Muggles, rejoice: a new chapter in the Harry Potter saga arrives in bookstores at midnight July 30. While not technically a novel, the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script book (from a production opening on London's West End) revives the popular tale about the young wizard and his wand-brandishing buddies.
Climb on those broomsticks or apparate to the following parties and events celebrating the book release.
After a summer of high-hedonist activities (tubing, daiquiris, kiddie pools filled with Jell-O), return to civilized culture in August with the city's annual "Museum Month."
During the event, major local museums offer free admission with an active membership at one of the participating institutions. For example, buying a membership to the Contemporary Arts Center gets you in to the New Orleans Museum of Art, the National World War II Museum, Le Musee de Free People of Color and several other properties.
The program is a great way to check out museums during a traditionally quiet month for tourism, when galleries and exhibits are less crowded. Budget-friendly memberships include Ashe Cultural Arts Center (from $25), the Historic New Orleans Collection (from $35), and Longue Vue House & Gardens (from $35).
A complete list of museums is available online.
During the nightly theater of dinner service, waiters become minor acrobats, lifting, bending and balancing trays of cocktails, beer bottles and wobbly champagne flutes or martini glasses. The annual Bastille Day Bartender and Waiters Race brings this skill to its absurdist apogee, when service industry professionals face off in an outdoor tray-carrying competition.
Under a usually-blistering July sun, bartenders and waiters speed-shuffle toward a finish line with a fully loaded tray of glassware and props. Points are docked for spills, and past races have disqualified contestants for dropping items from their trays.
Updated to include additional events.
Ah, the Fourth of July: hot dogs, American flags and the thrill of a potential fireworks-related ER visit. Though the big show over the weekend is always Essence Fest — we love you, Mariah — there are plenty of other events on the calendar.
Here are four straight nights of fireworks and fests to enjoy during your long weekend (July 1-July 4):
In rock clubs, at festivals and on few-and-far-between carnival midways, sideshow performers are returning to the spotlight. They’re sucking down fire, hanging from hooks like devotees of some high-tech yogic sleeping practice, and reviving classic arts as they juggle Champagne bottles. These feats of physical and mental endurance shock, horrify and and amaze — but most of all, they entertain.
In advance of this month’s Snake Oil Festival, Gambit spoke with sideshow performers and a sideshow historian about the festival and the state of the art.
Apparently, tossing a few balls in the air and catching them isn’t enough to call yourself a juggler. Arty Dodger informs me that among those who know, you’re not legit until you can do five throws and catches of five objects at a time. But Dodger (who prefers to use his stage name) practices a more difficult, obscure style of juggling called “gentleman juggling,” in which everyday household objects — a hat, a cane — become airborne as props in his act.
Dodger, 30, has been juggling since he was nine. He got his first professional gig in his 20s and now regularly performs at sideshow festivals across the South. In his act, he performs balance stunts (pictured) or juggles objects as obscure and/or dangerous as Tasers and his personal favorite, Champagne bottles. (He clarifies: “Empty. You don’t want to waste good alcohol.”)
Jebney Lewis’ latest sculpture is a series of contiguous steel plates. But it’s also a map of the New Orleans ward system and a musical instrument that gives off an eerie, theremin-like hum.
The sculpture is part of a project called Songs of Home Songs of Change, created in collaboration with the composer Rick Snow and the writer Christopher Staudinger. For the project, the group asked area high school students to record sounds that remind them of home or that tell the story of the changing city. Using electronic transducers, the recordings are played through the ward-shaped plates to create resonant tones.
“They’re ordinary sounds, in some ways, or sounds that we’re familiar with, but these young people have a different way of looking at them,” Lewis says. “They’re pretty abstract when you play them through the plates, but they’re recognizable enough to be kind of evocative.”
In a 4,500-square foot St. Claude Avenue warehouse that was once an auto body shop, the team from the Frenchmen Art Market has been hanging chandeliers and screwing in lightbulbs until after midnight.
They’re preparing the Art Garage, an offshoot of the popular art venue, and no detail to spruce up the industrial space is too small.
“As far as the decor, [Frenchmen Art Market founder Kate Gaar] feels like, if you wrap anything in lights it can be beautiful,” Alicia Conforto, who handles marketing for the group, says. “There’s going to be a ton of lights as well as the funky little seating areas that we normally have.”
Conforto says the new venue will be much more than the Frenchmen space, which continues to operate as a traditional art market. Although the Art Garage has a retail area where local artists can show and sell their work, the focus will be on gallery space and art happenings. The first of these will take place when the venue opens to the public at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 22. That night, Foundation Gallery curator and artist Alice McGillicuddy will take part in a live art installation that she calls “art boxing.”
McGillicuddy will wrap herself in bubble wrap that she’s injected with paint and “box” with another artist in a boxing ring lined with canvas. The paint splatters from the bout will create an original work.
The spring schedule for the venue is still in flux, but patrons can expect to see these types of events regularly. Its members are looking forward to being part of the burgeoning St. Claude arts district.
“[Kate] just sees the potential over here, and so she’s been keeping her eye out for a space for several months now. We kind of jumped when she found this,” Conforto says.
Joseph Therrien, a touring company member with Bread and Puppet Theater, knows how to start a revolution. To win hearts and minds, skip the canvassing and start making puppets.
“People — their inhibitions, their ideological beliefs — kind of soften when they see a puppet,” he says. “Especially with [Bread and Puppet], because we use a lot of humor and music, as opposed to someone who’s on the street, ranting on a soapbox, or someone trying to get signatures for a petition. As important as those things are … [puppets] really unlock something in people and make them more receptive.”
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