Category Archives: new orleans

Fantasia to star in “Mahalia!”

According to NOLA.com, Fantasia Barrino will star in a biopic about gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.  Mahalia (Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty.  Is it wrong to make that joke about a gospel singer?  Ah, well. . .) was not only a gospel singer, but a civil rights activist as well.

Mahalia Jackson led a pretty dramatical life;  She was often criticized for branching out from pure gospel music, and had a tumultuous love life.  That must have helped her project the emotion and strength that she did.  I swear, seeing her sing on film is always amazing.  She had a small role in one of my favorite movies of all time, the 1959 version of “Imitation of Life.”  Seriously, I’ve seen this movie like 30 times, and I always cry.  Omigod.

Check out Mahalia’s riveting version of “Trouble of the World” from the one of the final scenes of the movie (spoiler alert!  But really, the movie is 50 years old.  Get over it):

Producers have high hopes for this film, based on the Jules Schwerin book “Go Tell It:  Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel.”  In a film synopsis posted on the New Orleans Times-Picayune, producers say:

We envision this film as a black woman’s ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter,’ a colorful rags-to-riches story of a great talent who achieves enormous success and survives personal tragedy.

While the film’s producers have gotten the rights to 18 of Mahalia Jackson’s songs, this biopic is not a musical. In a move that many see as a slap in the face, the producers have also decided to have Fantasia lip-synch to remastered versions of Mahalia’s songs, instead of remake them.  This route would make the movie more “Ray” than “Cadillac Records.”  This would also make this film almost completely reliant on Fantasia’s acting, not her voice, for its emotional depth.  I’m not so sure that will be easy for her.  If you ask me, it’s definitely going to take a lot for viewers to see Fantasia climb into the role.  Her voice is so famous (she is an American Idol, after all) but it’s completely different from Mahalia Jackson’s.

Here are my 3 questions about “Mahalia:”

1.  Was J-Hud too busy?  For real, she looks and sounds way more like Mahalia. Even with her new super-skinny bod.  Maybe she didn’t want to put on the weight?  I guess their “rivalry” will intensify if this movie does well.

2. Why does the movie title have an exclamation point? Are we in the ninth grade?  Get me excited about your movie by casting it well, producing it well, and directing it well.  This exclamation point makes me want to work my “jazz hands.”  FAIL

3.  With New Orleans being billed as “Hollywood South,” and Mahalia as one of the city’s most famous daughters, why isn’t “Mahalia!” being filmed in NOLA?  I’m gonna need to see some bayou scenes and a streetcar, producers!

What do you think about Fantasia’s casting in “Mahalia (EXCLAMATION POINT)?”  Can she pull it off?  And, will you go see this biopic this fall?  Please share your thoughts below- I love hearing from you.  And if you liked this post, please “Like” it!  xx

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Music Monday: Carolina Chocolate Drops/ Luminescent Orchestrii

I’ve been in a pretty bluesy mood over this weekend.  I’ve gotten my hands on a couple of new blues albums that I’m really enjoying, and I’ve been hanging with The Boyfriend, who’s definitely a bluesy boy from NOLA.

One of the most interesting finds from this past week was Carolina Chocolate Drops and Luminescent Orchestrii’s self-titled EP.  It combines the Chocolate Drops’ southern blues sound and Orchestrii’s folky gypsy punk, making something brand new.

The two bands have different sounds on their own, but had admired each others’ work.  So, when they were both performing at the Folk Alliance Festival in Memphis, Tennessee, the two teams decided to take the chance to come together on a project.

Drops of Carolina chocolate!

Over the next few months, various members of each band traveled to Brooklyn and North Carolina to record the songs on the EP.  Each of the four tracks are different- some paying homage to the Romanian gypsy roots of the Orchestrii, while others- like their cover of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style” -are more R&B.

The Orchestrii

My favorite track has to be “Short Dress Gal.”  It perfectly combines their blues, rock, and hip hop sound.  I will definitely be jamming out to it this month!

Pick up The Carolina Chocolate Drops/Luminescent Orchestrii EP on iTunes now!  Also, if you have an artist you think I should know about, let me know in the comments!  xoxo

 


Movies!Movies!Movies!

I'll be seeing you

I’ve been noticing a lot of trailers for movies recently that seem a hell of a lot better than almost anything that came out this summer.  I’m definitely going to be a movie-watching fool once fall movie season officially starts (when is that?  I should know, but I don’t).  Last week I posted about Natalie Portman’s new movie, “Black Swan,” so I’ll skip that today.  Here are a couple of films I’ll be lining up for:

“For Colored Girls”

This is a Tyler Perry movie (Wait!  Don’t leave. . .) based on the 1977 Broadway play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange.  This Tony-nominated play tell the story of 7 black women- known only by the color of their clothes- who deal with various pains.  Check out the trailer below:

Did somebody say “DRAMA?”  This cast looks amazing.  I only hope that Perry’s direction provides a showcase for their talent. Either way, I’ll be there November 5th.

“Hereafter”

The latest movie from director Clint Eastwood tells the story of a blue collar guy (Matt Damon) who has a special connection to the “other side.”  He is contacted by several people, all of whom have a reason to wonder about what exists after death.

I’m expecting big things from this, but it costars Bryce Dallas Howard, and that makes me nervous because she has yet to star in a movie that I like.  “Hereafter” hits theaters October 22nd.

“The Romantics”

Here we have the story of a group of tight-knit friends who come together for the wedding of two of their own.  It gets a little, um, sticky when we find out that the Maid of Honor is in love with the groom.   Even though the premise seems kinda played out, I’m digging this cast.   I haven’t seen Elijah Wood in a movie in a good while. “The Romantics” is already out in select theaters.

“Burlesque”

Yeah, that movie is on my list.  I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that this is a can’t-miss movie.  I mean, Cher and X-tina?  My gays and I will be there in full effect!  And I expect more lines like this one, which is actually in this movie:

“When you’re putting on your makeup, it’s like you’re an artist.  But instead of painting a canvas, you’re painting your face.”

ZOMG!!!!1

And finally, “Welcome to the Rileys”

James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo are a couple who have been torn apart by the death of their daughter.  Kristen Stewart is a stripper with a heart of gold who blinks and stammers works her way into their hearts.  If the buzz is true, moviegoers should expect to see some serious ACT.ING from these three.  Bring it!

I’m sure I’ve missed many of the movies that I’ll actually be seeing come October/ November, but I wanted to share a few good trailers with you.  What movies are you looking forward to this year?


Goin’ Down the Bayou

Finally Disney’s new princess movie, “The Princess and the Frog,” is out.  I saw it with a few friends on opening day and really liked it.  I liked the songs, the animation was beautiful, and it really made me excited for my next trip to New Orleans!
When I go there in February for Mardi Gras I am definitely riding a riverboat!

Check out this quick behind-the scenes peek at how the city influenced the animators.


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