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A&E Feature 

What to Know Before You Go

MUSIC

The Nightwatchman (Tom Morello) Photo by Sean Ricigliano
8 p.m. Tue., June 19
The Parish at the House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999; www.hob.com

Guitarist and Harvard graduate Tom Morello was a founding member of the seminal and politically bent rap-metal act Rage Against The Machine, which railed (while rocking) for the interests of the left wing throughout the early '90s. After the group disbanded in the late '90s, Morello, along with former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, formed Audioslave, whose alternative/hard rock material was less politically charged — though the band itself was visible and vocal in a number of causes. Morello's solo project, Nightwatchman, sees him returning to form in fighting the good fight. In fact, he was in New Orleans just weeks ago performing as part of a benefit show at Tipitina's with proceeds profiting the New Orleans Musicians' Hurricane Relief Fund. As the Nightwatchman, Morello is a frequent presence at rock-with-a-conscience benefit events like the Tip's gig, playing folksy left-wing manifestos on acoustic guitar. Dustin Kensrue of Thrice opens. Tickets $15. — Alison Fensterstock

EVENT

Encore
8 p.m. Sat., June 23
Le Petit Theatre, 616 St. Peters St., 522-2081; www.lepetittheatre.com

Local performers who have graduated to Broadway and red carpet status lend their celebrity to Le Petit's Encore, the end-of-season fundraising gala that, as the name implies, should keep theater lovers coming back for more as the star-studded night reprises a season of highlights. Patricia Clarkson, whose roles in Six Feet Under and Pieces of April have earned her an Emmy award and Oscar nod, as well as points with indie mavens, will be the celebrity chair of the event. Fellow native-turned-Broadway-star Bryan Batt (pictured), with a Broadway resumŽ including roles in Beauty and the Beast , La Cage Aux Folles and Saturday Night Fever , also makes an appearance, along with Broadway's Moving Out dancers Ian and Eleanor Carney and local vocal powerhouse Gabrielle Porter. Celebrity schmoozing, no doubt, will be interspersed by a live auction — with items ranging from spots in Orpheus and trips to see Tony-winning shows — and performances from the cast of Le Petit's current offering, the larger-than-life burlesque tribute Sugar Babies . Tickets $150, $250 for couples. — Lauren LaBorde

MUSIC

T-Model Ford with Low Country Audio
10 p.m., Sat., June 23
Maple Leaf Bar, 8316 Oak Street, 866-9359

There was a time when blues musicians were outlaws. They weren't cute like Kenny Wayne Shepard or respectable like Keb Mo'. Families locked up their daughters when the blues players came to town. One of the few blues musicians who still projects this menace is T-Model Ford. He's the last surviving member of the Unholy Trinity of Fat Possum Records' artists; the anti-heroes Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside have gone to the great juke joint in the sky. Greenville, Mississippi's Ford, and whichever drummer he chooses to bring, has been known to play for three and a half hours straight. The intensity, drive and sheer duration of his sets can make his audience cavort in a frenzy of grinding, stomping dance. His lyrics detail a chaotic life full of fights, treacherous women and cheap liquor. He also has the scars to prove that these are not made-up tales. In an era when authenticity is debated and the blues are selling cars, T-Model Ford is the uncut, uncensored, straight out of the Mississippi Delta real deal, and there aren't many left like him. Low Country Audio opens. $10 — David Kunian

EVENT

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
7:30 p.m. Thu.-Fri. June 21-22; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sat., June 23; 1 p.m. Sun., June 24
New Orleans Arena, 1660 Girod St., 587-3822

An American classic meets American Idol in this modernized circus, which does away with the traditional three-ring configuration in favor of a single giant performance space enhanced with video projections to give everyone a close-up view. Former Idol finalist Jennifer Fuentes (pictured) serves as ringmaster, hostess and songstress. After more than 125 years, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey has learned a few new tricks, so besides the big finale with a procession of elephants, there's pop music, video and a narrative thread through the acts. The signature three rings were first instituted when P.T. Barnum and James Bailey joined forces in 1880. In spite of the great leap forward in theatricality, Ringling Bros. still has its wild mix of clowns, acrobats, trick horse riding, exotic animals, a strong man and the newer staple of growling motorcycles defying gravity inside a metal globe. Get to the show early and get in on some circus action with CircusFit, Ringling Bros.'s own fitness program led by circus performers. Tickets $15-$80. — LaBorde

click to enlarge SEAN RICIGLIANO
  • Sean Ricigliano
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