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What to know before you go


The Close
10 p.m.
Thursday, July 21
TwiRoPa (Tchops Room), 1544 Tchoupitoulas St., 232-9503;

Creative Loafing , Atlanta's alternative newsweekly, named The Close the best local rock band of Atlanta in 2003, and recordings from its upcoming third album suggest why. Like Superchunk, this indie rock band's songs move in unpredictable directions. Brooks Meeks' guitar determines where they go, but he is more often concerned with rhythm and texture than the melody, which is more often carried by Dustan Nigro's fluid bass. When Meeks' guitar is slashing, Nigro's bass is sinuous, holding the track together; when the guitar is static, picking a pattern, the bass becomes propulsive. In many ways, The Close is exactly what indie rock should be. Instead of trying on the sonic wardrobe that is currently in indie vogue, it is literally making music independent of major-label machinery and free from preconceived structures. Meeks' voice gives the songs humanity and plaintiveness, as he seems heartfelt in each song, though it isn't always clear what he's yearning for. Tickets $6. – Alex Rawls


The Willowz
10:30 p.m.
Friday, July 22
Lounge Lizards, 200 Decatur St., 598-1500

The four delicately pretty, shaggy-haired young things in the Willowz' publicity photos look like they could have time-warped their way through half a century to wind up in those flowing tunics in that pastoral scene. The Anaheim, Calif.-based band churns out groovy, psychedelic garage-soul that wouldn't be out of place on a Nuggets compilation, with the kind of hard-driving fuzz-rock ornamented with turn-on-and-trip-out effects made famous in the 1960s by acts like the Zombies and the Seeds. Their debut full-length album, Talk in Circles (Sympathy for the Record Industry), features the two tracks that quirky director Michel Gondry used on the soundtrack for his 2004 film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind . Their SoCal pedigree isn't all incense and peppermints, though; it was pure punk attitude that led them, as nascent legend has it, to sneak-spray-paint their band name on the side of the Strokes' tour bus. With the Memphis garage-soul of the Grown Up Wrongs and A Dirty Rotten Shame. Tickets $10. – Alison Fensterstock


Roller Girls benefit with Hazard County Girls
10 p.m.
Saturday, July 23
One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361;

What has a mouth guard, ruffle-butt panties and elbows of death? That's a Rollergirl, not to be confused with Heather Graham's character in the film Boogie Nights . The post-Riot Grrl athletic phenomenon that started in Chicago in the early '00s is a bona fide danger sport with punk-rock panache. There are league outposts everywhere from New York City to Austin, Texas, where teams like the Hell Marys and the Honky Tonk Heartbreakers battle it out derby-style between sets by punk-rock bands. It takes bank to enter the thunderdome, though – the Big Easy Rollergirls have been holding car washes throughout June to raise cash for league-standard equipment, insurance, formation of an LLC and practice time at the Skate Country rink on the West Bank. This benefit to get our new local league on its wheels also features local acts like the Hazard County Girls (pictured), goofy rock-funk of Shut Up, Narcissy, and the sugary rhymes of MC Sweet Tea and her Tastee Hotz dancers. Tickets $7. – Fensterstock


The Culture of Queer: A Tribute to J.B. Harter
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday, July 22 (opening reception)
Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528-3800;

There was a time, not long ago, when the word "queer" sat right there with the word "faggot" as a derogatory term for all things gay. And yet, like so many things absorbed by popular culture, the word has been co-opted and repositioned – a way to fold the words "gay" and "lesbian" and the rest of the alphabet soup into one bowl, so to speak. There is an attendant culture to this, and the CAC has assembled what looks like a very promising combination of local and national artists who speak to the many notions of queer identity. The late J.B. Harter – a one-time curator at the Louisiana State Museum who also painted portraits and male nudes (his J.B. Harter in Hardhat self-portrait is pictured above) – serves as the center of this exhibit. Nine other queer Louisiana artists will have their works featured: Ralph Bourque, Brad Dupuy, Jenny Kahn, Audra Kohout, Michael Meads, Keith Perelli, Roberto Rincon, Maxx Sizeler and Tom Strider. But there will also be a large selection from New York's Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation, featuring works from Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe and New Orleans' own George Dureau. Related events to this exhibit include a discussion ("Fairies, Gays, and Queers: Changing Notions of Sexual Identity") before the reception, at 6 p.m.; a lecture with CAC visual-arts curator David Rubin (Aug. 10) and an ArtSpeak discussion (Sept. 14). Reception admission $5 general admission, free to CAC members. – David Lee Simmons


Ed Voelker
6 p.m.
Thursday, July 21
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9600;

As a member of the Radiators, Ed Voelker is known the world over for his keyboard trickery and laidback vocals on many of the songs that make up the repertoire of New Orleans' most famed bar band. That is only the tip of the iceberg; Voelker has written literally thousands of songs, and they range from barrelhouse rockers to New Orleans piano workouts to more meditative pieces. Voelker should also be a treat for the oral history part of the evening. He has a nimble, witty mind with a slightly surreal, philosophical way of looking at the world, as people who are familiar with his lyrics and his "Zeke Speaks" essays on the Radiators' Web site ( are well aware. Voelker's elucidation of his and the Radiators' history as well as the hidden mysteries of New Orleans and the American South should prove to be enlightening. Admission $10 for non-members, free for members. – David Kunian


The bALLY who ...?
10:30 p.m.
Friday, July 22
Dragon's Den, 435 Esplanade Ave., 949-1750

Whether it is a good, old-fashioned rock show or an eclectic performance-art piece you might desire, the bALLY who É? will satisfy all your entertainment needs. With the release of its debut album, You Is President (independent), last Christmas, the bALLY who É? has proven that not all indie rock bands sound (or act) alike. Sometimes there is a man on stilts dressed like Uncle Sam at the shows, while other nights there are videos of Muhammad Ali fights projected onto a white screen behind the band. If you are lucky, there will be a "circle of love" where you must hold your neighbor's hand. Through it all, there is one constant fact: the music is quite good. Somewhat reminiscent of the Beatles in a catchy-pop way – albeit louder and with more distortion – the bALLY who É? is like a missing scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , but in the style of a great rock show. Call club for cover. – Sara Cohen


Hot Off the Press 2
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, July 23
Arthur Roger Gallery Project, Renaissance Arts Hotel, 730 Tchoupitoulas St., 522-5471;

Acclaimed local artist John T. Scott, whose work was recently exhibited to much praise at the New Orleans Museum of Art, found time in his hectic schedule earlier this year to hold a workshop that would benefit KID smART, a local arts organization that strives to inspire and instruct under-served children in the arts. An educator as well, Scott worked on behalf of a group that reaches out through direct work in schools, after-school and community-based programs. Much of the works created during this workshop will be on display as part of the second annual Hot Off the Press, an art sale with proceeds benefiting KID smART. Along with Scott, works by artists such as Allison Stewart and Karen Statsny will be on display and for sale. The $25 entrance fee may be applied toward the purchase of any piece, and also includes hors d'oeuvres and drinks, including smARTinis donated by Rain Vodka. – Frank Etheridge


New Orleans Civic Symphony Summer Concert
8 p.m.,
Monday, July 25
St. Clement of Rome Church, 4317 Richland Ave., 885-2000

The New Orleans Civic Symphony will continue its tradition of annual summer performances with a free concert by the Symphony at St. Clement of Rome Church. The full orchestra will perform many classic works including Mendelssohn's fifth symphony, The Reformation . The conductor for the concert, Jefferson Performing Arts Society executive director Dennis G. Assaf, is also renowned for his work as music director of the Pensacola Opera and as a guest conductor for productions in Croatia, Italy and Egypt. The featured soloist for the concert will be soprano Nancy Ross, who debuted in Carnegie Hall in 1993. Ross will be accompanied by the church's 10 a.m. choir under the direction of David Cortello. Free admission. – Colin Schoenberger


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