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Garden District Book Shop, 6PM
From her new book "Drink Dat New Orleans: A Guide to the Best Cocktail Bars, Dives, & Speakeasies"
Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop, 7PM
Book publishing workshop
Dillrd University, 7PM
Olympic gymnast talks fame and fitness
The Carver, 7PM
World soul jazz music
Loyola University, 7PM
Clowns for a cause, to benefit Syrian refugees
St. Roch Tavern, 8PM
Tonight: beer, haircuts, karaoke
Bayou Beer Garden, 8PM
Blue Nile, 9PM
Interstellar future funk
Snug Harbor, 10PM
Galactic drummer’s side project - also at 8PM
Botanical Garden, 10AM
Art exhibit and sale en plein air
Alex Beard Studio, 5PM
Drinks, food, painting to celebrate the artist's studio opening
Maison Dupuy Hotel, 5PM
Fancy foods, music by jazz great Tim Laughlin, and event raffle
Benachi House & Gardens, 6PM
Southern Rep's fundraising dinner and party
New Canal Lighthouse, 6PM
Coastal scientist discusses his work
Smoothie King Center, 7PM
The Birds and the Mavs go head to head
Allways Lounge, 7PM
Last game planned in the Allways's popular performance & game night
2314 Iberville St., 7:30PM
Cocktails for a cause
Saenger Theatre, 8PM
The Beach Boy presents "Pet Sounds"
Catahoula Hotel, 8PM
Free drinks if you can do his dance. Vote for Pedro!
BJs in the Bywater, 8PM
Poetry with Clare Welsh and Todd Cirillo
Bar Redux, 9PM
NOLA's Horror Films Fest screens shorts
Howlin Wolf, 10PM
Bronx hip hop comes south
Bywater Art Lofts, 6PM
Live art in the air
Ogden Museum, 6PM
Feat. Mia Borders
New Orleans Jazz Museum, 6PM
Exhibit opening on the late Pete Fountain
Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture, 6PM
Unveiling of Big Freedia's 2018 Krew du Viewux costume
Langston Hughes Academy, 7PM
8th annual dinner party in the Dreamkeeper Garden
The Republlic, 7PM
Immersive pop-up gallery, boutique, and stage show
Euphorbia Kava Bar, 7PM
DIY rock, pop, punk show
Saenger Theatre, 7:30PM
Joy Theater, 8PM
The Carver, 9PM
NOLA brass all-stars
Gasa Gasa, 9PM
Feat. Burn Like Fire and I'm Fine in support
Allways Lounge, 10:30PM
Feat. Creep Cuts and Rory Danger & the Danger Dangers
One Eyed Jacks, 10:30PM
80s dance party
I Smell a Hat
'The Motherfucker with the Hat' at Allways: Theatre Review
The first New Orleans run of The Motherfucker with the Hat opened Thursday at the Allways Lounge and Theatre.
Written by New York-based playwright and director Stephen Adly Guirgis, the play is locally produced by NU theatre, and marks the directorial debut of Joshua Parham. Featuring a rockstar cast, the play is presented in two acts, packed both with comedy and embarrassingly relatable tragic conversations and emotions.
The Motherfucker with the Hat opens with Veronica (played by Kate Kuen) "cleaning" her mess of a barren apartment, while noticeably leaving the beer, Stolichnaya, and cocaine on the table. On the phone with her mother in what the audience soon learns to be an ironic moment, the addict and cheater gives relationship advice. Throughout the play -- and in the moment of romance doctoring especially - Kuen does an excellent job at capturing the physical language of a drug-addled Puerto Rican immigrant living tough in New York City. Think booty shorts and that snappy-finger-head-wag thing.
Soon enters her lifelong beau, Jackie (played by Michael Aaron Santos), full of promise of new beginnings and through the roof with self-pride since he finally got a job, especially since this one has "potential for career advancement." Recently free of a two-year stint in jail for dealing drugs, Jackie's struggle with sobriety quickly becomes a theme of the play. As things start looking up for the future, the couple also heats up as Jackie matches and allows for Veronica's sexual antics. Before things can get started, however, Jackie discovers an unknown hat alone with odors of "aqua velvet and dick" thus quickly turning romance into a fiery yelling match.
Needing some help, Jackie goes to the apartment of his AA sponsor, Ralph D (played by Marin Bradford). Immediately, we see a man who has changed -- the same table housing the booze in the first scene now has a comically large stack of vitamins, green teas and fish oils. Ralph goes through his routine promoting prayer and a "higher power calm." Bradford does a good job maintaining the force of the scene, as the text allows for the character to make fun of his new yoga/surfing/"nutritional drink." Unfortunately, we soon see that not everything exists happily on this side of sobriety, as Ralph's wife Victoria (Michelle Martin) shouts comically absurd hate from the kitchen.
As the play unfolds, we see each character choose self-specific virtues. But a chosen vice is also allowed to creep in, whether drugs, helpless romantic antics, cheating, or acceptance to the point of self-loathing. While the play is chock full of laughs, one liners and obscure references, the writing often changes quickly to fights and painful arguments. But audience members even catch themselves laughing at others' horribly dramatic arguments as both completely relatable and completely without our own personal investment. The production also registers to the other extreme, often as a result of extreme physical violence, such as choking, fighting, or whacking with a baseball bat.
Cousin Julio (Armando Leduc) plays the fifth wheel in the story of two nastily-connected relationships. Remarkably performed by Leduc, Julio often speaks of his constantly absent Marisol, while at the same time being the comedic center of the play. Julio isn't only there for laughs, as he gives a backbone to Jackie's character, without which we would not have nearly a whole-enough image of his cousin. Physically and vocally, Leduc is a pleasure to watch.
The cast's innate talent, the direction of the play, and the characters' extreme choices keep the production vibrant -- it's a loud play, both in volume and in content. Overall the play features fast-paced comedic wit, with a relatable dark side for anyone who has gone through a bad relationship, drug addiction, self-loathing, cheating, self-obession… why not just say life?
The Motherfucker with the Hat runs Thurs. - Sat, through August 17, at Allways Theatre (2240 St. Claude Ave). Tickets are $15, and available here. For those who struggle to cope with the title, the play's fast-paced verbal insults around extended scenes of violence and sexuality may prove a bit too scandalous. The play is recommended for ages 18+.
Evan Z.E. Hammond, Dead Huey, Andrew Smith
Michael Weber, B.A.
B. E. Mintz