Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:26 am

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The Films of Helen Hill

Part 2: Madame Winger Makes a Film

While her films are well regarded, it's likely that Hill's greatest and most lasting
impact was as an educator and activist. Over the years, she taught at various
colleges and art cooperatives around the US and Canada, and in New Orleans
she taught animation at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and the
New Orleans Film Collective, which she co-founded. For the benefit of those
she couldn't teach personally, she made this film - a handmade guide to
handmade films, made using the techniques it teaches.

Madame Winger Makes a Film

Langiappe
Image

In addition to this film, Hill also created and self-distributed a DIY
guide for DIY films (made very much in a DIY style, out of spiral-bound
photocopies). It's a thorough text, full of instructions, illustrations,
suggestions, and inventions, and interspersed with the kinds of jokes and
friendly notes that make Hill's work so accessible. If anyone is interested,
the book can be viewed in its entirety in the PDF linked below.

Recipes for Disaster: A Handcrafted Film Cookbooklet
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:25 pm

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The Films of Helen Hill

Part 3: The Florestine Collection

Hill's final film was inspired by an incident that happened one Mardi Gras, when
she discovered a treasure trove of hand-tailored dresses abandoned on a curb.
This prompted her to find out who had made the dresses, which led to the making
of this film, which combines animation with documentary research. Unfortunately,
she was interrupted by Hurricane Katrina, which forced her and her husband, Paul
Gailiunas, to flee the city with their newborn son. When they returned, they found
their Mid-City home flooded and most of their possessions irreparably damaged,
including many of her film materials and some of the dresses she had found.

In spite of the setback, they began to rebuild their lives, and she continued work on
the film. But on January 4th, 2007, before the film was finished, an armed intruder
broke into their home, shot Helen Hill dead, and wounded her husband. She was one
of six people murdered in New Orleans on that day alone, in a rash of post-Katrina
violence, and the assailant was never found. A few years later, Gailliunas finished the
film as a tribute to his wife
, taking her raw footage and working their life story into
her original conceit. While his contributions aren't as elegant as hers, it's still a deeply
personal document eulogizing over the compounding tragedies triggered by Katrina,
and expresses a terribly ambivalent love for the city.

The Florestine Collection

Lagniappe
Helen Hill's films on Vimeo

The rest of Hill's films can be viewed at the Vimeo channel dedicated to her work. The
best of those I haven't featured are the slight but charming Rain Dance (with music by
Gailiunas), Mouseholes, and Scratch and Crow (accepted into the National Film Registry
in 2009). Her legacy lives on in New Orleans (I learned about her after watching an
avant-garde film series that included Rain Dance), and her death was memorialized
on the second season of the show Treme.

Image
Paul and Helen (in the middle) with their pig Rosie and friend Becka Barker in Halifax.

Image
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:16 am

Grand Guignol Double Feature

In an unplanned twist of events, I watched Interview with a Vampire and
Cat People in the span of a week, with friends providing a running commentary.
Both are bloody tales about supernatural transformations, so I paired 'em up.

Image

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles | Neil Jordan | 1994

As an admirer of Jordan's other films, like Mona Lisa and The Company of Wolves
(which has some thematic overlap), I was hoping he might do something interesting
with the source material, buuuuuuuut this is just two hours of laughably morose
homoeroticism. It has a few redeeming qualities: Kirsten Dunst's child vampire
is simultaneously vivacious and chilling, and Jordan goes all out with some indulgently
gothic set dressing. It's also fun to see New Orleans depicted through the ages,
including the rarely visualized 1700s. But the plot just treads along listlessly, and
it lacks the thematic richness of The Company of Wolves.

(I'll have to read some Anne Rice for this thread someday, but I'm trying to put it off.)


Image

Cat People | Paul Schrader | 1982

With this film, Schrader employed one of the few methods for creating a decent remake:
twist the concept on its head. Where Lewton's original established enduring horror tropes
with its shadowy suggestiveness, Schrader's remake turns the subject matter into a
brash, psychosexual thriller. Everything implicit is made explicit, which makes the film
almost entirely ridiculous -- but the blunt, fever-pitch conviction of the film gives it an
earnest intensity. It's gorgeously shot, pairing baroque New Orleans interiors with the
weird, garish colors of a giallo film, and Nastassja Kinski would make any film more
gorgeous. Her eyes command the screen.

It was especially fun watching this with my friend Casey, who loves the film and espoused
his enthusiasm over nearly every shot. He told me about the time he discussed the film
with a coworker, who revealed something he'd never told anyone before: rather than
giving him "the sex talk" when he turned ten, his father just sat him down and put this
film on. Perhaps the most baffling parenting decision I've ever heard about, and one the
guy is still coming to terms with, apparently.

Lagniappe
Image

Talking about Cat People and The Company of Wolves brought to mind one of my
favorite pieces of local folklore. The Loup Garou (often called rougarou) is a Cajun myth
derived from our French ancestry about a werewolf who prowls the swamps, picking off
lost travelers and children who wander too far from home. Unlike most werewolves, a
man can become a Loup Garou for a simple transgression, like missing mass too often.
Rather than changing on full moons, most stories have them transforming every night,
and the curse is passed along not by biting someone, but by compelling them to draw
blood. Other variants suggest that the curse wears off over time, but if one speaks about
it to anyone, it can become permanent. These tales reinforce the Cajuns' Catholic and
communal values.

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A courir de Mardi Gras costume in the style of a Loup Garou.

Nowadays, the Loup Garou is very much a part of local culture. The phrase "faire
rougarou" or "making the rougarou" can refer to restless sleep or nights spent making
mischief. The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans has a Loup Garou mannequin in their
Louisiana wildlife exhibit, and a local distillery makes a brand of rum dubbed Rougaroux,
in honor of the beast.

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Audubon Zoo's Loup Garou, dressed up for Mardi Gras.

Image

It's also become a theme in local art. Its most famous manifestation may be George
Rodrigue's Blue Dog, an art phenomenon that took hold in the 90s thanks to ad
campaigns by Absolut and Xerox. It depicts an uncanny blue dog with staring yellow eyes.

Image
Ostensibly inspired by the rougarou, though it looks more like a corgi (Rodrigue owned a corgi named Tiffany).

But my favorite art piece based on the Loup Garou legend was a one man theatrical
performance produced by local theater company Mondo Bizarro. Loup Garou,
according to their site, was "[an] environmental performance that uses rigorous
physicality, poetry, music and visual installation to investigate the deep interconnectedness
between land and culture in Louisiana." It was performed outdoors, at sunrise and sunset,
in City Park, and it's possibly my single favorite piece of theater. I watched it four times in
the span of two weeks. I've included a short excerpt below, and a photograph of their Loup
Garou, Nick Slie, one of the city's most talented actors.



Image

(Source 1)
(Source 2)
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Stu » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:20 am

Aw, I remember <3'ing Interview when I last watched it... which of course, was 15 years ago, when I was 14 and had barely watched any movies in an "adult" manner, so maybe I need a bit of memory cleanse on it soon.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:56 am

You may want to leave that memory untouched. The movie is kinda fun (I enjoyed ribbing it with my friends), but despite its self-serious attitude, it doesn't have much depth.

On the plus side, if you watch Mona Lisa or The Company of Wolves (or even The Crying Game, which holds up remarkably well), you may get a lot out of them.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:21 am

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Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter's Son | William Alexander Percy | 1941 | 348 pages

It's odd that I've chosen to write about a book that only mentions Louisiana in passing,
that mostly takes place in the delta country around Greenville in northwest Mississippi,
but the entire Mississippi Delta shares strands of a common culture, and this book and
its author are closely tied to other books I've reviewed for this thread. This is the
autobiography of William Alexander Percy, uncle of Walker Percy -- and after his father's
suicide, his adoptive parent -- and the son of LeRoy Percy, whose legacy is chronicled
in detail in Rising Tide. His recollections paint a revealing portrait of the Southern
aristocrat who embodies the contradictions of the Old South: its dignity and intellectual
prosperity, its warped and antiquated ideologies, a worldview that is beautiful and
repugnant and all but forgotten.

Two sides of Will Percy loom large in this book: his experiences and his opinions. The
former provides the book's best material; even the most sentimental passages have
their charm, and at its best, it's an engrossing book. His prose is mellifluous and rich,
strongly colored by a classical education, often saturated with romanticism but utterly
lucid when it needs to be. His accounts of helping his father combat the racist
demagogue James Vardaman, serving on the front lines of WWI, driving the KKK out
of Greenville, and coping with the 1927 flood of the Mississippi River are bracing and
fresh; his reflections on youthful memories and growing old, though of a softer hue,
have moments of real beauty. But for a modern reader, his views make him a
difficult pill to swallow. Though he speaks fondly of black southerners and despises
racist vitriol, he also celebrated a paternalistic form of white supremacy, employed
sharecroppers on the land that he owned, and blamed the moral decay of the modern
world on the decline of his class. Yet it's these clashing qualities that make this such
a valuable and fascinating document.

Here we have a sensitive and generous man, a closeted homosexual, world traveler,
friend of luminaries like Langston Hughes and William Faulkner, aware of his limitations
yet attuned to the splendor and fragility of the world -- who openly advocated for black
disenfranchisement and considered Southern gentry a morally superior social order. It's this
complicated figure who appears in Rising Tide, which views the man with some compassion
while castigating his failure to rise and meet the demands of his role as the chairman of the
Flood Relief Committee during the flood that devastated his hometown. It's this figure
who manifests in Binx Bolling's aunt in The Moviegoer, widely acknowledged as a
proxy for Will Percy, who goes on a haughty diatribe near the end of the book. This
parallel became apparent when I stumbled across the phrase "common as hell" in his
autobiography, a phrase peppered throughout the aunt's monologue, which Walker Percy
must have heard so many times growing up that it cemented itself in his mind. William
Alexander Percy is a model representative of the South's irresolvable conflicts, and in this
book he demonstrates that even at its most gracious and thoughtful, our Southern
aristocracy was fatally flawed.

Lagniappe
Though best remembered for this book, Will Percy also published a considerable amount
of poetry during his lifetime. For lagniappe, I've decided to share a short poem by him and two
excerpts from the book.

Overtones

I heard a bird at break of day
Sing from the autumn trees
A song so mystical and calm,
So full of certainties,
No man, I think, could listen long
Except upon his knees.
Yet this was but a simple bird,
Alone, among dead trees.

Image

On the making of turtle soup:
Finally that dreadful head would come out long enough for Willis to whack it off with
the ax, at which the rest of the turtle would walk off hurriedly, as if the incident were closed.
Even this was not the climax of the gory horror -- Willis still had to break off the top shell.
When this was accomplished, before your startled eyes lay the turtle's insides, unharmed,
neatly in place, and still ticking! They did not seem to miss the head, but acted like the works
of a watch when you open the back. It was the nakedest thing I ever laid eyes on, and usually
while you were watching, fascinated, the whole thing walked off, just that way, and the cook
would almost faint. Turtle soup indeed! I don't miss it and I hope not to meet up with it
unexpectedly in elegant surroundings.
On collecting memories "like a jackdaw in the garden":
For the place I have won here and there, early and late, though a good place and a proud
one, was never first place in any life, and what was mine to possess utterly and sovereignly,
without counterclaim, was only the jackdaw pickings of my curious and secret heart. When your
heart's a kleptomaniac for bits of color and scraps of god-in-man, its life hoardings make a pile
glinting indeed, but of no worth save to the miserly fanatic heart. Now is the time, now when
the air is still and the light is going, to spread my treasure out.
Image
From his introduction to the book, Walker Percy wrote:And about him I will say no more than that he was the most extraordinary man I have ever known and that I owe him a debt which cannot be paid.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:08 am

New Orleans, Exported

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The Life of P. T. Barnum | Written by Himself | 1855

I haven't actually read this book, but a friend who read it recently gave me her
copy with a passage marked. It doesn't deal with New Orleans, but involves
an encounter Barnum had in my modest hometown while conducting a steamboat
tour of the south. It's a bit lengthy but makes me proud to call St. Francisville home.
There was an alarming and yet somewhat ludicrous scene at St. Francisville, Louisiana.
During the evening performances, a man attempted to pass me at the door of the tent,
claiming to have paid already for admittance. He was slightly intoxicated, and when I
refused him, he aimed at me with a slung-shot. The blow mashed my hat, and grazed the
protuberance where phrenologists locate "the organ of caution." Perhaps this fact had
something to do with what followed.

The rejected party retired, and in a few minutes returned with a frightful gang of his
half-drunken companions, each with a pistol, bludgeon, or other weapon. They seemed
determined to assault me forthwith. Calling upon the Mayor and other respectable citizens,
(who were then in the "theatre,") I claimed protection from the mob. The Mayor declared
his inability to afford it against such odds, but immediate violence was restrained by his
intercession.

"We will let you off on one condition," said the more moderate of the ringleaders. "We will
give you exactly one hour, and no help, to gather up your 'traps and plunder,' get aboard
your steamboat, and be off! Hurry up, for you have no time to lose. If you are on shore
one moment more than an hour, look out!"

He looked at his watch, I looked at the pistols and bludgeons; and I reckon that a big tent
never came down with greater speed. The whole force of the company was exerted to its
utmost. Not a citizen was allowed to help us, for love or money; and an occasional "Hurry
up!" kept every muscle at work. Our "traps and plunder" were tumbled in confusion on the
deck of the vessel; the fireman had gotten up steam; and five minutes before the hour was
out, we were ready to cast off our cables and depart.

The scamps who thus hurried us from the village had certainly a streak of both humor and
honor. They were amused by our diligence; escorted us and our last load, waving pitch-pine
torches; and when the boat swung into the current, they saluted us with a wild "hurrah!"
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:20 pm

Macrology wrote: Image

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles | Neil Jordan | 1994

As an admirer of Jordan's other films, like Mona Lisa and The Company of Wolves
(which has some thematic overlap), I was hoping he might do something interesting
with the source material, buuuuuuuut this is just two hours of laughably morose
homoeroticism. It has a few redeeming qualities: Kirsten Dunst's child vampire
is simultaneously vivacious and chilling, and Jordan goes all out with some indulgently
gothic set dressing. It's also fun to see New Orleans depicted through the ages,
including the rarely visualized 1700s. But the plot just treads along listlessly, and
it lacks the thematic richness of The Company of Wolves.

(I'll have to read some Anne Rice for this thread someday, but I'm trying to put it off.)
I've read several of her books, they're actually pretty good. The book of Interview is infinitely better and the Lestat books, in general (at least the first 3 or 4) are very enjoyable.
However, The Witching Hour is almost certainly my favorite of hers, a novel about a multi-generational family of witches in Old New Orleans Society.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:23 pm

Stu wrote:Aw, I remember <3'ing Interview when I last watched it... which of course, was 15 years ago, when I was 14 and had barely watched any movies in an "adult" manner, so maybe I need a bit of memory cleanse on it soon.
It doesn't hold up very well. The problem is that it takes so long to get through the first two acts (which, honestly, could have used another 10 minutes to flesh out, but the studio didn't allow the run-time) that the whole third act is sprinted through and therefore has little consequence.
It is also, almost certainly, Brad Pitt's worst performance ever. It is as if Keanu Reeves jumped right out of Coppola's Dracula to played the part.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Tue May 15, 2018 10:15 pm

An unconventional double feature: two versions of the same film. The film is
Bertrand Tavernier’s In the Electric Mist, a procedural thriller based on local
writer James Lee Burke’s novel In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead. The
version distributed in the US was cut by the producers, while the international cut
was made by Tavernier himself. I'll refer to the US version by the English title and
Tavernier's version by its French title.

Image

In the Electric Mist | Bertrand Tavernier | 2009

I watched this having forgotten that a director’s cut existed, so I took this version
at face value. On its own, it isn’t a bad film. It possesses a strong sense of place,
a familiarity with its characters, and some delightfully off-kilter interludes. The cast
and score are both pitch perfect and abounding in local talent. But it also suffers
from a confused structure with dangling plot threads, and its pace and tone are
surprisingly conventional for a Tavernier film. That these flaws resulted from
producers recutting the film makes a lot of sense, but not knowing that, it felt like
a solid made for TV movie.

Of course when I was reminded that Tavernier had his own version, I sought it
out -- but I had to import a disc from France. I couldn’t even find a version online.

Image

Dans la brume électrique | Bertrand Tavernier | 2009

I waited several months before watching Tavernier’s cut, to come at it with fresh
eyes. Consequently, I wasn’t always sure which scenes were new or how the editing
was altered, but whatever adjustments Tavernier made, it certainly resulted in a
better film. Its pace is far more leisurely -- closer to the cadence of its characters,
their speech, their way of life. The characters have more room to breath (plus Goodman
gets more screen time, always a good thing). The familiarity with its setting and milieu
feels even more firmly rooted, and the past looms larger in this version: Robicheaux’s
alcoholism, the murder he witnessed at 17, his time in Vietnam. There’s a real
world-weariness here that the other cut only glances at. It also brings greater lucidity
to a complicated plot, although this was my second viewing, which probably helped too.

Tavernier’s version is easily the way to go, even if the other version isn’t bad. But
paired, they make a fascinating case study in structure, pacing, and editing, because
I don’t know that I’ve seen a recut film that so thoroughly changed my overall
impression. Most alternate cuts add a scene or two, change an ending, alter sounds
cues (as in Touch of Evil, a comparable film in many ways), but as I understand it,
the two versions of In the Electric Mist were built independently from scratch. It’s the
difference between seeing the work of someone who doted on the film and bled for it,
and someone who’s just getting a job done.

Lagniappe
Something that’s in both version, but which I didn’t fully appreciate until the second
watch, is the way the film integrates the post-Katrina economic landscape of Louisiana
in the midst of a burgeoning film industry. James Lee Burke’s novel was written in
1993, and while his original plot also involves a movie production, the tax credits that
Louisiana inaugurated in 2002 make that element even more topical for a film released
in 2009 that benefited from those very credits.

Image
(Source)

From 2010 to 2015, Louisiana surpassed the production rate of every other state,
including filmmaking capitals California and New York. A few of the higher profile films
and shows made using the tax credits include Jurassic World, Trumbo, American Horror
Story
, Midnight Special, Treme, True Blood, Killing Them Softly, the Jump Street movies,
Looper, Killer Joe, I Love You Phillip Morris, and two Best Picture winners, The Curious
Case of Benjamin Button
and Twelve Years a Slave. New Orleans is referred to as
Hollywood South. Output slowed down after a cap was placed on the incentives, losing
some work to Georgia’s competing incentives, but there’s still a steady stream of productions here.

Image
Is Louisiana's Film/TV Tax Credit Program Working?

While the incentives have fueled the local economy and boosted tourism, they’re also a
burden on the state’s budget
, bringing in only 25 cents for every dollar spent, and many
have accused out of state filmmakers of carpetbagging. With that in mind, the film
production subplot from In the Electric Mist takes on a metatextual dimension, criticizing
how the film industry capitalizes on these new laws, namely their exploitation of Louisiana’s
lack of unionized labor, their preference for importing talent, and their tendency to dine
and dash with local communities. This makes the film’s sensitivity to Louisiana’s culture
and people, especially its prevalent use of local actors, music, and source material, acts
of apologia, possibly even protest.

Image

Some of the local performers featured are blues guitarist Buddy Guy, Pruitt Taylor Vince
(who also appeared in Angel Heart), Louis Herthum, Adella Gautier, and Tony Molina Jr.
(a local actor and teacher who died just last year). Not to mention John Goodman, who
lives in New Orleans and occasionally heckles my tours as we pass his house.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Jinnistan » Wed May 16, 2018 12:09 am

Macrology wrote:What I love most about Blank's films is their humility. They are
content to capture the daily rhythms of life without indulging in
dramatic conflict or visual adornment and almost always within
the span of an hour. His unassuming formal approach mirrors his
modest subject matter. His films are windows into the distinctive,
undiscovered corners of American life, where he finds endless cause
for the celebration of culture and character through food, music,
and story. Often, between their earnest simplicity and their rhythmic
flow, his films achieve a sort of poetry.
Since the release of this box set, I feel that Blank has fast become my favorite documentarian filmmaker. It sneaks up on you, because his films are seemingly so modest and unassuming, but they always linger fondly with warmth and humanity. The social immersion and empathy are crucial, but beyond that is his commitment to pure joy, uncoaxed and unadulterated. And, of course, always for pleasure. The man even makes polka fascinating.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by crumbsroom » Wed May 16, 2018 1:16 am

Jinnistan wrote: Since the release of this box set, I feel that Blank has fast become my favorite documentarian filmmaker. It sneaks up on you, because his films are seemingly so modest and unassuming, but they always linger fondly with warmth and humanity. The social immersion and empathy are crucial, but beyond that is his commitment to pure joy, uncoaxed and unadulterated. And, of course, always for pleasure. The man even makes polka fascinating.
He's definitely up there for me as well. When it comes to Criterion boxsets turning me onto the work of a documentary film maker though, Allan King still reigns supreme.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Jinnistan » Wed May 16, 2018 1:45 am

crumbsroom wrote:He's definitely up there for me as well. When it comes to Criterion boxsets turning me onto the work of a documentary film maker though, Allan King still reigns supreme.
I've only seen Warrendale and one of the better, sweatier Orson Welles interviews. Alas, he does not eat his shoe though, so Blank still gets the trophy.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Captain Terror » Fri May 25, 2018 1:15 am

It's recently come to my attention that Amazon is streaming The Big Easy TV series, which I didn't know existed until now. It's from 1996, a full 10 years after the film. I just watched the first 2 minutes of the pilot episode and....oh boy. It opens with a detective arriving at a crime scene (the Algiers levee) with a bag of beignets in hand (seriously?). The body is pulled from the river....wearing a Mardi Gras mask! The detective recognizes the corpse as a member of a brass band (seriously?) The word "cher" is used generously. The accents are...nothing I've ever heard in my 40+ years here. Reminder: This was all in the first two minutes.
Scanning the episode titles:
"The Voodoo That You Do"
"Crawdaddy"
"Lafitte Don't Fail Me Now" (seriously?)

It's gonna be a long rainy holiday weekend. I think there's some binge-watching in my future. Check it out if you want a laugh (or a cringe).
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by crumbsroom » Fri May 25, 2018 1:42 am

Jinnistan wrote: I've only seen Warrendale and one of the better, sweatier Orson Welles interviews. Alas, he does not eat his shoe though, so Blank still gets the trophy.
Warrendale is pretty great, but it is arguably the weakest film in the box set. Not that I'll ever be going near Dying At Grace again anytime soon though. There is such a thing as too real and that movie spends nearly every minute of its run time existing in that space.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Fri May 25, 2018 3:10 am

Captain Terror wrote:It's recently come to my attention that Amazon is streaming The Big Easy TV series, which I didn't know existed until now. It's from 1996, a full 10 years after the film. I just watched the first 2 minutes of the pilot episode and....oh boy. It opens with a detective arriving at a crime scene (the Algiers levee) with a bag of beignets in hand (seriously?). The body is pulled from the river....wearing a Mardi Gras mask! The detective recognizes the corpse as a member of a brass band (seriously?) The word "cher" is used generously. The accents are...nothing I've ever heard in my 40+ years here. Reminder: This was all in the first two minutes.
Scanning the episode titles:
"The Voodoo That You Do"
"Crawdaddy"
"Lafitte Don't Fail Me Now" (seriously?)

It's gonna be a long rainy holiday weekend. I think there's some binge-watching in my future. Check it out if you want a laugh (or a cringe).
Holy shit. That's impressively indulgent, even by typical New Orleans standards. I may have to look into this, and I'm definitely interested in hearing updates if you end up watching more.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Fri May 25, 2018 10:53 am

Captain Terror wrote:It's recently come to my attention that Amazon is streaming The Big Easy TV series, which I didn't know existed until now. It's from 1996, a full 10 years after the film. I just watched the first 2 minutes of the pilot episode and....oh boy. It opens with a detective arriving at a crime scene (the Algiers levee) with a bag of beignets in hand (seriously?). The body is pulled from the river....wearing a Mardi Gras mask! The detective recognizes the corpse as a member of a brass band (seriously?) The word "cher" is used generously. The accents are...nothing I've ever heard in my 40+ years here. Reminder: This was all in the first two minutes.
Scanning the episode titles:
"The Voodoo That You Do"
"Crawdaddy"
"Lafitte Don't Fail Me Now" (seriously?)

It's gonna be a long rainy holiday weekend. I think there's some binge-watching in my future. Check it out if you want a laugh (or a cringe).
A bag of beignets?
I may have to watch this.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Captain Terror » Sat May 26, 2018 4:13 am

Image
Ok, so I've watched episode 1. I remember very little about the Quaid film and it's likely that I've never watched the entire thing anyway, so forgive me if I rehash things that you already know. Our hero is detective Remy McSwain, who the ladies love because...well they just do, ok? He's obnoxious, dresses funny and talks at a 3rd-Grade level but we know he's charming because everyone keeps telling us so. Who am I to argue? That's the police chief on the far right, wearing suspenders and a fedora, as police chiefs do. The lady in red (Ann) is a government agent from DC who is befuddled by our strange ways.


So here's the play-by-play:
As I've already mentioned, before the opening credits we've got Beignet Boy and Carnival Corpse.

The premise of episode 1 is that Ann's been sent to investigate the illegal fishing of endangered species. She asks to be taken "to the bayou". Next time I'm in Colorado I'll ask a native to direct me "to the mountain".

Six minutes in and we're eating boiled crawfish at Sid-Mar's in Bucktown.

The police chief holds a town hall meeting with a bunch of coonass fishermen. This meeting takes place in that hub of Cajun culture known as Chartres St.

Next scene: Chief is now dressed in a Confederate uniform. I wish I was joking.

13 minutes: The obligatory stroll down Bourbon St. Now inside the bar to drink some Hurricanes. Kermit Ruffins invites Remy on stage to blow some harmonica with the band.

25 minutes: I despise Remy McSwain

28 minutes: Remy meets with his informant, his Huggy Bear if you will. He meets him at a cemetery because his informant is literally in the middle of playing trumpet in a jazz funeral. I mean, I think it's a jazz funeral. There's no coffin and no mourners so technically it's just a band strolling through a cemetery, which is an odd thing for a band to do.

And the episode ends with Remy and Ann making out in Jackson Square.
Did some googling and it appears that this aired on the USA network and there were actually two seasons (!) Not sure what the appeal was, given that this was 10 years after the Quaid film and we were way past that late-80s period when everything Cajun was cool. (The Zyde-geist, as I like to call it). The main character was thoroughly unlikable, but maybe that's just me.
Also worth mentioning: In a 45-minute episode there were 3 black characters with speaking roles: a purse snatcher, a trumpet player, and a sassy judge that talked like Shirley from What's Happening. (*bangs gavel* "Everybody go on home!") Oh, and Kermit Ruffins, so...two trumpet players. New Orleans!
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Quite-Gone Genie » Thu May 31, 2018 12:51 am

I don't comment much but this is a fantastic thread.
"So, you see, he was condemned to walk in darkness a quadrillion kilometres (we've adopted the metric system, you know)..."
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Thief » Thu May 31, 2018 1:57 am

Wooley wrote: I've read several of her books, they're actually pretty good. The book of Interview is infinitely better and the Lestat books, in general (at least the first 3 or 4) are very enjoyable.
I gave up after Memnoch the Devil, but the previous four all ranged from great to solid. As for the film, I'm a fan. I think Jordan's elegance was a perfect fit for the story, and I was captivated from the beginning.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Thu May 31, 2018 3:58 am

Thief wrote:
I gave up after Memnoch the Devil, but the previous four all ranged from great to solid. As for the film, I'm a fan. I think Jordan's elegance was a perfect fit for the story, and I was captivated from the beginning.
Yes, Memnoch The Devil is the appropriate time to give up. Although one should also read The Witching Hour.
Jordan' style was perfect for it. The problem was that the movie needed to be longer and the third act, in particular, needed a lot more development and breathing room. What happens in Paris all happens so fast it's challenging to really understand what's happening or what anyone's motivation is and then, bam, you're at the denouement. I have zero doubt that there was a lot of good stuff on the cutting room floor and if we could see a Director's Cut, it would be quite good.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Thief » Thu May 31, 2018 3:19 pm

Wooley wrote: Yes, Memnoch The Devil is the appropriate time to give up. Although one should also read The Witching Hour.
Jordan' style was perfect for it. The problem was that the movie needed to be longer and the third act, in particular, needed a lot more development and breathing room. What happens in Paris all happens so fast it's challenging to really understand what's happening or what anyone's motivation is and then, bam, you're at the denouement. I have zero doubt that there was a lot of good stuff on the cutting room floor and if we could see a Director's Cut, it would be quite good.
I totally agree. The relationship with Armand is really shredded to pieces, and the way the whole Claudia thing unfolds feels way too rushed. I still like the film a lot, though.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:05 am

New Orleans, Exported



The Simpsons, Season 29, Episode 17 | Matt Groening, et al | 2018

I never watched the Simpsons much, and I haven't watched it at all for years,
but it was hard to miss this loving tribute to the city's culinary scene in their
635th episode, "Lisa Gets the Blues". I haven't watched the episode itself,
which features local musician Trombone Shorty, a statue of Louis Armstrong
coming to life, and Bart buying a voodoo doll. But the montage above depicts
Homer making a grand tour of New Orleans restaurants and talking up the
delicious diversity of local food. The list includes a nice mix of haute cuisine
and holes in the walls, hip new joints and old standards, but what stood out
was the animators' fidelity to the restaurants in question: every place is
meticulously recreated, right down to the fonts on the signs.

Someone on the Simpson's crew definitely has a thing for the city -- watching
Futurama recently, I noticed numerous references to NOLA and Mardi
Gras. I know for a fact that Harry Shearer (voice of Ned Flanders, among others)
loves the city, lives here part time, and gets very involved in events; he's a
regular on local radio stations. And perhaps this episode was partly an apology
for 1992's "A Streetcar Named Marge" which featured this slanderous musical
number that sparked some resentment among New Orleanians:



Image
From the opening sequence of a following episode.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by ski petrol » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:38 am

My best memories of my Mardis Gras trip was definitely the food. I can relate to homer's odyssey.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Stu » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:05 am

Macrology wrote:
New Orleans, Exported



The Simpsons, Season 29, Episode 17 | Matt Groening, et al | 2018

I never watched the Simpsons much, and I haven't watched it all for years,
but it was hard to miss this loving tribute to the city's culinary scene in their
635th episode, "Lisa Gets the Blues".
Funny you should bring that episode up, since, although I haven't seen it (or almost any Simpsons post-Season 9, really), the AV Club included it on their ranked list of all the vacation-crentic episodes of the show, at number 29; did seeing that inspire you to talk about it here, Mac?
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:23 am

No, just a happy coincidence I guess. I saw it shortly after the episode came out, when a few friends shared it on Facebook. I only got around to posting it today.

I have a few other things I'll be sharing soon, namely some local visual art.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:25 am

Image

Preacher: Season 2 | Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen | 2017

I heard before watching this season of Preacher that they shot it down here, but I
didn't realize it was set here until I got around to watching it, and I have to say, it's
one of the more interesting depictions I've seen of the city. Several of the films I've
watched for this thread have depicted warped or supernatural renditions of New Orleans,
but they usually intensify a local aesthetic (Angel Heart) or impose a foreign one (like
the Gothic excess of Interview with the Vampire). Preacher stands apart because it
depicts a city that is recognizably New Orleans while creating a version of the city that
sits comfortably within the bizarre world that the show inhabits, with its off-kilter religious
attitude and its blissfully gory dark humor.

It helps that the show already established its distinctive world in the first season, before
the characters head to New Orleans, so we have a point of reference. This is not an
attempt to depict New Orleans accurately, or even exaggerate it, but to create a depiction
of the city as it would exist in Preacher's world. The result is a place where vehicles
labeled "Drunk" and "Dead" patrol the streets at night picking up bodies, where asking
for God on Bourbon Street will lead you to a fetish dungeon, where Harry Connick Jr's
house gets blown up by missiles (even though he doesn't live in New Orleans anymore).
It's both a parody of the city's reputation and a creation that fits seamlessly into the
absurd world the show engenders.

I'm looking forward to Season 3, which I haven't caught up with yet. I'm not sure if it's set
here, but they've done a lot of local shooting, and a good friend of mine seems to have a
pretty substantial role as a love interest for Cassidy.

Lagniappe
Image

This might have been a more appropriate lagniappe for Interview with the Vampire, but
Preacher also dabbles in vampirism, so I'll make up for my oversight.

After New Orleans was founded in the early 1700s, the earliest female inhabitants of the
city were usually either nuns or prostitutes. The Ursuline nuns arrived in the city in 1726
by order of King Louis XV, where they established a girl's school, an orphanage, and a
hospital. Prostitutes, called comfort women, also came by order of the king, who issued an
edict that served the double purpose of cleansing France of riffraff and populating the
colonies. The colonial men didn't consider either group marriage material, so they petitioned
the king, who had girls rounded up from convents and orphanages in France for the express
purpose of marriage in the colonies. They were called casquette girls for the small chests
that carried all their worldly belongings on the trans-Atlantic journey.

Local folklore says that when the first casquette girls arrived in the port, they were suffering
from the effects of a long sea voyage and appeared pale and sickly to those watching them
disembark. The onset of scurvy caused their gums to bleed and withdraw, making their
teeth look unnaturally long. Their casquettes took on a menacing aspect. Rumors of evil
spirits and vampires began to circulate the city. But in an ironic twist, several of the girls
succumbed to yellow fever and, due to the difficulty of constructing enough coffins during
an epidemic, were interred in their casquettes.

While casquette girls were real, the story is founded on a misconception about their origins.
They were originally called les filles à la cassette, meaning a small case, which gradually
morphed into casquette, which means cap in French. The similarity to casket proved irresistible
to local storytellers, resulting in a mix of vampire legend and colonial tragedy.

Image
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Stu » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:14 am

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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:45 am

I don't update this thread often, but I do intend to keep it going. I actually have some more stuff to add soon.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:50 am

Image

EMPIRE | Fallen Fruit (David Allen Burns and Austin Young) | 2018

This is an odd thing to post about since most of you won't be able to see it in person,
but I've been wanting to share more local artwork and this exhibit left a strong
impression. It's an art installation at the Newcomb Art Museum on Tulane's campus
that occupies the entire gallery space, created using artifacts, specimens, documents,
and artworks from the University's various archives. The only original elements are
the wallpapers that adorn each room; everything else was culled from archival material.
It was commissioned to celebrate the city's tricentennial this year, and it runs through
December, in case any of our local posters want to check it out. It's free and well worth seeing.
Monica Ramirez-Montagut, Museum Director wrote:EMPIRE critically examines the principles of archives and anthropology to interrogate
the ways histories are told, remembered, and revised. The immersive artwork considers
the historical and contemporary effects that colonialism, slavery, trade, and tourism have
had on the movement of culture across and beyond borders to better understand the
geographic and cultural position of New Orleans in relationship to Africa, the Caribbean,
and Latin America. EMPIRE invites viewers to creatively interpret the displayed objects,
their connections, and their juxtapositions to generate new meanings.
A few of the pieces on display have brief explanatory statements, but the vast majority
are not contextualized in any way. By taking objects found in museums and rearranging
them, EMPIRE highlights the aesthetic, emotional, and intuitive impressions that this
ephemera evokes, eschewing the academic rigor and clarification we expect from such
collections. The result is a piece that is still historically engaged -- drawing attention to
the city's fraught legacy and the gendered and cultural biases that persist in archival
work -- yet elusive, startling in its variety and breadth, and quietly provocative in its ability
to dismantle our preconceptions about museum culture. It's like a cabinet of curiosities
strained through a postmodernist filter. This is an experience I've always unconsciously
sought in the museums I've visited, and here it is laid bare. (I'm also profoundly jealous
that these guys got to have their way with the archives.)

Lagniappe is just more photos I took. Click any image for much higher resolution. You can
find more information and pictures at the Newcomb Art Museum's website.

Image

Lagniappe
The Men's Room

Image

This room focuses on photography, folk ethnography, the
university's history, slave documents, patriarchal influence.

Image

"We wanted to make one pattern using the oak trees and the
branches started to look to us like estuaries of the Mississippi
River. There's a dark, foreboding quality to this pattern, and
we like the idea that you would enter into a different room
and it would have a different feeling, and maybe the subject
matter could reflect that feeling."

Image

The Empire Room

Image

This room focuses more on "imagery of cultural and
geographic conquests" including Tulane's own extensive
collection of Latin American antiquarian artifacts.

Image

The Women's Room

Image

This room favors portraits, sketches, Carnival art, cartoons
by local cartoonist/historian John Churchill Chase, and
other miscellany, like books and busts.

Image

All three rooms had accompanying soundscapes: in the
Empire Room, a line-up of songs by local musicians; in
the Men's Room, a collage of diverse field recordings,
both urban and natural; in the Women's Room, an interview
with blues singer Lizzie Miles.

Image
Laura Blereau, Curator and Coordinator of Academic Programming wrote:Mythologies surface and recede as we navigate myriad
symbols and pictures, which evoke the dynamics of online
image search results, if not a cabinet of curiosities, the
forgotten attic, or, in the artists' words, a "kaleidoscope"
of vaulted objects.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:36 pm

Yo man, I happened to be listening to The Dirty Dozen this morning and I opened your thread and I thought maybe I'd drop off one of their songs here.
This is mainly just so people can hear what "New Orleans Music" sounds like and the kind of thing we see and hear when we go to our music clubs.
This is "Unclean Waters", one of my favorite New Orleans pieces of the last 20 years. It has an amazing, infectious main theme, an absolutely KILLER beat that demands you shake ya ass, and some great solos, including one by guest organ-player John Medeski of Medeski, Martin, and Wood (who plays in town with our cats a lot).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbVQUt3568s
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:21 am

Image

Louisiana Story | Robert J. Flaherty | 1948

Watching this film is like witnessing a miracle, simply because a filmmaker as mythic
and essential as Flaherty made a film in my home state. It's a tremendous privilege
to see a place you know so well rendered with lyricism this masterful; it makes you
wonder what other world-class filmmakers might have done, like Orson Welles, with
the unrealized "Story of Jazz" portion of It's All True. But at least we have this,
which effortlessly surpasses every other cinematic attempt at capturing southern
Louisiana's innate beauty. Flaherty's cinematography (and Richard Leacock's camerawork)
glides through the wetlands with the gentle pace of a pirogue, full of quiet, curious awe.
Every film shot here since borrows from Flaherty's vocabulary, but none have yet
matched the observational clarity and unobtrusive poetry of Louisiana Story.

And now that I've waxed thoroughly rhapsodic, let me qualify my praise: this film definitely
has its limitations. While Flaherty shot on location with local Cajun actors (who even speak
some Cajun French), he makes no attempt to grapple with the complexity of their culture
or its estrangement from the dominant Anglo culture. Instead he sought a balance, an
Everyman who was recognizably Cajun but familiar to a mass audience. He was commissioned
by the Standard Oil Company, and while he exceeds the boundaries of a commissioned
work, his focus is understandably the introduction of the oil and gas industry into Louisiana.
This juxtaposition of Edenic swamps and modern machinery creates some dynamic sequences,
like a passing oil derrick that looms over the treetops, and Flaherty makes a noble attempt
to reconcile the landscape to an industry that remains vital to our economy. But with the
benefit of hindsight, this makes for thorny viewing. Flaherty can't be accused of anything worse
than naivety here, because the sins of the oil and gas companies came later, but this beautiful
paean to our natural landscape helped usher in the shameless exploitation of that very landscape.

Lagniappe
While I've touched on the oil and gas industry in previous posts, it's a subject that merits some focused discussion.

Louisiana has roughly 125,000 miles of pipelines running through it, produces 50 million barrels of crude
oil annually, and ranks second among the 50 states in petroleum refining capacity. This gives us the much
needed economic boon of a quarter million jobs (at an average annual income of nearly $100,000) and
over $2 billion in annual state taxes, but it has also instigated an ecological cataclysm, ranging from pipeline
hazards to oil spills (like BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster) to the dredging of canals. The last has done
perhaps the most enduring damage, since it enables saltwater intrusions, killing the plant life that holds
the wetlands together and thereby accelerating the erosion of those wetlands.
(Source)
(Source)

Image
An artful cartographic rendering of the oil and gas situation, taken from the wonderful atlas/essay collection Unfathomable City, edited by Rebecca Solnit and Rebecca Snedeker.

This has had a profound impact on local communities and the historical fabric of the state. An aging Cajun woman,
interviewed about the gradual loss of her family cemetery, notes the difference between Cajuns and oil companies:
Velma Lefort Ellender wrote:Ellender remembers the small trappers' canals from her childhood, what she called a "trainasse" the Cajuns carved to navigate to their trapping, fishing and hunting grounds. They cut those canals by hand with shovels, and no wider than their small pirogues, "because (otherwise) it was too much work," she said.

"When the oil company came, they were so greedy to get all that oil that they came with their big machines and made it a little wider. And the first thing you know it got bigger and bigger and bigger as they grew.

"But when they got ready to leave," she said, slamming her hand on the table, "after the well was dried up, or whatever they abandoned it for, they wouldn't close those big, big (canals)," as was prescribed by law.

"They just leave it," she said. "Bye-bye, Irene."
Both the quote and the following image were taken from this article, which delicately documents the loss
of a coastal family's historic cemetery as it's claimed by the encroaching saltwater, to be forgotten in the Gulf:
Buried at sea: As cemeteries on Louisiana's coast wash away, so does history

Image

Yet Flaherty's legacy lives on, fraught though it may be. In 2010, a group of students and faculty at LSU collaborated
on a remarkably comprehensive multimedia project and reference resource called Revisiting Flaherty's Louisiana Story.
It's a bountiful collection of essays by faculty, surprisingly thoughtful and interesting student-made films, an interview
with the original film's star J.C. Boudreaux over 50 years after the film was made, and an extensive list of related media.

ImageImage
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:48 am

Wooley wrote:Yo man, I happened to be listening to The Dirty Dozen this morning and I opened your thread and I thought maybe I'd drop off one of their songs here.
This is mainly just so people can hear what "New Orleans Music" sounds like and the kind of thing we see and hear when we go to our music clubs.
This is "Unclean Waters", one of my favorite New Orleans pieces of the last 20 years. It has an amazing, infectious main theme, an absolutely KILLER beat that demands you shake ya ass, and some great solos, including one by guest organ-player John Medeski of Medeski, Martin, and Wood (who plays in town with our cats a lot).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbVQUt3568s
Sorry I never responded to this. I've gotta to listen to more Dirty Dozen stuff. I also really ought to post about music a little more often. I actually rewatched Louisiana Story at the Joy Theater with a live accompaniment by the Lost Bayou Ramblers, which was great in some ways (because I love the LBRs) and awful in others (they screened the most abysmal transfer of LS that could possibly exist, which is baffling, because there's a perfectly decent DVD available).

I might do a follow-up post comparing some Lost Bayou Rambler music with Virgil Thomson's original Louisiana Story score (still the only film score to win a Pulitzer Prize).
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:10 am

New Orleans, Exported



Saturday Night Live, Season 44, Episode 11 | 2019

Haven't posted here lately (I will someday!), so here's a little something.

While this isn't the best sketch SNL has ever done, I'll endorse anything
that lambastes tourists who buy into shopworn New Orleans stereotypes.
I like how unabashedly silly it gets, but the best part is McAvoy starting
to crack when they get to some of the more ridiculous moments.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:34 am

Macrology wrote:
Sorry I never responded to this. I've gotta to listen to more Dirty Dozen stuff. I also really ought to post about music a little more often. I actually rewatched Louisiana Story at the Joy Theater with a live accompaniment by the Lost Bayou Ramblers, which was great in some ways (because I love the LBRs) and awful in others (they screened the most abysmal transfer of LS that could possibly exist, which is baffling, because there's a perfectly decent DVD available).

I might do a follow-up post comparing some Lost Bayou Rambler music with Virgil Thomson's original Louisiana Story score (still the only film score to win a Pulitzer Prize).
No worries.
Love LBR, been seein' 'em for, jeez, 10-15 years now? Great stuff.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:35 am

That sketch had me nearly pissin' myself.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:26 am

New Orleans, Exported

Image

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Season 11, Episode 7 | 2018
Anthony Bourdain wrote:Cajun Mardi Gras is another thing entirely—closer to the ancient French tradition,
vaguely more dangerous, downright medieval. Cajuns do things their way, always
have, always will. Whether it’s hanging on to the French language of their ancestors,
their music traditions, or food, Cajuns fiercely keep it all vibrantly alive.
The last episode of Parts Unknown that aired before Bourdain's suicide, this
is a fitting tribute to his versatility and joie de vivre, troubled though it may have been.
The episode largely focuses on Courir de Mardi Gras, which I touched on in the lagniappe
I did for Blank's Dry Wood
.

This is actually the only episode of this show that I've seen, but I watched it under
ideal circumstances: on Lundi Gras (the day before Mardi Gras) with my sister's
Cajun boyfriend and his friend, who we were staying with out near Mamou to see
Courir de Mardi Gras for ourselves the next morning. We watched this as a kind of
prep, and watching it with two Cajun guys who knew half the people in the episode
was a blast. Some choice excerpts from their shade-throwing commentary:

"I don't like that guy. He needs to wash his hair. Who goes on TV without washing
their hair? What kind of Cajun got the name Rodriguez anyhow?"

"It's just a bunch of drunks. . . being so fucking overambitious."

"Every four or five years someone dies, gets run over or something."
"Are we due?"
"We prolly see someone die tomorrow. I'd bet $100."

They also recognized a guy who pulled a knife to back up my sister's boyfriend
during an argument and got them all kicked out the bar.

Below, under spoiler, are some pictures and videos from my own Courir de Mardi Gras.
The event was primarily characterized by wandering around for thirty minutes
searching for them, and once we found them, lots of drinking, rolling around in the
mud, chasing chickens, and falling off of horses.

These guys kept crawling through the culvert, to wild acclaim. Another guy popped out right after this.

Image


A panoramic look at one of the stops during the Courir de Mardi Gras, with a live
band and some very drunk Cajuns standing on their horses.

Image


Some Mardi Gras runners chasing one of the more dexterous chickens into the woods across the street.

Image
This super friendly guy (named Guy) insisted that I take a selfie with him.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:45 am

That's awesome, I've never been to see that in person. Years ago I knew a pair of sisters from Lebeau, and that was my best chance to go but I never took them up on it, and now I'm no longer in touch with them. Lebeau makes Mamou look like a teeming metropolis so it would've been interesting, for sure.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:32 am

Image

Cajun Country: Lache pas la patate | Alan Lomax | 1991

Part of Lomax's PBS documentary series American Patchwork, this is a straightforward
but informative film about Cajun culture in the early 90s. It pays particular attention to
Courir de Mardi Gras, the cattle raising of colonial-era Cajuns, their origins in France and
the Acadian diaspora, the hardships of women in this highly patriarchal culture (which
still doesn't let women run during the traditional Courirs), and the tragic life of seminal
Creole musician and composer Amédé Ardoin (although the story of his beating at a white
dance related here may be apocryphal). It also touches on the rural black Creole culture,
its musical roots, and the overlapping of these cultures, featuring a cast of aging musicians.

This is available to view free in reasonably good quality here at Folkstreams, a pretty
remarkable resource collecting an array of films documenting American folk culture. The
subtitle, "Lache pas la patate," is a Cajun idiom meaning don't drop the potato, which is
to say, don't let the traditions drop off, don't lose track of your culture.

Lagniappe
Image

The Pirogue Maker | Arnold Eagle | 1947

Another film available on Folkstreams, this is a short documentary made in conjunction
with Flaherty's Louisiana Story, by Arnold Eagle, who was sent by Standard Oil to document
Flaherty's method and ended up shooting footage of a pirogue craftsman creating the
pirogue they used in the film. It's the purest sort of documentary, an unadorned depiction
of a man doing highly specialized work with absolute proficiency; aside from an introductory
voice over, the film lets the work speak for itself, accompanied only by regional folk music.
It's also valuable footage because it captures a folk craft rarely practiced anymore, since
most pirogues are assembled, often from metal, rather than carved whole from cypress trunks.

Image
The pirogue maker himself, as photographed by Arnold Eagle during the production.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:09 am

Image

Obituary Cocktail: The Great Saloons of New Orleans | Kerri McCaffety | 1999, reprinted 2015

This functions along the same lines as the classic New Orleans history
book Frenchmen Desire Good Children, which tells the city's history
through the streets and how they got their names (Frenchmen, Desire,
and Good Children were all street names here). In this case, you get a
cross section of the city's history through its various watering holes. The
book covers the gamut, ranging from some of our grungiest dive bars to
19th century saloons bedecked with antique mahogany and fading murals.

Unfortunately, it's clear that no real research went into this book. I found
factual errors on almost every page, just based on my running knowledge.
This is coffee table fodder, and the photographs are the only reason to crack
it open. McCaffety has an eye for the idiosyncratic details that lend these
bars their elusive charm, and she draws attention to things I'd never
consciously noticed but that certainly colored the atmosphere of these places.

Lagniappe
If you're ever in New Orleans and you're looking for a place to drink, I've got
the perfect resource for you: the Where to Drink in New Orleans Flowchart.

Image

Created by local actor and man about town Ian Hoch, this flowchart is an
unerringly accurate description of where certain people tend to drink here
in New Orleans. The night life here is very much a bar/live music scene,
and all of the bars have very distinct personalities, and while almost all
New Orleanians visit a variety of bars, each has its own specialized clientele.

And here's some lagniappe for your lagniappe:

Image
Click for full size.

Once you've figured out where to drink, the next logical step is to figure
out what Mardi Gras Krewe you're in. Both flowcharts have a real tongue in
cheek satirical edge, although they're probably only amusing to people who
are at least vaguely familiar with the social dynamics of New Orleans.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:19 am

Macrology wrote:
Image

Obituary Cocktail: The Great Saloons of New Orleans | Kerri McCaffety | 1999, reprinted 2015

This functions along the same lines as the classic New Orleans history
book Frenchmen Desire Good Children, which tells the city's history
through the streets and how they got their names (Frenchmen, Desire,
and Good Children were all street names here). In this case, you get a
cross section of the city's history through its various watering holes. The
book covers the gamut, ranging from some of our grungiest dive bars to
19th century saloons bedecked with antique mahogany and fading murals.

Unfortunately, it's clear that no real research went into this book. I found
factual errors on almost every page, just based on my running knowledge.
This is coffee table fodder, and the photographs are the only reason to crack
it open. McCaffety has an eye for the idiosyncratic details that lend these
bars their elusive charm, and she draws attention to things I'd never
consciously noticed but that certainly colored the atmosphere of these places.

Lagniappe
If you're ever in New Orleans and you're looking for a place to drink, I've got
the perfect resource for you: the Where to Drink in New Orleans Flowchart.

Image

Created by local actor and man about town Ian Hoch, this flowchart is an
unerringly accurate description of where certain people tend to drink here
in New Orleans. The night life here is very much a bar/live music scene,
and all of the bars have very distinct personalities, and while almost all
New Orleanians visit a variety of bars, each has its own specialized clientele.

And here's some lagniappe for your lagniappe:

Image
Click for full size.

Once you've figured out where to drink, the next logical step is to figure
out what Mardi Gras Krewe you're in. Both flowcharts have a real tongue in
cheek satirical edge, although they're probably only amusing to people who
are at least vaguely familiar with the social dynamics of New Orleans.
I wonder if I have been in a house in New Orleans in the last 10-15 years that didn't have that book.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:03 am

Heh. It's not the sort of book I'd usually take the time to read, but I got it as a Christmas gift a couple of years back, so I figured why not
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:03 pm

Macrology wrote:Heh. It's not the sort of book I'd usually take the time to read, but I got it as a Christmas gift a couple of years back, so I figured why not
I hear ya, I've had a copy somewhere since probably the late 90s and everybody's house I go to they've had them out. I think it's waned in popularity some but I still see it in all the stores in the Quarter and still in a lot of houses.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:29 am

Tonight I watched Stay Alive (2006), which was filmed and set in NO and surrounding areas. Despite what seems to be a tiny budget there were a surprising number of recognizable names/faces in the cast (Milo Venti-something, Frankie Muniz, Wendell Pierce, and more). The plot concerns a horror-themed video game. When a player's character dies in the game, that player dies shortly thereafter in the same manner (in real life). So yeah, absurd plot and not particularly well-made, so I'm not recommending it or anything. (Example: The murderous spirits can be vanquished by throwing a rose at them.)

Didn't know it was filmed here when I chose to watch it, but there's some fun stuff for locals. One guy dies in the parking lot of Esplanade Mall. Lots of cemetery footage, naturally. A grammar school classmate of mine has a bit part as a reporter (which was her real job at the time). The filmmakers did make one terrific decision, though, and that was to film the climax inside Fort Pike, which I always thought would make a great setting for a horror film.
Image
This was released in 2006, so I assume they managed to film these scenes pre-hurricane.

Wooley, I know you're a gamer so you might get a kick out of some of the game-play footage because it takes place in an above-ground cemetery, and an antebellum mansion, etc. Might be fun to play for real, so long as I wasn't murdered as a result.

So yeah, don't go out of your way to find this one or anything, just thought I'd call attention to it since I'd never heard of it before. (This was the first film from WB Bell, who would subsequently direct The Boy.)
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Shieldmaiden » Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:40 am

I'm a little late with this, but that Where to Drink in New Orleans flow chart above is amazing!!
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:12 pm

Captain Terror wrote:Tonight I watched Stay Alive (2006), which was filmed and set in NO and surrounding areas. Despite what seems to be a tiny budget there were a surprising number of recognizable names/faces in the cast (Milo Venti-something, Frankie Muniz, Wendell Pierce, and more). The plot concerns a horror-themed video game. When a player's character dies in the game, that player dies shortly thereafter in the same manner (in real life). So yeah, absurd plot and not particularly well-made, so I'm not recommending it or anything. (Example: The murderous spirits can be vanquished by throwing a rose at them.)

Didn't know it was filmed here when I chose to watch it, but there's some fun stuff for locals. One guy dies in the parking lot of Esplanade Mall. Lots of cemetery footage, naturally. A grammar school classmate of mine has a bit part as a reporter (which was her real job at the time). The filmmakers did make one terrific decision, though, and that was to film the climax inside Fort Pike, which I always thought would make a great setting for a horror film.
Image
This was released in 2006, so I assume they managed to film these scenes pre-hurricane.

Wooley, I know you're a gamer so you might get a kick out of some of the game-play footage because it takes place in an above-ground cemetery, and an antebellum mansion, etc. Might be fun to play for real, so long as I wasn't murdered as a result.

So yeah, don't go out of your way to find this one or anything, just thought I'd call attention to it since I'd never heard of it before. (This was the first film from WB Bell, who would subsequently direct The Boy.)
I'm gonna have to check this out.
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Macrology » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:02 pm

Wendell Pierce is from New Orleans, and he seems to like working down here. Aside from Treme, he's been in some other local indie stuff.

This film sounds pretty bad, but I'm always curious to see how filmmakers shoot location stuff here, so I may give it a gander. Fort Pike is definitely brimming with potential; I thought True Detective used Fort Macomb pretty well (which is less than 10 miles from Fort Pike).

Maiden: That flowchart is always fun to peruse, and if you're familiar with the bar scene here, the sheer accuracy of it is pretty astounding.

My favorite part might be this sequence:
Are you homeless -- Yes > Do you have a mangy dog? -- Yes (no other option) > St Roch Tavern (which is gutter punk haven)
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:33 pm

Macrology wrote: This film sounds pretty bad, but I'm always curious to see how filmmakers shoot location stuff here, so I may give it a gander. Fort Pike is definitely brimming with potential; I thought True Detective used Fort Macomb pretty well (which is less than 10 miles from Fort Pike).
It wasn't my intention to inflict this movie on anyone else, but yeah there's some interest for a local viewer. I'm always disoriented when a film shoot takes place all over town. For example, there's a stretch of highway around Yscloskey that has a row of oaks on either side, that form a canopy over the road. We used to take rides down there all the time when I was a teen. (We were real party animals!) Anyhow, there's a major scene that happens on that road, which is very picturesque of course, but I'm thinking "Why is that guy driving way down there? He lives on Magazine!" Or the NOPD detective who goes all the way to Kenner to visit a video game store. I have to remind myself that it's made to be viewed by the rest of the world and in movie-world these things are all next-door to each other.
Also, the video game lore involves Elizabeth Bathory, who is haunting a local mansion portrayed in the film by Kenilworth Plantation. No explanation is given as to how Elizabeth Bathory ended up in St. Bernard Parish. :)
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Re: Louisiana Gumbo (and some Lagniappe)

Post by Wooley » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:03 pm

Captain Terror wrote: It wasn't my intention to inflict this movie on anyone else, but yeah there's some interest for a local viewer. I'm always disoriented when a film shoot takes place all over town. For example, there's a stretch of highway around Yscloskey that has a row of oaks on either side, that form a canopy over the road. We used to take rides down there all the time when I was a teen. (We were real party animals!) Anyhow, there's a major scene that happens on that road, which is very picturesque of course, but I'm thinking "Why is that guy driving way down there? He lives on Magazine!" Or the NOPD detective who goes all the way to Kenner to visit a video game store. I have to remind myself that it's made to be viewed by the rest of the world and in movie-world these things are all next-door to each other.
Also, the video game lore involves Elizabeth Bathory, who is haunting a local mansion portrayed in the film by Kenilworth Plantation. No explanation is given as to how Elizabeth Bathory ended up in St. Bernard Parish. :)
These things always crack me up.
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