Friday, May 19, 2017

House proposal on Uber and Lyft: Newton's First Law of Bad Government

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 2:50 PM


Sir Isaac Newton reduced much of what we know about the universe to a handful of precise mathematical formulas. Good thing Sir Isaac isn’t around today to try to make sense of the Louisiana Legislature. He’d surely go mad.

Or perhaps, upon noticing the extravagance with which hordes of unctuous lobbyists are pushing a bill to regulate web-based transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft, he might be moved to formulate his First Law of Bad Government: A proposed law’s awfulness is geometrically proportional to the number of lobbyists hired to secure its passage.

That is surely the case with House Bill 527 by Rep. Kenny Havard, R-Jackson, which might otherwise be called the No Lobbyist Left Behind Bill.

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Shotgun Cinema presents experimental film program Saturday night

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 2:24 PM


Shotgun Cinema presents a programs of short experimental films by local filmmaker Michael Arcos this Saturday, May 20 at 8 p.m. at New Orleans Photo Alliance (1111 St. Mary St.). "Tiny Crimes and Red Wine" compiles work made by Arcos between 1999 and 2017 in a variety of film and video formats. Tickets are $6 and $5 for member for Alliance members. More info is here.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

With We Are Stars, Water Seed prepares for lift off

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 8:00 PM

Water Seed celebrates the release of We Are Stars at Blue Nile May 20. - PHOTO COURTESY WATER SEED
  • Water Seed celebrates the release of We Are Stars at Blue Nile May 20.

Lou Hill once compared Water Seed's upcoming album to Prince's 1999 — a preview of what's to come from artists coming into their own, with something bigger on the horizon.

"This is the setup," says drummer and bandleader Hill. "Where we really want to take you, this is just your ticket to the theme park ... Get to the theme park, you’re cool. We’ll get you to Space Mountain. We have this amazing thing planned. Get on board."

Water Seed's We Are Stars — out May 19 — is the latest genre-spanning full-length album from the New Orleans funk band, remodeling retro-futurist funk and building ecstatic, maximalist pop in the vein of band heroes like Cameo, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Gap Band and Prince, but it's firmly and inextricably linked back to its New Orleans hometown, from its loose, shoulder-rolling funk to the gospel, jazz, and inventive, playful spirit weaving through the album's 14 songs.
The band formed as a songwriting team at Xavier University. They're now joined by J Sharp, flutist Cinese and vocalists Berkley the Artist and Shaleyah.

"The New Orleans connection is a big part of it," Sharp says. "We’re proud of it. We cut our teeth in New Orleans. It’s ingrained in us. It’s a flair. It’s an ideal. No matter what genre or style we play, New Orleans has some of that. New Orleans probably started it. Our ability to move with fluidity in and out of genres and styles is an inherently New Orleans tradition. It’s a big part of how we came to realize what we’re doing now."

We Are Stars begins with an opening duet of big band funk on "Open Sesame" and "Bollywood," followed by a gospel-inspired piano blues of "Home to You" and the bass rich futurefunk of "Arithmetic." Mid-album standout "Duke'ish" blows up Stevie Wonder's R&B into a starry-eyed jazz breakdown. The band's progressive arrangements don't linger or get too comfortable, nor do they drift into jams or unfocused half-thoughts, though they never settle for a singular interesting riff or harmony.

They rely on a full-band dynamic, one that's been polished over the course of their exhaustive live shows, to find their singular voice — one that's inspired and instructed by their New Orleans roots but looking outward and forward. "It's what our instructors would want us to do, expand their concepts and what they taught us," Hill says.

"The nuances of each person making a contribution in real time has a lot to do with how we achieve the sound," Sharp says. "I’m not even sure we could achieve the same things."

"We wanted [the album] to have a live feel," Shaleyah says. "Because our show is so dynamic and energetic, we wanted to bring that to the recording process and reflect that on the album."

Live, Shaleyah says, the band takes what it learns from the audience. "It helps us to know, 'OK, people are really responding to this,'" she says. "'We can juice it a little more.'"

The band celebrates the release of We Are Stars at 10 p.m. Saturday, May 20 at Blue Nile with Cyril Neville. Water Seed is likely to play the entire album, Hill says, "plus anything we can throw at that stage we think is funky."

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Restaurant news for Primitivo, Dave & Buster's and Casamento's

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 6:40 PM

Primitivo, Adolfo Garcia's Central City restaurant, will close this Saturday, May 20. - HELEN FREUND
  • Primitivo, Adolfo Garcia's Central City restaurant, will close this Saturday, May 20.

Adolfo Garcia' s hearth-focused restaurant Primitivo (1800 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 504-881-1775) will close this weekend. The restaurant, which opened two years ago, was part of a string of openings on the developing Central City stretch, including Dryades Public Market and the outdoor food hall Roux Carre.

Chef Nick Martin's cooking garnered accolades from critics who lauded the chefs' use of fire and the restaurant's rustic ethos, in which most dishes passed over a three-piece oven and open grill.

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La Casita to close Warehouse District location

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 4:19 PM

Warehouse District Mexican restaurant La Casita will close May 20. - COURTESY LA CASITA/FACEBOOK
  • Warehouse District Mexican restaurant La Casita will close May 20.

La Casita (634 Julia St.), the Warehouse District Mexican restaurant and happy hour hub, will close Saturday, May 20.

The restaurant, known for its happy hour margarita specials and creative tacos, made the announcement Wednesday in a press release.

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Caravan Stage Company opens Nomadic Tempest Friday

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 10:43 AM


Caravan Stage Company has delayed the local opening of Nomadic Tempest until Friday.

The company lives and performs on its boat, the Amara Zee. Nomadic Tempest debuted in St. Petersburg, Florida April 4. The company was supposed to sail to New Orleans and open the show May 11, but rough weather in the Gulf of Mexico forced delays. The ship is at Pontchartain Landing, where performances will start at 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Bill to end death penalty in Louisiana killed in House committee

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 8:08 PM

A bid to end the death penalty in Louisiana was killed Wednesday night after a House committee rejected a bill that would eliminate capital punishment by a single vote.

The bill’s failure to get past the Administration of Criminal Justice committee seemed to signal that an identical bill that had been passed by a Senate committee, authored by Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, would also fail to advance through legislature.

After Wednesday’s vote, Claitor said he would abandon his bill as well, according to multiple reports.

One of the nine lawmakers to vote against the bill, Rep. Steven Pylant, R-Winnsboro, was actually a co-sponsor of the bill. It was authored by Rep. Terry Landry, D-New Iberia.

During debate on the issue, Pylant, a Republican and retired sheriff of Franklin Parish, said he was in fact “100 percent in favor of the death penalty,” and said he had put his name on the prospective legislation so that the public could be aware of how infrequently the death penalty was being administered in Louisiana, despite it being a law on the books.

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Report: Dennis Quaid to play George W. Bush in Katrina: American Crime Story

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 7:21 PM


Actor Dennis Quaid is the latest high-profile name to join the cast of Katrina: American Crime Story, producer Ryan Murphy's limited series examining the days after Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods. According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, Quaid will play President George W. Bush.

Previous cast announcements have included Annette Bening as former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Matthew Broderick as hapless FEMA head Michael "Brownie" Brown.

The series is set to air on FX in 2018.

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Review: The Spider Queen

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 3:58 PM


The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park is enchanting even without the appearance of super-sized puppets, medieval costumes, trolls, elves, druids and a Minotaur. So, as The NOLA Project introduces a cast of fantastic creatures and lighting effects in its original production, The Spider Queen, audience members’ imagination ignites. The characters and action are thrillingly close to spectators seated in the round, and lighting and sound effects enhance the story’s illusion.

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Bills on minimum wage, LGBT non-discrimination move to full state Senate for consideration

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 2:35 PM

State Sen. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, author of Senate Bill 153, which would increase the state minimum wage to $8.50 by 2019, and Senate Bill 155, which would enact a non-discrimination act for Louisiana employees. - PHOTO BY CAITIE BURKES
  • State Sen. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, author of Senate Bill 153, which would increase the state minimum wage to $8.50 by 2019, and Senate Bill 155, which would enact a non-discrimination act for Louisiana employees.

The Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations on Wednesday favorably moved two bills by Sen. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans — one to increase the state’s minimum wage to $8.50 an hour by 2019 and the other to enact a non-discrimination policy for Louisiana employees who identify as LGBT.

Senate Bill 153, which was approved for full Senate debate on a 4-2 vote, would increase the state’s minimum wage from the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25 to $8 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2018, and $8.50 beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

Senate Bill 155 carried 3-1, with committee chairman Neil Riser opposing. It would enact the Louisiana Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would add language to existing law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.

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