Tag: Culture And Trends

Rolling in the deep: HBO film looks at roller skate culture

NEW YORK >> First-time documentary filmmakers Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler lugged their cameras to Central Park in New York one day to capture the last few people still passionate about roller skating. Rinks across the country were gone. The activity seemed dead.

“We were shooting a piece about what we thought was the end of the era of skating with what we thought were the last men standing,” said Winkler. “We thought, ‘Who roller skates anymore?’”

They may have come for a funeral but they found something else entirely. Two young African-American skaters approached them and asked them what they were doing. “They said, ‘Skating’s not dead. It just went underground,’” Winkler recalled.

Winkler and Brown decided to go find it. Five years and 500 hours of footage later, they’ve emerged with the HBO film “United Skates,” a fascinating look at the rich African-American subculture of roller skating, which is under threat.

“We hope that our viewers will learn something they didn’t know about, fall in love with something they didn’t know about, and maybe be compelled to care enough to protect it,” Winkler said.

The documentary explores how roller rinks were the sites of some of the earliest fights of the civil-rights era and how they later became the launching pads for hip-hop artists.

It shows how unofficial segregation lives on, with so-called “adult nights” that feature metal detectors and masses of police, something not used when whites come to skate. It also shows how rinks are being closed as communities chase more revenue by rezoning for retail use.

“There’s a bigger story to tell and we can use the joyous beauty of roller skating as the sugar to spoon-feed some of these bigger issues. That’s when we started to peel back the layers,” Winkler said.

That day in Central Park changed the trajectory — and the lives — of the filmmakers. The young skaters they met invited the women to come and see what had happened to skating. And so they got on a night bus to Richmond, Virginia.

The duo — one Australian, one American — approached a roller rink at midnight. It was far from funereal: There was a line down the block, music was pumping, skaters were dressed to kill and everyone seemed to know each other.

“We stepped into this world,” said Winkler.

They soon learned that each city had different skate dance styles — Baltimore has “Snapping,” Atlanta has the “Jacknife” and in Texas you do the “Slow Walk” — and how such a tight fellowship among skaters is forged that they will fly across the country to get together.

Embraced by the community, Winkler and Brown never paid for a hotel room or car rental or a meal while crisscrossing the country interviewing some 100 skaters. The skaters themselves opened their homes and drove them around.

The documentary features interviews with hip-hop legends like Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio and Vin Rock of Naughty by Nature. John Legend is an executive producer and the film received the Documentary Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The cameras also follow Reggie Brown, a roller-skating ambassador and community advocate. In a phone interview, he explained that roller skating teaches patience, athleticism, purpose, positive reinforcement, determination — and getting up after a fall.

“Roller skating is a little bit more than going in circles on a couple of wheels,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s an enjoyable exercise. It’s healthy and there are a lot of great benefits. But the socioeconomics benefits to roller skating are higher than anybody can think of.”

“Name me another activity that’s family-affordable, that you can go to on a Saturday and take five members of your family and you can skate for four hours and everybody can have a good time and exercise.”

“United Skates” is a documentary made partially by the subjects themselves. Winkler and Brown, who began the project as beginner skaters, enlisted skaters to shoot scenes and used their rink skills to help capture footage.

“They would push us from behind at these high speeds and we would just focus on the camera and just pray,” said Winkler. “It really was collaboration. They like to say we taught them how to shoot and they taught us how to skate.”

The cameras capture one suburban Chicago family-owned rink’s gut-wrenching decision to shut its doors — among thousands that have done so in the past decade — and the filmmakers are not shy about hoping their film can stem the tide of closures.

“Obviously if we could save one rink, if we could have one rink reopen because of this film, that’s a huge step forward for this community and we hope that will have a ripple effect,” said Brown.

Gumbo, the Classic New Orleans Dish, Is Dead. Long Live Gumbo.

Rich in flavor and history, the dish is no longer a fixture of local restaurants. Some chefs see that as a chance to reinvent it.

NEW ORLEANS — Decades ago, soon after moving to this city from India, Arvinder Vilkhu began telling his wife and children, “If we ever have a restaurant, we must have a curried gumbo.”

Mr. Vilkhu had tasted his first gumbo in 1984 during a job interview at a New Orleans hotel. “I was so much in love,” he said of the rich dish, something between a soup and a stew. He began developing his own distinctive version after immigrating here later that year.

But it wasn’t until 2017, when the family opened their Indian restaurant, Saffron Nola, on a restaurant-dense stretch of this city’s Uptown neighborhood, that he began serving his gumbo, bright with ginger, turmeric and cilantro. 

“New Orleans wasn’t ready for Indian gumbo,” said Mr. Vilkhu’s son, Ashwin, the restaurant’s general manager. “It is now.” This is an extraordinary time for the city’s signature dish. Gumbo, long a fixture in restaurants here, has disappeared from many menus as new chefs arrive with different cuisines and ideas, catering to a population remade by the transplants who settled in the city after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in 2005.

But the chefs who have stuck by the dish are using the moment to stretch its boundaries by adding ingredients that defy tradition, bringing it fresh relevance. Many of the innovations reflect global influences on New Orleans cooking, particularly from South and Southeast Asia. This time of year, with the cooler weather and the start of the Mardi Gras season, may be the best time to sample them — and to appreciate gumbo’s long and continuing evolution.

Michael Gulotta, a New Orleans native, has resumed cooking the seasonal seafood gumbo he introduced as a lunch special last year at Maypop, his modern restaurant in the Warehouse district. It’s seasoned with lime leaf, fermented black beans and black cardamom, in homage to the Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants that have long flourished on the city’s outskirts.

“I served that gumbo all last winter,” Mr. Gulotta said. “People went crazy for it.”

Gumbo has existed in various forms across south Louisiana for centuries. It can contain any number of ingredients, depending on the chef and the season. But until recently it was rare to find gumbo that incorporated ingredients beyond a fixed list of proteins (fowl, sausage, local shellfish), aromatics (onion, bell pepper, celery — known locally as the holy trinity) and spices (cayenne, thyme, white pepper). Gumbo’s flavor is further influenced by roux, the blend of fat and flour used to thicken the broth. It’s a French technique adopted by Louisianians, who often cook the roux so long that it darkens and takes on bitter notes reminiscent of Mexican mole. Sliced okra and the sassafras powder known as filé, a Native American contribution to Louisiana cooking, are also used as gumbo thickeners, either in combination or in place of roux.
READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/dining/gumbo-recipes-new-orleans.html

The “Game Of Thrones” Season 8 Photos Are Finally Here And THEY LOOK GOOD

April 14 might be a couple months away, but the first official cast photos of Games of Thrones Season 8 are here!

And let me just tell you this: EVERY. CHARACTER. LOOKS. AMAZINGLY. STOIC.

The final season of Game of Thrones premieres on Sunday, April 14. You can currently watch all seven seasons on HBO NOW, HBO GO, and HBO On Demand.

8 Reasons Why Black Friday and Cyber Monday Are Overrated

ImageIt’d be fine if the unbridled enthusiasm for Black Friday and Cyber Monday remained safely on its side of the mall—along with Spencer’s Gifts, Orange Julius, and the hordes of red-and-green-sweater-clad holiday-sale worshipers. But noooo. What we have instead is a world in which everyone keeps asking everyone else, “What are you buying, where are you going, and who’s got the best deals?” This year, don’t be at a loss for words: We’ve assembled eight reasons to avoid Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and even Green Tuesday. Feel free to bust out these logic bombs any time a crazed mall shopper pesters you about your holiday-spending plans.

1. Black Friday isn’t the biggest shopping day of the year—it’s just the most crowded.
Traditionally, the biggest retail shopping day of the year is the weekend before Christmas. What Black Friday may actually be is the busiest retail day for window shopping. “People just want to get out and do something on that day,” a director of U.S. retail and consumer products for Ernst & Young admits. So go ahead and battle demophobia (fear of crowds) while tussling for subpar sales. We’ll be elsewhere, not getting elbows thrown in our face.

2. Savings occur only in specific product categories
Whether or not Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the best days for sales depends on what you’re buying. The Wall Street Journal tracked several popular gift items over the year and found that Black Friday is only the best bet if you’re buying certain Apple products, Xboxes, and items that retailers overestimated demand for and now have a surplus of. If Santa isn’t putting iPads or gaming consoles in people’s stockings this year, Black Friday may not be the sales day for you—er, Santa.

3. Buying gifts earlier in the year may actually save you more money.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are bad bets if you want your loved ones to find Ugg boots, watches, or jewelry under the tree, as these items went up in price as the year wore on. In one case last year, the average price of a 46-inch Samsung flat-screen TV went up a whopping $200 between October and Black Friday.

Read More http://www.details.com/blogs/daily-details/2013/11/9-reasons-why-black-friday-and-cyber-monday-are-overrated.html#ixzz2lCVfUlfn