Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: Gutenberg! The Musical!

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 5:38 PM

Gary Rucker and Sean Patterson star in Gutenberg! The Musical!.
  • Gary Rucker and Sean Patterson star in Gutenberg! The Musical!.

“Writing a musical is not easy,” says Doug Simon (Gary Rucker) — to which Bud Davenport (Sean Patterson) quips, “Hats off to you, Elton John!”

Gutenberg! The Musical!, currently being produced by The Storyville Collective at The Theatre at St. Claude, is a play-within-a-play in which a couple of aspiring show creators present a sliver of an idea to would-be producers. The two engaging characters — Bud, who is writing the score, and Doug, who is developing the script — hope to convince investors to back their idea so they can produce it on Broadway. There are just a few problems with their plan. Their nonaction hero, Johannes Gutenberg, invented movable type, which does not lend itself to quick-witted dialogue and dramatic action. Doug and Bud search the internet for information about him but find that details of his life are “scant.” So they make up a story, classifying it as “historical fiction” (“fiction that’s true”) and set it to music performed by the amiable pianist, James Kelly.

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Zydeco Hall of Fame in Cajun country burns down; owner now says he may rebuild

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 3:05 PM

Miller's Zydeco Hall of Fame in Lawtell, Louisiana burned down Tuesday night. It was one of the last extant zydeco roadhouses. - ROBIN MAY
  • Miller's Zydeco Hall of Fame in Lawtell, Louisiana burned down Tuesday night. It was one of the last extant zydeco roadhouses.

The world of zydeco music lost one of its seminal clubs to a mysterious fire on Tuesday night, in a small town just outside of Opelousas, the self-described zydeco capital of the world.

Current owner Dustin Miller called the club "Miller’s Zydeco Hall of Fame,” but acolytes knew the Lawtell dance hall as zydeco’s Grand Ol’ Opry. Opened in 1947, Richard’s occupied a must-stop address on the famed "chitlin circuit." Both B.B. King and John Lee Hooker played there, expanding the club's legacy beyond zydeco.

The destruction of the dance hall, which was known for most of the 20th century as Richard’s, could bury for good the go-to stage for zydeco luminaries like Boozoo Chavis, Clifton Chenier and Terrance Simien. Zydeco pioneer John Delafose, who graced the Richard’s stage countless times, died of a heart attack shortly after a performance there in 1994.

“The building was built with good, old sturdy wood,” says dance hall researcher John Sharp, who visited the site on Wednesday. “Once a little bit of it caught fire, that’s a lot of fuel. Now, it’s a gutted big black hole.”

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Plans to grow medical marijuana discussed in Louisiana House committee

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 1:50 PM


The lucrative nature of marijuana sales was at the center of a House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development discussion today about a law that puts the state into the marijuana distribution business.

Louisiana State University and Southern University are the two schools that plan to grow marijuana at separate facilities for use as medical treatments authorized under legislation approved last spring that legalizes and regulates such distribution. LSU’s operation alone is estimated to cost between $10 million and $15 million, and lawmakers were warned it will take seven to eight years for the operation to become lucrative.

LSU Vice President for Agriculture and Dean of the College of Agriculture Bill Richardson said a contractor will be selected within the next three to four weeks.

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Auction House Market will open in Warehouse District in 2017

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 10:20 AM

The Auction House Market, a new food hall concept from the owners of St. Roch Market, will open by the end of 2017 at 801 Magazine St. - COURTESY THE AUCTION HOUSE MARKET
  • The Auction House Market, a new food hall concept from the owners of St. Roch Market, will open by the end of 2017 at 801 Magazine St.

The folks behind St. Roch Market have a new project in the Warehouse District.

The Auction House Market, which is slated to open by the end of the year, will house 10 food stalls on the bottom floor at 801 Magazine St., a warehouse building previously occupied by the New Orleans Auction Galleries. The building, which was built in 1895, was originally the Tinker Copper and Iron Works, and the owners say plans for the market’s design will honor the original concept.

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Annual Sync Up music and film conferences start on Friday

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 10:05 AM

Nos Amis
  • Nos Amis

Presented by New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation and New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC), the annual Sync Up Music and Sync Up Cinema conferences begin on Friday, April 28 and run through Friday, May 5. The conferences offer panel discussions, workshops, screenings and networking events designed to help independent artists navigate the entertainment industries. This year's program highlights include panel discussions "How Much Should You Spend on Your Indie Record?" and "Oh No You Didn’t — Use My Song Without Permission." Film screenings include Nos Amis, an HBO documentary about Eagles of Death Metal's return to the Bataclan concert hall a year after the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Admission to the conferences is free and open to the public but registration is required and available here. More information including the full schedule of events is here. All events take place at the The George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center (1225 N. Rampart Street).

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Editorial: Abolish Louisiana’s death penalty

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 6:13 PM


Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have abolished the death penalty. If some state lawmakers have their way, Louisiana will become the 20th state — but they face strong opposition. Some district attorneys and sheriffs say the death penalty is a deterrent as well as leverage to convince those accused of capital crimes to plead to lesser but still severe charges.

Senate Bill 142 would abolish the death penalty effective Aug. 1, but it would not apply to the more than 70 people currently on Death Row in Louisiana. House Bill 10 would mandate life in prison without parole for people convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree rape or treason. This week, a Senate committee approved SB 142 by a 6-1 vote, sending it to the full Senate.

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Domestic violence protection for same-sex couples, dating partners moves to Louisiana House

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 2:25 PM


The House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice passed without objection two bills extending domestic violence protection to same-sex couples and to dating partners. They move to the full House for expected debate next week.

Under current law, the victims of domestic violence are given some protections and assistance through the Protection From Family Violence Act. Domestic abuse is considered to be an act of violence committed by one household member to another.
In Louisiana, same-sex couples are not eligible for the assistance because current law defines a household member as “any person of the opposite sex presently or formerly living in the same residence with the defendant as a spouse, whether married or not.”

House Bill 27 by state Rep. Patrick Connick, R-Marrero, would amend the definition of household member to include all couples with the elimination of the phrase “opposite sex.”

Two representatives from the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s office said they are not able to charge a suspect in same-sex violence as domestic violence, a more serious crime, instead having to opt for simple battery — a misdemeanor.

“(An abusive partner) should be prosecuted equally as anyone else would whether they’re opposite sex or not,” said state Rep. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge.

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Review: Regina Scully | Japanese Landscape — Inner Journeys

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 1:56 PM

Passages, 2012 by Regina Scully
  • Passages, 2012 by Regina Scully

Where does art originate? Art schools teach techniques, theories, trends and history, but most of the artworks that survive the test of time have something mysterious or ineffable about them that can't be taught in school. Such art transcends time and space: Where did the Mona Lisa's elusively beatific smirk come from and why does it affect us? Closer to home, there's always been something inexplicably Japanese about Regina Scully's complexly lyrical abstract paintings, yet the University of New Orleans graduate never studied Japanese art and has no explanation for her works' Asian tone.

The recent acquisition of several of her canvases by the New Orleans Museum of Art inspired further interest in the parallels between her work and the museum's stellar collection of 18th- and 19th-century Japanese paintings and drawings, and the result is this unusual side-by-side expo.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bill to kill Louisiana’s death penalty passes committee, heads to Senate floor

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 8:00 PM

State Sen. Dan Claitor, a Republican and a former prosecutor, wrote Senate Bill 142, which would abolish the death penalty in Louisiana.
  • State Sen. Dan Claitor, a Republican and a former prosecutor, wrote Senate Bill 142, which would abolish the death penalty in Louisiana.

When former prosecutor Marty Stroud began his career in Caddo Parish, his colleagues had a nickname for him: "fire eater." Stroud was notoriously tough, and well-known for his staunch support of the death penalty.

That’s all changed now, he told members of the Louisiana Senate’s Judiciary C Committee on Tuesday. He said the tide turned after his prosecution of Glenn Ford, who spent nearly 30 years on death row for a murder he didn’t commit.

“After the death verdict, myself and our team went out and celebrated the night away, comfortable with what I had accomplished,” Stroud recalled. “There was only one problem. The defendant was not guilty of the crime.”

Stroud, his voice at times cracking with emotion, relayed his story during a hearing Tuesday over Senate Bill 142, which calls for the abolition of the death penalty in Louisiana. It was written by Baton Rouge Sen. Dan Claitor, a former prosecutor himself, and a Republican.

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Federal judge blocks Trump's order to pull funding from "sanctuary" cities

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 6:08 PM

Protesters in New Orleans march against Trump's immigration orders in January.
  • Protesters in New Orleans march against Trump's immigration orders in January.

As Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other U.S. mayors met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions over "sanctuary" cities, a federal judge in California halted an order from President Donald Trump that threatens to withhold federal funds from those cities.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick granted a preliminary injunction in two lawsuits against Trump's order to halt funding to cities with so-called "sanctuary" policies that prevent local law enforcement from complying with federal immigration authorities over immigration issues. New Orleans was listed among nine jurisdictions targeted by the Trump administration, despite Landrieu and other officials repeatedly assuring the city's compliance with the feds. Santa Clara County and San Francisco said billions of dollars in funding could be at stake; New Orleans similarly relies on several million federal dollars annually for citywide funding.
Trump is unable to withhold federal funding "that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement ... merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the President disapproves," according to the ruling.

"These constitutional violations are not limited to San Francisco or Santa Clara, but apply equally to all states and local jurisdictions," the ruling says. "Given the nationwide scope of the Order, and its apparent constitutional flaws, a nationwide injunction is appropriate."

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