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Sweet ‘Night at the Museum’ bids farewell to Williams

Twentieth Century Fox photo by Kerry Brown -- From left, Atilla the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) and Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) react to an unexpected turn of events in 'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.'

Take heed: There are at least two acutely sad moments involving Robin Williams’ Teddy Roosevelt in the latest “Night at the Museum.” The movie, subtitled “Secret of the Tomb,” is imbued with the unshakable inevitability that even though we’re still having fun, it’s time to move on—a narrative made only more poignant by Williams’s sudden and shocking… Continue reading →

Review: Louisiana actress Quvenzhané Wallis shines in ‘Annie’ remake

Columbia Pictures photo by BARRY WETCHER -- Quvenzhané Wallis, an 11-year-old actress from Houma, received a Golden Globe nomination for her starring role in the musical 'Annie.'

“Annie,” the Depression era-set Broadway musical previously adapted into a 1982 film and 1999 TV movie, gets its biggest makeover yet with the 2014 film version of the story. Houma native Quvenzhané Wallis, the 11-year-old actress who received an Oscar nomination for her debut performance in 2012’s Louisiana-set drama “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” stars… Continue reading →

Review: Reese Witherspoon’s ‘Wild’ among the best redemption movies

Fox Searchlight photo by ANNE MARIE FOX -- Reese Witherspoon plays a young woman on an epic journey in 'Wild.'

Redemption movies often aren’t as inspirational as they’d like to be. They are more likely chores to watch. Not so “Wild.” The immersive, moving “Wild” is among the best redemption movies. Reese Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed, a reckless young woman who’s reached the edge of a psychological cliff. After a troubled life that… Continue reading →

Review: ‘The Babadook’ a brilliant, creepy film

Photo provided by IFC Films -- Essie Davis, left, and Noah Wiseman in a scene from the horror film ‘The Badadook.’

Six-year-old Samuel’s disruptive, dangerous behavior convinces his school that he’s a child out of control. The school’s administration wants to separate the boy from the other children. His single-parent mother, Amelia, will have none of it. She pulls her child out of school instead. Increasingly, though, in Amelia’s own interactions with Samuel, he’s becoming a problem… Continue reading →

Alex Rawls: Kermit Ruffins, on his own terms

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD --  Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers perform at the Congo Square stage during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Saturday, April 26, 2014, at the Fair Grounds.

Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins is a model for how to conduct a career on your own terms. He made his name as one of the founders of the Rebirth Brass Band, then went solo. He solidified his reputation playing Vaughan’s in the Bywater at a time when you couldn’t get a cab to pick you up there. He’s now… Continue reading →

Star-studded benefit honors NOCCA student

Photo provided -- Daniel Price.

On Dec. 19, 2003, New Orleans-born artist Daniel Price was shot and killed in San Francisco trying to protect his wife from an attacker. Price was a young, promising artist who’d attended New Orleans Center for Creative Arts during high school, and his family established the Daniel Price Memorial Fund for Aspiring Artists in his honor to recognize… Continue reading →

Fraternity suspended over ‘Beyonce’ holiday card

In this Feb. 3, 2013, file photo, Beyonce performs during the halftime show of  the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A University of Pennsylvania fraternity has been suspended pending an investigation into a holiday card showing the mostly white group posing with what it says was a Beyoncé sex doll. Phi Delta Theta’s national leadership halted its Penn chapter this week amid concerns the image — criticized as racist and misogynistic — shows a… Continue reading →

Battle is rejoined in action-packed ‘Hobbit’ finale

Photo by MARK POKORNY -- Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.'

The three-part saga centered upon title character Bilbo Baggins reaches a furious finale in “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” Following 2012’s “An Unexpected Journey” and 2013’s “The Desolation of Smaug,” “The Battle of the Five Armies” is the most action-saturated of the lot. In addition to the film’s five armies, various… Continue reading →

Jackson leaves Middle Earth with ‘The Hobbit’

Invision/AP photo by JOEL RYAN -- British actor Martin Freeman and director Peter Jackson, from New Zealand, pose for photographs Dec. 1 in promotion for the film 'The Hobbit, Battle of the Five Armies' in the Claridges suite in west London.

After a long and eventful journey, “The Hobbit” trilogy has reached its bloody climax. Not a minute too soon for director Peter Jackson, who has been longing to unleash mayhem on Middle-Earth. “It’s the first time we’ve got to kill dwarves,” said the director, his enthusiasm for death and destruction at… Continue reading →

Local businesses set up shop at the Healing Center’s LifeCity market

Photo provided by LifeCity -- Vendors ready their wares at the holiday market.

It’s the season when folks stress over what to give to their friends and families. People scrape their minds as they try to remember which game system their child wants or what novel grandma was talking about. At the New Orleans Healing Center, LifeCity, an organization focused on making social and environmental impacts… Continue reading →

Ballet Hysell, Delta Festival Ballet each stage a classic holiday ‘Nutcracker’

Photo by GK Photography -- A scene from the Delta Festival Ballet production of 'The Nutcracker.'

Although Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s inaugural performance of “The Nutcracker” ballet on Dec. 18, 1892, was not hailed as a success, it has since become the most widely performed dance production of all time. In New Orleans and Baton Rouge alone, in 2014, at least 10 productions of this holiday classic are being presented this year. This… Continue reading →

Reese Witherspoon’s troubled character finds redemption on a rocky road

Fox Searchlight photo by ANNE MARIE FOX -- Reese Witherspoon, left, and director Jean-Marc Vallee film on location for the new film 'Wild.'

As a troubled young woman in “Wild,” Reese Witherspoon has earned Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations and is a front-runner for a best actress Oscar nomination. Canada’s Jean-Marc Vallée directed Witherspoon, an Oscar winner for her role in 2005’s “Walk the Line,” in the acclaimed new drama, which opens Friday in New Orleans.… Continue reading →

Musical friends help WWOZ celebrate its birthday at Tip’s

Photo by RYAN HODGSEON-RIGSBEE -- Lauren Del Rio, left and Bill De Turk work on the air during WWOZ's 2014 fall pledge drive.

WWOZ, 90.7 FM, the radio station that’s inspired a vast community of listeners in the New Orleans area and beyond, marks its 34th birthday Friday at Tipitina’s. The station picked a fitting location for its celebration. WWOZ began at Tipitina’s, making its on-air debut from the club’s second floor on Dec. 4, 1980. Initially,… Continue reading →

Innovators, artists wanted for March fair

Inventors, builders and artists get ready — the second annual New Orleans Mini Maker Faire is coming in March. Presentations are needed by Feb. 1. The New Orleans Mini Maker Faire is a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness. Any group or individual interested in presenting a project, activity or performance should complete the… Continue reading →

At home in a revived historic hotel, modern Southern Oxlot 9 is making a case for road trip dining

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- Chef Jeffrey Hansell works in his open kitchen at Oxlot 9, a Covington restaurant for Southern cuisine.

The streets of Covington were predictably quiet as we approached the Southern Hotel on a recent weeknight. Less expected was the bustle we found inside the hotel. Small groups of people seemed to be on self-guided tours, inspecting art in the lodge-like lobby, roaming a courtyard the size of a pocket park… Continue reading →

‘Come as you are’ to try the Franklin’s chic, trendy cocktails

Advocate staff photo by RUSTY COSTANZA -- The  Franklin Restaurant is at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Dauphine Street in New Orleans.

When Franklin owners Jason Baas, Patrick Finney and Michael Wilkinson saw the potential to create a more upscale, ambiance-driven spot for food and drinks in Faubourg Marigny, they turned to the same design team, Bockman and Forbes, that created the Bouligny Tavern’s elegant and warm mid-century look Uptown. The result is a chic, international… Continue reading →

Don’t miss New Orleans events, Dec. 18-25, 2014

AP file photo by Matthew Mead -- Tales of the Toddy features the best of craft cocktails in New Orleans.

Thursday Tales of the Cocktail’s holiday version is a single night of craft cocktails, cuisine and music just in the nick of time. $40. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., New Orleans. (504) 310-4999. www.talesofthecocktail.com. Thursday through Sunday… Continue reading →

New Orleans arts listings, Dec. 18-25, 2014

OFFSTAGE GALLERY ARTISANS’ EMPORIUM: Through Sunday. Slidell Little Theatre, 2024 Nellie Drive, Slidell. Original art in a variety of media for purchase. (404) 784-6880. www.OTACenter.com. MIRRORFUGUE: Through Saturday, Laura Simon Nelson Galleries, The Historic New Orleans Collection, 400 Chartres St., New Orleans. Installation by Xiao Xiao. (504) 523-4662. www.thnoc.org. BLACK AND WHITE FANTASY: 7 p.m., opening reception today, through… Continue reading →

New Orleans events calendar, Dec. 18-25, 2014

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS $12 ADOPTIONS: Though Dec. 31, Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., New Orleans. Adult dogs, cats and kittens. Also, Special Delivery program for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa $75. (504) 368-5191. la-spca.org. BRIDGE LESSONS: 9 a.m., Wes Busby Bridge Center, 2709 Edenborn Ave., Metairie. (504) 889-0869. MORNING… Continue reading →

What’s on stage in New Orleans, Dec. 18-25, 2014

THE BOOK OF NIGHTMARES: 8 p.m. Thursday, Lost Love Lounge, 2529 Dauphine St., New Orleans. The Great American Poetry and Theatre Company’s staged adaptation of poet Galway Kinnell’s book-length work. (504) 949-2009. www.lostlovelounge.com. COMEDY AND MUSIC NIGHT: 8 p.m., Saturday, Castle Theatre, 501 Williams Blvd., Kenner. Becky Allen and Jodi Borrello will be the laughs and Linda Wright will… Continue reading →

New Movies for the week of Dec. 18, 2014

Photo by KERRY BROWN -- From left, Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck), Atilla the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) and Nick Daley (Skyler  Gisondo) in 'Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.'

“ANNIE”: The hit Broadway musical “Annie” gets a new film adaptation. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter are among the producers of this “Annie” update starring 11-year-old Houma actress Quvenzhané Wallis. Jamie Foxx co-stars as the rich Will Stacks, the New York City mayoral candidate who takes orphan Annie. Cameron Diaz plays the… Continue reading →

Black Captain America leading comic book diversity

In this June 30, 2011, file photo, editor in chief Axel Alonzo poses at Marvel Comics in New York. Marvel Comics and DC Comics are leading a push for diversity in their industrys mainstream characters. The new black Captain America comic book debuted in November. (AP Photo/Marvel Entertainment, Judith Stephens)

WASHINGTON (AP) — For decades, comic books have been in color, but now they are more and more reflecting the true hues of American society. The new Captain America is black. A Superman who is suspiciously similar to President Barack Obama recently headlined a comic book. Thor is a woman, Spider-Man is part-Puerto Rican and Ms. Marvel… Continue reading →

Cosby won’t be charged over molestation claim

In this Nov. 21, 2014, file photo, comedian Bill Cosby performs during a show at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, Fla. Los Angeles prosecutors have declined to file any charges against Cosby after a woman recently reported the comedian molested her around 1974. The rejection of a child sexual abuse charge by prosecutors on Tuesday comes roughly 10 days after the woman, Judy Huth, met with police detectives. The Los Angeles County District Attorneys Office rejected filing a misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18 because the statute of limitations had passed. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles prosecutors on Tuesday declined to file any charges against Bill Cosby after a woman recently claimed the comedian molested her around 1974. The rejection of a child sexual abuse charge by prosecutors came roughly 10 days after the woman, Judy Huth, met with Los Angeles police detectives for 90 minutes.… Continue reading →

Ashanti ‘disgusted’ by convicted fan’s tweets

Singer Ashanti leaves the courthouse after testifying at Devar Hurd's trial in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Ashanti said in testimony that she was

NEW YORK (AP) — Ashanti says she was “disgusted” and “absolutely scared” when she learned in July 2013 that a fan who had been convicted of stalking had since been tweeting her X-rated messages and posed for a photo with her sister. The Grammy-winning R&B singer testified Tuesday at Devar Hurd’s trial. She says she was at… Continue reading →

Ex-Eurythmics’ singer gets OK for music video

AP file photo -- The Beauregard Parish Jail in DeRidder.

DERIDDER (AP) — Former Eurythmics singer and guitarist Dave Stewart plans to film a new music video early next year in a century-old Gothic Revival jail, say local officials in west Louisiana. The Beauregard Parish Police Jury — equivalent to a county council — approved the request if the lyrics to “Leave This Town” passed muster by… Continue reading →

Bill Cosby’s wife defends husband: ‘He is the man you thought you knew’

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2014 file photo, entertainer Bill Cosby and his wife Camille laugh as they tell a story about collecting one of the pieces in the upcoming exhibit,

NEW YORK (AP) — Bill Cosby’s wife rebutted sex assault allegations against her husband of a half-century on Monday, saying the man being accused by at least 15 women of drugging and having sex with them is “a man I do not know.” In a statement issued Monday, Camille Cosby dismissed accusations that date back as far… Continue reading →

Louisiana singer competes for ‘Voice’ title; winner to be announced Tuesday night

NBC photo by TYLER GOLDEN -- Damien Lawson, of Monroe, performs on a previous episode of NBC's 'The Voice.'

Damien Lawson, of Monroe, may be the next “Voice.” Lawson will sing up against his fellow three finalists on NBC’s reality musical competition series “The Voice” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday. The winner will be announced during Tuesday night’s 8 p.m to 10 p.m. finale. Lawson is part of “The Voice’s” Team Adam… Continue reading →

South African woman named Miss World 2014

Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss gestures, after being crowned Miss World 2014 during the finale of the competition at the ExCel centre in London, Sunday, Dec. 14,  2014. Miss Hungary Edina Kulcsar came second with Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit finishing third. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON (AP) — South Africa’s Rolene Strauss has been named the winner of the Miss World 2014 competition in a London finale televised in many parts of the world. Edina Kulcsar of Hungary was the runner-up and Elizabeth Safrit of the United States took third place. The winners were announced Sunday after a lengthy competition involving… Continue reading →

Richard Ford’s long-running hero Frank Bascombe returns

The cover of Richard Ford's new book,

Few characters in American literature have proven as durable or as interesting as Richard Ford’s long-running hero, Frank Bascombe. When we first met Frank in “The Sportswriter,” published in 1986, he was enjoying that occupation that Ford took to be one of the happiest jobs a man could have. In Ford’s 1995 Pulitzer Prize winner, “Independence Day,” and… Continue reading →

Documentary revisits death of Huey P. Long

Associated Press file photo -- Sen. Huey P. Long addresses students at LSU in Baton Rouge on Nov. 12, 1934.

In “61 Bullets,” Austin filmmakers David Modigliani and Lucy Kreutz revisit the assassination of populist Louisiana politician Huey P. Long. On Sept. 8, 1935, the former governor and then U.S. senator was shot in a marble hallway of the Louisiana State Capitol. Instantly, the senator’s bodyguards fired 60 bullets into Dr. Carl Weiss, the… Continue reading →