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What to Know Before You Go


"Chocolate Sunday: A Chocolate Affair"
3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sun., Feb. 12
Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, 621 St. Louis St., 486-5511

Wow, timing is everything, ain't it? There was a time, not too long ago, when the word "chocolate" didn't create such backlash. Indeed, only the most sugar-intolerant would disagree with the delights brought by that lovely cocoa bean. But here we are, shouting and haranguing, when really we should be coming together. So let's, shall we? The fine folks at WYES had no idea that their fundraiser could become the punchline to a joke, but nevertheless the annual "Chocolate Sunday" gala offers us a chance not only to get decadent in the most harmless way imaginable but also to show support for local public broadcasting. This year's event featuring chocolately offerings from dozens of sources including Bayona, Blue Frog Chocolates (duh), Chocolate by Design (double-duh), Hubig's Pies and Bacco. Don't miss the chocolate fountain or the cooking demonstration by Chef Jon Petrie of the Delgado Culinary Arts Department. Tickets $25 in advance ($20 seniors), $20 each for parties of six or more; advance tickets available through WYES or at Blue Frog Chocolates. Day-of-event tickets $30. — David Lee Simmons


Fahnlohnee Harris
5 p.m. Sun., Feb. 12
Trinity Episcopal Church, 1329 Jackson Ave., 670-2520;

If Esquire magazine had moved to New Orleans a year ago, surely it's "Women We Love" issue would have included Fahnlohnee Harris, if for no other reason than she not only has the coolest- looking name but also the coolest- sounding name. (It's pronounced FAH-low-nay. Nice.) The same could be said for this Liberian-born beauty in general, for not only does she possess model-quality looks but also a sweet soprano of a voice that is operatically trained yet woefully under-exposed to New Orleans audiences. Maybe you saw her in bit parts in locally shot films such as Ray (as one of the Raelettes), Runaway Jury (as one of the jurors) and The Skeleton Key (never mind), or for her brief stint co-hosting the TV show Louisiana Jukebox . As part of the Trinity Artist Series, the veteran of such locally produced stage works as Little Shop of Horrors and In Walks Ed returns from her new home in L.A. to perform a program in celebration of Black History Month with a mix of songs, stories and poetry. Free admission. — Simmons


Empire: New paintings by Keith Perelli
Through March 2
d.o.c.s. gallery, 709 Camp St., 524-3936;

Keith Perelli is one of those accomplished New Orleans artists whose work doesn't fit neatly into any particular category. His eccentric way of putting himself into his canvases in period costumes and surreal settings enlivens his current Empire series of paintings, which he says reflects his interest in comparing "current events with the founding of America and the former glory of the English Empire." Here he employs 18th century dress and exaggerated portraiture as an allegory for "the current administration's marketing of patriotism, fear of terrorism and religious beliefs É ." A New Orleans native, Perelli attended UNO and the Foundation Ratti's Advanced Course in the Visual Arts, where he studied with Alan Kaprow in Como, Italy. He currently teaches drawing and painting at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. — D. Eric Bookhardt


Canal Place Cinema reopening
Starts Fri., Feb. 11
Landmark Canal Place Cinema, The Shops at Canal Place, 333 Canal St., 363-1117;

You remember independent film, right? Character-driven plots. Feisty, personal stories. Literary source material. Breakthrough directors, writers, actors. Ah, the good old days. And maybe you even remember Canal Place, which, despite its little quirks and flaws (non-stadium seating, long concession lines, etc.) provided an oasis for us more artsy-fartsy types who weren't addicted to blockbusters. (Well, not as much.) Canal Place, like the mall it calls home, is back, finally, and ready to resume its programming of more independent fare. And hats off to the cineplexes for at least making some effort to fill the void in the interim. Hint: Next time: Considering showing Capote sooner before Baton Rouge does, OK? Canal Place springs back into action with two Oscar-nominated works: Ang Lee's brilliant Brokeback Mountain and the local premiere of Mrs. Henderson Presents (pictured), the latter of which is directed by Stephen Frears and features Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins as London musical producers during the blitz of World War II. "Just as there will always be an England," writes L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turran, " there will always be a certain kind of English film: the highly polished entertainment, well-acted, genteelly amusing and impeccably turned out." Also showing is another new local premiere: Imagine Me & You . The future looks even brighter, with regular runs scheduled for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada , Tsotsi , Thank You for Smoking and The World's Fastest Indian . Call for showtime and ticket information. — Simmons

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