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New Orleans Friends of Music benefit concert 8 p.m. Wed., May 17

Dixon Hall, Tulane University, 895-0690; Contemporary classical musicÕs popular duo of cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han (pictured), along with the Orion String Quartet, perform a benefit concert for the future of live chamber music in the city. The event is sponsored by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the musicians are not charging a performance fee for this event to help New Orleans Friends of Music keep chamber music affordable and accessible. In addition to their world-class performances, Finckel and Han have garnered a lot of attention with the creation ArtistLed, a classical music Internet-based recording company, and Music@Menlo, an international classical music festival in Silicon Valley. The Orion String Quartet has played in New Orleans before, and its most notable connection to the city is through its recording with Wynton Marsalis for the composition At the Octoroon Balls (Sony Classical). Tickets $25 general admission, $12 students. Ñ Samuel H. Winston MUSIC

Martin Krusche Trio Midnight Fri., May 19

Snug Harbor, 626 Frenchmen St., 949-0696; After German-born Martin Krusche first visited New Orleans in 1995, he picked up and moved down to the Big Easy just two weeks later. Since then, he has split his time between New York City and New Orleans keeping himself involved in the jazz scenes in both cities. Now, New Orleans is KruscheÕs only home. You can often find him on Sunday evenings playing his saxophone in the back garden of Bacchanal, the funky little Bywater wine purveyor. His most notable work to date was his live recording at Snug Harbor, Friendship Pagoda , which featured a quintet of fellow New Orleans musicians including trumpeter Nicholas Payton. Recently, Krusche has been working on a new recording with his trio The Magnetic Ear for which he hopes to soon find a label. Krusche leads the Magnetic Ear on tenor and alto saxophone with Kevin OÕDay on drums and Matt Perrine on sousaphone. Friday marks KruscheÕs return to Snug Harbor, where he will swap out resident trio members for a late set with guest sousaphonist Kirk Joseph of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Doug Garrison of the Iguanas on drums and Anthony Cuccia on percussion. They will perform original Magnetic Ear material that includes KruscheÕs experimental saxophone playing, which incorporates effects and distortion as well as second-line and funk rhythms. Call for ticket info. Ñ Winston STAGE Catching Him in Pieces 8 p.m. Wed. & Fri., May 17 & 19; 7 p.m. Sun., May 21; through June 4

AshŽ Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 304-7855; In a city full of characters, few are able to leave a lasting mark. In Catching Him in Pieces , Mondo Bizarro Productions attempts to remember Maple Leaf Bar regular and New Orleans poet Everette Maddox in a two-person play. Maddox who had bouts with alcoholism until his death in 1989, teetered on his own line of existence having been hired to teach at Xavier University and UNO only to lose those jobs as well as his home. He would often sleep in the back of the Maple Leaf Bar and write his poetry on napkins and coasters so that bartenders could later type them up for him. Yet despite his alcohol troubles, many say that Maddox was one the most profound and poignant writers to describe New Orleans. Mondo Bizarro has been doing extensive research on EveretteÕs life for the past two years, which includes interviews with those who knew him. The play stars Nick Slie and Bruce France (pictured). Tickets $10. Ñ Winston STAGE DramaRama13 6 p.m. until whenever Saturday, May 20

Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528-3800; If the number 13 doesnÕt sound terribly lucky, try some of these on for size: 34 (as in the number of performances), five (as in the number of hours, approximately of course), four (as in the number of stages) and one Ñ as in one night to catch a whole mess oÕ theatrical works. DramaRama13 , if nothing else, offers theater fans and beyond a chance to get lucky by diving into what is a hit-or-miss smorgasbord of possibilities. We tend to use the term hit-or-miss to death when it comes to this frenzied evening, perhaps unfairly Ñ particularly this year, in which we New Orleanians remain starved for all things entertainment and all things locally inspired. This is where local artists treat their works like an open canvas; some offerings are works in progress, being work-shopped for us guinea pigs/focus groups to respond to, others are snippets of fun completely ready for public consumption. Either way, weÕre game, no question. The evening features lots of familiar and not-so-familiar faces, but weÕre particularly intrigued by Tammy Faye Starlite (pictured; 8:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., Freeport McMoRan), billed as a country singer and stand-up comic all rolled into one blond of a bargain. Other performers include the Cangelosi Dance Project, Seven Devils Parlor, R.J. Tsarov (what the hellÕs up HIS sleeve these days???) and Shine Productions representinÕ Da Parish Ñ which remains as defiant as ever post-Katrina. The Web site features the complete schedule, but be forewarned: itÕs um, fluid, so showtimes are subject to change. Tickets are $12, or $10 for CAC members. ÑÊ David Lee Simmons

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