Elijah Craig Bourbon is pleased to announce its third annual Old Fashioned Week, a ten-day celebration taking place from October 14-23 that invites discerning imbibers to raise a glass to a New Era of the classic cocktail, while also raising money for an invaluable cause. This year, Elijah Craig has pledged to donate $100,000 to the Southern Smoke Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to providing emergency support and relief to those in the hospitality industry. Additionally, Elijah Craig’s parent company, Heaven Hill Brands, has committed an added $15,000 to Southern Smoke that will directly assist Hurricane Ian relief efforts.
Elijah Craig first launched Old Fashioned Week in 2020 as a means to uplift the hospitality community during a time of need. Now in its third year, Elijah Craig is proud to continue hosting Old Fashioned Week, donating a lifetime total of $315,000 to nonprofits which directly impact individuals in the food and beverage community.
“Old Fashioned Week was created in 2020 with two goals: support the hospitality industry at a critical moment of need and create ways for our community to remain connected at a time when we simply couldn’t meet for a drink,” said Max Stefka, Group Product Director at Heaven Hill. “Old Fashioned Week has truly become a nationwide movement with over three-thousand participating bars from every pocket of the country and every facet of the industry. We are grateful to everyone who has supported it and every patron who has raised an Old Fashioned to a great cause.”
From October 14-23, participants are invited to join in the celebration and toast to Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week. As a commitment to partnering with the Southern Smoke Foundation, Elijah Craig pledges to:
- Donate $5 for each photo of an Elijah Craig Old Fashioned that’s uploaded to Instagram using the hashtag #oldfashionedweek and tagging @elijahcraig.
- Donate $1 for every online sweepstakes registration for the Elijah Craig Cocktail Courier Bar Kit, which features Elijah Craig Old Fashioned syrup and a premium stir set. The Old Fashioned Week Sweepstakes photo contest and online registration can be accessed via social media and www.old fashioned week.com.
Additionally, during Old Fashioned Week, more than 3,000 bars across the country will be offering a riff (or two or three…) of the Elijah Craig Old Fashioned, showing their support for the celebration. Guests are invited to use Old Fashioned Week’s “Find A Bar” tool [www.oldfashionedweek.com/find-bars] to locate participating bars in their neck of the woods and partake in the festivities. FIND NEW ORLEANS BARS HERE!
Mister Mao’s Chef/Owner Sophina Uong will once again open her doors for a charitable dinner. Uong and other local Chefs will team up for a Sunday Supper to benefit Fill the Needs, a NOLA-based non-profit organization dedicated to assessing, evaluating and implementing a coordinated network of resources following a disaster. Currently, Fill the Needs is working diligently to help victims of Hurricane Ian.
That evening, guests can help those who’ve been hit hard by Ian, while enjoying a five-course dinner featuring creative dishes prepared by talented chef from Piece of Meat, kin, Palm & Pine, and Plume Algiers. Priced at $85.00 per person (excluding alcoholic beverages, tax and gratuity), two seatings are available promptly at 5:45PM and 8:15PM. 25% of ticket sales will go directly to Fill the Needs.
Tickets to the Hurricane Ian Relief charitable dinner on Sunday, October 23, 2022 are limited (60 seats available per seating) and are available on RESY.
There’s certainly no lack of ambition behind writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour’s third feature. A young woman, Mona Lisa Lee (Jun Jong-seo) escapes a secure facility and has to survive in the neon-drenched fleshpots of the French Quarter. She has telekinetic powers but limited street smarts, having been imprisoned for many years. Caustic 'tart with a heart' Bonnie Belle (Kate Hudson) takes Mona Lisa under her wing and a local cop (Craig Robinson) is on her tail.
That’s pretty much the entire plot, save a friendship that Lee develops with Belle’s eleven year-old son, Charlie (Evan Whitten), both of them frustrated with their respective stations in life. One immediate question as Lee escapes in the opening scenes is why she didn’t use her powers to break free years earlier? There’s also the mystery of where her powers came from, and more generally, what her backstory is. We never really find out.
Mona Lisa Lee is drawn in the vein of an X-Men mutant, or Eleven from Stranger Things. She's a detached, quasi-alien being, though without any biographical insights, it’s hard to root for her beyond just wanting an underdog/outsider to win. We know even less about Robinson’s Officer Harold, save that he’s back on the job the day after getting shot in the leg. Is that a fair representation of NOPD’s work ethic? I’ll diplomatically defer judgment there. Also, he begins the movie as a uniformed beat cop, but spends the rest of his time on screen as a plain-clothes detective, so it’s unclear what his actual job is.
Parts of New Orleans are evocatively and atmospherically rendered, such as the drunken chaos of Bourbon Street and the sulphur-washed corners of Esplanade Avenue, lit by buzzing streetlamps, where Lee finds her main ally (a likable hoodlum called ‘Fuzz’. Played by Ed Skrein). Locals might feel a little disoriented as characters walk down one street only to emerge elsewhere, but that’s nit-picking.
The city is teased as a character, and so there’s scenes like the obligatory consultation with a voodoo priestess, Robinson getting mad that all she can offer is spells and potions, although I’m not really sure what he was expecting by going to her. You came to a voodoo practitioner for help and...she suggests voodoo. Kind of with the priestess on this one.
There are some script elements that feel like they were filler at the time of writing and then just never got replaced. The hospital is just called the ‘Home for Mentally Insane Adolescents’, the strip club is called ‘The Panty Drop’, both of which seem like top-of-the-head ideas that were just not rewritten.
It’s a very stylized and color-saturated movie, and there are some fun set pieces, but I feel like it should have leaned into the humor more. As much as I love Craig Robinson as a comedic talent, I’m not sure he has the gravitas for a grizzled cop, but then we find out so little about these characters that maybe it doesn't matter. IMHO, a bit more schlock and self-aware goofiness might have made for a fun ride.
It’s a cinematic curiosity that locals might like as they recognize the real-life locations (including a tense denouement at the old airport, RIP), and the leads are charismatic, if doggedly one-dimensional. A few more wry smiles and a little more color to the character’s lives might have elevated this Mona Lisa more towards a masterpiece, but if a low-stakes portrait against a familiar backdrop works for you, then you might still like this New Orleans caper. (PO)
Next week, the Shaya Barnett Foundation and the New Orleans Career Center (NOCC) will be joined by award-winning chefs Alon Shaya and Zach Engel for an intimate dinner benefiting the New Orleans Career Center’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality trainees. Funds raised will support the opening of an all-new culinary lab with state-of-the-art kitchen tools and appliances.
The party will take place on October 10 at Saba, with a lavish four-course menu curated by the chefs to showcase the far-reaching influences, from Israel to the American South, that first united them in the kitchen years ago. Now, as the two join forces again, Chef Zach will bring inspiration from Galit, his Michelin star restaurant in Chicago, with dishes like Chicago Foie Gras Blintzes and Zach’s Brisket hummus. The family-style dinner will showcase the best of what fall in Louisiana has to offer, with Grape Leaf Wrapped Lemonfish, Wood Fired Pita served alongside Blue Crab Hummus with fall squash, and Galit carrots with hazelnut duqqa. The meal has a sweet ending with cookies designed by NOCC trainees. Beverages will include signature cocktails and wine paired to enjoy while supporting local educational initiatives.
NOCC is especially near and dear to Chef Alon since at age 16 career and technical education forever changed his life and helped him find his career path. Those interested in bidding can peruse the offerings and find additional information on the auction page starting October 3.
Click here to buy tickets to this amazing dinner and support a great cause.
Two triumphant events rolled out last week in New Orleans. The first was a real-life breaking of a world record as Ribbons Rock the Runway saw some 430 models take to the stage in a single fashion show. The cancer fundraiser beat the previous record, set in Madrid, of 421 people, and an official from the Guiness Book of World Records was there to adjudicate and certify the achievement. All of the money raised went to the WE LIFT YOU UP fund, helping women find a path forward after a cancer diagnosis by offering a sisterhood of support and year-round empowering activities. Artwork from the night (pictured above, left) by the artist Frenchy is still available to be bid on - his works go for thousands in galleries, so click here if you’re interested in snapping it up.
Meanwhile, The Blue Room and Sazerac bar of the historic Roosevelt Hotel welcomed back its renowned “Stormin’ of the Sazerac” celebration. “Stormin’ of the Sazerac” raises a glass to the fearless group of women who stormed the hotel’s Sazerac Bar in 1949 demanding equality, and a drink, during a time when women were only allowed to be served on Mardi Gras at the bar. At the glamorous, sold-out event, almost 200 guests, dressed in stunning 1940s fashions, gathered in the Blue Room to enjoy lunch, a fashion show designed by New Orleans’ Yvonne LaFleur, and the induction of this year’s Reigning Spirit of the Sazerac, Ti Martin, of legendary restaurant Commander’s Palace.“The Storming of the Sazerac symbolizes some of the things I love most about this town. People, a bunch of strong dames in this case, banding together to force important changes, like the right for women to drink in any establishment they damn well please,” said Martin. “A perfect reminder of the zest for life and tenacity of the women of New Orleans. Whether storming the halls of Congress demanding help after Katrina or barreling through the door of the Sazerac Bar, make way for the women of New Orleans. “ Following lunch, guests gathered in the lobby to reenact the historic 1949 moment of those courageous ladies “Stormin’” the Sazerac Bar.
Watching the trailers before the main feature, it’s clear that there’s a velvet-lined casket-full of horror movies ambling towards their release date as Halloween approaches. ‘Pearl’ has been out a couple of weeks and so is getting a (decapitated) head start, and what a high bar it sets for this year’s crop.
This is a prequel/origin story for a movie I have not seen, but one that was shot back-to-back with Pearl. ‘X’ was released last year, also directed by Ti West and also starring Mia Goth as Pearl. I don’t know what happens in ‘X’, but I’m sure as hiccups going to watch it today. It doesn’t matter if you haven't seen 'X'', Pearl is a gore-soaked gem in its own right, and completely self-contained.
We join Pearl (Mia Goth), a young wife, living on a remote farm with her incapacitated father, her incredibly stern mother, and with her husband away at war. She has dreams of being famous, has horrendously low self esteem thanks to media portrayals of beauty and there’s a pandemic killing everyone. Is the year 2020? No, it’s 1918, World War I is ending and The Spanish Flu is decimating the population.
All Pearl wants is to be a dancing girl on the silver screen, and she performs Disney-esque song and dance routines around the farmyard but hey, wait a minute, the animals sure seem to be disappearing, and the tension with her parents is ramping up pretty intensely, and she does have a crazed look in her eyes whenever she talks about escaping...
Ti Wests’ color palette and general ambience are reminiscent of the nostalgic, technicolor saturation of, say, The Wizard of Oz. There’s also a scarecrow in this movie, though given how Pearl uses him to satiate her desires, I’d say a brain was the last thing he was in need of. As Pearl schemes and her hostility levels rise due to her many frustrations, having to bathe her dad and do endless chores for her mother and the like, the walls close in and shadows lengthen. The movie flits between rose-tinted panoramas and creepy expressionism.
A bohemian cinema projectionist at the local cinema fuels her erotic and professional yearnings with big talk of performing in Europe, and her brother’s wife tells her about a dance audition that’s coming to town. Pearl gets increasingly febrile about these possibilities and the conflict with her mother, a dour German who preaches sacrifice and familial devotion, reaches boiling point. The pastoral idyll becomes a bloody playground. We’re definitely not in Kansas any more, Toto.
Mia Goth is an irresistibly charismatic cinematic presence, and toward the end, she pulls off an incredible, one-take monologue that teases out your sympathies almost against your will. She expertly spins from wide-eyed, country ingenue to a hysterical killer, foaming at the mouth, almost on a dime.
Ti West’s direction is about as nuanced as you might get in what’s basically a slasher film, the contrast between the comforting hues of the landscape and the bloody violence working to great effect. There are some genuinely funny moments thanks to some deft self awareness. Tandi Wright, who learned German so well for the role of Pearl’s mother that she fooled two German crew members, also deserves plaudits for her Teutonic, Norma Bates-esque matriarch, the perfect foil for Pearl’s rage.
There’s a terrifying moment when the ambition that was keeping Pearl from succumbing to her worst tendencies evaporates. “It’s not about what I want any more, it’s about making the most of what I have,” she says. It’s at that point that you know all bets are off, and that you’ll definitely be interested in what Pearl does next. (PO)
Pearl is currently playing at the Prytania Canal Place
The following New Orleans restaurants are getting colorful with shades of pink, and are giving back this October for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Tujague’s will showcase the Pink Lady ($14, pictured) – gin, grenadine, and egg white. For every Pink Lady sold during the month of October, $1 will be donated to Krewe de Pink to help support local Breast Cancer research.
Throughout the month of October, Toups Meatery will feature the Sally Fields Forever cocktail, created by Head Bartender Kenny Watson. Available for $13, the specialty cocktail features a smooth blend of Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, strawberry shrub, ginger syrup, orange blossom water and lemon juice. For every Sally Fields Forever drink sold, Toups Meatery will donate $5 to the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation with funds to be earmarked for women in the hospitality business who are battling breast cancer.
In honor of all women, for the month of October, Beverage Director Mickey Mullins created the Bower Sour ($14) – a blend of bourbon, house made hibiscus syrup, house made sour, and aquafaba. For every Bower Sour sold during the month of October, $1 will be donated to Krewe de Pink to help support local breast cancer research.
For the month of October, Birdy’s has created the Dragon Fruit Paloma ($11) – tequila, grapefruit, dragon fruit, and soda. For every cocktail sold $1 will be donated to Krewe de Pink to help support local breast cancer research. Birdy’s is located Behind the Bower- 1320 Magazine Street, New Orleans www.birdysnola.com
Chef/owner Sophina Uong has a very personal reason to GO PINK! Uong recently lost her mother to breast cancer. In honor of her mom and those afflicted with this disease, Chef Uong has created the Lina’s Donuts ($12) - cachaca, fresh lime juice, turbinado simple syrup, red beet puree, served on the rocks and garnished with slices of serrano pepper. Mister Mao will donate $2 to Krewe de Pink.
It must be a real downer to have set a movie release date and then have that date coincide with the death of South London’s most famous mother of four. Said film being a murder mystery, even a hint of regal foul play might have helped in the marketing, but alas. Some deaths eclipse even those penned by Agatha Christie.
See How They Run isn’t an actual Agatha Christie adaptation, but it takes place against the backdrop of a production of her play, The Mousetrap, the longest-running whodunnit in London’s theatrical history.
This meta approach is carried through, with the narrator deconstructing the tropes of whodunnit stories even as the movie itself employs them. The characters even talk about the play’s cliches as the film script cuts to the exact thing they’re talking about. Is it a cute device or sort of a cop out to buffer the use of well-trodden ideas? I’m going to say that See How They Run is just about charming enough to carry it off.
A misanthropic film director played by Adrian Brody plays the death interest (this isn’t a spoiler, they signpost it from the beginning), with the dependably-entertaining Sam Rockwell and chatty rookie Saoirse “It’s Actually Pronounced Saoirse” Ronan as his partner fronting the investigation.
Of course, there’s an array of suspects with plausible motives, played with varying amounts of camp, but all well drawn. Anglophiles might recognize Reece Shearsmith (League of Gentlemen), Sian Clifford (Fleabag) and Tim Key (Alan Partridge). David Oyelowo is particularly charismatic as effete writer Mervyn Cocker-Norris, constantly locking horns with Brody over the screen adaptation of the play, and Harris Dickinson plays a great hand as Dickie Attenborough, who was in the real-life original cast.
Rockwell’s inspector is typically world-weary and boozy with, yes, an ex wife, and cynicism for days, and the scenes with Ronan, as she gabs away, saucer-eyed at meeting celebrities, are pacey and funny. The self-referential lines verge on smug, but fall just shy of jarring, and if you give into the silliness, it’s a fun ride. (PO)
See How They Run is playing at the Prytania Canal Place
I once read a piece about Baz Luhrmann that described him as “The Michael Bay of jazz hands” and I’m not going to even try to top that. Although Elvis doesn’t have the large-format, panoramic dance choreography of Moulin Rouge or The Great Gatsby, it’s definitely a Baz Luhrmann movie in all the best ways. Baz is one of those rare directors that has created, and continues to refine, his own visual cinematic language, and it’s on full display here.
It’s a smart choice (IMHO) to tell the story through the shaky lens of Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ ethically-questionable manager. Tom Hanks delivers a suitably weird performance, bouncing between Dutch and American accents in a way that keeps him slippery enough to feel untrustworthy.
From the beginning, we’re pitched into a swirling fever dream, the boy Elvis going into religious rapture as he hears the gospel sounds from a rural revival ministry that he sneaks into in Tupelo, the manic energy already pouring out of him as a pre-teen. We pinball through his life at breakneck speed, and it’s a disorienting sensory overload that reflects what must have been a whiplash-inducing rise to fame.
We get many sweat-drenched close-ups of the snake-hipped showmanship that fuelled that rise, women passing out from the gyratory exuberance, men eyeing him suspiciously, wishing they had an ounce of his power on stage. Austin Butler is corporeally committed from the get-go, and delivers a rampantly physical performance from the first gig to the last.
The rollercoaster never stops, through early success, to marriage, to the Vegas years awash with narcotics and insecurity. The Colonel gradually switches from cheerleader to exploiter, the strains of “I’m caught in a trap” from Suspicious Minds wafting in the background as he signs Presley up to yet another exhaustingly demanding contract.
The music is as good as you’d expect, and even if history skips over it, Luhrmann makes sure to highlight that all of Elvis’ talent came from watching and listening to and hanging out with black musicians. We see the child Elvis at the knees of older bluesmen, as well as scenes of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Mama Thornton, Little Richard, Mahalia Jackson, and BB King.
We know how this all ends, with ill health and recriminations and a legacy tainted. After Elvis dies, Tom Parker is nothing but a lonely, bitter gambling addict. Those halucinatory visions keep washing over us until the end, though, and we emerge from Luhrmann’s odyssey in a daze. It’s a long ride, and you need to strap in and hold on because it gets real bumpy amid all the grinding. PO
Elvis is playing at the Prytania Canal Place
Anglophiles and Paul Thomas Anderson fan-persons might recognize the lead in Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, Leslie Manville, as the manipulative sister (Cyril Woodcock) in PTA’s 2017 masterpiece, The Phantom Thread.
Although these films are centered around the world of haute couture, it’s hard to imagine more different roles. While both touch on the transformative nature of high fashion, The Phantom Thread is a tense study of power dynamics, whereas Mr Harris Goes to Paris is a light, feel-good comedy.
Ada Harris (Manville) is a put-upon war widow in 1950s London, scrubbing floors and generally laboring without gratitude for the upper classes. Exposed to their wardrobes, when she comes into some money, she determines to go to Paris and buy herself a Christian Dior dress from the atelier showroom itself.
Having established her low station, the plot runs on a series of convenient coincidences and turns of luck to place her as a welcomed oddity in the world of high fashion, the entirety of Paris rallying behind her aside from the abrasive company enforcer Madame Colbert (Isabelle Huppert). As Ada doesn’t know the etiquette, she helps people - models, accountants and even a Marquis - cast aside their snobbish rules, in a kind of ‘innocent abroad’ romp involving everything from matchmaking to kindly vagrants.
Ada speaks almost entirely in Cockney idioms, calls everybody ‘ducks’, and makes serial remarks of the kind that Mr Dior “looks like my milkman”, though Manville’s charisma keeps it just shy of parody. The themes of working class invisibility and a life spent wishing instead of doing give it a little edge, but mostly it’s a cheery adventure without too many stakes.
It won’t change your life, and there’s a fair amount of suspension of disbelief required, but it’s a fun enough story and cor blimey guv’nor luv a duck would you Adam n' Eve it, even cynics will be rooting for old Ada by the final act. PO
Mrs Harris goes to Paris is showing now at the Prytania Canal Place