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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


Fringe Begins

NoDef's Theatre Critic Does Opening Night: Cicada, The Other Mozart, Boesman and Lena

Two or three years ago, I grew disgruntled with the New Orleans Fringe Festival. Except for any absolute obligation shows, I started avoiding it in its entirety. Sheer size had not made the fest a “victim of its own success.” There’d been no noticeable decline in the quality of its slate. Rather I believed that the rest of the New Orleans scene had fallen victim to it. It’s all in the timing: Whereas in most cities a fringe fest invigorates the off-season, the theatrical dead zone, ours had set up camp in the middle of prime time – in a town where workable periods for full-run shows is already severely limited by the major holidays – then grown so huge as to suck all the air out of the room. 


Local producers not ensconced in the suburbs now have little choice but to close their fall productions a week early to get the hell out of the way or fold one weekend of whatever they’re presenting under the Fest banner. And if Fringe Fest gave back value to those overshadowed producers in the form of new butts regularly in the seats, I couldn’t see it. The 800-pound gorilla of the fall feeds mostly itself, returning next season tipping in at 900 pounds.


This year, I beganreviewing for the Defender and figured that I was due for a reality check. So, I signed up for a full plate of everything that was not puppetry, burlesque, sideshow, stand-up, poetry, or dance. (In other words, the plays.) Is the breadth and depth of Fringe Fest offerings really outweighed by its voracious omnipresence, or was I just being a bitch?

If my first night running around town is any indication, it looks like the latter…



Cicada (Lofty Productions, New Orleans)

The production of Mary Jacobs’ Cicada, by Lofty Productions at Claire’s Garden – in Gentilly, way off the official Fest map – harkens back to what fringe fests used to be: the loving presentation of technically modest, thematically adventurous, interesting but uncommercial work. Cicada concerns itself with Joann (Abigail Riddick), a workaday grunt whose ordinarily unhappy life is notable only for her status as the very young single mother of eight-year-old Cole (Preston Slaughter.) Cole has been giving her the silent treatment, without explanation, for many weeks. Is he sick? Depressed? Going through a phase?

Joann's conversations with the one bright spot in her life, her tippling lesbian BFF Ellen (Christina Ingrassia) – a near-stereotype, akin to the sassy gay friend, redeemed by the modesty of her sassiness – with Cole’s concerned teacher Ms. Miro (Jasmine Johnson,) and, most memorably, with Cole himself Jacobs limns the depth of Joann’s anger and hurt. My son can hear me, respond to me so, what? Does he hate me?


Cicada is a drama of the quotidian, such as we almost never see from American writers. (At its best, it put me in mind of the British maestro of the working class, Ken Loach.) In calling Cicada "adventurous," I mean to compliment Jacobs mostly for what she does not do. I waited in dread of The Explosion – a moment of violence or the revelation of a dark secret; perhaps, just as bad, a Lifetime-movie hug-cum-reconciliation – that blessedly never comes. Even the title metaphor is unstrained in its use. The play ends as it begins: a plain-spoken, poignant slice of hard life, its central mystery unresolved. Yet, still we feel that we’ve traveled somewhere important.


I can take issue with director Jacobs not pressing her unforced and persuasive actors harder to play beneath the surface of her lines, Specifically, I question the apparently intelligent and devoted Joann’s adamant refusal to even consider Ms. Miro’s suggestion that she get counseling for Cole (and for herself), and, really, with an entire scene in Cole’s classroom. Since Joann doesn’t contradict or evade what Ms. Miro said to her when she tells Ellen about the meeting (which would’ve been interesting) there’s probably no reason for us to see it. And the play would benefit in unity if it never left the living room.


Jacobs may or may not prove to be a major writer, but she’s a serious one already. Cicada is my favorite new work by a local playwright this year.



Boesman and Lena (American Theatre Project and Ashé Center, New Orleans)

Lately I have had reason to accuse myself of being an easy grader. So, it’s a special relief that American Theatre Project’s latest, Athol Fugard’s modern masterpiece Boesman and Lena offer some confirmation of mu scale. The work presents the same grace and confidence I found in ATP's recent Freedom Summer…all of it and then some.


This staging proves ATP artistic director Ed Bishop’s determination to burn off any mere “business,” make no moves that don’t serve the story, indulge no showoff-y “moments.”  With only simple but appropriate costumes and set and two high-powered leads, Bishop tells the story of tense, exhausted bottom feeders who live off the literal garbage of the ruling class. They are always on the vagrant move until a walking-dead ‘kaffir’ appears to disrupt their balance of power by providing Lena the illusion of companionship…which is, under the awful circumstances, is as good as the real thing. This is powerful, darkly funny work, resonating well beyond the confines of its apartheid-era South African setting, as work by geniuses like Fugard are wont to do.


It specifically confirms my suspicion that India King is thrilling. She vaults beyond the success of her show-stopping performance as Fannie Lou Hamer in Summer (which was merely a long monologue, after all, grand as it was.) Now, she lays claim – alongside Amy Alvarez, Becca Chapman, Jennifer Pagan, and Liann Pattison – to the finest dramatic lead performance by an actress this year. Her Lena is believably tough yet subservient to the volatile Boesman, blunt but given to flights of poetry and, most important, alive in character every single moment. Here is what I call bone-deep acting. 


The surprise is Kirk Bush as Boesman, whom I’ve always enjoyed but never been thrilled by. It must’ve been the roles, because he matches King beat by beat. Boesman’s anger at their lot in life has left him sullen and dangerous. This is yet another in a recent spate of local productions shot through with toxic machismo, and if I lauded Alex Wallace’s transformation in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I can do no less for the handsome and charming Bush here. He’s made himself feral, ugly, and magnetic.


I must be brief(er.) So, I’ll close by noting that I wish to hell Bishop would give more thought to the opening and closing moments of his shows – they are always weak – and that as the kaffir Outa what TJ Toups accomplishes, although it might appear otherwise, is not at all easy. Kudos to Toups for being so disciplined and effectively eerie in a thankless role. 


The Other Mozart (New York City)

I can’t actually recommend that theater lovers arrive five minutes late to a house show especially when it starts on time, then locks its doors because the layout of the parlor doesn’t allow for late seating. However, you could do worse if the curtains aren’t tightly drawn on the porch and the show you’re peering in at is The Other Mozart.


Although I lacked the stamina to peeping-Tom my way to the conclusion, I saw (and heard: Sara Florence Fellini, who alternates in the title role with the playwright, Sylvia Milo, has the voice of a crystal bell) a good half-hour of it before I grew weary of crouching. There was something very Upstairs Downstairs right about furtively watching such a fey and stylish show through the window of a gorgeous manse.


Anyway. In case I don’t make it back as I hope to do – like I said, the plate is full – I can confirm that Milo’s script is a detailed, straightforward recounting of the life of Nannerl Mozart, Amadeus’ older sister, and an acclaimed musician in her own right before becoming lost to history. (There is, by now, a buckling shelf of forgotten-woman-genius solo shows, most of them having originated on the fringe circuit. An enterprising anthologist with patience for research could collect into a terrific volume.)


Milo and her collaborators, especially director Isaac Byrne, made two extremely smart decisions. The high style of the performance – all-white, period-elegant, the actress surrounded by a moat of sheet music and tulle – is inversely proportionate to the grounded trustworthiness of the just-the-facts-ma’am text. Secondly,  before they dive into the inherent polemics of Nannerl’s overlooked life, and broaden the story to include the neglect of other female musicians of her day, they really lay on the charm. This is feminist theatre with girlish allure.


Oh! And Fellini is captivating. Beyond that, I just can’t say.


I can say that, outside of Fringe Fest, we rarely if ever see work like this. Perhaps by virtue of providing inspiration, that alone is giving back enough to the local theatre scene.

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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.


Alexis Manrodt

Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

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