Folks used to talk a lot about the local band the Research Turtles, which was widely considered one of the most innovative ensembles in town. Although the members of the Research Turtles broke rank some time ago (with six of them joining the Flamethrowers), the original group will reunite for a show at Luna Live on Dec. 23. They take the stage at 8 pm. Following them will be the bands Watchers and Bobcat.
Two of the members of the Research Turtles were brothers Jud and Joe Norman. Jud, a founding member, sang, wrote songs and played bass. Joe sang back-up and played electric guitar. At present, Jud is still performing around town as a solo acoustic act.
Both brothers left the Research Turtles to go to law school. They completed their studies, and both now practice law in Lake Charles — “not a whole lot,” says Jud, “but just enough.”
Those who want to attend the Research Turtles reunion are invited to wear “tacky” Christmas clothes. The show starts at 7 pm and will end some time after midnight.
One Day Only
For a single day, Louisiana media coverage was about something other than sports. On that day, Dec. 5, the big story was that Louisiana journalists are amazed that it can be both warm and cool in December in Louisiana.
Journalists around the state fired up Twitter with weather memes, weather jokes, profound comments about the great variety of Louisiana weather, dire predictions about 12th Night weather and so forth.
I’ve lived here 15 years, and each year the range and variance of temperatures has been strikingly similar to what it was the year before. If I didn’t know people as well as I do, I’d be astonished that they can find something novel about the whole matter.
I had hardly finished writing all that when it snowed. Two whole inches. All of sudden, Lake Charles had four seasons — just like Minnesota or Montana. This changed everything. Forever.
The worst of the changes was that all day long, everybody who came into the office talked a blue streak about “the snow.” I missed the old sports-only Louisiana news feeds on Twitter. There’s nothing more discouraging than seeing journalists spell snow as “sneaux.”
Art For The Heartbroken
Afraid you won’t be able to get your experimental art fix in the Lake Area during the slow weeks of the holiday season? Well, if you’re jonesing too much, you can tool over to the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette where you’ll find the “visual installation” The Registry, which will be on display through Jan. 6.
Acadiana Center staff inform us that “The Registry visual installation displays art objects made from fragments of love letters, notes, romance novels and diary pages. The installation reflects the illusions and disappointments of love internalized by the one in love.”
For a time, art enthusiasts were able to contribute to the installation. All who were “heartbroken” were invited to “donate the objects that remind you of your break-up” to the Acadiana Center, where they were added to The Registry. Unfortunately, the deadline for that option expired in November. However, if you have a story of heartbreak, you might still have time to enter your tale on the soulcrusharchives.com site.
The installation is being staged in conjunction with the performance of the play The Registry, which was written by the same person who put together the installation — Dayana Stetco, the head of the English department of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She founded the Milena Theatre Group, which will be performing the play on Jan. 6 at 7:30 pm.
The Acadiana Center for the Arts is located at 101 W. Vermilion St. in Lafayette. Regular hours are M-F 10 am-5 pm. If you want to see the installation, look for the Moss Art Loft. Need more info? Call 337-233-7060.
As December began, my plans, as usual, were to do no Christmas shopping. Then my cat knocked over my TV set and it smashed on the floor. So, for the first time in decades, I found myself Christmas shopping — for myself.
I picked a big box store that I figured would have lots of TVs. And I figured right. In that store were more TVs than there are bottles of vodka in Moscow. Rows of TVs stretched out further than I could see in every direction.
I noticed right away that TVs have gotten bigger. Much, much bigger. Most of the ones I saw were taller than I am.
I also saw why they’re called “high definition.” When I looked at the people on the TV screens, I saw a level of detail much greater than I’ve ever seen when I’ve looked at real people.
I walked toward one giant TV airing a commercial about a store clerk. From a distance, she just looked like an ordinary person. But by the time I got within a foot of the screen, she looked like a Greek goddess. Nowhere on her 2-foot-high face was there a single blemish or wrinkle or smudge. Her entire face was a single lustrous hue, with no alterations in the uniform color; no trace of darkness under the eyes.
I’m not crazy about big boxes. But I was glad I picked this one, because it still had a few of the TVs that I consider large, and, apparently, the rest of the population now considers tiny. One small row in the store was set aside for these pygmy TVs. The cheapest one was 28 inches wide. I was thrilled. I was about to get the biggest screen I’d ever owned. When I set it up at home and put on a DVD, I felt just as if I were in the theater.
In my spare time, it sometimes occurs to me that this is the last time I’ll ever be able to buy a TV that I can afford or get through the door of my apartment. I’m working hard on a project of surrounding my new TV with obstacles so daunting that even my cat will find them off-putting. (Just for the record, I gave my cat no treats on the day he knocked over the TV. If that was too harsh, well, so be it. I made it up to him the next day by putting on my DVD of Kitty Party.)
What’s The Least You’d Go To Jail For?
As much as we dislike crime, it’s hard to deny that there is a certain craft to the efficient commission of crime. And those who learn something about the craft before they start breaking bad are more likely than others to have some success on the criminal path.
But there are always plenty of people who jump right into crime without knowing the first thing about it. Such a one was St. Martinville resident Michael Mitchell, who arranged online to have a local woman meet him behind the Denham Springs Chase Bank for the purpose of selling him her Xbox console. Once he had the Xbox, Mitchell allegedly put a gun to the woman’s side, at which point she started screaming. Mitchell reacted by speeding off.
His escape could have been smoother. Several witnesses were able to describe his car and remember its license plate. But none of that really mattered, since the Xbox owner had the genius’ cell phone number.
Mitchell was soon arrested at an Olive Garden in Baton Rouge. I hope he got in a few minutes with his Xbox before the po-po showed up. He’s now in the Livingston Parish Detention Center. His bond was set at $100,000 — an amount that would buy an awfully big flock of Xboxes.
I think it’s a little less silly to jack an Xbox than a pair of athletic shoes. Let’s hope Mitchell isn’t surrounded by convicts who are amused by the prospect of cracking jokes about the sparsity of Xboxes in prison.
The Denham Springs Police Dept. is reminding the public that it has a “safe transaction zone” at police headquarters. It’s designed specifically for transactions between strangers who’ve agreed on the internet to meet in order to buy or sell something.
The Ultimate Guide To Star Wars: The Last Jedi
OK, there’s this new movie coming out and it’s going to be really, really popular, so I’m going to tell you everything there is to know about it so you can decide whether you want to go see it.
First of all, you probably should just go see it regardless of what I say about it because everybody else is going to see it, so you know it must be really, really good.
But just what is this movie about? Well, it has something to do with an old movie called Star Wars and a whole bunch of other movies for children. I probably can’t tell you a whole lot about that aspect of it since the only kids’ movie I watch is Up! But be that as it may, I can assure you that this Star Wars whatchamacallit movie is super outstanding. I’m 68 to 74 percent sure of it.
I will also point out that the title alone pretty much ensures that people who watch the movie will find out who the last Jedi is. If I gave a damn, that would be a real treat for me, since I don’t even know who the first Jedi was.
In other Hollywood news, I see that there’s been a remake of Jumanji. I’m really surprised that it’s taken 22 years to remake a movie that everybody agreed stank. On the other hand, Hook is still waiting for a remake after 26 years, and the sole version of On Golden Pond has been waiting 10 years longer than that.
Your Christmas Presents
This year, I’m giving Up Front readers two Christmas presents. First, you get one issue that is free of my regular The News section. You won’t be needing that section for the next few weeks anyway. Every time you turn on your television, you’re going to be regaled by reports on such monumental stories as these: people are shopping for Christmas presents; people are shopping at the last minute; people have put lots of lights on their houses; and a whole bunch of snow has fallen in Buffalo and in the Rockies.
In this edition of Up Front, instead of The News, you’ll get an entirely new feature, consisting of a bunch of ratings language from the Motion Picture Assoc. of American.
You remember the MPAA movie rating system. Since we’re talking about gifts, we should all recognize that the movie rating system is one of the greatest gifts ever bestowed on the American people. It works perfectly and is tremendously beneficial. It ensures that children never see violent material and adults never see educational material.
As I was looking at a selection of disaster movies on Amazon, I noticed some of the explanations given for the ratings the movies had received. I haven’t laughed so much since Tom Cruise was on Oprah.
Let me share some of these hilarious gems with you. Enjoy. And may you have a Merry Christmas.
“Rated PG for some perilous weather sequences …” — Tornado, 1996
“Rated PG for mild flood-related peril …” — A River’s Rampage, 1998.
“Rated PG for some peril …” — Eight Below, 2005.
“Rated PG for mild thematic elements …” — Scott of the Antarctic, 2005.
I thought that might not be quite enough for Christmas. So I made up a few of my own:
“Rated PG for frequent whining by sarcastic adolescent.”
“Rated R for sequence of independent pop ballads.”
“Rated PG for characters’ repeated use of the statements ‘That works for me,’ ‘That’ll work’ and ‘Don’t even go there.’”
“Rated BORING for blood running out of faucet gag.”
“Rated PG-13 for lack of characters driving monster trucks.”
Once again, a very Merry Christmas to all Lagniappe readers. See you next year.