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Civic Theatre, 5PM
Fashion shows for the gulf region's top designers
Spanish Plaza, 5:30PM
40 chefs compete for top taco prize
Ogden Museum, 6PM
Feat. Bob Malone
Local artists celebrate each other in their work
The Courtyard Brewery, 6PM
To benefit the Friends of New Orleans Public Library
Blue Nile, 7PM
Folksy local singer-songwriter
Big Easy 'Bucha, 7PM
Worship and yoga in one
The Orpheum Theater, 7:30PM
Music of the Beatles
Hi-Ho Lounge, 8PM
A night of angelic sounds
Bar Redux, 8PM
NOLA funk, trad and electric blues
Howlin' Wolf, 8PM
Red Bean hosted stand-up show
Chickie Wah Wah, 8PM
Papa grows funk and so much more
Saturn Bar, 9PM
Café Negril, 9:30PM
All genres of NOLA music fused
Le Bon Temps, 11PM
6th Ward brass mixes funk, soul, jazz and hip-hop
LIFE Yoga, 7AM
An intro course from Zen teacher Thich Thien Tri
Adler's New Orleans, 11AM
Hollywood legend signs copies of 'I Loved Her in the Movies'
Marriot Convention Center, 6:30PM
Day one of the inaugural Bourbon Fest
The Broad Theater, 7PM
Short film showcase
Blue Nile 7:30PM
Friday nights with Kermit on Frenchmen
House of Blues, 8PM
Hebrew hip hop
Cafe Istanbul, 8PM
Preview of Merman's new show "Bad Heroine!"
Joy Theater, 8:30PM
Celtic punk, feat. Skinny Lister
One Eyed Jacks, 9PM
Artist mixer before Saturday's Edwardian Ball
Maple Leaf Bar, 10PM
Chapter Soul hosts a Kanye West dance party
Bar Redux, 10PM
All-British dance party
Hi-Ho Lounge, 10PM
Party like it's 1999
Crescent Park, 10AM
Eat to benefit LA/SPCA
Fair Grounds, 12PM
Family day at the grounds
The Yum Yum, 6PM
NPR faves come home from tour
St. Mark's Church, 6PM
Caravan Cinema screens this Natasha Lyonne comedy
Smoothie King Center, 7PM
Feat. Fantasia and Johnny Gill
The Saenger Theatre, 7PM
Comedy superstar brings his "Total Blackout" tour to NOLA
House of Blues, 7PM
80s vs. 90s - decades collide
One Eyed Jack's, 8PM
FdT stages "Alice in Wonderland"
The Howlin' Wolf, 8PM
NOLA's underground art show, plus free pancakes
The Willow, 9PM
Masquerade ball with live music
The Circle Bar, 10PM
Sweat to the oldies with DJ Matty
Le Bon Temps Roule, 11PM
Free show to move and groove
Howlin' Wolf, 12PM
Over a dozen NOLA spots offer their best bloodies, plus food
Magnolia Yoga Studio, 1PM
Free female-led discussion and open house
Playmakers Theater, 2PM
Final staging of drama about painter Mark Rothko
Maple Leaf Bar, 3PM
5th annual boil commemorating the life of the beloved chef and musician
Woonderland Production Studios, 3PM
Live music, drinks, water slides, more
Audubon Park, 5PM
LPO Woodwind Quintet performs
Local trad jazz masters
Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop, 6PM
Bring games, or join one at the store
Howlin’ Wolf Den, 10PM
Mix of brass standards and funky covers
Spotted Cat, 10PM
Boundary pushing fusion jazz
Maple Leaf, 10PM
Krown on the B3 with Russell Batiste and Walter “Wolfman” Washington
Painting Aaron Neville: JazzFest Poster Artist James Michalopoulos Talks 'Heart Song'
When James Michalopoulos was approached to create the 2013 Jazz Fest poster, he of course accepted. Trading architecture for portraiture, the renowned New Orleans artist momentarily set aside his celebrated shotgun house illustrations to portray Aaron Neville of the Neville Brothers, an exemplar of New Orleans soul and R&B, who also happens to turn 72 years young today.
“This is my sixth Jazz Fest poster,” said Michalopoulos. “I paint figurative works. It’s something that I very much enjoy doing.”
As Michalopoulos knows, painting a face, especially a famous one, involves much more than just getting the features right. For a sitter like Aaron Neville, conveying character and spirit are equally important as getting the proportions right.
“I think the most critical element is to be available to be schooled by the subject and I approach it that way,” said Michalopoulos. “If you’re feeling copasetic you begin to be open to what that person’s about.”
For Michalopoulos, communicating Neville’s spiritual nature, a dominant part of his character, was most important.
“One of the things that comes across to me most powerfully is that his music and his singing is about him practicing release. He is expressing freedom, so he is a challenge in that regard,” said Michalopoulos.
Michalopoulos, who has had the advantage of knowing the Neville with the golden pipes for years, not only looked to the subject himself, but also to his music.
“I spent a long time going over his music and I have interacted with him directly. The thing that was most moving for me was spending the time with his music and in particular the song ‘Bird on a Wire,’” said Michalopoulos.
The Leonard Cohen cover comes through clearly in the painting’s background. Doves scatter above Aaron as if reacting to his song. Their white offsets the deep blues and purples. Aaron throws his head up in a sort of ecstasy, as if the music has completely enveloped him. His eyes are closed, yet his hand knows where to strike the tambourine.
“He did a marvelous rendition of [the song]. He’s done several. I just found myself lost in that. I took it as an exemplar of his expression and his artistic life and that’s kind of what motivated me,” said Michalopoulos.
After successfully representing the elements that make Aaron Neville Aaron Neville, Michalopoulos aptly named his portrait Heart Song.
“I think he’s all heart and that is so evident when he’s singing,” he said. “He’s just lost in it and I tried to convey that and his rising up and his lost-ness that is so evident when he’s in the middle of his music.”
That’s what Jazz Fest is all about. Getting lost in the music even if only for a couple hours.
JazzFest posters are available at art4now.com.
Evan Z.E. Hammond, Dead Huey, Andrew Smith
Michael Weber, B.A.
B. E. Mintz