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Carnival : Multimedia Exhibition of the Sights, Sounds and Pageantry of Carnival Celebrations Around the World 

Carnevale, Mardi Gras, Fasnacht or Shrove Tide --Êthe name varies from place to place, but Carnival is always a walk on the wild side, a time to let loose. First mentioned in a 12th century Roman account of a parade followed by feasting in a ritualistic farewell to meat before the 40-day Lenten fast, Carnival may actually be an adaptation of pagan winter festivals such as the Saturnalia, according to various anthropologists. Whatever its origin, the French, Spanish and Portuguese carried it to the Americas where it continued to evolve, and this visually stunning exhibition offers a rare overview of this most surreal and psychological -- not to mention wildest -- of holidays as celebrated in Venice, Rio, New Orleans and other capitals of creative hedonism the world over. -- D. Eric Bookhardt

Through December

New Orleans Museum of Art, City Park, 483-2316; www.noma.org

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