Thursday, May 26, 2016

More love for Shaya and Cane & Table from national magazines

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 5:56 PM

  • Chef Alon Shaya.
Chef Alon Shaya's namesake restaurant is on a roll. The restaurant was named Best New Restaurant in America at the James Beard Foundation awards in May, and Shaya was named Best Chef: South by the group in 2015. Esquire's Tom Junod named Shaya the magazine's restaurant of the year in March. And Shaya (4213 Magazine St., 504-891-4213) also drew recent accolades from Saveur and Garden & Gun, among others.

This week, GQ included Shaya among its top restaurants in America. Written by New Orleanian Brett Martin, the survey explores dining trends from New York to Los Angeles, as well as cities less well known for dining, such as Atlanta. Martin reflects on everything from yacht club restaurants to more casual concepts, such as David Chang's chicken sandwich concept Fuku, and Shake Shack creator Danny Meyer's Chick'n Shack. 

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review: Krewe of Vaporwave's virtual Mardi Gras parade

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 1:47 PM

A snapshot of "A Tribute to War Not Being the Answer," one of the vkv floats.
  • A snapshot of "A Tribute to War Not Being the Answer," one of the vkv floats.
Last night the first annual Virtual Krewe of Vaporwave rolled. Theirs was a virtual parade, viewed via popular streaming service Twitch. To be clear, the parade, a series of video/music collaborations by pseudonymous artists, was entirely online.

It would be easy to dismiss this as a symptom of alienation, but watching it was the opposite of alienating. So many of us do already consume so much of life through screens, whether we're streaming ParadeCam, a small bright rectangle of noise and spectacle in the corner of our workstation at some geographically remote office, or scrolling numbly through Carnival-soaked social media, the documentation of other people's good times. The Virtual Krewe of Vaporwave positioned itself as a joke about this tendency — “This is something to be experienced alone on your computer in the dark,” the Krewe's founder, Merely Synecdoche, told Michael Patrick Welch — but functioned as both a critical commentary on it and, by bringing viewers together at a set time to watch it, even a partial remedy.

Whereas some react to the malign influences of digital technology on our daily lives by mindlessly celebrating technology, fetishizing it, or hailing it as a magical force that can rescue us from our problems, Synecdoche says Vaporwave is about "the loneliness and pointlessness of the Internet."

Vaporwave as a genre is internationally influenced, built of broken pieces of the past, born of a sense of loss, and according to Synecdoche, "on the Internet it’s already been declared dead many times over,” making it a good genre fit for 2016 New Orleans. This first year's theme was "Vaporwave is Dead: Long Live Vaporwave." So: elegiac, fatalistic and unshakably fixated on itself... any of these characteristics sound familiar?

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Y@ Speak: king cake fever

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 2:02 PM

Say "king cake" in a crowded place and people will scramble like Fred Flintstone. Now that it's socially and legally acceptable to buy and eat it, you are its prisoner. Is it in the office kitchen this morning? Should I grab a single slice in a plastic container at this drug store? How much is "too much"? You're thinking about eating it now. It's OK. Have that slice. You earned it.

Also this week: Sean Payton loves New Orleans so much that he's keeping his multi-million dollar job in it, and Wizard World Comic Con comes to town.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

What others are saying about Louisiana's suddenly interesting gubernatorial race

Posted By on Mon, Oct 26, 2015 at 5:33 PM


It's been almost 48 hours since the Louisiana governor's race got interesting — and statewide and national media are taking notice. A few samples of what the world is learning about politics in the Pelican State:

, "David Vitter lurches toward a humiliating defeat: A record of scandal and hypocrisy finally catches up to him"

Sean Illing explains the Louisiana "jungle primary" system and sums up the events of last week, including an explanation of why the auto accident in which Vitter was involved last Friday may be more than a simple fender bender. But Illing lays out the story and the players for a national audience (from a pro-Democrat point of view):
For months, David Vitter was the prohibitive frontrunner. He has name recognition, political clout, a plethora of cash, and a state whose demographics increasingly favor conservative Republicans. But this is a unique political climate. Jindal, one of the worst governors in the history of the state, has made toxic everything he touched, including the Republican brand. Running as a Republican gubernatorial candidate after Jindal was always going to be tricky. In addition to that, Vitter, as James Carville told Salon recently, is “one of the most flawed candidates in American politics.”

The Daily Beast
, "The Big Sleazy’s Insane Governor’s Race"

Writer Gideon Resnick calls GOP nominee David Vitter "a kind of dorky dad-figure who would fit perfectly in a Tim Allen sitcom role," and runs down the various stories of the last week: the candidates, the prostitute, the American Zombie, and the Big Chief vs. Spy Boy contretemps that took place last Friday on Metairie Road. 

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Y@ Speak: Ten Years Gone

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 1:20 PM

As New Orleans nears the 10th anniversary of The Complete And Abject Federal Levee Failures of 2005 and every news outlet on the planet serves up heaps of hot takes, let's look at how y'all are getting the led out. Also: The New Orleans Saints don't completely blow it this time and (not) Bobby Jindal unveils his latest campaign vid.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Upstairs Inferno documentary premieres at Prytania Theatre

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 3:22 PM

Patrons at the UpStairs Lounge, which was destroyed in a fire June 24, 1973. - JOHNNY TOWNSEND
  • Patrons at the UpStairs Lounge, which was destroyed in a fire June 24, 1973.

On the Sunday evening of June 24, 1973, an act of arson created a deadly blaze in the UpStairs Lounge, a second-story gay bar in the French Quarter. Though the New Orleans Fire Department put out the fire quickly, 29 people died on the scene and three later died of injuries. Though it was the deadliest fire in New Orleans history, no one was ever arrested in connection with the fire, and the event was largely erased from public discussion due to homophobia. Some bodies were never claimed by family members.

On Wednesday, June 24, the 42nd anniversary of the fire, Robert L. Camina debuts his documentary Upstairs Inferno at the Prytania Theatre. Camina's film includes interviews with survivors and relative survivors who have not been previously interviewed. Also featured is Gambit political editor Clancy DuBos, who covered the fire for The Times-Picayune (recounted here).

UPSTAIRS INFERNO - Trailer 1 [HD] from Camina Entertainment on Vimeo.

Many survivors are scheduled to attend the premiere, including Regina Adams, Rickey Everett and Francis Dufrene. Family and friends of survivors also will attend, and Louisiana Fire Marshal H. "Butch" Browning will participate in a Q&A.

There is a sold-out showing at 7:30 p.m. but tickets are still available for the 10 p.m. screening.

Camina also directed the documentary Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, about a 2009 police raid of a Texas gay bar.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Y@ Speak: daylight savings

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 12:50 PM

Time is a social construct and springing clocks forward has turned everything upside-down: newspapers predict the future, bats live in schools and cows take over the West Bank. Also in this week's Y@ Speak: weighing in on Chris Rose, saying goodbye to folk hero Pierre Thomas, and people hold a "second line" for Spock while a real second line takes place.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Good People Go to Hell: An interview with filmmaker Holly Hardman

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 11:32 PM


Holly Hardman's new documentary film Good People Go to Hell, Saved People Go to Heaven takes as its subject the everyday lives of Louisianans coping with the impending end of the world. Without commentary or an obvious agenda, Hardman gives us blue-collar, mostly white, mostly West- and North-Louisiana folks trying to rebuild their own lives between disasters (Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Isaac) while spreading the word of an impending, scripturally guaranteed mega-disaster that only the souls of the saved can survive.

The overall approach is impressionistic, a pastiche of moments and interactions. With the exception of a few glimpses of megachurch executives, the people in this movie don't have money or power. They're fighting to keep their families housed and their marriages from collapsing, struggling to overcome very familiar varieties of post-flood depression and chemical dependency.

Making someone the subject of a documentary inherently exoticizes him or her. Hardman's film is refreshingly free of classism or Yankee snobbery; her subjects come across on their own terms, and besides a few doctrinal quirks — believing almost every human ever born deserves eternal torture at the hands of a sadistically deranged demiurge — they seem sympathetic and likable.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

New Orleans developer Pres Kabacoff on housing and gentrification

Posted By on Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 2:01 PM


Gawker contributor Peter Moskowitz is writing a book about gentrification. He interviewed New Orleans developer Pres Kabacoff about his company, HRI Properties, which has been a major force in developing the Warehouse District, CBD and Lower Garden District, including remaking public housing projects. The interview (posted here) addresses building housing, gentrification and the poor.

From the interview:
Moskowitz: How do you make money and make affordable housing at the same time?

Kabacoff: The trick is to get market rate to come. The affordable will come. But if the market rate doesn't come, you end up with all the affordable and the issues they tried to unwind with these programs like Hope VI. On the affordable side, probably a third of those people you would love to have as your neighbor, another third—the kind of people who if their refrigerator stops working their life falls apart—if you can get them stable, you want them, and a third you just don't have the social staff to deal with the issues they're bringing to the table.

When we do developments, it's usually its one-third market, one-third workforce, and one-third former public housing—mothers with children on food stamps and all that stuff. There's a mixture of people. How do we afford to do the affordable piece? You need a lot of subsidy.

Moscowitz: But what about that last third? The poorest. How do you house them?

Kabacoff: If there's crime that follows, the market rate gets nervous, votes with their feet and leaves, then it doesn't work. So what do you do with the third that's too difficult? You just don't take them, or you evict them. Just get them out of there. I don't have the staff to deal with them. One of the deficiencies of the Hope VI model is how do you provide social services for those people?
Moskowitz also responded to some reader questions. He's written for Gawker on housing issues and development in New York, Detroit, Camden, New Jersey, Paris and other cities.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Church Alley Coffee launches "Tasting Coffee in NOLA" zine

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 11:08 AM

The coffee scene in New Orleans is ever-expanding, with the arrival of craft coffee bars and pour-over spots from Uptown to the Bywater. Now, a new zine produced by Church Alley Coffee hopes to capture this pivotal moment in the city's coffee history.

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