Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Emily Curse

Earlier this month, Maurice sent me a link to a Radiolab story called “Finding Emilie”. It is a phenomenal story about an art student, her tragic accident and her boyfriend’s conviction that she could recover. It WILL make you cry, regardless of how stoic you think you are.

There’s a point partway through the story where Emilie’s mother talks about how, of all her children, Emilie always seemed to get the bad stuff and she asks, “Why? Everything bad seems to happen to Emilie.” My automatic, flip answer was…”Because of her name!”

Having been an Emilie my whole life (except for a period in my early teens when I tried to make everyone call me Rachel), I have long studied this phenomena. Yes, it is a phenomena and it is real. And here is my evidence.

All of the really famous Emilys are generally creative, often writers, are usually unlucky in love and/or depressed and die early:

Emily Bronte, author of Wuthering Heights, died at age 30 and never married.

-The poet Emily Dickinson lived till age 56, but never married and barely left her room in her later life. Her poetry dealt extensively with death and mortality.

Fictional Emilys seem to fare even worse than real-life creative Emilys (even Maurice admits he has an ill-fated fictional Emily in his work):

-Emily Grierson from A Rose for Emily, who kills a suitor and presumably sleeps beside his corpse in a wedding suite until her own death.

-Emily Webb from Our Town who dies giving birth.

-Emma/Emmeline in the song by Hot Chocolate, who wants to be a famous actress and kills herself because she can’t achieve her dream. (Minute 3:12 will give you chills, but you have to listen to the whole song to get there.) This song is probably based on lead singer Errol Brown’s mother, I’ve read.

More scientific Emilys seem to be longer living. Not quite as famous as the creative ones, they are just as successful. But that makes sense because one of the meanings of the name Emily is to strive or excel or rival. I’ve also heard that Emily means “industrious one.”

I don’t buy into the Emily Curse… but I’m getting a little ticked off by this perception around the name. Doomed, fragile Emilys vs. hard-working scientific Emilys? Why does everything happen to Emily?

And that’s what I like about the Emilie in the Radiolab story above. Though there’s tragedy in her story, I get the impression she is the most stubborn, persistent person. And that she will continue to triumph. I want more Emily/Emilies with her spirit and determination in fiction and in real life.

In that vein, there’s Emily the Strange, a goth teenager with attitude, who doesn’t entirely fit the mold. While she wears all black and never seems to smile, she’s strong and sarcastic. I hear Chloe Morentz may play her in the movie version. All I can think is that after her roles in Kick-Ass and Let Me In, she is NEVER going to smile in a role again.

But, check out a coincidence I stumbled upon while putting this post together:

Emily the Strange

Emilie the not-so-strange

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Filed under Friends, funny, literature, musing, poetry, pop culture, random rant, weirdness

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals at House of Blues

This is late in coming, but better late than never, right? After I reviewed Lissie at House of Blues and suggested everybody check out Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, I promised I would review the show, so here I am.

First of all, it was a sold out show at the main HOB stage, so it was crowded. That’s not my favorite way to enjoy live music and I was a bit grouchy, but also really excited to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals cause I’ve heard that they’re amazing live. And I noticed that most of their shows on this tour have been sold out, if that gives you any evidence.

I am here to tell you that GP&N (for brevity’s sake) are every ounce the phenomenal performers that I’ve heard. Positively electric. An easy comparison to Grace Potter is Janis Joplin, but I read someone compare her to Tina Turner and I think that may be even more apt. Or some kind of combination of Janis Joplin, Tina Turner and herself may be the most apt description.

I found a local music blog that has videos and a gallery of images from the show. You should definitely check it out and I’ll include some videos below so you can get an idea for yourself of what it’s like to see GP&N live. There’s a high-energy new-wave psychedelic funky/folky quality that is just utterly unique.

This one is a bit dark, but the audio is pretty good.

The lighting in this one is much better and it’s a great song.

This video is not from her recent New Orleans performance, but I’m including it because she did perform it in a special arrangement and after some discussion of Katrina and our recovery. This performance is close to what she performed here in New Orleans, without her commentary, of course.

If, after all this, you want to re-create the Nola concert for yourself, I found a setlist for the show and there should be videos for almost all of these songs available. Have fun!

P.S. Actually, I did it for you. Here is a playlist of the songs that GP&N played at House of Blues earlier this month. Enjoy!

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Filed under music, Musicians, NOLA Bloggers

Flood Streets – a local film

Last Thursday, I attended a private screening of a local indie feature, Flood Streets, hosted by NOVAC at Vintage Uptown. It was a gorgeous space and the entire event was wonderful.

I think everybody should know about this film, and the filmmakers behind it. The script was co-written by Helen Krieger and her husband Joseph Meissner based on a group of short stories Helen wrote about the often humorous situations New Orleanians found themselves in after Katrina. Together, Helen and Joseph created a production company, The Hatchery Media, and threw themselves into every aspect of filmmaking, taking on the producing and directing roles in addition to writing. Joseph plays one of the main characters as well. They recruited a dedicated crew (including co-producers Michelle Benoit and Glen Pitre) and a talented cast including Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond and Harry Shearer. You’ll find, as I did, a lot of familiar faces from the music community – Clint Maedgen from The New Orleans Bingo! Show and Meschiya Lake, just to name two.

Among its other projects, The Hatchery Media has also released a book of Helen’s stories that inspired the film, In the Land of What Now, which were sold at the event by Faulkner House Books. You can keep an eye on the progress of Flood Streets by signing up for the newsletter here.

An image from the film

The cover of "In the Land of What Next"

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Filed under books, Creativity, Film, Media, New Orleans Women, Writers and Poets

This is what happens when Banksy’s nominated for an Oscar…

Apparently, Banksy has arrived just a bit early in Los Angeles and has taken the opportunity to paint the town. TMZ has images and The Week suggests this may be Banksy’s own Oscar campaign, since Exit Through the Gift Shop is up for Best Documentary. One of the pieces thought to be Banksy’s work is an enormous Mickey and Minnie inserted into a billboard. Huffington Post has video of the billboard and it’s removal.

As usual, Banksy shows that it’s not just the what of his art, but also the where and the when.

 

 

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Filed under art, coolness, funny, movies, pop culture, technology, weirdness

Now look here…

If you were reading my blog sometime in the middle of the night (and I flatter myself that you were), you might’ve felt like you were caught in a real-life version of that last bit Cinderella. You know, where the fairy godmothers keep changing the color of the dress while she dances on clouds with the Prince? I was experimenting with a new look for my blog and it changed styles and colors many times in just a few minutes.

And now that you’re reading my blog in the full light of day (and I flatter myself that you are), you’ll notice that the look’s drastically different. What do you think? Give me some feedback, please.

So, while I’m here and you’re here (still flattering myself that you are…), I might as well take a moment to brag. I have a new piece up at 225 Magazine, a review of Sarah Inman’s The Least Resistance. I’ve started writing for NOLAFemmes, so start tuning in there as well. According to Moll (not to be confused with sister Aimee), writing for them makes me famous, so I’m in stellar company. One movie job has ended (ish) and another might soon begin. We’ll see. It’s all so new and exciting… 🙂

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Filed under bragging on, coolness, family, freelance work, Friends, musing, technology, weirdness

Loving Lissie locally

Last year, I wrote about a musician named Lissie who’s become one of my favorites and I ended the post by saying:

“Lissie, when are you coming to New Orleans? Seriously.”

On Tuesday, Lissie performed at the House of Blues Parish Room and to demonstrate what a big fan I am, I was one of the first 30 people to buy my ticket, more than two months ago. I know, I’m a dork. But, I’d be a supreme dork again and buy tickets waaay early if she ever comes back to New Orleans, because she’s an awesome live performer.

It’s easy to see that from her many YouTube videos, but it’s nothing to actually being in the audience. There is something absolutely electric about her when she performs. Because my own taste in music is so eclectic, I think one of things I love best about her is that she can sing bluegrass, then pop, then rock, and always sound like herself. Her covers of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” are genius, but her own songs are clever and infectious as well.

Moll went with me to the show, which was cool because she’d never heard of Lissie and left a fan. I’ve found a video of Lissie’s encore performance of “Pursuit of Happiness” at the show and I’ll include it here:

I probably shouldn’t be so proud of the fact that all the Frenchmen talk happened because I yelled “Frenchmen” in response to her “ready for Bourbon” comment, and that you can hear me screaming in the video. As Moll Tweeted me later:

@emofalltrades I’m pretty sure that I can hear you hollerin’.

While there were a ton of young girls there (singing very loudly to her songs and calling out “You’re so pretty!” between songs), the audience was surprisingly age-diverse. Her opening act, Dylan LeBlanc, was excellent as well, though the feel of his set was very different from Lissie’s performance, of course. He’s worth checking out and I’ve embedded a video here for you:

Moll and I were taking a picture of ourselves on my cell phone when a woman walked by and offered to take our picture, breathlessly telling us afterward that she’d flown from New York, where she’d just seen Lissie and that Lissie was about to blow up in popularity. The woman predicted that Lissie will be performing at the Arena next time she’s in New Orleans. While she took our picture, a strange guy we didn’t know wandered by and posed behind us a few times. So almost all of the pictures that the woman took of us include this guy and us laughing. I’ll include one below and leave you with my wishlist for Lissie’s next New Orleans appearance, whether it’s at the Arena or not:

1. Lissie, come back to New Orleans

2. Perform “Pursuit of Happiness” with Kid Cudi (they could tour together, why not?!)

3. Support a new awesome cd.

Yeah, we don't know that guy, but he did tell us to tag him on Facebook. 🙂

 

P.S. I’ve started writing for NOLAFemmes and my second post for them was a write up of the show.

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Filed under Friends, music, New Orleans, pop culture, review

Listen to this – Lissie and Grace Potter

Tuesday at the House of Blues Parish Room brought singer Lissie to New Orleans. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time and have written about her on my own blog and for the So You Think You Can Dance fan site PureSYTYCD. So I was stoked when I saw that she was playing the House of Blues. I suspected from her YouTube videos that Lissie is an amazing live performer and I was not wrong.

In between songs, she told many little stories and cited Metallica, Led Zepplin and Janis Joplin as influences. Like Janis Joplin, she has a voice that sounds not just husky, but eternally on the edge of hoarse. She can do a stellar bluegrass, then turn around and sing what could be a pop hit on the radio, but through it all is a solid rock core. She’s a very pretty girl (several female audience members kept calling out, “You’re so pretty!”), but performs with an abandon and lack of concern for her appearance that is refreshing.

If she’s ever back in New Orleans, you should definitely check her out. In the meantime, read this excellent Gambit write-up and th audience-made video of Lissie’s encore performance of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” from Tuesday’s show that I found. I’ll also embed my favorite of her songs, “When I’m Alone.” While you’re looking, check out her cover performances of Lady GaGa’s “Bad Romance” and Lionel Richie’s “Hello.”

Planning ahead, if you haven’t heard of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals yet, start checking them out now. They’re phenomenal and will be at House of Blues February 20th.

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Filed under music, Singers

MVB – Most Valuable Burger

Hi everybody. You don’t know me yet, but you will soon enough as I’ll occasionally be writing posts here at NolaFemmes. My regular home is over here. I don’t usually write much about food, but I’m always taken with unique New Orleans experiences, so here we go.

For my first post, I thought I’d write about MVB – Most Valuable Burger. It’s a pop-up restaurant that takes over Slim Goodie’s on Sundays starting at 5 p.m. So, if you’ve driven by Slim’s on a Sunday during the last few months and noticed a crazy long line outside, this is exactly why.

A pop-up restaurant (and I didn’t know this until recently) is one that operates when another, more established restaurant is regularly closed. It saves on a lot of costs so that new ventures can build a following and experiment with their menus.

But this is what I know. I am a fan of MVB after eating there last Sunday. I plan to eat there often while it’s operating in Slim Goodie’s and I would definitely frequent any place they open on their own. Let me tell you why.

My friend Jamey and I decided to mosey on over to Slim’s to check MVB out. We got there about 5:15, which we both knew was pretty dumb, considering we’d seen the line there before. And there was a line, a long one. It got a tiny bit shorter when it started to rain, but most people held their ground. They were determined, as we were. The fine folks of MVB passed a basket of fries down the line to thank us while we waited and to tantalize us as well. Actually, they sent two basket of fries down the line while Jamey and I were waiting. The fries were amazing – I heard several people say, “Well I definitely can’t leave after that.”

It’s BYOB, as several people clearly already knew – they came prepared. Next time, I might grab a Strawberry Abita or two to take with me.

So, we got a table at about 6 p.m. I was starving by then, but excited to try out the menu. And I’ll hand this to the staff – they were entirely conscious of the line outside and were moving fast, but they never made us feel rushed once we got our table, which I really appreciated.

The menu was simple and absolutely overwhelming. Apparently, there are new additions every week. I’d seen a Tweet earlier in the day from MVB about the salted caramel shakes, so I already knew I was ordering that.

The only thing that can cure this Vegas hangover is a pimento cheese burger and a salted caramel shake. See you all at 5:00. 12:22 PM Jan 30th

They have a deal – $13 for a burger and fries and a shake, so that was that. Jamey also got the deal, but got a vanilla shake rather than the crazy fancy special shake like me. Our shakes were incredible (especially mine). I’m going to be really sad if it’s not available next time, but who knows what they’ll have instead?

Our food arrived pretty quickly and was absolutely incredible. The burger was one of the best I’ve ever eaten – flavored just right and juicy. The bun, which I learned is a potato bun from Maple St. Patisserie, was the perfect touch. And the fries were just as good as our tantalizing taste outside — soft, salty skinny fries with a nice bite to them. Everything was both gourmet and simple, decadent and no-nonsense. What an amazing contradiction.

The lagniappe at the end was the perfect touch. I won’t spoil what it is, but I promise it is absolutely divine. I was stuffed, but I made room without hesitation.

MVP won’t be operating again till the 13th, but I definitely suggest you go. Get there early, as they stop serving when they’re sold out. As this Tweet attests from last Sunday, that can happen in a matter of hours:

Sold out. 8:47 PM Jan 30th

MVP is perfect for a night when you’re feeling like having an adventure in dining. Bring your beer of choice, your favorite dining companion (though I’d caution against large groups because seating could be tough), and — most importantly — your appetite.

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Filed under food, Foodies, The NoLA Life