Monthly Archives: February 2010

It’s Purim! Let’s Watch Movies?

Alright, exactly one more week until the Oscars. I know no one really cares, but like I said after the Super Bowl, sometimes you have to manufacture enthusiasm in order to waylay post-whatever depression. That’s one of my little secrets to happiness. So, you’re welcome!

Let’s cross the half-way point with this year’s TEN best picture nominees. We’ve seen Up, Up in the Air, Avatar and The Hurt Locker. Let’s watch two more that are no longer in theaters. First, though, do you have a Roku?

(And, no I’m not getting paid or compensated for product endorsements, but it would be awesome if I was!) I love this thing. It’s a little device that connects to your TV and to the internets and enables you to stream movies. I was initially concerned that the quality would be poor, all choppy and disjointed as many internet videos are. Like this SNL bit from last night spoke to. (Pardon the brief commercial at the beginning). But, the quality is actually really good. So, the Roku, which costs about $100, enables you to watch all of Netflix’ “watch instantly” offerings at no extra charge, and you can order (buy or rent) movies from Amazon On Demand. My only caveat: I have now become so accustomed to instant gratification that my Netflix sit and collect dust for months, and there are MANY $3.99 charges from Amazon on my bank statement.

That said! Both A Serious Man and Inglourious Basterds are there on Amazon on Demand for your instant gratification. I recommend A Serious Man first. I find that all things that I end up thinking are truly great are a bit perplexing to me at first–like I need to recalibrate my way of seeing things in order to understand said great thing. This was the case with A Serious Man, the Cohen brothers tale of Job set in a suburban, midwestern, Jewish home in the 1960s. It is as dark and funny as any other Cohen brothers film, but it has a subtler touch, and grapples with existential concerns thoughtfully. It can be hard to watch the series of indignities visited upon the main character, if you lose sight of how subtly hilarious the movie is.

So after you watch a Jewish character get pummeled for a couple of hours, it will be even more cathartic to watch Quentin Tarantino’s Spaghetti Western-inspired, revenge fantasy, re-imagining of the end World War II. I still have mixed feelings about this movie. My first thoughts were actually quite cynical–like maybe somebody was kissing up to a largely Jewish academy? But also, with the state of education in this country as poor as it is, it might be irresponsible to make revisionist history like this–like there might be kids out there who actually think the Bear Jew was real. But, all that aside, the movie is really fun to watch.


1 Comment

Filed under movies

Choose Your Own Saturday

Some days I wish I could clone myself. There are just so many awesome things going on today that I think I’m going to have to create a few separate itineraries–to let this post become a Choose Your Own Adventure, if you will. I guess I better switch to second person if I’m going to honor the CYOA formula.

You wake up bright and early (it’s open from 8-noon), and decide to go to The Crescent City Farmer’s Market— Saturday, downtown edition. You are pretty sure that you can find all the produce and protein you need to make these fancy Shrimp and Andouille Pot Pies.

Now dinner is squared away. So, you can stay on this food-related theme and head over to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum for their Cuccidati-making workshop. Apparently Cuccidati are a traditional St. Joseph’s Day offering. Don’t you just love this sort of food geekery? Anyone? $15 for non-members. $5 for members. 2-4.

Or…after the market, you remember that you are desperately trying to see all of the Best Picture nominees, and you head out to the AMC Elmwood, where, starting at 10:30 in the morning, they are showing a marathon of 5 of the 10 nominees. One ticket gets you into all 5, and they give you unlimited popcorn and soda. The movies are: Precious, The Blind Side, Inglourious Basterds, Up in the Air and Avatar. If you can manage that in one day, you are a stronger person than I.

Or…after the market, you decide to get all crafty. You can’t resist the “Be a Southern Puppeteer” workshop at the Ogden Museum, mostly because you really have to know what distinguishes a southern puppeteer from a yankee puppeteer, or a western one for that matter. The workshop is for kids, so you take yours (or borrow some) and head out. 10-noon. $25. From there, you head over to 3 Ring Circus’ The Big Top Gallery for their Mardi Gras Bead Workshop. Finally, cute ideas for repurposing those ubiquitous Mardi Gras beads. 1-5. $5.

Or…after the market, you decide to head to the Northshore to Fontainebleau State Park for “Skulls and Bones.” No, Mandeville is not the secret meeting place for entitled, Yale brats who will one day rule the world. Skulls and Bones is a nature walk and lecture on the bone structures and skeletal systems of the park’s animals. 11 a.m. Although, the former would be a nice plot for a Jackie Collins novel. Speaking of which! After the park, head back to New Orleans proper to Harrah’s Casino, where Jackie herself will be in person signing copies of her new book Poor Little Bitch Girl. 2-4. Umm. Rad.

And now, regardless of the path you chose, you are back at the beginning. And those shrimp and Andouille pot pies aren’t going to cook themselves!


Filed under crafts, great outdoors, groceries, kid-friendly, literary events, recipes

The Night of the Vampire? Tonight!

If you don’t have the money: panhandle. If you’re tired: drink some coffee. If you have other plans: you are leotarded. I don’t want to hear any excuses; you MUST go see Roky Erickson at One-Eyed Jacks. We all know that Roky is not the most stable of characters,  and you never know what tour might be his last. Here he is doing an acoustic version of “Night of the Vampire,” in 1984.

Doors are at 10, but there are two opening bands, so Roky will probably go on about midnight. Tickets are $30.

So, obviously, there is a lot of time this evening before the show. Over at Howlin’ Wolf, there is a Recycled Fashion Show benefiting the Bridge House. Show is at 8. Tickets are $15-$30. And, in addition to the show, there will be a raffle, an auction, door prizes and the Big Easy Roller Girls–I’m not sure if you can win one of them or not.

Leave a comment

Filed under benefit, music

Road Trip!

Have you been looking for an excuse to go to Cajun country? Well, I have. Lafayette is my second favorite city in Louisiana; and it’s been far too long since I’ve visited. I would not have thought that it would be experimental theater that would bring me there next, but life is full of surprises. Opening tonight is “Unbearable Lo*ely: a Tennesse Williams Mash-Up,” directed by Justin Zsebe. I guess that omitted letter would be an “n” and the word would be “lonely,” or maybe it’s a “v” and it’s supposed to be “lovely?” Or both? Anywho, the show is at 8, and at least partially outdoors, so dress warmly. It runs Thursdays-Saturdays at 8, through March 13th.

It would be a big waste to drive all the way to Acadiana and not pick up some boudin. There are literally hundreds of places claiming to have the best boudin, and for Louisianans the topic is nearly as contentious as barbecue is to the rest of the South. Luckily, Boudin Link is trying to catalogue, rate and generally sort out the chaos. Check out their amazing interactive Google Map of every place that has, like, ever served boudin. Out of the gillions of A+ rated options, I’m going to go with Johnson’s Boucaniere. (And I’m gonna lob this bomb over my masthead: I think Best Stop is totally overrated. I’m trying to generate some controversy people, I hear that’s good for one’s blog). So, yeah, you get hot boudin on Saturdays, this we’re taking cold and putting in a cooler and saving for another day.

Now let’s eat. Old Tyme Grocery claims that it gives any New Orleans po-boy a run for it’s money. (Wow. I’m really stirring the pot today, huh?) Why don’t we see how they stack up? You can’t compare apples and oranges, or more literally, shrimp and roast beef. So, on my first visit to a po-boy shop, I always have a fried shrimp poboy, the “vanilla” of po-boys, if you will. And they’re open pretty late!

So, now the play is over, and we feel like hanging with the locals and hearing some music. And we’re right by the Blue Moon Saloon, one of the most charming venues in existence. It’s semi-outdoors, and watching a band there is sort of like seeing a show on somebody’s back porch, if that somebody had a full bar and excellent taste in booking music. I hope the band is still playing when we get over there, as they also start at 8. Tonight is Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys doing real-deal rockabilly.

Now, if you’re all tuckered out, or if you had one too may pints with the band–’cause you would so do that–and don’t feel like driving back tonight, you can just pop in to the front desk and get you a room, because the Blue Moon is also an adorable guest house! Awesome, I know.

1 Comment

Filed under accomodations, groceries, music, new orleans cuisine, poboys, theater

More Oscar Nominees

Alright, we are on pace (if a little breakneck) to see all the best picture nominees. We’ve got Up, Up in the Air and Avatar down. Today at the Prytania we can knock out some more. Shall we make a day of it? Through tomorrow they are showing all of the best short animation films at 2:30, $8. (Starting Friday, they’ll be screening the best live action shorts). It’s a three hour program featuring these five films, and other extras:

French Roast” by Fabrice O. Joubert: (full film)

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” by Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell: (full film)

The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” by Javier Recio Gracia: (full film)

Logorama” by  Nicolas Schmerkin: (trailer)

and “A Matter of Loaf and Death” by Nick Park: (trailer)

And now, like Wallace, you need some cheese. Luckily, you are right down the street from St. James Cheese Company, and you have just enough time to get fed before they close at 7. Do you suppose they have Wensleydale? Oh my gosh, they do!

Now, you’re tided over, and you can head back for the 7:30 screening of The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow‘s excruciatingly tense, verite drama, which follows a U.S. Army bomb squad in Iraq, and its adrenaline junkie leader. Bigelow’s oeuvre belies an interest in violence–which, I suppose no one would make an issue of if she were a man. Speaking of comments that probably annoy her, she is also James Cameron’s ex-wife, and I found it interesting to apply a little jack-ass psychology to their Oscar-nominated movies to try to figure out what went wrong between them. They are both war movies, but Avatar is a schmaltzy fairy tale (that I enjoyed) about an imaginary, unattainable, perfect world, heavy with didactic allegory, where The Hurt Locker is brutally real, and also a character study of a man who can only get his rocks off in the midst of dangerous chaos. Hmmm….

1 Comment

Filed under dining, movies

Banh Mi and the Na’Vi

There’s still a little time to make over to the Tuesday Crescent City Farmer’s Market, 11-1. Today’s Green plate Special is from guest chef Ann Churchill (Karma Kitchen) and it sounds perfect for a hazy, chilly day like today: Roasted root vegetable tortilla soup, beef tongue tacos, and hot Mexican chocolate. Yum. That Mexican hot chocolate is so good–and since we are probably at the tale end of our cold weather–let’s make some at home.

Since, we’re trying to to see all the Oscar nominated movies, and since we need to get some groceries at the market, it seems time to revisit one of my earliest posts. We’ll get as many ingredients as we can find for the Banh Mi sandwiches at the farmer’s market, and the rest when we go Westbank Bound. (The only outdated info after the jump: no more eggnog daiquiris, boo).

Leave a comment

Filed under groceries, movies, recipes, vietnamese

Up & Up in the Air

Okay, we have a little less than two weeks until the Oscars, and, unlike New York and Los Angeles, we are not a market where every nominated movie is readily available on the big screen. But, with a little ingenuity, we will be able to see all the best picture nominees (well, most of them, but it really depends on your level of commitment!) before Sunday, March 7th.

Of a first priority are movies that are still in theaters–but not necessarily for long–and which will also not be released on video until after the Oscars.

Up in the Air, the film that was supposed to offer us a look into commitment-phobe George Clooney‘s soul, is still playing at the AMC Elmwood in Harahan. This is the latest feature film from Jason Reitman, who brought us the uneven but promising, Thank You For Smoking and the consummately watchable, albeit precious, Juno. Up in the Air is a subtle, mature, beautifully written and directed film that gives a glimpse into the charming and aloof Clooney, but moreover, our own disconnected, modern selves.–Now, at the risk of sounding like a seriously cranky-pants old lady, when I went and saw the movie, it was out of focus. I alerted the staff, and I was told it couldn’t be fixed. Then I saw on Google comments that someone who goes there a lot says 70% of the movies there are out of focus. My date, who has less than perfect eyesight, didn’t seem to mind. But, I stuck it out, you know why? Commitment! Get it? Showtimes are 1:55, 4:40, 7:20 & 10:05pm through Thursday, and beyond that, I can’t make any promises.

One of the other best picture nominees, the animated, Pixar film Up, is only available on DVD. It’s not on Amazon on Demand (one of my favorite things), but you can buy it from Amazon (and then keep it if you love it, or,  just, like, re-gift it to a kid) or put it in your Netflix queue. I’m just saying, get on this now, because it’s not instantly available anywhere. Up is a charming, beautiful-to-look-at movie, like all Pixar movies. It’s not quite Wall-E, but within the film is a little mini-movie about a life-long relationship, which made this jaded cinephile (and her husband) cry in a crowded movie theater, crammed with little kids. And, dare I make a pat comparison, interesting to consider at the same time as Up in the Air, another movie about an alienated, sky-bound man, albeit for entirely different reasons.

1 Comment

Filed under movies