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Louisiana’s Brittney Pelloquin ‘on a good ol’ winning streak,’ makes it to ‘Skin Wars’ finale

GNS photo by LISA ROSE -- Louisiana's Brittney Pelloquin applies paint to her 'Skin Wars' contortionist model, transforming her into a graceful ostrich for the show's mini-challenge last week.

Brittney Pelloquin has blossomed on “Skin Wars.” The Lafayette artist advanced to Wednesday’s finale of the GSN body-painting competition series last week with her interpretation of a hibiscus. “Watching my piece come to life on stage feels amazing,” Pelloquin said in the episode. “It’s a really strong piece. The colors are beautiful, the water on the… Continue reading →

Jamie Lynn Spears’ past, present, future in spotlight

Photo provided by TLC -- Inside a recording studio, Jamie Lynn Spears discusses her developing country music career on TLC's 'Jamie Lynn Spears: When the Lights Go Out.'

Following big sis Britney into entertainment, Jamie Lynn Spears first appeared on TV at the tender age of 11. Success and fame for the Louisiana child star came from roles on the Nickelodeon series “All That” and “Zoey 101.” Then, everything changed. Pregnant at 16 with then-boyfriend Casey Aldridge’s baby, the younger Spears dropped out of the… Continue reading →

'Explosively amazing': Baton Rouge native, New Orleans resident Lynn Whitfield joins Oprah in powerful new series 'Greenleaf'

Oprah Winfrey Network photo by Guy D'Alema -- Lynn Whitfield, center, stars as Lady Mae Greenleaf in ‘Greenleaf,’ which is about the powerful family that runs a Memphis megachurch. With her are Gregory Alan Williams, left, who plays her brother, and Lamman Rucker, who plays her oldest son.

“What do you believe, Grace?” Lady Mae Greenleaf pointedly asks her daughter. “Well, Mama, I believe that the Bible is one useful tool to see to the heart of God, in the Christian tradition,” she answers. “Well what other tradition is there?” Grace’s sister-in-law Kerissa Greenleaf chimes in.… Continue reading →

‘My mom is going to be so proud’: Ascension baker's tasty Peanuts-themed creation wins Food Network’s ‘Cake Wars’

Photo provided by Food Network -- Kelly Williams listens to the judges' critiques of his winning, Charlie Brown-themed cake on Food Network's 'Cake Wars.'

Geismar’s Kelly Williams, assisted by Holly Sigur Broussard of Prairieville, iced Food Network’s “Cake Wars” Monday night. The team’s winning cake — a vanilla butternut confection with pecan praline filling and vanilla buttercream frosting — impressed judges and well-known pastry chefs Ron Ben-Israel and Waylynn Lucas, along with celebrity judge Lindsey Schulz, granddaughter of Peanuts creator Charles… Continue reading →

Louisiana engineer competes in ‘Jeopardy’ on Tuesday

Photo provided by Jeopardy Productions, Inc. --‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek, left, with New Orleanian Ben Foley, who will be on the show Tuesday.

Ben Foley, a structural engineer from New Orleans, will compete on “Jeopardy!” on Tuesday. The show airs at 4:30 p.m. on WBRZ, Channel 2 (cable Channel 5 in Baton Rouge and Lafayette), repeating at midnight; and at 6 p.m. on WVUE, Channel 8 (cable Channel 9 in New Orleans), with a replay at 9 a.m. Wednesday.… Continue reading →

Ascension bakers unite for Food Network's ‘Cake Wars’ airing Monday

Photo provided by Food Network -- Kelly Williams prepares part of the decoration for his cake during a challenge on Monday night's 'Cake Wars.'

Two self-taught Ascension Parish bakers, pastry bags at the ready, are headed to battle. Kelly Williams, of Geismar, assisted by Holly Sigur Broussard, a new resident of Prairieville, will compete on Food Network’s “Cake Wars” Monday night. In the competition series, four teams of expert bakers vie to see whose cake creation will be the centerpiece… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Finding Dory’ is overstuffed

Photo provided by Disney -- Hank, voiced by Ed O'Neill, left, and Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, are shown in a scene from 'Finding Dory.'

Thirteen years after Pixar Animation Studios’ “Finding Nemo” made a huge splash, a not-so-splash-worthy sequel docks in theaters this weekend. The filmmakers overstuff the new undersea adventure, “Finding Dory,” with action and breakneck plot turns. But the sequel isn’t nearly as affecting or amusing as its blockbuster predecessor, a modern classic.… Continue reading →

‘Gleason’ documents the devastation of ALS and Steve Gleason’s determination to survive it

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, center, poses on a blue carpet with his wife Michel Gleason, right, and former player Scott Fujita, top center, along with other VIPs at the Orpheum Theater during the New Orleans premiere of "Gleason" a documentary about former Saints player Steve Gleason's life.

Following Tuesday night’s premiere of the brutally frank new Steve Gleason documentary, Saints coach Sean Payton addressed the audience at New Orleans’ Orpheum Theater. Seeing “Gleason” for the first time, he confessed, had left him a little choked up and struggling for words. At which point Gleason himself, parked nearby in his high-tech wheelchair, interrupted… Continue reading →

Jay Ducote's ‘Deep Fried’ pilot to air on Travel Channel June 25; future depends on viewer engagement

Food Network file photo by Eddy Chen -- Jay Ducote discusses his blackened fish and zydeco grits during evaluations on  last season's 'Food Network Star.'

Baton Rouge cook /blogger/radio personality Jay Ducote is frying things up on Travel Channel. The Ducote-hosted pilot for “Deep Fried America” will debut at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 25 (cable Channel 55). Ducote, 34, the runner-up last year on Season 11 of “Food Network Star,” had made a three-minute version of the pilot for that… Continue reading →

Lafayette artist Pelloquin still in mix on ‘Skin Wars’

GSN photo by LISA ROSE -- Brittney Pelloquin, left, turns the story of model and breast cancer survivor Amanda, of Huntington Beach, California, into her body art piece on Wednesday's 'Skin Wars.'

Lafayette’s Brittney Pelloquin has painted her way to the final five on the third season of GSN’s competition series, “Skin Wars.” And who does she see as her biggest competition ? “Everyone, at this point,” the 28-year-old Broussard native said Friday from her studio there. “Everyone” translates to the… Continue reading →

Special looks at challenges facing La. veterans

Photo provided by LPB -- Husband and wife veterans Ken and Stella Gibson will share their story of being guided by Natural Resources Conservation Services to develop their 40 acres in Rayville during the viewing party for 'Louisiana Veterans Coming Home' at LPB on Wednesday.

Louisiana and 11 other states have the second-highest percentage of veterans ages 25 and younger. A Louisiana Public Broadcasting special explores the challenges that these post-9/11 and other veterans face upon their return stateside and the resources available to assist them as they transition back into civilian life. Veterans and the public are invited to the… Continue reading →

Now dat's funny: Comedian mixes Cajun culture with 'ThunderCats' in webseries 'TundaMinous'

Ash Reese

Imagine a beloved 1980s cartoon with a Cajun twist. That was part of Ash Reese’s thought process when he came up with “TundaMinous,” a web-series that hilariously chops up old episodes of “Thundercats” and features Cajun accents and storylines dubbed over the original animated series. In just three weeks and six short… Continue reading →

Review: An app comes to life in ‘The Angry Birds Movie’

Photo provided by Sony Pictures -- Bomb, voiced by Danny McBride, is one of the many characters in the new 'The Angry Birds Movie.'

It’s hard not to have a few biases going into “The Angry Birds Movie.” In the most cynical view of what gets made in Hollywood, an addictive app might just be at the bottom of the pile, languishing there in suspicious squalor with movies adapted from board games and amusement park rides. Comic books get away with… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge native gives teens a make-up hand to get to the prom

Photo provided by MYEKA GREMILLLION -- 'He’s not any different in person than he is on TV. He has a wonderful personality,' Myeka Gremillion, left, said of TLC's Monte Durham.

When Dinair emailed in March, Myeka Gremillion said “yes.” The Hollywood-based airbrush makeup company was seeking volunteers for a project with TLC, “Say Yes to the Prom,” which gives deserving girls a “fairytale transformation” for their big night. Baton Rouge native Gremillion, a hairstylist and makeup artist now living in Killeen, Texas, completed a Dinair… Continue reading →

Hoping for a blockbuster, studios plan Tetris movie

Associated Press file photo by Mark Lennihan -- This May 22, 2009, shows the puzzle video game Tetris at Barcade in the Brooklyn section of New York. The beloved game is set to become a blockbuster with an $80 million budget.

It lacks the building blocks of characters and a plot for now, but a Chinese-American studio hopes to turn the Tetris video game into a blockbuster movie. Threshold Global Studios is budgeting $80 million to strategically rotate, slide and drop the famed 1980s stacking game into a sci-fi thriller. The project is… Continue reading →

Louisiana actor Anthony Mackie reflects on portraying MLK in HBO film ‘All the Way’

Anthony Mackie who plays Falcon, speaks to reporters during a blue carpet arrival at the Marina Bay Sands on Thursday, April 21, 2016, in Singapore, for the latest Marvel movie release, "Captain America: Civil War." (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) ORG XMIT: SIN114

New Orleans-born actor Anthony Mackie had earlier opportunities to portray Martin Luther King Jr. on-screen, but the script for “All the Way,” an HBO film adaptation of Robert Schenkkan’s Tony Award-winning play of the same title, was the first time he’d seen the man he believes King to have been on the page in full. Co-starring Bryan… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ revitalizes Marvel movies

Photo provided by Disney-Marvel -- Anthony Mackie, from left, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen and Sebastian Stan star in 'Captain America: Civil War.'

Conventional movie wisdom would suggest that there can only be diminishing returns with long-running franchises. There must be a breaking point, right? Especially at movie four, five, six and beyond. There are exceptions, sure, but even the painstakingly plotted Marvel films have had low points. Yet, in the ashes of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the brain… Continue reading →

Top Five with Jerry Leggio

Photo provided by Jerry Leggio -- Baton Rouge native Jerry Leggio discusses his top five favorite films shot in Louisiana in the latest edition of 'Top Five.'

It’s hard to think of Louisiana films without Jerry Leggio coming to mind. The Baton Rouge native, who has appeared in more than 50 films and has been instrumental in growing the movie industry in the state, received the inaugural Anne Price Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana International Film Festival two years ago. His… Continue reading →

French-language kids programming offered on LPB2

Photo provided by LPB -- Beth Courtney

Young viewers will be able to watch, discover, and learn en français at home via 14 hours a week of French-language kids programming launched last week on LPB2 (cable Channel 122). Louisiana Public Broadcasting, CODOFIL (Council for the Development of French in Louisiana) and Groupe Média TFO (Télévision française de l’Ontario), the leader in French educational… Continue reading →

Friends of LPB will honor 6 Legends at annual gala

Photo proviided by LPB -- Charlie Cook

This year’s Louisiana Legends Gala and Auction, a fundraiser for Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, will take place Thursday, May 5, at the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge. Honorees are Hollis Conway, two-time Olympic medalist and National Track and Field Hall Of Fame inductee; Charlie Cook, political analyst and editor and publisher of the Cook… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge dancer to appear on ‘Ellen’ on Thursday

File photo provided by LORI JOHNSON -- Baton Rouge dancer Payton Johnson earned the honor of National Teen Best Dancer at The Dance Awards July 5-12, 2015, in New York City. Shown with her is choreographer Jason Parsons.

University High School junior Payton Johnson of Baton Rouge will dance on the “Ellen” show at 3 p.m. Thursday. “Ellen” airs locally on WVLA, Channel 33 (cable Channel 3). The segment will feature the Top 30 young dancers in the country dancing alongside professionals to promote DancerPalooza, the “ultimate dance festival” set for this summer in… Continue reading →

Louisiana Film Festival organizers pay tribute to ‘bright spirit,' driving force Dan Ireland, who died Thursday

Dan Ireland

Louisiana International Film Festival organizers mourning the loss of festival artistic director Dan Ireland say he “touched and inspired” local artists, audiences and fellow festival enthusiasts. The New York Daily News reported that Ireland, a director whose films included “The Whole Wide World” and “Jolene,” died at his Los Angeles home on Thursday after recently… Continue reading →

Louisiana International Film Festival announces 2016 winners

The winners of the Louisiana International Film Festival & Mentorship Program were announced Sunday night at the closing night gala reception for the five-day film festival. Now in its fourth year, LIFE 2016 premiered more than 70 films from around the world, according to a news release from the festival. The winners are: -- Best Feature: “The Innocents” -- Audience Award: “Presenting Princess Shaw” --… Continue reading →

Emmy winner Kelsey Grammer draws big crowd to Baton Rouge theater for film festival screening

Associated Press file photo -- Kelsey Grammer

Kelsey Grammer and his film “Breaking the Bank” were such a draw at the Louisiana International Film Festival Friday night that organizers added a second, later screening of the movie. A few minutes past 7 p.m., Grammer, in a dark suit and white button-down shirt, arrived outside Cinemark Perkins Rowe, stopped for a few quick photos,… Continue reading →

Review: ‘The Jungle Book’ is a dazzling visual experience

Photo provided by Disney -- From left, Mowgli, played by Neel Sethi, and Gray, voiced by Brighton Rose, appear in a scene from the new live action adaptation of 'The Jungle Book.'

You can practically feel the beating heart of the jungle in Jon Favreau’s stunning adaptation of “The Jungle Book,” which is easily the most visually dazzling movie to hit theaters this year. Like “Avatar” before it, this CG and live-action interpretation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale of the boy raised by wolves feels like a momentous… Continue reading →

Louisiana actor Wendell Pierce reflects on playing Justice Clarence Thomas

Photo by Frank Masi -- Wendell Pierce is the embattled Clarence Thomas in HBO's 'Confirmation.'

A decade passed between U.S. Supreme Court oral-argument questions from Clarence Thomas. The streak — February 2006 to February 2016 — made him all the more interesting to New Orleans’ Wendell Pierce, who portrays Thomas in the HBO movie “Confirmation,” debuting at 7 p.m. April 16. “He’s a fascinating man,” Pierce said. “We are from… Continue reading →

Lafayette's MacKenzie Bourg reveals his biggest 'American Idol' disappointment, plans for finale had he made it

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- American Idol finalist and Lafayette native, MacKenzie Bourg performs at Parc International on Saturday following a parade in his honor.

MacKenzie Bourg wanted to sing his original song, “Roses,” on “American Idol” just one more time. “The only thing that I really was bummed about was that my coronation song was going to be ‘Roses,’” the Lafayette singer/songwriter said Friday, a day after being eliminated from the final season of the FOX singing competition series. “And… Continue reading →

Louisiana International Film Festival programmers choose their top picks for the event

Photo by Anna Kooris -- From left, Ed Harris and James Franco star in the new drama, 'The Adderall Diaries,' which will be screened at the upcoming Louisiana International Film Festival in Baton Rouge.

The 2016 Louisiana International Film Festival and Mentorship Program has more than 40 films on its slate. The festival programmers, Lane Kneedler and Ian Birnie, know there’s a lot to digest. However, they are hopeful that the festival has a little something for anyone interested. “We tried to appeal to different segments of the audience,”… Continue reading →

Review: Worlds collide in ‘Batman v Superman’

Photo by Clay Enos/provided by Warner Bros. Pictures -- From left, Ben Affleck stars as Batman, and Henry Cavill stars as Superman in the new comic book film 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.'

Zack Snyder’s thundering and grim “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” offers the kind of blunt, mano-a-mano faceoff usually reserved for Predators, Godzillas and presidential candidates. And just as has often been said of this election year, “Batman v Superman” takes a once almost charming tradition and plunges it into the gutter. Long gone are the telephone… Continue reading →

Louisiana ‘Idol’ contestant MacKenzie Bourg, now in Top 5, says this could be ‘my best week’

FOX photo by RAY MICKSHAW -- Making it into 'American Idol's' top 5, are, from left, Sonika Vaid, La'Porsha Renae, Trent Harmon, MacKenzie Bourg of Lafayette, and Dalton Rapattoni.

“i think this could b my best week, just need u guys 2 vote and keep me around pls,” MacKenzie Bourg told his 128,000 Twitter followers on Sunday. The Lafayette singer-songwriter moved closer to becoming the next and final “American Idol” when he nudged into the top five in the FOX singing competition last week. He joined… Continue reading →

EBR Main Library to show ‘Jackie Robinson’ preview

A special preview of Ken Burns’ new documentary, “Jackie Robinson,” will start at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the EBR Main Library, 7711 Goodwood Blvd. in Baton Rouge. In 1947, the color line in baseball was broken when Jackie Robinson was brought up from the minor leagues to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Louisiana Public… Continue reading →

Review: ‘The Divergent Series: Allegiant’ is dull, lifeless

Photo by Murray Close -- From left, Theo James and Shailene Woodley star in 'The Divergent Series: Allegiant.'

Call me indifferent. In “Allegiant,” the latest installment of “The Divergent Series,” dystopian Chicago might be in disarray, but it’s also become as dull as our heroine Tris’ shapeless, grey Abnegation frocks from the first pic. Unless the filmmakers really try to shake things up for the next and final film, this series might… Continue reading →

Still in the running, Lafayette’s MacKenzie Bourg could be the final ‘American Idol’ winner

FOX photo by MICHAEL BECKER -- MacKenzie Bourg says doing a a duet was a new experience when he took the stage with Season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina for a aong Feb. 11.

MacKenzie Bourg could become the last “American Idol.” The 23-year-old singer-songwriter from Lafayette has reached the top six in the 15th and final season of FOX’s singing competition series. Last episode, after a shaky start on a duet of the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” with fellow finalist Dalton Rapattoni, Bourg… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Brothers Grimsby’ is truly shameless

Photo by Daniel Smith -- From left, Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong star in the new action-comedy 'The Brothers Grimsby.'

Be suspect of movies that are infamous before they even hit theaters. The “they did WHAT” anticipatory glee is generally bound to be a letdown — especially when the big joke is someone getting a disease. In the off-chance that you’ve managed to stay blissfully unaware of the gag, I won’t go into any more specifics. Needless… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge-area locations bring authenticity to plantation, slave life in WGN drama series

Photo provided by WGN America -- Starring in 'Underground,' which was filmed in Baton Rouge, are, from left, Renwick Scott, Theodus Crane, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Alano Miller, Johnny Ray Gill and Mykelti Williamson.

As the family in the Macon Plantation’s main house lavishly celebrates their daughter’s sweet 16, in the slave quarters, an infant boy’s lifeless body is placed in a pine box as mourners cluster. “I couldn’t have him growin’ up like this. … He’s free now,” Seraphina cries after drowning her newborn in a tub.… Continue reading →