Hollywood South

Friday, September 27, 2013

Saenger Theater opens with speeches, unveiling of $52 million renovation

Posted By on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 1:54 PM

The Saengers curtains parted to reveal the lit letters of the Canal Street theater
  • The Saenger's curtains parted to reveal the lit letters of the Canal Street theater

The Saenger Theatre opened its doors today for the first time since Hurricane Katrina closed the Canal Street landmark in 2005. Under new twinkling fiber optic ceiling stars — part of a $52 million renovation — Mayor Mitch Landrieu proclaimed the project a symbol “of resurrection, redemption, resilience, of building the city not back the way she was but the way she should have always been.”

The Saenger was built in 1927 and the team of public-private entities responsible for its renovation, including the Canal Street Development Corporation, Ace Theatrical Group and the City of New Orleans, restored the building to reflect the original, with modern accoutrements like an expanded stage. The inside is complete with the dashing red carpet reminiscent of the original, and everything from the chandeliers to the paint scheme was researched for historical accuracy and constructed to reflect the building’s original interior. “All of the work that you see here is a reincarnation of the original designs and the original paintings,” Landrieu said.

The Saenger will host a slew of Broadway shows, musical, comedic and stage acts, including a grand opening performance by Kristin Chenoweth and the Louisiana Philharmonic Oct. 5. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld performs three shows during this weekend’s soft opening. New Orleans is the third largest producer of Hollywood films, behind New York and Los Angeles, thanks to film credits offered by the state and will have an originating tax credit for Broadway productions as well, Landrieu said, “because, in order for this thing to work, these seats have to be full, and the productions have to be great.”

Broadway Across America President Lauren Reid said “New Orleans will now be a destination for Broadway’s best and brightest.”

Though the opening is one of the most anticipated post-Katrina rebuilding efforts and a linchpin of the Canal Street corridor rehabilitation, Landrieu said “there’s other stuff going on. This is not the only thing that’s happening as you think about what is occurring just in this general space, in these two square miles. You have the VA and UMC hospitals, $2 million coming out of the ground as we speak.”

New Orleans City Council President Jackie Clarkson was in the Saenger for her fifth birthday, before World War II. “Thanks for the memories,” she said. “Many a tale has been woven in this edifice.”

After dozens of stakeholders squeezed behind a gold ribbon for a photo-op, the curtains of the Saenger opened to display its historic SAENGER letters, lighted and floating on the newly revealed stage. “You have this before you today,” Landrieu said. “It’s a gift to the people of the city of New Orleans.”

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Y@ Speak: expectations

Posted By on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 11:51 AM

First it giveth, then it taketh away. Newspapers are dead and buried then return to a daily schedule. New Orleans Pelicans come and go within minutes. Prison donuts are a thing and likely will not be anymore. The right and left react to landmark decisions in Texas and D.C. A $100 brunch institution shuffles off this mortal coil. Service industry employees slumber in unusual ways. Governors — do they poop?

In this week's delayed edition of Y@ Speak (not what you expected, right?), New Orleans examines what is real, or really real, and whether they're, you know, cool about it. If not, one can always seek refuge in Target on the West Bank, where the celebrities go.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beasts of the Southern Wild at CAC

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 2:39 PM

The Contemporary Arts Center opens an exhibit focusing on the film Beasts of the Southern Wild, other earlier movies by Court 13 artists and art installations by Eliza Zeitlin, younger sister of Beasts writer/director Benh Zeitlin. Many of the buildings and props in the film were created by Eliza, and she's been active in local art installations, including the Music Box.

Beyond "Beasts": The Art of Court 13 opens Friday with a reception and party featuring a reading by Beasts cowriter Lucy Alibar and music by the Lost Bayou Ramblers. Video installations include unseen footage from the film, behind the scenes footage and earlier Court 13 films. More on that here. (The teaser above was released by Fox Searchlight Pictures seven months ago and is not included in the exhibit.)

Tonight, Benh Zeitlin and Beasts and Court 13 filmmakers will screen other footage and discuss the film at the CAC's ArtSpeak at 7 p.m. Seating is limited.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Y@ Speak: Roll out the red carpet edition

Posted By on Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 12:49 PM

This week's Y@ Speak celebrates the famous and infamous, from corrupt local politicians to actual celebrities. A red carpet-caliber media presence greeted former Mayor Ray Nagin at his federal court appearance Wednesday, and then the real red carpet rolled out for the 2013 Academy Awards — which prompted the adorable Quvenzhane Wallis to be the subject of both positive and negative attention. Don't mess with Hushpuppy, y'all. Feel free to mess with Nagin.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Y@ Speak: The Beyonce Blackout Bowl edition

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2013 at 11:53 AM

New Orleans: You're like a quirky, twentysomething daughter who insists on hosting Thanksgiving dinner at her tiny shotgun house in a "weird" part of town. Things are going well at first — no one's arguing about politics and grandma actually seems to enjoy the silken tofu and kale dip — but then you end up burning the turkey.

The great Super Bowl blackout happened after unprecedented amounts of bootyliciousness during the halftime show. But you know what? It's fine. The week leading up to the big event was a fun, decadent time for celebrities, media and regular folks alike; I doubt visitors enjoy themselves this much during Super Bowls in other places. You may have burnt the turkey, but Aunt Cheryl totally wants to come back next year.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Y@ Speak goes to the movies!

Posted By on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 12:03 PM

It was a very Hollywood South kind of week with Academy Awards nomination announcements — featuring nods for locally shot films Beasts of the Southern Wild and Django Unchained — locals livetweeting the Golden Globes, a thick, horror movie-esque fog that blanketed the city and a shout-out from famous tween Justin Bieber. Try not to let it get to your head, New Orleans. Also this week: a notable king cake and your typical blend of tweets about weird local crime, fires and sports stuff I don't quite understand.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Django Unchained action figures

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 1:10 PM


Quentin Tarantino's latest, the bloody spaghetti Western meets blaxploitation epic Django Unchained, has not aired without controversy, as per Tarantino tradition. Some critics have railed against the film, which was shot in Louisiana, for its use of the "N" word and graphic depictions of gore and explosive violence against blacks.

Django has stacked up zillions of dollars from the box office, earned five Golden Globe nominations, and grabbed Academy Award nominations for best picture, best supporting actor, best original screenplay, and sound editing. (Read Ken Korman's review in Gambit.)

As Tarantino did for his previous violent revenge-fantasy Inglorious Basterds, The National Entertainment Collectibles Association and film studio The Weinstein Company have partnered to release eight-inch figurines of characters from the film, including Jamie Foxx's protagonist Django, Leonardo Di Caprio's slave owner Calvin Candie and Samuel L. Jackson's terrifying Stephen.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

NOPD goes Hollywood South with latest surveillance video

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 4:15 PM

The New Orleans Police Department often sends out press releases with surveillance footage, but somebody at NOPD got creative with this one, featuring a ne'er-do-well swiping a laptop in the Faubourg Marigny. Check it out:

Bad boys, bad boys. Whatcha gonna do?

Under the jump: the details of the crime.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Y@ Speak!

Posted By on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 9:18 AM

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of Y@ Speak, in which we capture notable 140-character bon mots, newsworthy items, gaffes by Saints players and local politicians and whatever else pops up on the New Orleans Twittersphere. To celebrate this occasion, I've rounded up some of my favorite or most memorable tweets — like a multi-layered digital birthday cake of sorts — and divided them by categories: we got NFL players saying dumb stuff, #neworleansproblems, anguish over the Saints' challenging year, reactions to the Times-Picayune cutbacks, interesting celebrity encounters, deep thoughts from Ray Nagin and so much more. Get your retweet/favorite fingers ready for this massive retrospective.

NFL Players Say the Darndest Things

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Miss Pussycat debuts new movie in Texas

Posted By on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 3:02 PM

When not performing with Quintron, Panacea Theriac (aka Miss Pussycat) is a puppetmaker and filmmaker. For the past seven years, she has produced several films chronicling the adventures of Trixie and the Treetrunks. She's just finishing post-production on the latest installment, a 50-minute film called The Mystery in Old Bathbath. She and Quintron are going out on tour this week, and the film's world premiere will take place in Houston Thursday (followed by screenings and shows in Austin, Waxahatchi, Texas, Oklahoma City, Okla., and Hot Springs, Ark.). The New Orleans premiere will be in early 2013.

The new film features scenes in an art museum, echoing the time Quintron and Miss Pussycat spent in residence at NOMA (Videos from songs off Sucre du Suavage, the album they made while at NOMA here). For those scenes, Panacea had several Bywater-based artists lend her smaller scale works.

Panacea's North Pole Nutrias (featuring the voices of Chris Rose, Bunny Matthews, Al Scramuzza and former Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee) may be familiar to viewers of Cox-10. The half-hour holiday show often runs during the holiday season on the cable channel.

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