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THE

Defender Picks

 

Lundi

July 24th

Service Industry Mondays

Drifter Hotel, 12PM

Drinks specials for all industry members, plus music and food truck

 

Happy Hour

Ace Hotel, 4PM

With SaudadeViVian

 

Happy Hour

Chickie Wah Wah, 5:30PM

With Justin Molaison

 

Not-So-YA Book Club

Tubby & Coo’s, 6PM

For adults who read young adult fiction

 

Stuart McNair

Mahogany Jazz Hall, 6PM

Early blues and jazz

 

Tincture Making

Under the Waning Moon, 6PM

Get the 411 on herbal healing 

 

Tap That Yoga

NOLA Brewing, 6PM

Yoga + brews

 

Reiki Chakra Cleanse

Broadmoor Arts & Wellness Center, 6:30PM

Start your week right

 

Blue Velvet

The Neutral Ground, 7PM

+ Kawaii AF + Chris Billiot

 

Gypsy Juke Box

Dragon’s Den, 7PM

A very special Monday Night Swing

  

Cure For The Mondays

Buffa’s, 8PM

With Antoine Diel + Sam Kuslan

 

Blind Texas Marlin

One Eyed Jacks, 8PM

In the front lounge

 

Easter Teeth

Saturn Bar, 9PM

+ Landlocked Seas, Jonathan Brown, Raspy

 

Street Rat

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

+ Dolce, Blotchouts, Heaven Limosine, Sipalong

 

Pink Lion

Rare Form NOLA, 10PM

Enter a dreamy sonic world

Mardi

July 25th

The Essence of Resurrection

Under the Waning Moon, 6PM

An intro to flower essences

 

Songwriter Sessions

Foundation Room, 7PM

Ft. Jim. McCormick

 

Thinkin’ With Lincoln

Bayou Beer Garden, 7PM

Trivia on the patio

 

Eviction Second Line & Party

Frenchman Art Market, 7PM

Come say goodbye

 

Idina Menzel

The Saenger, 8PM

See the Tony-winning artist live

 

Dapper Dandies

BMC, 8PM

Bringing back traditional jazz

 

Tony Seville & The Cadillacs

Mahogany Jazz Hall, 9PM

R&B + Jazz classics

 

Elvis DeLarge

The Circle Bar, 10PM

The songs of Elvis Presley

  

FLOW

Hi-Ho Lounge, 10PM

The Fake Ladies Of Wrestling are back for another round

 

MERCREDI

July 26th

Gloria Park & the Arrowhead Jazz Band

The Mint, 2PM

Music at the Old U.S. Mint

 

Kaya Nicole Band

The Maison, 4PM

Samba & Bossa Nova sounds

   

Debachuerous Duets

Allways Lounge, 7PM

An erotic reading

 

The Rocketboys

Siberia, 7PM

 Feat. The Whistles & The Bells

  

Space Kadet

Howlin’ Wolf, 8PM

Their New Orleans debut

 

Rooftop Cinema

Catahoula Hotel, 8PM

A showing of The Boondock Saints

 

Scatterjazz

Side Bar, 8:30PM

Feat. Eric “Benny” Bloom + David Torkanowsky

  

Organized Crime & Friends

Maple Lead, 10PM

Feat. Cliff Hines

 

Antoine Diel & the Misfit Power

Spotted Cat, 10PM

A jazzy midweek show

JEUDI

July 27th

Antoine Diel Quartet

Hotel Monteleone, 5PM

At the Carousel Bar

 

Yoga Social Club

The Crescent Park, 5:45PM

Get zen and ready to mingle

 

Ogden After Hours

Ogden Museum, 6PM

Feat. Paul Sanchez

 

Book Signing

Alvar Library, 6:30PM

An appearance and reading by James Nolan

 

Crescent Fresh Open Mic

Dragon’s Den, 7PM

No cover

 

Singing In The Rain

Orpheum Theater, 7PM

Free screening of the Gene Kelly classic

 

Meek Mill

Lakefront Arena, 8PM

Feat. Yo Gotti + YFN Lucci

 

Derek Brueckner

Art Klub, 8PM

Come observe and participate as you wish

 

Tony Seville & The Cadillacs

Mohogany Jazz Hall, 9PM

R&B and Jazz classics

 

VENDREDI

July 28th

Food Truck Friday

Champions Square, 11AM

Feat. even more trucks

 

Dinner and a ZOOvie

Audubon Park, 6PM

A showing of Trolls

 

John Waters Film Festival

NOMA, 7PM

The Pope of Trash's classic 1981 film, Polyester

 

Leonardo Hernandez Trio

Casa Borrega, 7PM

A night of Latin jazz

 

Akira Movie Night

Art Klub, 8PM

A night for anime

 

Corey Feldman

Southport Music Hall, 8PM

The 80's idol comes to town with his Angels 

 

Bloodsick

Siberia, 9PM

Feat. Cave of Swimmers + Smoke

 

Blue Velvet

Howlin Wolf, 10PM

Feat. Skelatin, Dusty_tupelo + The Family Band

 

Foundation Free Fridays

Tipitina's, 10PM

Feat. Rory Danger & The Danger Dangers and more

 

Spektrum Fridays

Techno Club, 11PM

Feat. Zander, Javier Drada 


A Feast of Languages

Facing the Stage



NoDef's drama critic offers a guide to viewing three local Shakespeare productions premiering over the next month

 
In a rusting iron works, one man’s suffering will exponentially amplify among seven performers. An outdoor museum will transform into a magical forest where time slides into slumber. And, towards the bend in our river, a group of politicos in suits will jostle over who is a “man of the people.” With JazzFest finishing up Sunday, the rest of May and early June belongs to the Bard.
 
 
New Orleans theatre enthusiasts are about to find out how wide and deep the talent pool is in this city. And Shakespeare is going to be the determinant. In a period of just over a month, three Shakespearean productions are going to open in three very different neighborhoods and with three very different energies: Neutral Ground’s Titus Andronicus, The NOLA Project’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane’s opening production, Julius Caesar. Produced respectively in the Bywater, City Park and on the Tulane campus, the three shows represent an unintentionally ambitious project among some of the most highly regarded theatrical professionals in town. Patrons are going to see how much quality theatre the city can sustain in a compacted space of time. If it works, the project could kick-start a whole new audience for live theatrical performance in New Orleans. The stakes are high, and it is only fitting that Shakespeare should be engine of opportunity.
 
 

 

Titus Andronicus
Where: The Old Iron Works, 612 Piety St.
When: May 5 (preview), 6-8, 12-14
Tickets: Free
 
 
        _____________
 
A Midsummer Night's Dream
 
Where: Besthoff Sculpture Garden, City Park
When: Every Friday in May
Tickets: $10, $8 seniors and students
 
       _____________
 
Julius Caesar
 
Where: Lupin Theatre, Tulane University
When: June 9-12, 16-19, 23-25
Tickets: $15-40
 

First up is the internecine bloodbath, Titus Andronicus. Opening today at The Old Iron Works on Piety St., the production is the dream-show of director and “horror movie fiend” Robert E. Lee. For Lee, Titus is a “ridiculous crowd pleaser,” and a text he and his Neutral Ground companions have desired to tackle from quite some time. Lee has made the decision to split the character of the beleaguered Titus among seven members of his company. This choice, which began as a response to events beyond his control, has evolved into a commentary on how much suffering one man can absorb before he fractures. Lee’s Titus is “a world without heroes,” and places the rigidity of Roman energy into a collision course with the more “sweaty” organic bearings of the hated Goths. These ideas about one Shakespeare’s most controversial texts found a home in The Old Iron Works. His design team was immediately inspired by the structure’s decaying feel to bring a Steampunk sensibility of goggles and rust to the proceedings. Featuring the talents of Andrea Frankle, Ross Britz, and Lucy Faust, Titus Andronicus is free to the public during its limited two-week run.

 

The following night, audiences can give themselves theatrical whiplash by journeying over to the Besthoff Sculpture Garden to see The NOLA Project’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The group of young NYU grads is no stranger to The Bard. Last year, they comprised the majority of the cast for Buzz Podewell’s elegant production of Love’s Labors Lost at The New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane. Furthermore, they did a site-specific work, Get This Lake Off My House, which was inspired by The Tempest. They also had a production of Twelfth Night in the halls of the New Orleans Museum of Art itself. This latest offering is collaborative effort between the project, City Park and a number of the other young theatrical companies in town. Director Larimer sees the sculpture garden complementing the play as “a world initially structured” that gives way to a more “chaotic and flowing” reality behind it. As the show moves with the garden, so does the audience. He sees Midsummer as three distinct worlds: the royals grounded in our times, the mechanicals possessing the retro feel of the “timeless masses,” and the woodland denizens as collectors of the detritus that ephemeral mankind has left in its wake. Along with the NOLA regulars, it stars two of the best actors currently working in New Orleans: Emilie Whelan and Jason Kirkpatrick.

 
 
All the while, the final of these three shows will be plotting its arrival for the first week in June. The Shakespeare Festival opens its 18th season with the great struggle of conscience and power: Julius Caesar. Despite being a company that prides itself on continuity, the festival will welcome three new faces to its Lupin Stage in the roles of Brutus, Cassius, and Antony: John Neisler, Silas Cooper and Shad Willingham. Director Amy Boyce Holtcamp has set the Roman saga in an unstable America of the 1930s where the mob has more to fear than fear itself. For Boyce-Holtcamp, Antony’s line of “mischief, thou art afoot” speaks to not only the political chicanery of the time of Huey Long, but it also is an “echo of our modern political discourse” that prioritizes birth certificates and college transcripts. Festival artistic director Ron Gural sees this abundance of Shakespeare as a “sign of the times.” He believes our “contemporary turmoil” is in search of voice that clearly articulates the anxieties around us. He points to not only the outburst of The Bard locally but in the plethora of articles, movies, and productions that have sprung up nationally in the last few months.
 
 
NoDef’s Guide to Viewing Shakespeare
Of course, you can count on each show receiving a full review in short order. However, the purpose of today’s column is to serve as a primer for what to watch for as you decide if these disparate companies are up to the challenge. Shakespeare is tricky business, not only because of the encrusted resistance less schooled theatre goers bring with them, but also on account of the legions of his lovers who are lying in wait for any deviation from their purity of vision. But desperate attempts to jazz up the presentation or slavish adherence to the text are the least of any good company’s worries and neither is a guarantor of enjoyment. Instead, if you want to measure success, look to answer three questions: how do the actors handle the language, does the concept illuminate the text, and are the supporting players the equal of their leads? If these productions answer those questions positively, you will/should have a thrilling time regardless of whether you sit on a folding chair, amidst a grassy field, or in the comfort of a traditional theatre.
 
 
Handling the language is a two-fold operation for the actors. Larimer said his cast has to strike a balance between “conveying meaning and honoring the verse.” That is an on-point analysis of the juggling act faced by all three shows. First, the actors have to clarify the story. Titus, Midsummer and Caesar are all labyrinth plots. Titus is a murderous nightmare of deceit and triple-crosses, Midsummer contains three comic streams that cross currents throughout, and Caesar is a Machiavellian street fight to see who will become the first among equals. The viewer should listen for the performers’ abilities to use the verbs to predicate and drive the action. Those verbs are signposts for your understanding; the actor’s mastery of them will determine your access to the story. Neither ample gore nor comic bits will make a difference in your enjoyment if you do not know who is killing who or why a face is funny.
 
 
Actors in control of the narrative can then relish in the poetry. Elizabethan playwrights used iambic pentameter not for future punishment of high school sophomores, but instead because it was the verse closest to the rhythm of the English language. If it is done right, it should sound like heightened English spoken by someone grooving within the word play, classic rap. No matter the emotion, there should be a hint of delight in the delivery. Used properly, it can be an ally in the communication of the plot: accelerating the action, enriching the character, and using contrasts to establish depth of theme. Furthermore, provided the tale is clear, the poetry helps establish place. Most of the plays were written without the benefit of complex technical elements, and the Elizabethan technique of spoken décor substitutes for the bells and whistles of elaborate design. The poetry of Titus soaks the world in blood, Midsummer’s language literally creates a forest, and Caesar’s words envision a world unbalanced by a power vacuum. If you can close your eyes and see it, the actors have done their diligence.
 
 
I am no opponent of conceptualized Shakespeare. From Orson Welles’ Voodoo Macbeth to Michael Bogdanov’s twisted vision of Taming of the Shrew up into present day radical reimaginings from Punchdrunk Theatre Company, setting The Bard in locales, times and energies other than his own is an honored tradition and can produce thrilling results. But doing so needs to answer the question of illumination. In other words, the choices, be they traditional or postmodern, should clarify the meaning of the text, not obfuscate it. If the design decisions help you understand the play better, then the concept has taken the first step to accomplishing its mission. Over a decade ago, I saw a production of Twelfth Night at The Alabama Shakespeare Festival directed by Kent Gash. It was set in a Hollywood vision of the 1930s, a world of Busby Berkeley, Bringing Up Baby, and Our Man Godfrey. A woman performed the fool Feste changing costumes in each scene. One moment she was Marlene Dietrich in tuxedo drag, and the next, she was Carmen Miranda in a fruit hat. Once Feste’s motif had been established, the point became clear: the fool was a shape shifter that changed image to either send up or point out the foolishness of her target. Costume clarified text.
 
 
Pay close attention to the supporting players, they are the backbone of the success of any Shakespearean production. I am not issuing a platitude here. None of these three shows can be carried by a single performance. Caesar’s mobs must be a dangerous organism, Midsummer’s forest needs to be populated with characters from three separate plays, and an audience must believe that every agent in Titus capable of murder. Too often in this town, patrons have seen Shakespearean battles populated by remnants of the German Army at the end of World War II: old men and children. It is very hard to take Richard III seriously if the opposing army looks like the Dungeons and Dragons club. The measure of any good production of Shakespeare is its spear-carriers; they need to look like linebackers. No matter how good your Hamlet is, the production will fail if Rosencrantz and Guildenstern cannot match wits, Horatio cannot exude decent loyalty, and Laeretes’ pain is not real. Watch to see if there are any skips on the vinyl of an otherwise pristine effort when an actor decides a role is too small. Everyone speaks for a reason in Shakespeare. Popilius Lena has only two lines in Caesar, and they set off the tensest sequence in the play.
 
 
Of all this comes down to how the directors of these shows handle their affairs. Ultimately, Shakespeare as a medium belongs to the figure bellowing out from the third row. More than one company in town has learned that relying on one actor to carry you across the finish line makes for a cult of personality, and not a vibrant production. Directors are the ones who construct story, provide concept and handle the casting. If all of the three elements covered are in place, there is only one remaining question: does this particular production speak to its audience’s lives? It will not only be a measure of the timelessness of the texts but also the ability of its executors to communicate the astounding now that lurks within these four hundred year old documents.
 
 
Into the breach!

a note - Titus Andronicus is

a note - Titus Andronicus is completely free of charge. GREAT ARTICLE!

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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt

Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily