Harry Shearer, known for being one-third of Spinal Tap, one-half (it seems) of The Simpsons and just about all of the syndicated radio program Le Show, has adopted New Orleans as home.
He's become wrapped up in the city's recovery from Katrina, and the events that led to its devastation.
Angered that officials -- including President Obama -- kept referring to the event as "a natural disaster,' Shearer put together a documentary showing how piss-poor the Army Corps of Engineer's levee system was and why it was doomed to fail.
He's been taking the movie around the country (and winning awards) for a while now, and Houston -- home to so many Katrina evacuees -- is finally getting its stop.
The Big Uneasy will play at the Alamo Drafthouse at West Oaks April 29, and Shearer will attend a conduct a Q&A session afterwards.
Shearer describes on the film's website how he put the film together quickly (but carefully) in order to capitalize on media attention for Katrina's fifth anniversary.
He decided not to distract matters by being in the film much himself, and made other choices:
Given the mass media's sentimentalism about the subject matter (one network anchor told me, when I asked why viewers of the broadcast didn't yet know why the city had flooded, "We just think the emotional stories are more compelling for our audience"), I determined to make a film filled with the facts of the story.
That meant a relatively information-dense movie, which led me to make two other choices: really good-looking cinematography and vivid animation of the concepts being discussed. I never wanted a moment when people would think they were watching an educational film.
The film has gotten awards and favorable reviews (It's "a cogent 98-minute investigative chronicle that, along with Spike Lee's pair of HBO films, is an indispensable part of any history of New Orleans before, during and after Katrina," The New York Times said), and now, finally it's in Houston.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.