Search | Clear, 83 F (28 C) RSS | ||
Rosa Keller Library (5:00-9:00 PM)
My House NOLA presents a rolling food vendor mini festival
Maple Leaf (8:00PM)
Feel the Mardi Gras Indian beat with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux
Rebirth Brass Band
Crescent City Farmers Market
Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
The Antenna Gallery (7:00 PM)
A series of music-themed movies and documentaries, curated and hosted by DJ Soul Sister, and co-presented by Charitable Film Network, Press Street, and WWOZ
Jewish Community Center (7:30 PM)
The second evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Catch the Indie rockers on their North American tour
NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden (5:00 PM)
The NOLA Project presents this festive comedy that pits two of Shakespeare's most beloved characters, Benedick and Beatrice, in a war of words and wits
1445 Pauger Street (6:00 PM)
Cultural philanthropists Dorian and Kel Bennett have opened their historic Marigny home for this inaugural event with music, theater and dance performances
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Punk rock on Lee Circle
Walter Wolfman Washington
d.b.a. (10:00 PM)
Fiery blues on Frenchmen - every week
Curren$y's Jet Lounge
Blue Nile (10:00 PM)
The NOLA rapper's weekly party
Banks Street Bar (10:00 PM)
Blues rock and BLTs!
Country Club (All Day)
Weekly Wed Gig- $3 martinis and free admission for the service industry folks.
Tom McDermott and Meschiya Lake
Chickie Wah Wah (8:00PM)
Weekly Wed Gig- Piano man meets a golden voice.
Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses
Weekly Wed Gig- Gypsy jazz upstairs in the Marigny
Hi-Ho Lounge (8:00PM)
Weekly Wed Gig- from the street to the stage. Midnight Snax throwdown follows at 10pm.
dba (7:00 PM)
Weekly Wed Gig- The world's premiere washboard-sousaphone-guitar trio.
Treme Brass Band
Candlelight Lounge (9:00 PM)
Weekly Wed Gig- Pass on by and see the 6th Ward’s home band
NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden (5:00 PM)
The NOLA Project presents this festive comedy that pits two of Shakespeare's most beloved characters in a war of words and wits
City Park’s Botanical Garden (5:00 PM)
New Orleanian songwriter performs at the weekly outdoor concert series
The Ogden Museum (6:00 PM)
Singer/ songwriter who has recently performed at Austin City Limits Music Festival and provided tour support for Raul Malo and the Wood Brothers
The Foundation Gallery (6:00 PM)
A screening of Maya's award-winning animation "Pareidolia" followed by a Q &A with the artist
Snug Harbor (8:00 & 10:00 PM)
The third evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Hi Ho Lounge (9:00 PM)
Hip hop artist raps on St. Claude with his album Trap Hop
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Performing tracks from the new album 'What a World'
Fringe Binge, Vol. 3
New Orleans Fringe Fest Show Reviews to Ease Weekend Pickin'
The New Orleans Fringe Festival returned Thursday night with a whole new round of shows to roll out. Once again, NoDef's team was out to take in what this year's extravaganza has to offer. Read our latest crop of reviews, and keep checking back for more:
Grim and Fischer
The delightful Grim and Fischer, brought to us by Portland's Wonderheads Theatre, has been compared to “Pixar with masks,” and it's not at all hard to see why. The wordless play's combination of slapstick, ironic pop-culture references, and affirmation of heart-warming values is pitch-perfect with respect to those famously quirky, often hilarious animated shorts.
The play opens with Grim - as in, Reaper - arriving to deliver a most unwelcome letter to Fischer. The sweet old woman at first accidentally and then purposefully foils him over and over, using a mix of wits and faux-bathroom humor that wouldn't be out of place in a Pixar film, either. After a climactic confrontation that again fails hilariously, Fischer decides on a different tack. It's all so engrossing that, as in a sweet and short animated film, it hardly matters when the story gets a bit muddled: Grim guides Fischer on a montaged sort of victory lap, a last go-round through the riches of life, love, and mischief that manages to end in the pair having mug shots taken. But when Grim's message can't be avoided any longer, he lets Fischer down in the gentlest way possible.
Like any cinephile, Wonderheads Theatre knows the value of a good face. With Grim and Fischer, the Portland-based duo of Kate Braidwood and Andrew Phoenix have developed a remarkably fresh perspective with their full-face mask performances. Braidwood's masks for the dour, nostrilly Grim, the spry but vulnerable Fischer and the baffled social worker are dazzlingly vibrant, their single expression able to convey a full range of emotion based only on changes in body language of the excellent actors, and the play's own brisk story.
Partly, it's the exaggerated body language that makes Grim and Fischer appear so cartoonish, and therefore so cinematic. But the pace of the story itself follows artfully, with propulsive events and characters riffing on their surroundings with zany Vaudevillian touches. Sound plays a major role as well, interacting almost as a fourth character and sculpting the sort of immersive space that we take for granted when watching a movie. It's all extremely charming, this combination of known and new. Grim and Fischer plays at Mardi Gras Zone (Port and Architect) on Nov. 16 at 9 p.m., Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. -Travis Bird
The world premiere of Trash Rabbit, from multi-disciplinary duo Matthew McCorkle and Ember Bria, takes place in the Marigny Opera House, a venue the two visited at last year’s Fringe Festival and knew they had to claim for their own. Trash Rabbit is at its heart a subversion of magician’s clichés into a new kind of show that rehydrates the charm of simple magic with a heaping spoonful of weirdness.
McCorkle plays the magician, dressed in top hat and tails (though his formal outfit is offset by suspender-hiked short pants and full-length argyle socks), and Bria is combination lovely assistant and the proverbial rabbit pulled out of a hat, though her transformation between the two is a key turning point of the performance. The stage is set simply with a half-dozen props, ostensibly pulled from trash heaps or rescued from the curb before the garbage men could even get to them: oscillating fans are used often, and a large mattress stood upright provides convenient cover during some of the magic tricks, but has surprises of its own.
After a soft introduction to the duo’s roles and skills—McCorkle balances a few objects and Bria warms up with a few contortionist moves—the show arrives at its first major showcase. McCorkle pulls out a simple wooden hoop and proceeds to provide a physical optical illusion. With deft hand movements, the hoop is given characteristics of being rubbery or giving firm resistance to McCorkle’s tugging despite its appearance of floating in midair. The scene lasts a mere five minutes, but the variety of ways McCorkle manipulates the hoop makes a lasting impression through the show.
Bria transforms from lovely assistant into the trash rabbit, stripping down to the waist and covering herself in white paint and donning a pair of floppy ears made from plastic shopping bags. These bags become a constant throughout the rest of the performance, used as often as a Victorian magician might utilize white handkerchiefs.
The bags are turned into floating balloons, illusions, dancing partners, and flying flags. At another point in the show McCorkle snaps off a collapsible radio antenna to use as his magic wand. While the trash elements are constantly in front of us, there is no real heavy message about waste or consumption other than the challenge to see hidden uses in objects we might casually toss aside.
Each short segment—alternating between McCorkle’s magic and mime and Bria’s blend of contortion and balance into dance numbers—flows deliberately into the next, and the pre-recorded soundtrack by Pregnant fit perfectly with each piece. There is no story, only a buildup of more complicated tricks and dances until, at last, the show breaks the boundaries of the stage and covers the audience in disposable plastic and laughter.
Trash Rabbit is a top pick of this year’s Fringe, with an outstanding combination of charm, skill, and oddity that other shows I’ve seen would rather insinuate than implement. The only downside is that this show should be performed at least three feet above the first row instead of at ground level in front of the stadium seating arrangement of the Opera House. On opening night there was a near capacity crowd, and additional seating had to be hastily added at the edges. Clear sightlines were a precious commodity, so it’s recommended that you arrive early if you go. Trash Rabbit plays at Marigny Opera House (725 St. Ferdinand St.) on Nov. 16 at 5 p.m., Nov. 17 at 9 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 11 p.m. -Ryan Sparks
The San-Francisco based Carpetbag Brigade, with their performance of Callings, towers into the 2012 Fringe Festival with metallic eyes and stilts attached to their legs. Under the direction of Jay Ruby, the five dancers/performers stand bodies above the audience with only the floats outlining the Den of Muses matching their height and presence. A black piece of fabric is hung in the background and gel lights dot the concrete floor with color, but that is the only “stage” for this performance. The sparse setting and cold stares of the dancers beg the audience to look at the performers, and only the performers, in order to absorb themselves in the liquid movements that fill this forty-five minute dance of the sea. The performers succeed in this (ahem) “calling.”
As the five dancers contort their bodies and throw themselves from inordinate heights onto the concrete slab below them, more than a few winces of fear cross the faces of the audience. As the music transforms from ambient synthesizer tones and field recordings of what sound like crustaceans to Celtic music, the dancers also alter their movements in their quest to answer questions, such as, “If the ocean was ill, how would she weep?” Without ever breaking their penetrative gazes or letting their bodies rest during the performance, these dancers give a new definition to the word “commitment.”
On the opening night performance, there were a few glitches, including some unsuccessful “stunts.” But the sheer visual of dancers on stilts willing to sacrifice their bodies and their breath for their art makes Callings a worthwhile odyssey. The coolness of the Den of Muses aids in the bone-chilling presentation, and, in the end, the audience feels as if they too have been taken in by these dancing sirens. Callings plays Nov 16th at 9 p.m., Nov 17th at 5 p.m., and Nov 18th at 7 p.m. at the Den of Muses (Architect Street). –Kelley Crawford
Random Access Theatre of New York City presents Tempting Air, a gallery after Shakespeare's The Tempest, directed by Christopher Shepard. Composed of five galleries, like acts or individual pieces, the audience is responsible for initiating vignettes by, for example, turning over tarot cards to begin the pantomimed ship's voyage or dropping stones into a paper bag at the feet of one of the actors to begin his or her's character sculpture on a dais. The audience is encouraged to move around the space throughout all galleries, to pop a balloon atop the docent's head and is even invited to help bind Prospero and later set him free.
Fractured and quick, this work reframes Shakespeare's classic by featuring recognizable characters in new contexts with a scrambled timeline. Iambic pentameter weaves with southern belle accents and monster voices. Given the convoluted plot, the changing relationships between characters, and the use of movement as communication, the sparse stage aesthetic might be a missed opportunity to convey more information to the audience. Yet, the actors move elegantly on stage, through heavy green and red lighting, gesturing majestically and miming in unison. Shakespeare's enduring words play in an intriguing, abstracted presentation performed by a company that knows how to speak poetry in voice and body. Tempting Air plays Nov. 16 at 7 p.m., Nov. 17 at 11 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. -Jonas Griffin
Sure Minded Uncertainties
Traditionalists seeking a discernible story—the kind with characters and a plot—should avoid Sure Minded Uncertainties. While the production depends on a tremendous level of technical skill and knowledge, the absurdist show is more art installation than theatre production. The members of New York-based Company Cave Dogs combine a wide range of mediums to create a large-scale, immersive experience.
Those feeling skeptical about something called a “shadow performance,” rest assured. Sure Minded Uncertainties implements shadows effectively, using precise cut outs and well-timed movements to manipulate the viewer’s perspective. Furthermore, shadows are only the wheels to drive this multi-faceted sensory experience.
At times the show feels trippy, like a sophisticated laser show. Music is a critical part of the show, and the score adjusts in tandem with other elements. At one point, the music and imagery are nostalgic, at another eerie. Cave Dogs manages to maintain a peaceful calm, even as the mood fluctuates.
Storytelling is at play in the show, but not in concrete terms. One reappearing image is that of a woman in the center of the stage, flipping through a book in which every page is a new, lifelike image. The stolid character gives birth with every turning page, as the viewer sees the flat cutouts turn into representational human heads. Heads morph into grass, grass into trees, tracing a narrative through seemingly unrelated images. The woman utters very few words, and the musical accompaniment at these moments is ambient, only including the lyrics, “go to sleep.”
Separate human arms are another motif, at first as objects and later as composite pieces of a living body. Blurring the boundaries between the living and the inanimate, the show marvels rather than disturbs, offering the viewer a chance to accept uncertainty and take comfort in her inability to “figure it out.”
At one moment, the viewer is on the periphery, observing someone struggling as he uproots what appears to be a realistically scaled tree. Seconds later, the human subject distends and his objects shrink, shifting the viewer’s perspective and making her feel as if the action is being performed on her.
Calculation is the tool that maintains the show’s artistic value. Transformation characterizes the action and imagery, with scenes blending seamlessly together due to a precise blend of colorful lighting, elaborate cut outs, and evocative figures. No longer a screen but a canvas, the projector screen gives the viewer a sense that she is being swallowed by a painting. See the performance at the Old Firehouse (718 Mandeville) Nov. 16 at 11pm, Nov. 17 at 7pm, and Nov. 18 at 5pm. -M.D. Dupuy
What has partial nudity, lots of Bulleit bourbon, and the incredible ability to make one forget the Allways Lounge’s uncomfortable seats? The Shotgun: an original performance piece by Lori Tipton. This weekend, Tipton’s talented cast takes over the Allways for an enrapturing interdisciplinary show.
Opening with a surreal duo-clown dance set to “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” The Shotgun centers around Jules and Bernadette Bouchard, two New Orleans newlyweds trying to have it all in the face of growing tensions. Each scene takes place in the comfortable, retro living room of their shotgun house, a set cleverly refreshed in between curtain pulls with subtle changes in fabric and furniture.
Arguing over whether or not to attend a Mardi Gras ball, Chris Lane and Veronica Russell are entirely convincing as the Bouchards, while Tipton’s intimate back-and-forth banter belies the unease between the two. “We’re doing great,” insists Jules in between sips of the first of many drinks, and the scene ends with a laugh. But, foreshadowing trouble to come, the piece’s second performance interlude features dancer Gabrielle Chapin Cowsert showing off her pole prowess to the tune of “Big Spender."
In Shotgun’s second act, Samantha Sitzman makes her stage debut as tantalizing platinum blonde Summer. This act belongs to Sitzman—chattering a mile a minute, Summer’s red lips are hypnotizing. Not one to shy away from the scatological, Tipton offers moments of raw comedy in Summer’s stories. Ultimately, though, the scene focuses on Jules Bouchard, as he struggles to understand what his wife wants from him, and how to give it to her.
The piece’s final performance interlude presents Michaela Cannon in an evocative, haunting dance set to “Summertime,” an ode to the lingering effects of Summer’s time on the Bouchards’ couch. At first, the room’s furniture seems to have dominion over Cannon; eventually, she gains control, stretching full-length on the white sofa.
Act Three gives us “weird” new character Mr. Patterson. Played by Robert Starnes, Patterson is just the creepy comic relief the doctor ordered. He’s there to decide whether the Bouchards should be trusted to adopt a child, a crucial meeting that has both Jules and Bernie on edge. The well-orchestrated awkwardness comes to a head when Summer arrives.
The Shotgun is wise without being stuffy, and self-aware without being obnoxiously meta. Tipton’s one-liners and wry contextual humor provide laughs throughout, while avoiding minimizing the piece’s emotional impact. The show is real and human. It knows that love is imperfect, even when most of the pieces are in place—but it doesn’t discount the importance of hope. The Shotgun plays at the Allways Lounge (2240 St. Claude Ave.) on Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 9 p.m. -Lianna Patch
Irse Hacia el Norte (Going Northbound)
To refer to Irse as a performance is an understatement. The, "live migrating theatre on the migrant route and borderlands across Guatemala, Mexico and in the United States," was both powerful and honest, with a stroke of brilliance running through it all, making this a welcomed addition to this year's Fringe.
To start, the participants in this piece were all asked to stand out in the courtyard of the Old Firehouse on Mandeville Street, and wait until the preordained time to enter, together. At the door, the audience entered a dark hallway, where ushers check credentials, thoroughly, all speaking in Spanish. This reporter was studied for presenting a press pass, and there is a discussion as if to whether I'll be admitted with the other people. I know enough Spanish to know that I'm okay, at least better off than the guys in front of me, who are kept for a few extra moments.
Once the audience was gathered inside, and Jordi Möllering—one of the traveling artists and cofounder of the Artzénico theater group—spoke before the audience, giving a brief and prepared monologue about the background and inspiration for the performance that had already begun as the audience entered. This is part of the show. It is all part of the show. He apologizes for the way everyone was treated at the door, and assures us that he was acting.
"I was acting as if I was from Guatemala. I can assure you now I'm being myself, and I'm nicer than the person I was back there."
Möllering goes on to explain that the genesis of this particular idea was rooted in experiences traveling along with migrants as they made their own journey north. The goal was to integrate with the migrants, and be more accepted so they could aid them and even teach theater practices.
"But we realized we weren't real migrants. We had an itinerary, and money," said Möllering. "We were artists, but in a different situation."
However, through the theater, Möllering said he saw those labels all disappear, and the workshops with the migrants became the foundations for the play.
"This is the result, and why we're here."
Soon after that, the lights go out. The artists begin to dance slowly and methodically under spotlights, like marionettes moving to unseen strings. All sound cut, and the performers continued. There are no words, but the four on stage communicate back and forth (greeting, etc.). They are so silent, that the ambient noise of the audience echoes.
The first sounds come in form of national anthems—dueling national anthems. It is reminiscent of a scene in "Casablanca," except the Guatemalan national anthem is the one dominating all others. The performance continues on, invoking audience participation, dance, mime, and even some slick trickery, by seamlessly flowing in and out of the reality surrounding the artistry. The audience is transported from baring witness to participating several times over the course of the show, almost without knowing. When the actors plead or evoke emotion, it is purposeful and their performances are powerful. They refuse to be limited by the stage they stand on, instead the play shifts scenery to continue conveying its message.
The true testament to the play's honest nature was that more than one person—each with his or her own personal story of integration—approached a member of the cast to tell how personally effected they were by the performance and how much it meant to see that story put on stage. However, anyone can identify with this message of searching for understanding and one's own identity. Irse continues all this weekend, through Sunday November 18, at the Old Firehouse (718 Mandeville Street). For more information, visit "Goingnorthbound.wordpress.com." -William Dilella
White Sauce and Diaper Babies
It was a small house with empty tables, off the official Fringe list and most theater goer’s radars, but the Allways Lounge was filled to capacity and beyond with the spirit of Anne Sexton Thursday night. Drawing heavily on the poet’s work in her one-woman show “White Sauce and Diaper Babies”, Diana Shortes used her considerably vocal and physical talents to effectively channel the subject’s tortured life, the source for Sexton’s famously candid confessional poetry.
From the opening line--“Watch out for power, for its avalanche can bury you,” from Sexton’s “Admonitions to a Special Person”—to the final lines from “In the Deep Museum” as the actress donned the mother’s fur coat in which the poet ended her life—“Do you like me? … And what am I hanging around for,/ riddled with what his silence said?”—Shortes effectively wove the poet's own words around her own speeches to cover the declining arc of the poet’s late life, looking back over her shoulder at the demons of sexual and physical abuse that led Sexton first to a suicide attempt and then to poetry.
As she did in last year’s The Baroness Pontalba the actress used her body, a few simple costumes and a handful of props to present a show as physical as suffering, a spectacle that could give the Macbeths nightmares. Wielding a wickedly curved dagger, used moments before to prepare peanut butter sandwiches for the poet’s daughters, Shortes recited Sexton’s “Demon." She confronted a a typewriter with the knife, the demon who “come[s] with the dead who people my dreams, who walk all over my desk,” capturing in that moment the oracular madness, the demon in the typewriter, that fueled Sexton’s work. After that speech she danced with the typewriter before her face, its exposed ribbon spools like eyes, and the viewer felt they had personally confronted the poet’s demon. Toward the end of the play Shortes undid her hair and looked in that moment strikingly like Patti Smith, who Sexton prefigured in her own rock-bad accompanied performances in the 1960s.
In her text and the selected poems, Shortes stepped on every crack in Sexton’s troubled life: sexual abuse by her alcoholic father, her loveless marriage, the stultifying suburban life that crushed her mother’s literary ambitions and fueled Sexton’s, the criticism of sexism and brutality in her work, the poet’s addictions to pills and alcohol, the institutionalizations and attempted suicides. In less than an hour, Shortes delivered everything you need to know about Sexton with hypnotic power and startling grace. In the forward to a collection of Sexton’s poems, the anthologist describes seeing Sexton perform, “her electric presence, self-effacing humor, and utterly unembarrassed narcissism." Shortes captured that perfectly.
White Sauce and Diaper Babies is not a part of the Fringe Fest schedule. Admission is by donation, and the show runs again Friday and Saturday night at the Allways Lounge (2240 St. Claude Ave.) at 9 p.m. If you are turned away from the popular Shotgun in the Allways’ theater, don’t head for the door. Head for the bar stage and take a seat for a performance that will overcome any disappointment. -Mark Folse of Odd Bits of Life in New Orleans
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Ryan Sparks, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Ryan Sparks, Kerem Ozkan
Michael Weber, B.A.
Assistant Managing Editor
B. E. Mintz
Published Daily by
Minced Media, Inc.