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MARCH 2010

Special Cover

Drew Brees Louisiana’s Saint


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VOL. 1, ISSUE 4 | March 2010 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kevin Barraco

EDITOR’S LETTER

Who Dat, Baby?! Well, we can all agree that February was an amazing month for Louisiana. The Saints have won the Super Bowl and now Drew Brees is one of our biggest celebrities. Everyone at Scene Magazine applauds Our Boys for bringing the trophy home.

When will the party end? Who wants the party to end?! In January, Sundance 2010 featured many Louisiana films and celebrated the entertainment capital of the South. Scene Magazine was in Park City capturing interviews and photos that feature Welcome to the Rileys’ Kristen Stewart. Louisiana was also represented at this year’s Grammy Awards with a special “Only in Louisiana” brunch. Scene’s coverage at festivals will continue this month at South by Southwest, as Louisiana representatives head to Austin to draw attention to musical artists and filmmakers. Film production is at a high point this spring. We’ll have more coverage

of HBO’s premiere of Treme, Earthbound, starring Kate Hudson, and Green Lantern, which is the largest movie to shoot in New Orleans since The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Scene also premieres its digital edition this month. By partnering with Issuu, a new company revolutionizing the way magazines are viewed on digital platforms, you can now view Scene Magazine on your computer, and, coming very soon, on your iPhone or iPad. Get on the Scene, anytime, anywhere!

KEVIN BARRACO EDITOR-IN-CHIEF editor@scenelouisiana.com

CONTRIBUTORS

ERIKA MOLLECK GOLDRING

is a New Orleans-based fine art music photographer who has developed her own unique style of performance portraiture, working with such celebrated acts as Beyoncé, Keith Richards, Willie Nelson and Fats Domino. Erika captures the energy in a live show—whether it’s the split second a beautiful stage light falls on her subject or the raw emotion emanating from the performer lost in the groove. Her work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Spin, New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times and New Orleans TimesPicayune. Most recently, Erika has had works accepted into the Smithsonian’s Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, and the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, MS.

NATHAN OLNEY

lives in a city that shares his initials and he could not be prouder. He suffers from several made-up social disorders which he himself diagnosed. He is a school graduate and has written for The Washington Times and The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. He currently resides in Uptown and just completed the second part of a screenplay trilogy about New Orleans. “Make me an offer.”

ADAM TUSTIN began his professional writing career as combat correspondent for the United States Marine Corps. Originally from New England, he has been a resident of New Orleans since 2003.

4 | March 2010

CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER Lana Hunt CREATIVE DIRECTOR Erin Theriot COPY EDITOR Arthur Vandelay PHOTO EDITOR Christine Cox SALES Donna Cook Jon Bajon Stacy Schliewe Brooke Wilson Chapman Drew Aizpurua Drew Langhart Cyndi Wiseman Allie Clements Jessica Mason CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Ashley Merlin, Mark St.James, Nathan Olney, Mindy Bledsoe, Laura Rockett, Erika Goldring PUBLIC RELATIONS & MARKETING Julie Nathanson, Rogers & Cowan CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AJ Buckley, Saree Schaefer, Lana Hunt, Scott Crompton, Drew Aizpurua, Dave Margulis, Emily Morrow, Thomas Merkel, Nathan Olney, Amber Havens, Greg Milneck, Dave Weber, Chris Jay & Alexandyr Kent, Adam Tustin, Danielle Nelson, Mark St. James, Jessica Talazac, Chris Stelly Scene Magazine 4528 Bennington Ave., Suite 300 Baton Rouge, LA 70808 877-517-2363 info@scenelouisiana.com www.scenelouisiana.com Published By Louisiana Entertainment Publishers LLC Display Advertising: Call Louisiana Entertainment Publishers for a current rate card. All submitted materials become the property of Louisiana Entertainment Publishers LLC. For subscriptions or advertising call 877-517-2363 for more information and rates. Copyright @ 2009 Louisiana Entertainment Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used for solicitation or copied by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording by any information storage or retrieval system, without the eexexpress written permission of the publisher.


CONTENTS SPECIAL SAINTS COVER

Drew Brees

Louisiana’s Saint leads Our Boys to the first Super Bowl win in the Saints’ 43-year history and celebrates Lombardi Gras.

BEHIND THE SCENES

8

BEFORE THE SCENE

14

24

Hear from cast and crew and take a look Behind the Scenes A Conversation with Shane West

PRODUCER’S CORNER

16

Scene Magazine visits producer Ted Hope on the set of Super in Shreveport

LAST LOOKS

20

Keith David in The Princess and the Frog Lafayette Plays a Role: On set with Bullet Films Lombardi Gras

ABOVE THE LINE

Louisiana at Sundance 2010

28

MUSIC / SOUND SPEED

44

Louisiana at the Grammy Awards Better than Ezra Gives Back to New Orleans Saints, Gumbo and Lady Gaga History of the Warehouse The Brothers Blade

FASHION / THE RED CARPET Saree’s Style G-Star Fashion Show Designer Spotlight - Seema Sudan overScene

ON THE SCENE

70

SCENE EXTRAS

40

58

A preview of Fashion Week at Bourbon Park and an All About Me fashion show at Republic New Orleans News, Resources and Celebrities on the Scene

COLUMNS

Today’s Scene 12 Louisiana’s Prosperous Entertainment Industry by Chris Stelly In the Mix 36 3-D: For Entertainment Purposes Only by Greg Milneck State of the Artist 18 An Interview with John “Spud” McConnell by Dave Weber Crew Up 38 NOVAC Looks Back and Plans Ahead by Danielle Nelson Good Seats 34 Wonderful Night by Chris Jay and Alexandyr Kent

FRAMES PER SECOND by James Sheppard

THE UNSCENE

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Sincerity. Flattery. Imitation. 6 | March 2010

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FILM | behind the scenes

John Goodman on set filming HBO’s Treme in New Orleans

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TREME on location: New Orleans, Louisiana

HBO’s new drama series, Treme, created and executive produced by David Simon and Eric Overmyer, will launch its ten-episode first season Sunday, April 11 (10:00-11:20 p.m. ET/ PT) on HBO. From David Simon (The Wire, Generation Kill, The Corner) and Eric Overmyer (Homicide, The Wire), the show follows musicians, chefs, Mardi Gras Indians and ordinary New Orleanians as they try to rebuild their lives, their homes and their unique culture in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane and subsequent levee failure that caused the near-death of a great American city. “New Orleans is a city which lives in the imagination of the whole world,” says Overmyer. “We wanted to capture something authentic about it, as its people struggle with the after effects of the greatest calamity to befall an American city in the history of this country.” “What happens in New Orleans matters. An ascendant society rebuilds its great cities,” adds Simon. Treme’s storyline begins in the fall of 2005, three months after Hurricane Katrina and the massive engineering failure in which flood control failed throughout New Orleans, flooding 80 percent of the city and displacing hundreds of thousands of residents. Fictional events depicted in the series will honor the actual chronology of political, economic and cultural events following the storm. Longtime friends and collaborators, having both worked on the network drama Homicide: Life on the Street, Simon and Overmyer have wanted to make a series about New Orleans and its culture ever since they learned of each other’s affinity for the city. Overmyer has been a New Orleans resident for twenty years, while Simon has been a frequent visitor since the late 1980s. “Neither one of us could figure out how to pitch it properly. The problem is that in order to convince anyone to let us depict New Orleans, you have to first explain it,” Simon says, “And 8 | March 2010

until Katrina, the only way to begin to explain it was to shoot the film.” Treme is named for the Faubourg Tremé, an historic neighborhood just to the lakeside of the more celebrated French Quarter. Jazz itself is said to have been born there, created by the slaves of Creole planters who were allowed to drum and chant on Sundays and market days in a public area that came to be known as Congo Square. It was in New Orleans that African rhythms and the pentatonic scale of flatted “blue” notes met European instrumentation and arrangements, a cross-cultural creation that as influenced music worldwide. “As much as possible, we’re trying to show fealty to the post-Katrina history,” Overmyer notes. “New Orleanians have had their lives transformed by the storm and its aftermath, and we want to be careful in our presentation of that.” The drama unfolds with Antoine Batiste, a smooth-talking trombonist who is struggling to make ends meet, earning cash with any gig he can get, including playing in funeral processions for his former neighbors. His ex-wife, LaDonna Batiste-Williams, owns a bar in the Central City neighborhood and splits her time between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, where her children and new husband have relocated. Concerned over the disappearance of her younger brother David, or Daymo, unseen since the storm, LaDonna has turned to a local civil rights attorney, the overburdened and underpaid Toni Bernette, for help. The government’s inconsistent and ineffectual response to the devastation has spurred Bernette’s husband Creighton, a university professor of English literature and an expert on local history, to become an increasingly outspoken critic of the institutional response. Tremé resident Davis McAlary, a rebellious radio disc jockey, itinerant musician and general gadfly, is both a chronicler of and participant


behind the scenes in the city’s vibrant and varied musical culture, which simply refuses to be silent, even in the early months after the storm. His occasional partner, popular chef Janette Desautel, hopes to regain momentum for her small, newly re-opened neighborhood restaurant. Elsewhere in the city, displaced Mardi Gras Indian chief Albert Lambreaux returns to find his home destroyed and his tribe, the Guardians of the Flame, scattered, but Lambreaux is determined to rebuild. His son Delmond, an exile in New York playing modern jazz and looking beyond New Orleans for his future, is less sure of his native city’s future, while violinist Annie and her boyfriend Sonny, young street musicians living hand-to-mouth, seem wholly committed to the battered city. The ensemble cast of Treme includes New Orleans born Wendell Pierce as Antoine Batiste; Khandi Alexander as LaDonna BatisteWilliams; Clarke Peters as Albert Lambreaux; Rob Brown as Delmond Lambreaux; Steve Zahn as Davis McAlary; Kim Dickens as Janette Desautel; Melissa Leo as Toni Bernette; John Goodman as Creighton Bernette; Michiel Huisman as Sonny; and classical violinist Lucia Micarelli as Annie. The series will also feature cameos by notable reallife New Orleanians, as well as the talents of many of its extraordinary musicians and other artists associated with the city’s music. Early episodes feature appearances by Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Kermit Ruffins, Donald Harrison Jr., Galactic, Trombone Shorty Andrews, Deacon John, and the Rebirth and Tremé Brass Bands. “The disaster impacted people on every possible level…physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” says New Orleans native Wendell Pierce. “The only things people had to hang on to were the rich traditions we knew that survived the test of time before: our music, food and family, family that included anyone who decided to accept the challenge to return.”

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| FILM

Treme films in the French Quarter (above) and in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans (below)

THE HUNGRY RABBIT JUMPS on location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Recently wrapped, The Hungry Rabbit Jumps is a taut, high-concept conspiracy thriller in the tradition of The Game and Enemy of the State. The film centers on Nick Gerard (Nicolas Cage), a hardworking English teacher, whose life changes forever when his wife Laura ( January Jones) is brutally attacked, seemingly without motive. At her bedside in the hospital, a distraught Nick is approached by Simon, a complete stranger. He tells Nick that he can wait for the police to find the culprit or his organization can kill the attacker. In return, Nick must complete a task for them at a later date. Wracked with emotion, Nick agrees to the proposal, setting off a chain of events that will spiral out of control. Directed by Roger Donaldson and produced by Endgame Entertainment, Hungry Rabbit Jumps is the second film Cage has shot in New Orleans over the last year, along with Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Cage is set to begin production on his next film, Drive Angry, in Shreveport, Louisiana this month.

Stunt team films a car driving off a parking garage in downtown New Orleans www.scenelouisiana.com | 9


FILM | behind the scenes

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AX MEN: SEASON 3 on location: Ponchatoula, Louisiana

by David Margulis Deep in the swamp, a man is enjoying the cold, damp air, traversing a coulée with a small pirogue curiously tethered behind him. His feet are bare. Wading along, feeling the muddy silt bottom of each stream, he fondles the muck with his feet, inspecting oddities with his bare toes, like a raccoon delicately foraging for food in thick coffee colored swamp water. The muddy swamp floor gives way to ancient felled lumber underfoot. Long ago lost, these logs were once floating towards a gathering place, there held for milling and construction, used for the colonial houses or ships. Occasionally, a log would absorb too much water and simply sink, forgotten for a century. Now, Shelby Stanga trips over them one at a time and resurrects them from their watery grave. Now in its third season, Ax Men spans the country for the first time as intrepid loggers from six teams push deeper into densely covered forests during the logging industry’s most dangerous season. Teams from Oregon, Washington, Montana, Louisiana and Florida tower higher atop the trees and go deeper into the seas, risking life and limb in pursuit of the timber from which America is built. Ax Men follows Stanga through the swamp as he finds logs with his bare feet, muscles them to shore and barges them for buyers to inspect and purchase. A true entrepreneur, Stanga blazes his own trails to live off the bountiful Louisiana land. Ax Men visits Stanga in Louisiana’s beautiful but unforgiving Bedico Creek swamp, near the Joyce Wildlife Management Area. When most kids where joining the Boy Scouts, nine-year-old Stanga would spend the entire summers, day and night, in the swamp behind his house. His family’s place was near the creek’s edge and his daily life was that of a pioneer, clearing the area of wild hogs and shooting fur-bearing animals for their pelts and food. “I was only nine. People were afraid for me and would ask me if I was scared being alone in the swamp for a few weeks,” said Stanga. “I would always tell them, ‘I’ve never been scared, not out here.’ The leaves of that cypress was my blanket and the animals that live out here were my best friends. It may sound sad to you, a little boy alone in the swamp, but I am so happy to always know one place as my own.” Stanga’s first television debut was as a guide for Bear Grylls on Man vs. Wild on an episode entitled “Deep South.” Stanga is a sometimes referred to as a legend, part of living folklore. He is well known in the Bedico Creek area, where graveyards and country roads bear his family name. He has been written about before, even compared to Jeremiah Johnson. As the legend grows, so does the ribbing, jousting, and exchanges of gunfire, usually a result of attention brought to him by openly discussing treasure that he finds between his toes. The romantic storyteller speaks often of the accurate history of visiting Spanish galleons, Lafitte’s smuggling routes and the remnants of which that he has found. Often bringing back trinkets to prove his discoveries, Stanga is smart enough to hold back the final placement 10 | March 2010

Shelby Stanga

of these anomalies. The collection includes ancient canon balls, hand-made bricks, curious blown bottles, petrified horse’s teeth, coins, green emeralds and even gold pieces. He speaks of cannonladen sunken ships and claims of finding a meteorite the size of a Volkswagen. Then, there is the lost WWII fighter plane he found intact, still brilliantly showing a white star on its wing, sometimes covered in silt, sometimes guarded by ferocious alligators. Shelby holds up a piece of pure titanium rocker arm from the camshaft on the engine, complete with machinist’s numbers stamped into the part. There is more for the curious and the inquisitive and Shelby Stanga will always share his stories. They often become tales of epic proportions. There is a lot of whimsical hope that he will indeed find the lost treasure of Jean Lafitte. Or, perhaps he already has. Stanga also swears by his claim to have seen unearthly creatures that wander deep in the Louisiana swamp in the midnight, moonlit hours of the long summers. As caught on film, Stanga’s enthusiasm is simply great fodder for filmmakers and other dreamers. In Ax Men, he is certainly intriguing. Featured in his natural state, he can be seen biting the heads off precariously large poisonous cottonmouth snakes, doing it for the attention alone. Also intriguing is the shiny, nickelplated .44 Magnum that he carries tucked in his belt. Shelby Stanga has signed a two-year contract with the show and will be telling a national television audience his stories for at least that long. Season 3 of Ax Men is now showing on the History Channel


TODAY’S SCENE

ENTERTAINMENT GROWTH The Mortician filming in New Orleans. Photo by Mark St. James

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he first decade of the 21st century has now come and gone, but the time for filming in Louisiana has just begun. Since 2002, Louisiana has seen exponential growth in the motion picture industry, ending 2009 on a high note and setting the stage for what promises to be a very successful 2010. In contrast, 2009 started with a challenge. One year ago this month, it appeared we were in for a dip in our production numbers. Outside pressures were hitting the motion picture industry hard, not just in Louisiana but around the globe. The outlook for film financing was bleak. Louisiana’s incentives were scheduled to scale back. The Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) was in de facto strike mode. And so much production had been rushed in 2008 in preparation for a possible SAG strike that our state benefitted from the best year on record with 80-plus productions. But reality set in quickly and our production numbers dropped somewhat as 2009 opened. Regardless of all of these forces, Louisiana was still the production destination. In July 2009, the Governor and the Legislature reaffirmed Louisiana’s commitment to the motion picture industry by making our credit program permanent and increasing it to 30 percent (with an additional 5 percent for Louisiana labor). This commitment resounded throughout the production community. As 2009 closed we saw 63 productions completed. While this may seem low relative to our record-breaking 2008, keep in mind that prior to August of 2009, our office had only received 20 applications. By year’s end we had over 100 applications for production tax credits – and that’s just the large-scale projects that meet the tax credit threshold. Dozens of smaller productions contributed to our state’s local regions. Here’s a sample of some of the productions that shot in Louisiana over the course of last year: Jonah Hex, Secretariat, The Expendables, Mardi Gras, True Blood (Season 2), Treme (HBO pilot), Imagination Movers (Season 2), Leaves of Grass, Skateland, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Gator, Knucklehead, Father of Invention, Delta Blues, The Mechanic, Bad Lieutenant and Clunkers, just to name a few. Louisiana is the preferred destination for many major decision makers because we have established a high level of credibility, stability and reliability within the industry. Additional factors include a quality crew base, mature infrastructure with state of the art facilities and a creative culture that we count as our greatest natural resource. Unlike many of our competitors, Louisiana has the support structure in place that ensures a production that they will be able to spend well over 80% of their budget in the state. From development to 12 | March 2010

by Chris Stelly post-production, an entire film can be delivered within Louisiana’s borders. We now can boast of a growing indigenous industry where companies that have expanded, relocated or started in Louisiana are now very active in production throughout the state. In fact, a large percentage of the productions that applied for tax credits in 2009 were by in-state companies like these. We have indeed seen an industry that has taken root statewide. Louisiana has even further diversified her portfolio with the establishment of post-production facilities that are committed to providing jobs and have stellar reputations throughout the industry. I wish that I could mention every one of our companies by name. However, that would take up an entire issue! I send my thanks to each and every one for all of the support and dedication to this industry. No one can doubt Louisiana’s commitment. Now that I have had the opportunity to wax nostalgic, the future certainly looks bright! 2010 is already off to a roaring start with films such as Brother’s Keeper, Green Lantern, Swamp Shark, Super and Hungry Rabbit Jumps filming in the first quarter. Two films recently shot here premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival (Welcome to the Rileys, Skateland). We have two films screening at Slamdance as well (Camp Ranch, Drones). Congratulations to those filmmakers: our state is very proud of the work everyone has done. As we expect 2010 become another record-breaking year in the film industry, the Office of Entertainment Industry Development is anticipating tremendous growth in all things entertainment. Our holistic approach, our recognition that all sectors of entertainment are converging, has given Louisiana a distinct competitive advantage over other states and foreign territories. We are on the way to establishing Louisiana as the new entertainment business hub. To achieve this, our office has undergone a strategic planning process to provide a roadmap for a self-sustaining industry. Additionally, we anticipate rolling out a campaign for branding LouisianaEntertainment.gov in the very near future. Our office is always working on ways to improve and sustain the entertainment industry for the long term. Through the work we do here at Louisiana Economic Development’s Office of Entertainment Industry Development, we are diversifying our economy and providing our children ample opportunities for jobs that they would otherwise have had to leave our state to obtain. Support for our efforts has been tremendous and I want to that everyone for it. Expect many great things for 2010 in Louisiana Entertainment. Chris Stelly is the Director of Film & Television for the State of Louisiana’s Office of Entertainment Industry Development


BEFORE THE SCENE WITH SHANE WEST by AJ Buckley

Before the Scene is where we all start. In a small town with our families. In front of a mirror with our friends. The days spent sleeping on a couch. The nights working at a bar. Living with the unknown and surrounded by uncertainty. It’s about the times that define us. It’s about the darkness just before the limelight. Shane West was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He began to pursue an acting career at the age of fifteen, gaining bit parts on various television shows, but it was not until 1999 when West appeared in ABC’s Once and Again that he got his major breakthrough. West was recently seen in Echelon Conspiracy in 2009 and stars in Kerosene Cowboys, coming out soon. Aside from acting, West plays music with his band, Average Jo, for which he writes and plays guitar.

Q: What made you want to become an actor? A: I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was big into

music, big into playing sports, and big into art. I was a huge film fanatic but never thought I could or would be a part of that world. Kids from my high school started popping up in commercials so I thought I’d give it a try. I wasn’t very focused in the beginning and therefore was rejected for a solid 2 1/2 years. The constant rejection really made me rally and focus and start to take my craft seriously. That, my extensive collection of films and my vivid imagination [are] what spurred me forward into wanting to be an actor.

Q: What was your biggest fear? A: Failure. Plain and simple. I put all my eggs into this basket and I am

very fortunate that it turned out well. I think the percentage of working actors/actresses in this business is something like a paltry 5%? Not very good odds. That was a huge worry of mine but I do get a kick out of facing my fears.

Q: What was your lowest point? A: At the start of my career. I lived in two different managers’ houses at one point. I lived in a garage. I didn’t have any kind of job. I was living for free, thankfully, and hustling for auditions every day. I got down to $100 dollars total in my account.

Q: What kept you from walking away? A: I don’t believe in giving up. I just assumed something would work out. I never had a solid doubt that I wouldn’t succeed at some level in the business. I guess I got those stubborn qualities from my mom.

Q: What did you walk away from? A: College. That was tough for my family and me. I booked a TV

pilot in my freshman year and it shot during my finals. Consequently, I missed them completely and my 3.7 GPA dropped to a 1.5.  I was fired from the pilot (thankfully the show lasted only two episodes) and had to make a decision if I was going to go back to school on probation or continue to hammer out my career. I chose the career and thankfully, in what would have been my sophomore year, I booked my first film and a TV show that lasted three years. I will go back one day. Hopefully to LSU.

Q: Who was your closest ally? A: My new group of friends that was growing everyday. Everyone was around the same age and in the same situation: broke and hungry for

14 | March 2010

work. Ben Gould, Donnie Biggs, Brandon Quinn, Ben Foster, Rachel Cook, Natanya Ross…the list goes on. I couldn’t have done it without them as well as many others and the support of my family.

Q: What were you doing the morning before the audition that changed your life? A: I was congratulating Ben Foster on just booking one of the leads

in a film called Liberty Heights. He lived above me at the time. Later that day, I got an audition for a smaller role in the film. I somehow booked it by putting myself on tape (which rarely works) and called him the next day and said, “Guess who’s going to Baltimore with you?” While I was in Baltimore, I was also told that they chose me to play the only son in a new TV series called Once and Again. I have videotape somewhere of me filming myself jumping up and down in my hotel room in Baltimore. [It was] very corny but I was very relieved.

Q: What were the words that kept you going? A: I don’t really think there were any particular words that kept me going. It was the fact that I had to. I knew deep in my soul that there was a place for me in this business.

Q: How have you changed? A: I started when I was finishing up high school and now I am 31,

so…I’ve changed a lot. I prepare more now than I ever did back then [when] it felt less competitive and I used mostly raw talent to bully my way into the business. However, now with the economic woes and the entertainment industry in a state of absolute confusion, the competition has gotten fierce. Preparation for me now is complete isolation. No phones, no dinners, no parties. Just “me” time. 

Q: What words do you have to inspire others? A: Face your fears. You will never find better results. And I hate to sound cliché, but simply don’t give up. You know in your heart what is right. Don’t listen to critics, listen to your heart and you won’t fall down.

Over the past five years AJ has starred as Adam Ross on the hit TV show CSI: NY. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, he has spent the past ten years in Los Angeles, California, acting and writing. Buckley was most recently seen in Skateland at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and is currently writing and starring in the upcoming web series GhostFacers for Warner Brothers.


before the scene |

FILM

Shane West at Sundance 2010

www.scenelouisiana.com | 15


FILM | producer’s corner

A Conversation with

TED HOPE by Emily Morrow

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n October 20, 2009 Columbia Pictures began production of Battle: Los Angeles in Louisiana. This project is was one of the largest productions to film in Louisiana to date. Like many motion pictures developed in Hollywood they are now being produced elsewhere; a place that can host a film and offer them an incentive, which Louisiana does best. As one of the leading voices in independent film, Ted Hope believes in the power of authentic storytelling. Since independent film hit the scene over twenty years ago, Hope has been an integral part of the evolution of the industry and has continued to define independent film. As the producer of Super, starring Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Kevin Bacon and Liv Tyler, Hope was interested in working on a film centered around a realistic superhero. After learning about the script via Twitter, Hope read Super by writer/director James Gunn and things started moving fast. We caught up with Hope in Shreveport on set of the film to talk more about the project, working in Louisiana and his experience in independent film.

PRE-PRODUCTION “I found out about Super on a Twitter feed,” said Hope. “It was being pitched as a lower budget Watchmen.” The Super he had discovered was an unproduced script by Gunn, best know as the writer of 2002s remake of Dawn of the Dead and writer/ director of Slither. “James comes from doing more genre films, but we wanted to do something that was more emotionally truthful and raw.” Hope discussed his distinct method of producing movies. “It’s no secret,” he says, “it’s just that you do as much as you possibly can in advance…cast it out.” Because Super had once been very close to being made, the project was “production ready,” facilitating a quick start. “We put together the three leads and brought on a foreign sales company,” said Hope. “And we were able to put it all together right before the Toronto Film Festival [in 2009].” It was there that Hope was able to work at putting together the rest of the film’s financing. Among the financiers that Hope met with was someone who had worked in Shreveport on another film, Wonderful World, starring Matthew Broderick. Because of the familiarity with the city, the group was eager to do a scout in Shreveport. “If all went well, they would do the project and we could make it really quick,” said Hope. Because Rainn Wilson had to return to work on The Office in January, they “just had those three months to finance, cast, prep and shoot” the entire film. Instead of pursuing a more complicated deal with multiple financial partners, Hope said that Shreveport “became the simple way to do it. You look for partners who believe in the film as much as you do and that’s what we had.”

PRODUCING IN SHREVEPORT Because it offers a variety of looks and always has minimum pedestrian and vehicular traffic, downtown Shreveport is sometimes 16 | March 2010

Ted Hope, center, on the set of Super, filming in Shreveport

called a “Hollywood back lot,” a label that Hope felt was justified. “We had a block we were using: a movie theater and two empty store fronts, which were for a fabric store, pet shop and a fruit stand…and it did feel like that.” he said. “Here we are downtown…and we had no problems with pedestrians or traffic lock up and [no problems with] parking.” Hope also said that the Mayor’s office had been very supportive. “On a Friday when we were filming, we went by and there was a huge mound of dirt on the sidewalk that wasn’t there before,” he said. “They were about to tear down the building next to the theatre where we were filming. [Our line producer] spoke to the Mayor’s office and not only did they stop the demolition, but they cleaned up the dirt.” “Then the following Monday, we were shooting and our police uniform came without a cap, so we had a cap-less cop. We called the film commissioner and we were able to find an official cap. Not only does it feel like a back lot, but you get a cleaning facility, and you get a wardrobe stock house…it’s great.”

WORKING ON A TEAM “First and foremost, the right and wrong [choices] are explicably linked,” said Hope. “It’s right to not go by a template for production but let it find it’s own way of how it’s suppose to be. When I try to force [the team] a certain way, problems occur. Not everybody has the same way of doing things. People coming up in physical production often have a really rigid way they like to have things done and sometimes if that’s applied to certain directors, they start to bristle back. One of the things that makes James Gunn such a pleasure to work with is that he is very decisive and knows what he wants. There are many directors that aren’t that way and when you try to force them, you may limit their creativity a bit. Film is that intersection of art and commerce and that’s a really dangerous crossroads. So often when you make the judgment for one, you sacrifice the other.”


producer’s corner | MISSED OPPORTUNITIES “I think one of the biggest mistakes is not recognizing an opportunity when it’s in front of you,” said Hope. “Years ago, I was shooting a film called Simple Men with Hal Hartley. We had a choreographed dance scene to a song by Sonic Youth. The manager of that band was saying that I needed to put one of his other [bands] in the film, but I didn’t have the [time] to listen to all that music. I was driving to set one day, and I heard this song and it struck me as the best radio-ready, heavy metal rock song in ages…as good as Welcome to the Jungle, I thought.” “I literally pulled over on the side of the road to let it play and thought, holy cow…this song is great! I thought it sounded really familiar. I went back to the hotel and looked through all the CDs the band sent me, and I had the demo. I called up the label and said, ‘So I just heard this song Smells Like Teen Spirit, by Nirvana. You offered it to me for free for the movie, can we put it in?’ They were like ‘Ted that was last month.’ I missed that one.”

FILM

New York and L.A. but after that…I would say it’s in the top four places.”

DEVELOPING AN INDIGENOUS FILM INDUSTRY

FILMING IN LOUISIANA VS. NEW MEXICO

“The question always becomes ‘What can always be done to develop independent…local voices?’ Because the industry adopted the marketing plans of the studios, that kind of regional storytelling started to dissipate. People felt to get the platform they needed, you had to reach out to the widest audience. I think now we are in the opposite of that because the nature of the Internet and the ability to focus marketing to niche audiences. I think that the potential of Louisiana to cement its place on the film Scene is really kind of tied to that. How do you start to really develop the local storytellers? The way I got to make movies and the way my friends got to make movies was having our other friends invest in us, not in terms of money but their labor and passion. You get a few of those films made and one of those is going to pop eventually. I think when you have people take pride in their region; you will have a wealth of stories to tell.” S

“Basically now, when people talk about state [film] incentives, people want to go to either Louisiana or New Mexico, because they are some of the oldest incentives,” added Hope. “It’s a great thing for Louisiana to have the guaranteed 85 cents on the dollar [state buyback]…that was a smart move.” “The difficulty with New Mexico is that it’s a very specific look. There is no anywhere, everywhere look. It’s New Mexico: you are not going to fake it for anything else. Louisiana has big history and with the gulf region. There are images in our mind and certainly more storytelling lure coming out of New Orleans then virtually any other center. Maybe

Ted Hope is the co-founder of This is That Production Company in New York City, where he has produced seventeen films with partner Anne Carey. His film credits include Adventureland (2009), The Savages (2007), 21 Grams (2003) and In the Bedroom (2001). Over the past two decades, his films have received some of the industry’s most prestigious honors including multiple Academy Award nominations. Three of Hope’s twentythree Sundance entries have won the Grand Jury Prize, which is more than any other producer to date. To follow Ted’s blog go to Trulyfreefilm. blogspot.com.

www.scenelouisiana.com | 17


STATE OF THE ARTIST

JOHN “SPUD” McCONNELL by Dave Weber

H

e is one of Louisiana’s most accomplished and recognizable entertainers. John “Spud” McConnell has performed to rave reviews on stage, appeared in three seasons of a hit television comedy and acted in dozens of feature films. And, apart from his usual spot in front of the camera or just beyond the footlights, he has a regular role behind a microphone five days a week as a radio talk show host. After a couple of attempts were thwarted by his already hectic schedule (made busier recently by a part he landed in the Jason Statham starrer The Mechanic), I caught up with him one evening by phone to talk about his radio gig, the origin of his nickname, and his roles in - and perspectives on - Louisiana’s entertainment industry. So, how did you get your start as an actor? I used to play in the orchestras for musicals when I was in high school. I would watch the people on stage and go, “You know what? I can do that.” And in my last year, I did. My dad wanted me to be an engineer, but I can’t even add in my head. I decided to major in theater. I got my B.A. from Nicholls State and my Master’s degree in Acting at LSU. I started out touring the country doing stand-up comedy, which is great actor training, let me tell you. How did you get your nickname? I was in the Boy Scouts and in another troop there was a big guy named “Tater.” When I joined everybody called me “Tater, Jr.” Then Tater quit so I became Tater. Tater this, Tater Tot, Tater the other thing and it just evolved into “Spud” and it just kinda stuck. You’ve been a successful actor for a good while now. In your view, how has the film industry in Louisiana changed over that time?

18 | March 2010

For a long time, quite frankly it was very, very difficult to make a living as an entertainer in the state of Louisiana. It used to be if five movies a year came to the New Orleans area, it was fabulous. Now, we’re probably looking at forty or so projects that shot here in 2009. And look, it’s not just the actors who benefit, but all the tech people too. Proof that the state’s tax incentives are working, huh? Absolutely. In the late ‘90s, I ran for state representative just to expand the film industry. My idea was to try and get the state to build an infrastructure. I lost the election, but some other state reps, like Steve Scalise who was over in the next district, and Jennifer Sneed who beat me, they picked it up and ran with it. Especially Scalise, he’s the one who really authored all of that legislation about the tax credits for the film industry and that’s what brought all of that work down here. The tax credits have really made people invest, and invest well too in things like infrastructure. This movie I just worked on, The Mechanic: we shot a scene in this old warehouse they’re converting into a professional, Hollywood-quality soundstage studio. I’ve been in several in L.A. and this is as good as those. Which one is that? It’s called Second Line Stages. It’s fabulous. Over on Annunciation Street. The place is still under construction but it’s going to be as good as any soundstage anywhere. It has everything you need, everything. So the boom has really helped local actors like yourself. Oh yeah. I mean, there were people here in the state who would do film work, but far

and away it wasn’t a living. They could pick up an occasional movie but they would have to do other things. Now, they’re getting to the point where like half of the living they make, if not more, is because of the film industry. Of course, that boom is happening now when I’ve got a daily radio gig. I’m glad you mentioned that. How did your talk show on WWL Radio come about? I started subbing for André Trevigne when she would take a vacation day or call in sick. They liked me and they were talking to me about possibly doing a late night show. And then when she abruptly left, about a hundred people applied for that gig and I leapt up and got it. Do you like being on the radio? I like the gig. I like the people I work with. But let me tell you something, it ain’t easy. You try to make it sound easy. It’s like acting: you make it look easy, but it’s not. It’s one thing to play a character … like this character I play in The Mechanic. I mean, the man is a pig. He’s a fraud evangelist who’s a drug addict: I mean, he’s a PIG! Wait ‘til you see this guy, man. He deserves to die! (laughs) But I’m playing a part. This on the air is me. It’s my opinion. Now, I can be very quiet, and sometimes I can be outlandish and funny. Everything on the air, that’s me, it’s just kicked up a couple of notches because I’m on the air and I am entertaining people. But how wonderful is it for you, though -- a known actor – that all of this work is now coming to Louisiana, that you can go work on some big budget feature and still kiss your kids goodnight and go to sleep in your own bed? Well, yeah…if I get off the set early


STATE OF THE ARTIST enough! That’s one of the reasons why I chased after the gig on WWL because, I was traveling. I was gone all the time. I would stay and do a play here or there and I would audition for everything that came to town. But if I had to pick up and go to North Carolina for a month I was happy to get the gig and I’d jump on it. But I’m watching, and my kids are two years old and doing all the stuff that you want to take pictures of, and I’m talking to them over a cell phone from a hotel room in North Carolina because I’m over there shooting a movie. So believe me, it’s very cool to be able to stay here. Which of the roles you’ve played have been your favorites? Well, my three favorites are the stage roles of Huey Long, Earl Long and Ignatius [ J. Reilly]. I mean those hands down are my favorite roles. Oh, and you know what was fun? Playing “Bob” on Roseanne …that was fun. What’s your favorite type of film role to play? I’m a character actor. I like the character stuff. I’ve played leading roles, but I’m not a leading man. The character roles are always the most fun because they don’t seem to have a top, you know? You talk about going over the top…the character roles don’t seem to have a top. As long as you can justify it, you can get away with it. So, I like the character roles. If you could wave a wand over the industry here and make something happen…you know, change something for the better, what would it be? I think we can work our way up to it, but if I could wave a wand and make it happen, I would have the producers and directors who plan on shooting here anyway, come and check out the locals before they start spending the money to bring other people in from out of state. Both in front of and behind the camera, there are a lot of very, very talented people here who can do as good a job as the people they bring with them. You know, there are a lot of people here who are more than capable of playing these co-starring roles, but they don’t have a shot to even read for them because they cast the big roles [elsewhere] and then come here and cast the little ones. Like the part I just shot in The Mechanic. That was a case where the director liked me and frankly, he expanded my role. There was just supposed to be me on a bunch of surveillance footage and stuff like that and then they come in and kill me and I’m dead. Well, the director asked me to do more. One day he says, “Look I don’t have any script for it but, can you just come out there and say some kind of preacher stuff so I can shoot some footage?” Well, I get out there and he has a hundred extras standing out there and I got them reaching to the skies and screaming, “Hallelujah!” The point is, guess what? They have real, professional actors who live out here in the hinterland. And they don’t want to live in New York or L.A. There’s talent all over the place here. I could be an L.A. actor. I’ve got L.A. and New York credits. I just don’t want to live there no more. With the state’s reputation as “Hollywood South,” do you happen to know of actors who have moved to Louisiana from Los Angeles to take advantage of the opportunities here? I know people who have moved back from L.A. I know people who, they don’t necessarily move back but they still have family here so when they audition for something in L.A., they use the fact that they’re from here and say, “Hey, you know what? Give me the

Spud McConnell as The Kingfish

gig, I’ll go home and stay with my folks and you can treat me as a local hire.” That saves the movie money, so it makes them that much more enticing. I also know of hair and make-up people and grips and people like that who come and share an apartment here. They know there’s so much work here, they want to be able to be considered local hires too because the producers are also realizing that they get an even bigger tax break when they hire Louisiana residents. The more Louisiana people you hire, the better the tax rates you get. What else have you been working on recently? And do you have anything new coming up? The Kingfish is going on tour in January. This past June I shot Jonah Hex. My wife and I are both in that movie and we both die. I get shot with a Gatling gun and she gets blown up in a train! I also have a fun, little one-day role coming up in the Nicolas Cage movie, The Hungry Rabbit Jumps. Is there anything else that people should know about you? I wish I could win the Powerball. If I could hit the Powerball, I would do the shows I wanted to do, but I really wouldn’t charge anybody. Would I just disappear? I don’t know. I doubt it. But I guess I’m just like anybody else, man, you know? If I had as much money as Brad Pitt makes in one movie…I’d never bother anybody else. S Dave Weber is an Emmy and Telly Award-winning writer and producer. He and Duane Prefume own Digital Bayou HD Productions, Inc. in the New Orleans area. www.scenelouisiana.com | 19


FILM | last looks

Actor Keith David, left, portrays Dr. Facilier, right, in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog

to conjure a

VILLAIN

by Lana Hunt

W

ith the release of The Princess and the Frog, Disney’s well received return to 2-D hand drawn animation, Scene Magazine took a few minutes to talk with Keith David, the memorable voice of the menacingly charming, voodoo conjuring villain Dr. Facilier. Well respected for his voice work in films such as Coraline and Hercules, David said doing a film for Disney was like “playing on Broadway, [with Disney] being the premiere house.” “It was wonderful,” he said. David drew on his long time fascination with magic to personify Dr. Facilier. “I love New Orleans and have always been fascinated with that aspect of magic. I did a documentary on the religion of voodoo, so it was great to have that knowledge, but [it wasn’t] deep. It wasn’t meant to be,” he said. He noted that a funny thing that Dr. Facilier says is that he couldn’t conjure a thing for himself. “It’s true,” he said. David said that, while portraying an animated character is similar to live action, it may also be more fun and imaginative. “Acting is acting. But it’s fun doing an animated character because I get to use my imagination in a whole new way,” he said. The voices for The Princess and the Frog were recorded before it was animated, giving the animators extra inspiration for body language and movement. David used sly hand gestures and over-exaggerated facial expressions

20 | March 2010

for Dr. Facilier’s character, truly breathing life into the “shadow man. “ “I always act with my whole body,” he said. “Even if it’s just voice, I use my hands [and gestures] to bring the character to life.” Bruce Smith, supervising animator for Dr. Facilier, noted that he captured certain aspects of David’s performance that attributed to his overall character. “David has these eyes, this sinister smile. He’s got this really great voice that just resonates. We used all of those things when animating the character,” he said. Smith also added attributes from some of his favorite Disney villains, such as Captain Hook and Cruella De Vil to Dr. Facilier’s character. David is an internationally known actor who has appeared in hundreds of films and television programs over the span of his career, including Platoon, They Live, Gargoyles, Armageddon, There’s Something About Mary, Crash and Coraline. He currently has over ten projects either in production or post-production. The Princess and the Frog, set in Jazz-era New Orleans and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, marks Disney’s triumphant return to 2-D hand drawn animation. In its opening weekend, the film knocked Twilight out of the number one box office spot, becoming the highest grossing animated film ever to be released in December. S


FILM | last looks

Lafayette PLAYS A ROLE by Kevin Barraco

O

ver a year ago, Active Entertainment and Bullet Films set up shop in Lafayette, Louisiana and have found a home in the South where they successfully produce multiple feature films year round. Maskerade, directed by Griff Furst and produced by Bullet’s Daniel Lewis and Ken Badish, recently wrapped production. Maskerade tells the story of Evan Reynolds, who purchases an old mansion with the intention to “bring it back to life” as a birthday present for his fiancé. While outwardly dilapidated, the property is filled with loot: antique furniture, wine and jewels dating back to the 1860s. The young couple invites their friends to the property to assist them in celebrating their good fortune. Soon after their arrival, a series of bizarre and increasingly violent incidents begins to claim the lives of these friends. The film stars Nikki Deloach, Stephen Colletti, Terry Kiser, Treat Williams, Jason London and Michael Berryman. “I had the fortunate opportunity to play the role of Jennifer Ritchie,” said actress Nikki Deloach. “I absolutely loved her. Jennifer is playful, driven, bold and compassionate. And I had so much fun dealing with the horror aspects of the film...finding dead bodies, fighting bad guys, the suspense, the terror…what a wild ride!” “I remember our very first day of shooting,” added Nikki, “It was 5:30 in the morning, [the temperature was] in the teens, and I was in a short skirt. The entire scene took place outside, and Stephen Colletti and I were so cold we could barely move our mouths. Who would’ve ever believed that day gave us the best weather of almost our entire shoot. Louisiana’s weather threw everything at us that it possibly could- rain, the freezing cold, more rain, mud, thunderstorms, more mud, even more rain! But our crew was so impressive, such troopers.” The weather became another character in the film, a muse for the actors to play off of. “Part of an actor’s craft is to incorporate into his character what he finds when he reaches his destination,” said actor Terry Kiser. “I arrived in Lafayette on a dark Monday night. It was raining so hard, I couldn’t see across to the other side of the street. My driver tried to drive me to the location, but the rain was coming down so hard that she couldn’t see anything! It took us two and a half hours to find this washed out path that was supposed to be my getting out point. Then someone comes out of this foggy driving rain, knocks on my window...waving these high top rubber boots at me. ‘Take these!’ he says, turns and disappears back into the rainy fog again. By this time, I couldn’t stop laughing. I had found the craziness of my character.” Rain or shine, Bullet Films has found a successful model for independent filming and couldn’t think of anywhere else to do it. “I truly believe that building relationships with the vendors, crew members and other filmmakers throughout Louisiana is the key to having long-term success within the state,” said producer Daniel Lewis. “It really isn’t a secret: the same model applies for any industry. I also feel it is very important to collaborate with other filmmakers across the state to share resources such as crew, vendors, etc. Because keeping our local crew employed and enabling our local vendors to

22 | March 2010

Above: Crews fliming in Lafayette; bottom: Nikki Deloach


last looks | grow will only help build the infrastructure across the state exponentially.” Lafayette is emerging as a key production hub within Louisiana, having recently landed a major feature in Disney’s Secretariat. There are numerous reasons why Active Entertainment and Bullet Films chose the city. “The best things about filming in Lafayette are the people in the community, the landscape that Acadiana offers and the support from the local officials throughout the parish,” added Lewis. “The city has everything you could ask for and it continues to grow. There are great hotels, great restaurants and some of the best locations to really help make your project look beautiful. From the center of the city, you can drive twenty-five miles in any direction and be in the crawfish capital of the world in Breaux Bridge, the oil fields in New Iberia, beautiful and historic Crowley, and all of the incredible locations throughout the city of Lafayette. Also, the city has really embraced the arts and technology. The LITE center has played a large role in expanding the post-production market within Lafayette by assisting companies’ development, such as Sweet Post and Pixel Magic.” Bullet Films and its team plan to add five feature films to its library in 2010. Monsterwolf, which was shot at the end of 2009, was the first of a five-picture “disaster” slate that will be distributed on major television networks worldwide, including NBC Europe and the SyFy channel. The focus of the company is to complete principal photography on three of the remaining four pictures included in that slate, with the final picture being shot in early 2011. The next movie in the disaster lineup will be Swamp Shark, which will begin principal photography in early April, followed by Stormbringer, World on Fire and Sunstrike. The company also plans to shoot one to two features that are not included in this “disaster” package, as well as begin a separate division of the company that will develop and produce documentary and reality television segments. S

FILM

Above: Terry Kaiser. Below: Crews weather the mud on set.

www.scenelouisiana.com | 23


SAINTS SPECIAL

Drew Brees rides in Saints Victory Parade after winning the SuperBowl

Photo by Mark St. James

LOMBARDI GRAS

Louisiana natives and Saints fans around the world will be saying Who Dat for a very long time... and we’ll be printing it for even longer. On Sunday, February 7th, the world slowed down for a few seconds and all eyes were on New Orleans as the Saints marched in to win their first ever Super Bowl Championship. But, as you have heard preached over the radio, on your televisions and in your soul, this was more than just a game. “Our victory last night was the culmination of four years of hard work, fighting through a lot of adversity, ups and downs and more importantly than that, representing a city that has been through so much,” said Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees. The Super Bowl was watched by more than 106 million people, surpassing the 1983 finale of “M-A-S-H” to become the most-watched program in US television history. The Saints carried a winning season and lifted up the residents of New Orleans and Louisiana every Sunday giving them something to really hope for. You can say it was destiny that lead them to the Super Bowl, together with the best fans in the world. As the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, expressed in a press conference after the Saints won, “This game demonstrates the value of sports and how it can reflect a community.” “There’s no people that you would want to win for more than the city of New Orleans,” Drew Brees said, then added “Mardi Gras may never end!” 24 | March 2010

CELEBRITY POST-GAME TWEETS Rainn Wilson: A sincere congratulations to the great city of New Orleans - the better team (and better coached team) WON! Extra TV: Congrats to the SAINTS!! Michelle Branch: Yeah! So happy the Saints won! Reggie Bush: We are a part of something bigger than a football game Lady Gaga: Its the year of the underdog! Eliza Dushku: saints came marching in. very cool. Kim Kardashian: Who dat there gonna beat them Saints!!!! We won the SUPERBOWL!!!!! ShaneandShawn: Congrats to the Saints!!! I love the city of New Orleans Alyssa Milano: Your city deserves this Super Bowl


SAINTS SPECIAL

photos by Mark St. James 26 | March 2010


www.scenelouisiana.com | 27


FILM | above the line

louisiana at

Photos by Nathan Olney

sundance 2010 by Nathan Olney

A

h, Sundance. The time of year when unknown filmmakers and Hollywood types alike, from all over the globe, travel to the small hamlet of Park City, Utah. Braving cold weather and the warmth and wisdom of small town folks, all for the chance to ski, hobnob with fellow filmmakers, bag some swag and maybe, just maybe, come away with a fat distribution deal. And perhaps even see a few movies. This year, several films wafted into town on humid Louisiana air in hopes of melting a little Utah snow. Of the sixteen narrative features in competition at the festival, two were made in Louisiana, accompanied by a documentary short about a New Orleans icon. And several films in rival Park City festival Slamdance also hailed from the Pelican State. Kristen Stewart, star of New Orleans-shot Welcome to the Rileys, was seemingly adopted as the face of Sundance 2010. Filling the bill of festival “it girl,” Stewart had two films in competition, the other being the Joan Jett biopic The Runaways, in which she stars as the lead singer of the titular rock band from the 1980s. The two films showcase the maturing talents of Stewart, who has been acting since childhood. At just nineteen years old, Kristen Stewart is already a ten-year veteran of the silver screen. Her career started to take off with the release of 2002’s Panic Room, directed by David Fincher, who would come to New Orleans only a few years later to make his opus on aging, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. She continued her trend toward challenging dramatic roles in 2004 with the lead in Speak and a supporting role in Undertow, directed by David Gordon Green, a resident of New Orleans. Stewart had another dramatic supporting role in Into the Wild, directed by Sean Penn and released in the fall of 2007. 28 | March 2010

Stewart with Eddie Redmayne in The Yellow Handkerchief

In the spring of 2007, Stewart was shooting her first film in Louisiana, The Yellow Handkerchief, which filmed primarily in New Orleans and Morgan City. Also starring Maria Bello and Academy Award-winner William Hurt, the film follows Stewart in the role of Martine, a young girl on an impromptu road trip with two strangers, all three eager to escape their jaded pasts. Filming began on Welcome to the Rileys in October of 2008. In the midst of filming on the streets of New Orleans, another Kristen Stewart film, a modestly budgeted book adaptation called Twilight, premiered in theatres. The vampire romance easily dethroned the James Bond sequel Quantum of Solace to take the number one spot at the box office, raking in nearly $70 million. Twilight went on to gross nearly $385 million worldwide. Overnight, Kristen Stewart was a star.


above the line |

FILM

Stewart with Dakota Fanning and Alia Shawkat in The Runaways

Stewart with James Gandolfini in Welcome to the Rileys

Now well known as Bella Swan, Stewart is seen as having to “overcome” the youthful persona of her role in Twilight. With the success of its sequel New Moon and the upcoming release of the next film in The Twilight Saga, Eclipse, Kristen Stewart will continually be asked to both continue and contend with that persona. However, the choice to take on challenging dramatic roles in Sundance premieres such as Welcome to the Rileys and The Runaways is, for Stewart, a return to form.

Along with Welcome to the Rileys, Louisiana had several other films screening at the Sundance Film Festival. Shot in Shreveport, Skateland follows a teenager in a small Texas town managing a skating rink on the verge of shutting down. The documentary short Mr. Okra centers around one of the most endearing characters in New Orleans. And while Kristen Stewart is the face of the festival, the slopes of Sundance offered a much bigger sampling of Louisiana filmmaking.

Welcome to the Rileys “I feel like I’ve landed on Mars.” – Doug Riley “Welcome to New Orleans.” – Mallory One of the most highly anticipated films of the festival, Welcome to the Rileys came to Park City with a serious pedigree. Legendary directors Ridley and Tony Scott and Oscar-winning screenwriter Steve Zaillian serve as the film’s producers. The stellar cast includes Twilight star Kristen Stewart, Academy Award-nominated actress Melissa Leo and Tony Soprano himself, Emmy Award-winner James Gandolfini. But by the end of the first showing, the true stars of the film had revealed themselves: director Jake Scott, writer Ken Hixon and the city of New Orleans. Welcome to the Rileys came to Hixon on a 2002 trip to New Orleans when he visited Big Daddy’s, the infamous and now shuttered Bourbon Street strip club. “Dancing on a small stage in the back of the club was a young woman who appeared far too young and vulnerable to be a stripper,” Hixon recalled at the premiere. “She became the nucleus of an idea that evolved into Rileys.” The story became that of Doug and Lois Riley (Gandolfini and Leo), a couple dealing with the tragic loss of their daughter in drastically different ways. While she has become an agoraphobic, not leaving the house in years, he finds solace in the unlikely redemption of Mallory (Stewart), a down-and-out New Orleans stripper. Producers Scott Bloom and Giovanni Agnelli, who became attached to the production after Gandolfini and Stewart, feel

Welcome to the Rileys producers Giovanni Agnelli (L) and Scott Bloom (R)

Director Jake Scott

Actress Melissa Leo

the independent film is a perfect fit for the festival. “I believe Sundance is the best show for this film,” says Agnelli. Both producers credit the film’s muse, the city of New Orleans. “Beyond incentives,” says Bloom, “the city is another character in the film.” “New Orleans is one of the best cities in the world, in my opinion,” effused director Scott of his time spent there during the


FILM | above the line production. “We wanted to shoot in a real location for its authenticity and the noise of freight train horns and ships on the Mississippi in the Bywater…you can hear them all over the soundtrack, a great atmospheric detail that Jim [Gandolfini] even comments on during a night scene with Kristen.” The city as a character showed a different side to New Orleans than just Bourbon Street. It was these details that spoke loudest to many in the audience. New Orleanian director TG Herrington (Mr. Okra) could not speak highly enough of the film. “It’s the best movie I saw at the fest. It really captured aspects of living and being in New Orleans.” Perhaps that was because of the familiar, local faces of Joe Chrest (The Blind Side), Lance Nichols (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans) and David Jensen (The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons). Or the dozens of Louisiana background actors deftly selected by Coulon Casting. “They were very specific that they wanted real New Orleans characters,” said casting associate Matthew Spriggs. “They sure came to the right place.” Welcome to the Rileys’ trio of leads seems to agree, all having worked on multiple Louisiana-based productions. This was Kristen Stewart’s second Louisiana film in as many years. Gandolfini filmed the remake

Stewart on the red carpet at Sundance 2010

of All the King’s Men in 2006, then reigned as King of Bacchus in 2007. And while Rileys was Melissa Leo’s first time filming in Louisiana, she has already come back for more. “It’s so great to be back in New Orleans now and really getting to know the city,” said Leo, who currently calls the city home as part of the ensemble cast on HBO’s new series Treme. “To see a film that just captures New Orleans is so moving.”

Mr. Okra For most first time filmmakers, attending the Sundance screening of their movie would easily be the highlight of the festival. But for New Orleans natives TG Herrington, George “Hutch” Hutchinson and Andre Jones of Nom de Guerre Films, the Sundance showing of Mr. Okra was just lagniappe. “How ‘bout them Saints!” cheered Herrington as he introduced himself and the film to the Park City audience at the judiciously timed Sunday night premiere. The Black and Gold had just clinched their first Super Bowl berth with a field goal in overtime. It was an apt exclamation for their documentary short, Mr. Okra, about a famous New Orleans street vendor who is one of New Orleans’ most vibrant saints. Already the recipient of audience awards at the New York Food Film Festival and Austin Film Festival, the short was successfully paired with feature-length documentary Lucky, directed by past-Sundance winner Jeffrey Blitz, and all showings at the festival sold-out, including the midnight screening. Harrington, who has purchased from the titular vegetable vendor since he was a child, sees Anthony J. Robinson, better known as Mr. Okra, as a great deal more than merely a mobile market. “He’s an emblem of a unique town. And of the times and traditions that helped shape it. I can’t imagine the city without him or vice-versa.” “There’s a real purity to what Okra is doing,” he added. “He has such a sense of duty to his community. A community which is really only possible in a city like New Orleans.” It is a community that is glimpsed throughout the film through the windshield of Okra’s storied Ford pick-up truck from which he delivers to his customers much more than just food. “My truck is just like me,” Okra says. “It’s funny, it’s loud, it’s common like me.” “Mr. Okra stands as a stark contrast to the high technology and shiny produce markets of the modern world,” says Hutchinson, who, along with 30 | March 2010

(L to R) Andre Jones, TG Herrington and George “Hutch” Hutchinson

Jones, served as executive producer on the film. Part historical record, part character study and part love letter to the city of New Orleans, the short captures the spirit of one of our most enduring cities and one of its most beloved citizens. “You go anywhere in the 9th Ward, Treme, the Bywater... everybody knows who Mr. Okra is,” says Jones. “They love him and look out for him like a family member.” It is a love that is reciprocated. “I love my city. And I love what I do,” says Okra, a self-proclaimed “bullsh***er” who is clearly loved by the Nom de Guerre crew. The team looks to continue the good feelings with five more character pieces set around New Orleans and have also started an internet campaign to purchase a new, more reliable Okra-mobile. But, as one premiere attendee noted, the filmmakers’ love of all things NOLA almost cost them. “It’s a good thing [the NFC Championship Game] didn’t go on any longer,” Harrington’s wife Nicelle remarked. “I would have had a hard time getting them to their own premiere.” To which Hutch responded, “WHO DAT!” Within a week of Mr. Okra’s premiere, the short jumped from some 600 viewers to over 80,000, who attended one of thousands of screening around the country, courtesy of distribution giant YouTube.


above the line |

FILM

Skateland Some things just go together. Families. Roller-skating and disco. Guys and their friends’ sisters. East Texas and West Louisiana. Some things were designed to fall apart. Families. Rollerskating and disco. First loves and friendships. Skateland focuses on these dualities while telling a coming of age story set in the early 1980s, complete with ready-to-please nostalgic 80s tunes. Skateland is the first feature from Freeman Films, comprised of brothers Brandon and Heath Freeman, who drew from their own upbringing for the story and geography of Skateland. “Our entire dad’s side of the family is from Northern Louisiana,” says Brandon Freeman. “We have a slew of family in Marthaville, near Natchitoches,” adds Heath Freeman. Growing up in Longview, Texas, the two shared fond memories of the eponymous roller-rink and the cruel sting of loss when it closed. What started out as a comedy “about a roller-skater in the 1984 Olympics” turned increasingly introspective when Heath began collaborating with Brandon and director Anthony Burns. “Anthony’s like a brother, “ Brandon and Heath agree. The trio holed up to work on the script. “We wanted to make it feel naturalistic, how guys act. They bounce off each other, they bust each other’s chops and then they have another beer,” said Brandon. Around draft number 30, they had a calling card for casting agents, one of whom, Trisha Wood, signed on immediately. The script quickly attracted a cast that included Cadillac Records’ Shiloh Fernandez as Richie Wheeler, the story’s center, even as his own home life is falling apart, The Twilight Saga’s Ashley Greene as Michelle Burkham, his best friend Brent’s younger sister, Zodiac’s James LeGros and CSI:NY’s AJ Buckley as Teddy, the owner/operator of Skateland. With the principle cast in place, it was time to find a suitable location for Skateland. The answer was right in the brothers’ backyard. “There was the tax credit for one, but also, Shreveport has the infrastructure in place. To film in Texas would have been 30-40 percent more cost and we wouldn’t have gotten the tax credit,” said Heath. “Once we got into Shreveport, we quickly realized it matched so well to our film: what we’d researched, the neighborhoods, the lake. Everything worked perfectly,” said Brandon. “Everything from the transport to catering to talented Assistant Directors…everything was amazing across the board,” concluded Heath. This included local casting, which Heath took over when Anthony and Brandon became swamped in pre-production. Working with Ryan Glorioso in Shreveport, Heath filled out the cast with Louisiana actors as well as crew. “Great local cast,” said Brandon. “All of our extras, some of the chief cast, all the Horsemen: we cast them locally.” Heath, who plays Brent Burkham in the film, pulled the film’s villains, the Horsemen, from all over the state. The Horsemen were Caleb Michaelson of Baton Rouge, James Hebert of New Orleans and Ross Francis of Shreveport. “It’s great that the state is giving these opportunities to films because it opens up work for local actors and crew. When a truly home-grown, independent film can benefit…can get made because all the pieces are already in place then everybody wins,” said James Hebert, who plays Tommy Dillday. “It’s the most independent film you can possibly have,” said Heath. “You got three guys who’ve never made a film before, and we wrote, produced, directed and acted in it.” And now they’re in Sundance.

Skateland’s James Hebert (center) with Liz Coulon and Ryan Glorioso

Ellen Hollman

Brett Cullen

AJ Buckley

Director Anthony Burns said that “Sundance Film Festival 2010 brought together my friends, my family, and my fellow filmmakers all to celebrate the passion of making movies. I cannot put into words how important and surreal these past few weeks have been to me.” While filming in Shreveport, the Freeman family grew even larger. “Everybody was hanging out with everybody else and the chemistry was so good everybody became friends really quickly,” said Brandon. Some were already angling to be part of the family. “My Second Assistant Director was dating my cousin,” said Brandon. Though unfortunately not every family member was treated the same. Patriarch Wayne Freeman says he was excised even before editing began: “I was supposed to be offshore fishing in the dock scene. A front came in and with the wind chill…” But, while Wayne endured the coldest cut of all, the rest of the cast and crew bonded over times past, when hair was feathered and avenues electric. “We had babysitters all the time, teenage girls, and they would have their friends over,” said Brandon. “One particular occasion…we really had a full out party at our house while our parents were gone.” “When I read this I was reading my own story,” said Shiloh Fernandez. “The conversation between Ritchie and his mom? I had that exact conversation with my mom.” And on the most powerfully nostalgic aspect of the filmmaking process, James Hebert said, “You learn to just let the mustache become part of you. You become one with the mustache.”

NEXT: JEFFERSON PARISH ON ICE www.scenelouisiana.com | 31


FILM | above the line

Jefferson Parish on Ice So I’m screen-hopping at Sundance, walking down the middle of Main Street, when suddenly I get pelted in the face by a string of cheap, plastic beads. Of course, being from New Orleans, I know just how to respond to such an affront. But, as I labor to lift my many layers of shirts, I realize two things. First, I am not on Bourbon Street. And second, my nipples have already frozen over and are slicing through the thin fabric of my undershirt like a butcher through fat. My only recourse then became to discover from whence the errant beads came. Hoping, of course, that the throwers were as free with their beer as they are with their beads. The Jefferson Parish film commission’s Sundance party obliged on both counts. For its fourth year in a row, Jefferson Parish has brought Fat Tuesday to a cold, Park City Friday with their Mardi Gras at Sundance. Hosted by film liaison, Cherreen Gegenheimer, Wahso Restaurant on Main Street became the perfect place to soak up some Southern charm in this most unlikely of sub-zeroish climates, a swampy oasis in the frozen desert. Guests mingled and sampled the Cajun eats including seafood gumbo, shrimp Creole and jambalaya, washed down with some of the stiffest drinks found in Utah (I can wholeheartedly recommend the pineapple and midori Sakitinis). Producers and distributors met with Louisiana regulars like Entertainment Partners, Malcolm M. Dienes, LLC, Marriott Townplace Suites. Meanwhile, actor Jay Thomas (Mr. Holland’s Opus), in town to promote his New Orleans-shot Snatched, was being coronated king of this makeshift Mardi Gras and leading his followers in bead tossing. “It’s fun to see [Louisiana] become a real professional town,” said Thomas, who has lived in Lakefront and New Orleans. “[ Jefferson Parish] has a 3 percent cash rebate on top of the 30 percent tax incentive,” enthused Ryan Broussard of Entertainment Partners, which handles everything from budgeting to central casting to payroll, with offices in Burbank, New York and now Louisiana. “The people of Jefferson Parish have really been friendly to us. And so we’re very pro hiring locals. We want that.” Alan Donnes, writer/producer of Snatched, says he’s already plotting his next films to shoot in the state. “There’s Royal Flush, which spoofs Elvis, religious cults, celebrity infatuations and Indiana Jones, and Pierre and Boudreaux and the Curse of the Voodoo Priestess…we’re hoping to film that one in City Park.” California-based Camelot Entertainment also has their eyes set on Louisiana, with plans to work on a studio project there as well as the possible development of a soundstage. “We are looking at putting some roots in Louisiana,” said President Jamie Thompson. And he isn’t alone. “We see Louisiana as a big future,” said Broussard, who says the state’s extra incentives have brought in work with Disney, Sony and Warner Brothers. “We wouldn’t be there if we didn’t believe it.” “The function is just great,” says John Theriot, managing partner at Malcolm Dienes, who was attending Sundance for the fourth time. “It’s very valuable for Jefferson Parish, which is then 32 | March 2010

(L to R) Jerry Daigle, Jay Thomas, Hutch, Michael Arata

Party attendees enjoy Louisiana cuisine

(L to R) Ryan Broussard, Joseph Chianese, Cherreen Gegenheimer

very valuable for all of us that live here. The guest list is corporate decision makers who can bring business to Jefferson Parish.” Business which Theriot says thrives as a result of their presence at Sundance. “Inevitably over the next six months, I get emails from productions that are looking to film in Jefferson Parish. This is the one function I know I’m actually going to see some business out of.” It certainly was a busy event for all involved, including the King himself. “I think I just got hired for something at this party!” said Jay Thomas. Great, now aim those beads elsewhere.


above the line |

FILM

Best of the Rest of the Fest The Duplass Brothers, who made a splash with their mumblecore flick, The Puffy Chair, returned to Sundance with the festival premiere of Cyrus, starring John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei as divorcees trying to reunite, despite their hostile son, played by Jonah Hill. The Brothers also executive-produced dramatic competitor Lovers of Hate. Mark Duplass went solo from brother Jay to executive produce another festival fave, Bass Ackwards, which played in the Next category for up-and-coming filmmakers operating on low or no budget. Also under the Duplass banner was The Freebie, starring Dax Shepard and Katie Aselton as a couple who decides to extend to themselves a one-time only indiscretion. At Slamdance, an alternative festival, Louisiana legend and Sundance golden boy Steven Soderbergh debuted And Everything is Going Fine, the last performance of actor/monologist Spalding Gray, who tragically passed away in 2004. The two had previously collaborated on 1996’s concert film Gray’s Anatomy. Also at Slamdance was Louisiana-shot Snatched, which stars Andrew McCarthy as a sap on the receiving end of a botched gender re-assignment surgery. Amber Benson and Adam Busch brought their Baton Rouge-shot Drones, about an alien-like co-worker who actually is an extraterrestrial. Andrew Drazek’s raunchy Cummings Farm and The Scenesters, by New Orleans-born Todd Berger, were also screened. S

10

Things Overheard at Sundance Parties: • • • • • •

“Is that Tommy Lee Jones?” “I have a beer, but it’s not in my hand.” “Is that Adrien Brody?” “Maybe I’d like to stand here right now.” “Is that Pauly Shore?” “He’s a total buffoon. You’re laughing with him and then you’re laughing with a serial killer.” • “That is Pauly Shore.” • “It’s a really great film, the only reason it’s not in Sundance is it’s been in so many festivals.” • “Hey, Pauly!” (Ducks out of sight)

things I learned at sundance 2010

:

1. If you believe you belong in the party, you will be in the party. 2. Women will wear stiletto heels anywhere, regardless. 3. Need a keg of beer? Wyoming’s thataway. 4. I don’t need ice to bust my ass. 5. Joan Jett can still rock a sequins and spandex onepiece. 6. If a gaggle of Asian girls mistakes you for somebody and asks for a photo, avoid great shame: play along. 7. That guy with his own photo on his business card? Yeah, he can’t really fund your next film. 8. If you are invited to a Persian arms dealer’s afterhours house party, go. You will be entertained. 9. Don’t order the elk. 10. I’m going back next year. www.scenelouisiana.com | 33


GOOD SEATS

WONDERFUL

NIGHT

by Chris Jay & Alexandyr Kent

Matthew Broderick in Wonderful World

Photos By Mindy Bledsoe

O

n Friday, January 29, two-time Tony Award-winning actor Matthew Broderick and writer/director Joshua Goldin visited the Robinson Film Center (RFC) in Shreveport to participate in two fundraiser screenings of their new film Wonderful World. The film tells the story of Ben Singer, an out-of-work children’s entertainer and divorced father whose cynical outlook on life is transformed by the arrival of an unexpected romance. Lampton Enochs, the film’s executive producer and president of the RFC’s board of directors, moderated the lively discussions. Both screenings played to near-capacity crowds, with Shreveport’s Mayor Cedric Glover and Director of Film, Media, and Entertainment Arlena Acree attending the first screening to present Broderick and Goldin with keys to the city. “One of the best parts of being mayor is that you get to issue keys to the city,” Glover said. “Certainly, Mr. Ferris Bueller himself is worthy.” Broderick laughed and quipped, “You’ve got my vote.” Shreveport resident and guitar legend James Burton, who plays a guitar teacher in the film, also dropped by to greet the actor and director. Broderick and Goldin fielded questions about success in acting, filming on location in Shreveport-Bossier City and how working on a film with close friends changes the experience. When asked by a young actor for advice on achieving success as a professional actor, Broderick recommended doing as much acting as possible. “You have to be in the right place at the right time,” Broderick 34 | March 2010

Shreveport’s Mayor Cedric Glover (L) with director Joshua Goldin (R)

advised. “So your odds improve if you are in as many places as you can be, doing as many things as you possibly can.” When an audience member asked writer/director Joshua Goldin to compare filming in Shreveport to filming in Los Angeles, Goldin recounted his favorite memory of Shreveport: a homeowner who, instead of fleeing the set while the crew “sacked the house,” went to the kitchen and made


GOOD SEATS lemonade for the entire crew. “I was shocked,” Goldin said with a smile. “They don’t do that in Los Angeles.” Broderick added that the enthusiasm surrounding the production of Wonderful World was different than in larger cities. “There is maybe a little more enthusiasm here. In Los Angeles, they’re used to films and jaded. In New York, they’re annoyed.” Broderick added that the local crew in Shreveport was “very enthusiastic and professional, too.” Goldin pointed out that the film was originally set in Los Angeles, but after scouting locations in Shreveport, he revised the script to be less specific about where the film takes place and to give the film a more universal feel. Broderick and Goldin, friends for more than eighteen years, spoke at length about the joys and challenges of working with friends, along with the ways in which being on an independent film set – instead of a major studio production – made for a more easy-going experience. “The character is a very serious-minded, kind of sadsack character, but the set was anything but morose,” Goldin said. “Matthew kept us laughing between takes and I’d keep the camera rolling just to capture what he was doing between takes. I could put together some really amazing bonus features from all of that footage.” All proceeds from the two fundraiser screenings will benefit Lights! Camera! Learning!, the educational outreach program of the Robinson Film Center, which presents media literacy and digital media production classes to K-12 students in schools and community centers throughout Northwest Louisiana. S

Matthew Broderick with fans in attendance at the screening

(L to R) producer Lampton Enochs, Matthew Broderick, Joshua Goldin

Get On The Scene

1-877-517-2363 www.scenelouisiana.com

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www.scenelouisiana.com | 35


IN THE MIX

3-D: 3-D: FOR FOR ENTERTAINMENT ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES PURPOSES ONLY? ONLY? by Greg Milneck

U

ntil very recently, 3-D was considered little more than a novelty. Most of our experiences with blue and red paper glasses left us dizzy and looking for aspirin. But James Cameron’s Avatar, along with recent announcements of 3-D television channels from Discovery and ESPN, are changing that perception. Now it seems that everyone is jumping on the three dimensional bandwagon. At my company, we’re gearing up for 3-D as well. But as excited as I usually am about new technologies, I’m skeptical about 3-D. I know it looks cool. I know there are certain applications where it makes perfect sense. I just wonder if it may end up being more of a distraction than it’s worth. To my tastes, 3-D takes away from the full experience of watching a great film or television show. Think about it. What films and TV shows are on your list of the greatest of all-time? Unless you’re a pre-teen or have the maturity of one, you probably rank highest those shows that affected you emotionally. They inspired you, scared you, intrigued you or simply made you think. It’s the story, the writing, the acting and the cinematography. It’s all of those things brought together in a brilliant, seamless way. But, when you put 3-D in the mix, it seems to become all about the visual, three dimensional experience. Every person I ask who has seen Avatar says it looks amazing. They go on and on about the visuals: the 3-D and the effects. After about five minutes, I finally ask them about the plot. After taking about 30 seconds to remember, they’ll say something like “Yeah, that was OK, but you have to see it in 3-D!” I don’t mind new technologies. In fact, I consider myself a serial early-adopter. But when technology masks or replaces the art, I’m

36 | March 2010

suspicious. When I need an extra pair of funny looking glasses to watch a TV show in my underwear on my couch, I’ll pass. And you can bet that every maker of eyewear on the planet will be marketing high-end, fashionable $300 3-D glasses for the home. I’ll pass on that too. The idea of having to watch a sitcom or an LSU football game on TV with blue and red shaded glasses just feels wrong. Finding truly creative, intelligent and artistic entertainment in film and TV is already a challenge. Once filmmakers and TV producers have 3-D to play with, it’s only going to get worse. Because, once again, when you throw 3-D in the mix, it becomes all about 3-D. The story gets lost, the acting is an afterthought and the emotional impact will compare favorably to a video game. What about sporting events, you ask? I promise you, once producers get comfortable with 3-D, they will begin producing and shooting sporting events for maximum visual impact. You’ll get fantastic action shots at eye level when a linebacker makes a big hit. You’ll get insane visuals of Kobe jumping right into your home for a dunk. And, you’ll get an overall broadcast that will lose site of the game itself. It may not be long before people are talking about a big game just like they do Avatar. They’ll remember the visuals, but they’ll forget the score. Hopefully, creative minds and intelligent producers won’t get so taken in by the 3-D experience, that they’ll miss the forest for the trees. In the mean time, I’ll be on Ebay looking for a good buy on some prescription 3D glasses. I already hate having to wear one pair; I’m sure as heck not going to wear two. S Greg Milneck is founder and president of Digital FX, Inc. The Baton Rouge based company specializes in commercial and feature film production and visual effects work for broadcast and features for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies, Hollywood studios and advertising agencies.


CREW UP

NOVAC LOOKS BACK, PLANS AHEAD by Danielle Nelson

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he New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC) looks forward to celebrating its 38th year of operation this year, making the longest running media arts non-profit in the southeastern United States. When asked about what the upcoming year holds for NOVAC, Director of Operations Erica Dudas said, “Whether looking for a new career, to learn something new, to network or to work on your own projects, NOVAC has and always will aim to serve everyone who is excited about creative media in the region.” In 2009, NOVAC offered 13 classes in an effort to serve the growing film, video and digital media workforce demands of our region. Among the courses offered were below-the-line film crew training modules, such as Wardrobe, Production Accounting, and a Camera Assistant workshops in which NOVAC partnered with a leading supplier of film and digital camera systems for motion pictures, Panavision. The class prepared students for entry-level work in the Camera Department, for positions such as Camera Loaders, Second Assistant Camera, Video Assists and Digital Utilities. Instructor David Morenz said of the camera assistant class upon completion, “This was a very diverse group with very different levels of professional, educational and personal experience.... I have enjoyed teaching this workshop and feel that NOVAC has chosen a good group of participants whose potential may surprise us all and provide Louisiana with a solid workforce to enhance its film production potential.” In addition to film crew training, NOVAC continued to train in digital media software applications through our Digital Media Institute, providing high quality, affordable, and intensive workshops certifying creative professionals and media enthusiasts in emerging and established media tools. Among the classes on the 2009 roster were Final Cut Pro, Photoshop and Podcasting. As NOVAC’s Digital Media Institute rolls out new classes throughout 2010, you can be sure that among the offerings will be cutting edge and high quality training in the latest digital media technology. There will likely be some old favorites, like Final Cut Pro and Photoshop, but also new and innovative courses like Intro to 3D Animation for Video Game Design and Film. NOVAC will also continue to offer Apple Certified Training at a fraction of the price found elsewhere in the country and will continue to offer financial assistance for those who cannot afford registration fees.

UPCOMING CLASSES: NEW SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS AVAILABLE The schedule for classes will be announced going forward. Here are descriptions of some of the offerings to expect. Be sure to check out the website at www.novacvideo.org or call (504) 940-5780 for an update on class offerings and dates. Registration fees are very reasonable and if you become a NOVAC member, it’s even cheaper. New grants are being provided in 2010 to make even more classes 38 | March 2010

available at low-to-no cost. If you are interested in a class but need financial assistance, contact NOVAC to find out if funding is available for you.

UPCOMING CLASSES INCLUDE: INTRO TO FINAL CUT PRO This three-day, hands-on course introduces students to the primary feature set and basic interface of Final Cut Pro. In this course students learn to perform basic editing functions while becoming familiar with the user interface. Topics include basic setup, adjusting and customizing preferences and settings, capturing video and audio, various editing and trimming techniques, Ripple, Roll, Slip and Slide tools, audio editing and audio creation, finishing and final output. INTRO TO PHOTOSHOP This two-day class provides you with the concepts and skills to use Adobe Photoshop effectively. You get hands-on practice working with basic through advanced techniques to get the most out of your experience. You will learn layer basics, photo retouching and image editing. Whether you are a designer, illustrator, photographer, video artist, webmaster or just a beginner, Photoshop offers you many opportunities to make your images look great. VIDEOGRAPHY This is a comprehensive 10-day training program. Participants will have three days of intensive Final Cut Pro training, using the Apple FCP 7 101 curriculum. The next two days are devoted to learning camera, sound, lighting and interview techniques in preparation for a two-day shoot that will focus on a local non-profit. The material filmed during the two-day shoot will then be edited, resulting in a broadcast-quality promotional piece for a regional non-profit or educational initiative. PODCASTING This one-day class will teach the basics of video and audio podcasting, using examples and hands-on group exercises. Students will also discuss the many uses of audio and video podcasting. INTRO TO 3D ANIMATION FOR VIDEO GAME DESIGN AND FILM This three-day intensive class is a crash course in the ins and outs of basic 3-D animation principles and prepares students for more advanced study in a particular software application. Students will learn the basic tenets of 3-D animation, including modeling, compositing, lighting, rigging and rendering. For more information, contact NOVAC at www.novacvideo.org or (504) 940-5780. Follow NOVAC on Twitter: @novacneworleans. S


scene THE SAINTS STAND UP AND GET CRUNK

S

cene Magazine met up with the Ying Yang Twins, the rap duo behind the mega-popular single “Halftime (Stand Up and Get Crunk).” Although the song was created five years ago, it began being played at Saints home games this past season, finding new life as the Saints’ anthem for their winning year. “We are New Orleans Saints fans and we are excited the city and the team have embraced our song. It has done just enough for us as the song has done for the Saints.” Originally from Atlanta, the Ying Yang Twins say they are now New Orleanians by way of Atlanta. “Our song was a great hype for the team and fans to take it all the way.” They are now back in the studio to work on their next album which will feature more New Orleans songs and local artists.

The Ying Yang Twins

MORE FROM LOUISIANA AT THE 2010 GRAMMYS

“O

nly in Louisiana: A Celebration of Music, Culture and Business” held its third annual luncheon just before the GRAMMY® Awards, featuring GRAMMY®-nominated Louisiana musicians, including Harry Connick, Jr., Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Cedric Watson, Ledisi and a host of others.   “Louisiana’s deep-rooted and authentic culture cannot be found or replicated anywhere else in the world, and that has led to great success for our state in this year’s GRAMMY® nominations,” said Landrieu. “Our culture supports major employment in our state and represents over 140,000 jobs. Each day we aim to educate the entire nation and the world about the wealth of opportunity in Louisiana and this is a wonderful extension of those efforts.”  After the 2009 event, LED entertainment officials saw increased interest in entertainment business opportunities in Louisiana. For example, Album of the Year nominee Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King by Dave Mathews Band was recorded in New Orleans. And music supervisors increasingly seek out Louisiana professionals for film and television scores. The Film Scoring Workforce Project, supported by a Louisiana Entertainment Workforce Training Grant, brought a group of leading film composers to Louisiana to work with 70 members of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. It also afforded local recording engineers the opportunity to train under an accomplished Los Angeles engineer. This project alone led to at

40 | March 2010

least two major film composers choosing to score feature films in Louisiana. Louisiana saw more than 60 motion picture productions in 2009, with dozens of smaller television, music video and documentary productions dotting the state and contributing to local economies.   For more information on Louisiana’s thriving entertainment industry and the state programs that support it, visit LouisianaEntertainment.gov.

Lil’ Wayne performs in Lafayette and at the GRAMMY® Awards


extras |SCENE

S

PRODUCTION UPDATES

GREEN LANTERN begins filming in New Orleans. After a lengthy pre-production period to construct large sets, the comic book tentpole has started shooting, starring Ryan Reynolds as the man granted a mystical green ring. The film co-stars Blake Lively. Green Lantern will be the biggest film to shoot in Louisiana since David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. TREME continues filming in the Big Easy. HBO’s Treme is David Simon’s follow-up to the critically lauded The Wire. The dramatic series will chronicle the rebuilding of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina through the eyes of local musicians. DRIVE ANGRY begins filming in Shreveport. Starring Nicolas Cage, the film also co-stars the beautiful Amber Heard and Prison Break‘s William Fichtner. The film will be the second 3-D project for director Patrick Lussier, who also directed 2009’s My Bloody Valentine 3-D. RED set to film in New Orleans. Robert Schwentke directs Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren in a film about a former black-ops agent who returned to action to take on a hightech killer. Filming begins at the end of March. EARTHBOUND wraps principle photography. Nicole Kassell directs Kate Hudson in a comedy about a woman who finds out she’s dying of cancer. But when she meets her match, the threat of falling in love is scarier than death. Also starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Kathy Bates and Whoopi Goldberg. SHOTGUN WEDDING begins production in New Orleans. Jay Chandrasekhar is directing, who previously directed The Dukes of Hazzard in Louisiana. BLOOD OUT continues filming in Baton Rouge. The actioner stars Val Kilmer, Randy Couture, Vinnie Jones, Brock Lesnar and Tamer Hassan. Kilmer frequently works in Louisiana, recently costarring with Nicolas Cage in the Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. TOLERANCE continues shooting in New Orleans. WWE continues their commitment to shooting multiple films in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. NORTHERN LIGHTS is in Pre-Production in Baton Rouge. Starring Twilight’s Taylor Lautner, the film is slated to start shooting in mid-April. THE GATES is in Pre-Production in Shreveport. The network series is set to begin shooting late this month for Fox Television.

www.scenelouisiana.com | 41


SCENE | extras THE NEW ORLEANS’ SPEAKER SERIES WELCOMED ANTHONY BOURDAIN

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t was a packed house at the Mahalia Jackson Theater to experience the first installment of the New Orleans’ Speaker Series, which featured television personality and chef Anthony Bourdain. He has been dubbed “the bad boy of cuisine” for his rock-star look and blunt observations about the world of restaurants, chefs and cooking. Bourdain, renowned host of Emmy-nominated No Reservations on the Travel Channel, is the author of the best-selling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, a candid, hysterical and sometimes shocking portrait of life in restaurant kitchens that has been translated into over twenty-eight languages. His book, A Cook’s Tour, published in conjunction with his series on the Food Network, was also a best seller in the U.S. and the U.K. Attendants cheered and laughed with Bourdain as he talked about good eats, healthy lifestyles, the future of our children’s health and his favorite memories traveling around the world. “I have the best job in the world,” said Bourdain. “I only do the show so I can travel; I have no desire to be famous.” As a recent first-time father, Bourdain expressed his thoughts about America’s fast food world and stressed how fast food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. One suggestion was to bring back classes in home economics to our school systems because there are too many young adults who don’t know how to cook the basic meals. As a fan of New Orleans, he left the stage giving a shout to his favorite eatery, VertiMart.

Anthony Bourdain

BOURDAIN’S TRAVEL SUGGESTIONS: • Just enjoy yourself. It’s the moments that go wrong which you will remember forever. • Eat what the locals eat and try the mystery meat. Who knows? You may love it. A little extra time on the thunder dome is the price to pay.

BOURDAIN’S TOP FOOD COUNTRY: • Singapore. It’s Disneyland with the death penalty and it’s a foodie’s paradise. • Next on the list was Hong Kong and Spain.

LOUISIANA TIES TO THE OSCARS On March 7th, the biggest night in show business will happen, the 2010 Academy Awards. There are many predictions for the winners, but let’s take some time to look at the Louisiana connections to this year’s line up. Sandra Bullock is nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in The Blind Side, which was also nominated for Best Picture. Bullock was the cover of Scene Magazine’s January issue. She is a part-time resident of New Orleans and held a benefit screening of The Blind Side there last year. She continues to give back to the city and Warren Eastern High School. The Princess and the Frog is nominated for Best Animated Feature, starring the beautiful city of New Orleans and lots of local music. Disney’s filmmakers were present in New Orleans late last year opening the special Disney Exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. In addition, the film has multiple nominations for original songs. Lastly, The Hurt Locker has multiple nominations, including Best Picture, and stars Anthony Mackie, a New Orleans native.

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Sandra Bullock and husband Jesse James at the New Orleans premiere of The Blind Side. Photo by Ashley Merlin

Academy Award-nominated The Princess and the Frog, set in New Orleans


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Louisiana at the Grammy Awards by Amber Havens

Photos by Erika Goldring

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he 2010 Grammy® Awards once again saw Louisiana’s prominent music Scene well represented. With a number of wins, a slew of nominations and influence to burn, Louisiana’s unmistakable presence was evident throughout the awards show, most memorably when rap superstar and New Orleans’ native Lil’ Wayne took the stage with Eminem and Drake. Prior to the show, officials from Louisiana Economic Development (LED), Louisiana Music Commission and Louisiana Office of Culture, Recreation and Tourism (CRT) hosted “Only in Louisiana: A Celebration of Music, Culture and Business,” which promotes opportunities in the state’s entertainment industry. This is the state’s third year hosting the event prior to the Grammy® Awards and industry decision-makers now eagerly anticipate attending. Last year’s “Only in Louisiana” spurred a six minute tribute to New Orleans on the live Grammy® Awards telecast and led the Dave Matthews Band to record their hit album GrooGrux King here. “The caliber of talent and professional credibility of Louisiana’s artists is demonstrated by the Grammy® nominations. This event gives an opportunity for music supervisors, record label executives, film studios and media to interact directly with Louisiana artists and our state’s business leaders,” says Sherri McConnell, executive director of Louisiana Entertainment, a division of LED. She emphasizes that “the goal is to spur new investment in the entire entertainment industry in Louisiana and music crosses boundaries of all sectors of the industry.” This year’s event featured performances by Harry Connick, Jr., Cedric Watson, Bijou Creole, CC Adcock, Ledisi, Shamarr Allen, Bob French, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. Chef John Folse provided a delectable menu of authentic cuisine that guests raved about, even though signs were still required to explain that a roux or gumbo should be eaten with rice. Already business deals are resulting and once again, Louisiana got a special shout out from Grammy® Awards show producer, Ken Erlich as he introduced a performance by a few “Only In Louisiana” artists during the awards pre-show at the Staples Center.

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Grammy® Awards show producer, Ken Erlich introduced a performance by “Only in Louisiana” artists during the awards pre-show at the Staples Center: “Usually I come out here and thank a lot of people much deserving of thanks for helping to make tonight possible. These people are no less deserving this year, in fact, in many ways, they are more deserving. And tonight they have put together a remarkable three-and-a-half hour show that ranks right up there with the best of them. But tonight I’d rather take these couple of minutes and tell you a story. It’s the story of a building not unlike this one, of people not unlike yourselves, but in some ways not like anyone else. It’s also the story of two bands, who through their music and their inspiration, created a flashpoint moment that to this day is credited with being the rebirth of that city, that team, and those people. Four years ago, in a building which had witnessed death and destruction, these two bands marched onto a stage to welcome home a team which had been forced out of its home for a year, performed one song, ‘The Saints are Coming,’ and re-energized a community that had been at its lowest: so low that they even had some fears about coming back into that building. The bands were the pre-show of a football game that saw the home team crush their fiercest rivals and begin a journey that has led them from laughing stock status to one week from an appointment with destiny. The city of course, is New Orleans, five years out now from Katrina, the stadium is the Superdome, the symbol of Katrina’s wrath, the team is the Saints, and the two bands are Grammy® winners. U2 and some very good friends of the Grammys who are here tonight to perform, and who, on behalf of New Orleanians who live anywhere in the free world, I’d like to give a shout out to right now…Green Day, Billie, Mike and Tre. To all of you, I wish you well tonight. To my adopted city and my adopted team, once again we can say it with music…”Who dat? Go Saints, Who dat.” (Second line band comes out for minute and a half to perform in front of the Staple Center audience). S


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Winning Louisiana musicians at the Grammy® Awards The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) won for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album” with last year’s Book One

Zachary Richard

Trumpeter Terence Blanchard won the “Best Improvised Jazz Solo” award for the song “Dancin’ 4 Chicken” from the Jeff “Tain” Watts’ album, Watts

Cedric Watson

Ann Savoy

Buckwheat Zydeco won the “Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album” Grammy for  Lay Your Burden Down

Other Louisiana-related nominees Allen Toussaint, “Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual Or Group” Dave Matthews Band’s  Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King album, recorded at Piety Street Studio in New Orleans Harry Connick, Jr.

Harry Connick, Jr.’s Your Songs Singer Ledisi, who was born in New Orleans, Turn Me Loose “Best R&B Album” and “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance” New Orleans resident  Harry Shearer, whose album  Back from the Dead was up for the “Best Comedy Album” and “Best Recording Package” Patrick Loughney (L) and David Freedman (R)

Ledisi with Trombone Shorty

www.scenelouisiana.com | 45


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Better Than Ezra gives back to New Orleans by Thomas Merkel

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taying power! Over fifteen years after bursting out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and into the  national  spotlight, Better Than Ezra’s New Orleans fan base is still  very much alive and well. Playing before sell-out crowds at the House of Blues multiple times in the last few months,  the band was feeling right at home, having lost little of  their ‘guys-next46 | March 2010

door’  appeal after years of riding the  show-biz  merry-go-round. The group’s devoted fan base, the “Ezralites,” are happy for the group’s continued success. Although drummer Travis McNabb left the lineup last year to join the country duo  Sugarland, Better than Ezra tapped drummer Michael Jerome to seamlessly replace him before unveiling their seventh album, Paper Empire, in 2009.


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www.scenelouisiana.com | 47


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Taylor Swift performed a cover of Better Than Ezra’s “Breathless” in front of 83 million viewers at the Hope for Haiti Now Telethon. According to Kevin Griffin, “I really liked her and the band’s arrangement. It was an inspired night of music for a truly worthy cause. To have a song that I’ve written be performed in the company of classics such as ‘Lean on Me,’ ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ was an honor,” he said. “We’re thrilled with the success of the telethon and feel humbled to have been a part of it.”

Kevin Griffin of BTE performing at House of Blues New Orleans

Today, the talented and accomplished trio of Kevin Griffin, Tom Drummond and Michael Jerome keep Better Than Ezra moving forward while they juggle personal projects. Whether it be songwriting, producing or their families, the trio always gives back to the city of New Orleans. Drummond still lives in the city and tells us that Griffin may be moving back very soon from Los Angeles, where he relocated his family after Hurricane Katrina. In late 2009, Drummond and Griffin, officers of the Better Than Ezra Foundation, presented the Audubon Nature Institute with a check for $50,000 to support the Cool Zoo, an engaging, interactive water park feature scheduled to open this spring at Audubon Zoo. The Better Than Ezra Foundation story starts with the band itself. Their passion for the music they provide is equally exemplified in the drive they have for giving back. This led to the creation of the foundation, whereby the group annually brings together the power of music along with the power of community. The foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past eight years for community efforts in New Orleans, with a mission to provide support in renewal of the structural and cultural heritage of New Orleans and Southern Louisiana. This month, join Better Than Ezra and friends for their yearly fundraiser on Saturday, March 27 in New Orleans.  The event will include a celebrity-bowling tournament along with a patron party auction and concert, featuring a live performance by the band and other musical guests.  Tickets and sponsorship are available. All proceeds to benefit the  Better Than Ezra Foundation. S 48 | March 2010

Photo by Mark St. James

Better Than Ezra’s newest album, Paper Empire.


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Saints, Gumbo &

GAGA by Drew Aizpurua

“H

ey Little Monsters,” said Lady Gaga to the massive droves of screaming costumed fans that filled the UNO Lakefront Area, the Louisiana stop on her Fame Monster Tour. It was a Sunday night none of us would soon forget. After a typical New Orleans Saturday night out, we arose Sunday morning, bright and early, to cheer on “our boys,” the New Orleans Saints. But this would be no ordinary tailgating experience. Friends started to arrive, bringing the usual couch-tailgating favorites, from gumbo to bourbon, and we all gathered around the tube to watch the Saints take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At the end of the second quarter, we were worried the night would be a bust. But during half-time, we got the surprise of our lives. Accompanied by a friend of ours, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta walks into the house, better known as pop superstar Lady Gaga! While we watched the rest of the game, “Stef” enjoyed some of our signature gumbo, cooked to a special tailgaters’ secret family recipe. Gaga then joined us and cheered on our beloved New Orleans Saints until the very end of the game! After the game ended, the next words out of her mouth were, “So you coming to see my show?” A silence fell over the room and only three people out of a room of twenty said loudly, “We are!” We explained to her that the concert venue completely sold out before we had a chance to purchase tickets. Gaga turned to her bodyguard, asking him to take down the names of everyone present for a special treat: a seat from her at the concert. Ecstatic and completely shocked, we tried to remain cool in front of our new super famous rock star friend! Everyone thanked her profusely. She was so warm and kind and just said, “No problem.” She then turned to leave, saying, “I’m going to grab my guitar and get in the zone.” What we thought would be the end of our time with the rock star was only the beginning. As we approached the UNO Lakefront Arena, the traffic was like passing through contra flow for a hurricane evacuation. A completely voluntary one! Thousands of fans blaring their favorite Lady GaGa songs were being ushered into parking lots by the NOPD. Walking in the freezing cold would have been brutal any other night of the year, but it only heightened the experience. Approaching the Will Call window, we each presented identification and received our complimentary tickets with ease. The Rock Star Monster Princess took to the stage to sing her first song with a troop of backup dancers covered head to toe in couture, lights, and stones surrounding her. She sang all of our favorites, including “Poker Face,” “Just Dance,” “Paparazzi,” “Monster,” “Bad Romance” and more. The concert was an audiovisual dream, complete with all the pyrotechnics and special effects imaginable. During the concert, GaGa gave us a shout out, saying to the crowd, “I just want to say that I love New Orleans! And today, I had gumbo and watched the Saints game at my friend’s house here in the city!” We all screamed at the top of our lungs, jumping up and down, almost convulsing. The concert continued. The final bow was taken on the fogged-out stage, with all the dancers and performers. It was absolutely amazing, but more GaGa was to come.

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Drew Aizpurua with Lady GaGa.

Lady GaGa

Photo by Hedi Slimane

Leaving the concert was easy. Because unlike the other fans in attendance at the Arena, we were meeting Lady Gaga at an undisclosed bar in New Orleans for drinks! At the show’s end, we received from her security a time she would arrive at Mick’s Irish Pub at 4801 Bienville. Arrive she did, completely relaxed, cool, calm, and collected. It was as if she was just hanging out with people she had known for years, playing table tennis and darts with us. After an hour or so we left the bar. We went to a local restaurant, which had closed. But the friendly staff gladly opened their doors and fired up the grill for the superstar. From the gumbo at home, to the bar, to the restaurant, the hospitality offered to Lady GaGa by my city was heartwarming and extraordinary. But as any local will tell you, it was nothing out of the ordinary for a fellow member of the WHO DAT Nation! S


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A TRIBUTE TO

THE WAREHOUSE by Mark St. James

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ilmmaker Jessy Williamson had always been fascinated by the legend of “The Warehouse.” After hearing about it from his parents, he wanted to know more but found very little information readily available. Motivated by the possibility that a significant chapter in the history of New Orleans music might fade away entirely, Williamson made it the subject of his first major film project, the documentary A Warehouse On Tchoupitoulas. The story of The Warehouse is the story of when New Orleans first became a regular destination for big name rock bands, during the final years before rock music became big business. This was before the UNO Lakefront Arena, the Centroplex in Baton Rouge or the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. This was when some of the greatest bands of all time were still content to perform on a simple wooden stage, in a venue with no air conditioning, for fewer than 4,000 people. It was a time when you could pay five dollars to see Elton John. In late 1969, Bill Johnston, Don Fox, Brian Glynn and John Simmons formed Beaver Productions. They purchased an old cotton warehouse on banks of the Mississippi at 1820 Tchoupitoulas Street. Their plan was simply to bring top level touring bands to New Orleans. “We had no idea what we were doing,” Johnston readily admits. The venue itself was never even given an official name. Beaver Productions succeeded. The list of bands who graced the meager stage of The Warehouse is a phenomenal who’s who of classic rock acts, including David Bowie, The 52 | March 2010

Who, Bob Dylan, Kiss, ZZ Top, Bob Marley, Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jeff Beck, Aerosmith and more. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin were both scheduled to perform before their deaths. During its 12 years in operation, rock history was made at The Warehouse, starting with the opening night show on January 30, 1970, after which the Grateful Dead were famously “busted down on Bourbon Street.” It was the site of the very last live performance by The Doors. The Allman Brothers liked the place so much they played at least three times per month throughout the early 1970s. The last band to perform at The Warehouse was Talking Heads on September 10, 1982. In December 2008, Williamson began pulling together a crew of friends from the local film industry, including Autumn Boh, Aeron McKeough, Jessica Dale, Bridgette Raimer and T.J. Reetz. They formed Glass Pictures and began researching and interviewing to piece things together. The task was daunting, made harder by the loss of archival documents in the waters of Katrina. But once the group connected with Bill Johnston, the project built momentum. Over 75 interviews and counting have taken the crew through New Orleans, across Above: Having recently formed in Jacksonville, Florida, The Allman Brothers Band quickly settled in as house band at The Warehouse. They not only performed regularly throughout the venue’s 12-year run, but often jumped on stage for unannounced, late night jam sessions. Photo by Sydney Smith


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A young Rod Stewart performs with his group Faces at The Warehouse

Kiss at The Warehouse, just before reaching the peak of their popularity, in early 1976.

British rock superstars, The Who, in November 1971. Photo by Sydney Smith

An extremely rare snapshot of Jim Morrison on December 12, 1970 at The Warehouse in New Orleans. It was to be the final live performance by The Doors. Morrison was in a bad mood that night. About halfway through, he beat a hole through the floor of the stage with his microphone stand, then sat down and refused to perform for the remainder of the show. During the course of research for the documentary, filmmaker Jessy Williamson met the man who owns an audio recording of this historic performance, though he’s holding out in hopes of selling it to The Doors’ management. www.scenelouisiana.com | 53


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(L to R) Sydney Smith, Jan Bruder, Raymond Compton, II, Brandy Bell, Jesse Williamson, Kendy Chamberlain, Barnaby, Brian Glynn, Bill Johnston

Louisiana, to Georgia, north to Chicago and to the West Coast. Williamson hopes to complete over 100 interviews before the project is complete. Meeting the elders of New Orleans rock music while creating the oral history of The Warehouse has been the experience of a lifetime, says Williamson, replete with an abundance of colorful characters and stories. He describes his role in reuniting former friends and business partners, many who hadn’t seen each other in decades, as the most rewarding aspect of the project. Now near completion, the film’s production costs have been funded entirely by fans. However, the biggest hurdle still remains: to raise the minimum $40,000 needed to secure the rights to audio recordings for the film’s soundtrack. Williamson is now gearing up for a final round of interviews and fundraising events with the goal of completing the film by this summer. Last month, an all-star, two night tribute event organized by Bill Johnston was held at Harrah’s Casino to help draw support for completion of the project and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the venue’s opening. The concert sold out both nights. The elegant setting made for an interesting contrast, as hundreds of fans came from around the country came to reunite and pay tribute to the simple, stripped down rock venue that hosted the greatest bands of the era. S Find out more information about contributing interviews and donations at: www.warehousemovie.blogspot.com. 54 | March 2010

The Warehouse Tribute Band: Larry Sieberth on keyboards, Cranston Clements and Jimmy Robinson on guitar, Matt Perrine on bass, Doug Belote on drums, and vocalists, Quinn Rainwater, Skeet Hanks, and Chuck Lofton. They performed classic hits by Warehouse bands such as The Doors, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead, and Chicago. Photos above by Mark St. James


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THE BROTHERS BLADE by Scott Crompton

Brady and Brian Blade

“Please, young people . . . Elvis has left the building. He has gotten in his car and driven away. . . Please take your seats.”

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n 1948, Louisiana Hayride, the country-music radio show that gave Elvis his big break, debuted from the Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport on radio station KWKH. When Elvis Presley exited after his final performance at the Hayride some six years later, Hayride founder Horace Lee Logan became a piece of music lore with his famous announcement. The Hayride is clearly Shreveport’s most widely known piece of music history. KWKH was a renegade radio station even by today’s standards. Its owner William Henderson often stretched the bounds of the Federal Radio Commission with his profanity-laced rants and even boosted the KWKH signal to 3,000 watts without approval. Henderson’s exploitation of this new media during the explosion of the radio led to KWKH becoming a formidable political rostrum and social network. KWKH is credited as being one of the most influential stations in the region during the explosion of the then new media, fertile ground to launch George Carlin’s career in radio in the Shreveport market some years later. Shreveport has been making an impact on the world of music ever since and the Shreveport music Scene is on the verge of a renaissance. While New Orleans prominent position in the landscape of music history is well known, Shreveport’s historical and future music contributions lie in its demonstrated propensity for producing influential local talent and delivering music in a new medium. Shreveport’s emergence as a top location for filmmakers and digital media companies, such as Bill Joyce’s MoonBot Studios, have reenergized the city’s music milieu. Even the venerable Municipal Auditorium, christened last December as a National Historic Landmark, is enjoying a renewed vigor with SMG as it’s operating management. And just last month, music from the Louisiana Hayride was featured at the first event in Louisiana’s 2010 “Year of the Song” campaign. Shreveport’s famed Nightwing Studios is under going a complete restoration under the direction of Shreveport native producers and writers Johnny Antwine and Tim Antwine. Shreveport native and Grammy award winning artist and producer Brady Blade, Jr., has returned to his home town and is building a state of the art recording studio complex aptly named Blade Studios. Many famous names synonymous with great music call Shreveport their native home. James Burton, guitarist for Elvis Presley, recognized as one of the most influential architects of modern rock n’ roll guitar and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, lives in Shreveport when he is not producing, recording and performing around the world. Better

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than Ezra, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn, the most successful music duo ever, are all Shreveport natives. The Academy of Country Music has named Shreveport native James Stroud their producer of the year and Keith Stegall is a country music legend who has produced for and written songs for the likes of Jimmy Buffet, George Strait, Alan Jackson and emerging superstar Zac Brown. Far and wide, Shreveport, through her sons and daughters, is shaping the music industry. For Brady and Brian Blade Shreveport will always be home. In 1961, their father, Pastor B.L. Blade, founded Zion Baptist Church, where he is still pastor forty-eight years later. First, Brady Junior and then his younger brother Brian played drums in the father’s choir, which lead to successful music careers. Brady started his career in the “business side” of the music as an A&R man for several New York-based record labels. In 1995, Brady agreed to play a few dates for Emmylou Harris. For the next twelve years, Brady would actively tour the world and record with Dave Matthews, the Indigo Girls, Jewel and many others. Brady is currently a successful producer and sought after session player having produced and/or played on over forty records to date. Brady is back in Shreveport overseeing the construction of Blade Studios, set to open this summer. Designed by renowned studio architect Russ Berger, Blade Studios will be finest sound recording facility in the region servicing the music, film and video game industries. Brian Blade went from his father’s church choir to tour and record with heroes of the music world including Daniel Lanois, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Wayne Shorter, Seal, Bill Frisell and Emmylou Harris. In 2009, Modern Drummer magazine named Brian Blade the best drummer in the world. Scene recently caught up with Brady and Brian Blade at Blade Studios. “When you are from a place that’s not considered a cosmopolitan town, a destination town, you don’t expect anyone to know much about it. Shreveport is our town: it birthed us and sent us out in the world. And now the world is recognizing Shreveport with some meaningful significance. We knew this about our home town and now other people are starting to recognize it and that’s affirming. We know what the Hayride meant, we know where Lead Belly is from, where the roots of gospel are. People are returning. It’s part of the overall equation of Shreveport and the music Scene here,” says Brian. “Katrina sent a lot of the movies to Shreveport. It showed our wares, and the folks were like, ‘Wow I like it here!’ And they stayed. And others


sound speed | came. A lot of these folks knew about the Municipal, that James Burton lives here. In fact, I find that folks I meet outside the states know more about northwest Louisiana music history than many who live here,” adds Brady. The Blades hold the Municipal and the local musicians they listened to growing up in high esteem. “My graduation was held at the Municipal. I am walking across the stage and all I can think is Jimi Hendrix played here. We heard Buddy Flett, Raymond Blades, Melvin Seals, all the guys growing up and later when I would hear folks talking about them, I’d say hey I jammed with that cat at the Noble Savage…we never took it for granted, not then not now,” says Brian. Brady is proud to talk about the distillation and diversity in Shreveport’s music Scene. “What I notice is everyone working together. You go to a blues jam, and you hear rappers and punk rockers. And between breaks everyone is talking to one another: [locals hold] each other in high regard no matter the genre.” “Our geographic location adds to the amalgam that is the Shreveport music Scene. We are not on the edges of this land, like L.A., New York or even New Orleans…it’s the middle of the country weather, it’s nearing the heart of the country where it becomes a mixture of all types of influences,” explains Brian. “Of all the areas of our state, I think Shreveport is making the most of the State’s entertainment incentive programs. With Blade Studios, we are just one of the seeds that are being planted in this fertile environment. We are just part of the equation: there is huge opportunity here. How

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we market it is very important. If the film business can bring people here, then the music Scene, with it’s vast history and international awareness, is going to take off,” says Brady on why he is constructing his complex in Shreveport and not in New York or Los Angeles. For musicians, producers and composers, the internet is evolving the music business at a brisk pace. Since artists are finding successes in the cross pollination of film, digital media and live performance, the convergence of film and digital media on Shreveport is attracting producers and artists. This movement has invigorated the music Scene just like the Hayride did some six decades earlier. Shreveport city government’s cooperative and receptive attitude, coupled with state incentive programs aimed at luring this industry, is creating an attractive package. Not only are its native citizens returning to establish infrastructure, music producers and artists from around the world are beginning to recognize the reemergence of a city deep rooted in music lore that is evolving to shape it’s own sound in this new day. Louisiana is third only to Los Angeles and New York in total film production. Shreveport was recently named by Movie Maker magazine to be the #3 most desirable place to live and make movies in America. With the infectious success and momentum of the film industry in northwest Louisiana, it is clearly realistic and seemingly inevitable for Shreveport to renew its reputation for producing influential local talent and delivering music in a whole new media. Elvis left the building in 1954, but apparently he left the lights on. S

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FASHION | saree’s style

fashion forward by Saree Schaefer

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he buzz surrounding Y2K and the possible destruction of mankind by evil, century-confused computers seems like it was everywhere yesterday. Now, just a decade later, I can sit in an airport or doctor’s office and kill time watching the Alexander Wang Spring 2010 runway show on my cell phone. Fashion editors across the globe are dubbing the last ten years “the best dressed decade.” Thanks to those evil computers and light-years’ worth of technological advances, fashion is vastly more accessible now. A subscription to Vogue isn’t required to know what the look of next season will be and you don’t need a black AmEx to shop high fashion looks. But if you’re anything like me, that coveted Oscar de la Renta gown stays on the vision board anyway. Ah, one day I will have a need for a red carpet gown! Publications such as People’s Style Watch and Lucky offer anyone on any budget the latest trends in clothing, jewelry, bags, hair, makeup and even home décor. In addition to getting information from magazines, the fashion apps available for mobile phones are endless (my favorites are Style.com and WhoWhatWear). Mainstream fashion is a huge industry and thanks to pop culture, the average Jane can actually pronounce designers names properly. Style is also finding its way to the clueless and unsuspecting across America, who are being transformed by TLC’s What Not to Wear, which is currently airing its 8th season. Other shows like Project Runway, The Rachel Zoe Project and the latest, Styl’d, have completely captured our attention and brought the runway to real life. And thanks to a little HBO show called Sex and the City, single women from Macon to Milwaukee believe in the magic of a pair of Manolo Blahnik’s. Pop culture’s fashion and style have continued to saturate consumers over the last ten years. Remember in 2002 when Nelly taught the new generation all about the Nike Air Force ones? It was just five years ago that The Black Eyed Peas gave us permission to love the way our backside looks in designer jeans with the song “My Humps.” This year Jennifer Lopez is making her musical comeback singing about the fa58 | March 2010

mous redsoled pumps by French designer Christian Louboutin. And though we’ve come a long way in the past ten years, not all trends are worth remembering. Think Capri pants, Crocs, sweatpants with words across the bottom, platform flip-flops, and my personal fashion nemesis: Ed Hardy anything! In 2010, I urge fashion divas everywhere to embrace the next ten years. Be cautious of things, fashion and otherwise, that have overstayed their welcome. This year I suggest you lose the unflattering Harem pants in exchange for form fitting tap shorts. Hate to burst your bubble but these skirts are out! Try a short skirt that lays flat or the always-stylish pencil skirt. Get out of the tanning bed! “Borange” (brown-orange) is not a color! A soft, peachy gold glow is the way to go. Debt woes? Credit card usage for designer threads is maxed OUT! Shoot to get designer styles for less, such as Rodarte’s Target line, or shopping discount websites like Hautelook.com. Try something new for getting fit. Trade the old gym and treadmill routine for a virtual program like iFitness or Wii Fit. Expressing yourself is in. But blogging, Facebooking and Tweeting every detail of your life is out! Get a journal to express those feelings while maintaining some sort of mystery about your life. And last but certainly not least, “frenemies” are so last decade. Instead of pretending to like one another and causing major drama on the side, look for true friends who support each other and contribute more to society than the glut of reality television. S


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RAW FASHION: R by Jessica Talazac

G-Star and Worldwide Fashion on the Local Stage

aw, unique, unorthodox and edgy are all words that aptly describe the sleek Euro-industrial style of G-Star’s global fashion line. After headlining in world famous clubs such as Barcelona’s Bread and Butter, Republic New Orleans was privileged to secure such a superlatively exceptional brand as a feature in its latest fashion show. The runway, flanked with motorcycles and shiny metal panels, created an atmosphere of industrial glamour, as Republic’s signature chandeliers glimmered above head. Ten of New Orleans’ finest models strutted down the catwalk in couture that had been seen just weeks earlier on the runway of New York Fashion Week. In the past year, the amount of corporate fashion that has taken an interest in New Orleans is truly astonishing. The storied city has always been renowned as an epicenter for food, culture, and passionate partying, but a fashion leader? Not so much. Now, with New Orleans’ very evident transition from post-Katrina devastation to a revitalized metropolis, fashion is a burgeoning industry in our local market. As more and more fashion-forward events emerge into our social Scene, New Orleans is getting a reputation that’s attracting corporate designers based in big cities known for haute-couture lifestyles. Much of this can be attributed to New Orleans-based companies like Lifestyle Revolution Group (LRG), the creatives behind Republic, Le Phare, and Loa, who have revolutionized New Orleans’ nightlife to incorporate the fashion element once missing from social calendars. LRG’s commitment to “constantly evolve entertainment through music, fashion, philanthropy, film and the arts” has been a primary driver behind creating a sophisticated and progressive Scene on par with cities like New York and Los Angeles. While LRG maintains a focus on New Orleans-based fashion boutiques, national fashion lines are also establishing a presence in New Orleans. Guess, Shane&Shawn, French Connection and Steve Madden have all recently produced soirees at Republic that have been all the rage, boasting celebrity attendees like Kim Kardashian and Wilmer Valderrama. As New Orleans gains national attention and commercial interest, the city’s love of local businesses and mom & pop operations is not to be discounted. Republic has always had a strong hand in the revitalization of New Orleans and has worked to consistently show support of local culture, even when handling a major corporate event. The G-Star fashion show, entitled “Raw Fashion,” was a true embodiment of what the standard of fashion should be in a very unique market that prefers to shop local. With collaborative partnerships, Republic works to blend global brands with local companies. Style Lab for Men, a prominent Magazine Street boutique and the main local carrier of G-Star, was more than happy to be a part of the event by lending clothes for use in the fashion show. Mariposa Salon, located in MidCity, provided all of the hair and makeup for the evening, creating elaborate, sleek designs that coincided with the industrial nature of the clothing. The Transportation Revolution, a warehouse district landmark, became part of the mix by contributing amazing Triumph motorcycles and adding the perfect amount of rough and rugged visuals in the otherwise glamorous space. The ever-increasing relevance of Louisiana’s booming entertainment industry continues to stir national interest in the local fashion Scene. And with a new year on the horizon, it’s evident that as established fashion brands continue to find local partners such as Republic, local fashion will find its place on the national Scene. S

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Photos by Trey Thieler


FASHION | fashion profile

Seema Sudan by Lana Hunt

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pening a new business in post-Katrina New Orleans doesn’t seem like an ideal business move, but for Seema Sudan, the talent and driving force behind knitwear line Liamolly, “It was a crazy fantastic idea! The best idea we’ve ever had.” After graduating with her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design in New York, Sudan worked for several wellknown fashion houses and even owned her own boutique in Brooklyn before being scooped up by Anthropologie, where she was the lead knitwear designer. “I’ve always wanted to design and I’ve been knitting since I was my daughter’s age,” Seema Sudan she says, “ I love it.” Sudan spent six years at Anthropologie before starting to slowly ease back in to designing her own things. And then the storm that changed Louisiana hit. “I never knew how much New Orleans meant to me before Katrina,” Sudan says. While not from New Orleans, her husband is from Louisiana and the two traveled to the city often. “My husband owned rental property here and all of the sudden [after the storm] we needed to come more and more.” Finally they decided to risk it all by taking their savings and launching Liamolly, named after their children, Liam and Molly. Liamolly’s Fall 2008 collection, its first, was immediately picked up by Anthropologie and boutiques from all around the country soon followed suit. “New Orleans is a great place to open a business,” Sudan says. “They roll out the red carpet for entrepreneurs. There’s a business community here that truly wants you to succeed. Artists are truly valued here, there’s no other city that has such a foundation for [artists].” Sudan, who used to travel for inspiration, now finds her muse in the city itself. “I’ve found that I don’t need to go and travel as much,” she says. “New Orleans is the perfect place for fashion. People dress with a fearlessness. They aren’t afraid to dress individually. I can just go out on the street and be inspired. From the Bywater to Uptown, there’s such a mix, it’s eyecandy!” The sultry Louisiana weather also proved to work to the knitwear designer’s advantage. “In New York I only thought in wool. Wool is a four letter word in Louisiana,” she says. Though some would think designing knits in a predominately semitropical state would be limiting, Sudan says it has

“New Orleans is a great place to open a business. They roll out the red carpet for entrepreneurs. Artists are truly valued here, there’s no other city that has such a foundation.” – Seema Sudan 62 | March 2010


fashion profile |

expanded her range and allowed her to find her voice. “Now I am able to design for all of the other states. I’m able to do so much with my yarn recipes instead of just using wool. Now I’m designing the air conditioner sweater. That one thing you take with you everywhere.” In the fall of 2009, Liamolly released its children’s line, available exclusively at Anthropologie. Always quick to notice the newest and hottest styles, celebrities are quickly taking note of Liamolly. “When I launched my Web site, www.liamolly.com, my very first email was from Stella McCartney. She needed a hat, so I made her one. Now we keep trading things with each other, it’s great. I also saw a photo recently with Suri Cruise wearing one of our children’s dresses,” she says. “That’s cool!” Sudan also recently had a fitting with Mad Men star January Jones in her New Orleans studio for The Hungry Rabbit Jumps, a film currently shooting in New Orleans starring Nicholas Cage. “Those things are fun,” she says. “They pulled a couple of sweaters for the film’s cover image. I really hope they use one of them!” “Our line right now is still sort of underground,” Sudan says. “I think [celebrities] like that aspect of it.” But at the rate Liamolly has gained recognition, after launching just two years ago, it’s not likely Sudan’s funky little knits will be a secret for long. S

FASHION


Bad Plaid FASHION | overScene

by Lana Hunt

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2 3

5

4

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1 This flirty dress is bold and whimsy. It’s perfect for spring, but by trading out some accessories, you can easily carry it into summer and even fall. $148 at Anthropologie.

2 Nautical stripes are everywhere right now. Throw this on over a dress or wear it solo for the perfect casual look. $98 at Freepeople.com.

3 Just belt it! Studs are not just for bikers anymore. This belt is perfect for making any slouchy cardigan form fitting or dressing up a basic tee. $68 at J. Crew.

4 I love how these heels are not quite red, and not quite orange. They are just right for pairing with bold prints or skinny jeans. $98 at Urban Outfitters.

5 Bangles! Stack ‘em high! This set goes with anything. $24 at Urban Outfitters. 6 Huge rings are fun, flirty, and no longer just for cocktail parties. You can wear this one with just about anything casual or dressy. $180 at Kiki. Please send questions, comments or something you’ve overScene to fashion@scenelouisiana.com.

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“O

H MY GOD! Look at my fooey Louis! You can’t even tell it’s fake!” A lot younger and not yet privy to the allure of designer names, the brown handbag in question was covered with weird initials and struck me as just plain ugly. I couldn’t comprehend the excitement and, to tell you the truth, I still don’t understand the fascination with that little logo. Owning an authentic Louis Vuitton handbag does allude to wealth and status. Buying one for that reason is understandable. But when so many people jumped on the LV bandwagon, the assumption went from “Oh wow, she owns a Louis Vuitton” to “Another fake bag… big whoop.” Even if you do drop a cool two grand on the coveted logo, very few people will know if it’s real or not, and most will likely assume its not. Nothing triggers my gag reflex like an abused trend, except maybe the abuse of a fashion flimsy trend. Buying into something ‘because its hot!’ and not because its actually stylish or fits well is a huge fashion no-no! Seriously, the resurgence of MC Hammer pants? COME ON! Wake up! They don’t look cute on you. Not even the 5’10” girls with perfect legs. OverScene will attempt to spot fading trends, along with fads you should avoid altogether. Fashion conscious Southerners have to be ever cautious of the time lapse from the runway to the streets of L.A. to our closets in LA. Typically by the time the “latest” Hollywood trend has trickled this way, starlets have already donated everything they own of it to the nearest Sunset Boulevard Goodwill and moved on. Once you start shopping for style and begin avoiding super trends, you’ll find yourself holding on to items a lot longer than ten minutes and getting a lot more bang for your buck, even if you’re spending more on individual items. The overScene item this month is absolutely plaid, especially the most recent explosion of picnic tablecloth plaid in every color. Admittedly, some of the plaid frocks were cute… but the last time I wore anything with the print, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was on the radio. And we all know Louisiana is no place for flannel. It’s time to purge your closets. Don’t even hold on to it for next winter. Moving into spring, trade your Fargo fare for something floral. No, floral in spring is not groundbreaking, but there are some beautiful classic prints out there that you can hold on to for years. Too boring for you? Try a huge bold print, or something whimsical like airplanes or ants. Pair a bold floral print dress with a cardigan in nautical stripes. Add a belt, a dozen bangles, flirty heels and you’ve got a winner. Be innovative when dressing! We’re the next Hollywood, in case you haven’t heard. Better start dressing like it! S


BUZZED

I’d Like To Thank: Myself

by Adam Tustin

“Celebrities adorn ribbons representing the ‘cause du jour’ as they worship and glorify an industry that eats people alive.”

T

he purpose of awards ceremonies is trifold: sell advertising space, get drunk at parties, and fabricate significance so as to self-glorify. The Hollywood entertainment industry has created reality for so long that its reality is now a new creation. Think Frankenstein. Not Sistine Chapel. It has its own religion, its own economy, social structure, language, fashion, government, leaders, heroes and enemies and they all have one thing in common: they are all paper-thin photocopies of reality. Never is this more apparent than at the various awards ceremonies I’m sometimes forced to endure by the women in my life. They are nauseating, four-hour long ordeals of self-flattery, arrogance and, above all, hypocrisy. Celebrities adorn ribbons representing the “cause du jour” as they worship and glorify an industry that eats people alive. It’s akin to listening to Rage Against the Machine sing about the evils of big scary corporations, thanks to…who were they signed with again? Epic? Because the Nobel Committee isn’t going to start recognizing the latest batch of bleach blond waifs to regurgitate poor writing on celluloid any time soon, Hollywood invents its own ceremony. And for some reason, we as consumers eat it up. There are hours of television devoted to what the people in attendance were wearing, the cocktail parties afterwards and embarrassing red-carpet slip-ups. And because we watch, the fiction is validated. The monster lives. The chosen ones take the stage to thunderous applause,

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bow and publicly thank God, their parents and their agents (though not necessarily in that order). Tears appear, and we as viewers get to watch the dream of validation realized, right before the program cuts to a toothpaste commercial. But it’s not all glitz and glamour. Many of us watch in anticipation of the train wrecks. The Kanye outbursts. The Britney meltdowns. Then we can feel better about ourselves knowing celebrities too have anger, confusion and addictions. It gives us something to talk about that doesn’t involve much thought. People love that. The entire, monstrous affair is baseless, masturbatory tripe so I’m going to skip it. If there’s a girl on girl kiss or a wardrobe malfunction I’ll just catch it on YouTube. Here are my awards, and their esteemed first recipients: Award for ‘Most Effective Use of Dick Jokes’:

Judd Apatow

Award for ‘Film That Most Prioritizes Fancy Special Effects Over Substantive Scriptwriting’:

Avatar

Award for ‘Entertainment Writer Who Most Effectively Just Burned Every Bridge in the Entertainment Industry’:

Adam Tustin


CREATING THE SCENE

S

ELSTON HOWARD

Film Location Manager / Scout

Elston Howard began his career in the motion picture industry in 1994 when he was given the opportunity to work in the locations department on Oliver Stone’s JFK. The Kevin Costner star vehicle was then one of the largest movies to film in Louisiana. Next, he traveled to Los Angeles for six months to work on Costner’s follow-up, The Body Guard. Returning back to New Orleans, he decided to pursue a full time career as a locations manager in the film and television industry. On the way there, he worked as a locations assistant on movies such as Under “My first big opportunity as a location manager was given to me in 1997 for the television series The Big Easy, which filmed for two seasons in New Orleans,” said Elston. “From that point on, my success working as a location manager has landed me projects like Runaway Jury, Ray, Chess and Warner Brothers pictures such as Jonah Hex and currently The Green Lantern, which, by far is one of my most challenging projects and needless to say the most exciting one.” “The daily operations of a location manager/scout is to creatively help with [finding] locations based on visions given by the production designer and director. Once these specific locations are chosen, it is my responsibility to secure that location contractually as well as make all necessary arrangements to support the many additional requests made from [the film’s] various departments.”

68 | March 2010

Elston Howard

“My success working as a location manager has landed me projects like Runaway Jury, Ray, Chess and WB pictures Jonah Hex and currently The Green Lantern.”


ON THE SCENE

Fashion Week at Bourbon Park Fashion Week at Bourbon Park, slated for the week of April 5-11, recently held their launch party and model casting at the House of Blues Foundation Room in New Orleans. The fashion event, which will include four days of runway shows, showcasing local and national designers, will be the first of its kind for the Gulf Coast. The Fashion Week of New Orleans Foundation not only hopes to raise awareness of a budding fashion scene in New Orleans, but will also use the event as a platform to benefit four local students with college scholarships. Ten finalists will be chosen, and the four winners will be announced during the week of runway shows. For more information about the event, showcasing designers, sponsors and a calendar of events, please visit www.bourbonpark.com.

All About Me fashion show held at Republic New Orleans

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Photos by Angel Cutno

Photos by Laura Rockett


FRAMES PER SECOND

ads@scenelouisiana.com www.scenelouisiana.com | 71


THE UNSCENE Sincerity. Flattery. Imitation. While piloting a steamboat to New Orleans, Horace Bixby altered history by speaking. Inspired, and to merit the lucrative wage of two hundred and fifty dollars per month, Samuel Clemens meticulously mulled the bends of the Mississippi to earn his steamboat pilot’s license. It was a two-year period in his life, during which one hundred and fifty died in the explosion of the steamboat Pennsylvania. Among the dead was his brother, Henry. He piloted the Great River for no more time than it took for him to earn the license. From three years of experience and tragedy, Clemens took grit and an unbreakable sense of great-making wit. He also took a new name. Mark Twain was a skeptic of rampant plagiarism. “Of course there are plagiarists in the world, I am not disputing that,” he said. “But bless you, they are few and far between.” He prized enjoying the work: “The work that is really a man’s own work is play and not work at all.” Twain’s good nature may have led to overstating the facts, but his points hit home. Rise early. Work hard but enjoy it. Even when the effort seems wasted, tend your garden. The seeds planted will sprout. The plants sprouted will grow. The buds will become flowers more beautiful than you can possibly know. And then keep working. Your only concern is the occasional pilfering beat poet flower thief. Theft is how the lazy keep pace with those who labor. Mothers may whitewash theft by calling it flattery. They may calm children by calling it sincere. But flattery by definition is insincere. Imitation without innovation is rude. The Maven of the Mississippi may have been good-natured, but a fool he was not: his attitude toward the media is timeless. Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. And if mothers are right, and imitation is indeed flattery, then the good folks at Scene Magazine must be blushing. - The UnScene Writer Submit tips to unscene@scenelouisiana.com. Anonymity guaranteed.

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Scene Magazine - March 2010