“Why does everybody think I’m such a diva?” asks the voice on the other end of the line. I have just asked if our interview needs to be moved or postponed due to last Friday’s sudden flash floods and thunderstorms. “That’s why they make waterproof make-up, love.”
Some time later, Aaron “Queen Michael” Washington appears, completely dry and fashionably tardy. With an upcoming album set to appear “soon” (“I like to keep people in suspense,” Washington explains), the gender-bending Washington is excited to have the chance to expound on what his/her sound is, and what it means for Baton Rouge.
Halloween may have come and gone, but the imagination animators at Composite Effects are still hard at work making custom film props, trophies, and blood in their Baton Rouge workspace.
Composite Effects, or CFX, has been a part of the Baton Rouge community for over half a decade, and received numerous recognitions and awards from horror-focused organizations and commercial groups, including a 2011 award from the US Commerce Association, a Vendor Excellence “Oscare” from the Haunted Attraction Association, and an Industry Excellence Award from Top Haunts magazine. As the accolades roll in, business continues to bloom.
It’s been nearly nine years since Cory Wise and Jeff Trudel purchased the building which currently houses Splash, and in that time, the club has continued to modernize and update.
“This place has been a bar since the seventies,” Trudel says, noting that he and Wise took over the location from defunct gay club Icon in October of 2003. And in that time, they’ve “never stopped renovating.”
The drastic increase in highly visible crime in Tigerland this year has residents anxious, but the Baton Rouge Police Department plans to increase its presence in the area.
“We can see spikes in crime in certain areas and respond to them,” said BRPD Cpl. L’Jean McKneely Friday, saying that this allows the police to concentrate their forces in those areas.
Within the past year, the rate of violent crime in Tigerland has grown at an alarming and unprecedented pace. In March, Gunner Williamson, a Tigerland resident, was discovered in a Bob Pettit Boulevard ditch, unconscious; the Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office later ruled his death a homicide due to cranial blunt force trauma.
To celebrate the state’s bicentennial, LSU’s Swine Palace is producing three plays that revolve around historic moments, people, and places in Louisiana. Proving that true art is controversial, all three have had mixed reactions from theatrical critics, although the Swine Palace performances are sure to be delightful. Paul Russell is set to direct a September run of a comedy that has been called “sluggish” as often as it has “ambitious”; Benjamin Koucherik and Swine Palace Artistic Director George Judy share directing credit for a New Orleans native’s play that has been praised for its mood and tone while being denigrated for being less a play than a series of vignettes; and, finally, Judy will direct a Louisiana perennial that forces the audience to confront its beliefs about the state’s most famed political folk hero.
In a move that would have made “Share the Wealth” proponent Huey P. Long proud, the LSU Board of Regents voted this past Friday to formalize the flow of money between the Tiger Athletic Fund and other branches of the university.
Within the past several years, the university has experienced a downward slide, as budget cuts have forced several departments to close, prevented maintenance from being performed, and the loss of 140 members of the faculty during the 2009-2010 academic year, with others slowly trickling out in disgust or disgrace.
With a little luck, the decision made by the board on September 7 will stop—and potentially reverse—LSU’s slow fiscal erosion.
Too late for yours truly, LSU has finally gotten around to offering Film and Media Arts as a major. This semester’s end will see the first generation of those graduates who chose FMA as a concentration, and while the rest of us with liberal arts degrees have had some trouble finding lucrative employment, this batch of alumni is heading out into “the real world” with high hopes and a better chance.