- Support the New Orleans Film Festival on Give NOLA Dayby Trey Plays
The Oscar-qualifying* New Orleans Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in the Southeast, serving audiences numbering upwards of 30,000, hosting as many as 500 filmmakers, and providing cash awards and prizes valued at over $150,000.
The festival will celebrate its 32nd edition this year between Nov 5 – 21 with in-person screenings in venues across New Orleans and a Virtual Cinema which will be available globally!
Support New Orleans Film Festival on Give NOLA Day, May 4!
Donation scheduling is now open!
For more information or to donate, visit https://www.givenola.org/nofs
- NOPD Hunts Dangerous Wookieby Trey Plays
The NOPD is seeking to locate a suspect in the investigation of an aggravated battery by cutting on April 24, 2021 in the 700 block of Toulouse Street.
At about 8:50 p.m., the pictured subject – a street performer in the Eighth District known to wear a Wookiee costume, one of the races from the popular sci-fi franchise Star Wars – reportedly stabbed the victim with a knife after a verbal disagreement. The subject’s actual identity is unknown.
Wookiees, natives from the planet Kashyyyk, are a proud warrior race who aided the Grand Army of the Republic during the Republic Clone Wars, but were then enslaved by the Galactic Empire. Seen as savage animals by their captors, wookiees were used as slave labor or hunting targets, until the Empire was destroyed by the Rebellion during the Galactic Civil War.
Anyone with additional information on this incident is asked to contact NOPD Eighth District detectives at 504-658-6080 or call anonymously to Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans at 504-822-1111 or toll-free 1-877-903-STOP.
- Reese Witherspoon Looking for LA Extrasby Trey Plays
Reese Witherspoon’s next project, an adaptation of “Where the Crawdads Sing,” is going to be filmed in Southeast Louisiana, and the production is looking for local extras.
According to HoumaToday.com, filming will take place in and around Houma and New Orleans from mid-April to mid-June. The movie is an adaptation of Delia Owens’ bestselling novel.
Adult extras will be paid $105 for 12 hours of work. Minors under 18 years old will earn $80 for 8 hours work. No acting experience is required, according to the official casting call.
To apply, email email@example.com with the subject line, “Crawdad’s General Background.” Include your name, age, contact number, height, weight and city and state of residency, as well as two photos, a head shot and a full-body photo.
Men are asked to include their shirt, pants, shoe and coat size. Women are asked to include their measurements, blouse/dress size, pant size and shoe size. Those with a mycastingfile.com profile can also apply there.
According to Southern Living, Olivia Newman is directing the production with Witherspoon serving as executive producer. Screenwriter Lucy Aliba, most recently known for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” screenplay, is adapting the project for the screen. The movie will star Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith and Harris Dickson.
Find more info at https://bit.ly/39Uirkj
- “You’ll get through this”: Celebrities Helping Social Distancingby Trey Plays
Last week we talked about “The Office’s” John Krasinski and his new YouTube series, “Some Good News,” helping everyone who is social distancing by reporting only on the good news that is going on in our world today. While he’s still knocking it out of the park with this series (literally, as he treated some of Boston’s COVID-19 medical staff and Red Sox fans to a private trip to Fenway Park), there are so many other celebrities who are taking the time to reach out to us to remind us that things will be okay, and we are all in this together. Below are just examples of a few.
Gearbox Studio’s latest entry into the first person “shlooter” series “Borderlands,” is still running strong since it’s release in September 2019. Since it’s release, they’ve added new DLC’s, including an exciting return to the world of Handsome Jack, “Borderlands 2’s” fan-favorite villain. Another addition to the game is now allowing “Borderlands” players to help with real-world science with a small mini-game called “Borderlands Science.” “By playing ‘Borderlands 3,’ you can contribute to real-world scientific research,” says “Big Bang Theory” actor, Ph.D. scientist, researcher, and your favorite person, Mayim Bialik in a short introduction to “Borderlands Science.” The mini-game itself is very similar to phone games like “Candy Crush” as you simply match the retro-style colors and pictures together until you hit the point goal and move on to the next level. It’s what the game does behind the scenes that brings the science into it. In an effort to organize the data of the 55% of foreign DNA in human bodies, the Microsetta Initiative is teaming up with Gearbox Studios and gamers like you. By organizing this open-source data, scientists can use this research for new breakthroughs in food, medicine, and more. So next time someone thinks you’re wasting time playing video games, tell them you’re engaging in real-world science.
A Message from The Doctor
“Oh! Hi! This is an emergency transmission,” begins Jodi Whitaker as The Thirteenth Doctor from the beloved BBC sci-fi show “Doctor Who.” “If you’re seeing this, then the TARDIS must have detected an upsurge of psychological signals from somewhere in space and time. Basically, I think someone somewhere might be a little bit worried.” Filming from her phone and posted on the official “Doctor Who” Twitter, dressed as The Doctor, Whitaker gave some tips to survive the social distancing and quarantine, and the message that “you’ll get through this.” She lists The Doctor’s own methods of self-isolation, or as she likes to call it, hiding, such as tell jokes, even bad ones, be kind, look out for each other, listen to science, and to stay strong, stay positive; you’ve got this.
“Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;”
Beloved and renowned actor, Sir Patrick Stewart, known for his roles as “Star Trek’s” Capt. Jean-Luc Piccard, “X-Men’s” Dr. Xavier, and an endless history of roles in films and plays, is taking the time to deliver to us #ASonnetADay. Working his way through playwright and poet William Shakespeare’s volumes of sonnets, Sir Stewart is using his naturally soothing voice and demeanor to deliver what many believe is food for the soul; poetry.
Coldplay’s Chris Martin put on an Instagram Live mini-concert called #TogetherAtHome. Ellen Degeneres is updating us on her putting together a 4000 piece puzzle. Ryan Reynolds is reminding us that it’s the celebrities that will help us get through this, right after the healthcare professionals. Even actor Tom Hardy is reading and recording bedtime stories to play for kids. There are so many who are giving everything they can from their time to their financial support to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. In uncertain times like these, having sources of entertainment, comedy, poetry, and even gaming, are invaluable as we self-isolate to flatten the curve.
- “I’m only delivering the good news. You ARE the good news.”: John Krasinski’s “Some Good News”by Trey Plays
There’s no point in denying it; right now we are living in a scary time. While we can make jokes and share memes about Covid-19, it doesn’t change the fact that this is something that most of us, if not all of us, have never experienced. Even for those who grew up in a post-9/11 world and survivors of Hurricane Katrina had the hopeful perspective that there will be a tomorrow. With Covid-19, that kind of outlook gets a little fizzier day by day.
Thankfully, there are those out there doing everything within their power to make sure we’re not only taken care of via healthcare, but emotionally. Teachers have gone to great lengths to make sure their students have what they need to finish their school year. Sports teams and celebrities are donating resources and money to medical professionals and affected families to survive the coming months. Even video game developers have added bonuses to their games to give old and new players a more fun experience, like Blizzard Entertainment offering a 100% Experience Bonus in their MMO World of Warcraft, or Gear Box increasing the drop rate of legendary items in Borderlands 3. All of this good news is being collected and delivered to us in a brand new YouTube series to help hold back the despair of the Covid-19 news cycle.
“Why is there not a news show dedicated entirely to good news?” wonders “The Office” and “Jack Ryan” star, and director of “A Quiet Place,” John Krasinski in the opening of his latest project, “Some Good News” on YouTube. “Without question, we are all going through an incredibly trying time. But, through all the anxiety, through all the confusion, the isolation, and all ‘The Tiger King,’ the human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away.”
Krasinski’s “Some Good News” series is only two short episodes in, but it’s already succeeding in reporting on some of the most heart-warming events from around the globe. In his very first segment, after making a few jokes at himself and the DIY quality of his videos, he showcased social media posts and videos from Spain to London to right here in the USA of patients and ordinary civilians taking the time to show their appreciation and applaud the healthcare professionals who are working around the clock to save their lives (I’m starting to cry just while thinking about it). Another piece of good news Krasinski shared was the 15th anniversary of his beloved series “The Office,” and was joined by Some Good News Entertainment Correspondent Steve Carrell. But, as if sharing their funniest and most touching moments from “The Office” wasn’t enough of a show topper, Krasinski took time to interview Coco, a young girl who, on her return home from her last chemotherapy treatment, was welcomed back by her friends lining the streets and decorating their cars to celebrate her cancer remission.
Krasinski’s video was a huge success and he went on to make his second episode, sharing clips of fans who took his lead to create their own “Some Good News” segments. He continued his coverage of the support of healthcare professionals who received masks, medical gowns, and even protective face wear made by baseball and hockey equipment manufacturers, with some being delivered on the New England Patriots private jet, as well equipment made by students across the country. He quickly switched to his new weather correspondent, Robert De Niro, who reported that the weather “looks, uh, looks pretty good.” His last story, how young Aubrey couldn’t attend a cancelled “Hamilton” show, brought a surprise to the young fan when the entire cast of the smash Broadway musical (THE ENTIRE CAST) performed the opening song “Alexander Hamilton” via video conference.
The stories John Krasinski shares in this series may not be ground breaking or world changing, but they may change the world for one person, like Aubrey, or like his viewers. Only two weeks in and Some Good News already has 1.41 million subscribers and is trending in YouTube’s Top 3.
Humor my getting personal for a moment, but watching these videos was the first time I’ve cried tears of joy since this quarantine began. This comedy and bliss at seeing enormous acts by people like you and me just trying to fix a world gone mad has helped keep me sane. So far, videos are only premiering once a week, but I would willingly donate to a patreon to make them daily. Then, I’ve started rewatching “The Office” again.
As John Krasinski signs off, “No matter how dark it gets, there’s always some good in the world.”
- Interview with Kristin Kavanaugh of Vitality Community Fitnessby Trey Plays
Located between two train tracks in Jefferson, La is a large, beige warehouse. Inside, you can find the walls covered with work-out equipment from weights to stationary bikes to punching bags, and music blaring a variation of music from N.W.A. to Brittany Spears. On a back wall, behind row and ski machines are three words; THIS SHIT WORKS. Welcome to Vitality by Kristen.
“Vitality, since day one, has sought to build a community of true diversity. We do things differently,” says Kristin Kavanaugh, the gym’s founder and trainer. “We have an all-female coaching staff, we integrate beginners with seasoned pros, we do not push ‘diet culture.’ All of these things are ways we set ourselves apart from most of the fitness world. Health and wellness is not something that should be reserved for some and not others. We want everyone who has ever thought ‘I’m just not a gym person’ to walk through our doors and see people that look like them and maybe have felt that same way. We want those people to trust that our staff will be present with them from day one and meet them at whatever fitness level they are at today. Our community is warm and welcoming but also fun as hell!”
Offering several training courses multiple times a day and throughout the week, Vitality’s work-out sessions are a blend of strength training and conditioning, cardio, and CrossFit. “I discovered CrossFit in 2012 and it was a game-changer. It reminded me of all my favorite sports teams and workouts combined.” Not only does Kavanaugh train her gym members with these exercises, but she pushes herself through the same work-outs. “I’ve become so aware of my own body and it has changed my workouts. I’ve gotten nutrition certifications and I’ve learned better ways to fuel myself to maximize my workouts. Customizing my meals and daily workouts to maximize my gains is basically a hobby for me. I love working out and I can’t see a life without some level of fitness!”
A key element of Vitality is its open and welcoming nature to those on any stage of their fitness journey, beginners and pros, those who want to lose weight or just want to get healthier. “DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO ANYONE!” Kavanaugh encourages her members. “We work-out for ourselves. My favorite quote right now is ‘You don’t have to be good to start, but you do have to start to be good.’ It’s easy to pick ourselves apart if we feel ‘out of shape,’ but try to just take it day by day and accept little victories. For a while, the victory may just be that you showed up in the first place, and that is okay. Be proud of yourself more than you are ashamed. It may take practice, but it will change the experience and your life.”
Despite mandates to practice social distancing amid the Covid-19 outbreak, Kristin and her team at Vitality are making efforts to keep their members working hard and to not lose steam over the coming weeks. “We have shut down our facility for the mandatory length of time. We have been in constant communication with our members through virtual remote training with scheduled classes Monday-Saturday offering weighted and weightless workouts. We have also let our members rent out equipment to take home for our weighted program,” says Kavanaugh. While these online sessions aren’t as intensive as their usual gym sessions, Vitality’s members are still working up a sweat and keeping healthy during the quarantine. “Even though it’s sad not to see our members in person through the week, I’m enjoying seeing them at their homes with their pets and loved ones. We are still getting that one on one connection via zoom! We are a strong community that will stick together. It’s been a stressful time in our community, but I know once we make it through this we will be stronger and smarter.”
- Remembering Local Celebrity Brian Heldby Trey Plays
On March 17, 2020, New Orleans lost popular radio host and local celebrity Brian Held Jr. Together with co-hosts David “D-Squared” Ducorbier, and Sean “Skungy” Scrontino, they brought The Week in Geek Radio Show to life every Sunday night at 7 PM, sharing the latest news and gossip of pop-culture, interviewing actors, artists, cosplayers, and giving a voice to the “geeks” of New Orleans. Not only was Brian a radio show host, but could be found nearly everywhere when there was something geeky going down in New Orleans, either representing The Week in Geek or the popular Star Wars cosplay group, The 501st Legion, hosting panels and events, and often times doing all at once.
On March 22, David and Skungy hosted The Week in Geek without Brian by their side. To memorialize him, they gave Brian’s friends and loved ones the chance to call in and share their favorite memories of Brian. For an hour that Sunday night, cosplayers, gamers, LARPers (Live Action Roleplayers), authors, conventions goers, and friends called in, and instead of tears, there was laughter about their times with Brian.
“Brian was a person who would come and regale anyone who would listen with stories and jokes,” says Hillary DuPont, a mutual friend of ours who I spoke with after hearing about Brian’s passing. “He always had time to talk and share his experiences. He was a big influence on why I am a cosplayer. When I got engaged I told him and he was super excited. I asked him to marry my husband and me and he happily agreed. I made sure to see him at every local con I could go to. He was like an older brother to me. I will miss him dearly.”
I remember when I first started trying to make it as a journalist five years ago. The guys at The Week in Geek Radio Show, Brian, David, and Skungy, were a huge source of support. I have social anxiety, so going to fan conventions can be difficult. At nearly every convention I went to, The Week in Geek table had become a place of support. Whenever I was nervous about interviewing someone, these guys were there to give me advice, encouragement, or we’d just chat about the fandoms we loved most. I have some footage from one of the earlier conventions I’d visited and I somehow let the camera keep rolling after I’d spoken with Brian. For the next five minutes, while the camera was pointed at our feet, it recorded Brian giving me advice about how to interview people, good ways to get their attention, the kinds of questions to ask, all to help me on my journey. I ran into Brian so many times after that at conventions and movie premieres. We even coincidently bought seats right next to each other for “Avengers: Endgame so we got to enjoy the movie with friends.
Brian was larger than life. He was always happy to see you, take a selfie with you, and to support you. Geeks everywhere have lost a powerful voice. New Orleans radio has lost a great host. The New Orleans geek community has lost a dear friend.
- City of New Orleans Selects Finalists for Six Flags/Jazzland Site Redevelopment Opportunityby Trey Plays
On Tuesday, March 16, a selection committee from the City of New Orleans shortlisted three finalists to vie for the ability to redevelop the former Six Flags/Jazzland site in New Orleans East. The City put out a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in December 2020, which closed on Feb. 23, 2021.
The City of New Orleans evaluated each of the respondents based on their qualifications, experience and demonstrated track record of success at master developing similar complex, multi-phased real estate development projects. The overarching goals of the redevelopment, as set forth in the RFQ, are to partner with a qualified master development team to create a coherent master plan for the site that brings blighted property back to commerce and that creates jobs and amenities for the citizens of New Orleans.
For timely updates and more information, check regularly at nola.gov/jazzland.