Monday, June 18, 2018

Lena Waithe to deliver 'keynote conversation' at Essence Festival 2018

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2018 at 5:11 PM

  • Lena Waithe.

Lena Waithe, the actor/writer/producer who was just on the cover of Vanity Fair, will deliver what organizers call a "keynote conversation" July 6 during the Essence Music Festival.

Waithe won an Emmy Award last year for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series for her work on the show Master of None, and she created and executive produces the Showtime series The Chi. She's also been seen in the film Ready Player One and the TV series This is Us.

For more information, visit the Essence Festival website.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

WDSU-TV's Scott Walker to leave station next month

Posted By on Mon, Jun 4, 2018 at 7:12 PM

  • Scott Walker.

's Scott Walker is leaving the station next month to pursue "a new adventure," he announced today on Facebook. His last day will be July 27.

"I'm just a big believer in different chapters and challenges in my life," he told Gambit tonight. "I never saw myself anchoring in my sixties."

Walker said he's not leaving to take another news position, and that he and his family are not leaving New Orleans. "I really am leaving to spend more time with my family," he said, citing his two boys, 12 and 8.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Bianca Del Rio is back in the film Hurricane Bianca: From Russia With Hate

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2018 at 1:13 PM

Bianca Del Rio, left, and Rachel Dratch in Hurricane Bianca: From Russia With Hate. - COURTESY WOLFE FILMS
  • Bianca Del Rio, left, and Rachel Dratch in Hurricane Bianca: From Russia With Hate.

New Orleans' own Bianca Del Rio — aka Roy Haylock — has released her new movie Hurricane Bianca: From Russia With Hate, which now is available on a variety of streaming services (the DVD will be released June 19). It's a sequel to 2016's Hurricane Bianca, which starred Haylock as a Texas schoolteacher who loses his job when it's discovered he's gay; he returns as Bianca to take revenge.
According to press materials, From Russia With Hate also stars Rachel Dratch, Wanda Sykes, Cheyenne Jackson, Janeane Garofalo and a number of drag queens from RuPaul's Drag Race (which Del Rio won in 2014). The official description:
After winning over the staff and students of Milford High School, chemistry teacher Richard Martinez aka Bianca Del Rio (Roy Haylock) sent her nemesis Vice Principal Deborah "Debbie" Ward (Rachel Dratch) to jail in a flawlessly executed plan. When Debbie is released from jail, she conjures up a scheme to do away with Bianca Del Rio once and for all, by luring her on a dangerous journey to Russia to accept a teaching award and cash prize.
Bianca has been on Gambit's cover twice: in 2002, as a local performer, and in 2014, after her win on RuPaul's Drag Race

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Monday, May 7, 2018

WATCH: Sidney Torres' The Deed is back for season 2

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2018 at 2:49 PM

Sidney Torres IV in the trailer for his new CNBC series, The Deed.
  • Sidney Torres IV in the trailer for his new CNBC series, The Deed.

He didn't end up being your new mayor, New Orleans, but local real estate mogul Sidney Torres IV will be back on your basic-cable screens in June when The Deed, Torres' how-to house-flipping reality show, returns to CNBC. It premieres June 13 at 9 p.m.

According to a press release from CNBC:
Some of the partners featured this season include an ambitious law student looking to make his mark in real estate, a couple seeking to turn their flipping dream into a reality after a 10-year wait, a pair of recovering addicts looking for a fresh start, and one of Sidney's oldest friends who's in desperate need of help with his million dollar money pit.
Read Alex Woodward's June 2016 cover story about Torres here.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Review: The Simpsons do New Orleans in 'Lisa Gets the Blues'

Posted By on Sun, Apr 22, 2018 at 7:33 PM

Homer gets the hot sausage special at Gene's Po-Boy.
  • Homer gets the hot sausage special at Gene's Po-Boy.

The Simpsons
have been on TV for 29 years, meaning there are college graduates who have never known a non-Simpsons world. In all that time, the show has only taken on New Orleans twice: in "A Streetcar Named Marge" (1992), in which Marge Simpson gets a role in a community theater production of Streetcar! (a musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire) and 1997's "The Simpsons' Spin-Off Showcase," which featured a segment called "Chief Wiggum, P.I.," in which the Springfield police chief moves to New Orleans.

Tonight the titular family actually came to New Orleans in an episode called "Lisa Gets the Blues," in which Lisa Simpson rediscovers her passion for jazz when the Simpsons vacation in New Orleans. Trombone Shorty guest-starred in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Advocate report: The Simpsons return to New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 11:58 AM


This Sunday's episode of The Simpsons will find the titular dysfunctional family traveling to New Orleans, according to a report by Judy Bergeron in The New Orleans Advocate:
"So the basic premise is that Lisa gets the yips, she can't play (the baritone saxophone). She's got this psychological block, and what better or worse place to not be able to play jazz than New Orleans? So she figures it out there," said Al Jean, "The Simpsons" executive producer, from Los Angeles.

The Simpson family ends up in the Crescent City when their flight to Gainesville, Florida, gets rerouted.

"They don't actually go to the Jazz Fest. They do just about everything else in New Orleans," Jean said. "It's a real love letter to the city."
Longtime Simpsons viewers will remember the 1992 episode "A Streetcar Named Marge," in which the Simpson matriarch was cast in a community theater production of a musical called Streetcar!, which featured a song that infuriated some locals (I found it hilarious):
Long before the Superdome!
Where the Saints of football play
Lived a city that the damned call home
Hear their hellish rondelay!

New Orleans!
Home of pirates, drunks and whores!
New Orleans!
Tacky, overpriced souvenir stores!
If you wanna go to hell, you should take that trip
To the Sodom and Gomorrah on the Mississip...
Read the whole Advocate story about Sunday's episode, which airs at 7 p.m. on WVUE-TV, here.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Ellen DeGeneres snarked on local one-of-a-kind performer Valerie Sassyfras on her show today

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 5:57 PM

Valerie Sassyfras (seen here performing at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe) was featured on Ellen DeGeneres' show today — and Ellen was kinda mean about it. - PHOTO BY ZACK SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Valerie Sassyfras (seen here performing at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe) was featured on Ellen DeGeneres' show today — and Ellen was kinda mean about it.

New Orleans-born talk show host Ellen DeGeneres showed a video clip today of a fellow New Orleans artist performing her song "Girls Night Out" to what appears to be a children's birthday party — and was sorta Mean Girls about the whole thing.

"She's not playing to her crowd. She's in her own little head," DeGeneres said witheringly. "I'd love to know where that is. I'd love to know more about her."

Ellen! It's Valerie Sassyfras, from your home town! As profiled in Gambit last December on the occasion of her album release! Do you not read Gambit? Has Hollywood changed you that much?

You're the purported Queen of Nice; why are you snarking on Valerie instead of having her on your show?

Update: The video was shot by PopSmartNOLA founder/editor David Lee Simmons (a former Gambit staffer), who says the performance occurred at a children's Mardi Gras parade at Confetti Park — not at a children's birthday party, as DeGeneres said. The original video now has more than 315,000 views on YouTube.

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Monday, April 9, 2018

After WrestleMania crowd rejects main event, what's next for Roman Reigns?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 9, 2018 at 3:15 PM

A fan dressed as Roman Reigns poses with a beach ball outside the Superdome.
  • A fan dressed as Roman Reigns poses with a beach ball outside the Superdome.
WrestleMania 34, which starting from its 4 p.m. pre-show ended just a bit after hitting the 8-hour mark, was by almost every metric a triumph. Record-breaking attendance, superb matches, and a card that had something for everybody — thrills, surprises, technical matches and light-hearted comedy spots, star power, heart-warming family-friendly moments, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

It was almost a complete triumph— almost, because although it seems a shame to weigh hours of world-class pro wrestling against one bad match, the bad match was the main event, and the crowd turned on it with a ferocity that was genuinely unsettling to witness. It was like the worst kind of social media pile-on, with the important difference that 78,000 bellowing hecklers were present in person.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Editorial: The real 'fake news' is Sinclair Broadcast Group

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 7:38 PM


By now you’ve probably seen the video of dozens of local news anchors around the country robotically reciting the same canned script warning viewers against “fake news.” The script was a diktat from the stations’ owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair owns and/or operates nearly 200 local TV stations around the country, including affiliates of CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, Telemundo and Univision. Soon, it likely will control even more.

Under President Donald Trump, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has loosened ownership laws that historically barred media companies from gaining monopolies in the markets they serve. Now, Sinclair is proposing a merger with Tribune Media, which would give it control of 233 local stations, according to a letter sent last month by U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas to the U.S. Department of Justice. The merger would give Sinclair even greater reach in new markets, including New Orleans, whose WGNO-TV (ABC) and WNOL-TV (CW) would become Sinclair stations.

Sinclair chairman David Smith has made his contempt for print journalism clear, telling New York magazine recently, “The print media is so left wing as to be meaningless dribble which accounts for why the industry is and will fade away. Just no credibility.”

OK. Let’s talk “credibility.”

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Q&A with Braun Strowman, WWE's Monster Among Men

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 4:21 PM

Braun Strowman, the Monster among Men
  • Braun Strowman, the Monster among Men
Everybody loves Braun. Since he began his singles career as an unstoppable wrecking machine, audiences have reacted with overwhelming enthusiasm even when Braun Strowman was demolishing another fan-favorite wrestler.

Inside the ring, Braun has shown unusual speed and versatility for someone of his size. The 6'8" superheavweight is uncannily agile, a behemoth capable of keeping up with far smaller, faster-paced opponents.... until he gets his hands on them, at which point the match is usually as good as over. The only question then is how many running powerslams Braun will deliver while the crowd chants "One more time!"

Outside the ring, Braun has beaten up the cars his opponents were trying to escape in, toppled ambulances, yanked down scaffolding, and survived comic-book extremes of mayhem (e.g. being crushed in a garbage compactor) no mere mortal could hope to.

At WrestleMania 34, he'll be challenging The Bar, Sheamus and Cesaro, for the RAW Tag Team Championships. Braun doesn't need a tag-team partner, and doesn't want one, but the General Manager has told him he must have a partner to compete. Who will it be? This morning, I caught the big man outside Stumptown Coffee to try and get some answers.

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