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Regardless of your thoughts on the Second Amendment, I recommend signing up for a gun before the beginning of Oregon Trail and taking a seat in the rows marked “Hunting Grounds.”
It’s a fun and silly opportunity to interact with the comedy, which is based on the namesake educational computer game. In NOLA Project Artistic Director A.J. Allegra’s original work, which finishes its run in conjunction with the New Orleans Fringe Festival, the Bootsmeyer family prepares to strike out for Oregon to start a new life in the West. Their quest to reach this promised land is the obvious dramatic arc to the work, and it offers an endlessly entertaining contrast between the lofty ideals and images of conquering the West and the more mundane reality and dangerous distractions of trudging across the continent hampered by illness and wagon breakdowns and being preyed upon by swindlers.
In response to a question about whiskey in an interview with The Paris Review, William Faulkner said, "I ain't that particular. Between Scotch and nothing, I'll take Scotch."
In that reappropriation of one of the author's most famous lines ("Between grief and nothing, I will take grief") Faulkner might as well have been referring to the Tennessee Williams Festival's newest event, "Books and Booze," which takes place this Friday. It's a scavenger hunt through the French Quarter for book lovers and trivia geeks, and it's laden with alcohol at each stop along the way. Local authors will be on hand to ask questions (and also to serve as clues), and teams will race around bookstores and literary landmarks to answer questions, pick up clues and complete challenges.
The grand prize is a $500 all-access pass to the Tennessee Williams Festival this spring. Second, third and fourth place prizes are also up for grabs. Tickets range from $30-$70 and are available at the event's website. Pedicabs are available for hire for those looking to gain an edge on their competition, or who just don't feel like walking, and can be rented for the entire event.
Local novelist George Bishop, who's on board to ask questions during the scavenger hunt, says the opportunity for a good literary excuse to drink and run around the quarter could not be passed up. "It celebrates the literary heritage of our city in a fun, entertaining and alcoholic way," he says.
Pat Brady, a local biographer who is helping out with both this event and the March festival, says the Tennessee Williams Festival gets better every year, and this spring's line-up is particularly impressive. "We have such good people this year," she explains. "It's a chance for people to appreciate the New Orleanians here and our wonderful culture."
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The book fair, which will feature more than 50 exhibitors, from comic book enthusiasts to independent literary presses, is free and open to all ages at the Contemporary Arts Center tomorrow from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. One aim of the mini-festival, says McGovern, is to give people doing cool things in print a chance to show off. "The goal," he says, "is to give the public a place where they can find some new ideas and things they haven't seen before."
More established bookslingers, like Maple Street Book Shop and The Historic New Orleans Collection, will have booths Saturday, but they'll share space with some perhaps not as well known presses and distributors like the Trembling Pillow Press and the Honeybee Press.
Authors will be on hand at many of the tables to talk books. The Alternative Media Expo, organized by the local music magazine Antigravity, merged with the bookfair last year shortly after Hurricane Isaac.
It might be one of the newest food festivals in town, but the annual Oak Street Po-boy Festival, now in its seventh year, has become a New Orleans favorite. About fifty thousand po-boy lovers are expected to attend the event, which will take place on Sunday, November 24th.
Comedian Sara Schaefer is a headliner at Hell Yes Fest. She tops a showcase Friday at One Eyed Jacks and she participates in The Megaphone Show Saturday at The Shadowbox. She's completed two seasons of Nikki & Sara Live on MTV and is waiting to hear if the network will pick up a third season. She talked with Gambit about that and other career moves for a preview of the festival. She also discussed her first job after college, which was a no-experience-necessary, entry-level job with an investment and estate management firm in New Orleans. She answered phones and made travel arrangements for clients, she says.
When she got her show on MTV, Schaefer and Nikki Glaser put out a call for comedy writers. After reading 200 packets, Schaefer compiled her own tips for putting together an application to write for a comedy show. But it works as great advice for anyone if the word "company" or "job" is substituted for "show." The tips ("follow the instructions," "Do I even need to tell you to spellcheck that shit?" "Do not recycle a packet you wrote for another show") are here, and following the response she got to the tips, she posted an addendum, but it is for comedians.
Schaefer's first job didn't put her on a career track, but once she moved to New York, she followed an unproven path, taking jobs making Internet videos for AOL and blogging for TV shows, including Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, before landing a show on MTV.
For the sixth year in a row, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation will be serving up hot gumbo and even hotter music for free this weekend in Louis Armstrong Park at the Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival. known for its celebration of local music, crafts, and, naturally, plenty of hot gumbo.
Legions of bowling Valkyries and castrating German nihilists are best found onscreen in The Dude's nightmares in the Coen brothers' cult classic The Big Lebowski and partying in bowling alleys at Lebowski Fest. The original Lebowski Fest was in Louisville in 2002, and the first New Orleans edition is Nov. 8-9.
On Friday at The Howlin' Wolf, there's music by The Dudes Abide, a Creedence Clearwater Revival and "Dude music" cover band made up of three past Best Dude costume-contest winners. The Catfish Orchestra also performs and there's a screening of The Big Lebowski.
On Saturday, there's a costume contest for individuals and groups, a trivia contest and unlimited bowling with admission at AMF All Star Lanes. (There's a large gallery of past costume contest competitors here.)
Lebowski Fest was founded by Will Russell and Scott Shuffitt. They used to moonlight selling T-shirts at conventions, and during down time, they'd quote from the movie's endless supply of memorable lines.
"At one convention in 2002, some guys we didn’t know next to us joined in and started quoting with us," Russell says. "We realized we were not alone. We were at this weird tattoo convention where these people were suspended by their ass piercings, and we were out of our element, but we were like: If they can have this weird tattoo and piercing convention, we should have a Big Lebowski convention."
Their first event was at a bowling alley in Louisville, and 150 people attended. The following year, 1,200 people went. In 2004, the festival featured its first band: My Morning Jacket.
"It was great," Russell says. "Jim James dressed as The Dude, the drummer, Patrick Hallahan was Walter, Tommy (Blankenship) was Jesus and Carl (Broemel) was a nihilist."
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