Search
| Clear, 84 F (29 C)
| RSS | |

SECTIONS:

 

Arts · Politics · Crime
· Sports · Food ·
· Opinion · NOLA ·
Lagniappe

 
THE

Defender Picks

 

MERCREDI

July 26th

Gloria Park & the Arrowhead Jazz Band

The Mint, 2PM

Music at the Old U.S. Mint

 

Kaya Nicole Band

The Maison, 4PM

Samba & Bossa Nova sounds

 

Mid-Week Mindfulness 

Longue Vue, 6PM

Decompress from the stress

   

Debachuerous Duets

Allways Lounge, 7PM

5th anniversary of Esoterotica's duets

 

The Rocketboys

Siberia, 7PM

Feat. The Whistles & The Bells

  

Space Kadet

Howlin’ Wolf, 8PM

Their New Orleans debut

 

The Boondock Saints

Catahoula Hotel, 8PM

A rooftop showing 

 

Scatterjazz

Side Bar, 8:30PM

Feat. Eric “Benny” Bloom + David Torkanowsky

 

The Love Witch

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Free screening of the Anna Biller feminist flick

 

George Romero Retrospective

Bar Redux, 9PM

Dawn of the Dead, The Crazies, Night of the Living Dead  

 

Organized Crime & Friends

Maple Leaf, 10PM

Feat. Cliff Hines

 

Antoine Diel & the Misfit Power

Spotted Cat, 10PM

A jazzy midweek show

JEUDI

July 27th

Antoine Diel Quartet

Hotel Monteleone, 5PM

At the Carousel Bar

 

Yoga Social Club

The Crescent Park, 5:45PM

Get zen and ready to mingle

 

Ogden After Hours

Ogden Museum, 6PM

Feat. Paul Sanchez

 

Book Signing

Alvar Library, 6:30PM

An appearance and reading by James Nolan

 

Crescent Fresh Open Mic

Dragon’s Den, 7PM

No cover

 

Singing In The Rain

Orpheum Theater, 7PM

Free screening of the Gene Kelly classic

 

Meek Mill

Lakefront Arena, 8PM

Feat. Yo Gotti + YFN Lucci

 

Derek Brueckner

Art Klub, 8PM

Come observe and participate as you wish

 

Tony Seville & The Cadillacs

Mohogany Jazz Hall, 9PM

R&B and Jazz classics

 

VENDREDI

July 28th

Food Truck Friday

Champions Square, 11AM

Feat. even more trucks

 

Dinner and a ZOOvie

Audubon Park, 6PM

A showing of Trolls

 

John Waters Film Festival

NOMA, 7PM

The Pope of Trash's classic 1981 film, Polyester

 

Astrology: Basics of Chart Reading

New Orleans School for Esoteric Arts, 7PM

Demystifying the chart: glyphs, houses, aspects, and more

 

Leonardo Hernandez Trio

Casa Borrega, 7PM

A night of Latin jazz

 

Akira Movie Night

Art Klub, 8PM

A night for anime

 

Corey Feldman

Southport Music Hall, 8PM

The 80's idol comes to town with his Angels 

 

Bloodsick

Siberia, 9PM

Feat. Cave of Swimmers + Smoke

 

Blue Velvet

Howlin Wolf, 10PM

Feat. Skelatin, Dusty_tupelo + The Family Band

 

Foundation Free Fridays

Tipitina's, 10PM

Feat. Rory Danger & The Danger Dangers and more

 

Spektrum Fridays

Techno Club, 11PM

Feat. Zander, Javier Drada 

SAMEDI

July 29th

Cocktail Treasure Hunt

Chartres House, 10AM

Hosted by the Krewe of Crescent City Dames

 

Stretch Your Day Out

The Drifter Hotel, 10AM

Poolside yoga

 

Summer Shrimp Boil-Off

Seaworthy, 2PM

Three chefs compete to make the best boil

 

Brush Lettering Workshop

Lionheart Prints, 2PM

Learn the art of penmanship

 

Cool Down Block Party

4100-4300 Magazine St., 5PM

Live music, free drinks, special sales, and more

 

GCPL Cup

Pan American Stadium, 6:30PM

Gaffa FC versus Cajun Soccer Club

 

Hot Summer Nights in the Ice Pit

Orpheum Theater, 7PM

A night of comedy

 

Bad Girls of Burlesque

House of Blues, 8PM

Monthly showcase at HOB

 

Mythological Hybrids 

Bar Redux, 9PM

Psych-rock sci-fi

 

Rocky Horror Picture Show

MechaCon Convention, 12AM

Feat. shadow cast, costumes, props 

DIMANCHE

July 30th

Brunch & Burn

St. Roch Market, 10AM

Yogalates, with food & mimosas to follow

 

Free Yoga Class

Parleaux Beer Lab, 11AM

$1 off beers for all attendees

 

Sacred Marketplace

Congo Square, 12PM

Unveiling the refurbished historic marker

 

Harry Potter's Birthday Party

Tubby & Coo's, 2PM

It's the boy wizard's bday

 

Cauche Mar & Evers

Castillo Blanco Art Studios, 9PM

Feat. Delish Da Goddess, Ekumen, Pine Box Social

 

Inception

Prytania Theatre, 10PM

Christopher Nolan's mind-bending masterpiece

LUNDI

July 31st

The Well

St. Anna's Episcopal Church, 2PM

A woman's poetry circle

 

Start-Up Institute for Small Businesses

Urban League of Louisiana, 5:30PM

Start of month-long business training program

 

Larry Correia

Garden District Book Shop, 6PM

Signing and reading from Monster Hunter Siege

 

Elemental Dignities

New Orleans School for Esoteric Arts, 7PM

Working with the elements in tarot

 

August Alsina

House of Blues, 7PM

NOLA-born musician

 

Helen Gillet

Bacchanal, 7:30PM

Sip some wine and listen to the jazzy starlet 

 

Burlesque Bingo

Bar Mon Cher, 8PM

Lefty Lucy presents the art of the tease and bingo

 

Faun and a Pan Flute

Hi-Ho Lounge, 10PM

Atlanta musicians take over the Instant Opus series


The Showman

Johnny Azari Talks Transition From Blues Music to Stand-Up Comedy



A little more than two years ago, Johnny Azari would probably have called himself a musician. But now, the multi-hyphenate artist would count stand-up comedy at the top of his résumé, above his years in music production and his sprawling delta blues career. Fresh off of a 20-state tour across America, where he recorded both an audio album and debut comedy special called The Revolution Will Be Hilarious, Azari spoke with NoDef about everything from life on the road to new marriages and new presidents. 

 

It had been less than 24 hours that he had been back in town after three consecutive months on the road. Azari had spent half of his first day back in New Orleans sitting on the phone with his car insurance company before taking a seat on a stoop outside of the historic Cosimo’s to discuss his latest work. The first thing you might learn about the performer is that he is well known within New Orleans. Several times throughout our interview, people stop on the sidewalk to either welcome him home or raise a finger in an attempt to place where they recognize the man with the Dylan-gone-electric hair. 

 

Azari first gained a name in New Orleans in the city’s bustling music scene, performing and producing music for himself and others. So the first question that many ask is why. What would prompt a successful blues musician to hang up his guitar and pick up a mic? He understands the confusion. “I’ll always play the blues, I’ll always love doing it,” he said. “But I hit the glass ceiling with it, as much as an Iranian-American raised in New York City playing Mississippi Delta blues is going to take that genre. Nobody gives a shit after five years.” 

 

The man is in many ways an anomaly. An artist — and perhaps more surprisingly, a New Orleanian — who doesn’t drink is a bit of a rarity (Azari drinks kombucha instead of choosing from the bounty of cheap brews at Cosimo’s). But a successful performer game to give it all up to carve out a new name for themselves is practically unheard of in this day and age. Azari thrives on these apparent paradoxes. 

 

What drew him to comedy are the inherent risks involved. "There’s an old axiom: if you’re going to tell people the truth, make them laugh or else they will kill you,” Azari explained. In his eyes, in every other genre of art besides stand-up, the artist can practice it alone. “In dance you can sit in front of a mirror and practice, you can paint alone, you can play guitar in a soundproofed room, you can shoot and edit alone,” he explained. "Comedy is the only thing you have to do and practice and fail in front of other people.” 

 

There is an essence of his blues background in his stand-up comedy. Azari works best when given a bit of room to play — he’s not restrained, and his comedy is often off the cuff and and teased out over an hour set. It’s a model he learned during his touring career, when during his three-hour-long sets he would entertain the crowd with observations and anecdotes from his life. “I realized recently that I was always a comedian, it’s just that no one pulled me aside and told me that’s what I was doing,” he laughed. 

 

Much of his stand-up material is derived from that blues mentality. He scrolls through his Voice Memos app, showing pages of three-to-seven minute riffs he composed while driving across the continental United States. Many of the jokes featured in his special were pulled from his on-the-road musings. He talks about life as a newlywed (he married model Samantha Saliter earlier this year), his previous sexual exploits, and though hesitant to ever assign a persona to his stand-up presence he performs a lot of character work. "There’s a lot of theatre within my comedy, it’s not just all set up punchline, set up punchline. I’ll go through skits,” he answered. 

 

What he does not quite identify with is the tag of 'political comedian’. It’s become somewhat a comedy go-to in this uncertain political climate to lean in to easy digs at the POTUS or quote the many headlines that seem better suited to The Onion than The New York Times, but that’s not very fulfilling in the long-term. The politicians of today are signs of the times, according to Azari, and not the root of the problems. Still, it must be said that one of his best bits from The Revolution Will Be Hilarious is an extended observation comparing a Republican snuff orgy to a Democrat date rape.

 

There’s an old saying that comedy is tragedy plus time, but Azari believes that humor is most successful when intermingled with the tragic and perverse. "My favorite [comedians] are the ones that uproot taboo and corruption and hypocrisy and all of the things that plague a society, and bring an audience to a point where they have to laugh at their own failure,” he explained. "There’s a way of processing and healing through that.” Azari’s comedy is precisely observed yet delivered with a breezy, bluesy air, in the tradition of Bill Hicks, George Carlin, and other ruthless truthtellers who came before — he tells the crowd just what is wrong with the world, with enough of a winking eye that you feel like you’re on the right side of the joke. 

 

Late last month, Azari took the stage at Sidney’s Saloon to headline the Night Church comedy showcase. It was his first show back following his nationwide tour, and he was understandably excited. “It’s hard to predict New Orleans crowds [at comedy shows]. But that’s part of it.” Azari will be in New Orleans off and on through the end of the summer, then he will embark on a one-month tour in September. Keep an eye on his website and social media platforms to learn about the upcoming releases of The Revolution Will Be Hilarious this fall.  

view counter
Follow Us on Twitter
view counter
Mardi Gras Zone
view counter
view counter
view counter
Advertise With Us Here
view counter
Follow Us on Facebook
view counter
French Market
view counter
view counter


Contributors

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

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt

Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily