All posts by CajunTomato

I am a 29-year-old New Yorker from the bayou. I write about the city that never sleeps, live music, and other kinds of mischief.
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2015 Favorite Song Nominees

It’s mid-October, cold weather is a-comin’ and I am unprepared mentally, physically, spiritually, etc. Surprise, surprise. As a means of blocking out the coming winter and ignoring other pressing matters, today I’ve decided to write about 15 songs – my 2015 Favorite Song Nominees, for lack of a better phrase – that will certainly factor prominently on my year-end list.

Songs are listed in alphabetical order according to title. With one notable exception I elected to limit myself to one song per artist Below,. I’ve included my Faves 2015 Spotify playlist, featuring these 15 songs and many, many others. Enjoy!

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Worshiping Steve Jobs: America’s Asshole Deity

Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs.

On Saturday night, I spent two hours watching the new Danny Boyle film, “Steve Jobs,” about the highly fictionalized relationship of an adopted megalomaniac and the daughter he didn’t acknowledge until it was dramatically expedient to do so. And then, as humans in 2015 do, I pulled out my phone as soon as the movie ended and scrolled my Twitter feed, where I came across an article about Jobs’ ubiquitous corporation, Apple, and other American corporate leaders stashing a combined $2.1 trillion, including $620 billion in taxable income, in offshore tax havens. At that moment, I wanted to go back in time and shot put my mezzanine movie seat at Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) on screen out of principle.

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The Inevitable Katrina Question, 10 Years Later


Among New Yorkers, there is no such thing as a rude or intrusive question. One’s salary and/or monthly rent is icebreaker fodder, as my friend and fellow NYC transplant Amalia discussed last night. People get down to business here, about other people’s business, because everything is a race to size one another up.

When I tell people I am from south Louisiana the inevitable Katrina question arises.  The conversational “leveebreaker” goes something like this: Hi, I know I just met you but can we skip the pleasantries and go right to tales of human suffering and vast leadership failures? My perspective, I warn them, comes from that of someone attending college 70 miles southwest of New Orleans in August 2005. Seventy miles southwest in the context of Katrina might as well be another planet – one far away from the death and devastation that befell New Orleans when the levees broke.

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Two Subway Nightmares, Two Very Different Responses

Photo courtesy of New York Daily News.

Photo courtesy of New York Daily News.

This weekend, as I entered the grounds for Afropunk Fest, a man patted me down from shoulders to ankles. I opened my bag, showed him its contents and received entrance. This process, I imagine, happened to thousands of people, all in an attempt to prevent gun violence, or any form of widespread violence for that matter. This is not a procedure unique to festivals. The same goes for sporting events – NFL, MLB, etc. We willingly encounter these safeguards, in order to ensure the reality of modern-day America – our frightening gun violence epidemic – doesn’t interrupt our mass entertainment.

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Chance the Rapper – “Paranoia” on Windy City Live

“‘Paranoia’ is about the paranoia that plagues the city and perpetuates violence and causes people’s minds to be a little askew … The horns that Donnie plays between the chorus and verse represent a memorial for the people who passed away.” ~ Chance the Rapper

It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve watched this performance two dozen times this past week since discovering it while searching for video of Chance headlining Pitchfork Music Festival. Originally released two years ago, “Paranoia” is social commentary, reportage, nursery rhyme and love letter to one’s native land packed into one gripping song. Chance’s performance on Windy City Live, in the week before his Pitchfork set, is more animated and heartfelt than that show, its hosts or its deadbeat audience deserves.

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True Detective Season 2 Episode 6: 10 Thoughts

Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) goes knives out at an orgy in this week's True Detective. Photo: HBO/Lacey Terrell

Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) goes knives out at an orgy in this week’s True Detective. Photo: HBO/Lacey Terrell

Spoiler Alert: Old white men popping Viagra like there’s no tomorrow up ahead.

I found myself in a conflicted, possibly nonsensical head space after watching “Church in Ruins,” the sixth episode of True Detective‘s oft-criticized second season. I still don’t give a damn about any of the main characters outside Velcoro (Colin Farrell) yet with two hours left in this season I am invested in how the story ends. That doesn’t mean I am expecting some form of redemption depicted on-screen but I am no longer expecting my time will be wasted, either.

Don’t let me down, Pizzolatto. (Show creator/lead writer Nic Pizzolatto, that is.)

Below are 10 thoughts from True Detective Season 2 Episode 6.

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True Detective Season 2 Episode 4: 10 Thoughts

Taylor Kitsch, master thespian.

Taylor Kitsch, master thespian.

Spoilers Ahead: If you are not caught up on HBO’s True Detective, you might want to arm yourself … to the teeth.

Old Testament bloodbaths. Green and Black auras. Baby talk involving men who have trouble getting it up.

Tonight’s True Detective episode titled “Down Will Come” took its protagonists’ already shitty existences, shook ‘em up and sent them free-falling toward hard truths about themselves and the case they’re investigating, all the while killing the equivalent of half Vinci’s population. What a bloody spectacle.

Here are 10 thoughts from True Detective Season 2 Episode 4:

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Review: Leon Bridges, Green With Nostalgia, Serves Brooklyn Soul

Leon Bridges and Brittni Jessie perform "River" inside Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Leon Bridges and Brittni Jessie perform “River” inside Music Hall of Williamsburg.

A week ago, at my roommate’s insistence, I sat through Terminator: Genysis, a film whose migraine-inducing, clustercuss of a time-traveling plot made zero sense to my bayou brain. If you told me Texas soul-singer Leon Bridges, whose live show I witnessed in Brooklyn two weeks ago, accessed the Terminator: Genysis teleportation chamber in order to travel between the 1960s and now I would believe you. At worst, this explanation of Bridges’ retro voice, stage mannerisms and fashion sense would make more sense than the movie.

As I wrote in my review of his Music Hall of Williamsburg concert, Leon Bridges is a green performer despite what his classic sound might suggest. His smooth voice offers a fine facsimile of R&B legends but his stage presence does not inspire the same awe. One would guess, when his time-traveling act returns to NYC in the fall, that many of the wrinkles in his show, much like those in his high-waisted pants and polo shirt, will be ironed out.

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True Detective Season 2 Episode 2: RIP Ray Velcoro?

Am I dead or am I not? Answer the damn question.

Am I dead or am I not? Answer the damn question.

Spoiler Alert: If you are not up to speed on the second season of HBO’s True Detective you might want to avert your eyes.

On Saturday night at the tail end of a game of drunk UNO I witnessed grown men drop atomic shade on one another over a disagreement about the second season of HBO’s True Detective. One combatant remarked he saw no way this season wouldn’t suck given the action movie director who helmed the first two episodes – and a few other reasons that were lost in my mind’s surf. His opponent called bullshit on him for not seeing the first episode before desecrating the show. Pretty soon people were red in the face and yeah, our UNO game went to shit. Shame too because I was one card away from calling UNO.

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The MTA and the Odyssey

The cover of this week's Village Voice featuring a great and maddening story on the MTA.

The cover of this week’s Village Voice featuring a great and maddening story on the MTA.

Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 is a periodic series chronicling my experiences and observations as a New Yorker. Post No. 58 titled “The MTA and the Odyssey” highlights my train ordeal this morning, in the wake of a Village Voice cover story about the subway system’s shortcomings.

In this morning’s wee hours, after attending a dud rap show featuring hacks, wacks and lame MCs, I boarded a train from Manhattan’s Lower East Side returning to Astoria, Queens, unaware I had set into motion my own epic henceforth known as “The MTA and the Odyssey.” My six-mile trip northeast lasted longer than most feature-length films, as garbage on the tracks, a Queens-bound subway line ending its route prematurely in Manhattan and a Times Square station clusterfuck conspired against my desire to pass out in my bed. At least my ride included a drunk white guy dispensing invaluable knowledge on why ordering chicken fried rice is a pro move. Gotta look at the bright side while waiting for the MTA to investigate why gigantic chunks of filth litter the train tracks.

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