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A&E Feature 

What to Know Before You Go


Fresh Arts Festival
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun., Oct. 28-29
700 Block of St. Joseph Street, 523-1465;

The Fresh Arts Festival returns to downtown for its sixth daytime block party featuring 56 jury-selected artists from 16 states. They will display work in many mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, prints, glass, metal, ceramics, pottery, wood, furniture, jewelry, baskets, mixed media and more. There also will be three live demonstration areas with local artists talking about their work and techniques. Bruce Odell will show how he crafts raku pottery. Simone Little will display her glasswork and Ya/Ya artists will create a mural. Artist booths stretch along St. Joseph Street from St. Charles Avenue to Carondelet Street. For children, there are plenty of hands-on activities. Entertainment includes music by the Panorama Brass Band, Curtis Pierre, Journey of the Drum and the Gay Mens Chorus, and performances by the Caliope Puppets and Delta Festival Ballet. The Arts Council of New Orleans created the festival to feature work in visual art and fine contemporary craft and to promote New Orleans as an arts destination and a place for artists to promote their work. Free admission. — Will Coviello


Macbeth at the Gates
8 p.m. Thu.-Sat., Oct. 26-28; 3 p.m. Sun., Oct. 29
Southern Rep Theatre, The Shops at Canal Place, 333 Canal Place, third floor, (800) 838-3006;

Macbeth stands out among Shakespeare's works. For Roy Marsden (pictured), who's played Macbeth onstage in London, the questions raised by it needed to be addressed by yet another play. Macbeth at the Gates takes up the fates of Lord and Lady Macbeth after a millennium of suffering in purgatory. In Shakepeare's play the two are done in by their desire for power. In this play, after a thousand years of purgatory, they each must make their case before an inquisitor in a sort of contest that will gain one of them entrance to heaven and leave the other cast down to hell. " Macbeth leaves so many questions about what happened to them," Marsden says. "How did they feel about each other? Did they blame each other? Was Lady Macbeth ambitious for herself or her husband? What drives her?" This play stands on its own in probing the nature of their relationship, ambition, nobility and redemption. Marsden directs a stellar cast including Dane Rhodes, David Lumsden and Lara Grice. Each performance's proceeds will be donated to a different local charity. Tickets $30. — Coviello


15 Minutes of Voodoo
9 p.m. Fri., Oct. 27
The Parish at the House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

During the past year, the monthly "15 Minutes" singer-songwriter night has quietly become one of the most consistently reliable venues for under-the-radar local talent. Ringmaster Jay Fallo typically culls local artists with proven chops to play stripped-down originals sans their backing bands for their allotted quarter hour in a cozy, coffeehouse setting in the intimate Parish room. This special event sees Jay Fallo's JPF Music teaming up with Voodoo Music Experience producers, Rehage Entertainment, to showcase some of the cream of the 15 Minutes' ongoing series alongside some of the mellower acts that will be gracing the stages in City Park this weekend. In the locals' corner, there's Susan Cowsill Band guitarist Chris Knotts; Bipolaroid and Clockwork Elvis bassist DC Harbold; and Joe Adragna, frontman for infectious popsters the Junior League. From the Voodoo lineup, there's the melodic, muted AM (pictured left), a former Loyola University student who's moved to Los Angeles and is often compared to Beck; the soulful, folky pop of Sam and Ruby, and bluesy indie-rocker Dan Dyer. Tickets $5. — Alison Fensterstock


The Masked Band Ball
10 p.m. Fri., Oct. 27
Howlin' Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., 529-5844

This venerable Halloween tradition suffered a double blow in the past year — first losing the Mermaid Lounge, its traditional venue, and then, of course, that other thing that nearly precluded the event completely in October of 2005. At the last minute, longtime Masked Ball participant Michael Patrick Welch (pictured) — a.k.a the White Bitch — forced the show to rally and go off with a bang at the Circle Bar, thus ensuring that no act of God can interfere with New Orleanians' inalienable right to dress up in costume, drink, dance and revel. This year, the Masked Ball is back with a vengeance, and for the uninitiated, these are not cover bands — these are masked bands. That is, familiar members of the local rock 'n' roll scene slip into the skins of their favorite acts and play raucous, costumed sets that are always memorable, to say the least. There's also plenty of in-joke music-geek fun when masked acts pull out obscure covers and b-sides. This year's lineup includes White Bitch with the Bad Off's Erik Corriveaux as Nirvana (no word yet on whether this Halloween Kurt will be pre- or post- fatal shotgun wound); Big Blue Marble as visionary proto-grunge merchant Neil Young; local synth-pop Goths the Public as the Smiths; and avant-garde experimentalists Rob Cambre and Potpie as King Crimson and the MC5. Tickets $8 with costume, $10 without. — Fensterstock

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