Friday, September 11, 2015

Paddlewheeling podcast ends its Mississippi River journey in New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Reid Lustig, Galen Huckins and Brian Benson aboard the paddlewheel boat home to the trio's storytelling podcast The River Signal. - VANCE WALSTRA
  • Reid Lustig, Galen Huckins and Brian Benson aboard the paddlewheel boat home to the trio's storytelling podcast The River Signal.

The Channel Princess is just a few riverbends away from docking in New Orleans, where the 35-foot paddlewheel boat reaches its port of call after a summer-long journey on the Mississippi River.

The Princess — home to Galen Huckins, Brian Benson and Reid Lustig — also is a workshop and recording studio for The River Signal, a traveling storytelling podcast inspired by the trio's adventures and the characters and artists they've met.

The boat was rescued and refurbished after it sunk into Oregon's Willamette River during a snowstorm in 2012. The group hauled it on a trailer 2,000 miles across country and set off from Minnesota in June. The four-month journey comes to an end next week. The trio had several ideas for the trip but ultimately created a magical realism-inspired serialized radio drama using music and the Mississippi.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Interview: CHRISTEENE comes to Siberia Aug. 29

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 5:46 PM

CHRISTEENE, the self-designated "drag terrorist," comes to Siberia Aug. 29. - JASON RODGERS
  • CHRISTEENE, the self-designated "drag terrorist," comes to Siberia Aug. 29.

Former New Orleans resident Paul Soileau is the man behind CHRISTEENE — the foulmouthed, oversexed, self-designated "drag terrorist" that has been making her way around the world since 2010. With songs titles such as "Tears From My Pussy" and "African Mayonnaise," CHRISTEENE has gained an international and diverse fan base. She can be repulsive, yet endearing in many ways; she is Soileau's twisted response to celebrity, pop culture and a whole lot more. 

CHRISTEENE will be playing Siberia Aug. 29 on a bill that includes Delish, Chilldren, Liquid Nailz, White Girl Wasted, DJ Rusty Lazer and MC Anne Surprises.

Why did you choose to play at this sort of venue?

The music that we do in a live show — the performance that we give — is very different than the image that you watch in the CHRISTEENE videos. It's very aggressive; it's much more punk. So those venues are fantastic because it just allows this really great crossover crowd to be in the same room and really tear it up together. And the people who come to our shows are a pretty broad demographic of people, so we don't really perform for one group or type of person. The rooms are very mixed, so those old shitty rock and punk clubs are the best places to bring a bunch of different kinds of people and just shove them in there and feed them. And there is just a good energy in those places to tap into.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Along St. Claude, an exhibit at The Front, opens this weekend with a rebroadcast of the documentary that inspired it

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2015 at 1:48 PM

Dan Eaglin, a subject of Eve Abrams' Along Saint Claude audio documentary. - JONATHAN TRAVIESA
  • Dan Eaglin, a subject of Eve Abrams' Along Saint Claude audio documentary.

It's been a little over a year since local NPR station WWNO 89.9 aired independent radio producer Eve Abrams' seven-part radio documentary Along St. Claude. Tonight, in anticipation of an interactive opening at The Front Gallery this weekend that features 33 portraits of people interviewed for the project, the documentary will air again, from 7 to 8 p.m.

The gallery opening is Saturday, June 13 at 5:30 p.m. and will feature portraits by Jonathan Traviesa. In addition to the photos, there will be a map and other artifacts to commemorate the project, all aimed at bringing together different voices and opinions to talk about real, significant changes in the areas surrounding St. Claude Avenue between Poland and St. Bernard Avenues. 

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Jefferson Performing Arts Center to open with gala June 20

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 5:45 PM

The Jefferson Performing Arts Center
  • The Jefferson Performing Arts Center

In 1978, Jefferson Performing Arts Society (JPAS) first had the idea to build a major performing arts building for the community. On June 20, 37 years later, JPAS invites the public to an opening gala for the new, state-of-the-art performance venue.

June 20's Gala Premiere Concert will feature performances by Branford Marsalis and the Joey Calderazzo Duo, Delta Festival Ballet, Jefferson Ballet and Spud McConnell, among others. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m. There will be Champagne and light refreshments. 

The Palace for the Arts features an acoustically designed interior, a 51-ft. proscenium arch stage with a mechanical orchestra lift, a theatrical fly rigging system, a full bar, nearly a dozen dressing rooms and a VIP guest lounge. 

Tickets are $100 and $75 and can be purchased online here, or by emailing info@jeffersonpac.com. You can also order tickets by calling 504-736-6410. 

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Edible Schoolyard holds Edible Evening fundraiser

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 11:25 AM

Students work in the garden at Arthur Ashe Charter School. - COURTESY EDIBLE SCHOOLYARD
  • Students work in the garden at Arthur Ashe Charter School.

Edible Schoolyard New Orleans holds its annual fundraiser An Edible Evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 26, at the Dreamkeeper Garden at Langston Hughes Academy (3519 Trafalgar St.), one of five open-enrollment charter schools run by FirstLine Schools. The event features music by Tuba Skinny, Seguenon Kone and Social Set, wines from Presqu'ile Winery and food from local restaurants including Atchafalaya, Carmo, Commander's Palace, Cowbell, Dooky Chase, La Petite Grocery, Latitude 29, Link Restaurant Group, Mondo, MoPho, Ralph's on the Park, Shaya, Twelve Mile Limit and many others. Dickie Brennan and Company sponsors the patron party at 6 p.m.

More than 3,100 students participate in garden and/or cooking classes through Edible Schoolyard. Two schools have kitchen classrooms and five have some sort of garden space. Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School students grow produce in aeroponic towers, and there are after-school culinary classes. Arthur Ashe Charter School is expanding its garden to nearly an acre and will have an outdoor teaching space and a greenhouse. Programs address gardening skills, nutrition, healthy eating, shopping and planning menus.

"In one of my favorite lessons, we have kids make two different kinds of pizza," says Edible Schools New Orleans Executive Director Claudia Barker. "One of them we make with grocery store ingredients and one comes from farmers market ingredients. We calculate how much each pizza actually costs and we compare taste."

Programming also engages students' parents and families. Some schools have family food nights, in which parents can learn about nutrition, shopping and more. Schools also give produce from the gardens to students' families.

FirstLine Schools also includes Dibert Community School at Phillis Wheatley.

Edible Evening tickets are $45 through Tuesday, March 24, or $60 at the door.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Music Box returns with "Roving Village" music and events series

Posted By on Wed, Mar 4, 2015 at 2:40 PM

The Music Box village on Piety Street in Bywater featured playable musical structures built by artists and musicians. Swoon's Dithyrambalina, left, inspired the village. - CHERYL GERBER
  • The Music Box village on Piety Street in Bywater featured playable musical structures built by artists and musicians. Swoon's Dithyrambalina, left, inspired the village.

New Orleans Airlift
, the group of artists behind The Music Box musical architecture installation, will take those musical structures to sites throughout New Orleans for performances, artist talks, workshops and other events. "The Roving Village Residencies" will feature all new musical houses from April 3 through May 10.

The first residency, "The Music Box Roving Village: City Park Presented by The Helis Foundation," will feature an opening performance from free jazz artist William Parker, Alex Ebert of the Magnetic Zeros, Quintron, Leyla McCalla, Rob Cambre, Marion Tortorich of Sweet Crude, and Cooper Moore. The performances are 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. April 3-4.

The Music Box village opened in 2011 as sprawling shantytown of musical architecture, from a wooden floorboard "piano" (Ranjit Bhatnagar's floorboard piano "Noise Floor" inside "Nightingale House" by Serra Victoria Bothwell Felsand) to Quintron's weather-controlled theremin, "The Singing House." The site hosted performances from Quintron (and his "Shantytown Orchestra"), Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, Andrew W.K., Helen Gillet, Aurora Nealand, and the late bounce artist Nicky Da B (whose mural now adorns the fence at the site's previous home on Piety Street), among many others, who utilized the unique instruments built into the structures to create elaborate, ambient arrangements.

New Orleans Airlift was founded by Delaney Martin and Jay Pennington (aka DJ Rusty Lazer), and the Roving Village's artist-builders include works from Martin as well as celebrated street artist Swoon, Taylor Lee Shepherd, Nina Nichols, Darryl Reeves, Andrew Schrock, Klass Hubener, Michael Glenboski, Ross Harmon, Frank Pahl, Matthew Ostrowski, Rick Snow, Lindsey Karty, Jonah Emerson-Bell, Rainger Pinney, George Long, and Justin Rabideau.

Public open hours at the "Roving Village" sites will be from noon to 6 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through May 10 at City Park. There will be closing performances at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. May 8-9.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally performing at Mahalia Jackson Theater

Posted By on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 12:37 PM

Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally on Parks and Recreation. - NBC
  • NBC
  • Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally on Parks and Recreation.

For their Summer of 69: No Apostrophe tour, actor-comedian power couple Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally plan to dissect their marriage through song, comedy and "heavy ribaldry, light petting and an astonishing final act of completion." The duo's 23-date tour stops in New Orleans on April 19 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater.

Last year, the couple starred in Annapurna at the Obyssey Theater in Los Angeles and the Acorn Theater in New York. Offerman currently stars on NBC's Parks and Recreation as stern-but-fair breakfast-eating libertarian Ron Swanson, Pawnee, Indiana's (former) parks department director (and now president of Very Good Building Company). Offerman also runs Offerman Woodshop and has starred in dozens of films and TV shows, including his 2014 one-man production American Ham.

Mullally is best known for her Emmy Award-winning portrayal of prescription-drugged socialite Karen Walker on Will & Grace. Mullally also is a Broadway star, one half of a musical duo Nancy and Beth (with Friday Night Lights' Stephanie Hunt), and scene-stealing star of the late greats Party Down and Children's Hospital (she also portrays Swanson's sex-vampire ex-wife Tammy). Read Mullally's 2013 interview with Gambit here.

Tickets are $39.50 and go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 13. Tickets are available via the Saenger Theatre box office (1111 Canal St.), ticketmaster.com, or by calling (800) 745-3000.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tribute to the Classical Arts winners

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 2:52 PM

Elizabeth Mantalas and Braedon Mason perform Love Story, choreographed by Monica Marie Ordonez and  nominated for Outstanding Modern Dance Presentation. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Elizabeth Mantalas and Braedon Mason perform Love Story, choreographed by Monica Marie Ordonez and nominated for Outstanding Modern Dance Presentation.

Gambit’s Foundation for Entertainment Development and Education (FEDE) — with the help of Musetta, the seductress of Puccini’s La Boheme — announced winners of awards covering classical arts performances and presentations in 2014, at the 21st annual Tribute to the Classical Arts Awards at the Hotel Monteleone Jan. 29. In addition to recognizing achievement in classical music, opera and dance, special awards went to Diane Laizer Carney, the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music and Chevron.

To celebrate the season of love and indulgence, Musetta (played by Sarah Jane McMahon) performed “Musetta’s Waltz” at the top of the ceremony, pulling unsuspecting men from the audience and twirling them. The soprano hosted alongside WWL-TV news anchor Natalie Shepherd.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Diane Laizer Carney, a lifelong dancer, choreographer and teacher. She taught theater classes at Tulane University, Loyola University and Delgado Community College and choreographed and designed productions for the Tulane Opera Theatre and Summer Lyric Theatre, UNO Theater, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, Dashiki Theater and the Jefferson Performing Arts Society.

Sally Perry of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), Jacques Rodrigue of the George Rodrigue Foundation, Jenny Hamilton of the New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) and Taylor Landry, a student of NOBA, presented the Arts Patron of the Year Award to Chevron. All four presenters lauded Chevron’s support for arts education.

Ellis Marsalis accepted the Arts Education Award on behalf of The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, whose after-school sessions serve more than 200 students every week with everything from homework help to dance classes. “We are a work in progress,” Marsalis said in accepting the award. “We’re only three years in existence. I hope I’ll be around long enough to see the fruition.”

Six nominees performed during the luncheon, with pieces including dance, classical music and opera. Gambit, Anne Burr, Hall Piano Company, Uptown Costume & Dancewear, Coleman E. Adler & Sons and WWNO 89.9 FM Radio sponsored the event. Proceeds benefited FEDE.

See a complete list of winners below the jump.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Tonight: CANO presents the 9th Ward Improv Opera

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 2:29 PM

St. Maurice Church - CANO
  • CANO
  • St. Maurice Church

As part of the P.3 celebrations taking place across the city, the Creative Alliance of New Orleans has teamed up with local artists to present the story of the 9th Ward/Holy Cross neighborhood from the time the levees broke till now. 

The 9th Ward Improv Opera will gather the talents of spoken word artist Chuck Perkins, saxophonist Kidd Jordan, pianist David Torkanowsky and dancer Monique Moss. Audience members and neighbors are also invited to share their stories of the neighborhood in any artistic form. The performance will be an improvised collaboration, so that familiar New Orleans tunes will be played underneath spoken word soliloquies and dance performances. 

The show begins at 7 p.m. tonight, Jan. 23 at St. Maurice Church (605 Maurice Ave.) and is free and open to the public.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Storytelling royalty comes to the Joy Theater Thursday, Jan. 29

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 2:45 PM

John Menszer tells a story at the Moth StorySLAM at Cafe Istanbul. - JASON SAUL
  • John Menszer tells a story at the Moth StorySLAM at Cafe Istanbul.

The Moth
GrandSLAM starts at 7 p.m. next Thursday, Jan. 29 and will be held at the Joy Theater (1200 Canal St.), a venue that local producer Laine Kaplan-Levenson says exemplifies one important thing The Moth intends to do each month: make ordinary people into performers for a night.

"The Moth always does this situation where it's just ordinary people that are getting up and telling stories and kind of taking the stage and becoming a performer for a night," she says. "And I feel like what's so special about the grandSLAM is that, although Cafe Istanbul is a great venue for us on a month to month basis, it will be those same ordinary people standing on the stage of the Joy Theater in front of, you know, a venue of 300 seats. And they're not famous."

Dozens of stories are told over the course of the year at Cafe Istanbul thanks to The Moth StorySLAM; the monthly, live storytelling competition hosted by WWNO. But on Thursday, The Moth presents the best of the best, with the 10 winners from events held over the past year coming together to duke it out for the title of champion.

The rules are the same as they are at other Moth events: five minutes per story, timed and judged by selected members of the audience. But an air of storytelling royalty will float over the inaugural GrandSLAM.

Every Moth has a theme, and Thursday's theme is Fish Out of Water. Kaplan-Levenson says that most of the time, a storyteller can sign up to tell a story based on whatever the theme is, but for this go-around, winners are already signed up, and will have to curate a true story to fit the theme, an added challenge even for the most proficient tellers of tales. 

The Moth is a national nonprofit that facilitates a host of different kinds of storytelling events and airs selected stories on its podcast and on The Most Radio Hour. The StorySLAM takes place in satellite cities around the country, and selected winning stories from those various cities are aired on The Moth's podcast and radio show. According to Kaplan Levenson, no New Orleans storytellers have made it on the air...yet. 

Competing for the title Thursday are, in no particular order: Bryan Davis, Aubrey Edwards, Autumn Fawn, Alida Glass, Maggie Hadleigh-West, Stevie Long, Colleen McLellan, John Menzer, Meghan Shapiro and Chris Turgeon. David Crabb, a writer, storyteller and two-time storySLAM winner based in New York City, will host. Tickets are $20 and are available here

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