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The Cone of Uncertainty: New Orleans After Katrina
8 p.m. Fri.-Sun., March 31-April 2
Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 569-9070;

Funny, isn't it, how a seemingly innocuous meteorological term has come to define the state our city. In the days, and certainly hours, leading up to Hurricane Katrina's landfall, the term "cone of uncertainty" grew ever more certain. The city and the outer-lying coastal region became trapped in that cone, and seven months hence has yet to break free. New Orleans-based performance artist Jose Torres Tama has adopted the term as the title of his latest piece, which debuted in Los Angeles when the Highways Performance Space director read Tama's online essays after the artist joined the hordes on a pilfered school bus out of New Orleans three days after landfall. Those blogs form the foundation of the piece, a multimedia mishmash of spoken word, film footage of the storm, fire and water rituals, a tableau installation and a mix of invented characters. Tama's piece received a Project Assistant Grant from The Arts Council of New Orleans. Always thought provoking, sometimes funny but rarely dull, Tama always challenges his audience to seek different perspectives and interpretations. Color us intrigued — but not uncertain. Tickets $7 general admission, $10 per two people. — David Lee Simmons


New Orleans International Jewish Music Festival
8 p.m. Sat., April 1; Noon Sun., April 2
The Howlin' Wolf, 907 S. Peters St.; Tulane University, McAlister Auditorium; (780-5612; or

The Jewish community is yet another group trying to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Hiddur Mitzvah Project kicked off that movement with a Hanukkah drive that helped area families replace dreidels and hanukkiot during the season, and that drive continues in part with the presentation of this impressive lineup of local, national and internationally known artists. Co-sponsored by, among others, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, this festival presents a range of music, kosher food (from Casablanca), art and culture. One of the headliners, Neshama Carlebach, is notable for following in the footsteps of her father, famed songwriter Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, but along with producer David Morgan has fashioned her own musical identity while performing around the world. Other highlights include the world-beat and Jewish roots sounds of Rebbe Soul (pictured), cantorial soloist Sam Glaser and locals Theresa Andersson and the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars. Saturday's 8 p.m. show is at The Howlin' Wolf while Sunday's noon festivities will be held at McAlister Auditorium. Tickets vary by the day, range from $10 to $25 and include festival packages for $250 each. — Simmons


The Vagina Monologues
8 p.m. Sat.-Sun., April 1-2
The Neighborhood Gallery, 1410 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 524-8800;

V-Day NOLA — the local branch of the V-Day Worldwide Campaign founded by playwright, actor and activist Eve Ensler in 1998 to raise funds, promote awareness for and demand an end to violence against women and girls in all cultures — presents a production of Ensler's world-famous play, The Vagina Monologues. The play, composed of monologues, celebrates women's sexuality and strength with humor and grace. Lisa Samoy, head of V-Day NOLA, stars and directs Giselle Chatelain, Helen Day, Jenny Douglass, Trista Douglass, Liz Felter, Jeandele Frank (pictured), Robyn Loda, Kristina Denapolis, Eileen Quadros, Phantasma Sadtree, Terri Stoor, Kathryn Talbot and Jennifer Wineke. Samoy describes the content as "educational, shocking, and entertaining," and enlightening for both men and women. Confirmed reports of increased rates of rape and violence in post-Katrina New Orleans illustrate just how close to home these issues hit. Proceeds benefit Sexual Assault Response Assistance and the Metropolitan Women's and Children's Center. Tickets $12 day of, $10 in advance (at Pinkie & Blue Boy, 895-2574). — Katie Walenter


Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival
Thu.-Sun., March 30-April 2
Various locations, 581-1144;

The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is celebrating not only its strong comeback after Katrina, but also its 2oth anniversary. This year's festival is gearing up to be one of the best yet, with attendance from its regular roster of great local authors, editors, publishers and agents and a slew of fabulous national ones, such as authors Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Berg, Silas House (pictured) and Kent Haruf, "creativity coach" Eric Maisel and journalist/memoirist Rick Bragg. Locals include — to name merely a few — Bev Marshall, Douglas Brinkley, Andrei Codrescu, Patty Friedmann, James Nolan, Tom Piazza and Chris Rose. These authors will participate in panel discussions and teach master classes on a range of topics. The festival is also well known for its great staged readings and productions of plays celebrating Mr. Williams, as well as the winning entries of the One-Act Play Contest from 2005 and 2006. A scaled-down version of the Tennessee Williams' Scholars Conference will take place all day Friday for only $10. Special events include literary walking tours, talks with actor Tab Hunter and food expert John Mariani, brunches, receptions, an opening-night gala fundraiser and, of course, the not-to-be-missed Stella and Stanley shouting match. Visit Web site for a complete schedule and details. Ticket prices range from $5-$75 per event; a $500 all-access pass is available for the four-day festival. — Walenter

click to enlarge JAVIER DE PISON
  • Javier de Pison
click to enlarge ae_feat-13117.jpeg
click to enlarge SUZANNE SHERIDAN
  • Suzanne Sheridan
click to enlarge ae_feat-13117.jpeg
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