Category Archives: Most Viewed

Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100: “Places Where Teens Make Out In NYC”

This is the 25th installment of Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100, a periodic series chronicling my observations and insights as a new New Yorker. You can read past dispatches here.

A week ago I labeled New York City as “No Drive City” because I had driven in the city three times in three months. This is a stark contrast to the bayous of south Louisiana where I learned to drive as a peach-fuzzed 16-year-old, and subsequently peeled rubber and polluted the atmosphere for the next decade.

My friend Marie read the post and wondered, “Where do the kids make out if they don’t have cars?” Good question. Here’s places where teens make out in NYC, or I imagine they do. I felt it unnecessary to title the post places where teens without cars make out in NYC because unless your papa is loaded or you live way, way, way out in Queens, you’re not driving as a teen in New York City.

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Album Review: The Heist by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Out now

It’s too late to say Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will be huge. Their debut, The Heist, rose to the No. 1 album position on iTunes shortly after release Tuesday. It’s a deserved peak. The album, as I view it, steals back hip-hop, transporting it from endless phony posturing back to more authentic territory without sacrificing an ounce of fun.

Here is my track-by-track analysis of The Heist by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis:

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10 Burning “Breaking Bad” Questions

What happens to this guy?

WARNING: Spoilers, conjecture, and nonsense ahead.

This week “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan revealed what fans have been wondering forever: Walt Jr.’s favorite breakfast food. Nom nom nom!

Season 5’s 2012 finale left me wanting more. Only the conclusion of AMC’s best show – sorry “Mad Men” fans – will not happen until 2013. That leaves a lot of time for guessing what will happen. Dammit, I’m just not ready for “Football Night in America” yet. I want “Breaking Bad” back.

Here are 10 questions I hope Gilligan and the show’s writers will answer in Season 5, Part 2, including one question submission from New Jersey’s own Robert Zullo.

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Returning To The Bathtub: How My Opinion On Beasts Of The Southern Wild Changed

Beasts now showing at Cinema 21 in Portland

WARNING: Spoilers below. You should see the movie before reading unless, that is, you love my writing so much you can’t help yourself. If that’s the case then feel free to spoil your dinner. ;)

Let me just get this out of the way: I still don’t follow the auruchs, the icebergs collapsing, or any of the fantasia elements that happen in Beasts of the Southern Wild. I know they offer a parallel to what’s happening in the Bathtub and in the life of young Hushpuppy. My friend Rob did a great job explaining these parallels in the comments section after my first post about the movie, and I encourage you to read his thoughts.

On my second viewing of Beasts of the Southern Wild, much like my first, I found myself largely uninterested in the deeper meanings of the mythical elements at play. This time though they didn’t dampen my affection for the film. I focused exclusively on what I adored about the film – Hushpuppy’s complex relationship with her father, the lush south Louisiana landscape, the joy the characters project, etc. – and put aside my previous concerns. Also important: The sky-high expectations I had the first time I saw the film were more realistic this time around.

It hit me while watching Beasts of the Southern Wild for the second time in five days that I will need to see it a third time, and possibly even a fourth or fifth time, while it’s in the theaters. It is my culture, my people, my bayous depicted on that screen. Thus, I am deeply moved and filled with a sense of pride that is hard to explain to people not born in the Bathtub. So revelatory was my second viewing of Beasts of the Southern Wild that I considered seeing it a second time Friday night, but abandoned the idea because the day’s first viewing overwhelmed me.

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A South Louisiana Native’s First Take On Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild in theaters now.

WARNING: Spoilers below. If you haven’t seen Beasts of the Southern Wild you probably should wait to watch the movie before reading this.

As I watched Beasts of the Southern Wild Sunday afternoon in San Francisco, I swelled with pride at the sight of my south Louisiana homeland and its residents portrayed on the silver screen in an accurate manner – perhaps outgunned by Mother Nature and other manmade forces but resilient and awash with joie de vivre to the bitter end.

I also marveled at the realization I had never seen anything like Beasts of the Southern Wild inside a movie theater, or a home theater, for that matter. Not only did it portray bayou people in a responsible fashion, instead of bumbling buffoons with cartoonish accents, but it starred a young black girl as a heroine and focused on the underwritten dynamic of a single black father “raising” his daughter. I used quotation marks around the word raising because at times it appeared Hushpuppy was the one raising her dad.

Eventually on-screen events snapped me out of my proud stupor. Specifically, images of glaciers breaking off into the sea set off alarms in my head. I heard prior to seeing Beasts of the Southern Wild that it had a global warming tie-in but did not know to what extent. Well, it’s hard to miss. The point director Benh Zeitlin tried to get across – global warming is destroying the Bathtub – failed to resonate with me. That’s being too kind. It felt wrong and slanted and hit with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the head.

Louisiana’s coast started eroding well before global warming became a political hot potato. Yes, I realize the idea that global warming has been the driving force behind erosion provides the film its zeitgeist appeal but it’s an appeal that is rooted in falsehood. Gradually disappearing barrier islands don’t make for a sexy film, I realize., but the heavy-handed global warming associations served as unwelcome distractions.

Zeitlin and crew got a lot right, though. It should also be noted my expectations for this movie were in the clouds. Therefore, if it reads like I am overly critical of this film it’s because I wanted this movie to be every bit as good as film critics declared it, and then some.

Pieces of it were.

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All The Profane Timbers Army Chants (Not) Fit To Print

Cover your eyes!

NOTE: The Timbers Army chants juvenile, R-rated things from time to time. If you are offended by such expressions then I recommend A) you not stand with the Timbers Army and B) read one of my hundreds of other posts. Thanks!

I stood with the Timbers Army Saturday night when the Portland side hosted the Vancouver Whitecaps inside Jeld-Wen Stadium. The match marked my first time in a year seeing Portland’s Major League Soccer team play.

For the record: I don’t consider myself a Timbers fan or an MLS fan, in general. I couldn’t tell you the Timbers record. I do, however, enjoy the rowdy nature of their crowds. The Timbers Army reminds me of a more harmonious, less plastered New Orleans Saints crowd.

I forgot over the past 12 months the Timbers Army could make a sailor in a whorehouse blush with its inventive use of profanities in song.

Here are some of the Timbers Army songs I heard Saturday, plus photos I took while there. The match ended in a 1-all draw. Both teams scored in the second half.

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“Cajun Justice” Sheriff Should Resign Following DWI Intervention

King Vernon Bourgeois

Three weeks from now, millions of Americans will be introduced to “Cajun Justice” on A&E. I encourage you to read my post on why this TV show is/was/will forever be a terrible idea.

The Cajun culture has already been raped enough by outsiders looking to make a quick buck. A&E’s show promises to be no different, with its laughable references to treacherous swamplands and “Rougarous” and bloated comparisons of Terrebonne Sheriff Vernon Bourgeois to a king.

The cable channel’s likening of Bourgeois to a king seemed oddly fitting today after my old newspaper broke a story that he intervened during a DWI arrest involving an alleged drunk man driving a golf cart. It turned out the suspect’s family donated to Bourgeois’ election campaign four years ago.

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On Chief Keef: Revisiting Gawker’s Nominee For Hip-Hop’s Next Big Thing

Chief Keef's latest mixtape

NOTE: I added a sentence to my initial post to reflect Drake’s assertion Keef had a strong following in among Chicago public high school students prior to his arrest. I also corrected an error I made about when he performed his first two Chicago shows.

From the moment Pusha T breathes fire into it, Kanye West’s remix of Chicago ROY candidate Chief Keef’s “Don’t Like” is appointment listening. The verses from Kanye, Pusha, Jadakiss, and Big Sean crackle with urgency, Young Chop’s beat thumps, and Keef’s hook has a middle finger in the air bravado that makes this song born out of teen angst electrifying.

The “Don’t Like” remix inspired me to seek out more Chief Keef material — he has two mixtapes — and read up on him. In doing so, I came across a Gawker article published in March that declared him “hip hop’s next big thing.” After reading the article and listening to a half dozen Chief Keef tracks, I can confidently write such a label being placed on him is not only undeserved but a bogus attempt by the web site to garner page views. For those counting, the article generated more than 59,000 clicks.

Through the magic of Twitter, I shared my opinion about the article’s headline with David Drake, author of the Gawker article in question. I refrained from expressing the latter opinion (about page views). To make a statement like that about Gawker would have been redundant.

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Coachella 2012 Playlist (Sunday Edition)

Ryan Gosling ... Not Playing Coachella

NOTE: In case you missed it, here are my picks for Friday and Saturday.

At the Drive-In+Coachella 2012’s final day=Oh My Gosling!

Aside from the reunited Hell Paso punks I am excited about seeing almost everyone on Sunday’s lineup. Of the three days, Sunday will likely offer the toughest choices once time slots are revealed.

If it is possible to see both Florence+The Machine and At the Drive-In that would be incredible. I am looking forward to Real Estate, Wild Flag, and maybe Metronomy. Tent dance party! Woohoo!

Of the 15 bands/acts I picked I have seen a grand total of zero. Yes, zero! Sunday’s going to be rad!

Click below to listen to my playlist. Enjoy!

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