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Defender Picks



April 30th

Jazz Fest

Fair Grounds, all day

Final day of weekend one



Bayou Beer Garden, 9AM

The most important meal of the year


Movie Screening: The Invisible Man

Prytania Theatre, 10AM

1933 sci-fi horror classic



Saenger Theatre, 3PM

YouTube superstar comes to town


Sunday Musical Meditation

Marigny Opera House, 5PM

Feat. guitarist and composer David Sigler


One Tease to Rule Them All

Eiffel Society, 7PM

Lord of the Rings burlesque


Joe Krown Trio

Maple Leaf Bar, 7PM

Feat. Walter "Wolfman" Washington and Russell Batiste, plus a crawfish boil


Blato Zlato

Bar Redux, 9PM

NOLA-based Balkan band


What is a Motico? 

Zeitgeist Arts Center, 9PM

Helen Gillet presents Belgian avant garde films


May 1st

May Day Strike and March

Louis Armstrong Park, 1PM

A protest for freedom, jobs, justice, and sanctuary for all


Movie Screening: Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History

Peoples Health Jazz Market, 6:30PM

CNN presents event, with post-screening conversation with anchor Brooke Baldwin


WWOZ Piano Night

House of Blues, 7PM
Back to the roots


Ooh Poo Pah Doo Monday Blues

Carver Club, 8PM

Treme club shifts its weekly show to the historic Carver Theatre


Poetry on Poets

Cafe Istanbul, 9:15PM

Evening of poetry with Chuck Perkins, plus live music



Blue Nile, 11PM

Famed brass all-stars play Frenchmen 




May 2nd


Ernest N. Morial Cenvention Center 

Kick off day of tech conference


United Bakery Records Revue

Marigny Recording Studio, 3PM

First annual showcase of the label's artists


GiveNOLA Fest

Greater New Orleans Foundation, 4:30PM

Music from Irma Thomas, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Rebirth Brass Band


Tasting Tuesdays

343 Baronne St., 6:30PM

Chardonnay vs. Pinot Noir



House of Blues, 7PM

Grammy-nominated French heavy metal 


Little Freddie King

Little Gem Saloon, 7:30PM

Stick around for Honey Island Swamp Band at 11PM


Neil Diamond

Smoothie King Center, 8PM

50th anniversary tour


The Mike Dillon Band

Siberia, 9PM

Feat. Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers


May 3rd

Book Reading: Michael Fry

Octavia Books, 4:30PM

From "How to Be A Supervillain" 


Flower Crown Workshop

Freda, 6PM

Hosted by Pistil & Stamen Flower Farm and Studio


Pete Fountain Tribute

Music at the Mint, 7PM

Feat. Tim Laughlin


Erica Falls

The Sanctuary, 8PM

CD release show


Piano Summit

Snug Harbor, 8PM

Feat. Marcia Ball, Joe Krown, and Tom McDermott


The New Pornographers

Tipitina's, 8PM

In support of newest album 'Whiteout Conditions'



Saenger Theatre, 8:30PM

Alt-rock icons


Piano Sessions Vol. 7

Blue Nile, 9PM

Feat. Ivan Neville


Twin Peaks

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Feat. Chrome Pony and Post Animal in support


New Breed Brass Band

Blue Nile, 11:55PM

Next generation NOLA brass


Tribute to Lee Dorsey

Pres Hall, 12AM

With Jon Cleary, Benny Bloom, & Friends


May 4th

Jazz Fest

Fair Grounds, all day

Weekend two kicks off


May the 4th Be With You

Tubby & Coo's, 4PM

Star Wars party


Jazz in the Park
Armstrong Park, 4PM

Russell Batiste and friends


Yoga Social Club

Crescent Park, 5:45PM

Get sweaty and centered 


Cuba to Congo Square Throwdown

Ashé Cac, 6PM

Live music, DJs, and dance


Mike Dillon

The Music Box Village, 6:30PM

Punk rock percussion


Herbs & Rituals

Rosalie Apothecary, 7PM

Class for women's health


Shorty Fest

House of Blues, 7:30PM

Benefit concert for his namesake foundation


AllNight Show 

The Historic Carver Theater, 8PM

Feat. Ian Neville, Nikki Glaspie, SSHH feat. Zak Starkey of The Who


Jurassic 5

The Howlin Wolf, 9PM

Feat. Blackalicious


Foundation of Funk

Republic NOLA, 9PM

Feat. George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste


Jazz: In and Out

Music at the Mint, 9PM

Live music to benefit the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp

The Sunday Critic: Sarge, Enter Your Sleep, A Nudist's Wedding

Besides the opportunity to be windy and wordy, the main advantage of keeping my amateur status as a critic rather than going pro (i.e being paid) is that I am not obligated to the scene as a whole. I get to what I get to. I’ve taken a pass on many shows. Sometimes, there's a conflict, other times shows are just not ready for a review, and sometimes words just don't do justice to a work.


Below are brief reviews of Sarge, Enter Your Sleep, and A Nudist's Wedding:  three productions which, had I not promised coverage of this year’s Fringe Fest as comprehensive as I could manage, I’d just as soon not be writing about at all…


Sarge (Clifton Players, Cincinnati)

The thoughtful good intentions of Kevin Crowley’s monologue play Sarge are so heart-on-the-sleeve obvious that I want to praise it simply for the willingness to engage the immediate world. I’m an admirer of playwrights who dare address issues of the day directly. (Most retreat to the past, or to fantasyland, claiming as they wave goodbye to be relevant by way of metaphoric timelessness.) So, this meditation on the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State child sex abuse scandal from the point of view of his wife, Dorothy “Sarge” Sandusky--specifically, about the power of denial to blind us to the truth--should be just my meat.


It isn’t. Sarge makes its point within the first ten minutes but still has 40 minutes to fill. In three scenes where one would do, the woman is portrayed in the stereotypical round – as a blinkered homebody, profoundly religious, determinedly motherly – without sarcasm but also without complexity. The only surprise in her story is her past career as a singer, but nothing is done with that except the opportunity to hear the very fine actress, Susan Emerson, assay “Tennessee Waltz” twice.


A Best of Fringe winner in Cincinnati, I must assume that Sarge generated real power at home, where the Sandusky scandal was more immediate and audiences could fill in responses from daily-news knowledge of it. But that power doesn’t travel: A pedophile husband and his truth-denying wife is a dynamic that doesn’t change much and has been, sadly, often told. (See every fourth episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit or Criminal Minds.) Since Crowley is a considerate writer, excellent with dialogue, I’d recommend that he go against his and my preferences and spring this play from its basis in fact. Freed of its obligation to the facts of living people’s lives, Sarge could really go places.


Fans of highly skillful naturalistic acting may want to see Sarge for Emerson’s poignant performance alone. She is awfully good: Think Mary Pauley for a local reference point to the quality of her work.


Enter Your Sleep (Elm Theatre, New Orleans)

The Elm Theatre’s Enter Your Sleep (which continues at the Fortress of Lushington one more weekend after Fringe Fest is done) is perfect. In every way. It’s been years since I saw a show that I didn’t want to attempt to put into words because I feared disturbing or trivializing my memories of it. Crap! 


Playwright Christina Quintana’s world premiere sounded in description exactly like a cutesy chore. A dreamscape play about childhood BFFs Glory Zico (Becca Chapman) and P.K. Whylde (Matt Standley) – see? Even the characters’ names are cutesy – meeting on the nighttime astral plane to work out the long, complex history of their essential but indefinable relationship. Oh goodie! Another any-one-damn-thing-after-another-damn-thing non-story that stops…whenever the playwright runs out of ideas… rather than concludes.


Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. The high-comedy quick-change dreamscape episodes, with Chapman and Standley each sliding into and out of dozens of personae, unfolds with a slowly revealed internal logic that turns first worrisome, ultimately devastating, as Quintana shows her cards--even while the laughs continue irresistibly. On this play’s more intimate but equally complex scale, director Joe Furnari demonstrates all of the problem-solving mastery that didn’t quite rise to the challenge of A Lie of the Mind.


Swamp DeVille’s elegant interlocking boxes-and-boards set is everything it needs to be at every moment.


Most unexpectedly: the peerless Becca Chapman is met and matched. Matt Standley here makes his debut as New Orleans’ newest, uniquest, charismaticnest leading man.


Even the philosophical questions – about the meanings, manifestations, and limits of friendship – are satisfied. I got to steal from one of my betters and get out of this. “If you can see Enter Your Sleep and not feel deeply moved, I never want to meet you and that is that.”


A Nudist’s Wedding (New Orleans)

Then there is the theatrical equivalent of the Sunday painter, of which Stephen Hunyadi’s self-production of A Nudist’s Wedding at the Fortress of Lushington is a textbook example. This is, in its way, as emblematic of a fringe festival’s first purposes as is Lofty Productions’ Cicada, and may be of interest for that reason alone. Otherwise professional (or even talented-amateur) critical appraisal of this comedy about a tradition-minded young lady who marries into a collective of marijuana-farming nudists, would be utterly beside the point. 


Since I was there, I will offer a few notes. Musician Michael Kunz makes a charming debut as the easy-going stoner fiancé Earth, generating most of the laughs on hand. Newcomer Maggie Blaeser demonstrates an impressively fearless commitment to the role of Iris, his shrewish betrothed. Another newcomer, Laura VanDruff, makes the most of what she has to work with as the de facto leader of the collective. Old hands Carlos Gonzalez and John Gore perform yeoman service in utilitarian roles as the priest and the father of the bride, respectively.


Beyond but not because of those highlights, A Nudist’s Wedding is a must-see for the family and friends of the playwright, the director (recent returnee Megan Barrios), and any of the onstage principals. 

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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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