Friday, October 21, 2016

A peek inside Beyond the Haunted Puddle, plus four more haunted houses

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 1:20 PM

One of Beyond the Haunted Puddle's uncanny occupants.
  • One of Beyond the Haunted Puddle's uncanny occupants.

Inside the entrance to Beyond the Haunted Puddle, the haunted house/immersive art installation now open at PORT, a glassy-eyed witch stirs a bubbling cauldron of human entrails  —  but that’s where the similarities to a classic haunted house end. Through a series of increasingly demented environments, including a truly nightmarish interlude at a purgatorial Department of Motor Vehicles counter, the installation knocks the viewer off balance in ways both visceral and cerebral. 

“[We wondered] what could be scary, what makes it fun, what makes it contemporary?” director Xavier Juarez says. “Making an immersive world is this great opportunity for an artist.”

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Doggy fashion show Bad to the Bone: Rescued on the Runway returns Sept. 17

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 3:07 PM

Photo courtesy Diane Lundeen/Petcetera - PHOTO CREDIT: SCOTT STUNTZ
  • Photo credit: Scott Stuntz
  • Photo courtesy Diane Lundeen/Petcetera

Bad to the Bone: Rescued on the Runway
is a professionally produced fashion show, but its staff extends beyond the usual cadre of stylists, makeup artists and Zoolander types. Along the runway, dog handlers sub for paparazzi, placed to reassure the dogs who cruise the … er … catwalk with the models.

Bad to the Bone co-founder Diane Lundeen says the dogs have varying degrees of enthusiasm for the spotlight. 

“Some dogs are just fine. They’re like ‘Hey, I’m here! Take me home!’ Other dogs are like ‘Are you kidding me? You want me to do what?’” she says. 

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Androids and anime: a day at MechaCon (slideshow)

Posted By on Sun, Jul 31, 2016 at 1:23 PM

Costumed con-goers strike a pose.
  • Costumed con-goers strike a pose.

The scene at MechaCon check-in is bedlam. A man in a glittery green bowler hat, possibly left over from St. Patrick’s Day, jostles a woman with blue and purple hair, who consoles her crying sister. A girl in a metallic red and blue jacket, matching bikini bottoms and black high-heeled boots shivers nearby. Other people in varying degrees of costume stand around the registration desk in vague gestures toward lines; the confusion seems to stem from the fact that there are multiple registration levels. Red-shirted volunteers keep trying to line people up based on the first letter of their last names (“N through Z!”) 

Behind me, a young man in an electric blue wig, a red fedora with playing cards tucked into the band and goggles seems indifferent to the chaos. He’s carrying two boxes at about chest-level. 

“What’s in the box?” I ask. 

The first box has a deck of Magic: The Gathering cards, he says. 

“And the other one?”

“It’s a box of string.”

"And what is the string for?

“No one is supposed to know what the string does.”

Shyly, he opens the box’s lid to reveal a tangled nest of extension and power cords.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book release parties next weekend

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 12:33 PM

Maple Street Book Shop owner Gladin Scott (right) talks about books with a customer. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Maple Street Book Shop owner Gladin Scott (right) talks about books with a customer.

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.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

"Museum Month" has free(ish) museum admission in August

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 5:01 PM

The New Orleans Museum of Art will participate in New Orleans Museum Month.
  • The New Orleans Museum of Art will participate in New Orleans Museum Month.

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.

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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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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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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Derby Day roundup: Six ways to celebrate the Kentucky Derby Saturday

Posted By on Wed, May 4, 2016 at 11:14 AM

Horses thunder out of the gate at the 2012 Thanksgiving Handicap. - PHOTO COURTESY FAIR GROUNDS RACE COURSE AND SLOTS
  • Photo courtesy Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots
  • Horses thunder out of the gate at the 2012 Thanksgiving Handicap.

Though the horse racing season at the Fair Grounds has ended, New Orleans has a larger-than-usual stake in this year’s Kentucky Derby. Local sports mogul Tom Benson’s racing stable GMB Racing owns two Derby contenders (Mo Tom and Tom’s Ready), while other horses have Louisiana connections. Locally, several restaurants and bars will celebrate with Derby parties. Another reason for day-drinking in a fun outfit? Well, twist my arm. 

The functions listed below will help you toast the Derby in style. For novices, post time is 5:34 p.m. (CST) and the race lasts about two minutes, so resist the temptation to arrive fashionably late. Instead, get there early and settle into a cocktail or three.

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