HammHawk’s Friday Raves

3 July 2009

Menage a Trois red.  Seems like every time I drink this, I like it more than anything else.  Don’t be a blend snob.

FuckYouPenguin.  New URL, same phenomenal writing.

Get Fuzzy.  E likes it even more than I do (as in, she’s a freak for it), but is there any doubt this is the best strip going?

Rambla.  Best tapas I’ve had in a loooong time.

Backgammon.  E & I’ve been playing a lot lately, and it’s just a wonderful game.  Played all my life, and it never gets old.

Harvey Milk.  Now we’ve seen Milk and the documentary it’s based on.  That guy was awesome.

The princess of New Orleans

1 June 2009

The Princess and the Frog, the Disney cartoon set in NO with the Black princess, is coming soon.  I was happy to hear a while back that the princess was local, but the NYT discusses the impact of the movie on stereotypes.  I’m pretty sensitive to these things, and I happen to think that most animation relies on stereotypes, usually without notable consequence.  But I thought this was a little excessive as an argument about setting the thing here:

Disney should be ashamed.  This princess story is set in New Orleans, the setting of one of the most devastating tragedies to beset a black community.

Huh?  To my mind, all the more reason to counter the stereotypes of the city that media coverage of the storm instilled.

Others claim that the prince is not Black, which seems a little weird, but they don’t show him on the website, so that may mean they’re editing to avoid the controversy.  I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s good that Disney is diversifying its palette, but I’d think parents would be more concerned about reinforcing the notion that you need a prince in the first place.

L. A. in LA

18 January 2008

Last night was interesting.  A friend of mine from college is in town from Los Angeles where he’s a producer.  He worked on Godzilla, Eight Legged Freaks (yeah, it really shoulda been Eight-Legged Freaks), and so on.  He’s in town scouting for a TV movie he’s doing with Noah Wyle called the Librarian.  E is pretty psyched to meet him when they come back to shoot.  Despite the mundane title, it sounded pretty cool.

I’ve never had a dinner quite like that.  There were 9 of us, including E and me, and Jacques-Imo’s was booked, so we went to Emeril’s.  Everyone else was involved with the movie, including other producers, the cinematographer, a cameraman, and the director, who happened to be Jonathan Frakes (Riker on Star Trek).  I’m not a trekkie, but I have some friends and a brother-in-law who will be envious.  He seemed like a nice guy.  It was interesting to hear them talk business and talk about shooting in New Orleans, even though I know nothing about making movies.

They said that tax rebates make it very attractive to shoot here, but it’s become so popular that it’s hard to put a crew together.  But they seemed to be enjoying themselves and really scouring the city for locations.  And they were heading to see Rebirth at Howlin Wolf afterward too.

The guy who picked up the tab (thanks, Phil) is a member of the Director’s Guild, who just quickly reached an agreement on Internet issues, so it was interesting to hear his take on the writers’ strike.  He contends that sharing Internet proceeds would actually be a bad deal for the writers because people who buy on the web won’t buy DVDs, so the take will shrink.  So a fair proportion will yield less money.  I don’t know enough to tell whether that’s right or just a party line from a guy who’s frustrated with the strike, but it was an interesting perspective that I hadn’t heard before.

As always, Emeril’s did us right with the veggie option.  Really good combination of vegetables and flavors.

I was hoping we might be more help with their scouting, but they seem to have most things pretty well figured out.  They did need an old-looking library setting, and I suggested checking out Latter Library.  Also, heads up, because they haven’t settled on “the mysterious Simone” yet, so local hotties should be sending resumes.

Striking writers, NOFF

4 December 2007

Considering how much TV I like to watch, I’m surprised that I don’t really give a damn about the strike.  Yeah, I guess I’m on the side of the writers, but it’s not exactly the Montgomery bus boycott.  I think they deserve a cut from the webcasts, but I haven’t lost a lot of sleep for them.

Mainly, I’m surprised that I don’t miss the shows, and maybe that’s why I’m less sympathetic.  They’re doing a less essential job than I would’ve thought.  Even the shows that I get on the DVR (Daily Show, Colbert, Office) are pretty much not leaving a void in my life.  I guess I should take this as a lesson about my indulgences, but I expect I’ll be back to catching them when they’re back on.  For now, I’ll see a few more movies.

Speaking of movies, I thought I’d posted this a while back, but I seem to have lost my post.  It was belated then, and now it’s really belated.  Anyway, especially now that Diving Bell is getting wider release, I salvaged and thought I’d post from 24 October 2007:

Last year for my b-day, E got me a membership in the New Orleans Film Society (or Film Fest, depending).  It’s been great, as we’ve gone to a couple at the CAC (Helvetica & Crazy Love–both awesome docs), and now I finally did the Film Fest last weekend with my friend Joe who lives in Austin now (but he’s still a great guy).

Joe is my favorite movie companion because he loves ‘em, but he doesn’t talk.  I can’t tolerate people thinking they’re cute trying to crack up the surrounding viewers or people who act like they’re home watching DVDs.  Why do so many adults not know how to whisper?

Anyway, we both have the stamina to sit for hours on end (one of my few talents), so we went to 5 on Sat and 2 on Sun before he had to leave.  Here’s what we saw, in my order of preference:

  1. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly–What a fascinating movie.  Based on the true story of the editor of French Elle, who had a massive stroke and could only move one eye.  Didn’t keep him from writing a book.  As if I didn’t feel badly enough about my own progress.  Gorgeous, claustrophobic, thought-provoking, funny, everything.
  2. Left Behind:  The Story of New Orleans Public Schools–Really well done.  Starts a little before Katrina and follows the hijinks of our screwy school system and a bunch of people who don’t give a shit about the kids.  The personal stories of some local students make the story especially poignant and moving.  In the end, not quite as depressing as you might think.  Let’s hope Vallas can get the job done.
  3. Killer of Sheep–Stunningly good b&w release from the ’70s about life in Watts.  Amazingly realistic performances.  Depressing at times, inspiring and joyful in others.  Gotta see it.
  4. Dans Paris–Your basic French story of life in a family in Paris.  Troubled relationships, joie de vivre, and depression.
  5. Grace is Gone–Somewhat disappointing John Cusack movie about a man whose wife dies in Iraq, and he can’t bear to tell their two daughters, so he takes them on vacation.  Sorta precious and self-conscious.
  6. Suffering Man’s Charity–Quite disappointing Alan Cumming movie about a musician who’s obsessed with a hustler.  Devolves into a slapstick thing.  I disliked it for the same reason I disliked Death at a Funeral.  Silliness posing as dark humor.  Still, Cumming was his charming self in attendance.  Said he thought NOLA was a great city to show a morbid movie and that Scotland has similar sensibilities.  Told a great story to illustrate:  U2 was in Scotland to give a concert, and Bono told everyone to be quiet.  At 1-sec intervals, he clapped in rhythm.  Clap.  Clap.  Clap.  Then he said that everytime he clapped, a child in Africa died of AIDS.  Lad in the front row shouts, “Why don’t you quit fucking clapping then!”  Choice.
  7. Flakes–I really really wanted to like this.  But alas.  I remember flipping out when we walked by Cafe Brazil and saw that it’d been turned into a cereal bar.  Felt silly when told that it was for a movie, but even pre-K we take our institutions seriously.  Fun to see Brazil, Marigny Bookshop, R Bar, Checkpoint Charlie….  Problem was the plot, with “manufactured conflict” as Joe called it (maybe that’s a common term, but I didn’t know it and it’s perfect).  Evil businessman wants to franchise Christopher Lloyd’s one-of-a-kind joint, and the good guys strike back.  Eh.

I was really disappointed to miss the Allen Toussaint Touch, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Faubourg Treme, the Untold Story of Black New Orleans, King of Kong, Tootie’s Last Suit, etc.

I’ll try to make time to see more next year, but they do a hell of a job.  Attendance at most of the shows was really good, and there were several that I couldn’t get to because they sold out.  I’ve noted to friends that everywhere else I’ve lived I’ve been disappointed when something’s sold out.  Here, I’m thrilled because it’s a sign of thriving.  Weird.

Weekend Whew

26 June 2006

Had a pretty unusual weekend, with E gone. Friday I laid low because I had the Katrina university benefit 5k on Sat am. Made it through in about 28 min, which wasn’t bad for me. I’m hoping to run regularly enough to pick up the pace, but I’m just glad I actually did it. Good turnout from Xavier as well as the other schools; much bigger than they anticipated.

Then I decided to bike to the car, which was getting wrapup work from the crash. I changed into my biking gear because I knew it would be a bit of a ride, but I had no idea what I was in for. My plan was to go down the levee to the Causeway, and then up to N. Causeway. Turns out, you cannot do that without getting on a highway with no shoulder. Not a healthy move for a bicycle. So I backtracked and went all over hell & back trying to find a way to get there. My last resort was to go up the Airline overpass (W. of the Tulane Avenue part), and that was ok, but still pretty treacherous.

My point is that it’s absurd to have so many people in NO without cars and to have insurmountable barriers to getting around. There’s no reason not to add a little bike/pedestrian lane to these highways, a la Jeff Davis Pkway. Really pissed me off.

Then I went to the Festival of Neighborhoods, which was hot as hell, but a nice scene, and with some very enlightening architects’ posters about the future of NO. Pretty interesting and innovative ideas, most of which will never be considered, I expect, but it’s nice to see some intellectual energy being expended on us.

So I was beat after all that, ordered a calzone, and tried to watch Gummo (sucked; couldn’t finish it)–one of my “disturbing” movies that E won’t watch. Then Sunday was Rosanne’s Juneteenth party and a nice time. Well done.

Looking forward to the couple days off next week.