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Defender Picks



June 26th

Pizza For Pitbulls

Reginelli’s, 11AM

Eat pizza to help dogs, really. Benefitting the Love A Pitbull Foundation


Justin Molaison

Chickie Wah Wah, 5:30PM

Happy hour tunes


Let’s Get Quizzical

Port Orleans Brewing Co., 6:30PM

Food, drinks, trivia


Salves + Infused Oils Workshop

Rosalie Apothecary, 7PM

Last class of the Heart of Herbal Medicine Series 


Choral Festival

St. Louis Cathedral, 7:30PM

Presented by the N.O. Children’s Choir


Breathe LOVE Yoga

Revolution Fitness, 7:30PM

Hatha Yoga Basics


Little Tybee + Cliff Hines + Friends

Hi Ho, 8PM

Elements of folk, jazz, psych, and bossa


Mondays with Tasche

Mags, 8PM

Vintage soul and modern blues


Charlie Gabriel & Friends

Preservation Hall, 8PM

Joined by Taslimah P. Bey, Djallo Djakate, Marion Hayden


A Motown Monday

Circle Bar, 9:30PM

With DJ Shane Love


Monday Music Therapy

Lucky’s, 10PM

With CSE & Natasha Sanchez



June 27th

Movie Screening

Broad Theater, 5:30PM

An intimate screening of America Divided


Book Signing

Garden District Book Shop, 6PM

Appearences by Courtney + J.P. Sloan


Movie Screening

Café Istanbul, 6:30PM

Trapped: A story of women + healthcare


Song Writer Sessions

Foundation Room, 7PM

Supporting NOLA’s songwriting community


MORBID ANGEL + Suffocation

House of Blues, 7PM

With support by Withered


Astrology | Transits

School for Esoteric Arts, 7PM

A lecture on reading transits in natal charts



Saenger Theatre, 8PM

Get ready for a giant sing along


Blato Zlato + Toonces

Siberia, 8PM

Balkan tunes + art-rock



Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Static Masks, Shame, Annette Peacock Tribute



June 28th

Noontime Talk


Jim Steg: New Work, with Curator Russell Lord


Books Beer & Bookworm Babble

Urban South Brewery, 5PM

A fundraiser for Friends of New Orleans


Local Intro to Oils

Monkey Monkey, 6PM

Get the 411 on essential oils


Rye Tasting

Grande Krewe, 6PM

A flight of rye


Stick To Your Guns

Republic, 6PM

With support by Hawthorne Heights


Free Yogalates

The Mint, 6:30PM

Part of Wine Down Wednesdays


WNOE Summer Jam

House of Blues, 7PM

Jerrod Neimann with Michael Ray and more


Comedy Gold

House of Blues, 7PM

Stand up comedy from the Big Easy


Corks & Colors

NOLA Yoga Loft, 7:30PM

Let the paints and wine flow


Weird Wednesday’s

Bar Redux, 9PM

The Extra Terrestrial Edition


Mighty Brother

Saturn Bar, 10PM

With Grace Pettis


June 29th

Essence Festival

Superdome, 10AM

All your favorites in one place


Talkin’ Jazz

Jazz Museum, 2PM

With Tom Saunders


Ogden After Hours

The Ogden, 6PM

Featuring Andrew Duhon


Movie Screening

Carver Theater, 6PM

FunkJazz Kafé: Diary Of A Decade 


Bleed On

Glitter Box, 6PM

Fundraising for We Are #HappyPeriod, powered by Refinery29


Book Signing


SHOT by Kathy Shorr


BYO #Scored

Music Box Village, 730

Presenting “Where I’m From”


JD Hill & The Jammers

Bar Redux, 8PM

Get ready to jam


Henry & The Invisibles

Hi Ho, 9PM

With support by Noisewater


Soundbytes Fest Edition

Three Keys, 9PM

With PJ Morton + Friends


Trance Farmers

Dragon’s Den, 10PM

Support by Yung vul


Push Push

Banks St Bar, 10PM

With Rathbone + Raspy



June 30th

Electric Girls Demo Day

Monroe Hall at Loyola, 1:30PM

Check out the newest inventions


Field to Table Time

NOPL Youth Services, 2PM

Learn how growing + cooking = saving the world


Dinner & A ZOOvie

Audubon Park, 6PM

A showing of Trolls


Movie Night in The Garden

Hollygrove Market, 7PM

A showing of Sister Act


Songwriter Night

Mags, 9PM

Ft. Shannon Jae, Una Walkenhorst, Rory Sullivan


Alligator ChompChomp

The Circle Bar, 9:30PM

Ft. DJ Pasta and Matty N Mitch


Free Music Friday

Fulton Ally, 10PM

Featuring DJ Chris Jones



Techno Club, 10PM

Ft. CHKLTE + residents


The Longitude Event

Café Istanbul, 10PM

Presented by Urban Push Movement


Foundation Free Fridays

Tips, 10PM

Ft. Maggie Koerner & Travers Geoffray + Cha Wa


Gimme A Reason

Poor Boys Bar, 11PM

Ft. Tristan Dufrene + Bouffant Bouffant



July 1st


The Fly, 12PM

Hosted by Prytania Bar


Organic Bug Management

Hollygrove Market, 1PM

Learn about pests + organic management


Mystic Market

Rare Form NOLA, 2PM

Author talk, live music, art and more


Girls Rock New Orleans

Primary-Colton, 2:30PM

The official camper showcase


Serious Thing A Go Happen

Ace Hotel, 4PM

Exhibit viewing, artist talk, and after-sounds


Art NO(w)

Claire Elizabeth Gallery, 5PM

An eye popping opening reception


Antoine Diel Trio

Three Muses, 6PM

With Josh Paxton + Scott Johnson


CAIN Ressurection

Southport Music Hall, 9PM

Support by Overtone plus Akadia


Grits & Biscuits

House of Blues, 10PM

A Dirty South set


Jason Neville Band


With Friends for Essence Fest


July 2nd

The Greatest Show On Earth

Prytania Theater, 10AM

Dramatic lives within a circus



The Drifter Hotel, 2PM

Ft. RYE, Lleauna, Tristen Dufrane


Night Market

Secondline Arts, 6PM

With Erica Lee


The Story of Stories

Académie Gnostique, 7PM

Learn about the practical magic of fairy tales



One Eyed Jacks, 8PM

A tribute to David Lynch


Alex Bosworth

Bar Redux, 9PM

With Diako Diakoff



The Dragons’s Den, 10PM



International Flag Party

Howlin Wolf, 11:30PM

The hottest dance party of the year


New Creations Brass Band

Maple Leaf, 12AM

A special closing performance


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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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


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.


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