Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Moutin Reunion Quartet

Francois Moutin (contrebasse), Rick Margitza (saxophone), Louis Moutin (batterie), Pierre De Bethmann (piano)

And where were you last night when the most exciting jazz band to hit Cincinnati this year took to the Blue Wisp bandstand? The French group, The Moutin Reunion Quartet, was the BOMB--and drew an eclectic crowd of 45-50 people of all ages at $10-12 a head on a Tuesday night with absolutely no coverage by any of the local media (so what else is new in this town?)...

Rick Margitza, the American sax player who joined Miles Davis' group in 1988 and cut 3 CD's with them, may have been the most well-known player in the group to U.S. audiences, but the three Frenchmen were the real revelation to this listener. Accompanied by the internationally acclaimed pianist Pierre de Bethmann, winner of the 2004 Prix Django Reinhardt as French musician of the year, the identical twin brothers, Louis and François Moutin, who play drums and bass respectively, were palpably "in the zone" last night, particularly in their Bird's Medley duo piece. This energetic band really rocks and the joy in their playing is genuine and refreshing. As's website says:
They say they started performing together in the womb, one snapping fingers and the other humming melodies. They both went on to PhD's, one in Physics and one in Math. But they couldn't stop playing music, even when they were separated by the Atlantic Ocean, one in New York and the other in Paris. If you don't believe in the twin bond, you'd have to rethink that after watching François Moutin and Louis Moutin perform together. A tighter and more amazing rhythm section cannot be found in the jazz world.

In the five years that I have been going to the Wisp regularly, this is the ONLY time I can ever recall being part of a STANDING OVATION at the end of a performance -- and that includes Dave Liebman's group and Freddy Hersch's last gig here in May of 2003!

The only Cincinnati musicians to be seen in the audience, getting their groove on: Phil DeGreg; Bill Jackson; Steve Schmidt; and Ed Moss.

A word to the wise: next time this band is in the 'hood, make sure to check them out!

Listen to audio clips from The Moutin Reunion Quartet's new CD, Something Like Now, and buy it at

Interview: Power Twins Unite: Francois and Louis Moutin (

Monk and 'Trane - 1957

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Short Ride in a Fast Machine

If you are still looking for a way to contribute toward Hurricane Katrina relief funds, maybe you would like this unusual idea: For the month of October, Boosey & Hawkes is donating 20 percent of the profits from its ringtone sales worldwide to the Red Cross's Hurricane Katrina relief fund.

Anyone for a John Adams "Short Ride in a Fast Machine" ringtone? Visit for details.

With thanks to Janelle Gelfand's classical music blog!

Festivus Lives!

According to the New York Post's Page Six gossip column (9/26/05):
FESTIVUS lives! Jerry Stiller, the father of the Yuletide holiday made famous on "Seinfeld," was overheard being interviewed about the fete's central elements — Festivus poles, the Airing of Grievances, and a wrestling bout called the Feats of Strength — last week at the Audio Department in Manhattan. The interview will be posted on the Internet in time to ride the coattails of Allen Salkin's book "Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us," which comes out on Oct. 26. Warner Books believes the title will be a top holiday hit, so Salkin and Stiller, who wrote the foreword, will start making their rounds on Nov. 18 at the Chelsea Barnes & Noble. The new odd couple is also booked for the "Today" show on Nov. 15. "Jerry is crafty," Salkin told The Post's Gersh Kuntzman. "But I believe if I have to wrestle him, I will prevail."

Monday, September 26, 2005

Divina's Delightful!

My fellow Francophile, Mary, and I paid a late afternoon visit to Findlay Market, Cincinnati's answer to Washington, D.C.'s Eastern Market, yesterday. Mary told me excitedly that when she had been there last, she had stopped by a vendor's stall called Divine Delights Bakery and Patisserie. She spoke enthusiastically about its proprietor/chef, a Filipina lady named Divina Garvin.

Divina is a charming, friendly woman with a warm smile who is more than happy to take the time to converse with you about her art, if she isn't inundated with shoppers eager to buy her wares, that is! She and her husband Mahlon have travelled extensively through Europe, the United States, Canada, Jamaica, Mexico and Tokyo studying and experiencing diversified cultures and tasting the local food of the recognized culinary Meccas. She has professional training from the Culinary Arts Institute of America's schools in Greystone, CA and Hyde Park, NY, the l'École Lenôtre in Paris, France and the International School of Confectionery in Gaithersburg, MD. She is the former pastry chef at the 4-star Palace Restaurant at the Cincinnatian Hotel (green-apple tart with mascarpone cream) and has also worked at Chez Alphonse, the Dayton Country Club and Elegant Fare Catering.

Mary raves about Divina's divine gourmet pastries and desserts -- now if only we can convince her to add real French macarons to her repertoire. Until then, her award-winning recipe for Green Apple Pie will have to do!
Findlay Market Bake-Off
1st Place -- Apple Pie
Recipe by Divina Garvin

3 lbs. Granny Smith Apples (peeled, cored, sliced, cut into 10ths)
1 cup water
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 star anise seeds
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup cold water
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Combine water, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, and pinch of salt to boiling point. Add apples, cook slowly for 10 minutes, and then add vanilla extract. Combine cold water and cornstarch; add to the hot mixture of apples. Cook for 5 minutes longer, stir gently. Set aside for pie shell. Pick the star anise seed out of the mixture.

Pie Dough
8 oz. butter, unsalted
4 oz. sugar, granulated
1 oz. almond flour
1 whole egg
8 oz. all purpose flour

Cream sugar and butter then add almond flour to incorporate. Add whole egg, then the all purpose flour to incorporate. Wrap the dough and refrigerate until it is ready to use. Roll dough to ¼ in., form into pie-pan, and bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes to a very light golden color.

Assembly: Once the pie crust is cooled down, fill with the apple mixture. Roll the top pie dough to fit the top and seal the edges. Sprinkle the course crystal sugar on top of the pie dough. Bake at 450°F for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Divine Delights Bakery and Patisserie
Findlay Market
118 Market House Tower
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Phone: (937) 830-3320
Hours: Weds 8 am-5 pm; Fri 8 am-5 pm; Sat 8 am-6 pm; Sun 11 am-4 pm

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Just cheese me...

Oh, lord. I am purring. Alone on a drizzly autumn night, with just my blog, a glass of chilled white wine, a plate of water biscuits -- and a wedge of heavenly Gourmandise with Kirsch for company.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

La Maisonette est morte

Yesterday I noted with regret that Cincinnati's world-reknowned five star restaurant, the Maisonette, has closed its doors for good, according to owner Nat Comisar.

The Cincinnati Post, in its article, Maisonette will not reopen by Greg Paeth (9/24/05) stated:
The contents of one of only 14 Mobil five-star restaurants in the country will be sold to the highest bidder October 21 and 22, when the Great American Group of Los Angeles auctions off furniture, furnishings, equipment, glassware, china and an extensive collection of original art that had distinguished Maisonette from many of its competitors.

Comisar said the art includes a number of valuable paintings by American Impressionists.

The restaurant, founded in 1949, has been ranked five stars by the Mobil dining guide for an unprecedented 41 years. Mobil describes a five-star restaurant as the source of "one of the few flawless dining experiences in the country."

Comisar said that the decision to auction off the contents of the building, which is owned by other members of the Comisar family, was made by a Mason investment firm that had planned to work with Comisar to open a new Maisonette off Montgomery Road about a quarter mile south of the Kenwood Towne Center.

"The investors decided to call it quits," Comisar said.

Going to the Maisonette was always an experience I looked forward to with great anticipation. From my very first visit as a naive 17 year old, intoxicated by the romance of studying French language and culture, to my last, a Christmas holiday luncheon with my best friend and his parents, the staff and proprietors of this fabled restaurant treated first time visitors with the same courtesy and impeccable service as they did longtime denizens.

From my first tastes of onion soup gratinee, crepes au poulet in mornay sauce, and baked Alaska to the decadently self-indulgent pleasure of gateau St-Honore, the Maisonette was always a grown-up treat.

Who Is Nat Comisar

The Cloisters

The Cloisters

The Cloisters
Fort Tryon Park
New York, NY 10040
Phone: (212) 923-3700
Subway: A to 190th St. Then take M4 bus to Fort Tryon Park-The Cloisters.
Bus: M4 Madison Ave to Fort Tryon Park-The Cloisters.
Car: Henry Hudson Parkway north to first exit after George Washington Bridge.

Hours: Nov-Feb, Tues-Sun 9:30 am-5 pm
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day

Hours: March-Oct, Tues-Sun 9:30 am-5:30 pm

Suggested Contribution: Included with admission to the Metropolitan
$10 Adults; $5 Students and Seniors

Himalayan Vision

There are lots of Tibetan stores in the city, but this one stands out with its luscious silks from India, Tibet and Nepal. They also have a great selection of monks' bags and pashmina wraps in every color under the sun, lots of Tibetan jewelry with turquoise and coral, and more prayer wheels than you could imagine. Other trinkets, art and clothing with a Southeast Asian theme are also featured. I was seduced into buying a rather flashy orange raw silk hobo bag, lined with scarlet raw silk. Its tiny clones, in a myriad of striking color combinations, could serve as the hippest of all evening bags...

Himalayan Vision
127 2nd Ave (between 7th and 8th streets)
New York, NY 10003
Phone: (212) 254-1952
Fax: (212) 473-8959
Hours: Open Daily 11am-10pm
Subway Stops: 6 to Astor Pl.; F, V to Second Ave.

Moondance Diner

How long has it been now since the late Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer prize- and Tony Award-winning musical, Rent, premiered on Broadway-- ? Well, this old-fashioned diner, a former railroad car, is where Larson spent almost a decade working as a waiter while waiting for his big break. Ironically, it came on January 26, 1996, one day after Larson's untimely death of an aortic aneurysm, just before Rent's first preview at the New York Theatre Workshop.

I made a pilgrimage to Moondance during a May birthday visit to Manhattan nine years ago, after having seen a segment about Larson on NBC Nightly News. I ordered the fish and chips and was disappointed to find that it was served only with ketchup. I asked the waiter for tartar sauce for the fish and he returned with a freshly made version of it made with mayo and chopped dill pickle which was none too great. But, for my money, the real payoff came when I went to the cash register to pay my check and discovered Jonathan Larson's handwritten note, inviting his co-workers to the opening night preview of Rent, taped to the back of the register.

My dear friend Ninotchka obtained tickets for us to see Rent on Broadway as my special birthday treat. It was the first month of its run, so we got to see the original production and cast. The outside of the Nederlander Theater where it was playing had been painted to resemble a funky building on the Lower East Side.

Larson's former co-worker at Moondance, Jesse L. Martin, went on to originate the role of Tom Collins in Rent and is reprising his role in the new film version of the play, as are Taye Diggs (Benny), Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Angel), Idina Menzel (Maureen), Adam Pascal (Roger), and Anthony Rapp (Mark).

Moondance Diner
80 Sixth Ave at Grand Street
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 226-1191
Hours: Sun-Weds 7 am-midnight, Thurs-Sat 24 hours; may also be rented out for parties

Friday, September 23, 2005

YU - Japanese Designer Clothing

YU - Japanese Designer Clothing is a funky little consignment shop in NoLIta that I discovered by accident while reading New York magazine several years back. Although it's billed as specializing in Japanese designers (Issey Miyake; Comme des Garcons; Yohji Yamamoto; and Matsuda), you may also find items by Vivienne Westwood; Jil Sander; Jean Paul Gaultier; and others.

The selection on the website is just the tip of the iceberg in this tiny hole in the wall. You really need to visit in person to have the complete experience. I've lucked out on two separate occasions, snapping up an Issey Miyake Plantation navy blue cotton waffle-weave kimono coat and a pair of rather peculiar (but, oh, I love them so!) black suede Comme des Garcons booties. Most items seem to run $200 or less.

P.S. If my fairy godfather is out there somewhere, I would really love to have that Miyake VS-26 dress! :-)))

151 Ludlow Street (Second block below East Houston Street, between Stanton and Rivington)
New York, NY 10002
Phone: (212) 979-9370
Fax: (212) 477-6224

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

I was in a New York state of mind this morning and suddenly remembered a visit I'd once made with my friend Nina, after having a Pad Thai lunch, to a little place on Bayard Street called the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. They have some of the most exotic flavors I've ever seen -- well, you be the judge: Almond Cookie, Avocado, Coconut, Durian (huh?), Ginger, Green Tea, Longan (?), Lychee (Chinese Fruit), Passion Fruit, Red Bean (Dessert Bean), Taro (Potato-like), and Black Sesame. I had Mango!

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
65 Bayard Street (between Elizabeth and Mott Streets)
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 608 4170
HOURS: Mon-Thurs 11 am-11 pm; Fri-Sun 11 am-11:30 pm

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Depardieu: I was acting, not drunk

From The [U.K.] Independent comes this piece by John Lichfield about Gerard's appearance last week on an British talk show:
19 September 2005

The French actor Gérard Depardieu has denied that he was drunk, rude or out of control on a BBC Television chat show last week.

Depardieu said he was only acting - and performing according to the expectations of the producers of Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. If so, it was one of the star's best recent performances on screen.

Depardieu appeared to slur his speech, lit a cigarette and stubbed it out on the floor. He told viewers he drank "between four and eight bottles" of wine a day.

Asked how he would cook a hedgehog (the actor was in Britain to promote his cookery book), Depardieu responded: "You inflate it through its arse."

In an interview yesterday with Le Journal du Dimanche, Depardieu angrily dismissed criticisms of his performance in France. He also said that he had given up drinking six months ago.

"It was all fixed in advance," he said. "Ask the BBC how big their audience was. I can tell you that they were very happy.

"It's only the French who were shocked. We had a laugh and it was great. [The British] are people who have a great sense of humour and with whom you can arrange things like that. It is the French who are cretins."

Depardieu said that the show was pre-recorded so the BBC could have edited it. "They said, 'Show it all, it's so extraordinary."

He said he gave up drink six months ago. Reminded that he also seemed to be drunk on the Michael Field chat show in France in April, Depardieu responded: "Ah, yes, with Field, precisely because it was a French show, and that pissed me off, I was sloshed, that's true. Television in France bores the shit out of me."

Monday, September 19, 2005

Estonians don't smile...

Photo: Mary Connolly

Oh, yeah? Wanna bet? Some of them even have dimples! ;-)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mary!

Today is my droog Mary's birthday. She is the only person I know who loves Paris as much as I do. Since we can't be there we are going to celebrate by sipping champers and dining at Hamburger Mary's and then attending the opening night of the Cincinnati Symphony's new season (box seats -- yeah, baby, yeah!). I am so excited. Paavo is finally back where he belongs after four months of globetrotting and the program is a glorious all-Beethoven one -- crowned with the magnificent Ninth Symphony and the stirring Ode to Joy. I'm sure Alex would have loved it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Isadora Duncan

In the Theatre of Dionysus, Athens (Photo by Raymond Duncan)

Adieu, mes amis. Je vais à la gloire. And with those final words, modern dance icon Isadora Duncan died on this day 78 years ago. Her death came suddenly and unexpectedly in 1927 in Nice. On the evening of September 14th, she went out for a drive with a young mechanic who sold Bugatti racing cars. Just as the car started, Isadora flung the end of her shawl over her shoulder. The long fringe caught in the spokes of the spinning rear wheel; the heavy silk tightened around the beautiful neck. She died instantly.

Her brother Raymond brought her body to Paris. Thousands of mourners, famous and unknown, had gathered at the cemetery gate. During the cremation, Marcellac sang Beethoven's in Questa Tomba Oscura, which Eleonora Duse had sung to comfort Isadora after the death of her children, Deirdre and Patrick.
“I have discovered the dance. I have discovered the art which has been lost for two thousand years. … I bring you the idea that is going to revolutionize our entire epoch."

"I am asked to speak upon the `Dance of the Future'—yet how is it possible? In fifty years I may have something to say. Besides, I have always found it indiscreet for me to speak of my dance. The people who are in sympathy with me understand what I am trying to do better than myself, the people who are not in sympathy, understand better than I why they are not."

"I had three great Masters, the three great precursors of the Dance in our century — Beethoven, Nietzsche and Wagner. Beethoven created the dance in mighty rhythm. Wagner in sculptural form. Nietzsche in spirit. Nietzsche was the first dancing philosopher."

Purchase My Life by Isadora Duncan from

Purchase The Loves of Isadora, starring Vanessa Redgrave and directed by Karel Reisz from

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Anderson Cooper's Hurricane Katrina Coverage

The September 19 issue of New York magazine features an article titled Unanchored ("Anderson Cooper’s on-air breakdown was an honest expression of his complicated personality—and a breakthrough for the future of television news") by Jonathan Van Meter.

House Returns Tonight!

House, my favorite new television show of last season, returns for its second year tonight.

English actor Hugh Laurie, long known in the U.S. for mainly playing dimwits on BritComs like A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Black Adder, Jeeves and Wooster, and The Young Ones, has been nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his role as the sarcastic but brilliant, limping, Vicodin-popping American Dr. Gregory House. This show is appointment viewing at its finest.

The Akron Beacon-Journal reports that tonight's premiere episode (9 p.m., Fox) "will have you asking if House is starting to soften up; he sure looks tidier as the season begins. Fortunately, he remains abrasive and skeptical.

"Tonight's main case involves a death-row inmate (LL Cool J) with a mysterious ailment, and House getting drunk to figure it out. (Really. And it's a good scene.) A second case finds Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) doubting a diagnosis.

"I wish they'd stop making Cameron such a wimp, and still think Sela Ward (as an old flame of House) is superfluous. And there's one hospital scene that's quite gross.

"But I keep watching, if only to enjoy Laurie's moves. And the episode coming on Sept. 20 is much better than tonight's."

Saturday, September 10, 2005

'I always wanted to be a butcher'

The (London) Telegraph published this article by Colin Randall about my beloved Gérard Depardieu in its September 2, 2005 issue:

Gérard Depardieu, France's most famous actor and bon viveur, has joined the massed ranks of celebrity chefs. Colin Randall reports

First, there was the GI Diet; now, get ready for the GD diet. If you enjoyed being on "the Atkins", with its abundance of protein and fat, you'll love being on "the Depardieu".

Gérard Depardieu, the quintessential anti-hero of French cinema, will this month publish the British edition of Ma Cuisine, his book of sensuous, traditional and highly calorific recipes. Already a bestseller and much talked-about in France, though not without some controversy, the book won a special prize at this year's Gourmand World Cookbook awards.

Depardieu is not the first film star to reinvent himself as a gourmand. It seems that almost every big name in Hollywood has their own restaurant - including Robert de Niro, Johnny Depp, Cameron Diaz and Bruce Willis - but few can match the Frenchman's lifelong passion for food.

"I also wanted to be a butcher," he writes in the book's introduction, "but in the meantime became an actor."

His harshest critics might argue that the man who celebrates 40 years in films this year fell out of love with acting some time ago. Many consider him a fading giant whose greatest performances, in such classics as Jean de Florette and Cyrano de Bergerac, seem a long time ago as he settles for an endless string of lesser roles.

A kinder assessment reveals Depardieu to be a national institution who has outgrown the big screen; an inspired if temperamental go-getter who has turned to business activities with all the vigour he previously put into a multitude of film roles.

With his chateaux, townhouses and holiday retreats, Depardieu is probably a millionaire on the strength of residential properties alone. But his fiefdom goes further. In partnership with the French actress Carole Bouquet (despite speculation about the current status of their relationship, they have been more or less together for the best part of a decade) he co-owns not only the hugely popular Parisian restaurants L'Ecaille de la Fontaine and La Fontaine Gaillon, which are in the same tranquil square a few paces from the Opéra, but a Sicilian vineyard.

At a time when most French winemakers wring their hands in despair in the face of falling demand and ever-sharper New World competition, Depardieu's viticultural empire keeps on growing. To add to 20 or more vineyards in France, Italy, Spain, America, Morocco and Algeria, he now plans to expand into Hungary.

Ma Cuisine (My Cookbook) sees the logical extension of any successful foodie's career. But what diet-conscious and occasionally squeamish British consumers will make of Depardieu's notion of good eating is another matter. From lapin en gelée (rabbit in jelly - his favourite dish) to pot-au-feu aux quatre viandes (a stew with four meats), these are not dishes for the faint-hearted, or those shackled to low-cholesterol regimes.

Calves' feet, pigs' ears, potatoes and lashings of wine play their full parts in the preparations; cream, butter and rich sauces abound.

Depardieu is, after all, a man reputedly able to devour four chickens at a single sitting, and, at the height of his drinking, quaff three or four bottles of decent red in a day.

Perhaps he is making up for a childhood in which meat, usually a cheap horsemeat cut or rabbit, was affordable only in the first week of the month. "To this day, meat remains for me a symbol of prosperity," he writes.

On wine, his language is even more extravagant. "Wine has a soul," he declares. "For me, it's synonymous with friendship and the sharing of simple pleasures. I don't drink to get drunk, or to forget. I love wine because it puts me in good humour."

Depardieu's appreciation of food and drink stands out in any scrutiny of his lavishly illustrated book. But how many lavish illustrations does anyone actually want of a man whose appearance might be considered an acquired taste?

The shoe designer Manolo Blahnik, on his internet blog, recently described Depardieu as "slovenly and outwardly repulsive. But at the same time, is there not something magnetic?"

Not according to the French writer Martin Monestier, one of the actor's many detractors. He and Depardieu were on the same television talk show this year when an apparently well lubricated Depardieu, angered by Monestier's criticism of his book, launched an intemperate verbal assault, calling him "un abruti" and a "tête de lard". Translation of French abuse is not an exact science, but think of morons and stubborn pigs and you get the drift.

It wasn't Depardieu's first public row in recent years - there have been a number of heated exchanges in the Parisian press with his actor son, Guillaume.

In fairness to Depardieu, his part of the spat was restrained, if stern. Guillaume, he told Paris Match, was "very difficult, incorrigible", capable of behaviour that had led to a rupture in their relationship. "I made the break because I don't want to be the bin that you throw everything into that you feel like."

His son, who has had problems with drink, drugs and authority, and lost his right leg after a motorcycling accident, pulled fewer punches. He denounced his father as "a coward and a cheat", a man who was thoroughly rotten but had a raging desire to be loved and have money.

Since the dispute arose nearly two years ago, the mutual acrimony may have subsided. In any case, it does not seem to have turned young French people away from Depardieu; in a recent poll, they voted him the nation's favourite personality, ahead of the exemplary footballer Zinédine Zidane.

Depardieu is admired by many in France because he is a reformed delinquent. He grew up in poverty, got into trouble and ran away from reform school. Eventually, he joined an itinerant theatrical troupe and realised he had talent. Even today, sympathetic observers describe a mix of genius and tragedy.

Leave aside the early brushes with the law and it is easy to see that the simplicity of Depardieu's background has instilled a fierce attachment to country ways and traditional methods of farming that would find resonance in rural Britain.

In Ma Cuisine, he talks of his horror at livestock being transported halfway across Europe to slaughter. However strictly the distant abattoir may observe rules of humane treatment, he believes, no such animal will ever make good meat. "Before killing a pig," he writes, "I talk to it. Stroking a creature before killing it helps it to die peacefully."

He also deplores the American obsession with fat and cholesterol when, he says, the presence in food preparation of sugar and carcinogenic substances is ignored.

So how do we see Gérard Depardieu now? Bruised romantic or irredeemable rogue? Ma Cuisine does not tell the whole story.

But readers of the book who choose to give him the benefit of the doubt will skip past the admission that his appetite obliges him to embark on a series of diets to lose nearly five stones each year - five stones he knows he will soon pile back on again. They will turn instead to his extravagant paean to the glories of food: "Close your eyes for a second and imagine the sensation of rediscovering the taste of an exceptional dish, prepared with ingredients of extraordinary flavour and served with love. For that, above all, is what cooking is about: an act of love."

Buy the English version of 'My Cookbook'by Gérard Depardieu (Conran Octopus, published on September 15) from
ou en francais de

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya

Legendary New Orleans jazz and bluesman Dr. John (the Night Tripper) weighed in with his opinion about the situation in his hometown according to The New York Daily News' Joanna Rush and George Molloy's column today:

"Harry Connick Jr. also jumped in a boat to tour his ravaged hometown. But fellow Big Easy crooner Dr. John tells us: 'I would hate to be like little Harry Connick, being used for propaganda. I like Harry, but that's not for me. ... If they got Harry in, why couldn't they bring back some people who lived in the neighborhood?' The Doctor, aka Mac Rebennack, believes locals could be crucial in keeping their armed neighbors from getting into a shootout with the National Guard.

" 'Some people who're being chalked off as thugs and looters are actually doing heroic things,' says Rebennack.

"The music legend, in New York working on a relief concert, says he just found out that his daughter and grandchildren are safe, 'but I heard that one nephew was dead and a whole lot of my family is still missing.' "

"And Associated Press reported yesterday that 'One of New Orleans' most iconic natives, legendary bluesman and boogie woogie pianist Dr. John said in a statement: "If anybody in the government would've done something about the disappearing wetlands for the past 50 years, then this probably wouldn't have been as bad.

"It makes me think of what my friend Rev. Goat just told me, 'Let me say this before it goes any further, New Orleans didn't die of natural causes, she was murdered.'"

Visit Dr. John's Official Website.

Have a taste of voodoo: Buy your gris-gris here!

Here's a really great survey of the sounds of N'awlins: The A.V. Club's Definitive Mixlist: New Orleans.

And last, but not least, a new documentary about New Orleans titled Make It Funky rolls out in theaters in New York and L.A. this week before being released on DVD.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Down on the Bayou

Cool Cajuns Diego and his son ZZ with witchy California vegan mom, Barbara

After observing all of the terrible devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, I wondered about the fate of the wonderful Cajun family which was featured on Fox's Trading Spouses last season. I couldn't remember hearing anyone talk about Katrina's effect on the people living in bayou country, so I Googled around and finally found some postings on the web saying that they are fine and that the main damage in their area (Thibaudeaux, LA) was caused by high winds. I hope they know how many people who don't know anybody else in that area remember them fondly and kept them in their thoughts, praying they were safe.

Trading Spouses, the Bayou, and Katrina

Interview with the Loupe Family

Zam's Swamp Tours

Photos of Zam's Swamp Tours

The Snake Wrangler vs. The Vegan Vixen

Vegans Behaving Badly