April 19th, 2010
04:04 PM ET

Brad Pitt grounded by volcano's impact

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Add Brad Pitt to the list of celebrities grounded from appearances due to the volcano.

The actor was scheduled to appear this evening in New York at a tribute dinner, sponsored by the government of Tanzania, in honor of his brother Doug Pitt's humanitarian work.

But Brad Pitt was traveling from Europe - or trying to. His plane has been grounded, like thousands of others, thanks to the power of the volcano beneath Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier.

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Filed under: Brad Pitt • Celebrities
April 19th, 2010
03:18 PM ET

Christina Hendricks pens a letter to men in Esquire

“Mad Men” actress Christina Hendricks landed the cover of Esquire magazine’s May issue, and it seems that job included giving men a few words of wisdom about women.

In an open letter to all the men perusing the magazine, Hendricks advises them to stay away from Facebook (“it’s an invasion of everyone’s privacy”), complaining about a woman’s friends (“no matter how many times we say a friend of ours is driving us crazy”) and wearing tank tops in public (“you’re walking around in your underwear”).

However, she does think the opposite sex could drink more scotch ("it's the most impressive drink order") and reconsider the word "panties" ("say it more").

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Filed under: Celebrities • television
April 19th, 2010
02:29 PM ET

'Treme' recap: Crystal Hot Sauce gets its due

Chicken made an appearance in the second episode of "Treme," but it was definitely not on the menu.

New Orleans musician Coco Robicheaux conducted a chicken sacrifice to kick off this episode of David Simon's HBO drama.

"Are we entering some sacrificial realm here?" Steve Zahn's character Davis McAlery asks Robicheaux, who's confidently stroking the neck of the rooster with a knife. "Why don't you play the next cut on that CD as I summon the spirits?" Robicheaux tells the deejay. A blood stain on the wall after the opening credits alludes to what's become of the bird.

While there were no magic pies in the second episode of "Treme," New Orleans products made cameos - namely Crystal Hot Sauce, which graced the kitchen counter of trombone player Antoine Batiste as well as the bar of Gigi’s Place, the haunt owned by Batiste’s ex-wife.

Baumer Foods, which makes Crystal Hot Sauce, was flooded out of its New Orleans factory by Hurricane Katrina. It had to move production of "No. 1 hot sauce of Louisiana" out of state for 18 months. It resumed production in Louisiana in February 2007, after reopening the plant upriver to a town called Reserve.

Hot sauce helps chef Janette DeSautel stomach the scrambled eggs she burns while cooking on a hot plate in the second floor of her ruined house. As "This American Life" contributor Cheryl Wagner documents in her memoir about post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, "Plenty Enough Suck to Go Around," second-floor camp stoves were a common thing in those months after Katrina, used to heat up ramen noodles and whatever else locals could smuggle in to their ruined city.

Here's a guide to the local products in episode two of "Treme":

Bunny Bread This white bread - locally made in New Orleans - has been a city favorite since 1966. Its New Orleans plant was closed from late August to early December 2005 because of Hurricane Katrina.

Crystal Hot Sauce Flooding forced Baumer Foods to move production of this New Orleans hot sauce out of state following the hurricane. A new factory opened 18 months later in neighboring St. John the Baptist Parish. Crystal is milder than that other Louisiana hot sauce – Tabasco – and the Baumer Foods sign is a familiar site along the I-10 corridor in New Orleans.
Community Coffee Here is a coffee so beloved that one Katrina evacuee in Houston bought out a grocery store’s supply and offered free cups of the coffee to other evacuees in the Astrodome in the weeks following the storm. The Baton Rouge-based company donated coffee to Katrina’s first responders.

Finn McCool's Irish Pub Not a product per se, this Irish pub in Mid-City New Orleans gets a shout-out via T-shirt in the second episode. The pub was inspiration for Stephen Rea’s Katrina memoir "Finn McCool’s Football Club: The Birth, Death and Resurrection of a Pub Soccer Team in the City of the Dead."

Steen's Cane Syrup Steen's Cane Syrup is Louisiana's hardcore answer to maple syrup. This Abbeville, Louisiana, company has been making 100 Percent Pure Cane Syrup since 1910. When Janette DeSautel’s sous chef presents her father with a sweet potato pecan tart sweetened with Steen's, you know DeSautel means business. Use it to make pain perdu, or if you’re really brave, drizzle it on your pancakes.

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Filed under: television • Treme
April 19th, 2010
01:39 PM ET

Aziz Ansari will host MTV Movie Awards

Aziz Ansari“Parks and Recreation” star Aziz Ansari will host this year’s MTV Movie Awards, MTV announced today.

It will be Ansari’s first time hosting the awards show, and booking the comedian was a no-brainer for the network.

“Our audience fell in love with Aziz on ‘Human Giant.’ They followed him to the movies, TV and stand-up, and connect with him daily online,” MTV’s General Manager Stephen Friedman said in a statement. “Aziz is the perfect host for the 2010 MTV Movie Awards as he will bring his innovative comedy and distinctive style to the movie industry's most rebellious night on television.”

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Filed under: movies • television
April 19th, 2010
01:27 PM ET

Day 3 at Coachella: Sly Stone's meltdown

There was a train wreck at Coachella, and its name was Sly Stone.

While the better part of 75,000 festival-goers were at the main stage watching Gorillaz pull off an amazing combination of live performance and animation, 300 fans of Stone waited in a nearly empty tent across the property. And waited.

Earlier in the evening, the reclusive legend was a no-show for his 7 p.m. set. At 7:05 p.m., a man came out and announced, "Sly Stone's performance has been postponed 'til a little bit later.'" A few in the crowd snickered. This would not be the first time Sly bailed on a gig. "No, no, no," the man continued. "He's gonna funk this place out!" FULL POST

April 19th, 2010
12:46 PM ET

Green Day's 'American Idiot' on Broadway

Punk rock is coming to Broadway. On April 20, the musical "American Idiot" opens at St. James Theatre.

The production is built lyric-by-lyric upon Green Day's 2004 Grammy Award winning album of the same name. "American Idiot" features 24 young actors singing and dancing their way through ambivalence, rebellion and drug abuse. With a set that seems to hit the roof of the theater and television screens everywhere, the show pulls no punches. Images of President George W. Bush, 9/11 symbolism, and the war in Iraq are all part of "American Idiot."

So is Tony Award winner John Gallagher Jr., who plays Jesus of Suburbia, or Johnny. Johnny and his two friends Will and Tunny are disenfranchised small-town lads unhappily searching for something better. The better for Johnny turns out to be a girl called "Whatsername" and a drug dealer named "St. Jimmy." FULL POST

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Filed under: Green Day • Music
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