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Defender Picks



April 24th

Zurich Golf Classic

City Park, 11AM

Kick off to a 4-day stop on the PGA Championship tour


Crystal Energy Healing & Dream Play

1112 Mandeville St., 2PM

Talk dreams and crystals


Andrew Jackson Hotel Ghost Hunt

Andrew Jackson Hotel, 4PM

Sleepover ghost tour at the infamous hotel


International Sculpture Day

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 5:30PM

Artists Tara Conley, Rachel David, and Ashley Pridmore will discuss their work


Big Easy Entertainment Awards

The Orpheum Theater, 6PM

29th annual event


New Orleans Baby Cakes

Shrine On Airline, 7PM

Baby Cakes go up against the Omaha Storm Chasers


Movie Screening: La Bataille de Solférino

Cafe Istanbul, 7PM

French film about the 2012 presidential election, following Macron and Le Pen's victories during this weekend's round one


Cacao Ceremony

Nola Yoga Loft, 7:30PM

Set intentions for the Full Moon and share a cacao elixir


Ooh Poo Pah Doo Monday Blues

Carver Club, 8PM

Hosted by the bar's owner Miss Judy Hill


April 25th

Earth Day Celebration

City Park, 4PM

Kiddie crafts, cooking demos, native plant sale, yoga, and more


April Hobnobber

The Country Club, 5:30PM

Sip and socialize, with complimentary wine and live music


Movie Screening: Ipileaye

Ashé Cac, 6PM

Story of the creation of the world 


Pony Up for Horses

Eiffel Society, 6PM

A benefit to aid horses in need


Vinyasa & Vino

Nola Yoga Loft, 6:30PM

All-levels yoga following by wine and dinner


Swing in the Oaks

City Park, 7PM

Annual free outdoor concert feat. Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra


New Moon Medicine Circle

Yes, Yoga., 7:30PM

Celebrate the cycle with visualizations, meditations, journaling, ritual, and group energy healing


Aaron Cohen Band

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Local faves, feat. Danny Abel Band, Shhh


High Profile | New Orleans Nightlife Awards

Sidney's Saloon, 10PM

Celebrate NOLA's nightlife with Garlic Junior, Jassy, and DJ Visqueen


April 26th

Wednesdays at the Square

Lafayette Square, 5PM

Feat. Flow Tribe and Robin Barnes


Blackout Poetry Workshop

Norman Mayer Branch Library, 5PM

Teen poetry event in blackout poetry of public library books


Evenings with Enrique

City Park, 5PM

Feat. Raphael Bas


Vietnamese Style Crawfish Boil

Black Penny, 6PM

The famous boil across from Armstrong Park returns


Paradigm Pizza & Pies

Paradigm Gardens, 7PM

Urban farm hosts outdoor dinner, with Ancora Pizzeria


Eat Your Science

Saenger Theatre, 8PM

Alton Brown live


Movie Screening: Annie Hall

Catahoula Hotel, 8PM

Rooftop screening of the Woody Allen classic


Sound Observatory New Orleans: The Shape of Jazz to Come

Three Keys, 9PM

This month's event features Ashlin Parker Trio 


April 27th


NOLA Distilling Co. Grand Opening

NOLA Distilling Company, 3PM

Live music from Colin Lake, food from Frencheeze & La Cocinita food trucks


Movie Screening: Jazz Fest Shorts

The Old U.S. Mint, 6PM

Films from the inaugural 1970 Jazz Fest


Threadhead Thursday

City Park Botanical Gardens, 6PM

Feat. Marcia Ball, Brass-a-Holics, and Paul Sanchez & the Rolling Road Show


Sum 41 & Pierce the Veil

House of Blues, 6:30PM

The 'We Will Detonate!' tour


International Jazz Day

New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, 7PM

Celebration of jazz music and its influence


Jazz & Heritage Gala

Hyatt Regency, 7PM

19th annual benefit feat. a Neville Family Funktion and more


St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Orpheum Theater, 9PM

Birmingham band promotes second album "Sea of Noise" 

Grand Curator

Review: UNO St. Claude Gallery's Alumni Exhibition

In a 2003 Chicago Tribune article, art critic Alan G. Artner characterized the 1990’s as a time during which “pseudo-intellectualism” began “replacing scholarship” in the area of curation.     


Further blurring the lines between curator in “position of service,” as elucidated by Artner, are sometimes artist-curators like Robert Gober, asked to curate in a guest capacity at Houston’s Menil Collection.  Gober’s work within “Meat Wagon” not only drew visitors to the Menil, it offered a glimpse into Gober’s own unique and intriguing way of seeing.  It is this particular viewpoint, this “way of seeing” that started taking second-stage to the selfless and academic approach to curation.


Because of this intensified relationship between art and curation, sometimes the distinction between curating a solid show and “celebrity curating” gets dicey.  Particularly within collectives like TEN Gallery, Good Children and The Front where artist members are presumably expected to share the duties of curating shows, keeping one’s academic ethics intact seems paramount. 


As an art critic working with local museums, this reviewer is frequently cautioned by the curatorial staff themselves against emphasizing their roles in the making and display of art.  The dedicated and educated of the New Orleans art world generally eschew garnering such acclaim in lieu of maintaining academic ethics and (presumably) mutual professional esteem.


As an exercise in learning about the curatorial process, NOLA Defender sought out two academics involved in curating on behalf of UNO St. Claude Gallery.  Instructor and Managing Director Kathy Rodriguez curates UNO St. Claude throughout the year, finding congruous pairings amongst the MFA candidates’ final theses as a mainstay and pulling in other faculty work and work by alumni as well.  When a candidate fell through, Natalie McLaurin’s “You are a weird bird” stood alone.  Enter Assistant Professor of Art History Dr. Rebecca Reynolds who proposed offering MFA grads an opportunity to submit work which would eventually make up the gallery’s April-May show.


Rebecca Reynolds explains that when a letter was sent to MFA alum’, no subject matter was imagined.  However, as artists responded, Reynolds saw an overwhelming amount of work coming in that dealt with the process of identity formation.  This theme coincided well with McLaurin’s work in its own investigations.  Reynolds chose works by Alex Podesta, Nina Schwanse and Monica Zeringue on their works’ thematic and visual strengths.


Alumni Alex Podesta’s work can’t help but greet the viewer, its sculptural and tactile prowess measuring up at the most, around six feet tall.  His work “The Victors” consists of a quasi-pre-adolescent Podesta of adult height dressed in childlike clothing.  Podesta-the-sculpture pulls a legless yet confined unicorn in a red wagon, and leads a paraplegic bunny in a unicycle contraption of his own creation.  Scale is skewed, sort of.  None of the creatures “exist”, giant child Podesta and giant fluffy rabbit staking little more claim to reality than quadruple amputee plush unicorn.  In terms of identity, Podesta’s childlike sense of wonder seems to have been grimly transformed by the journey into adulthood.


Also of note is Podesta’s “I vs. I (Tanner Stage II),” a pair of toddler-sized tricycles covered in the same pristine white fur as the bunny and the unicorn of “Victors” and locked in combat at handlebars modified into antlers.  Tanner Stage 2 refers to the first step towards puberty, and quite possibly the onset of battle within to form the autonomous adult personality.


Monica Zeringue’s entire body of work within the show, five astoundingly intricate works in graphite pencil, four on primed linen and one on paper, boldly and successfully broaches the subject of female identity.  Zeringue’s approach is beautifully communicated and readily relatable from a female standpoint.  The artist takes on characters from Greek mythology like Rhea Silvia, Ophelia and Hercules as a means of transcending the gender constraints inherent in myth. 


Zeringue fearlessly depicts her own body distorted into the nursing canine in terms of nursing capability only.  “She Wolf” offers the sacrificial hare as she ambulates on all fours, possessing three extra sets of breasts swollen with milk.  Charged with the tasks of hunting, feeding her young, the work’s subject bears tender flesh instead of thick fur, short human forearms and oversized human breasts.  Regardless of her inadequacies, our heroine surmounts inconceivable challenges.  This is interesting in itself, until the viewer realizes further that Zeringue also presents her nakedness, her vulnerabilities in the appraising public eye.  The feminist commentary is somewhat absent.   Zeringue instead chooses to discreetly and artfully frame the challenges with an expert hand. 


Zeringue’s “Unbecoming ” discusses the tedious physical and emotional pain of conforming to current standards of beauty.  The fearful prospect of the haircut is depicted, performed by the artist’s mother with pruning shears.  The specter of a well-pruned and fecund rose bush looms in the background, the entire work floating on a blank backdrop.  Zeringue addresses themes throughout the show dealing with the beholden nature of femininity, especially in relation to hair, an important link to Podesta’s work in “Tanner II” which is distinctively masculine in nature.


Nina Schwanse, is an artist seemingly driven to deconstruct the sensational.  Her work often consists of getting inside of a controversial thing at its roots and experiencing the painful process of growing with it.  In her multi-faceted confrontation of feminist anti-hero Veronica Compton, Schwanse reportedly experienced a disjunction when she attempted to portray the woman in a video work.  Compton, a wanna-be screenwriter and attempted murderer who conspired with Hillside Strangler Kenneth Bianchi through letter-writing on the outs’, is the subject of multiple works by Schwanse originally shown as her “Hold It Against Me: The Veronica Compton Archive” exhibition at Good Children Gallery in 2013.


A well-curated show then, conceivably takes into account a body of work evaluated on its rigorous approach to a topic.  It explores many aspects, from both a male and female perspective and generally insists on performing a ghostly task.  It culls as much talent from as far and wide as possible, in this case finding graduates from as far back as possible.

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Renard Boissiere, Linzi Falk, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Dead Huey, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.


Alexis Manrodt

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

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