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Review: Mission accomplished for Cruise in new ‘MI’ flick

In this image released by Paramount Pictures, Tom Cruise portrays Ethan Hunt in a scene from "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation."  (David James/Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions via AP)

There’s some interesting talk in the cleverly satisfying script of “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” about the element of luck. As in: How much is luck a factor in the success of Ethan Hunt and his IMF cohorts? After all, in the last movie they merely saved us from a nuclear holocaust. Was it talent, work, or dumb… Continue reading →

Group for 'ancient athletes' (well, over 30) puts sports-loving Baton Rouge men back in the game, and there's beer

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Members of the Baton Rouge Ancient Athlete Society gather for a photo before playing volleyball.  The society consists of more than 300 members, and has been in place for 34 years.

These “ancient athletes” rock it year-round. The Baton Rouge Ancient Athlete Society keeps competitive and stays strong with its five sports, various fundraisers and social activities. And the members have a lot of fun. Their logo: an hour glass with the sand running out. “But it never does,” jokes one member. Craig Polk says… Continue reading →

Mango’s Beach Volleyball: Get some sand between your toes

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  The Baton Rouge Ancient Athlete Society plays volleyball at Mango's on July 8.

Tim Bourgeois grew tired of sitting behind a desk programming computers in Raleigh, North Carolina, and he and his wife, Tina, knew they wanted to get back to Louisiana. They found jobs here, opened Mango’s Beach Volleyball in 1995 and haven’t looked back. In fact, Bourgeois and his wife play volleyball four nights a week.… Continue reading →

Review: Fare flavorful, fresh, no-frills at The Stockyard

Advocate photo by Kyle Peveto -- The smothered chicken at The Stockyard Cafe is flavorful and fall-off-the-bone tender. The sides and cornbread are excellent as well.

On the way to lunch at The Stockyard Cafe in north Baton Rouge, I received a text message from a friend who got there early. “Welcome to 1950,” it said. If food in 1950 was fresh and flavorful, with no concern given to nutritional or culinary fads, then the cafe is a welcome throwback to… Continue reading →

Blues sideman Lil’ Ray Neal steps into the spotlight

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Blues musician Lil' Ray Neal  hopes to perform more often in his home state, Louisiana.

Baton Rouge blues singer-guitarist Lil’ Ray Neal served as sideman to blues and rhythm-and-blues legends for nearly 40 years. He’s been a supporting player for John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Little Milton Campbell, Bobby Rush and Bobby “Blue” Bland. In recent years, he worked with B.B. King, the… Continue reading →

40-plus bands lined up for Satchmo SummerFest

Photo by CEDRIC ELLSWORTH -- Rebirth Brass Band performs at Satchmo SummerFest 2014.

The 2015 Satchmo SummerFest features Louis Armstrong-inspired music, a new exhibit on Armstrong’s life in New Orleans, scholarly seminars and more. More than 40 traditional jazz, contemporary jazz and brass band performances are on the festival’s schedule this year, including Deacon John Moore, Ellis Marsalis, the PresHall Brass, Kermit Ruffins, Lars Edegran and the… Continue reading →

For Ella and Louie Tribute Band, Satchmo fest is a natural fit

Photo by DANIELA KLEIN -- The Ella and Louie Tribute Band are, from left,Leslie Martin, Wendell Brunious, Eileina Dennis, Gerald French, Mitch Player and Todd Duke.

In the 1940s and ’50s, jazz stars Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald combined their exceptional talents for duo recordings. Released by the Decca and Verve labels, the collaborations include the classic mid-’50s albums “Ella and Louis” and “Ella and Louis Again.” Inspired by the Armstrong-Fitzgerald recordings, Mitchell Player formed the Ella and Louie Tribute Band… Continue reading →

Outlying areas calendar for July 31-Aug. 6, 2015

Photo provided by Iberia Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau -- Go back in time and learn about the last 200 years of the sugarcane industry at the Jeanerette Museum.

FRIDAY NIGHT COOKIE JAR FISHING TOURNAMENT: 7 p.m.-midnight, La. Express Boat Dock, Jarreau. Entry fees apply to fish the tournament and fishermen must qualify to fish the final classic tournament. $30. (225) 293-3402 PIPER’S CLOSET CHILDREN’S RESALE EVENT: 10 a..-5 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, and 10… Continue reading →

Fairs and festivals calendar for July 31-Aug. 6, 2015

SATCHMO SUMMERFEST: Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans. $5; children 12 and under, free. GOSPEL FEST: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., City of Plaquemine Activity Center, 24130 Ferdinand St. Sponsored by Spirit of Togetherness, Inc. (225) 687-6329 or (225) 252-7206 Compiled by Red staff… Continue reading →

YouTube stars find acceptance online, in person at VidCon

Associated Press photo -- People make their way to the 6th annual VidCon at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif., last week.

Ingrid Nilsen has been brought to tears. The 26-year-old YouTube star openly wept as she was showered with cheers and applause from an enthusiastic crowd upon arrival on stage at last week’s VidCon, the sixth annual celebration of online video. It was just last month that Nilsen, who mostly posts… Continue reading →

‘Ant-Man’ inches past ‘Pixels’ to take first place spot

This photo provided by Disney shows Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in a scene from Marvel's "Ant-Man." (Zade Rosenthal/Disney/Marvel via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Ant-Man” crept past new opener “Pixels” to claim the top spot at the box office this weekend by an ant-sized margin. The Disney and Marvel superhero pic brought in $24.8 million over the weekend, bringing its domestic total to $106.1 million according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. “Pixels,” meanwhile, just barely missed first place… Continue reading →

Am/Fm to open Live After Five in fall

Photo provided by Facebook-- Am/Fm

The Gonzales cover band Am/Fm will open the Live After Five fall concert series Friday, Sept. 4, at North Boulevard Town Square. The series, hosted by the Downtown Business Association, offers free concerts from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. each Friday on the square’s Crest stage. The rest of the fall lineup includes: Continue reading →

Angela Hill leaving WWL Radio; 'Scoot' to take over afternoon show

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Former WWL-TV anchor Angela Hill speaks in WWL Radio host Garland Robinette's studio after it was reveled that she will soon have a show on the radio network at WWL Radio studios in New Orleans, La. Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. Robinette and Hill also worked together at WWL-TV and were married for 9 years.

. Angela Hill, who retired in 2013 as a news anchorwoman at WWL-TV, is leaving WWL Radio, the station announced Friday afternoon. 'Scoot' will replace Hill in the 1-4 p.m. weekday time slot. “It’s been an amazing experience, one I will always cherish, but it’s time to do other things," Hill said in a news… Continue reading →

Review: Boxing drama ‘Southpaw’ punches new life into familiar scenario

Associated Press photo by Scott Garfield/The Weinstein Co. -- Jake Gyllenhaal plays Billy Hope in 'Southpaw,' which releases Friday.

Boxing drama “Southpaw” doesn’t spare the pain. Physical pain, frequent and stinging, is all over the screen, especially on actor Jake Gyllenhaal’s bloody face. Emotional pain shows up, too, in Gyllenhaal’s expression and those of the supporting characters. In “Southpaw,” Gyllenhaal’s Billy “The Great” Hope falls from the top of the… Continue reading →

Review: Disappointing ‘Pixels’ falls apart before it begins

Photo provided by Sony Pictures -- Josh Gad as Ludlow is chased by Pac-Man in Columbia Pictures' 'Pixels,' opening in theaters Friday.

The most believable element in “Pixels” is that alien video-game creatures could attack our planet. The core concept is clever — space aliens misunderstand a recording of old video games as a declaration of war, and send digital monsters based on those games to Earth as their army. But its execution in the hands of director-producer… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Towns’ is modest, middle-of-the-road teen drama

This photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox shows, Cara Delevingne, right, as Margo, and Nat Wolff as Quentin, in a scene from the film, "Paper Towns." (Michael Tackett/Twentieth Century Fox via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Based on an earlier teen fave novel by “The Fault in Our Stars” author John Green, “Paper Towns” is a mild coming-of-ager about dawning awareness and life lessons learned among a small group of Florida high school seniors. Part mystery story, part road movie and part pre-prom graduation romp, the film is most interesting… Continue reading →

Italian Heritage Festa returns to Baton Rouge; Association wants to hit 3,000 mark at event

Photo provided by the Greater Baton Rouge American Italian Association -- The New Orleans Express Band returns to the festa, with performances at 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

They’re going regional. After a challenge three years ago from Mayor Kip Holden, the Greater Baton Rouge American Italian Association is working to expand its annual Italian Heritage Festa beyond the community. “He (Holden) said, ‘We would like this to be bigger than Baton Rouge,’” festa co-chairman Frank Arrigo says. To that end, more than… Continue reading →

Lena Prima brings ‘Pennies from Heaven’ to Baton rouge

Photo provided by LENA PRIMA --- A 5-year-old Lena Prima makes her singing debut with dad Louis Prima at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. She sang 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town.'

It’ll be raining “Pennies from Heaven” at the Belle of Baton Rouge Atrium Saturday night as Lena Prima makes her Baton Rouge debut. Prima will perform for the Greater Baton Rouge American Italian Association’s Italian Heritage Festa’s “An Evening in Concert” at 6:30 p.m. “Pennies” is her favorite song among those made popular by her late… Continue reading →

UpStage Theater reopens Christine Houston's 'I Love You Nana'

Photo provided by Maddgame Entertainment -- From left,, Ashley Downing, Nikki Nadkarni and Will Merrill rehearse a scene from UpStage Theatre's 2015 summer comedy, 'I Love You Nana,' which opens Friday.

Everyone will love Nana in the end, maybe even Doris. But that’s a tall order, considering Doris’ ingrained disdain for the elderly. It’s not unfounded — she has good reason for how she feels. Doris was raised by an elderly aunt who mistreated her, so any preconceptions about her husband’s grandmother are understandable. Then again, not… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge area calendar for July 24-30, 2015

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Scott Bell looks over art hanging at Forum 35's annual Art Melt last year at the Capitol Park Museum. This year's Art Melt is Saturday starting at 5 p.m.

LIVE AFTER FIVE REVEAL WATCH PARTY: 5 p.m., Draft House Bar, 421 Third St. Announcement of fall music lineup, along with staycation give-a-ways, including VIP bracelets for the concerts, gift baskets and gift cards. The reveal video also will air on WAFB. ARTISTS’ OPENING RECEPTION: 6 p.m.-9 p.m., FW Gallery, 8501 Highland Road.Continue reading →

New Orleans area calendar for July 24-30, 2015

Photo by KENNY MARTINEZ -- Students in the NORDC/NOBA Center for Dance Summer Intensive Dance Program perform their finale concert in 2014. This year's closing concert is at 7 p.m. Saturday at  NOCCA’s Freda Lupin Memorial Hall, New Orleans.

ARTIST PERSPECTIVE WITH WILLIE BIRCH- “INSTALLATION AS METAPHOR”: 5 p.m.-9 p.m., Stern Auditorium, New Orleans Museum of Art, 1 Diboll Circle, New Orleans. Birch’s work can be found in the exhibition “Ten Years Gone.” “PETER PAN”: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts,… Continue reading →

Outlying areas calendar for July 24-30, 2015

Photo provided by Doc Voorhies -- From left, Jessica Babineaux is Tracy Turnblad, Thomas Luke plays Link Larkin and Adele Hebert portrays Amber Von Tussle in Iberia Performing Arts League's 'Hairspray,' which continues this week in New Iberia.

FRIDAY NIGHT COOKIE JAR FISHING TOURNAMENT: 7 p.m.-midnight, La. Express Boat Dock, Jarreau. Entry fees apply to fish the tournament and fishermen must qualify to fish the final “classic tournament.” $30. (225) 293-340. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: 3 p.m., Louisiana Children’s Discovery Center, 113 N. Cypress St., Hammond. Summer blockbusters month… Continue reading →

Polite Company

Advocate photo by ROBIN MILLER -- Aileen Hendricks, left, as Detective Daisy Doright grills suspects about the murder of Penelope Polite, played by Christina Normand on the bench, in the Louisiana Voices of Women's production of "Murder at the Polite Ladies Society."  The society ladies are, from left, Brenda Cedars as Victoria Virtue, Faydra Thomas as Terry Tippler, Julie Richard as Mary Merry, Judith Sinclair as Justine Justice and Ella McCrary as Barbara Babbles.

Murder and money are always a good recipe for a dinner theater. Now add a dash of New York Detective Daisy Doright, and the table is set for “Murder at the Polite Ladies Society.” The Louisiana Voices of Women Theatre Company is premiering this play written by its founder and president, Aileen Hendricks, on… Continue reading →

‘Frozen’ singer Idina Menzel will open up to audience at Saenger in New Orleans

Photo by ROBIN WONG -- Idina Menzel

Before “Frozen,” Idina Menzel was merely a Tony-winning Broadway star. After “Frozen,” the singer-actress found herself engulfed in the Disney animated musical’s global blizzard of popularity. “Frozen” is the highest-grossing animated movie in history. Menzel sings and speaks the role of Princess Elsa, the “Frozen” character who performs the film’s Oscar-winning hit, “Let… Continue reading →

Tim Rushlow leaves Little Texas behind for a more intimate solo adventure

Photo provided by Vanessa Davis –- Tim Rushlow

In the 1990s, Little Texas, featuring singer Tim Rushlow, released more than a dozen country hits, including “God Blessed Texas,” “Amy’s Back in Austin,” “What Might Have Been” and “My Love.” Rushlow launched a solo career after Little Texas’ breakup. More recently, he’s been hosting “Rushlow in the Round.” The intimate, singer and… Continue reading →

’Ant-Man’ debuts with $58M; ‘Trainwreck’ opens with $30.2M

Photo by Zade Rosenthal – Paul Rudd surfaces as the title character in 'Ant-Man.’ The movie topped the box office again in its second week, earning $24.9 million.

NEW YORK (AP) — Marvel’s “Ant-Man” punched above its weight at the weekend box office, debuting with an estimated $58 million, while Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck” also opened strongly with $30.2 million. The result for “Ant-Man” didn’t match some of Marvel’s better known and brawnier properties. But “Ant-Man” — a relatively inexpensive superhero movie with a $130 million… Continue reading →

Film Society to screen sports drama ‘Southpaw’

Photo by SCOTT GARFIELD -- Rachel McAdams, left, and Jake Gyllenhaal star in the boxing drama 'Southpaw.'

The Louisiana Film Society, Louisiana International Film Festival and the Weinstein Company are presenting a free pre-release screening of the drama “Southpaw.” The screening is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, at Cinemark Perkins Rowe. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “The Replacement Killers”), “Southpaw” features Jake Gyllenhaal as boxing champ Billy “The Great”… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Ant-Man’ marches onto the big screen, earns place among heroes

Photo by Zade Rosenthal – Paul Rudd surfaces as the title character in 'Ant-Man.’ The movie topped the box office again in its second week, earning $24.9 million.

As movie superheroes go, it took years for Ant-Man to surface. This summer, Marvel Studios, following its gigantic success with Iron Man, Spider-Man and others, finally gets to the tiny but amazingly effective Ant-Man. Ant-Man is an original member of Marvel Comics’ superhero collective, The Avengers. In “Ant-Man,” starring Paul Rudd as… Continue reading →

Like a family dinner: Troupe serves up laughs with spoof, improv nights

Advocate staff photo by  APRIL BUFFINGTON --  David Vitrano, below, and more of the Family Dinner Improv Comedy Troupe crew get the audience ready for the second half of 'Spoof Night!' recenlty.

Quick, choose a mode of death by alien. Vaporizing, zapping or a good smashing are all possibilities. You could even succumb to an invisible death ray, after which the alien will drag you to some unknown destination. Or, in this case, somewhere backstage, because those who were dying stood on the Manship Theatre stage. That was,… Continue reading →

Annual Swamp Pop Music Festival to benefit Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Photo provided by the Swamp Pop Music Festival -- Ryan Foret and Foret Tradition close out the festival with an 8:30 p.m. show Saturday.

The 18th Annual Price LeBlanc Toyota and Nissan Swamp Pop Music Festival is Friday and Saturday at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center’s air-conditioned Trademart building in Gonzales. The festival, which annually draws as many as 6,000 attendees, opens at 6 p.m. Friday with Kenny Fife and Bac Trac. Other acts during the weekend include Warren Storm, Willie… Continue reading →

Review: Exotic Indian - Lafayette’s Masala’s aromatic spices addicting

Advocate photo by PATRICIA GANNON -- The tandoori mixed grill at Masala consists of five different meats: three kinds of chicken, lamb, and shrimp

Masala Indian Kitchen, located on Kaliste Saloom Road in Lafayette, is an exotic concept on what’s come to be known as “restaurant alley.” The subtle smell of incense was pleasantly pervasive and a faraway female voice sang, while bare brick and warm spice-colored walls completed the look. The exposed industrial ceiling was festooned with small white lights.… Continue reading →

Funk band Freeze reunites for BR show

Photo provided by DALE CRAFT --- Members of the popular 1980s dance band Freeze, front from left, are Jay Hebert, Mike Kirkpatrick and Will Waller; and, back, Kirk Blackwood, Ray Dalcourt, Pat Niquiporo and Richard Payne.

The temperature will drop Sunday at Club Coozan as members of Freeze reunite. The band, which served as the house band at Smackwater Jacks, was popular during the mid-’70s and ’80s, and billed itself as “The Sound of Electrified Funk.” Freeze was the idea of Mike Kirkpatrick (trumpet)… Continue reading →

Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson hasten ‘End Times’

Photo by PAUL ELLEDGE -- Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson, two alternative-rock acts that achieved stardom in the 1990s, combine their dark musical forces for “The End Times Tour.” The U.S. and Canadian Pumpkins-Manson tour opened July 7 at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California. Running through Aug. 8, it arrives in New Orleans Monday for a show at… Continue reading →

Outlying areas calendar for July 17-23, 2015

Photo provided by Elizabeth LeBlanc -- The eight annual Cruisin' for a Cure to benefit the American Cancer Society will take place at Syngenta's Pavilion in St. Gabriel. Vintage cars, trucks and bikes will be on display and judged.

FRIDAY NIGHT COOKIE JAR FISHING TOURNAMENT: 7 p.m.-midnight, LA Express Boat Dock, Jarreau. Entry fees apply to fish the tournament and fishermen must qualify to fish the final “classic tournament.” $30. (225) 293-3402 or mr.guy@netzero.net “HAIRSPRAY”: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Essanee Theatre,… Continue reading →