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Lafayette native wows judges, joins Team Pharrell on ‘The Voice’

Travis Ewing

Lafayette native Travis Ewing got three chairs to turn when he hit the stage on NBC’s “The Voice” Monday night, wowing judges with his own version of Destiny Child’s “Say My Name.” The 23-year-old LSU graduate chose to work with producer Pharrell Williams over Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton, who tried to woo Ewing with a shout… Continue reading →

La. Film Society to screen “Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

Photo by LAURIE SPARHAM -- From left to right, Celia Imrie as Madge Hardcastle, Ronald Pickup as Norman Cousins, Diana Hardcastle as Carol, Judi Dench as Evelyn Greenslade, Maggie Smith as Muriel Donnely and Bill Nighy as Douglas Ainslie in 'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.'

The Louisiana International Film Festival and Louisiana Film Society are presenting an advance screening of “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Cinemark Perkins Rowe. Admission is free, based on a first come first serve basis, but reservations are required. Registration for the screening is available at www.lifilmfest.org/events.… Continue reading →

Was the parody of a Baton Rouge native's Super Bowl ad 'appalling' or 'hilarious'?

Baton Rouge native Louis Herthum stars in the 'A Bold Dad' commercial for Toyota that first aired during Super Bowl XLIX.

The Baton Rouge native Louis Herthum-starring Toyota commercial, which first aired during the 2015 Super Bowl, got a controversial parody on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” The original, feel-good television ad, opening with the words “Being a dad is more that being a father,” shows actor Herthum ever-present for his young on-screen daughter during poignant moments… Continue reading →

Will Smith’s ‘Focus’ tops box office with $19.1 million

In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Will Smith, center, and Margot Robbie, right, appear in a scene from the film,

NEW YORK — Will Smith’s con-man caper “Focus” disrobed “Fifty Shades of Grey” at the box office, but the film’s modest $19.1 million opening still left questions about the drawing power of the once unstoppable star. According to studio estimates Sunday, Warner Bros.’ “Focus” easily topped all competitors on a weekend with little competition at North… Continue reading →

Review: Like a con artist, ‘Focus’ charms and deceives you, in a good way

Warner Bros. photo by FRANK MASI -- Margot Robbie plays Jess and Will Smith is Nicky in the new heist film, 'Focus,' shot in New Orleans and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

If the mark of a good con artist is that he or she makes you think you know exactly what’s going on — when of course you haven’t a clue — that’s also the mark of a good con-artist movie, isn’t it? To make you feel like you totally get what’s about to happen — “Oh yeah,… Continue reading →

The Zombies to make New Orleans debut

Photo by ANDREW ECCLES -- The Zombies

Classic British invasion band The Zombies will play the first New Orleans show in the band’s history March 12 at House of Blues. The Zombies released the hits “She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No” and “Time of the Season” in the 1960s. The group’s 1967 album, “Odessey and Oracle,” is considered a classic now,… Continue reading →

Second City troupe brings improvisation, live comedy show to Lafayette’s Acadiana Center for the Arts

Photo provided by Second City -- From left, areJo Feldman, Chucho Perez, Lisa Barber, Nick Rees, Rachel LaForce and Adam Schreck of Second City.

What do Bill Murray, Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert have in common? They got their start at the nation’s original improv theater group, Second City. No comedy joint in the world has produced so many superstars over the years, and to celebrate that legacy and its 55th anniversary, one of Second City’s many troupes is… Continue reading →

Manship Theatre celebrates 10th anniversary

Photo by RICHARD TERMINE -- 'Pinkalicious' opens the Manship's Theatre's week-long 10th anniversary celebration at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. a Pink-a-boo Cupcake Party precedes the performances, at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

In 2005, a huge part of the Downtown Development District’s “Baton Rouge 2000” plan came into fruition with the opening of the Shaw Center for the Arts. Inside, the curtain opened on the dome-shaped Manship Theatre. This year the now well-established and esteemed theater is celebrating in a way that only a theater can, with its… Continue reading →

Billy Joe Shaver returns to writing with another autobiographical album

Photo by JIM MCGUIRE -- Billy Joe Shaver

In August, Texas singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver released “Long in the Tooth,” his first album since 2008. Shaver, who hit a landmark birthday on Aug. 16, really loves his new batch of songs. As usual, they’re autobiographical. “To be honest, you almost have to write about yourself,” Shaver said from Waco, his home in the heart… Continue reading →

An evening with Diana Ross at the Saenger

Advocate file photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Diana Ross performs in the River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts in 2013.

Diana Ross is making her third Louisiana appearance in recent years at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans Saturday. The queen of Berry Gordy’s Motown Records empire in the 1960s, Ross previously performed at the Saenger and the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre in 2013. Ross, of course, led Motown’s most successful act,… Continue reading →

Grammy-winner Ryan Bingham cherishes freedom of the West

Photo by Anna Axster -- Ryan Bingham

In 2010, Americana singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham, with co-writer T Bone Burnett, won the Grammy for Best Original Song for “The Weary Kind,” the theme song for the Jeff Bridges film “Crazy Heart.” He doesn’t know where the trophy is, nor does he know what it did for him.… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge area calendar from Feb. 27-March 5, 2015

Photo provided by Maddgame Entertainment -- Myesha McGarner plays Catherine Green and Telisha Diaz plays Grace Dunbar in UpStage Theatre's production of 'The Nacirema Society. The show runs this weekend.

The Baton Rouge area calendar is a listing of events taking place in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas from Feb. 27 - March 4, 2015. It covers music, plays, shows, parties, family-oriented entertainment and everything in between. Continue reading →

The Gibson Brothers bring concept album, ‘Brotherhood,’ to life

Photo by JIM MCGUIRE -- The Gibson Brothers

“Brotherhood” is the album Eric and Leigh Gibson wanted to make for years. Usually, The Gibson Brothers write their own songs, but with “Brotherhood,” they interpret songs by bluegrass greats the Stanley Brothers, Jim and Jesse McReynolds, The Monroe Brothers and the Louvin Brothers. “We talked about it for maybe 10… Continue reading →

Outlying areas calendar for Feb. 27-March 5, 2015

Photo provided by SLU Public Information Office -- Ivan Rutherford will perform at a benefit concert Friday for the SLU Wind Symphony in Hammond. Among songs on the program are 'Something's Coming' from 'West Side Story;' 'Music of the Night' from 'Phantom of the Opera;' 'The Impossible Dream' from 'Man of La Mancha;' 'She's Got a Way' by Billy Joel; and 'Bring Him Home,' Jean Valjean's signature song from 'Les Miserables.'

FRIED FISH FUNDRAISER: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., St. Augustine Catholic Church, 809 New Roads St., New Roads. $8 per plate; $1 for drinks. Orders of five or more can be delivered. (225) 638-2947. Every Friday during Lent.… Continue reading →

Taco Chops Cantina in Baton Rouge offers mainly tacos...will it work?

Advocate photo by GEORGE MORRIS -- Slaw and beans accompany a fish taco and buffalo chicken taco.

Baton Rouge seems to be big and Tex-Mexy enough to support at least one taco truck. What about a taco restaurant? Looks like we’re going to find out. There is more to the Taco Chops Cantina menu than tacos, but not by a whole lot. Its owners, who grew up in Mexico, are betting the ranch… Continue reading →

Shows to Watch calendar for Feb. 27-March 5, 2015

File photo -- The Lost Bayou Ramblers and their musical friend Gordon Gamo (of Violent Femmes fame) are performing three upcoming shows in Louisiana: Friday at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans; Saturday at the Spanish Moon in Baton Rouge and Sunday at the Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette.

The Shows to Watch calendar is a listing of events taking place in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas from Feb. 27-March 5, 2015. It covers rock, reggae, jazz, country and everything in between. Continue reading →

New Orleans area calendar for Feb. 27-March 5, 2015

Photo provided by NOBA -- New Zealand premier contemporary dance company Black Grace performs Saturday at Mahalia Jackson Theater in New Orleans. The company's appearance is presented by the New Orleans Ballet Association.

The New Orleans area calendar is a listing of events taking place in New Orleans and surrounding areas from Feb. 27 - March 5, 2015. It covers music, plays, shows, parties, family-oriented entertainment and everything in between. Continue reading →

Eagle Expo celebrates Bald Eagle in Louisiana

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- The return of the American Bald Eagle will be celebrated at this weekend's Eagle Expo and More in Morgan City.

This weekend’s Eagle Expo and More in Morgan City again celebrates the return of the American Bald Eagle to Louisiana. The eagle was removed from the endangered species list in June 2007. Laws banning the use of harmful pesticides such as DDT and greater public awareness and education have increased the bald eagle population throughout Louisiana and… Continue reading →

N.O.'s Shaya mines chef’s roots, blending crossroads cuisine with family ties

Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty - Chef Alon Shaya opened the Uptown restaurant Shaya with the Besh Restaurant Group.

As an Israeli restaurant, the newly-opened Shaya doesn’t have much precedent in New Orleans. But it does have plenty of familiar touchstones. Meals start with pita bread, hot from the wood-fired oven in the dining room. And the menu offers falafel, lamb kebabs and hummus (in four varieties) before any potentially new vocabulary comes your… Continue reading →

LPB encourages filmmakers to enter PBS Film Festival

Wanted: local short films. Louisiana Public Broadcasting is seeking the work of budding filmmakers for the 2015 PBS Online Film Festival. The national online festival encourages independent filmmakers to submit their unique, thought-provoking creations for possible entry to the festival. The only restrictions are that the films must be between… Continue reading →

Knights of ‘The Order’ battle Victorian monsters

Photo provided by Sony Computer Entertainment -- Sir Galahad's the star of the new video game, 'The Order: 1886,' for PlayStation 4.

When a game has “1886” in the title, you expect to see a few familiar characters: Sherlock Holmes, perhaps, or Jack the Ripper, or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You don’t expect the lead to be Sir Galahad. And yet, here the crusty old geezer is starring in “The Order: 1886” (Sony, for the PlayStation 4,… Continue reading →

‘Modern Family’ producer on episode shot with iPhone: The story still drives everything

FILE - In this Sept. 23, 2012 file photo, director Steven Levitan, winner of the Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series award for

NEW YORK (AP) — For this week’s “Modern Family,” producers put down their expensive professional cameras and shot the episode with iPhones and other Apple devices. Seen through the eyes of character Claire Dunphy as she uses a Mac laptop, characters only appear on her computer’s FaceTime video-calling app. The Associated Press spoke with series co-creator and… Continue reading →

‘McFarland, USA’ runs an inspirational race

Photo by RON PHILLIPS -- From left, David Diaz (Rafael Martinez), Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), Thomas Valles (Carlos Pratts), Victor Puentes (Sergio Avelar), Danny Diaz (Ramiro Rodriguez), Jose Cardenas (Johnny Ortiz) and Johnny Sameniego (Hector Duran) are featured in a scene from 'McFarland USA.'

“McFarland, USA” tells a heartwarming story about underdogs who, to the surprise of everyone, including themselves, establish a sports dynasty. The all-Latino cross-country Cougar teammates at McFarland High School, residents of California’s farm-heavy Central Valley, aren’t the story’s only underdogs. Their coach, Jim White, a non-Latino newcomer to the McFarland community, is, in the… Continue reading →

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ stays on top of weekend box office

In this image released by Universal Pictures and Focus Features, Dakota Johnson, left, and Jamie Dornan appear in a scene from the film,

LOS ANGELES — “Fifty Shades of Grey” didn’t relinquish control of the box office. Universal’s erotic drama starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan earned $23.2 million at No. 1 in its second weekend at the box office, according to studio estimates Sunday. Despite the victory, “Fifty Shades of Grey” plummeted a steep 75 percent from… Continue reading →

‘Hot Tub’ recreates humor, chaos of original

Photo by STEVE DIETL -- From left, Clark Duke, Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson star in the New Orleans-filmed 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2.'

“Hot Tub Time Machine 1” turned up the comic crudeness and 1980s color palette to a glaring 10. In the 2010 farce, a trio of middle-aged losers time trip to the happiest weekend of their lives. Adam, Lou and Nick return to the Kodiak Valley ski resort during Winterfest 86. Their shocking second chance changes their… Continue reading →

Teen comedy ‘DUFF’ gives genre a social media spin

CBS Films photo by GUY D ALEMA -- Mae Whitman, left, and Bella Thorne star in 'The DUFF,' opening in theaters Friday.

All teen comedies owe some debt to John Hughes and Amy Heckerling. The milieu of suburban teenage life that they explored decades ago has defined the genre since. The social divisions, the boredom, the dances, the irrepressible awkwardness and the irrational dreaminess of high school students never before seemed so accessible, and so neatly packaged with… Continue reading →

Weekend shows to benefit Red Dragon Listening Room

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Chris and Liz Maxwell are the founders of the Red Dragon Listening Room.

Music lover Chris Maxwell opened the original Red Dragon Listening Room location in 2003. He wanted to fill the void left by the closing of Marian Pickett’s M’s Fine and Mellow CafĂ© in 2002. Pickett’s Third Street music venue and restaurant was a listening room. If patrons were too loud during performances, Pickett shushed them herself.… Continue reading →

Former pro player scores spot on beloved Globetrotters squad

Photo provided by the Harlem Globetrotters -- Julian 'Zeus' McClurkin

The Harlem Globetrotters have had more famous players than Julian “Zeus” McClurkin. The famous team of basketball barnstormers has had taller players, faster players, niftier ballhandlers and better shooters. But they may have never had anyone who wanted to play basketball more than this rookie forward. McClurkin, 28, will be part of the hoops and hilarity… Continue reading →

Restaurant review: Spice Bistro has lots of potential

Advocate staff photo by Beth Colvin -- The smothered chicken ($13) came with a choice of two sides. We recommend the jambalaya for one of them.

Normally, I’m a big fan of a limited menu. A restaurant that tries to be all things to all people usually ends up being nothing to anyone, and a reasonably small menu often means that everything on there is done well. Spice Bistro and Bar’s Southern-fried menu has one more thing going for it. It’s full… Continue reading →

Ascension Community Theatre brings ‘A Doll’s House’ to stage

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Richard Pittman, who plays Krugstad, and Nanette Kivett, who plays Mrs. Linde, act out a scene from

Nora Helmer’s husband treats her as an object in their marriage, a songbird meant for entertainment. A doll to be put away when the playing’s done. As a result, Nora has never thought of herself as a person with thoughts and ideas until Torvald falls ill. She knows she must do whatever it takes to save… Continue reading →

‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ stars float back to Mardi Gras

Advocate photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- From left, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke and Craig Robinson, the stars of 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2,' throw beads from The Chariot/Bacca-Vineyard float as it travels on St. Charles Avenue during the Krewe of Bacchus Parade in New Orleans Sunday.

If actor Rob Corddry is to be believed, the real purpose behind the making of “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” in New Orleans the during summer of 2013 was to get Corddry and his co-stars Craig Robinson and Clark Duke back on a Mardi Gras float. On Sunday during the Krewe of Bacchus parade,… Continue reading →

LSU Symphonic Winds presents multimedia ‘Cartoon Concert’

Photo by Dennis Llinas -- Members of the LSU Symphonic Winds rehearse the

The episode’s title was “Rabbit of Seville,” where Elmer Fudd chases Bugs Bunny through the stage door of the Hollywood Bowl. Bugs tricks his adversary into going on stage, where their chase is punctuated by the overture to Gioachino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville,” which the LSU Symphonic Winds will perform immediately… Continue reading →

Former SLU player sets world record with Globetrotters

Photo provided by the Harlem Globetrotters -- Nate 'Big Easy' Lofton spent his college years on the SLU Lions basketball team.

Former Southeastern Louisiana University basketball player Nate “Big Easy” Lofton, a member of the Harlem Globetrotters since 2005, set a Guinness World Record for making the longest hook shot, the Globetrotters announced recently. Lofton made the shot from 61 feet 4 inches, smashing the old record of 55 feet 9 inches,… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge area calendar from Feb. 20-26, 2015

Advocate staff photo by April Buffington -- Volunteer Jeremy Jackson, left helps John Kelly, then 9, build his version of Alex Box Stadium at the Building Blocks: If Kids Ruled the City last year. This year's event is Saturday at Capitol Park Museum.

The Baton Rouge area calendar is a listing of events taking place in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas from Feb. 20-26, 2015. It covers music, plays, shows, parties, family-oriented entertainment and everything in between. Continue reading →

Outlying areas calendar for Feb. 20-26, 2015

Photo by ARTHUR ELGORT  The Ahn Trio performs Thursday, Feb. 26, at the  Heymann Performing Arts Center, 1373 S. College Road, Lafayette.

FRIED FISH FUNDRAISER: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., St. Augustine Catholic Church, 809 New Roads St., New Roads. $8 per plate; $1 for drinks. Orders of five or more can be delivered. (225) 638-2947. Every Friday during Lent. BATON ROUGE BARREL RACE COMPETITION: New Roads Multi-Use Center, 1400 Major… Continue reading →

Shows to Watch for Feb. 20-26, 2015

PRNewsFoto -- Michael Bolton --Singing star Michael Bolton performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at L’Auberge Casino.

The Shows to Watch calendar is a listing of events taking place in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas from Feb. 20-26, 2015. It covers rock, reggae, jazz, country and everything in between. Continue reading →

Eclectic Truth poetry slam to choose finalists Tuesday for national team

Photo by LESLIE D. ROSE -- Donney Rose, president of the Poetry Alliance, leads a Tuesday night poetry slam at the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge's Firehouse Gallery.

Words on the page become so much more each week at the Eclectic Truth open mic and poetry slam. “It’s how well the poem is written, as well as how well the poem is performed,” Poetry Alliance president Donney Rose said of how the poems presented in a slam are judged. “You’re looking for certain nuances, if… Continue reading →

Bonerama covers Led Zeppelin

Photo by Chuck Cook -- Bonerama

The trombone-led rock/funk band Bonerama first made its mark with a 2001 cover of the Edgar Winter Group’s instrumental, “Frankenstein,” and it has rearranged other greatest hits of rock, by Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and The Allman Brothers, to name a few. On Friday at the House of Blues, Bonerama will double down on its classic… Continue reading →

New Orleans area calendar for Feb. 20-26, 2015

Advocate staff photo by A.J. SISCO  --  Local coffee cans are displayed at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans. The museum hosts Free Saturday this weekend, with free admission and a program on the Chinese New Year.

The New Orleans area calendar is a listing of events taking place in New Orleans and surrounding areas from Feb. 20-26, 2015. It covers music, plays, shows, parties, family-oriented entertainment and everything in between. Continue reading →

At new N.O. restaurant Trenasse, flavors of the hunting camp get a contemporary shine

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Cypress tables, an oyster bar and a marsh scene mural add character to the new restaurant inside the InterContinental Hotel.

An impressive-looking dish can pause the conversation when it arrives. The oyster log at Trenasse, however, looked like it could stop traffic. A lacquered slab of cypress nearly as long as our four-top table, the log was like a diorama of three dozen oysters ($59). Some sizzled with garlic butter, some were prepared… Continue reading →

Drake’s album lays down promising ground work

Invision/AP file photo -- Drake

Drake IF YOU’RE READING THIS IT’S TOO LATE For as long as Drake’s been around, almost everything about him — his Mr. Sensitive image, his sweater collection, his cheesy photos with various professional athletes — has been the subject of a never-ending stream of Internet memes. Still, Drake and his talent are no joke, and… Continue reading →

Eddie Murphy looks to get back into groove with music

/Invision/AP file photo -- Eddie Murphy addresses the audience at the close of 'Eddie Murphy: One Night Only,' a celebration of Murphy's career, in 2012.

Eddie Murphy biggest success in music came on his first try, with the 1985 smash “Party All the Time.” After that, not much was heard from the entertainer on the musical front — but he kept on plugging away at it out of the spotlight. “When I’m not acting and being funny,… Continue reading →

Kenny G wants in on traditional jazz radio, Hollywood

Invision/AP file photo -- Kenny G

Kenny G still has something to prove. The biggest-selling instrumental artist of the modern era is recognized worldwide — particularly in China — for his smooth saxophone skills and trademark mop of curly hair. Sure, he’s long been a punch line for “South Park” and musical purists, but generally laughs off… Continue reading →

4 humans gang up on 1 monster in tense ‘Evolve’

Photo provided by Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. -- In the new video game 'Evolve,' a hunter confronts a Goliath on an alien planet.

The monsters in “Evolve” (2K Games, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, $59.99) don’t seem that scary at first glance. Ugly, yes, but nothing your arsenal of flamethrowers and rocket launchers can’t handle. Unfortunately, if you leave the critters alone for just a few minutes they mutate into bone-crushing behemoths that can make short work of… Continue reading →

Essence Festival in New Orleans to feature Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu

Mary J. Blige performs at the BET Honors 2015 at Warner Theater on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015in Washington. (Photo by Kevin Wolf/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: DCKW130

The Essence Festival announced its first round of 2015 talent Wednesday. The musical component of the 21st Essence Festival, taking place July 2-5 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, will include rap star Kendrick Lamar, in his Essence debut, and returning Essence favorite Mary J. Blige. Other artists will include rapper-actor Common, whose collaboration with singer… Continue reading →