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VOL. 1, ISSUE 6 | May 2010 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kevin Barraco

EDITOR’S LETTER

Scene Magazine strives to highlight the convergence of Louisiana’s music industry with film, and in this issue we do this well. From our cover story of Taylor Swift, who will be gracing Baton Rouge with her presence on stage at the Bayou Country Superfest, to discussing the music recording incentives, which

help our local musicians get their sound in films. As we have seen on the new show Treme, our local music is thriving and big business. Back at Second Line Stages creating early internet buzz is Warner Bros. Green Lantern, which continues to film in New Orleans. DC Comics fans are putting Louisiana’s film location on the map for this project starring Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. Much like Reynolds’ career path from small independent films to large studio productions, our state’s film industry has gone from hosting those small independent films like Waiting which also starred Reynolds, to mega budget projects like Lantern. Also in this issue check out our coverage of Louisiana at this year’s SXSW Festival

in Austin. Our music was showcased to thousands who attended the five day music showcase. In addition, SXSW featured some great films shot in Louisiana that are passing through the festival circuit. At the Scene office our robots have been working hard and we have finally launched our new website. Please read our posts and let us know what you think by commenting. As always we want to hear what our readers are thinking. Scenelouisiana.com is your new source for all Louisiana entertainment news, so bookmark our page and stay tuned.

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

CONTRIBUTORS

MINDY BLEDSOE has planted roots in Shreveport, LA as a working artist in the fields of photography and film. She received her degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches Texas, where she designed fashion layouts for Goodwill Industries and worked on the sets of several independent films. Her time in Louisiana is spent behind cameras. Whether she’s taking promotional stills for a movie (6 Month Rule, Stanley DeBrock) or editing the next hit reality show, she always finds a way to stay busy in a creative way. CYNDI WISEMAN is a freelance writer from Nashville, Tennessee. After working in

sales & marketing in stuffy corporate environments, she packed up her two dogs a year ago and moved to New Orleans to focus on her true passion in life. She now writes while enjoying her newly-found love of living in a very complicated, interesting city with such a rich history and colorful personalities, all of whom should live in dire fear of being included in one of her screenplays or articles.

LANA HUNT has been a published writer for over ten years, and hopelessly devoted to

fashion for as long as she can remember. After getting her B.A. in Communications from LSU, she served as the editor in chief of a weekly newspaper before opening her own clothing boutique, Buffalo Jo, in Zachary, LA. Lana also studied fashion design, journalism and entertainment media at California State University in Los Angeles, CA, an experience to which she credits her creative and cultural perspectives on fashion and life. She aspires to inject that creativity and knowledge into her daily style as well as her writing and research.

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CREATIVE DIRECTOR Erin Theriot COPY EDITOR Micah Haley CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Lana Hunt EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Ashleigh Scheuermann 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, Mindy Bledsoe, Richard Foreman, Paul Schiraldi, Robert Fogarty, Will Byington, Laura Rockett GRAPHIC ARTIST Burton Chatelain, Jr. PUBLIC RELATIONS & MARKETING Julie Nathanson, Rogers & Cowan CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AJ Buckley, Ben Adams, Arthur Vandelay, Thomas Merkel, Lana Hunt, Cyndi Wiseman, Marcus L. Brown, Julie Bordelon, Adam Tustin, Danielle Nelson, Chris Jay, Dave Weber, Greg Milneck Scene Magazine 10000 Celtic Drive Baton Rouge, LA 70809 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 or visit www.scenelouisiana.com All submitted materials become the property of Louisiana Entertainment Publishers LLC. For subscriptions call 877-517-2363 for more information and rates. Copyright @ 2010 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 express written permission of the publisher.


CONTENTS ON THE COVER

Taylor Swift The country music superstar is set to perform at Baton Rouge’s Bayou Country Superfest this month.

BEHIND THE SCENES

12

Hear from cast and crew and take a look Behind the Scenes

BEFORE THE SCENE

16

A conversation with Entourage’s Jerry Ferrara

SPECIAL FOCUS

20

Take a look at Lafayette’s growth in film and television production

PRODUCER’S CORNER

10

The Ledge producers shoot Baton Rouge

LAST LOOKS

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A conversation with Rob Brown from HBO’s Treme

MUSIC / SOUND SPEED Taylor Swift Bayou Country Superfest Sound Business Part 1

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FASHION / THE RED CARPET Amber Lehman overScene

ON THE SCENE

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SCENE EXTRAS

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Digital Edition Launch Party at the Hilton Shreveport Dirty Coast fashion show with House of Lounge PlayNola: See and Be Scene News, Resources, and Celebrities on the Scene

COLUMNS Today’s Scene 8 Tremenia by Ben Adams In the Mix 64 Eliminating Distraction: How the iPad is revolutionizing the way we experience media by Greg Milneck State of the Artist 30 Benson’s New Horizon by Dave Weber Good Seats 34 The Legend of Charles Pierce by Chris Jay Buzzed 66 The Allure of Frenchmen by Adam Tustin Crew Up 46 Post Experience: An interview with Storyville’s Sergio Lopez by Danielle Nelson

FRAMES PER SECOND by James Sheppard

THE UNSCENE Healthy Competition 6 | May 2010

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hilton shreveport


TODAY’S SCENE

TREMENIA

To raise awareness and funds for the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic, Treme’s creators and producers held a celebrity auction and gala event. The stars gathered on the red carpet at Generations Hall in New Orleans.

by Ben Adams

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efore Treme’s much-anticipated Sunday night premiere last month on HBO, the entire city of New Orleans cautiously awaited the portrayal of its post-Katrina memories. After the somewhat less-than-accurate attempt to portray their city in Fox’s short-lived K-Ville, locals were hopeful that this second attempt would make it right. And it did. The first episode bowed to applause in homes, hotel lobbies, restaurants and bars across the city. As a Hubig’s pie made its small screen debut, cheers could be heard in the streets. With the first episode, national audiences witnessed a real glimpse of New Orleans’ culture. A real glimpse of a reality that Louisianans lived. In its dramatic plot, authentic characters and music (oh, the music!), Treme portrays post-Katrina New Orleans as she is, the Lazarus of great American cities. Sitting with the cast and crew for the Saturday night premiere of Treme in the New Orleans convention center on April 10, I counted myself fortunate. The beginning credits played, the applause started and the sound of Rebirth Brass Band filled the room as we watched a second line stroll across the screen. Through the entire show, that room was one big family, from boisterous laughter to shouts at the screen of “yah you right!” as John Goodman’s character declared his feelings about the flooding of New Orleans, “a man-made catastrophe…a federal f*** up of epic proportions.” While Treme isn’t yet a national sensation, the seeds of the slow-burn storytelling characteristic of a truly great drama have been planted. Like The Wire before it, Treme promises to sidestep the standard draw of perepisode body counts in favor of seasonending, emotionally rich payoffs. And with the second season ordered by HBO before even the second episode aired, audiences can be sure Treme’s characters are worth investing in. While Treme isn’t yet a national sensation, it will be. S 8 | May 2010

From the top, L to R: Melissa Leo & Khandi Alexander, John Goodman & Eric Overmyer, Kim Dickens, John Goodman, Michiel Huisman & Lucia Micarelli, Wendell Pierce, Clarke Peters, Rob Brown, and last but certainly far from least, the great New Orleans trumpeter turned Treme star Kermit Ruffins. photos by Ashley Merlin


FILM |

THE LEDGE by Thomas Merkel

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he independent suspense film, The Ledge, wrapped production last month in Baton Rouge. The film stars Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Terrence Howard, Christopher Gorham and Charlie Hunnam. First-time writer-director Matthew Chapman brought the project to Louisiana with producer Michael Mailer and Mark Damon, who previously produced Beyond a Reasonable Doubt in Shreveport. “Louisiana is now a big destination for film and full of infrastructure,” said Mailer. “We came into the state with a script set in a small American city, but we changed it to be set in Baton Rouge after we found the town to fit what we needed.” The film captures the story of a man standing on a highrise ledge who insists he must jump by noon as the policeman below tries to manage the situation. Filming of the main sequence took place in downtown Baton Rouge in the building across from the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center on Lafayette Street. Cameras captured the cliffhanger sequence from the Hilton’s rooftop. The film’s stars were spotted around the downtown area during shooting at local restaurants. “As more films succumb to the visual wizardry of 3-D, The Ledge explores the fourth dimension: the interior life of tortured souls

hovering over the precipice of emotional nullity,” added Mailer. “This film is the reason why I became an independent filmmaker and why I continue to suffer in the trenches of independent filmmaking.” This has been the first film that Mailer has produced in Louisiana, and he says he has two shows almost green lit now that he is trying to bring back to Baton Rouge. The production worked with Films in Motion, a Baton Rouge production company housed at Raleigh Studios at the Celtic Media Producer Michael Mailer Centre, utilizing mostly local crew and support services. As Louisiana’s production hits record-breaking numbers this year, Baton Rouge is grabbing hold of its share. The city’s stake includes the recent confirmation of Battleship, a massive studio project based on the popular board game with a budget well over $100 million, the biggest to ever shoot in Baton Rouge. S

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FILM |

Director Nicole Kassell with actors Alan Dale and Gael Garcia Bernal filming at Gallier Hall New Orleans

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EARTHBOUND on location: New Orleans, Louisiana

About a guarded woman (Kate Hudson) who finds out she’s dying of cancer, Earthbound recently wrapped production in March. When she meets her match (Gael Garcia Bernal), she finds out that falling in love may be scarier than death. A romantic comedy with some very dramatic elements, the film promises to take audiences on an emotional rollercoaster. The film also stars Rosemarie DeWitt, Alan Dale, Lucy Punch, Kathy Bates, Whoopi Goldberg, Romany Malco, Steven Weber and Treat Williams. Directed by Nicole Kassell, Earthbound was produced by John Davis, Mark Gill, Robert Katz, Skot Bright and Adam Schroeder. From Los Angeles to Chicago, the setting for the story kept changing along with the shooting location. Once slated for filming in Toronto, producers became concerned that the cold weather wouldn’t be a suitable backdrop for a story that needed to be kept cheerful. The search that 12 | May 2010

followed brought the filmmakers to New Orleans, where they found the warm spring look needed and competitive tax incentives. As soon as producers arrived, they knew that rewriting Earthbound yet again, this time to be set in New Orleans, was the right call. The city provided the perfect atmosphere to reflect Hudson’s bubbly character. “We have shot in over thirty-four locations that beautifully show the city, such as Jackson Square, Napoleon House, Audubon Zoo, Broussard’s and City Park, to name a few,” said executive producer Skot Bright. “We all know that no other city in the world has the character of New Orleans. This film is a better representation of the contemporary New Orleans than I have ever seen on film.” Skot Bright is very familiar with New Orleans, having produced two seasons of the Imagination Movers. 


FILM | While Earthbound was shooting at Gallier Hall on St. Charles Ave, Scene Magazine caught up with New Zealand actor Alan Dale, who plays Hudson’s doctor in the film. “This is my first time working in New Orleans and it’s been a pleasure to see the city with my family, from Café Du Monde to the swamp tours,” said Dale. One of his featured moments in the film is a scene in which he gives Hudson a check up and presses on her abdomen. It’s a position he says that most men would love to be in. “It has been wonderful to work with Kate, and I am also a big fan of

Kathy Bates, who plays Kate’s mother.” The film’s crew included some major talent, such as director of photography Russell Carpenter, who won an Academy Award for Titanic, and costume designer Ann Roth, who has a golden statue for The English Patient. The Film Department financed the picture and is preparing to deliver the film in October with a first look distribution deal with Fox.

Top and right: Filming at Gallier Hall New Orleans; bottom left: Director Nicole Kassell and Producer Adam Schroeder on set all photos by Richard Foreman, courtesy Earthbound Productions, LLC

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RED on location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Bruce Willis stars as Frank Moses, a retired black ops CIA agent now living the quiet life. One day, a hi-tech assassin shows up to kill him. With his secret identity now compromised and the woman he loves now in the line of fire, Moses switches status from “Green” to “Red.” The film is based on the DC Comics graphic novel of the same name. Joining Willis as his love interest, Sarah, is Mary-Louise Parker of Showtime’s Weeds. In addition, Red boasts a phenomenal cast, including Academy Award-winners Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Richard Dreyfuss and Ernest Borgnine, two-time Academy Award-nominee John Malkovich, and Karl Urban, Brian Cox, Julian McMahon, James Remar and Rebecca Pidgeon. After completing nine weeks of shooting on stage and around the Toronto metropolitan area, Red moved to New Orleans in late March for the final two weeks of principal photography. Location scouting for the film was a unique experience that included the rooftops of many of New Orleans’ tallest buildings. Each location was selected not just because of its aesthetic appeal, but also because of nearby structures that would play as sniper vantage points. Red is directed by Robert Schwentke, who previously directed The Time Traveler’s Wife and Flightplan, and is produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian and Gregory Noveck. Noveck also produced Louisiana-shot Jonah Hex. The film is scheduled for worldwide release in November.

Scene’s cartoonist James Sheppard with Morgan Freeman

Middle and below, on set of Red, filming on Decatur St. New Orleans

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BEFORE THE SCENE WITH JERRY FERRARA 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. Jerry Ferrara began studying theater in college, where he was inspired by a teacher to pursue a career in acting. An agent he met at a talent showcase encouraged him to move to Los Angeles, where he quickly landed his first role on King Of Queens. Other television parts soon followed. Jerry was then cast in the independent feature Cross Bronx which premiered at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival. Jerry is now well known for his role as Turtle in HBO’s Entourage.

Q: What made you want to become an actor? A: Acting for me was always my way of not growing up. It’s a way to keep playing make-believe, which everyone does as a kid. Through acting, you can still play, but also be a functioning adult (kind of). My love of movies and TV also had a giant influence. My grandfather, who was a reserved kind of guy, used to always watch the Sunday matinees on TV. It was very cool to see him react to a movie in ways that I never saw from him. So I always thought, “If movies can get that kind of reaction from Grandpa then maybe I should try to be in movies.” Corny, but true. Q: What was your biggest fear? A: Like most, my initial “biggest fear” was never getting the chance to do what I love. It’s a tough line of work. The “biggest fear” took a turn when I achieved some success. It turned into a “don’t blow it” kind of fear. I used to have a dream that was scary: I was back in Brooklyn, everything exactly the same as it was before I left, down to the apartment I grew up in. I woke up in my childhood bedroom and my whole experience in L.A. was just a dream. I hadn’t made the move, stayed back in New York, and dreamed up all the great moments I’ve had for the last ten years in L.A. A shrink could have a field day with that one. Q: What was your lowest point? A: Honestly, I have never had a true low point. Even if I wasn’t getting jobs or succeeding, the thought that any day could be MY day got me through. [Maybe] my first and only Christmas ever away from NYC and my family. Didn’t have the money for a plane ticket. If I had mentioned this to any family member they would not have blinked, and I would have been on a plane the next day. Maybe it was pride, or a tiny bit of shame, but that was not an option. I think I said that there was a big audition coming up and I needed to stay in L.A. Needless to say, I haven’t missed a Christmas since. Q: What kept you from walking away? A: Walking away was NEVER an option! For one simple reason: I had to know. Walking away would be like benching yourself in the biggest game of your life just because you may lose. There’s always a chance of losing. People (myself included) lose all the time. It’s a part of life and a part of growing up. One thing is for sure, though: if you don’t even put your uniform on and show up, you for sure will never win. I was never afraid to play. Maybe you can tell, but everything is a sports metaphor to me.  Q: Who was your closest ally? A: I’m lucky. I have had so many that I could never just name one sole person. So I’ll leave it at that. It’s actually what I think has made Entourage work. The show could have easily been called Allies. Having a person or persons to count on is huge. The biggest thing about it, though, is you have to be someone else’s [ally] in order to have your own.

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Q: What were you doing the morning before the audition that changed your life? A: Well, after my third anxiety attack, I was making sure I had my lines down and was as prepared as I could be. That being said, everything goes out the window once you get in that room. Nothing you planned out ends up being the way it goes down. The other thing was Doug Ellin, our show creator, was always a little concerned I looked too young. So I was doing my best to look old. Let’s just say I didn’t shave for a month.  Q: What were the words that kept you going? A: “It’s acting, not rocket science.”  Pretty simple. I would tell myself that a lot. Just a reminder to not get in my own way, and not to overthink anything. Always take your career seriously, but in the same breath, it’s not life or death. It’s what I chose to do.  Q: How have you changed? A: I’ve had people close to me say, “You haven’t changed in a bit. Same old Jerry.” Which always makes me happy to hear. If I had to pick out my biggest change, it would have to be responsibility. I never wanted any, and always tried to avoid it at all costs when I was younger. Just turning thirty has made me actually want responsibility. I can handle so much more than I could in the past. Whether it’s work related or just the normal day-to-day life routine…bring it on. That being said, I will still always and forever complain about it. Q: What words do you have to inspire others? A: I don’t know how inspiring this will be, but it has given me courage in certain scary situations. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Because it’s only a mistake if you do it again. If you learn from it the first time and don’t do it again, then it’s probably a valuable lesson you needed to learn. Over the past five years AJ Buckley 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’s latest project, Skateland, is currently screening in the film festival circuit. He is also currently writing and starring in the upcoming web series GhostFacers for Warner Brothers.


FILM |

THE QUIET MAN by Cyndi Wiseman

Rob Brown as Delmond Lambreaux in HBO’s Treme

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ran into Robert Brown by accident in the Warehouse District. Quiet, soft-spoken and very polite, he was looking for something to eat. At the opportunity to pitch my most favorite delivery-item ever, I launched into my standard spiel shamelessly promoting the Half Moon’s Northern Philly cheesesteak, my own personal, sinful, calorie-rich indulgence of choice. I warned him he’d experience feelings of euphoria, that tears would fall from his eyes as he bit into heaven. He seemed amused. After talking to him for a time, I remember thinking that he looked familiar. In fact, I’d run into him in the stairwell of his condo while dogsitting for some friends on the same floor. While herding two wildly hyperactive poodles down the hallway, Rob was kind enough to hold the door open. As they rocketed towards the outside world, I apologized to him while trying to catch my breath. He remembered the dog chase down the staircase, acknowledging that I had my hands full at the time. At some point during a lovely, therapeutic conversation about New Orleans, I decided to be nosy. Although I’d seen him in passing on the stairwell, I still wasn’t satisfied. I knew him from somewhere. His answer? He was here working as an actor on a TV series. Now, there are quite a number of films currently shooting in New Orleans. But there is only one series. Treme. Despite our budding rapport, Rob’s natural modesty made him somewhat shy to discuss his profession. I continued to playfully press him and he slowly relented. At the age of only sixteen, Rob Brown was cast in the lead role of Jamal Wallace in Finding Forrester, costarring alongside Sean Connery. The film also starred Anna Paquin, now of True Blood fame. But unlike Paquin, who won an Academy Award at the age of eleven, Rob was a complete unknown when cast. Rob didn’t have a life-changing epiphany on stage at an early age. He walked into the open casting call for Finding Forrester with no background in performance. Sauntering in with low expectations, he was merely auditioning with the sole intent of paying off an unusually high cell-phone bill that had mortified his parents. With a natural

18 | May 2010

photo by Paul Schiraldi, courtesy of HBO

innocence impossible to duplicate, Rob won over the casting director. Director Gus Van Sant decided that he had what it would take to hold up alongside veteran Sean Connery. Rob’s reaction was typically teenage: “This is cool. This is really, really cool.” And in the short term, it meant not being grounded and keeping his cell phone privileges. Score. Throughout filming, Sean Connery stressed the importance of education, which was not a hard sell for Rob. Having already been labeled as “gifted” by the fifth grade, he was accepted into a scholarship program called Prep for Prep out of New York (www.prepforprep.org). After completing a very intense fourteen-month course of study, he was placed in Brooklyn’s Poly Prep, where he was groomed academically for college and counseled for life thereafter. After graduation and Finding Forrester, Robert was accepted into Amherst College where he pursued a degree in Psychology. All of his hard work was paying off. Throughout college and shortly after, he returned to film, taking on small parts here and there. His larger roles came in Coach Carter and The Express. Rob Brown, now fully educated and with quite a bit of experience under his belt, has landed the role of New Orleans trumpeter Delmon Lambreaux. Outside of spending time with his trumpet coach on the set of Treme, he has tried to immerse himself in local culture in an effort to fully understand his character. He’s enjoyed shows at the House of Blues and Tipitina’s and has become friends with local musician Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown, a jazz trumpet player that performs with Irvin Mayfield’s jazz orchestra. At the age of only twenty-six, Rob Brown is both driven and meek. This union of contrasts that define him will also ensure his continued success. This is just the beginning. All of the success that will follow him will be well deserved. I’m just glad my newly adopted city is playing a small part in the beginning of what will be the storied career of a lifelong actor. Rob, my Pisces friend, I can only hope you enjoy the people, food, culture, history and music of New Orleans as much as we will enjoy watching you on Treme. S


SPECIAL FOCUS | acadiana entertainment

Continuous Innovation on the Cajun Coast by Marcus L. Brown

Entertainment Industry Liaison, L.E.I.

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he Lafayette Entertainment Initiative (LEI) has successfully showcased the Acadiana region of Louisiana as a viable, accomplished destination for the entertainment industry. Our focus is to secure long-term entertainment development by recruiting continuous production activity. Our recent successes include Active Entertainment, which has been making films in the area since 2008, and Walt Disney/Mayhem Pictures’ Secretariat in 2009. And in 2010, visual effects company Pixel Magic is headquartering its Louisiana operations in Lafayette, expected to hire 100 artists this year. Mayor Joey Durel and the Lafayette Consolidated Government have made these accomplishments possible with the creation of LEI. We continue to showcase our culture of continuous innovation with concierge-style service to productions, a user-friendly locations, crew and networking infrastructure, and by participating in industry events, including the Festival de Cannes since 2008. Our efforts at home and abroad have stimulated exceptional economic development, strengthened our industry and diplomatic relationships, with this year affording the privilege of hosting a pavilion in the esteemed Village International Pantiero. This is the first time a US region of our size has been invited to handle a pavilion in the festival’s history. As an actor and Louisianan, I am honored to represent the state and Acadiana region, alongside our Lafayette, Iberia and Acadia parish partners, at one of the most prestigious industry events in the world. S

Director Randall Wallace on set of Secretariat

Disney Shoots Secretariat in Lafayette

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afayette’s unique mixture of technology, hospitality, business incentives and physical landscape made it the ideal place for the filming of Disney’s Secretariat, which tells the story of the famed racehorse and her owner, Penny Chenery. The film also stars John Malkovich as Secretariat’s trainer, Lucien Laurin. “You can find fifty people off a bus who can tell you how things can’t be done,” said director Randall Wallace. “This is a town that’s about how it can be done. This is a story about human spirit, of openness and of love of life, and Secretariat is going to be a movie that you’re going to be proud to say was made in Lafayette.” Wallace won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Braveheart, starring Mel Gibson. He also directed Gibson from his own screenplay in 2002s We Were Soldiers. The movie’s soundstage space and production offices were located in Lafayette, and much of the film editing was done at the LITE Center. About ninety-five percent of the film’s racing scenes were shot at the former Evangeline Downs racetrack in Carencro. Gerald Breaux, executive director of the Lafayette Conventions and Visitors Commission, said the kind of exposure Acadiana will get from a movie that’s expected to be popular across the nation is the kind that can’t be replaced. “The film is a postcard that will show the world how beautiful Acadiana is, which is going

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Crews filming at Evangeline Downs

photos courtesy of Disney

to have so much more value than anything we could do,” he said. “I fell in love with Lafayette,” said Producer Mark Ciardi. “I would not hesitate to bring another move here. We really knew we had a big budget film but Lafayette gave us more bang for the buck, plus the look of the Acadiana area has not yet been overseen [in other films].” The film is slated to be released October 8. S


SPECIAL FOCUS | acadiana entertainment

Pixel Magic Looks to Expand Local Workforce

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fter only four months in operation in Louisiana, Pixel Magic has announced their intention to hire up to 100 artists over the next year for their Lafayette office. The workforce expansion is a result of Pixel Magic branching out into the business of stereoscopic conversion - converting existing 2-D movies into 3-D - at the urging of major movie studios. This conversion is a very labor-intensive process, which requires an artist to go through the movie frame-by-frame to turn specific assets into 3-D. Ten artists will be hired immediately to meet initial demands and Pixel Magic plans to hire a total of 100 artists to convert older movies and recently shot, soon to be released movies to 3-D. After the massive box office success of James Cameron’s 3-D sci fi opus Avatar, major studios and production companies are rushing to upconvert their soon to be released films that have already been shot in 2-D to take advantage of the premium price of 3-D tickets. The extra cost of a 3-D ticket ranges from $2 to $3.50 in most markets, and is as high as an additional $5 in some major markets, such as Los Angeles and New York, according to Wall Street media analyst Richard Greenfield of BTIG. Simply put, 3-D is big business. “Pixel Magic has clients that are ready to award us stereoscopic projects today,” says Ray Scalice, Pixel Magic’s vice president and general manager. “However, we need trained artists on staff immediately to begin these projects. We feel this expansion of services is a great opportunity, not only for Pixel Magic, but for the talented artists in Acadiana and those we can attract to the region.” The cost to upconvert a 2-D film to 3-D is substantial. Industry estimates reportedly range from $100,000 to 

LITE Center in Lafayette, LA

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“Our goal is to see the industry invest in infrastructure that causes them to remain here for years to come. The glam-

our of the movie industry is fine, but ultimately it is a business that creates jobs and provides new opportunity to our citizens. We believe the Lafayette area has much to offer and that given the exposure, will do its share to contribute to the success we all hope for our state to achieve.” “To those interested in Lafayette, I would tell them that we are a community that is open minded to new opportunities and welcome the industry. We are one of the most culturally diverse and accepting areas in the state and of course, we think, we have the best food in the state with more restaurants per capita than anywhere else. Finally, we have to discuss the technology we have to offer that is currently unavailable anywhere else in America. Our 100 mbps affordable connection to the LITE Center, allows them to do things faster than they could anywhere else, and to some this will be important. “ — JOEY DUREL CITY-PARISH PRESIDENT LAFAYETTE, LA


SPECIAL FOCUS | acadiana entertainment $200,000 per minute of screen time. But despite the multimillion dollar price tag, the increased box office gross from premium 3-D ticket prices makes the process profitable. Pixel Magic has been creating visual effects for the motion picture and television production industries for nearly twenty years. Some of their major projects include 300, Spiderman, I, Robot, Final Destination and Disney’s Secretariat. “The positions with Pixel Magic provide Acadiana natives the opportunity to stay in or return to the area to work in a field that until now required moving across the country,” says Ryan LaGrange, director of workforce development at the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA). “Pixel Magic has already hired several local artists, trained through the Louisiana FastStart program, and company officials have confidence in the potential workforce in the region.” Pixel Magic is the first tenant of The Accelerator at LITE. Their offices will continue to be housed in The Accelerator’s office space at LITE until a larger space is needed. LITE is a $27 million, 70,000-square-foot facility located at the Research Park of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. According to its website, it was “conceived as a magnet for

economic development,” providing access to “leading-edge facility features a comprehensive set of advanced visualization systems including one of the world’s largest 3-D visualization theatres and one of the world’s first multi-user six-sided digital 3-D total immersive space (TIS) based on CAVE® technologies” “This sort of project is why LITE was created,” says LITE CEO Henry Florsheim. “The Accelerator at LITE is designed to provide technical infrastructure and assistance for companies like Pixel Magic, providing them a reason to locate in Lafayette instead of anywhere else in the world. It’s gratifying to see the work of so many in this community pay off with a project of this caliber.” Qualified candidates may submit resumes to jobs@lafayette.org. “Pixel Magic is a great example of the kind of companies we hoped to position Louisiana to secure when we strengthened Louisiana’s film production and digital interactive media tax credits during the last legislative session,” said Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose 2009 legislation helped to refine the State’s program for film and digital media. “Pixel Magic’s decision to locate in Louisiana will send a signal to Hollywood and to other leading digital media companies that Louisiana is a major player in the digital media industry.” S

On Location in Acadiana by Julie Bordelon

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afayette and Acadiana are excellent places to shoot a film. Made up of six parishes with an estimated population of over 500,000 people, the area is recognizable to tourists as “Cajun Country.” Most of the region is within a thirty-mile radius of Lafayette, the largest city in the region and the forth-largest city in the state. Lafayette is well known for its historic downtown, home to an active nightlife and a large selection of upscale restaurants, serving everything from alligator to sushi. Because of its relatively high median income, Lafayette also features high-end clothing boutiques and first-rate housing. The city is very film-friendly, welcoming productions filming on location. Locations range from downtown city streets and modern structures to fields and crops and country living, all in a small geographic area. Because of the city’s rapid growth, new neighborhoods are common, along with older subdivisions of all building styles. And in some areas spread out across Acadiana, one can still find plantation homes and farmhouses from the 1800s. Throughout the region there are schools and hospitals interested in playing their part in a movie. Lafayette is home to the second largest university in the state, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a newly re-built community college, both with filmfriendly campuses. The Vermillion River runs through the area, along with several other bayous and lakes. And nearby is the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest swamp in the US. The local government, law enforcement and parish residents are film-savvy and very willing to accommodate the film industry. Locations are unspoiled and permits are easy to acquire. Besides the beautiful landscapes and film-friendly business, the best thing about shooting in Acadiana is the genuine friendliness of the people. But to truly appreciate the region you must come to get the full experience! S

Julie Bordelon is a film locations manager & co-director of Acadiana Film Festival

24 | May 2010

Grand Coteau Plantation

Downtown Breaux Bridge, LA


SPECIAL FOCUS | acadiana entertainment

Active Entertainment at Home in Lafayette

A

ctive Entertainment and its subsidiaries Bullet Films, Activity Film Services and Sweet Post Productions have been established in the Lafayette area for three years. By the end of 2010, Active will have produced ten feature length films, six episodes of a reality TV series and will likely be shooting a network television series as well. The companies provide a full range of services required to deliver world class products of any sort ranging from films for theatrical and television release, to new media, promotional pieces and advertisements. The companies provide production services, equipment and stage rentals, and post production services including editorial, sound and CGI.  The Acadiana area, its government leaders, private enterprise, and great people, have all been instrumental in the growth of Active Entertainment. The locations, food, access to production and post production necessities, relatively low cost of living,  commitment to the arts and music, along with a leadership perspective on the use of technology, have all helped to make Lafayette an ideal place to live and continue producing a steady stream of entertainment. S

RECENT SUCCESS: • House of Bones debuted as the number one rated show in prime time among adults, with 1.9 million viewers ages 18-54. The outstanding ratings generated by the homegrown Lafayette production have led the SyFy Channel to place orders for additional titles to be produced by Active Entertainment and its Lafayette subsidiaries Activity Film Services, Bullet Films and Sweet Post Productions.  • Active Entertainment has signed a ten-picture deal through leading global independent distribution company, Echo Bridge Entertainment. Monsterwolf aka Firefight, currently in post-production at Sweet Post, is the first of the ten picture deal. The second picture, Swamp Shark is currently in pre-production.  • Production for Maskerade wrapped in late December and the project is currently in post-production at Sweet Post.   The project has garnered interest from several buyers who are looking  to release the project in the theatrical marketplace.  For more information, visit the website at www.maskerademovie.com.

28 | May 2010


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STATE OF THE ARTIST

BENSON’S

NEW HORIZON by Dave Weber

T

wo years ago this month, Tom Benson made a promise. He called a press conference to reveal his plan to buy the local Fox Television affiliate, WVUE. That the New Orleans Saints owner would soon add a television station to his holdings was itself newsworthy. But Benson wasn’t stopping there. He was already looking out over the landscape, scanning for further opportunities in entertainment. It is then fitting that the next addition to Benson’s newly formed Louisiana Media Company (LMC) would have a name like Horizon. But how exactly did Horizon Entertainment, a company based in Atlanta, make it to New Orleans? It had something to do with football. “We had done a show called Two-A-Days that was very successful,” says Jason Sciavicco, executive producer and CEO of Horizon Entertainment. The popular MTV series launched in 2006 followed the lives of teens attending Hoover High School in Alabama. The program focused on members of the school’s vaunted football team, the Hoover Buccaneers. Before founding Horizon, Sciavicco owned a company called Humidity Entertainment, which was formed with a friend to produce Two-A-Days. But when his partner, Jesse James Dupree, chose to focus more on his career in music, the two amicably went their separate ways. Sciavicco set out on his own and Horizon Entertainment was born. “An idea was presented to me to do a show similar to Two-ADays, but on a professional level,” Sciavicco remembers. The Arena Football League (AFL) seemed an ideal fit for such an endeavor. Sciavicco took some initial meetings with Benson’s granddaughter, Rita Benson LeBlanc, who was not only an executive with the New Orleans Saints, but also an owner and executive with the New Orleans VooDoo. They agreed to create a pilot in 2007 that would follow the Crescent City’s AFL team from the first day of practice through their first game. “We had formed a good relationship, and they saw the kind of work we could do,” Sciavicco says. “So we stayed in touch.” At the same time, the State of Louisiana was courting the young television producer and his company. “The State was trying to get us to create more projects here,” he says. “Patrick Mulhearn used to call me on a weekly basis, just to check in and see if there was anything he could do.” Mulhearn was then working with Louisiana’s state film commission. “He thought we were something special – in his words – and that we should really think about moving to Louisiana.” But Sciavicco was happy in Atlanta. Under his leadership, Horizon had grown and become very successful in a relatively short period of time. He saw no reason to make a radical change like relocating the company. Then, Tom Benson formed the Louisiana Media Company (LMC) and announced his intention to expand into film and television, Mulhearn came calling again. “He sent me this article about Mr. Benson’s new company and said he thought we would be a good mix,” Sciavicco recalls.

30 | May 2010

Gayle Benson, Tom Benson, Rita Benson LeBlanc, Jason Sciavicco

“He remembered that we had worked with Mr. Benson and Rita before, and asked if we would be interested in talking.” Mulhearn, now the director of studio operations for Raleigh Studios Baton Rouge, recalls the conversation he had with Saints owner Tom Benson. “When he asked me about going into business with Horizon, I put it in terms that he could easily understand. I told him that Horizon Entertainment was the ‘Marques Colston of production companies.’” Colston was a seventh round Saints draft pick from Hofstra, a smaller school not known for turning out high-caliber athletes, who has since risen to become one the NFL’s elite receivers. Having seen MTV’s Two-A-Days, as well as other Horizon projects such as Varsity Inc. and The Streak, Mulhearn felt that Sciavicco helmed a talented and aggressive company. “Atlanta was simply the wrong environment for reaching their full potential,” he says. “Thanks to tax incentives and an existing creative culture, Louisiana is unquestionably the right environment for the young and talented looking to make it big in the entertainment industry.” Over the following months, Sciavicco traveled to the New Orleans area for a series of meetings. He hit it off with some of Benson’s LMC team, including Joe Cook, general manager of WVUE Fox 8, and Dennis Lauscha, CFO of the New Orleans Saints. “They were looking to do some of the things that we wanted to do. At the time we were all television, basically doing unscripted shows, documentaries and concerts,” Sciavicco says. “But film was something


STATE OF THE ARTIST

Jason Sciavicco, executive producer and CEO of Horizon Entertainment

that we were planning to do, so it was kind of good timing. We were able to make a deal between our two companies that was just smart.” Horizon Entertainment moved to New Orleans in 2008 and Sciavicco immediately went about creating a film department. “We made dozens and dozens of trips to Los Angeles and met with hundreds of producers,” he says. But Sciavicco wasn’t interested in rushing into producing just any kind of movie. “Could we make money doing low-budget, three million dollar horror/slasher films? Yeah,” he says. “But that’s not us. You’re never going to see us do quick, let’s-make-a-buck-here kind of things. We want to make good films. We want to do films that have a good message. And our partnership with Mr. Benson enables us to do that.” Fueled by what he describes as Tom Benson’s desire to bring more business and exposure to his own beloved city, New Orleans, Sciavicco is happy to serve the state’s growing entertainment industry as part ambassador, part poster boy and part welcoming committee member. “Mr. Benson has been big on wanting to make sure that we try and bring more productions to the area,” Sciavicco remarks. “And it’s not all about making money on these projects. He just wants them to come here.” To that end, Sciavicco has regularly offered assistance to those bringing film or television productions to New Orleans, eagerly doing so at times when Horizon isn’t even directly involved in the project. Whether it’s answering questions, offering tours of the city or tickets to Saints games, Horizon has made the production process easier and more enjoyable for several projects, including Tremé, MTV’s The Real World, The Expendables and Warner Brothers’ highly anticipated Green Lantern. “Horizon was a tremendous asset,” says Joshua Throne, unit production manager for The Expendables. “From a producer’s standpoint, the fact that they would go out of their way to assist us and make sure our production continued to run smoothly was not only endearing, but earned them my continued business.” Though moving Horizon from Atlanta to New Orleans was a big decision, Sciavicco enjoys the fact that his company is still based in the South. “One of the big drawing points to the city for me was the people. The people here are so nice and willing to do whatever they can to help you,” he says. “We’re from Georgia. We’re southerners, y’know? We enjoy southern hospitality and people being truthful and saying what they mean and meaning what they say. It’s not the typical Hollywood stuff. I think the people here make films come back.” But going into business with a multi-millionaire like Tom Benson could bring its own set of issues and challenges. Would the wealthy and successful businessman stand over thirty one year old Sciavicco’s shoulder? “Not at all,” he says. 

Shooting MTV’s Two-A-Days with the band Saliva

Behind the scenes of Father of Invention

Shooting the documentary Curtis in the Superdome www.scenelouisiana.com | 31


STATE OF THE ARTIST “He gets excited! When something happens we tell him and he’s gets excited about it. And Rita is a big part of that too.” Sciavicco feels Benson and his granddaughter are providing him the help to build Horizon the right way. “It’s been very much like ‘let’s do this’ and ‘how can we help?’ ‘If you need something, let us know and we’ll figure out how we can get it,’” he recalls. “Which is big. It’s nice to know that you have that kind of support.” Rita Benson LeBlanc, the executive vice president of the New Orleans Saints, likes to keep up with Horizon’s various projects. She and Sciavicco sometimes attend meetings together with producers, actors or actresses. She has even been to the Sundance Film Festival with him. Horizon’s first feature project is the Kevin Spacey starrer Father of Invention. Interestingly, the film was prepping to shoot in Atlanta until Horizon got involved. Sciavicco insisted that the project both shoot and edit in New Orleans. “And not only that, but we said if there’s a person in this area who can do that job, it’s going to be that person. We don’t want you bringing in somebody from L.A. if there’s somebody just as qualified here,” says Sciavicco. Though it was a fight to keep the studio from taking the film’s post-production work back to California, Sciavicco was successful. Director Trent Cooper stayed in New Orleans for eleven weeks after the shoot wrapped to edit the film at Horizon. “He enrolled his son in school and put up his family. That was big for us, to be able to prove to people that [post-production] can be done right here.” Sciavicco says there are three more features in the works at Horizon. “We’ll definitely have some films coming in here this year that we’ll be excited about.” Louisiana is still riding the high of the Saints’ Super Bowl win, and with its inspiring, post-Katrina backstory, it has all the

32 | May 2010

Covering the Saints at the Super Bowl in Miami

makings of a feel-good sports drama right out of Tinseltown. Not surprisingly, the Saints have already received half a dozen scripts about the team’s fairy tale rise to become world champions. If the right script does come along, Horizon would definitely be calling the shots. And something tells me it wouldn’t shoot in Hollywood. Before the start of the Saints’ next season, Louisiana Media Company will see the release of its first feature film, Father of Invention. And with it, Tom Benson’s and Jason Sciavicco’s shared dream of being in the movie business will have both begun and been fulfilled. 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.


GOOD SEATS

The Legend of Charles Pierce by Chris Jay

O

n March 5, independent film pioneer Charles B. Pierce passed away at the age of seventy-one. Pierce, who was born in Indiana but spent much of his life living and working in Texarkana and Shreveport, is best known for the incredibly forwardthinking The Legend of Boggy Creek. What many remember as a Bigfoot creature feature that played endlessly on late night television deserves to be revisited not just for its content, but also for its business model. Boggy Creek cost just $160,000 to produce – Pierce borrowed a 16mm camera from a friend and employed high school students to keep costs down – and went on to gross $25 million. The story is a documentary-style retelling of the legend of the Fouke monster, a Bigfoot-type creature said to inhabit the woods of Fouke, Arkansas. The direct line of influence that can be traced from Boggy Creek to recent docudrama-style horror such as The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity is undeniable. While other films, such as Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds, had successfully incorporated the documentary style into genre storytelling, Pierce discovered the magical combination of a traditional horror story presented as a documentary. Without the aid of a major studio, Pierce defied the odds to bring Boggy Creek to life – he directed, produced, and shot the film himself – and the results became a box office phenomenon. Of the twelve films that Pierce went on to direct, perhaps none is more deserving of a lasting place in Southern cinema history than 1977’s The Town That Dreaded Sundown. If you’ve seen the Friday the 13th films, the following may sound familiar to you: an enormous, seemingly indestructible, white-masked killer terrorizes a small town, preying on teens on Lover’s Lane and defenseless babysitters. Much of the action is filmed from inside the killer’s mask, his breathing dominating the soundtrack as he prepares to kill. If you’re a horror fan and have never seen this genre-defining film, please make the effort to track it down. While it definitely has some laughable elements (the killer uses a trombone with a knife attached to it as a bayonet in one scene), it is also quite clear that this film inspired the Friday the 13th franchise and an entire era of horror cinema. To the aspiring filmmaker, Pierce’s life story should serve as one more piece of evidence in support of the idea that anyone, if they have a good enough story to tell, can become a successful filmmaker. By the time he set out to make The Legend of Boggy Creek, Pierce was a thirtyfour year old advertising executive working in Texarkana, Arkansas. Not exactly the stereotypical idea of a movie mogul in the making. But by recognizing that the Deep South has a lot of great stories to tell, and by blurring the line between fact and fiction in ways that essentially made the Southern Arkansas/North Louisiana area a supporting character in his story, Pierce became a low-budget movie maverick. “He really did change the face of filmmaking,” Arkansas film commissioner Christopher Crane told the Texarkana Gazette in a recent interview. “With his model, many filmmakers became successful.” And now is as good a time as ever for aspiring filmmakers to think about Pierce’s model. Filmmakers like Pierce were independent in more than name, pulling together their meager budgets from every imaginable source, employing locals and calling in every favor possible to finagle their films into theaters. If the story was great, and the film 34 | May 2010

Poster for Pierce’s film, The Legend of Boggy Creek.

was well-made, enormous profits could be had without the involvement of a major film studio on any level. From shooting to editing, from marketing to literally delivering the film print to the projection booth, Pierce’s generation of regional auteurs were a scrappy, committed breed. As the number of indigenous filmmakers and production companies in Louisiana continues to rise, one can see parallels with the generation of filmmakers of which Charles Pierce was a part. Shreveport’s Jeffrey Goodman, now in pre-production on his second feature, Peril, and Bullet Films in Lafayette are two examples that come to mind. Times have changed. Distribution models have come and gone. There are no more drive-in theaters, and perhaps only a small handful of independently-owned movie theaters remain in Louisiana. But here’s hoping that, somewhere, a new Louisiana voice is borrowing a camera to shoot a great idea they’ve got for a film, crewing up a bunch of friends, and dreaming up ways to turn a leap of faith into a monstrous success. S


scene LOUISIANA AT SXSW by Lana Hunt

“H

ow many bands did you say are playing at the same time at SXSW? And films are screening in those time slots too? And there are panels and conferences? All in downtown Austin? How is that possible?” Looking at the logistics of South by Southwest on paper can be overwhelming to a first-timer. Held each year over a two-week period in Austin, TX, the South by Southwest film, music and interactive festival, know as SXSW or just “South by,” attracts filmmakers, musicians and computer nerds from all over the country, over 100,000 visitors to the city in all. At this year’s South by, Louisiana entertainment saturated the festival, boasting showcases of local music and screenings of several Louisiana-shot films. Hugely pro-Austin SXSW patrons showed some disdain for filmmakers who chose Louisiana backlots to double as other locations. Worst of all, locations in Texas. But when it comes down to it, the logic of filmmakers is always the same: find the best location for the project, one that makes both financial and aesthetic sense. For films screening at SXSW 2010, these included Leaves of Grass and Skateland, which both chose Shreveport as their shooting location. SXSW 2010 also included performances by Louisiana musicians, including a showcase entitled “Only in Louisiana.”

Director/actor Tim Blake Nelson with Edward Norton

LEAVES OF GRASS The first Louisiana-shot project to show in the festival, Leaves of Grass stars Edward Norton in dual roles as identical twin brothers. One, an Ivy League philosophy professor, is brought back to his hometown by his underachieving brother for an ill-fated scheme against a local drug kingpin, played by Richard Dreyfus. Written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson, the “dramedy” also stars Keri Russell, Susan Sarandon and singer/ songwriter-turned-actor Steve Earle. Leaves of Grass was well received by audiences and has received positive reviews from some prominent critics, including Roger Ebert, who called it a “sweet, wacky masterpiece.”

SKATELAND When best friends grow up in a small southern town, there will always be bullies, weekends will be spent partying at that rich guy’s house, the perfect parents are never perfect and it’s inevitable that one will fall in love and eventually make a play for the other’s heart.

MORE SXSW

36 | May 2010


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The cast of Skateland at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival

Coasting through the film festival circuit, Skateland tells this age-old tale with just enough twists and beautiful faces to indulge the viewer. A nostalgic portrayal of the South in the 1980s, reminiscent of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, the story of Richie Wheeler (Shiloh Fernandez) unfolds as everything he knows turns to dust. His place of work, the iconic local roller rink Skateland, is closing and his family life is eroding. These and other plot twists force Wheeler to evaluate his life. With the help of best friend Michelle Burkham (Twilight Saga’s Ashley Greene), Wheeler must figure out what he really wants out of life, a difficult feat for any nineteen-year-old. Received with a standing ovation and cheers from the crowd, the largely Austin-based audience was pleased by all but one tiny detail: the film’s shooting location. “Why’d you shoot East Texas in Shreveport?” The question shouted by one audience member at Texanborn director Anthony Burns was clearly on many minds. “Shreveport looks like East Texas. But East Texas didn’t have the tax incentives, it just made sense financially for us to shoot there.” Honest enough. In addition to Fernandez and Greene, Skateland features Heath Freeman, all but stealing the show as Brent Burkham, Taylor Handley of Battle: Los Angeles, CSI:NY’s AJ Buckley as Skateland’s owner Teddy and several homegrown Louisiana actors, including James Hebert as maniacal bully Tommy Dillday.

THE RUNAWAYS, GET LOW Some other standout films of the festival were Get Low and The Runaways. Get Low, directed by first time director Aaron Schneider, boasted an incredible cast that includes Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek and Lucas Black. Loosely based on the legend of a 1930s hermit who threw himself a funeral party while still alive, Get Low was deeply moving and hilarious at once. “Humor kept you bouncing until the last scene,” Bill Murray said. “By laughing along the way, you are available for that scene [which is emotionally heavy].” Murray 38 | May 2010

also commended the editing, credited to director Aaron Schneider. “You can be funny in a take, but it was really his work that sort of chose the root of the performance. He did a really nice job with it.” “There was only one choice for the main character in Robert Duvall,” said Schneider. “And Bill was always this elusive pipe dream, but he actually called me. He read the synopsis and a few phone calls later we have three of America’s greatest iconic actors together.” With Oscar buzz already in the air, the film is set to be released later this year. One of the most hyped films of the festival, The Runaways did not disappoint. Starring Dakota Fanning as the band’s rebellious lead, Cherie Currie, and Kristen Stewart as rhythm guitarist Joan Jett, the film exposed the oft disturbing behind the scenes dynamic of the short-lived all female rock band that took the music Scene by storm in the late 1970s. Fanning delivered a convincing performance in her first role postchildhood, making the difficult and often ill-fated transition from child star to serious actress. “A lot of people have this certain idea of me because I’ve been acting for a long time,” said Fanning. “When I first got the script I immediately looked up the video of Cherie performing “Cherry Bomb” in Tokyo… I knew I wanted to [perform the song]. So I studied it and worked with her and hopefully I was able to do it [well].” Kristen Stewart’s embodiment of Joan Jett is a far cry from Bella Swan. Her portrayal of the young, rebellious, confused and strong rocker was raw and simply honest. Cherie Curry who, along with Jett, worked very closely with the women during production said, “This is the best I have ever seen [Kristen].” Few would disagree. The young actors make for a powerful duo. The Runaways, directed by Floria Sigismondi, had a limited North American release on March 19, followed by a wide release on April 9.

MORE SXSW


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Louisianaentertainment.gov display booth at SXSW

www.scenelouisiana.com | 39


SCENE | ALSO AT SXSW:

LOVE NOTES TO

New Orleans

Dear New Orleans is a for profit/social good photography company that shoots messages of love, hope, happiness and creativity. On location in Austin for South by Southwest, Dear New Orleans captured images of Louisiana attendees expressing their message. The flagship theme is “Love Notes to New Orleans.” Dear New Orleans also shoots events for companies and people who believe that a simple message and a beautiful faces inspires us all. Dear New Orleans’ chief charity is evacuteer.org, an organization that recruits citizens to volunteer in the event of a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans. Ten percent of fees from booked events goes to evacuteer.org. Contact them at hello@dearneworleans.org or visit www.dearneworleans.org.

MyNameisJohnMichael playing at SXSW

ONLY IN LOUISIANA As films continued screening throughout the week, bands from all over the country began streaming in to the city, taking over downtown Austin. Heavily saturating the influx were acts from in and around the Big Easy and sounds unmistakably of Louisiana could be heard wafting through the streets during the five-day music showcase. Presented by Louisianaentertainment.gov, the “Only in Louisiana” showcase took over Brush Square Park in downtown Austin. Guests were treated to Louisiana cuisine, complete with Tabasco, Hurricanes and Abita brews, which didn’t last as long as the first song. Escorted into the park by The Stooges Brass Band, patrons got an afternoon of music found “Only in Louisiana.” Anders Osborne, a staple to the New Orleans music Scene kicked off the tented showcase with crowd favorites and samples from his upcoming album, American Patchwork. He was followed by move-inducing grooves from Big Sam’s Funky Nation, then Big Rock Candy Mountain, DJ Jubilee and Partners N’ Crime. Sounds hailing from the Pelican State poured onto the streets of Austin. SXSW music showcases opened thousands of new ears to Louisiana bands including The Revivalists, Flow Tribe, Generationals, The Givers, Glasgow, Smitey with a Knife, DJ Pasta, Blair, Big Freedia, Magnolia Shorty and an extensively longer list that truly exemplifies the raw talent, culture and soul uniquely Louisiana. 40 | May 2010


|SCENE

Photos by Robert Fogarty

The Austin Convention Center hummed with music professionals of a different kind. South by Southwest is also a huge entertainment industry conference, attracting thousands of professionals. As with showcase aspects of the festival, Louisiana showed up to the conference side in a big way. Sherri McConnell, executive director of the Louisiana Office of Entertainment Industry Development, said, “It is not only an educational opportunity for us as we try to stay abreast of industry trends and new technologies, but more importantly, it is a business development and marketing opportunity.” The State of Louisiana’s staff, represented as Louisianaentertainment.gov, were on hand to promote the highly competitive and groundbreaking film, music and live entertainment tax incentive programs. “Our goal is always business development and we do that by informing businesses and entrepreneurs about the opportunities in Louisiana,” McConnell said. “It is important to understand that SXSW is not only a music festival, but a conference and tradeshow as well.” Patrick Mulhearn, director of studio operations at Raleigh Studios Baton Rouge, recognized the huge presence Louisiana film and music had at the festival, but stated that “the real difference in 2010 was an increased marketing presence from Louisiana’s OEID and LED. A snazzy new tradeshow booth, new brochures, new sponsored events and more state staff working the show and preaching the gospel of Louisiana’s tax incentives made all the difference.” A final aspect of the hugely comprehensive festival was the SXSW tech Scene. “For the second year in a row, New Orleans showcased authenticity, passion and community that has been brewing in the tech scene in Louisiana,” said Chris Schultz of Net2NO and Launchpad New Orleans. “The panel about ‘The Future of Work’ focused on the trend of co-working and highlighted Launchpad, which we are expanding to Baton Rouge and Lafayette this year. And the panel on ‘Seed Accelerators’ gave us the tools we need to fill the seed capital gap in Louisiana and start competing on the national start-up Scene.” From film to music to the industry side of entertainment, the Louisiana immersion at the 2010 South by Southwest was huge. Patrick Mulhearn added, “Throw in the large contingent from the New Orleans Net2NO crown pushing their digital utopia, and you get the impression that Louisiana is an entertainment industry giant.” Sooner than the rest of the country would like to believe, this impression will be reality. Logistically hard to swallow for a first time visitor, the chaos works for SXSW. It’s hard to imagine a more comprehensive entertainment festival. With music and film to suit any taste and an enormously wide array of informational panels, just about anyone can find their niche at South by. Just remember to get a badge, make a schedule and don’t forget your skinny jeans, plaid shirt and Ray-Bans. S

MORE SCENE EXTRAS  www.scenelouisiana.com | 41


SCENE |

SCENE @ NICOLAS CAGE was scene at the Wine Country Bistro on Line Ave. The highlights in his hair were of note. Because they were horrible. He was in Shreveport filming Drive Angry. PATRICK WILSON was scene at Perkins Rowe Barnes & Noble in Baton Rouge. The star of Watchmen and Little Children was in town filming The Ledge.

JOHN MALKOVICH was scene hanging at the Bridge Lounge for the HBO premiere of Treme. He was in New Orleans filming Red. TIM ROBBINS was scene at Storyville on Magazine Street in New Orleans. He’s in town filming the Green Lantern. LENNY KRAVITZ was scene at Nola’s Restaurant in New Orleans with Sidney Torres.

BLAKE LIVELY was scene at Urban Outfitters THE CAST OF THE REAL WORLD was scene in New Orleans at The Boot, Republic, in New Orleans. She had just arrived to begin Lucy’s Retired Surfer’s Bar, Philip’s, Bruno’s and filming Green Lantern. Superior Grill.

THE BETTER THAN EZRA FOUNDATION CELEBRATES THEIR 2010 EZRA OPEN

T

he band  began the Ezra Open event ten years ago. After Hurricane Katrina, the foundation shifted their focus and established a mission to commit funding towards the renewal of the structural and cultural heritage of New Orleans and Southern Louisiana.  Throughout the years, the entertainment community has joined Better Than Ezra in their cause and have raised over $500,000 for various causes in and around New Orleans. This year the event raised $200,000 and was their largest attendance to date, with celebrity bowling at New Orleans Rock N Bowl followed by a red carpet patron party and concert at Harrah’s Casino. S

Tyler Hilton and Jonathan Silverman Better Than Ezra

42 | May 2010

photo by Mark St. James

photo by Will Byington

MORE EZRA OPEN


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Megan Joy with Better Than Ezra

Tyler Hilton and David Cook

44 | May 2010

photo by Will Byington

photo by Rick Olivier

Ryan Cabrera bowling at 9th Annual Ezra Open

photo by Will Byington


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PRODUCTION UPDATES

GREEN LANTERN continues filming in New Orleans. Ryan Reynolds stars as the titular comic book superhero. The film also stars Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong and Tim Robbins. Green Lantern is one of the latest films to jump on the 3-D bandwagon in the wake of Avatar’s massive box office take. BATTLESHIP begins prepping in Baton Rouge. This Universal Studios picture will be shooting out of Raleigh Studios at the Celtic Media Centre later this summer. It is one of the biggest films ever to shoot in Louisiana. BUTTER continues filming in Shreveport. Starring Ashley Greene, Hugh Jackman and Alicia Silverstone this comedy produced by The Weinstein Company is about an girl who discovers her talent for butter carving and finds herself pitted against an ambitious local woman in their town’s annual contest. JEFF, WHO LIVES AT HOME continues filming in the New Orleans area. New Orleans natives Jay and Mark Duplass return home to shoot this stoner comedy starring Jason Segel of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Ed Helms of The Hangover and NBC’s The Office. Jason Reitman, the director of Best Picturenominated Up in the Air. THE GATES continues filming in Shreveport. The network series about a metropolitan police officer who becomes chief of police in a quiet suburban neighborhood continues shooting this month for Fox and ABC. MEMPHIS BEAT begins shooting in New Orleans. The Warner Bros/Horizon television series concerns a decorated Memphis cop who lives with his mother and happens to be an Elvis impersonator. Shooting nine episodes, the first started in late April. LOVE, WEDDING, MARRIAGE continues shooting in New Orleans. Dermot Mulroney directs Kellan Lutz, Mandy Moore, Jane Seymour, James Brolin and Blythe Danner in a comedy about a happy newlywed who gets thrown for a loop when she finds out her parents are getting divorced. THE FIELDS begins shooting in New Orleans. Starring Jessica Chastain, the film is about a homicide detective who teams up with a cop from New York City to investigate a series of unsolved murders. LA ART SHOW continues filming in Shreveport. From Fox/ New Regency, the feature recently changed its name from Change of Heart.

www.scenelouisiana.com | 45


CREW UP

POST EXPERIENCE AN INTERVIEW WITH STORYVILLE’S SERGIO LOPEZ by Danielle Nelson

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fter working to make Storyville, his post-production house, a success, Sergio Lopez found himself at a crossroads after the disruption of Hurricane Katrina. Despite the well-paved roads that could have led him to Dallas or back to Los Angeles, Lopez says resurrecting his business here in New Orleans presented a better challenge. Now with an enviable client list, including feature films like I Love You Phillip Morris starring Jim Carrey, and high-profile corporate clients such as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, not to mention an expansion into new space at Second Line Stages, Lopez is at the top of his game. NOVAC’s Outreach Director Danielle Nelson sat down with Sergio Lopez to discuss his sixteen-year journey. DN: Your story is the dream of almost every freelance editor I know. Where did you start, and at what point did you decide to go in to business for yourself? SL: In many ways, I feel as if I’ve worked for myself since the beginning. Without giving it much thought, fresh out of school I packed my car, left my family, friends and moved to Los Angeles. Not for the glamour of Hollywood, but for the world of advertising. After many years spent working for different worldwide agencies, I came to learn I was better suited to serve advertising agencies than be employed by them. The transition to commercial production was seamless, in part because of my understanding of the connections between agency, production and postproduction. Today, this bigger, better, faster world constantly evolves and presents daily challenges just to stay informed. After sixteen years, I feel as if I’m just starting to get things right. DN: Part of Storyville’s appeal is the experience of working at the actual facility, a beautifully renovated house on Camp Street. Tell me about the house and how you wound up there.

46 | May 2010

SL: Prior to the Camp Street facility, Storyville was located in a 10,000 square foot New Orleans property titled “New Orleans Digital,” a successful operation with a union of professionals that served the production and post-production community. In business, timing is everything and at that particular time it made smart business sense for Storyville to create its own independent, self-sufficient facility. After eighteen months of extensive renovations to a four-story, 13,000 square foot historic property built in 1844 on Camp Street, Storyville existed again in New Orleans. DN: What year did Storyville officially begin operating out of Camp Street? SL: Storyville went from lease space, to temp space, to the Camp Street digs. In 1999, the Camp Street facility wasn’t even complete when we moved in and started operating. Knowing time kills all deals, it was vital for us to generate a workflow and nurture client relations. At times, it seemed this building would never come to completion. It was actually post-Katrina before Storyville had the opportunity to completely renovate the interior, top to bottom. It seemed much easier the second time around. I’m only now starting to believe I’ve come to terms with the demands of keeping up a historic mansion. DN: You’re opening a second location at Second Line Stages. Talk a little bit about how that relationship came about. SL: A couple of years ago, a very determined individual came to visit Storyville with plans to create a one-of-a-kind studio/stage facility in the heart of New Orleans. We looked over the plans and right then and there I knew I needed to be a part of that synergy if those plans came to fruition. Kudos to Susan Brennan for having the foresight to surround herself with an innovator like Trey Burvant and the knowledgeable Kevin Murphy,


| MUSIC both true industry professionals. When I was invited to participate, I knew Storyville could compliment the mission of Second Line Stages. [It] has already become the lead resource for the film, TV and the entertainment industry, poised in the center of New Orleans. As of April 2010, Storyville is proud to be a part of that winning team. DN: Now that you have a second location, will the Storyville clientele and atmosphere differ depending on location? SL: Commercials, TV shows and features all have their particular demands. Longer format features and TV shows are more conducive to a more selfsufficient post-production atmosphere. Our expansion into Second Line Stages will allow us to service the creative and technology demands of TV shows and features in a more simplistic fashion. DN: Talk about the challenge of both attracting and retaining regular postproduction work in Louisiana. Ideally, what do you think is needed in order to make it happen? SL: One of the most attractive aspects of moving to New Orleans is the city itself. For the most part, the post-production process is meant to be an enjoyable experience. What better city/backdrop to celebrate completion [of a film] than in the Big Easy? The combination of tools and talent in a humble abode is typically a fine recipe for attracting clients. However, the most important ingredient to maintaining clients has always been service. Ideally, New Orleans could use more infrastructure, only because a bigger foundation validates the [existing] industry within our city. It also allows the creative talent to position themselves and establish a level of quality, which in turn offers clients choice. There is no question the infrastructure has come a long way in New Orleans.

DN: Many editors would consider working at Storyville a dream job. What skill set does an editor have to possess in order to be part of the team at Storyville? SL: Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a wide range of talented individuals and what I’ve noticed is that many people can edit, but unfortunately not everyone who edits can be an editor. Besides understanding editing tools, they need to be well versed in the mechanics of storytelling, creativity, compromise and, most importantly, communication. Attention to detail is critical. DN: What advice do you have for freelance editors? What are the basic necessities for a freelance editor looking to do entry-level work? SL: Much like a chef who documents his or her culinary creations to either start their own restaurant or utilize their recipe books to be hired as the head chef at a five-star restaurant, an editor should archive any and all their work. With time, the crème rises to top and the reel becomes a powerful tool. DN: As an Apple Authorized Training Center, NOVAC gets quite a few aspiring editors in our Final Cut Pro classes who are looking for certification. What other educational resources would your recommend to editors and postproduction specialists in town? Are there certain publications you read, or websites you frequent to keep up with industry trends? SL: Do it all! We’re exposed to so much information today. Keep periodicals, trade publications, internet and networking front and center. Review and absorb the important traits that allow you as an artist to become a unique storyteller and creative visionary. S

www.scenelouisiana.com | 47


MUSIC |

Countdown to Country:

Bayou Country Superfest 2010

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month before LSU Tiger football returns, the lights of Tiger Stadium will be on and the parking lots will be packed with music fans eager to attend the first ever Bayou Country Superfest. While the country music-focused festival may be new, the creative forces behind it are not. Festival producer Quint Davis has been producing perennial favorite Jazz Fest for forty years. The Superfest will take place over Memorial Day weekend, May 29 and 30. The line-up of premiere talent includes some of the biggest stars in country music. Headlining the first night of Superfest is our cover girl and country pop mega-star Taylor Swift. She’ll be joined by coheadliner and multiple Grammy-Award winner Keith Urban. Also appearing in concert on May 29 are Kellie Pickler, David Nail and Gloriana. The final night of Superfest brings Brooks & Dunn, the most successful recording duo in music history, and four-time Country Music Association Entertainer of the year Kenny Chesney. Also appearing on May 30 are Jason Aldean, singer/ songwriter Jake Owen and Justin Moore. Country Superfesties will also be treated to nightly Memorial Day fireworks displays at the end of each night’s performances. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www. bayoucountrysuperfest.com. S

Kenny Chesney

48 | May 2010

Keith Urban

Brooks and Dunn

Taylor Swift


MUSIC |

Swift by Micah Haley

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ocated at 4104 Hillsboro Pike, the Bluebird Café is nestled in a part of Nashville known as Green Hills. Just over twenty minutes from the legendary stage at the Grand Ole Opry, the Bluebird is anything but grand. In contrast to the larger than life sounds of the Opry, the small venue is known for its intimacy. With a singer/songwriter on stage, the audience is typically whisper quiet. There is no talking. Or you’ll be told to shut it. Opened in 1982, the Bluebird is, and has always been, a venue for songwriters. But a showcase at the Bluebird is more than just an open mic. Writers have to audition to play its small stage “in the round.” Those who have made the cut include names you wouldn’t recognize, but whose songs you’d know by heart. During one audition in 1987, an unknown named Garth Brooks walked in with his guitar. They let him play a few shows. In the audience for one such songwriter’s showcase was Scott Borchetta, a veteran of the music industry on the cusp of launching a new label. While in radio promotions at Dreamworks, Borchetta helped make Toby Keith a true headliner and had big hits with Randy Travis, Jessica Andrews, Darryl Worley and Jimmy Wayne. On stage was a fifteen year old wisp of a girl. Her name was Taylor Swift. Taylor’s rapid rise to the top of the music industry is remarkable. First to recognize her talent and determination was her family, who relocated from Pennsylvania to Hendersonville, a small town in Tennessee just a short drive from the country music mecca of Nashville. Even before moving, Taylor was making regular trips to Nashville to shop her music around. Some she encountered in the earliest days probably saw only 50 | May 2010

Photo by Christie Goodwin

a young girl with dreams. Perhaps they saw a pretty girl they couldn’t yet market. But she was more than merely pretty. While most girls with big dreams are just working up the courage to karaoke at fifteen, Taylor was already hard at work. Indeed, something was different about Taylor Swift. She was playing the twelve-string guitar. She was writing songs. “There were times I was working so hard that I didn’t realize that every single day our numbers were getting bigger,” she remembers. “Every single day, our fan base was growing. Every single day, the work that we were doing was paying off.” Then, during the 2007 Country Music Awards, Carrie Underwood announced the winner of the Horizon award. “I looked over and saw the president of my record label crying,” says Taylor. Her record label, Big Machine Records, is run by Scott Borchetta. “Walking up those stairs, it just occurred to me that was the night things changed. It changed everything.” The whirlwind of success had swept up young Taylor Swift. The list of accolades continues to pile up. Her self-titled debut album, released in 2006, spent twenty weeks atop Billboard’s Country CD Sales Chart, surpassing quadruple-platinum status. Last year, she was named Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards. She also became the youngest artist in the forty-three year history of the Country Music Association to be awarded country music’s top prize when she took home the CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year. This year, she became the youngest artist in history to win the music industry’s highest honor, the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Now at the age of twenty, she is the top-selling digital artist in music history, with singles topping


| MUSIC

Photo by Joseph Anthony Baker www.scenelouisiana.com | 51


MUSIC |

Photo courtesy of Big Machine Records

both the Country and Pop radio charts. In both 2008 and 2009, she had the number one best-selling album in any genre of music. And last February, she made her feature film debut as part of the ensemble cast of Valentine’s Day, whose opening weekend gross dominated the box office. The wildfire ascent of Taylor Swift has seemingly occurred in the face of recent history. A little over a decade ago, Britney Spears was propelled to fame by suggestive songs and music videos peddling her as forbidden fruit. That early incarnation of Spears’ image evolved into something downright sleazy, as her award show performances became increasingly risqué and her stage shows sordid. But all the while, Spears sold records, setting a template for stardom, a model emulated by girls with dreams for more than ten years. In stark contrast, Taylor Swift is all class. With long dresses, naturally golden hair and alabaster skin that’s never seen the Jersey Shore, her classic appeal is enough to make Audrey Hepburn dye her hair blonde. “It’s never been about trying to look well-behaved,” she says, “It’s just how I am.” Her classic beauty stood out at MTV’s 2009 Video Music Awards, where she, a country singer, won Best Female Video for “You Belong to Me.” Britney Spears won for a video in which she appeared fully nude. Despite her exposure to the heights of the entertainment industry, a sense of self-confidence has allowed her to make decisions in her own time. “I guess it’s a weird thing to be nineteen and not ever have been drunk,” said Taylor. “But for me, it just feels normal because I don’t really know any other way. I don’t know if I’d be comfortable getting wasted and not knowing what I’ve said. That doesn’t mean when I’m older I won’t have a glass of wine. I just don’t 52 | May 2010

think it’s such a strange thing for me not to be wasted all the time.” While her squeaky clean image is the stuff of publicists’ dreams, at her essence, Taylor Swift is a songwriter. Unlike other pop songstresses, whose albums are largely composed by committee, Taylor has written or co-written every song on Fearless, her sophomore album. Writing songs about things that matter to her is something she says keeps her grounded. “I didn’t want to write songs about being on the road and being in hotels and missing your family and missing your friends,” she says. “When I was fourteen or fifteen, I would hear those things on an album…and I was always like ‘Ugh, skip!’ I’m inspired by boys and love. I’d rather write songs about how I’m feeling.” Even as she writes for herself, she’s conscious of broad audiences that will one day hear her musings. “I do this mental exercise,” Taylor says. “I sit in the car…and say to myself, ‘I’m fifteen years old and my boyfriend just broke up with me and I’m crying on the way home. What song am I going to listen to?’ Or, ‘I’m forty-five. I’m sending my fifteen year old daughter off to her freshman year of high school for the first time. What am I going to listen to?’” Fearless, the title of her second album, perfectly describes the story of Taylor Swift’s assault on music industry norms, where a gifted songwriter has beat up the competition with class. “To me, fearless isn’t not having fears,” she says. “I think that being fearless is having a lot of fears, but you jump anyway.” Now the Nashville star is coming to Baton Rouge, LA to face something truly fearsome: an LSU football stadium filled with Tigers. Most in attendance will already be her fans. And as for those who are not? If Taylor’s career is any indicator, they’ll be swiftly converted. S


MUSIC |

SOUND BUSINESS PART 1

by Micah Haley & Lana Hunt

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ith colossal cinematic projects such as Green Lantern and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button now the norm, much of Louisiana’s general population has become aware of the reason why. Louisiana’s revolutionary tax incentives continue to lure filmmakers to the state and entice filmrelated businesses to set up shop. With the film incentives as a successful model, the State of Louisiana implemented a suite of complimentary entertainment tax incentives, including live entertainment, interactive and sound recording production. This piece is the first in a series that will examine Louisiana’s music industry and how sound recording incentives are helping to grow it. While its musical heritage is renowned worldwide, Louisiana has not seen the development of a music recording industry able to compliment its rich, live music performance traditions. Even well known New Orleanian musicians like Louis Prima have historically been drawn to the greater recording capitols of New York, Nashville and Chicago to record the hits that made them famous. In the same way that the film tax incentives have turned New Orleans, a city historically filmed by Hollywood, into one of the most dynamic film hubs in the world, the incentives for sound recording intend to attract entrepreneurs to maximize Louisiana’s musical capital. The Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit, introduced in 2005 and amended in 2007 and 2009, offers a twenty-five percent rebate on total in-state expenditures related to the production of a sound recording. After an extensive amount of research and interviews with artists, managers, studios and producers, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development went back to the drawing board, making improvements to the incentive program to better cater to musicians in an effort to grow Louisiana’s music industry. “Before Katrina, we enjoyed a lot of world class artists that were coming through [Louisiana]… Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Kansas…a huge amount of internationally renowned acts. Unfortunately the storm slowed all of that down,” says Lynn Ourso, the State of Louisiana’s director of music/ sound recording. “So what we’re doing is hoping to get that back.” By utilizing the credit, which requires a minimum Louisiana spend of $15,000 on one or a series of projects in a twelve month period, artists and other sound recording investors can essentially save twenty-five percent on all in-state expenditures related to the project. This includes flights booked through a Louisiana travel agent, producer fees, studio time, catering and all other related expenditures up through the mixing and mastering of an album. The 2009 amendment to the law made the credit a direct refund, 54 | May 2010

Dr. John

which the Department of Revenue issues by check to the applicant generally within thirty business days from final certification of expenditures by the office of Louisiana Economic Development. This allows for producers to put entire projects on a private line of credit and know the general turnaround time for receiving the rebate after the audited cost report has been certified. The quick turnaround, coupled with the very low minimum spend threshold makes the credit extremely accessible to artists and producers nationwide. “This is not only a great driver of business into Louisiana, but it’s great for the local musicians too because it’s about money getting spent in the state,” says Kevin P. Conway, founder and partner of Wonderful Music Group, a music industry consulting company. Conway penned the 2009 amendments to the legislation while working with the State. Because the experience of recording an album ultimately influences


| MUSIC the music itself, it is important to offer more than just money. And that’s what Louisiana excels at. “We make sure artists are fed,” Conway continues, “have access to the best session musicians, and have access to the true Louisiana sound of music that no other area has and no other area can truly imitate. We’ve all seen that any imitation of a true Louisiana sound comes off as just that: an imitation.” Scott Crompton of Blade Studios in Shreveport agrees that the experience of recording and the final product are of utmost importance. “First and foremost, we are talking to [artists] about our facility and what kind of record they want to make. And through their interaction with us, they see ‘I want to make my record with these guys.’ The good thing is we also realize there’s an incentive here. We say, ‘Let us handle getting your hotels and getting your meals, all that here, internally, so you don’t have to worry about it.” By helping the artist to focus on making a hit, music professionals are helping to grow the local economy. “I want them to make records in our studio, with our Louisiana people,” says Crompton, “and pay Louisiana taxes, stay in Louisiana hotels and eat Louisiana restaurants and use Louisiana travel agents.”

Just as great experiences making films in Louisiana have brought back the same filmmakers, the business of growing Louisiana’s music industry is clearly about attracting repeat business. Ourso points out that a “hit” does not merely indicate creative success, but financial success. “When I’m talking about hits, I’m talking about records that sell, and can bring more business to the community,” he says. With a lucrative, reliable sound incentive program now firmly in place, Louisiana is poised for a musical revolution. A driving factor for Conway is to revitalize the rich musical culture in New Orleans that has been diminished by a history of greed and abuse. “We have all the musical talent in the world in this cultural basin, but we have a history of musicians getting conned time after time. Some of the most talented musicians live off of welfare because they don’t own the copyrights to their songs. We need to focus on a homegrown, self-sustaining musical infrastructure that’s here, that’s with people musicians trust,” says Conway. “Our main goal is for this state to be the musical juggernaut that it should be.” In Part 2, learn about why artists have left Louisiana and why they are coming back. Look for it in the next issue of Scene Magazine. S

“Some of Louisiana’s most talented musicians live off of welfare because they don’t own the copyrights to their songs.”

www.scenelouisiana.com | 55


FASHION |

The Scientist of by Lana Hunt

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mber Lehman may verifiably have every woman’s dream job. The scientist turned Nashville styling heavyweight is essentially a professional shopper. Sounds fun right? While she wouldn’t disagree, being a professional stylist is about much more than perusing the mall. Though she now has a drool-inducing resume, including styling videos for the likes of Kenny Chesney, Boys Like Girls, Matt Kearney and a slew of other Christian and Country artists, becoming a professional stylist was not something Amber ever had on her radar. After graduating from Louisiana State University with a degree in microbiology, Amber essentially fell into styling after moving to Nashville to pursue a Ph.D. “I had been on the path to go to medical school and, sort of 90 percent through my degree, realized this wasn’t the right fit for me. So not really knowing what to do with a bachelors degree in microbiology I decided to Amber Lehman go to grad school and maybe pursue teaching.” After seeking out schools around the country that were in cities known for creativity, she settled on Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “I wanted to move to a city where there were fields that had opportunities for creative people, so I ultimately chose this city and moved here.” It didn’t take long for Amber to realize that a career in microbiology, which is very research intensive, was not the direction she wanted to go. After a few years in the program, she started doing wardrobe styling on the side for an up and coming photographer. “I had never even heard of a stylist, I didn’t know that this was a viable career option at all, but I had a friend, Jeremy Cowart, who was getting into photography. He was taking pictures of mostly singer/songwriters because that’s the work that up and coming photographers get in Nashville.” Amber would take breaks from experiments at the lab to go shopping or help with wardrobe for the photo shoot. “It was a very crazy time in my life, so when I started getting more jobs and my business started taking off, I took a sabbatical from school to do this more full time.” Straight from graduate school, she began helping with a friend’s boutique in town and within two months was managing other employees and buying for the shop. “This was such a great way for me to learn the wholesale end of the business and really see how clothing gets from a designer to a factory overseas to the doorstep of a store.” Working in the

Style

boutique also granted her the opportunity to work with other stylists in town. “I got to work with other stylists who were working for people like Martina McBride and some big country artists would come in and borrow clothes from us.” Not knowing how the process worked and having a fair amount of discretion with the store, Amber was able to set up parameters with local stylists in which they could work. These experiences showed her the underbelly of styling and enlightened Amber to the fact that styling is a professional career. “I really learned the ins and outs of it while I was working for Emmaline, [the clothing boutique].” Styling, which started as a whim, quickly became full time. “Soon after [leaving the store] I was working for commercials, videos, day to day wardrobe. There’s no limit to the things that I would be styling for. There’s always a certain look that a photo by Laura D’Art director may be going for, or a look that a manager may want for an artist. I’ll buy for all of someone’s appearances, red carpet events, radio tour stuff, band members in a tour. I’m constantly shopping.” Knowing nothing about the business she was throwing herself into was never an impediment to Amber’s ability to get the job done with confidence. “That’s a skill that I’d say is beneficial to anything. Just have confidence in what you do and people will trust you. There were days I was definitely stressed, but I knew I could do it. People around you respond to confidence.” While the bulk of her business is buying wardrobe, Amber has also spent an extensive amount of time building relationships with designers, who essentially have a roster of stylists, and the artists they work for. These designers will send gifts and items to her clients. “We buy a lot of stuff, but we borrow a lot of things too. Designers want their items to be seen, so they’ll let us borrow it for a red carpet. You never know when your dress will end up on People.com or in print somewhere.” Working as a stylist in one of America’s major hotbeds for country music is ultimately fun and rewarding, but, like every job, it is still a job. “There are lots of things about the job that aren’t fun and take a lot of work. There’s accounting, there’s lots of shopping, of lugging things around. I spend a majority of the time returning items to salespeople who aren’t always kind. And one of the most stressful parts of it is that there are lots of other people who have opinions. You’re not just dealing with the 

“Just have confidence in what you do and people will trust you.”

56 | May 2010


| FASHION

Left: Jessica Harp, photo by Kristen Batlowe Above: Julianne Hough, photos by Mark DeLong all styling by Amber Lehman www.scenelouisiana.com | 57


FASHION | opinion of the artist, but maybe the head of the label has an opinion, maybe the head of A/R [the talent scout] at the label has an opinion, maybe the marketing person at the label has an opinion. The director, the producer, the artist’s manager, all have opinions. Sometimes artists’ family members have opinions. To make everyone happy is one of the most challenging parts and most important skills for this job. You have to have a lot of patience and a lot of people skills to keep a lot of people happy at one time.” One of only a handful of full time stylists in Nashville, she has clearly mastered the art of keeping all parties happy and the bookings keep rolling in. Some notches on her styling belt include videos for Julianne Hough, Kenny Chesney, Steel Magnolia, Jessica Harp, 3 Doors Down, Matt Kearny and Boys Like Girls. She’s also styled for an impressive list of Christian artists including Stephen Curtis Chapman, Mercy Me, and Chris Thomlin as well as indie musician Brandi Carlile for her latest video. Can You Duet, CMT’s version of American Idol, also called on her expertise to style the show last year. Getting to meet and work with amazing musicians is incredibly rewarding, but seeing a vision come alive and helping everyone do their job better is Amber’s favorite part of the job. “The most fulfilling part of it is to make an artist feel really good in what they’re wearing. To make them feel confident enables them to do their job better. So for me to be able to achieve that is always really fulfilling.” Amber is also creatively and artistically fulfilled by being about to take a director or producer’s vision and make it a reality for them. “When I get to do that, and bring that to fruition, it’s just the best.” S

Amber also lends her styling hand to the masses with her blog, viewable at amberlehmanstyling.blogspot.com. For more information or to view samples of her work, visit amberlehman.com.

Matt Wertz

photo by Jeremy Cowart

www.scenelouisiana.com | 58


FASHION |

DAISY, DON’T

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hen I was your age none of the girls wore blue jeans, but I wanted to wear them so I bought boy’s jeans. I started a trend! I always thought it was silly that some designer in Paris could tell us what to wear…I still do.” Ha, take that Yves Saint Laurent! I had this conversation with my grandmother recently and was immediately aware of the source of my rebellion to anything mainstream, and I’m grateful that I inherited her spirit. It doesn’t take a fashion degree from FIT to know what looks good on your own body and to know what style you like and feel comfortable with. Granted, designers are incredibly talented and creative and continue to revolutionize clothing, but we don’t always have to hang on their every hem and stitch. I remember a few years back taking a long sleeve fitted tee and cutting about half of it off, sewing a ribbon to it and tying it in the back. A few people eyed me at first, but not long after that the “half shirt” craze hit. Sometimes going with our own intuition is better than waiting around for someone else to tell us our ideas are okay. The same goes for following an idea when we might not love it, just because everyone else is wearing it. While designers do get recognition and distribution for a reason, their designs might not always be what are best for you. If you’re uncomfortable in something, you probably look that way too. Because summer is inching in (FINALLY!), the inches of layers are coming off in heaps. While I’m a big advocate of being comfortable in your own skin, and sometimes showing some skin, I have to admit that I’ve already started seeing too much of it. I can’t think of anything more uncomfortable and unflattering as shorts with half-inch inseams (OUCH!). Nonetheless, these little Daisy’s have, with flying colors, become overScene. The too-tiny shorts come in every color and fabric and never fail to be an assault on my eyes, no matter how saucy the girl wearing them is. There’s just something about having a little discretion that makes a woman infinitely more attractive and sexy than someone who shows all. Aside from the picking and pulling and grabbing that comes with those shorts, it’s just too much skin. It’s not attractive. It’s not stylish. It’s not flattering. And it does not make you hot. How about trying on a little comfort this summer. Find some shorts that fit you, shorts that don’t ride up because they are too short or tight. When trying on different styles, if you have to pull or grab to make them fit, move on. While I do like a good dark denim trouser short, try a different fabric. There are beautiful cotton blends in all colors and prints. Try a linen short with a three to four inch inseam. I am by no means suggesting Capri pants either: that’s a whole different column! Just go for something you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear in front of someone you looked up to as a kid. Pair your new shorts with something else comfortable, too. Tight shorts usually go hand in hand with tight tops. Throw the idea that you have to reveal all to be sexy out the window! Find a tank that you can move in, that doesn’t show every curve. Or get a threadbare tee shirt. While its super comfortable, it still gives the allusion of showing skin, without showing skin. Sexy! Throw on a fitted blazer (I’m loving these right now) and a mixed fabric gladiator sandal and you’ve got a winning combination to be confident, beautiful and stylish this summer. S 60 | May 2010

LANA’S PICKS

This spring and summer are all about simplicity, color and comfort! This gorgeous DONNA KARAN BLAZER is perfect for throwing on over any simple tank, wearing with dark denim ankle jeans, or dressing up a pair of perfect summer shorts. I love this CORAL ONE-SHOULDER TOP. Going off shoulder is a super sexy alternative to showing lots of other skin, and this color is unbeatable for showing off that sun kissed complexion. Every woman should own a closet full of SIMPLE TANKS like this beautiful blue silk one from 7 FOR ALL MANKIND. It’s comfortable, lightweight, sexy and can be worn with just about anything. Can we say GORGEOUS? That’s just what these WHITE LINEN/SILK BLEND SHORTS from PLENTY BY TRACY REESE are. They are form-fitting and beautifully detailed, perfect for any summer outing. I love this ‘green’ bag by local designer URBAN:KITTY. It’s functional, beautiful and made locally, what more could you want? This MULTI-STRAND NECKLACE from STELLA MCCARTNEY is just perfect. It’ll go with any of those fun summer colors you better be purchasing! “Stunning” is the only word I can think of for this KARA BY KARA ROSS GOLD AND HEMATITE BRACELET. If it were mine I’d wear it every day with everything. I’m loving these WEDGES by TWELFTH ST. BY CYNTHIA VINCENT. With every summer color in them you can throw them on with anything. These DIANE VON FURSTENBERG SANDALS are the perfect alternative to a summer heel or wedge. The color is great and the gold adds just enough pizzaz to pump any outfit up! Availability: Stella Boutique, Baton Rouge; Alexandra’s Boutique, Zachary; netaporter.com and shopbop.com. PLEASE SEND QUESTIONS, COMMENTS OR SOMETHING YOU’VE OVERSCENE TO FASHION@SCENELOUISIANA.COM.


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SCENE | online

www.scenelouisiana.com THE ONLINE SCENE Scene Magazine’s website encompasses the best of entertainment, including film, music and fashion. Featuring the Digital Edition of Scene Magazine, additional photos, articles, breaking news and exclusives. From your Mac, PC or mobile phone, SceneLouisiana.com is a daily must-read.

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twitter Steve Zahn in the house at HBO’s Treme premiere in NOLA. (via @SceneToday)

FILM

Get on the Scene with the latest updates on film news from Los Angeles, New York and across Louisiana, including updates directly from set, photos of stars on location, breaking news, full interviews and expanded Scene articles.

MUSIC

Follow the best of the music world in the studio, on stage and in the streets, with expanded high resolution photo spreads, articles, videos, a calendar of events and more.

Just ran into Melissa Leo and had an Abita with David Simon (via @SceneToday) John Malkovich hanging at the Bridge Lounge. So odd and awesome (via @humidhaney) I Love You Philip Morris, true story of a gay conman who’d do anything 4 love, ‘comes out’ this fall! R U man enough? (via @JimCarrey, star of the New Orleans’ shot film) In Shreveport shooting a movie! (via @AlisonBrie of Community and Mad Men) Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Tim Robbins is shooting on the WDSU set as I send this tweet! (via @FletcherMackel)

FASHION

Avoid a fashion faux pas with advice from Scene contributors, off the rack recommendations at local boutiques, expanded fashion show photo spreads and more.

Just saw Terrence Howard on the set of The Ledge (via @visitbatonrouge) Bruce Willis and the W Hotel New Orleans…on the Scene at the Red wrap party (via @SceneToday) Philip Glass sells out at Shaver Theatre tonight! (via @swinepalace)

THE DIGITAL EDITION

Read the current issue of Scene Magazine in full vibrant color on your Mac or PC, along with our entire archive of back issues. Check out the latest issue even before it hits the streets!

Just finished watching Werner Hertzog’s wonderful Bad Lieutenant. Now…do you call it a remake? I doubt Werner would. (via @MyBrewTube, director Craig Brewer) The Good Lord willing, we landed by far the biggest production in the history of Baton Rouge today. Cheers! (via @LouisianaFilmTV)

Follow Scene Magazine on Twitter: @SceneToday

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62 | May 2010

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IN THE MIX

Eliminating Distraction:

How the iPad

is revolutionizing the way we experience media

by Greg Milneck

G

ood design does a lot of things: it inspires, it functions, it communicates. But above all, good design focuses the eye, leaving the viewer locked in on an image. On a message. On what the designer wants you to see, hear and read. The personal computer, even when designed by Apple, has failed miserably in this. I’m not talking about the physical design of a computer: I’m talking about the experience of using one. For all of the things that are wrong with the iPad, when it comes to focusing our attention, Apple designers have struck right between the eyes. At heart, I’m a photographer. It’s a passion passed on to me as a child by my father. Much of my time is spent online at photography forums, websites and applications related to video and film. Viewing these websites on my computer was always lacking. I just didn’t realize it until I got my iPad. Because of its dimensions and beautiful screen, the iPad leaves me looking at a photo or a video and nothing else. On a computer, I was always looking at a photo inside of a browser on top of my desktop surround by icons and menu items. These things are all distractions, taking away from a piece of art, a video or a photograph. The iPad strips all of that away and fills the screen with what I choose to view. The iPad has eliminated all of the distractions I’d become accustomed to, reminding me of the power of focusing the eye on a singular object of interest. Why is this revolutionary? Well, actually it’s not. It’s really more of a reminder of what we once had and have forgotten. We no longer have photo albums on the shelves. We don’t have as many printed books and magazines on the coffee table. Even our televisions are becoming Internet devices with widgets, further complicating the viewing

64 | May 2010

experience. We have computers that take care of all these things. But computers tend to complicate our lives as much as they make them easier. They tend to take away from the viewing and reading experience. Computers are distracting. The iPad is the opposite: it’s focused and allows the user to fully digest what’s on screen. Computers don’t allow this kind of experience. In fact, the reason I love the iPad is because it’s not a computer. It’s also the reason I hate it.

What Needs Work: Multitasking: This is my biggest complaint about the iPad and the iPhone.

It’s absurd that such a powerful machine forces users to utilize just one application at a time. Luckily, Apple recently announced that the 4.0 version of the software will bring multitasking to the iPhone this summer. The new functionality will follow for the iPad this fall. If this improvement isn’t adequate, I may eventually lose interest in the iPad.

Browser:  The browser is fine, but it lacks two important elements: Flash and tabbed browsing. These are two easy fixes, Apple. Let’s make those changes once and for all. Memory:  While the 64GB version I have is fine, there is no logical reason to omit an SD card slot to interchange files and expand memory with ease. Forcing everything through iTunes is laborious and seriously affects the user experience.


IN THE MIX

Mail:  The application is fine on the iPhone, but the iPad has the power and size for a serious mail program. Mail on the iPad is a toy, and a tedious one at that. For instance, if you have multiple email accounts it will take you as many as five clicks to move from one account to the other (this is another feature that will supposedly be included for the iPad this fall). Further, you aren’t given the option of having customized signatures for each account. These are standard features on any email client. Apple can and should beef up mail on the iPad.

Readability:  Despite some issue with glare, the iPad screen is

Personalization: I have a feeling that most people with the iPad are going

in personal computing devices without the U.S. Government finding out about it. That’s the only explanation I can come up for why my iPad has yet to dip below 85%, even after a day of heavy use. The bottom line for me is this: the iPad is not a computer, it’s not a netbook and it’s not an iPhone. It’s an iPad, with all of its limitations and all of its positives. Some of the limitations, like multitasking, could be deal breakers for me down the road. But I expect Apple to address these issues over time. After all, it’s a new species and it needs time to evolve. In the mean time, I’m going to sit back and enjoy the newest episode of Lost in perfect clarity through the ABC app on my iPad. Or maybe I’ll read an old comic in a revolutionary format with the Marvel app. Or I’ll catch up on some news, maybe some light reading or even take a trek down memory lane with old photos in high resolution on one heck of a beautiful screen. I have a feeling my laptop is going to get lonely. S

to leave it around the living room or the kitchen table. If you have family, everyone is going to want to use it because of how incredibly convenient it is. But, Apple does not give the option of multiple user accounts. This should be a standard evolution from the iPhone software. It’s not needed on a phone: it is needed on the iPad. As much as I love my kids, I don’t trust them with my corporate email account in their hands.

What Works: Format:  The iPad is not a computer. That allows it to be drastically different and makes it possible for users to have a completely difference experience on their iPad than we do on our computers. It’s not meant to replace your computer, it’s meant to be a completely different species. 

perfect. It’s the perfect size and I swear I’ve never seen a monitor with such clarity. I have never been able to comfortably read on a computer monitor before. My employees can attest to this as they have always had to print out content for me to review. But the iPad’s screen is so perfect, so crisp and clear that I can actually read comfortably. It’s easy to scroll, navigate and interact with as well.

Battery:  Apparently Steve Jobs has found a way to use nuclear power

App Store:  The App Store has completely revolutionized mobile computing. It’s a billion dollar industry all something, I can get it immediately. No credit cards – just instant access to any developers get their hands on the iPad,

its own. When I need lines, no software, no application. And once the sky is the limit.

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. www.scenelouisiana.com | 65


Allure FRENCHMEN

BUZZED

THE

OF

by Adam Tustin

“T

ake me to Bourbon Street” are instructions uttered to cab drivers all over the city. “Take me to the beads, the bare breasts, the barkers. The chaos and the filth. Bring me to an environment full of plastic, overpriced cocktails with no open container laws.” They get in the car with that out-of-town air still on them and say, “I am here to party. Take me to the party.” As the bullet points on virgin New Orleanians’ travel itineraries dwindle toward conclusion, the Bourbon Street breasts age and sag. The food, touted by its peddlers for its global fame, begins to taste bland, over-priced and under-conceived. The cover bands that blare the same sixteen songs over and over again each half-block become as nauseating as mid-afternoon cocktails of half sugar and half grain alcohol. It is then that some travelers request an invitation to the party in lieu of demanding its immediate presentation. They then ask a bartender, server or concierge permission to attend by inquiring, “Where do the locals go?” More often than not, the reply is simply this: “Frenchmen Street.” A small strip of restaurants, bars and music venues certainly isn’t a unique phenomenon in this town, and all, in some way or another, are worth experiencing. But nowhere is the concentration of character and authenticity as potent as it is on this Marigny stretch. It offers the best cross-section of musical talent in New Orleans, from the homeless trio performing for change to the twice-nightly jazz performances at Snug Harbor. The clubs are as diverse as they are alive and if you can’t find an act you enjoy on any given night, there’s just no funking funk in you. Frenchmen Street is the beginning or end to countless parades and festivities. Halloween is probably the most popular night on Frenchman, ground zero for dark celebrations. Tens of thousands of maniacs in costumes march on the street, puking between hysterical fits of mushroom-induced laughter, smoking the Shire-leaf out in the open and congregating around large, hissing tanks of nitrous oxide. As police officers look on with confusion and caution, the surrealism of so many costumed adults behaving this way makes the night immortal in the foggy memory of so many partygoers. The bartenders betray their costumes only with determined facial expressions as they clamor to earn income. Fantasies of screwing Little Bo Peep, Peter Venkman or Lara Croft are realized within parked cars and downtown hotels. Eventually the rising sun works its devastating magic. The makeup smears and the wigs come off, and those who managed to avoid the pitfalls of jail or the emergency room had one hell of a night.

On any given night, one can find something worthwhile on Frenchmen Street. 66 | May 2010

WHAT NOT TO MISS: THE MUSIC Each night Frenchmen Street is a live music destination, showcasing a wide variety of genres in its many bars and clubs. The Dragon’s Den, d.b.a., The Blue Nile, Spotted Cat and Snug Harbor are all fantastic music venues within walking distance of each other. ADOLFO’S Located above a delightfully dingy hole in the wall called the Apple Barrel, Adolfo’s provides exceptional Italian fare at a reasonable rate. Don’t expect white-gloved service and a wait at the downstairs bar is likely, but the charm of the second story restaurant makes it an ideal date night destination. MONAGHAN 13 Great for late night snacks like tater tots or a variety of vegetarian options, “13” also has one of the best chicken salad sandwiches in the city. The dining tables are adorned with iconic movie star photo collages and as patrons sip their beers they shout out names of actors and movies, as if on some kind of Hollywood nostalgia trivia game.“That’s Steve McQueen in The Great Escape!” THE BEER SELECTION AT D.B.A. One of the classier and larger bars/music venues on Frenchmen, d.b.a.’s chalkboard drink menus offer a wide variety of beers and liquor from all over the world. Try Delirium Tremens, a most magnificent beer. If that phrase seems foreign, drink four pints and then look it up in a dictionary. You’ll get a kick out of it. So get lost on Frenchmen Street, see where it takes you. Find your own gem and explore the variety of music offered. One would be hard pressed to find a more interesting stretch of real estate anywhere in the world. Eat your heart out, France. S


ON THE SCENE

S

68 | May 2010

SCENE MAGAZINE’S DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCH PARTY AT THE HILTON SHREVEPORT


ON THE SCENE

photos by Mindy Bledsoe

S

HOUSE OF LOUNGE & DIRTY COAST FASHION SHOW Fashion fun at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans

photos by Laura Rockett www.scenelouisiana.com | 69


ON THE SCENE

S

70 | May 2010

PLAYNOLA.COM SEE AND BE SCENE

New Orleans professionals gathered at the W Hotel New Orleans for the first of a series of rooftop parties sponsored by Scene Magazine.

photos by Mark St. James


FRAMES PER SECOND FRAMES PER SECOND

BY JAMES SHEPPARD | fpscomics@gmail.com

www.scenelouisiana.com | 71


THE UNSCENE Healthy Competition As other states cast their nets into the waters of entertainment, hoping to catch enough projects to justify the existence of their incentives, Louisiana hunts with harpoons. While Iowa’s ill-fated incentive program has collapsed, Louisiana is at sea with Iowaclass battleships, dreadnoughts bent on landing the biggest fish. But the State of Louisiana’s film tax incentive program isn’t the only boat in the ocean. Local municipalities began to throw their skin in the game a few years ago, and some controversy has followed. Should our cities compete? Should Baton Rouge do battle with Shreveport? Should Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu match the incentive offered by Jefferson Parish? In the fog, it is easy to lose sight of the shore. Louisiana’s most filmed cities were competing with each other long before Hollywood arrived. And a little bit of healthy competition amongst siblings will only work to help them grow. Competition only serves to benefit the customer. And these customers have deep pockets. Some deny that these local incentives are fiscally prudent, causing a strain on city coffers in an already stressful time. But those who deny the economic power of the engine of entertainment simply do not have all the facts. These local incentives usually only offset local taxes after a production has paid them. The multi-million dollar benefits to local businesses and citizens far outweigh the meager processing costs. Entertainment is not a cottage industry. It is among the largest in Louisiana. Our wall may be mounted with fishing trophies, but considering the massive possibilities on the horizon, even the term “fishing” now falls short. In Louisiana, we go whaling. - The UnScene Writer

Submit tips to unscene@scenelouisiana.com. Anonymity guaranteed.

72 | May 2010



Scene Magazine - May 2010