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THE

Defender Picks

 

MARDI

March 28th

Book Reading: Elizabeth Pearce

Garden District Book Shop, 6PM

From her new book "Drink Dat New Orleans: A Guide to the Best Cocktail Bars, Dives, & Speakeasies"

 

Spring Publishing Camp

Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop, 7PM

Book publishing workshop

 

Gabby Douglas

Dillrd University, 7PM

Olympic gymnast talks fame and fitness

 

Laelume

The Carver, 7PM

World soul jazz music

 

Laughter Without Borders

Loyola University, 7PM

Clowns for a cause, to benefit Syrian refugees

 

Tuesday Night Haircuts

St. Roch Tavern, 8PM

Tonight: beer, haircuts, karaoke

 

Thinkin' With Lincoln 

Bayou Beer Garden, 8PM

Outdoor trivia

 

Water Seed

Blue Nile, 9PM

Interstellar future funk

 

Stanton Moore Trio

Snug Harbor, 10PM

Galactic drummer’s side project - also at 8PM

MERCREDI

March 29th

Response: Artists in the Park

Botanical Garden, 10AM

Art exhibit and sale en plein air

 

Studio Opening Party

Alex Beard Studio, 5PM

Drinks, food, painting to celebrate the artist's studio opening

 

Sippin' in the Courtyard

Maison Dupuy Hotel, 5PM

Fancy foods, music by jazz great Tim Laughlin, and event raffle

 

Work Hard, Play Hard

Benachi House & Gardens, 6PM

Southern Rep's fundraising dinner and party 

 

Lecture: Patrick Smith

New Canal Lighthouse, 6PM

Coastal scientist discusses his work

 

Pelicans vs. Dallas Mavericks

Smoothie King Center, 7PM

The Birds and the Mavs go head to head

 

Drag Bingo

Allways Lounge, 7PM

Last game planned in the Allways's popular performance & game night

 

They Blinded Me With Science: A Bartender Science Fair

2314 Iberville St., 7:30PM

Cocktails for a cause

 

Brian Wilson 

Saenger Theatre, 8PM

The Beach Boy presents "Pet Sounds" 

 

Movie Screening: Napoleon Dynamite

Catahoula Hotel, 8PM

Free drinks if you can do his dance. Vote for Pedro!

 

Blood Jet Poetry Series

BJs in the Bywater, 8PM

Poetry with Clare Welsh and Todd Cirillo

 

Horror Shorts

Bar Redux, 9PM

NOLA's Horror Films Fest screens shorts

 

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie

Howlin Wolf, 10PM

Bronx hip hop comes south

 

JEUDI

March 30th

Aerials in the Atrium

Bywater Art Lofts, 6PM

Live art in the air

 

Ogden After Hours

Ogden Museum, 6PM

Feat. Mia Borders

 

Pete Fountain: A Life Half-Fast

New Orleans Jazz Museum, 6PM

Exhibit opening on the late Pete Fountain

 

Big Freedia Opening Night Mixer

Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture, 6PM

Unveiling of Big Freedia's 2018 Krew du Viewux costume

 

An Edible Evening

Langston Hughes Academy, 7PM

8th annual dinner party in the Dreamkeeper Garden

 

RAW Artists Present: CUSP

The Republlic, 7PM

Immersive pop-up gallery, boutique, and stage show

 

Electric Swandive, Hey Thanks, Something More, Chris Schwartz

Euphorbia Kava Bar, 7PM

DIY rock, pop, punk show

 

The Avett Brothers

Saenger Theatre, 7:30PM

Americana folk-rock

 

Stand-Up NOLA

Joy Theater, 8PM

Comedy cabaret

 

Stooges Brass Band

The Carver, 9PM

NOLA brass all-stars

 

Wolves and Wolves and Wolves and Wolves

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Feat. Burn Like Fire and I'm Fine in support

 

Fluffing the Ego

Allways Lounge, 10:30PM

Feat. Creep Cuts and Rory Danger & the Danger Dangers

 

Fast Times Dance Party

One Eyed Jacks, 10:30PM

80s dance party

 


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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Contributors:

Evan Z.E. Hammond, Dead Huey, Andrew Smith

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Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor:

Alexis Manrodt

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B. E. Mintz

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Stephen Babcock