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Botanical Garden, 10AM
Art exhibit and sale en plein air
Alex Beard Studio, 5PM
Drinks, food, painting to celebrate the artist's studio opening
Maison Dupuy Hotel, 5PM
Fancy foods, music by jazz great Tim Laughlin, and event raffle
Benachi House & Gardens, 6PM
Southern Rep's fundraising dinner and party
New Canal Lighthouse, 6PM
Coastal scientist discusses his work
Smoothie King Center, 7PM
The Birds and the Mavs go head to head
Allways Lounge, 7PM
Last game planned in the Allways's popular performance & game night
2314 Iberville St., 7:30PM
Cocktails for a cause
Saenger Theatre, 8PM
The Beach Boy presents "Pet Sounds"
Catahoula Hotel, 8PM
Free drinks if you can do his dance. Vote for Pedro!
BJs in the Bywater, 8PM
Poetry with Clare Welsh and Todd Cirillo
Bar Redux, 9PM
NOLA's Horror Films Fest screens shorts
Howlin Wolf, 10PM
Bronx hip hop comes south
Bywater Art Lofts, 6PM
Live art in the air
Ogden Museum, 6PM
Feat. Mia Borders
New Orleans Jazz Museum, 6PM
Exhibit opening on the late Pete Fountain
Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture, 6PM
Unveiling of Big Freedia's 2018 Krew du Viewux costume
Langston Hughes Academy, 7PM
8th annual dinner party in the Dreamkeeper Garden
The Republlic, 7PM
Immersive pop-up gallery, boutique, and stage show
Euphorbia Kava Bar, 7PM
DIY rock, pop, punk show
Saenger Theatre, 7:30PM
Joy Theater, 8PM
The Carver, 9PM
NOLA brass all-stars
Gasa Gasa, 9PM
Feat. Burn Like Fire and I'm Fine in support
Allways Lounge, 10:30PM
Feat. Creep Cuts and Rory Danger & the Danger Dangers
One Eyed Jacks, 10:30PM
80s dance party
Birdfoot Hops the Night Train to Frenchmen
by Joe Shriner
On Thursday, the familiar reverberations of traditional jazz quintets, guitar-slinging buskers, and curbside brass bands on Marigny’s most dynamic street are going to have some new sounds to contend with. In one venue among the babble of barflies, fourteen artists will be offering classical works inspired by clouds and trains, as well as some serious counterpoint.
Birdfoot Festival presents “Night Train" at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, the first pair of four featured concerts, taking on two radically different sets of chamber music. At 8 pm, Birdfoot artists will be presenting Kaija Saariaho’s textured “Cloud Trio” for string trio and Steve Reich’s seminal “Different Trains” for string quartet, taped speech, and sound effects. At 10 pm, they will present that vaunted paragon of baroque composition: J.S. Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.”
Making its Frenchmen debut, “Cloud Trio” is a contemporary work by award-winning Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. Comprised of four layered movements, this piece was written in the French Alps, inspired by the composer’s gaze into the vast sky beyond the mountains. In her program notes, Saariaho does not volunteer which cloud shapes gave her inspiration, encouraging listeners to reach their own conclusions.
Celebrated American composer Steve Reich’s “Different Trains,” first performed in 1988, is probably the most famous and compelling of his works. As a child of divorced parents living in New York and Los Angeles, Reich spent much of the first years of World War II travelling across the country by train. Reich, who is Jewish, later observed that if he had lived in Europe when he was a child, he would have been riding trains to concentration camps.
Made up of three separate movements, Reich’s composition explores different journeys: “America - before the war,” “Europe - during the war,” and “After the war.” Using spoken phrases from taped conversations with the nanny accompanying him on his trips, an American railroad employee, and archival recordings of Holocaust survivors, Reich extracts phrases and turns them into musical passages that underscore the driving rhythm from the strings.
The second set presents one rather prodigious work published 247 years earlier. The cult of personality surrounding J.S. Bach kindles not just excessive extolling by musicians and critics repeating observations of his sonic perfection and astonishing career, but it makes the composer so easy to disparage. There have been volumes written about his genius and no fewer blog entries and articles about how overrated and even boring his music is. Whatever your opinion, one thing never debated is his inescapable presence in music.
Clocking in at around 75 minutes if uninterrupted from beginning to end, Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” is no less overhyped and unduly derided as the composer. This work is made up of 30 variations on an enticing aria and was written to help lull an insomniac Count to sleep at night. The piece is more than just “furniture music,” though. Bach was able to achieve something in these variations that allows listeners to actively or passively engage as they see fit.
Much of it is in the presentation, of course, and to witness a performance of the “Goldberg Variations” live in an intimate setting lends itself close and direct audience participation. The presentation at Snug Harbor will feature 12 Birdfoot artists, including both pianists Prach Boondiskulchok and Danny Driver, as well as three string trios presenting string arrangements of variations.
Each set costs $15 for general admission, and $10 for students with a valid ID required at the door. Tickets are on sale through Snug Harbor Bistro’s website or by calling (504) 949-0696.
For additional information on this and two remaining festival events, visit the Birdfoot website or call 504-451-6578. Also, be sure to stick with the NOLA Defender for continuing coverage.
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B. E. Mintz