Monday, May 22, 2017

Gambit's Digital Edition, May 23, 2017

Posted on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 10:49 AM

Friday, May 19, 2017

With the removal of Robert E. Lee's statue, what's next for the monuments and New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 10:00 PM

Robert E. Lee's statue was removed from its pedestal May 19. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Robert E. Lee's statue was removed from its pedestal May 19.

At 11 a.m, a single PA speaker packed into a wagon blasted Ginuwine's "Pony" and Blackstreet's "No Diggity" as a small crowd gathered outside Lee Circle to watch a fourth Confederate-era monument come down.

Robert E. Lee's statue —  16 feet tall, 8,000 pounds, in his Confederate uniform, arms crossed, facing north — would remain on his pedestal, where the statue stood since 1884, for only a few more hours. At a few minutes after 6 p.m. May 19, a crane lifted Lee off the tower to cheers from a growing crowd.

At 3 p.m., Mayor Mitch Landrieu addressed an invitation-only crowd inside Gallier Hall, his period at the end of a nearly three-year sentence arguing for the removal of Confederate-era monuments from New Orleans' public space. In his impassioned 20-minute address, Landrieu challenged the city to acknowledge and reconcile its ugly past while building a more inclusive society. If not, he said, "then this will all have been in vain." Meanwhile, two members of the construction crew tasked with their removal placed the crane's hook to the straps wrapped around Lee's statue.

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Review: A Quiet Passion

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 3:02 PM

Cynthia Nixon in A Quiet Passion
  • Cynthia Nixon in A Quiet Passion

There’s something uniquely sorrowful about any great artist who doesn’t find recognition during her lifetime. Then there’s Emily Dickinson, who ranks among the greatest American poets but lived to see only 10 of her approximately 1,800 poems find their way to print — and those were published anonymously, mostly in small regional newspapers.

The familiar story of an artist sacrificing everything for her work probably reaches its ultimate expression in Dickinson. She was brought up in church but deeply troubled by its teachings. She never married or accepted the attention of suitors, and during her lifetime (1830-1886), women enjoyed few of the freedoms taken for granted by men. She was devoted to her family and her writing, both of which could be found at the Amherst, Massachusetts family home she scarcely left during the second half of her life.

Given these circumstances, one could be forgiven for recoiling at the thought of a Dickinson biopic. The magic and mystery of Dickinson’s writings are hard to deny, but the details of her life hardly seem the stuff of great cinema.

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Protesters fear the worst at 'die-in' against American Health Care Act

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 2:59 PM


As a thick miasma of Trump-Russia news clouded the national consciousness, a small group of demonstrators staged a "die-in" May 19 to draw focus to the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

Around noon Friday, a dozen or so activists — many of whom belong to the Metairie and New Orleans chapters of national progressive group Indivisible — stood in front of Tulane Medical Center, some carrying signs shaped like tombstones. One woman was dressed as the Grim Reaper, with a cardboard scythe that said "Trumpcare." The funereal theme was meant to highlight potential loss of insurance coverage (and, by extension, life) related to the AHCA, which recently passed the House of Representatives.

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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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