Yet Another Ousted Dictator: Earlier this week, Laurent Gbagbo, former president of Ivory Coast, was removed from power and plopped right onto the hot seat. Late last year, Gbagbo refused to step down from the presidency after losing the elections to Alassane Ouattara, who took away 54 percent of the vote. Instead, Gbagbo nullified the votes from nine different districts, giving himself 51 percent. After his refusal to step down, Gbagbo began to send state forces into the districts where he had seen the greatest opposition to his presidency, mainly the Muslim-majority north. Fighting broke out across the country and rebel forces, along with the UN, have been pressuring Gbagbo to step down for several months now. With Gbagbo now removed from power, and another potential dictator shown that the voice of the people will be heard, Ouattara will take power and begin to heal the wounds opened by Gbagbo.The Legendary Lumet: Late last week, Sidney Lumet, director of such films as 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, and Murder on the Orient Express, died in his home of lymphoma at age 86. Lumet led a long, rich career as one of the most prolific directors in modern film, directing almost a movie a year since 1957. But with so many movies under his belt, movies that racked up over 50 Oscar nominations, Lumet himself didn’t receive an Oscar until 2005 when he was presented with an honorary Academy Award by Al Pacino, whom Lumet directed in Serpico. His story may be over now, but Sidney Lumet leaves behind a body of work so large and so influential that he will still be a presence in cinema for decades to come.
Veteran’s Affairs: Birmingham’s Veteran’s Day Parade is the nation’s oldest and largest, but, if things don’t change soon, it could soon be that nation’s most defunct. Bill Voigt, ex-president of National Veteran’s Day in Birmingham, stepped down last year after having a heart attack at the age of 72. According to The Birmingham News, Voigt and the other officers of the NPO, also in their 70s, have been looking for new blood for years. With Voigt stepping down, that need for younger organizers is more pronounced than ever. With less than seven months left until Veteran’s Day, the organization will need to find new members quick if they don’t want the celebration to flop. According to the NVD, they need people with connections to the military and the backing of a corporation, club or government. Sound like you? Then let the NVD know. They’re going to need all the help they can get.
Crossing the Border: The guys over at Trattoria Centrale are expanding, both in terms of location and cuisine. They’ll be opening a new restaurant, El Barrio, in the growing Second Avenue North area. Unlike Trattoria, which focuses primarily on Italian food, this new restaurant will feature traditional Mexican cuisine. For Geoff Lockert and Brian Somershield, the duo that opened Trattoria back in April 2009, this new restaurant is an opportunity for them to expand their horizons and their culinary chops at the same time. El Barrio, which means “the neighborhood,” will be situated near the loft district and will stay open for dinner too, unlike Trattoria. If El Barrio can replicate the success of Trattoria, along with its superb quality of food, I look forward to the opening.