You do not have to feel guilty anymore. I have decided to change the name of my “Guilty Pleasures” column to “Tony’s Top Fabulous Five”. Each article will give you my top five interesting ways that help me enjoy myself and forget the crazy world we are living in at the moment.
Before a few weeks ago, I had never heard of pickleball. I honestly thought it was a shot, so you can imagine my surprise when some friends invited me for pickleball one afternoon, and I ended up exercising instead of day-drinking. I was disappointed, but in a good way. I enjoyed the game and weirdly enough turned out to be sort of good at it. To be fair, I have years of practice at dealing with balls flying at me.
Pickleball is a paddleball sport similar to a racquet sport, that is a mash-up of badminton, ping-pong, and tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated ball, with 26-40 round holes, over a net. The sport shares features of other racquet sports: the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net & rules somewhat similar to tennis, with several modifications. Pickleball was invented in the mid-1960s as a children’s backyard game.
Each week, some friends and I play at one of several courts throughout the city. The best part about it? The use of the courts is free. Some of the venues ask you to schedule your time and some don’t. You are able to play with friends or just show up and join a group. This unique game has built up quite a following and you start seeing the same people every time you go; before you know it, you’re a regular and making friends. It is wonderful exercise that is not quite as strenuous as tennis, but gives you a full workout. The only thing that is still confusing to me are all the rules and scoring. But you get the hang of it after a while. Some of the places to enjoy pickleball are the Gernon Brown Recreation Center in City Park; Pelican Park in Mandeville; and the Val Riess Recreation Complex in Chalmette.
#4. Anthony Hale’s debut album Rebel
Hale is a queer independent rapper and recording artist based in South Mississippi. He began his career in high school writing poems and thoughts expressing his knack for storytelling. It was the realization, however, that he can put those stories into rhymes that made him chase his passion for rap. His musical and creative style of art is based on his own experiences. Anthony credits his influences to musical icons, will.i.am (of the Black Eyed Peas), the avant-garde Dawn Richard (a.k.a D∆WN), Nicki Minaj & Todrick Hall.
Rebel is a refreshing sound with each track telling a story. From his opening track Let Go, Hale gives listeners thought-provoking and fun lyrics set to amazing sound. Adding to the songs, there are several funny interludes of conversations or phone messages that add to his experience and round out the album nicely. His music is all about life, love, lust and it is unabashedly real. I am loving Perform and Lucid Dream. Check out Anthony Hale’s album on Spotify or Apple Music; you will not be disappointed.
#3. Enola Holmes
I love a good adventure/mystery movie and Netflix’s new film Enola Holmes is just that escapist fun that fits the bill. The film stars Millie Bobbie Brown from Stranger Things as the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes. She is perfectly cast as the young, independent protagonist of the story who’s both strong and vulnerable. It also stars eye candy Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin as Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes respectively. Rounding out the cast is Helena Bonham Carter as the threesome’s mother; which makes sense since you really cannot make a true British movie without casting her in it. The storyline is good with lots of action (and a small romantic subplot) from start to finish. There’s lots of chemistry between all the stars which makes the movie even more enjoyable. Ms. Brown proves herself as an accomplished actress who can handle her own with more seasoned veterans. And looking at the success of Enola Holmes, we hopefully will see more of this spunky character in the future.
#2. Parish Bakery
If you have a sweet tooth, I have just the place for you — Parish Bakery located inside the Auction House Market at 801 Magazine Street. OMG, is this place fantastic. Parish Bakery is an artisan purveyor of fine cookies and pastries that are both unique and delicious. Owner Dakota Bertrand is the hottie in the kitchen. On the menu: oven-warm cookies, ice cream sandwiches, s’mores, and lots more. Bertrand grew up in South Louisiana where he spent years perfecting his craft. After cutting his teeth at The La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles and working for other well-loved neighborhood restaurants there, he returned to Louisiana to start a bakery of his own.
Getting in the mood for Halloween, he now has homemade ginger snap witch cookies and graham cracker pumpkins. Absolutely delicious. He also does some savory treats that are equally as delectable as his sweets. So get some sugar on at Parish Bakery soon!
#1. Out of the Pastel Closet
Getting out of the closet has never been so fulfilling. The Big Easy Sisters has started a new fundraising effort where they are collecting clothes for various charities around the city. Recently they had a clothing drive in front of the Crossing NOLA for Trans Youth and received so many donations it was amazing. Headed up by the wonderful Cody Devon Mclain, Out of the Pastel Closet is doing lots of good for the community in our time of crisis. If you would like more information go to their Facebook page or to www.nolasister.org.