Search | Clear, 79 F (26 C) RSS | ||
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
Trail of Sneers
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson: A NoDef Theatre Review
On the eve of the 2012 presidential election, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, presented by Harms Way Theatre Company at The Mid City Theatre, offers a musical parody of one of the country's more colorful leaders. Despite that gallant statue in the middle of New Orleans, Old Hickory's legacy is still debatable among historians: American Hitler or greatest President?
The musical (written by Alex Timbers, lyrics and music by Jonathan Friedman) recasts Jackson (Lucas Harms) as an emo rock star in tight jeans whose bloodlust and ambition is played at the emotional register of an angsty teen. From Jackson's upbringing in the Tennessee hills to his presidential win via Populism to the Indian Removal Act, the audience watches the arc of one of the most controversial presidencies, replete with human rights violations, retold as a campy, slapstick comedy. Directed by A.J. Allegra, this approach makes implicative American history accessible to the public, and perhaps provokes those in the present to reconsider how much interest they give to our country’s dubious past.
The winking, racially-intoned humour toward Native Americans and the parodies of American bravado cause double-edged laughter. Are we laughing because everyone’s a little racist-imperialist at heart, or are we laughing uncomfortably because our simplified, folkloristic understanding of the Indian question is mirrored on stage? To indulge stereotypes in order to expose their hollowness is a tricky strategy. Bloody may risk furthering the camp without advancing the conversation about American culpability and inculcated racism.
Jackson purloins a Native American orphan baby (a toy doll), and shares an erotic cutting session with his wife. But amid the comedy, the narrator jarringly relates the historical context (year, event, death toll of a battle, etc), ensuring that it's not all laughs. Some awkwardness is derived in part from the abrupt tonal changes, confusing the audience as how to respond, for example, to a serious interjection about lives lost in a battle while bereaved Indians exit the stage bickering in vaguely Chinese accents. The play’s humour is further complicated by a dirge of a song, “Ten Little Indians,” that in a nursery-rhyme style tells how ten Indians met their end. Again, the production is able to get away with such irreverence because the joke is on us and our uninformed conceptions of history.
Jackson’s gang and enemies - such as John Calhoun (Bob Murrell), Prince Provenzano (John Quincy Adams), Henry Clay (BIll Mader), Keith Claverlie (John Quincy Adams), Michael Krikorian (James Monroe) are a loopy, clownish bunch. No one has bothered to choose just one way to play ridiculous. Instead, voices, accents, and demeanors are in flux. Though entertaining, such changeable personas don’t help to build relationships on stage. The cast is a rowdy cavalcade of exaggerated white man swagger, an inexplicable bounty of hysterical homosexuals and dancing cheerleading prostitutes who unfortunately come off as female dull-witted cliches. Jackson’s wife, Rachel (Leslie Limberg), is one of the few on stage with sincerity as well as being the most developed female character. Because she is not a clown and doesn’t cavort like the others, this character seems displaced.
In another moment diverging from the histori-comedy mode, Jackson beholds a hazy vision of Native Americans on the Trail of Tears. It's a rare chilling moment of drama. This moment is important because it serves to reveal in what vein the mocking humour was intended; without it, the irreverence would just be irreverent. Here in Act II, the play attempts to minimize the silliness in place of Jackson finally experiencing introspection. He considers his legacy, his regrets and all the sacrifices.The rock star gets serious.
Though the play may struggle with the success of its multilayered, incessant winking, the cast shines in its execution of hilariously whimsical, physical comedy. In this realm, the cast is unified because a cohesive style begins to take shape through which the play’s message can reach the audience.
With Election Day imminent, this funny and bold retelling of Andrew Jackson will help remind you that somewhere beneath the branding and iconography of Obama and Romney are essentially two men, both probably a little crazy, who are just as human as the rest of us.
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
Published Daily by
Minced Media, Inc.