Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bastille Day Bartender and Waiters Race returns to the French Market Sunday

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 10:30 AM

  • Image courtesy The French Market Corporation

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.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fourth of July roundup: 12 patriotic outings in New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 12:16 PM

Fireworks launched from dueling barges over New Orleans' riverfront are a Fourth of July tradition. - GULF COAST AIR PHOTO
  • Fireworks launched from dueling barges over New Orleans' riverfront are a Fourth of July tradition.

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):

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Interview: Snake Oil Fest performers talk about the world of the sideshow

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 4:29 PM

Fest performer Arty Dodger strikes a pose.
  • Fest performer Arty Dodger strikes a pose.

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.

Arty Dodger, gentleman juggler

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.”)

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Chuck Palahniuk to sign Fight Club 2 at Garden District Book Shop July 11

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2016 at 2:58 PM

Author Chuck Palahniuk. - ALLAN AMATO
  • Author Chuck Palahniuk.
One-time literary enfant terrible Chuck Palahniuk, best-known for his anti-consumerist, pro-chaos novel Fight Club, will appear at the Garden District Book Shop to sign copies of his new graphic novel Fight Club 2.

Palahniuk will also sign up to two books or other pieces of memorabilia for fans and pose for photos, though he won't deliver a formal talk or reading, according to a press release. (This may be a blessing in disguise for fans—Palahniuk has told press that people have a tendency to faint during readings of some of his more disturbing material.) 

Admission tickets ($32.50) are required for the event. The price includes a copy of the new book. 

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Songs of Home Songs of Change, installation created with New Orleans high school students, opens May 20

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2016 at 2:41 PM


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.”

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Beyonce adds New Orleans date to "Formation" world tour

Posted By on Thu, May 5, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Beyonce has expanded her massive tour in the wake of her acclaimed visual album Lemonade — she'll be in New Orleans on Saturday, Sept. 24. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, May 13. (Beyhive members can access tickets starting 10 a.m. Thursday, May 5, and American Express customers can access tickets starting 10 a.m. Friday, May 6.)

That should settle fans' initial disappointment for excluding New Orleans from her first run of dates — despite her featuring the city throughout Lemonade and most of her "Formation" video, including footage of Edna Karr's marching band and bounce documentary That BE.A.T., as well as clips of Messy Mya and Big Freedia, whose "cornbread and collard greens" is now among Freedia's popular catchphrases. Then there's the footage of Beyonce on a New Orleans police cruiser submerged in flood waters in a neighborhood of shotgun houses.

She's brought nearly annual performances to the city — she last performed in the Superdome in 2014 with Jay Z on their "On the Run" tour and headlined Essence Festival in 2013 during her "Mrs. Carter" tour, a few months after killing the lights during her half-time performance at the Super Bowl in New Orleans. Her "Formation" tour stop tops off an impressive September arena concert schedule (Dixie Chicks and Drake, among others heading to New Orleans that month).

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Art Garage to open on St. Claude April 22

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 10:42 AM

A sign illuminates the Art Garage.
  • A sign illuminates the Art Garage.

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.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bread and Puppet Theater collective coming to Cafe Istanbul, Mudlark Theater

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 10:55 AM

A company member plays a song in a Bread and Puppet production.
  • A company member plays a song in a Bread and Puppet production.

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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Monday, March 28, 2016

Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen come to Saenger Theater June 24

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 3:48 PM

CNN's Anderson Cooper strides purposefully down the Canal Street neutral ground in this 2007 photograph. - CREATIVE COMMONS/BART EVERSON
  • CNN's Anderson Cooper strides purposefully down the Canal Street neutral ground in this 2007 photograph.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and Bravo personality Andy Cohen are bringing something called "Deep Talk and Shallow Tales" to the Saenger Theater June 24. Press materials describe it as a "live, interactive look behind the scenes of pop culture and world events."

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Legendary Japanese band Hijokaidan to unleash audio assault on New Orleans

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 4:39 PM

Hijokaidan. L-R: Toshiji Mikawa, JUNKO, JOJO Hiroshige
  • Hijokaidan. L-R: Toshiji Mikawa, JUNKO, JOJO Hiroshige
In the age of piecework, freelancing and independent contractors, it's hard to imagine doing the same thing for thirty-seven years— but that's how long the Osakan band Hijokaidan has been making extreme noise music. After a globe-spanning and decade-spanning career of sonic violence, Hijokaidan is preparing to play their first ever New Orleans show on Wednesday, March 30th, along with a daunting lineup of other improvisational and experimental Japanese acts.

Before I began attending local noise shows, I assumed "noise music" was just clattering Einstürzende Neubauten outtakes— cacophony for its own sake. I was startled by how wrong I was, and remain continually impressed by the breadth of approaches to noise within even our smallish city's smallish scene. Almost any adjective or adjectival combo you can stick in front of the word noise exists. There is silly noise, harsh noise, rhythmic noise, ambient noise, gay Southern witch noise — bands that sound like dance music, bands that sound like guided meditation, bands that sound like those Halloween cassettes from the dollar store. Every noise act seems to inhabit its own subgenre.

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