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A&E Feature 


LeAnn Rimes
8 p.m. Wednesday, July 6
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 529-BLUE;

"I don't know what makes country country ," LeAnn Rimes says by phone. "One thing great about country music is that there's always a great story behind it. It has always been about real life." That's certainly the case on her recent release, This Woman (Curb). "You Take Me Home" is the story of a woman who left the country for Los Angeles, only to find herself drawn back to a simpler place and the man she loves. "I wanted to be able to relate to every song on the record," says Rimes, who co-wrote the song. Time has infused some soul into her voice, so as prodigious as she was at age 14 when she won a Grammy as Best New Artist -- the only country singer to win it -- she's more worldly today at 22. She missed hosting a few episodes of Nashville Star because of a broken blood vessel in a vocal chord, but says she is "100 percent better." Tickets $40. -- Alex Rawls


French Film Festival
Thursday-Sunday, July 7-10
Prytania Theatre, 5339 Prytania St., 891-2787;

One of the most anticipated events of the summer movie-viewing season is the French Film Festival, sponsored by the New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF) and the Consulate General of France. It's an excellent opportunity to both take a pulse on what's hot in French cinema while also taking a look back at some of the classics, and once again Artistic Director John Desplas has apparently succeeded on both levels. While Zeitgeist got there first with its recent two-week run of writer-director Jonathan Nossiter's Mondovino , the festival will return this critically acclaimed documentary about the global wine industry. But the festival will up the ante with a featured live appearance by French wine importer Neal Rosenthal, a subject in the film. Also showing: Pierre Salvadori's Apres Vous , starring Daniel Auteuil, Jose Garcia and Sandrine Kiberlain (pictured); Cedric Kahn's adaptation of the Georges Simenon novel, Red Light (reviewed by Rick Barton in this issue); Bertrand Tavernier's 2002 film, Laissez Passer ; and Jacques Demy's 1970 fairy tale, Donkey Skin , starring Catherine Deneuve in her prime. For more info, visit -- David Lee Simmons


Danko Jones
10 p.m. Friday, July 8
One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361;

Danko Jones plays clean, metal-edged hard rock with absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. The band's latest, We Sweat Blood (Razor & Tie) is a masterpiece of frivolity, with the perfect combination of actual skill and obvious self-aware sense of humor, down to the Spinal Tap font and spit-take-funny lyrics like "I want to put some mileage on your love bike" or "I want to burn in hell with you." It's a welcome addition to an apparent trend that includes bands like Louis XIV and the Upper Crust -- groups that keep lyrical content to the basics of sex, the Devil, and maybe cars -- while shredding and thrashing without Cecil B. DeMille-grade production and 10-minute guitar solos that are little more than testaments to somebody's manual dexterity. Tongue in cheek or not, it's hard not to like this kind of rock with a capital "R." Rock City Morgue opens with its homegrown ghoulish glee. Tickets $10. -- Alison Fensterstock


West Side Story
8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, July 7-9; 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, July 9-10
Tulane University, Dixon Hall, 6823 St. Charles Ave., 865-5269;

Photo by Donn Young No other Broadway production made Shakespeare so famously its own than West Side Story 's homage to Romeo and Juliet , the result of a pitch-perfect collaboration between Leonard Bernstein (music), Arthur Laurents (book) and Stephen Sondheim. The original production won Tony Awards for Best Scenic Design and, of course, Jerome Robbins' choreography, which is a testament to how modern dance could interpret the frustration of street culture and culture clash without making it feel inauthentic. Two years later, Robbins collaborated with Robert Wise on the Hollywood version starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer. The film version became one of the most honored musicals of all time, raking in a whopping 10 Oscars and cementing Woods' stardom. Of course, in hindsight, the film will also be known for the massive voice-over dubbing done to poor Beymer and Wood (even Rita Moreno's vocal on "A Boy Like That" got waxed over). That the Latino/Nuyorican side of the coin doesn't resonate as much as it might seems a quaint notion now, for the music still holds up regardless after all these years; we still hear ourselves unashamedly singing "Tonight" in the shower before a given Friday or Saturday night, can't we? (Can't we?) And "Jet Song," "Maria," "America" and "I Feel Pretty" haven't lost their charm, either. Summer Lyric continues its tribute to Leonard Bernstein with this second production of the season, as Michael Howard directs Joseph Akin as Tony and Sarah Jane McMahon as Maria (pictured). Tickets $32 orchestra/first balcony, $25 second balcony. -- Simmons


John T. Edge Reading
6 p.m. Wednesday, July 6
Beaucoup Books, 3951 Magazine St., 895-2663;

America is "in the midst of a burger renaissance," according to John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Despite dire warnings about foods fatty and fried, the classic combo of ground beef between two buns is still an American staple. Hamburgers & Fries: An American Story (G. P. Putnam's) is the third volume in Edge's survey of America's iconic foods. Rather than recipes, the books focus on the stories behind the "foods that conjure our collective childhood." Edge, who will be in New Orleans to lead a "field trip" sponsored by the Southern Foodways Alliance, will read from Hamburgers & Fries at Beaucoup Books. Officially, it is Edge's night to shine. Beaucoup Books, however, has invited a host of food writers from New Orleans and across the South to sign their books and swap food stories. Authors invited to appear include Emeril, John Folse, Rick Bragg, Leah Chase, Julia Reed, Paul Prudhomme, Austin Leslie, Pableaux Johnson, Poppy Z. Brite, Lolis Eric Elie and Jessica B. Harris. -- Todd A. Price


PURE Dance Workshop
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 9
Tulane University, McWilliams Hall, 200 Broadway St., 865-5360

The Public Urban Ritual Experiment (PURE) is a company of dancers and musicians that wants to bring peace and healing to New Orleans through the power of dance. The coalition, which performs in places like subways, has chapters in six states and is holding a workshop in the hopes of bringing the community effort to New Orleans. PURE incorporates the techniques and rituals of many cultures and practices, including belly dancing, yoga, flamenco and American tribal into a beautiful and inclusive display. The goal of the dance group is to promote community and awareness in urban settings. The workshop welcomes musicians and dancers of any age, sex, shape or skill level to learn the PURE choreography foundation and what the organization has to offer. Volunteers are also being solicited for various help. Tickets $60 per workshop. -- Colin Schoenberger


The English Beat
8 p.m. Saturday, July 9
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 529-BLUE;

At press time, Gambit Weekly was unable to confirm just what exactly constitutes the English Beat these days, but what is certain is that co-founder Dave Wakeling has been touring the House of Blues' circuit with various combinations of Devo, Missing Persons, Flock of Seagulls, Real Life and Dramarama -- the latter serving as tonight's opening act. Wakeling has been known to play combinations of hits from both his English Beat days, which saw the birth of England's "two-tone" movement incorporating Jamaican ska and English pub-rock, and his offshoot group with Ranking Rodger, General Public. We should be so lucky, for both bands tapped into the literal and figurative soul of '80s-era English rock. Even if it's just Wakeling and some guys he threw together, there's nothing like listening to a string of propulsive English Beat tunes, such as "Mirror in the Bathroom," "Save it for Later," "Hands Off É She's Mine," "Best Friend" or Smokey Robinson's "Tears of a Clown." General Public's more sweetly melodic catalogue features such gems as "Tenderness" and a '90s cover of the Staple Sisters' "I'll Take You There." Tickets $20. -- Simmons


Jordan Knight
10 p.m. Saturday, July 9
Southport Hall, 200 Monticello Ave., Jefferson, 834-7990;

With the release of Jordan Knight (Interscope) in 1999, New Kids on the Block's frontman Jordan Knight proved that not all teen stars die out as they grow older. His first single, "Give it to You," topped the charts and reintroduced him to MTV's teenage audience. His appearance last year on VH1's The Surreal Life 3 proved to be less beneficial to his image as fans of the show dismissed him as boring and immature. Still, Knight has seemingly proven yet again that the "has-been" can use the momentum of a career once had to create a career that is new. Later last year, he released Jordan Knight Performs New Kids on the Block -- The Remix Album (V.I.), so for one-time NKOTB super fans, his tour is a chance to reminisce (as Jordan Knight was the quintessential and original boy-band heartthrob). For the rest, it's a chance to figure out just what the craze was about. Tickets $15. -- Sara Cohen


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