Friday, December 8, 2017

Movie awards season begins with critics' accolades for Lady Bird, The Florida Project and Call Me By Your Name

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 5:40 PM

Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread
  • Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread

The annual three-month movie awards season always begins in early December with a spate of awards given out by critics' associations in cities and regions across the country. This week, the influential New York Film Critics Circle named Great Gerwig's Lady Bird best picture and awarded the film's star, Saoirse Ronan, best actress. The Florida Project won best director (Sean Baker) and best supporting actor (Willem Dafoe).

As happens most years, The Los Angeles Film Critics' Association responded with picks that diverged from those of their colleagues back East. The best picture award went to Luca Guadagnino's coming-of-age story Call Me By Your Name (which closed this year's New Orleans Film Festival and begins its regular local run on Jan. 19), and best actor went to that film's Timothée Chalamet. Director Guillermo Del Toro's highly anticipated The Shape of Water (which opens in New Orleans on Dec. 22) won best actress (Sally Hawkins) and shared the best director award with Call Me By Your Name. The Florida Project was named runner-up for best picture.

Other upcoming films winning awards and appearing on individual top 10 lists include Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread and Stephen Spielberg's The Post, along with Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk and Jordan Peele's Get Out. There's a long way to go before the Oscars Ceremony on March 4, 2018.

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Review: The Disaster Artist

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 3:42 PM

James Franco in The Disaster Artist
  • James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Every year brings its share of ill-conceived or poorly executed movies. Much harder to come by are films awful enough to earn the love and devotion of those attracted to epic big-screen failure. Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space and Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls are prime examples of films that live in the hearts of bad-movie fans and maintain cult status as the decades pass.

The new king of cinematic catastrophe is Tommy Wiseau. In 2003, Wiseau wrote, directed, produced and starred in a spectacularly inept film called The Room that gradually has become a cult phenomenon. Many theaters around the world that offer midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (such as our own Prytania Theatre) now also screen The Room for audiences that interact with the film in similar style — dressing as beloved characters and hurling insults and props at the screen.

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Dead & Company show rescheduled for Feb. 24, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 1:33 PM


The Dead & Company show in New Orleans that was scuttled by John Mayer's obstinate appendix a few days ago has been rescheduled. It now will be Feb. 24, 2018.

Tickets for the original show will be honored, and for those who can't or choose not to make it, refunds are available at the point of purchase.
Location Details Smoothie King Center
Smoothie King Center
1501 Girod St.
Central Business District
New Orleans, LA
(504) 587-3663

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The fall of Mike Edmonson

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 1:20 PM

Mike Edmonson, former head of the Louisiana State Police. - PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • Mike Edmonson, former head of the Louisiana State Police.

Former state Police Col. Mike Edmonson seems to generate scandals faster than troopers write speeding tickets. His epic fall from grace after nine years as Louisiana’s top cop have tainted a long-respected agency that deserved better than his legacy of petty corruption and lies.

Edmonson announced his retirement amid controversy in March after four of his favored officers took a totally gratuitous road trip to California to watch him receive a national award. One of them took his wife, with Edmonson’s blessing. Along the way, the merry band detoured to Las Vegas — on taxpayers’ dime — with some logging overtime to boot.

When the boondoggle was exposed, Edmonson feigned ignorance and ordered an internal investigation.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Geaux Talk campaign promotes comprehensive sex ed in Louisiana schools

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 6:25 PM

New Orleans City Councilmember At-Large Stacy Head and members of the Louisiana Public Health Institute and the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies announced the launch of Geaux Talk to promote comprehensive sex ed.
  • New Orleans City Councilmember At-Large Stacy Head and members of the Louisiana Public Health Institute and the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies announced the launch of Geaux Talk to promote comprehensive sex ed.

Louisiana has some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases among young people in the U.S. The state has the highest rate of syphilis among adolescents, the second highest rate of gonorrhea and chlamydia among adolescents, and the third highest rate of HIV diagnoses among adolescents. The state also has the sixth highest teen birth rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Most parents believe their children deserve comprehensive sex education in schools, and most parents think their children already are getting it — but that’s not necessarily the case. Louisiana doesn’t guarantee students receive comprehensive sex ed, and state law doesn’t require schools monitor whether they’re getting it.

Geaux Talk — a new public health campaign from the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) — aims to give parents, as well as students, teachers and legislators, all the resources they need to begin conversations about getting comprehensive sex ed into schools and at home.

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Say Bonjour to the Lady book signing today

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 12:51 PM

Say Bonjour to the Lady: Parenting from Paris to New York is not a how-to book on child-rearing. It’s a humorous and charmingly illustrated rumination on the differences between American and French parenting styles — written from the perspectives of two ex-Parisians who moved to New York and are raising their children there.

Florence Mars, who co-wrote the book with Pauline Leveque, will sign books and discuss her work from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at The French Library (3811 Magazine St., 504-267-3707; The event is free and the public is invited. A quarter of proceeds from the book will benefit Epic, a nonprofit organization Mars’ husband helped found to connect donors with social causes.

The book takes a lighthearted look at child-rearing from the perspectives of Mars, who follows a more formal French approach, and Leveque, who adopted an American approach.

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Review: Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 11:03 AM

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley is a lighthearted comedy using the characters from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - PHOTO BY JOHN BARROIS
  • Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley is a lighthearted comedy using the characters from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Inbetween scenes of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, the maid (Erin Sheets) at Fitzwilliam Darcy’s Pemberley estate doubles as a sign carrier, presenting the audience with brief notes, such as “Transition,” in a flowery script surrounded by glossy images of garlands. The signs look like labels on holiday fruitcakes or plastic-wrapped gift baskets, and I don’t know if the sign bit is included in the script of Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s comedic sequel to Pride and Prejudice, but it’s a tipoff to the lighthearted, easy humor in the holiday drama.

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Amanda Lucidon, one of few women White House photographers, to speak at Keller library

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 9:46 AM


Amanda Lucidon, one of the few women photographers to work in the White House and who spent four years photographing former First Lady Michelle Obama, will speak at New Orleans Public Library's Keller branch Dec. 14.

Lucidon will talk about her recent book Chasing Light: Michelle Obama Through the Lens of a White House Photographer, which collects dozens of never-before-seen candids of Obama in a variety of settings, from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to the White House's South Lawn to a Liberian high school. The book also includes short narratives from Lucidon describing the moment pictures were taken, as well as her personal impressions of the famously fashionable first lady.

You can check out Lucidon chatting with CNN's Anderson Cooper about this book in this short video, which also includes a few sample images.

The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. It's free to attend. Photographs from the book also are on display at the library from Dec. 11 until Jan. 4, 2018.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Editorial: Saving 'net neutrality' — what you can do

Posted By on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 4:39 PM

A Sept. 2017 rally in San Francisco to preserve net neutrality. - CREATIVE COMMONS/CREDO ACTION
  • A Sept. 2017 rally in San Francisco to preserve net neutrality.

Next week, the U.S. government seems poised to roll back the Open Internet Order, a 2015 policy approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as part of a strategy to ensure what is broadly called “net neutrality.” Net neutrality requires internet service providers (ISPs) to be “neutral” pipelines, neither favoring one site over another nor getting in the way of what consumers want to see. They are not allowed, for instance, to create fast and slow loading speeds for particular websites, nor block any websites in general. Without net neutrality, an ISP could favor its own search engine or news page (Verizon, for instance, owns Yahoo, and may prefer you use Yahoo over Google, or Yahoo News over The New York Times).

Simply put, net neutrality is good public policy.

Without net neutrality, surfing the internet could become a lot like paying for cable TV. In ISP might decide to section off groups of popular websites and charge extra prices for that bundle, similar to the way cable TV companies bundle premium channels. It could also work in reverse, with an ISP demanding that streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu pay extra to prioritize their streaming traffic. ISPs would have to disclose this information, but with ISP monopolies operating in many areas of the country, it still would leave consumers little choice.

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Gov. Edwards organizes task force to review sexual harassment policies

Posted By on Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 4:35 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards.
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order Dec. 6 assigning a seven-member team to review sexual harassment and discrimination policies within state agencies and departments.

The task force will review all agencies that fall under the executive branch and "identify which current policies are effective and which ones are not, whether new ones need to be implemented and whether additional changes need to be made in these areas," Edwards said in a statement. "The goal is to ensure state employees are safe at work and have the confidence in knowing that any allegation made will be taken seriously and that there are adequate procedures in place to address those complaints."

All state agencies within the executive branch have been directed to review their policies and submit them to Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne before Jan. 1. The task force will report back to Edwards' office before March 2018.

"Every person, whether they work in state government or private industry, should be able to do their jobs without fear of being sexually harassed or discriminated against,” Edwards said. “There is no circumstance under which harassment or discrimination of any kind will be tolerated by my administration."

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