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1200 Robert E. Lee Blvd (11:00 AM- 11:00 PM)
The Holy Trinity Cathedral is inviting Grecophiles of all ages out to Bayou St. John for goat burgers, traditional music and dancing, and regional libations
The Convention Center (2:00PM- 5:00 PM)
An experience for both foodies and wine connoisseurs, with live music by The Nigel Hall Band
Michalopoulos Studio (2:00PM and 8:00 PM)
An interactive and sparkling performance presented by Nari Tomassetti
Zephyr Field (4:00PM and 6:00 PM)
New Orleans baseball against the Omaha Storm Chasers
Gerken Bike’s 5 Year Anniversary Party
Gerken Bike’s Back Yard (7:00 PM)
Drinks! Snacks! Thanks! And music by Raya Brass Band and others
Tulane University’s Dixon Hall (8:00 PM)
The final evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Shadowbox Theatre (8:00 PM)
Straightforward conversational drama explores one area's gentrification through 50 years
Howlin’ Wolf (9:00 PM)
A funky two night celebration of the band’s 30th anniversary
Hi- Ho Lounge (11:00 PM)
Weekly dance party with the Queen of Soul
Shanghai!: A NoDef Theatre Review
by Jonas Griffin
The AllWays Lounge and Theatre, an enduring spot for fringe-like theatre all year long, produces Shanghai!, a “salacious musical” inspired by Pearls Over Shanghai, a performance 70s psychedelic drag queen troupe The Cockettes. New Orleans has to have one of the best audiences for bawdy and campy shows, and this one is right at home—though the ridiculousness here is witty rather than grotesque and the characters are hilarious rather than mortifying.
Under the direction of Nari Tomassetti, her cast is set free from restraint; over the top would be an understatement. Any one of them could be a star in their own show, but they enjoyably collide (or consummate) and fall down laughing again in the opium den. Since realism is of little concern here and the characters are the best exaggerations of an archetype, the actors succeed in transforming from people into a cavorting gang of winking cartoons.
An American sailor with Popeye arms and a comparable groin, Captain Eddy (John Michael Haas) and his passengers, two free white virgins, Delicious (Melody Keel) and Delightful (Allee Peck) hoping to work in show business, voyage to the Paris of the East. Played like a golden boy, Haas parodies the conquering and optimistic American man. His sweet songbird voice does nothing to alleviate the hysteria surrounding him. Also parodies of American privilege, the innocents turned ladies of the evening are indeed delicious and delightful. They are a dynamic duo who successfully work as one in song and dance. Their giggling, whining girl personas don’t feel void; rather, their commitment to such roles is magnetic.
While Eddy pursues a star-crossed romance with Lili Frustrata (Owen Ever), a hysterical yet sensitive vagabond who sings a dreamy number about his wares of apples and wantons, the sailor-striped gals are soon lured into Mother Fu’s (Nicole C.W.) master plan of making the West the East’s slave. These dancing girls who boast that Uncle Sam will save white mothers are too easy a prey for the devious Mother Fu, trilling about white slavery. C.W. strokes her long thin beard and holds out her crossed arms in a permanent power stance; she embodies Queen of Evil. Her laugh is maniacal and her gestures are grand, usually corresponding to portentous thunder rolling. Of course, this Empress of Pleasure must have a sidekick to do her bidding and that is the hilarious Chris Wecklein playing Chop Chop, a big-bellied, slavish, chocolate bar-humping rodent. C.W. and Wecklein are another irresistible duo who feed off each other rather than alienate.
Some of the musical numbers are forgettable and the singing could be improved for clarity. But this isn't just a musical. The production features several other elements that keep the show exciting. When Ever hobbles in the audience singing about his lonely life on the streets, Tomassetti, adorned in a rice field worker-like hat, doles out snacks that take you to the East a bit more. Fire-eating The Kahnartist is a constant, writhing acrobat contorting her body into all kinds of shapes in glittery four-breasted body suits; she is the sensual center. The duped and the conniving all galavant under enchanting clouds of tissuey cotton and flickering electric pink and blue lights. The lighting is suddenly intensified during a group number in the palace of pleasure: a sickly green haze smears the scene as every fool reaches up for more of the drug that imprisons them. Melodrama? Absolutely. If you take it seriously, you'll miss an opportunity to laugh with Mother Fu.
Dark humor, Disney-esque villains and sidekicks, wit, bawdy play like assless chaps and ceaseless grinding, vaudeville and gender-suspension all collaborate for one of the most diverse comedic romps. Tomassetti directs not just a funny show, but a talented group of comedic actors who know how to play big right and in many different ways.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Ryan Sparks, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Ryan Sparks, Kerem Ozkan
Michael Weber, B.A.
Assistant Managing Editor
B. E. Mintz
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Minced Media, Inc.