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A&E Feature 

What to Know Before You Go

STAGE

I Know What It Means
8 p.m. Wed., Feb. 21; 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Feb. 23-24; 6 p.m. Sun., Feb. 25
Le Chat Noir, 715 St. Charles Ave., 581-5812; www.cabaretlechatnoir.com.

Start Lent off right with Ricky Graham's nostalgic cabaret tribute to New Orleans, I Know What it Means . The cabaret show was inspired by his year here after Katrina. Subtitled, "A Celebration of New Orleans As It Was — And Is!" the show is a conglomeration of eccentric local characters, from Blind Man Dave, a hilarious musician and Jazz Fest veteran, to inadvertent civil rights worker Glenda Virdigama, who finds herself in the middle of a drugstore sit-in after following a cute boy inside. The evening includes singing, dancing and even a slide show, featuring childhood pictures of Graham that were dug out of his mother's garage. Freddie Palmisano and Stuart Baker-Bergen help with the music, and there are new additions by Jefferson Turner. Outrageous wigs by Amanda Hebert abound (Graham wears one himself when re-enacting a "Sun King" exhibit), and Cecile Casey Covert created extravagant costumes. Tickets $29 (includes a $5 bar credit). — Emily Hohenwarter



MUSIC

Scott H. Biram
10 p.m. Fri., Feb. 23
One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361; www.oneeyedjacks.net

All the evidence suggests that Scott H. Biram's got something unholy pulling for him from beyond. Not only was the Austin native the only artist ever signed to the alt-country stalwart Bloodshot Records on the strength of a demo dropped off cold, but shortly before that, he was literally run over in his truck by an 18-wheeler and is now made, at least partly, of scrap metal. A week after leaving the hospital, welded back together by more than a dozen surgeries, Biram played Austin's Continental Club. His two Bloodshot releases, Dirty Old One Man Band and Graveyard Shift , have a trucker speed-fueled, crazy-like-a-fox stranglehold on the blues — the genius lo-fi rantings of a bionic hillbilly beating the piss out of guitar, harmonica, the floor and CB radio. His musical wrath — and it does sound like wrath — is mighty. The added fervor of King Louie Bankston's manic harmonica, guitar and other accoutrements makes this a bona fide battle of the one-man bands. Tickets $8. — Alison Fensterstock


MUSIC

Johnny Cash Birthday Party
10 p.m. Mon., Feb. 26
Howlin' Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., 522-WOLF

The stern, sad-eyed Highwayman (and Pisces) would have turned three-quarters of a century old on Monday had he not passed into the great beyond (or as the trio of Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette predicted, "hillbilly heaven") in September 2003. His legions of fans — from both before and after the postmortem Oscar-winning flick Walk The Line — remember him as an artist whose sonorous bass growl could chug its way through deceptively simple country classics like "Folsom Prison Blues" and "I Walk The Line" as well as investigate and own surprising cover versions of songs like Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt." Several of New Orleans' best country and country-simpatico bands — including Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue (pictured), the Honky Tonk Disciples, the Happy Talk Band and Country Fried — will pay tribute to the musical gunslinger with their versions of his catalogue. So tip your hat, and raise your glass to the only angel in heaven dressed all in black. Tickets $8. — Fensterstock

MUSIC

Robert Randolph & the Family Band
10 p.m. Sat., Feb. 24
Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS; www.tipitinas.com

In 2006, pedal-steel wizard Robert Randolph appeared on Back Home, Eric Clapton's first album of new material in five years. He was also nominated for a Best Live Performance Jammy award for his show at the 2005 Bonnaroo festival. All this success, Randolph says, is the fruit of his perseverance through adversity and faith in God. He credits his music with keeping him free and clear of the crime and drugs that surrounded him while growing up. Randolph and the Family Band's unique sound marries the fierce, fiery steel style Randolph brings from his African Pentecostal church upbringing with traditional gospel and blues for a result that's both smokin' and seraphic at once. The Lord seems to be smiling back on Randolph and his family band. His latest full-length release, Colorblind , was released on Warner Brothers records earlier this year, with a single featured in the soundtrack of the competitive-dancing flick Stomp The Yard , and he announced tour dates supporting rock festival favorites the Black Crowes and the Dave Matthews Band. The Benjy Davis Project opens. Tickets $20. — Fensterstock

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click to enlarge BEN WATTS
  • Ben Watts
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