictments against two former high-ranking employees, he was more than happy to talk about another controversial subject: building a new jail larger than the 1,438 facility the City Council authorized in 2011.

Gusman, who came to the meeting to provide an update Orleans Parish Prison's (OPP) two major FEMA-funded construction projects: a $74 million $81.5 million warehouse and kitchen building set to open later this year, and a $134 million $145 million intake, administration and housing building, set to open in February 2014. (Correction: The budget figures Gusman quoted to the City Council this week only represented construction, rather than construction and design, costs.) FEMA only pays for one-to-one replacement of what was previously in place. For the purposes of the FEMA dollars that fund it, the latter facility replaces the Templeman III and IV jail buildings and the former Intake Processing Center.

In order to secure the council's approval, Gusman agreed to decommission the jail's other housing units, capping the formerly 7,500-bed jail to 1,438, a move backed by advocates for prisoners' rights and alternatives to incarceration. The jail is currently the subject of a prisoner class-action lawsuit which appears likely to result in a federal consent decree. And its per-inmate per-day funding structure has been called a "perverse incentive" to keep inmates inside as long as possible.

At the meeting, however, Gusman asked council members to consider a new unit — located on publicly owned land between the new kitchen and the new housing facility — to accommodate the jail's medical and mental health needs, with a replacement of the Templeman I and II facilities, which were demolished in 2008. The 1,438 bed building will not be fully equipped to handle acute mental health patients, he said.

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A nontraditional Lenten fish fry on tap at Grow Dat Youth Farm

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 7:49 AM

grow dat
  • An earlier event at Grow Dat Youth Farm.

The Lenten fish fry is a long-running tradition in New Orleans, but not all of these events follow a traditional script. For instance, one coming up next Friday, March 8, won’t be held at a church but rather at a nonprofit urban farm for local high school students, with music, art and a menu with lighter options alongside the fried fish.

The local/healthy food advocate Slow Food New Orleans is hosting this one-night fish fry at Grow Dat Youth Farm, a youth development program operated from City Park with acres of crops and a facility built from stacked, repurposed shipping containers.

The chef Don Boyd, founder of the nonprofit Café Hope, and local Slow Food chapter president Gary Granata are preparing the food along with Moscow 57, a New York entertainment company founded by Ellen Kaye, whose family ran the legendary Russian Tea Room in Manhattan for close to 50 years. Granata and Kaye have been collaborating on pop-up food, music and art events and decided to join forces for a one-of-a-kind fish fry at Grow Dat.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cirque du Soleil previews Quidam at Gambit

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 11:37 AM

In a publicity preview, juggler/performer Patrick McGuire of Cirque du Soleil's Quidam visited Gambit's offices yesterday and performed a short impromptu juggling exhibition. McGuire is one of the original cast members of Quidam, which debuted in 1996. He was fresh out of high school when he auditioned for the troupe, but he was already an accomplished juggler. Renowned juggler and artist Michael Moschen picked him for the show, and he's since worked with Cirque du Soleil on several shows and tours. He spent two years in Las Vegas in Mystere, and he currently plays Papa in Quidam, which is at the New Orleans Arena March 13-17.

In Quidam, a young girl named Zoe is bored and wants to experience more excitement in life. She conjures an imaginary world full of exotic performers, and the jugglers, aerialists, acrobats, singers and other circus arts performers tempt even her distant and apathetic parents to find new wonder in their lives.

Cirque du Soleil was about 10 years old when McGuire first joined the company. It was just beginning to gain wider exposure for its elevation of circus arts and performance into its precise, grand-scale dazzling shows. The company now employs more than 1,300 artists/performers from 50 nations. The company estimates that 100 million spectators around the world have seen one of the shows since its founding in 1984.

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Student’s “Dish That Makes a Difference” to be interpreted by local chefs

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:23 AM

  • Courtesy of NOCCA
  • Sierra Torres (center) and classmates in NOCCA's culinary arts program.

If you suddenly start seeing a certain lemongrass grilled shrimp dish with ribs and crab kimchee on more New Orleans menus, that’s not because it’s necessarily the trendy new dish. Rather, it’s because this recipe cooked up by local ninth grader Sierra Torres is the “Dish That Makes a Difference.”

That’s the name for an annual student culinary program at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), the high school-level arts school in the Faubourg Marigny. Begun in 2010 in conjunction with the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, the program challenges students in NOCCA’s culinary arts program with a recipe competition. In past years, winners saw their recipes prepared and served in Lagasse’s restaurants, with proceeds benefiting their school.

This year, however, the Dish That Makes a Difference has been expanded. From March 1-10, Torres’ recipe will be featured at more than a dozen local restaurants and even the food truck Taceaux Loceaux. Participating chefs have free rein to reinterpret Torres’ recipe for their own menus.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: Equus

Posted By on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Peter Shaffer’s Equus starts with the stark news that a young man has blinded six horses, and the wild ride deep into his psyche easily sustains the play through to its conclusion. In Promethean Theatre Company's production at Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts, Bob Edes Jr., as psychiatrist Martin Dysart, and Jesse Friedman, as the troubled assailant Alan Strang, star in an intense production.

The play is set in England and most of the cast sticks with British accents throughout. Hesther Saloman (Rebecca Frank) convinces the reluctant Dysart to treat Strang. More numb with horror than menacing, the boyish Alan resists him at first, but Dysart knows he is aching to reveal what caused him to maim the animals, especially because it’s clear Strang reveres horses. Leah Farrelly’s very effective two-tiered set makes the front of the stage into Dysart’s office, and a raised back portion serves as Strang’s hospital room and the setting for most of his disgorged memories.

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Indulging your inner child at Barcadia

Posted By on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 4:47 PM


You already know the games at Baracdia, the new tavern/arcade mash-up in the Warehouse District where coin-op classics like Ms. Pac Man, Street Fighter II and Galaga line the walls. But it’s the menu that has a few surprises.

The cheese on the flagboy burger is actually a fried patty of white cheddar that oozes out from its crisp shell. Pork belly preserves go on the Brian burger and the Naq Attaque comes with French onion soup re-imagined as a burger topping (you won’t need a spoon).


Meanwhile, order Billy’s fried PB&J and what you get is a hot, tempura-battered version of the lunchbox staple, done up with powdered sugar and resembling something like a giant peanut butter and jelly beignet. The carton of milk served on the side looks like a gimmick until approximately the second bite, when this dairy sidecar proves wholly necessary.

This is a concept that makes no bones about catering to your inner child.

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