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Keaton’s ‘Birdman’ may be his best performance

Photo provided by Fox Searchlight Pictures -- Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thomson in 'Birdman.'

The public loved Birdman. But Riggan Thomson, the actor who starred as the superhero in three hit movies, abandoned the character decades ago. Turning his back on the franchise didn’t work out well for Thomson. Without the winged hero, the actor’s career plunged. In the zealous comedy and drama “Continue reading →

Review: ‘Sleep’ a decidedly average psych thriller

Clarius Entertainment photo by LAURIE SPARHAM -- Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth play wife and husband in 'Before I Go To Sleep.'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Reteamed once again with Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman stars as an amnesia victim whose brain resets back to 13 years ago after each night’s slumber in the decidedly average psychological thriller “Before I Go to Sleep.” Writer-director Rowan Joffe’s adaptation of S.J. Watson’s bestseller honors the lurid spirit of the page-turner enough to… Continue reading →

Gyllenhaal, tightly coiled and creepy in ‘Nightcrawler’

Open Road Films photo by CHUCK ZLOTNICK -- Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the creepy Lou Bloom in 'Nightcrawler.'

The most frightening thing about Jake Gyllenhaal in “Nightcrawler” — even more than those sallow, sunken cheeks, those googly eyes, and that unkempt hair tied into a greasy bun — is his smile. They invented the word “creepy” for that smile, a goofy, confident grin that reaches its full breadth just when you’re starting to realize… Continue reading →

Halloween, Day of the Dead collide in BR parade

Photo by Lawles Photography -- Day of the Dead

Why does it have to be “trick OR treat?” Can’t we have a little bit of both? The folks at 10/31 Consortium have found a way to mix both scary cheer and feel-good charity into the bubbling cauldron that is their annual Halloween Parade in Baton Rouge. For 10/31… Continue reading →

BR’s 13th Gate amps up the scare factor for thousands of annual visitors

The 13th Gate Haunted House features a New Orleans style cemetery, seen Monday, Oct. 22, 2007 in Baton Rouge, La.  Haunted house operators and others in the business of scaring people face a public used to graphic video games and reality TV that seems to want something bolder each year.  This has caused big pressure to innovate. (AP Photo/Tim Mueller)

Celebrating their 13th spooky year, Baton Rouge’s The 13th Gate remains at the top of the list of American haunted houses. Fangoria magazine cited The 13th Gate’s “intricate detail and technology” when the horror magazine ranked the haunt No. 7 this year. To stay scary, founder Dwayne Sanburn… Continue reading →

Keb’ Mo’ marks 20th anniversary of album debut

Photo provided by Aristo Media -- Keb' Mo'

Keb’ Mo’ just naturally blends his many musical experiences into his modern-day blues. “All those things are part of me,” he said recently. “That’s why they blend. That’s the blend of me. So it’s honest.” Marking the 20th anniversary of his album debut this year, Keb’ Mo’, aka Kevin Moore, sounds completely… Continue reading →

Top 13 Horror Movies: Big screams from the big screen

File photo -- A mechanized Linda Blair from the movie 'The Exorcist' is on display at the American Museum of the Moving Image.

Every holiday has its traditions. Christmas has mistletoe, Easter’s got painted eggs, and Halloween is an excuse to scare yourself silly with horror and gore galore. Here are some of the scariest movies of all time, a “lucky” 13 in fact, guaranteed to make you spill your popcorn and leave the lights on at bedtime.… Continue reading →

Foo Fighters, Outkast, Arctic Monkeys headline N.O. Voodoo Experience

Photo by  STEVE GULLICK Foo Fighters perform at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience returns to New Orleans’ City Park this weekend for its 16th annual Halloween event. Star attractions among the 79 acts include Ritual Stage headliners Foo Fighters, the Dave Grohl-led rock band featured in the HBO music-documentary series “Sonic Highways” ; British rock band Arctic… Continue reading →

Rise Against brings its message to Voodoo stage

Photo by LEANN MUELER -- Rise Against

Chicago rock band Rise Against makes its Voodoo Experience debut Friday on the festival’s biggest stage. The foursome’s latest album, “The Black Market,” entered Billboard’s Top 200 album chart at No. 3 in July. Singer-guitarist Tim McIlrath regrets that Rise Against can’t see more of Voodoo Experience’s three days of music… Continue reading →

Foo Fighters snared for Voodoo Fest

Photo by ANDREW STUART -- Dave Grohl joins Preservation Hall Jazz Band players Ben Jaffe, Clint Maedgen, Rickie Monie, Mark Braud, Ronell Johnson and Freddie Lonzo in New Orleans in May.

One Saturday night in May, Stephen Rehage, founder and producer of the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, was having dinner in the French Quarter. Like thousands of others in the area, he couldn’t help but hear the Foo Fighters’ surprise show that night, coming from an unlikely place: Preservation Hall. The sound of… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge area calendar for Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2014

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Participants parade at the annual Ascension Council on Aging Halloween party's costume contest. (getting names)

The Baton Rouge area calendar is a listing of events taking place in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas from Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2014. It covers music, plays, shows, parties, family-oriented entertainment and everything in between. Continue reading →

Shows to Watch for Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2014

File photo -- Indie-rock band Neutral Milk Hotel, which formed 25 year ago, performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, and Friday, Nov. 7, at the Varsity Theatre.

The Shows to Watch calendar is a listing of events taking place in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas from Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2014. It covers rock, reggae, jazz, country and everything in between. Continue reading →

U.S. Army Band and Chorus set to play three free concerts

Photo by ROB MCIVER -- The U.S. Army Field Band, along with its Soldiers Chorus, will perform in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Hammond next week.

The United States Army Field Band & Soldiers Chorus will perform in three area venues in the coming week. The groups’ first performance will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Arts, 220 E. Thomas St., Hammond. The show will move to the Acadiana Center for the Arts, 101 W.… Continue reading →

Sister duo First Aid Kit returns to U.S. for 21-city tour

Photo provided by Sony Music -- First Aid Kit

In another time, before the Internet left music splintered and compromised, First Aid Kit’s heart-grabbing “Emmylou” might have been an international hit. A country-folk-pop duo from Sweden, First Aid Kit consists of sisters Johanna Söderberg, 24, and Klara, 21. “Emmylou” is a plea for love that won’t be extinguished, devotion of the kind that… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Gallery hosts annual KINETICS art auction

Photo provided by Baton Rouge Gallery -- Kelly A. Mueller's mixed media piece, 'Drift,' will be up for auction at Baton Rouge Gallery's annual art auction fundraiser, KINETICS, on Friday, Nov. 7.

Everyone can get a sneak peek at the raffle packages online, but they’ll have to be there in person to place their bid on the artwork. There are 34 pieces in all, and they’re hanging in Baton Rouge Gallery’s back gallery, where the annual KINETICS art auction will take place. KINETICS is the gallery’s annual and… Continue reading →

Album Reviews: Pop goes Swift; Yusef poised for return to mainstream

Taylor Swift 1989 Taylor Swift’s all-out move into pop music on her fifth album, “1989,” is the sound of a young artist who has gradually evolved from a teenager obsessed with boys and journal writing into a young woman embracing life in New York and stepping to a new beat. “Shake It Off,” her first… Continue reading →

Outlying areas calendar for Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2014

Photo provided by SLU Public Information Office -- Head of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts Kenneth Boulton, right, and Conductor of the Chamber Orchestra Yakov Voldman show off their cowboy costumes after a past Halloween Spooktacular concert. This year's concert at the Columbia Theatre in Hammond is Friday.

FALL CARNIVAL: 5 p.m.-7 p.m., Southeastern’s North Oak Park, 2699 N. Oak St., Hammond. To be held in conjunction with Trick or Treat with Greeks. (985) 549-3850 or LAST FRIDAY FILM SERIES: 6:30 p.m., Julien Poydras Museum and Arts Center, 500 W. Main St., New Roads. (225) 638-6575 FRIDAY NIGHT WARM-UP: 7… Continue reading →

Fairs & Festivals for Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2014

Photo provided by Baton Rouge International School -- Cultures are on parade at Carnaval Internacional, taking place Saturday.

VOODOOFEST: 1 p.m.-7 p.m., Voodoo Authentica of New Orleans Cultural Center and Collection, 612 Dumaine St., New Orleans. Celebrates region’s contributions. Free. (504) 522-2111 or GREATER BATON ROUGE STATE FAIR: BREC Airline Highway Park/Fairgrounds, 16072 Airline Highway, Baton Rouge. Fair offers a 40-ride carnival,… Continue reading →

New Orleans area calendar for Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2014

Photo by Matthew Murphy -- Julia Udine plays Christine Daaé and Cooper Grodin is The Phantom, in 'The Phantom of the Opera,' which opens Wednesday at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans.

The New Orleans calendar is a listing of events taking place in New Orleans from Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2014. It covers music, plays, shows, parties, family-oriented entertainment and everything in between. Continue reading →

From décor to menu items, Zoroona breaks out of typical Mediterranean mold

Advocate photo by KYLE PEVETO -- The lamb kabob was cooked perfectly, and grilled with tomatoes, peppers and onions.

For reasons not quite clear, Baton Rouge seems to have an abundance of Mediterranean restaurants for a city its size, and that’s a good thing. However, having visited many of them, it’s hard to draw meaningful distinctions. One might have creamier or more lemony hummus, and another a more robust garlic accent to its fare, but… Continue reading →

Euro Fest car and motorcycle show rolls into L’Auberge

Photo provided by Pinnacle Entertainment -- A 2001 Ferrari 300

Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls Royce, Bentley, they’ll all be there. It’s L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge’s Euro Fest: A Classic Car and Motorcycle Show. The event on Saturday is open to the public, and showcases European cars and motorcycles. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. There is no admission. The fest runs… Continue reading →

‘The Big Beat’ documentary brings out the stars

Photo provided by the New Orleans Film Society -- Fats Domino, left, made a rare public appearance Oct. 23. He joined Dr. John, center, and Dave Bartholomew, Domino's longtime producer, at the premiere of  'The Big Beat,' a documentary about Domino and Bartholomew.

Fats Domino made a rare public appearance Oct. 23. He joined Dr. John and Dave Bartholomew, Domino’s longtime producer, at the premiere of ‘The Big Beat,’ a documentary about Domino and Bartholomew.… Continue reading →

‘Evil Within’ is a nightmarish head trip

This image released by Bethesda Softworks shows the cover art for the video game,

In the video-game world, Shinji Mikami’s name has the same cachet that George Romero and Wes Craven have among moviegoers. Mikami created “Resident Evil,” the 1996 classic usually credited as the first “survival horror” game. He abandoned the series after 2005’s masterly “Resident Evil 4,” and it hasn’t been the same since, rejecting jittery terror for… Continue reading →

Spirits move ‘Ouija’ to No. 1 at the box office

This photo released by Lionsgate shows Keanu Reeves as John Wick in a scene from the film,

NEW YORK — The spirits moved “Ouija” to No. 1 at the box office, with the board-game adaption leading the weekend with a $20 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday. The horror movie release, timed to Halloween, attracted more moviegoers at the North America box office than the violent Keanu Reeves thriller “John Wick.” The… Continue reading →

Jack Bruce, bassist of 60’s band Cream, dies at 71

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 file photo, British musician Jack Bruce performs at the 'Zildjian Drummers Achievement Awards' at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London. British musician Jack Bruce, best known as the bassist from the 1960s group Cream, has died. He was 71. A statement released by his family on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 said ìthe world of music will be a poorer place without him but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.

LONDON (AP) — British musician Jack Bruce, best known as the bassist from the 1960s group Cream, has died. He was 71. Publicist Claire Singers said Saturday Bruce died at his home in Suffolk, England. A statement released by his family said “the world of music will be a poorer place without him but he lives… Continue reading →

There goes ‘Honey Boo Boo’; TLC cancels series

FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, file photo, beauty pageant regular and reality show star Alana

NEW YORK (AP) — The TLC network on Friday canceled its colorful series about child beauty pageant contestant Honey Boo Boo and her Georgia family. The network had already completed filming of another season of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and was set to begin airing it at the end of this year. TLC wouldn’t publicly… Continue reading →

‘John Wick’ both slick and stupid

Photo by DAVID LEE -- Keanu Reeves stars as a former hit man out for revenge in 'John Wick.'

“John Wick,” an action-thriller starring Keanu Reeves, doesn’t leave a single cliché unturned. Showing not an ounce of invention, the movie recycles the same old scenarios, shootouts, man-to-man combat, car chases and fiery explosions. The “John Wick” script occasionally aspires to dry wit of the kind spoken through the past 50 years by the of actors… Continue reading →

Bill Murray shines in ‘St. Vincent’

Photo provided by the Weinstein Company -- From left, Bill Murray and Jaeden Lieberher star in 'St. Vincent.'

Bill Murray finds the perfect Bill Murray role in “St. Vincent.” The veteran comic and sometimes dramatic actor nails the movie’s title role, grouchy Brooklyn retiree Vincent McKenna. Murray’s Vincent amuses and charms, despite the character’s apparent lack of interest in pleasing anyone other than himself. At 64, Murray is ripe for the part, comfortable and… Continue reading →

Review: ‘White People’ is edgy; has memorable cast

In this image released by Roadside Attractions, Kyle Gallner, left, and Tessa Thompson appear in a scene from

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A cheeky provocation wrapped in a zingy punchline, Justin Simien’s “Dear White People” recalls other memorably promising debuts — by filmmakers named Spike, for instance, whether Lee or Jonze. An ambitious satire that questions just how “post-racial” America has become, the film is never at a loss for words, but sometimes confuses galvanizing rhetoric… Continue reading →

State Fair returns with something for everyone

Photo provided by Greater Baton Rouge State Fair -- Black Water Bride

Rides, games, a petting zoo, racing pigs, a magician and music will fill the 100-acre Greater Baton Rouge State Fair grounds through Nov. 2. The fair began in 1965 as a project of the Baton Rouge Jaycees. Since 1985, the fair has been operated by the Greater Baton Rouge… Continue reading →

Whether pedaling his bike or cruising through genres, cellist Ben Sollee enjoys the ride

Photo provided by the Manship Theatre -- Ben Sollee

The ride is always an adventure, but it isn’t always the wisest choice. There are times when Ben Sollee doesn’t do his research and finds himself riding his bicycle in the steep hills between Kentucky and Tennessee. Or following the sandy Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Pensacola on U.S. 90, which is rigorous enough when… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge area calendar from Oct. 24-30, 2014

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- David Heard, played by Greg Williams, left, sings with the other choir members during New Venture Theatre's rehearsal for 'Choir Boy.' The show continues its run this weekend at the Manship Theatre's Hartley/Vey Studio Theatre.

The Baton Rouge area calendar is a listing of events taking place in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas from Oct. 24-30, 2014. It covers plays, shows, parties, family-oriented entertainment and everything in between. Continue reading →

‘Love’ plods along, not all strangely

Photo by JEONG PARK -- Alfred Molina, left, plays George and John Lithgow is Ben in 'Love Is Strange.'

It’s tempting to guess that if the principal characters in “Love Is Strange” had not been so naïve, they wouldn’t be wrestling with the difficult situation they find themselves in. A self-conscious, tentative drama, “Love Is Strange” concerns George and Ben, two New York City men who have been together for 39 years. When the state… Continue reading →

Outlying areas calendar for Oct. 24-30, 2014

Advocate file photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Chanler Trahan, then 2, changes his mind about sharing his sucker at the the St. Amant Future Farmers of America club's annual Boo at the Barn fundraiser last year. This year's event is Saturday behind St. Amant High School.

RELAY FOR LIFE: 6 p.m.-6 a.m., Scott Civic Center, New Roads. A community event and celebration for all cancer survivors. (985) 665-9893 or relayforlife/pointecoupeela SMART FESTIVAL: 6 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, LITE Center, UL of Lafayette’s Research Park. Event exploring the connections… Continue reading →

Shows to Watch for Oct. 24-30, 2014

Photo provided by DUSTIN EISKANT -- Old Salt Union From St. Louis, Old Salt Union performs music influenced by bluegrass greats the Del McCoury Band and Sam Bush, Bill Evans, Danny Elfman and the Punch Brothers. Old Salt Union performs Tuesday at the Manship Theater's Hartley Vey Theatre.

The Shows to Watch calendar is a listing of events taking place in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas from Oct. 24-30, 2014. It covers rock, reggae, jazz, country and everything in between. Continue reading →

Puppet painter from BR works on ‘The Boxtrolls’

Photo provided --Brett Carville

Former Baton Rougean Brett Carville, a 2012 Ringling College of Art and Design graduate, worked behind the scenes on the recently-released animated film “The Boxtrolls.” The film is based on the children’s novel, “Here Be Monsters,” by Alan Snow. Carville’s job with the film was as a puppet fabrication assistant. It included… Continue reading →

Cafe Delphi starts and ends meal well with Greek staples

Advocate photo by LESLIE D. ROSE -- The gyros, stuffed with tender beef and lamb, was enjoyable.

The gyros was good, the baklava was sweet and there was feta in the salad. All of this is a huge deal to me as those items are staples of a Greek restaurant. Ironically enough, I’ve struggled to find a place in Baton Rouge that has met my high, I-have-a-good-friend-who-is-Greek-so-I-know-real-Greek-food standards. While it ranks… Continue reading →

Love, discipline fuel Neil Diamond’s latest album

Invision/AP photo by VICTORIA WILL -- Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond wrote and recorded his first studio album of new material in six years floating in the heady glow of new love. The 73-year-old entertainer, who married for the third time in 2012, says happiness with his new bride fueled his work on “Melody Road,” released on Tuesday.… Continue reading →

Sega's ‘Alien: Isolation’ delivers sci-fi terror

Photo provided by Sega -- The video game 'Alien: Isolation' takes place 15 years after the original film 'Alien.'

Ridley Scott’s “Alien” has inspired dozens of video games since its debut in 1979, but “Alien: Isolation” (Sega, for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, $59.95) is the first in a while that has aspired to the claustrophobic terror of the original film. Is “Isolation” that bone-chilling and nerve-wracking? Not quite, but… Continue reading →

Domenica spinoff forges its own identity in N.O.

Advocate staff photo by SHERRI MILLER -- Garlic knots are served with aged provolone fonduta at Pizza Domenica.

The same type of wood-burning oven produces the same char-pocked, bubble-crusted Neapolitan-style pizzas. The same unaccountably delicious, whole roasted cauliflower is a go-to appetizer. And the same chefs and partners — John Besh and Alon Shaya — are at the helm. But Pizza Domenica is a very different restaurant from the one that… Continue reading →

Fairs and festivals for Oct. 24-30, 2014

Photo provided -- Tour  the plantation and  out buildings on the grounds during the Poche Plantation Arts and Crafts Show in Convent Saturday and Sunday.

SOUTH LOUISIANA BLACKPOT FESTIVAL AND COOK-OFF: Acadian Village, 1717 Veterans Memorial Highway, Eunice. Two days of music, dancing, food, camping and jamming. Live performances range from Cajun and zydeco, to Creole, swing, hot jazz, blues, bluegrass, Americana, Irish and old-time. Also, an old-fashioned black pot cook-off, accordion contest, called square dancing, and ample camping space… Continue reading →

New Orleans area calendar for Oct. 24-30, 2014

Advocate file photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- Riders toss favors from their giant skull-adorned float as the Krewe of Boo rolls down Elysian Fields and through the French Quarter last year. This year's parade rolls at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The New Orleans area calendar is a listing of events taking place in New Orleans and surrounding areas from Oct. 24-30, 2014. It covers music, plays, shows, parties, family-oriented entertainment and everything in between. Continue reading →

Keanu back in action

At the ‘John Wick’ premiere in Los Angeles, actor Keanu Reeves talks about his love of action and how his new role has a dark side.… Continue reading →

Dancing priests become Internet sensation

Father David Rider, left, and father John Gibson pose in front of St. Peter's Basilica after an interview with the Associated press at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

ROME (AP) — A video of a pair of dueling, dancing American priests studying in Rome has gone viral, following in the footsteps of a now-famous Italian nun whose Alicia Keyes-esque voice won her a singing contest and a record contract. The Rev. David Rider, 29, of Hyde Park, New York, and the Rev. John Gibson, 28,… Continue reading →

Witherspoon, Hathaway gather for McConaughey

Actor Matthew McConaughey has been recognized by American Cinematheque for his 22-year acting career. Former co-star Reese Witherspoon praised his ‘everyman quality’.… Continue reading →