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What to Know Before You Go

MUSIC

Detroit Cobras
9 p.m. Tue., Oct. 31
The Parish at the House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999; www.hob.com

The Detroit Cobras made their name doing something that sounds less spectacular on paper than it does onstage — playing strictly covers of vintage '60s soul tunes by greats including Solomon Burke and Irma Thomas. Live, though, they're no cover band — in fact, they're one of the most energetic and hot-blooded acts you'll ever see. Frontwoman Rachel Nagy's voice sounds like it was rubbed with sandpaper and doused with hot sauce. Low, wounded and fierce, her version of "I Wanna Holler (But The Town's Too Small)" has so much barely contained energy that it sounds as if it's going to explode in a hail of jagged, dangerous little pieces at any moment. Their latest album, Baby (Bloodshot Records, 2005), was produced by Memphis' Greg Cartwright, who turns out rough, urgent, poppy rock 'n' roll with his own acclaimed Reigning Sound. King Khan and the one-man-band BBQ Show, purveyors of black, freaky garage rock, open. Taylor Hollingsworth and the Spidereaters also play. Tickets $10. — Alison Fensterstock

EVENTS

Swamp Fest
10. a.m. - 5 p.m. Sat.-Sun., Nov. 4-5
Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., 581-4629; www.auduboninstitute.org

The Audubon Zoo celebrates the culture and wildlife of Acadiana and highlights jaguar conservation efforts at its annual Swamp Fest, a two-day event featuring live music and special programs. The music main stage will feature the Savoy Family Band, La Touche, Doug Kershaw, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots, Rosie Ledet and Rockin' Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters and other bands. The Louisiana Swamp Exhibit will feature the Pine Leaf Boys on Saturday afternoon and Tout le Sois on Sunday afternoon. The Jaguar Conservation Trust will co-sponsor festivities in the Jaguar Jungle exhibit, including jaguar talks by conservationist Stephanie Powers, and children can make jaguar masks. Other programs include an alligator feeding and talks at the elephant exhibit, swamp exhibit and African savannah. Other special offerings include cultural demonstrations by Cajun craftsmen in the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit, and Cajun and Creole cuisine will be available from Palmer's Cuisine, Love at First Bite, Jeanminette Creole Kitchen, Voleo's, Catering Unlimited and others. Music and special events free with regular admission. Tickets $12 adults, $9 seniors, $7 children. — Will Coviello

MUSIC

Future of Music Coalition Benefit with Steve Earle Photo by Glen Rose
9 p.m. Mon., Nov. 6
Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS; www.tipitinas.com

Musicians the world over know where their bread is (or was) buttered. Without the past century of New Orleans music, the rest of the world would sound very different. Since Katrina, we've been on the receiving end of a flood of good intentions from musicians from every genre and most parts of the world looking to help get our musical community back on solid ground. The Future of Music Coalition (www.futureofmusic.org), a nonprofit education, research and advocacy group, is sponsoring a visit from a diverse group of artists this week. They'll be touring the flood-damaged areas, learning about the Arabi Wrecking Krewe's grassroots house-gutting efforts and hopefully, figuring out ways to help. The benefit show will include performances by longtime activist musicians like Steve Earle, Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker, Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello, R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, and others, with what will likely be some pretty interesting onstage collaborations. A limited number of tickets is being sold. Tickets $25. — Fensterstock

EVENTS

Words and Music Literary Festival
Nov. 1-6
Various locations; wordsandmusic.org

The rich and increasingly influential contributions of Spanish and Latin American literature, culture and heritage are the subject of a diverse array of events in the Words and Music Festival, organized by the Pirates Alley Faulkner Society. This was to have been the topic of last year's event, coinciding with the 400th anniversary of the publication of Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote . Though the event was deferred, a 401st birthday is still notable, and Don Quixote will be the subject of several discussion groups. Even Faulkner explored the rich character of Quixote, the delusional hero tilting at windmills, in his book The Reivers . Panels discuss books and other media in a broad look at the importation of culture and myth. One panel looks at Quixote as a precursor to Zorro, who was later distilled into a similar American hero, the Lone Ranger. Other events include a wealth of readings and talks by award-winning poets, critics, journalists and fiction writers, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Oscar Hijuelos (pictured), Ana Castillo, Jonathan Yardley, Luis Rodriguez, Michael Dirda and others. There are more nuts-and-bolts literary topics about dealing with editors and creating fiction, and there are plenty of local cultural inclusions relating to cuisine, music and more. Cocktail parties and concerts by the Iguanas and Fredy Omar con su Banda round out the celebration of literature and culture. Events take place at various locations around the French Quarter. Ticket prices vary. Some events are free. — Coviello

click to enlarge GLEN ROSE
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