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What to Know Before You Go

EVENTS

Reds, Whites and the Blues
6 p.m.-9 p.m. Thu., Oct. 19
The Pavilion of the Two Sisters, City Park, 486-5900 ext. 3129

Gambit Weekly and Select Brands present the 4th annual Reds, Whites and the Blues. The evening of wine, fine cuisine and music is a fundraiser for the Big Easy Awards Foundation, which hosts the Big Easy Awards, annually recognizing artists and accomplishments in music and theater in New Orleans, and the Tribute to the Classical Arts. The party at the Pavilion of the Two Sisters will feature music by the Harry Mayronne Trio and chanteuse Anais Patterson St. John (pictured). More than 200 wines will be poured and gourmet cuisine will be provided by Byblos, Chops Bistro & Martini Bar, Dorignac's, Fire!, Jackson, the Pelican Club, Ralph's on the Park, Table One Brasserie, Taqueros-Coyoacan and the Red Maple Restaurant. There also will be a raffle for a collection of more than 200 bottles of wine. Participating wine distributors include Avenue Wines, Doerries International, East-West Wines, Glazer Companies of Louisiana, Heritage House, International Wines & Spirits, Pelican Wines & Spirits, Republic Beverage Company, Wines Unlimited and Select Wines. The Big Easy Foundation supports music, dance and theater through gifts and grants, especially for education in the arts. Tickets $45 in advance, $50 at the door. — Will Coviello

MUSIC

Paquito D'Rivera
7 p.m. & 9 p.m. Sat., Oct. 21
Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528-3805; www.cacno.org

Castro may be waning, but Cuba is still, in the right mindset, a delicious land of forbidden delights. Cuban native and octuple (count 'em, eight) Grammy-winner Paquito D'Rivera began his career with his country's national symphony, playing clarinet and saxophone and working up an impressive resume as both a modern jazz artist and composer. In 1981, while on tour in the U.S., he petitioned for and won political asylum here. D'Rivera went on to play with the United Nations Orchestra, organized by legendary bebop beatnik Dizzy Gillespie, to display Latin and Caribbean influences in jazz. As a composer, D'Rivera has won commissions from the Library of Congress, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. This appearance is a part of the NEA-funded Jazz Masters on Tour program, co-presented by the Contemporary Arts Center, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, CubaNOLA and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane. Bells and whistles of sponsorship aside, though, on their latest recording, Brazilian Dreams, featuring multiple Antonio Carlos Jobim selections, D'Rivera's quintet performs sinuous bossa nova and spicy jazz arrangements that are as smooth as dulce de leche and smoky as an embargoed cigar. Tickets $20 CAC and Fans of the Fest members, $25 general admission. — Alison Fensterstock

EVENTS

O What A Night
7:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Sat., Oct. 21
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9614; www.ogdenmuseum.org

Since reopening after Hurricane Katrina, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art has been very busy presenting shows, holding arts events and becoming a source of ideas and discussion about rebuilding New Orleans. In the past year, the Ogden has presented more than 35 new shows, highlighting work by local and Southern artists, and hosted weekly Thursday night events with music. The Ogden celebrates at its annual gala O What A Night with fine food, live music and artists represented in its collections. More than 50 works of art will be created especially for the event by artists including Benny Andrews, Jacqueline Bishop, Douglas Bourgeois, William Christenberry, Phillip Collier, William Dunlap, Alan Gerson, William Greiner, Elmore Morgan Jr., Kendall Shaw and many others. Musical entertainment is by Theresa Andersson and a string quartet. Fine cuisine is provided by Arnaud's, Brennan's and Stella! While at the gala, view current exhibits including William Dunlap's Panorama of the American Landscape, photos from William Christenberry's Vanishing South collection, Arnold Mesches' circus paintings and works by George Dureau. Tickets $100-up. — Coviello

MUSIC

Ani DiFranco
8 p.m. Sun., Oct. 22
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St. 310-4999; www.hob.com

Since the early '90s, indie icon Ani DiFranco has grown from a teenage folkie with a shaved head strumming on the stages of New York coffeehouses and bars into an industry maverick with her own D.I.Y. label, Righteous Babe. She's an outspoken activist spearheading a nonprofit foundation that takes on grassroots causes, from abolishing the death penalty to preserving historic architecture. And not least, she's a continuously evolving artist. Her latest album, Reprieve (Righteous Babe) came out this summer, after a year of Katrina-prompted pitfalls and obstacles on its way to the shelves — on tour when the storm hit, DiFranco snuck into her Bywater home to recover the partially finished album and completed it in Buffalo, N.Y. The album — which credits St. Claude Avenue with equal billing as a sideman as bassist Todd Sickafoose and DiFranco herself — has as a result a landscape of found sound, including the Bywater frogs that should by now be in the musicians' union, after all their appearances on local recordings. Between the pump organ, synth, bicycle pump, Wurlitzer and standard instrumentation listed as part of the electronic and organic menagerie on the record, you expect it to be a sonic jungle, but the final product is orderly and deliberate, complex and almost jazzy, with her standard balance of incisive personal exploration and political aggression. Jesse Harris opens. Tickets $33.50. — Fensterstock

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