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A&E Feature 

What to Know Before You Go


6 p.m.-9 p.m. Wed., Dec. 5
NOMA, City Park, 1 Collins C. Diboll Circle;

During a busy month of activities for the New Orleans Photo Alliance, a large-scale photo bazaar returns to NOMA. Originally started by the museum's curator of photography (and known as Underexposed), the event showcases local photographers including amateurs and professionals alike. This edition will feature more than 110 artists displaying their portfolios and some will also be selling framed and matted work. It's an opportunity to see the great diversity of work produced in the city, from the expected slew of cemetery, music and flood shots to documentary work, abstract art and digitally manipulated artworks. (Thomas Neff's portrait of Antoinette K-Doe pictured.) Throughout the first two weeks of December galleries will open new exhibitions and host talks by artists like Louviere + Vanessa (see art review, p. 71), A Gallery for Fine Photography owner Joshua Mann Pailet and others. See the Web site for a full list of museums, galleries and alternative spaces participating in the umbrella event Photo Nola 2. Tickets $5. — Will Coviello




Dinosaur Jr.
7 p.m. Thu., Dec. 6
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

Even back in the day, Dinosaur Jr. always seemed like grumpy old guys. Guitar wizard J Mascis always possessed a thin, warbly voice and no charisma. So, if you liked them back then, you'll severely dig Mascis' reunion with his high school chums, drummer Murph, and J's bass-strangling (former?) arch-enemy, Lou Barlow. After channeling years of neurotic sadness into his brilliant, lo-fi Sebadoh and Folk Implosion projects, Barlow now wails on the four string beside J and sings the few Dinosaur compositions Mascis allows him with vitality and actual happiness — challenging the notion that Dino was somehow better back when the members were sad and angry. As per tradition, Barlow remains marginalized on Dino's recent reunion album, Beyond, which has been unanimously hailed as "good enough": sludgy layers of guitar sewn with wild-but-melodic solos, distortion on all the basslines and mammoth drums. Recent shows, however — featuring many songs Mascis retired after Barlow's dismissal in '89 — truly improve upon Dino's good old days. Awesome Color opens. Tickets $23.50. — Michael Patrick Welch


New Orleans Cajun and Zydeco Dance Festival
10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Sun., Dec. 9
Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-8477;

Ah, if only every worthy cause could be aided by eating, drinking, zydeco and Cajun music and dancing. Proceeds from this Cajun and zydeco blowout benefit the Grace House of New Orleans, a substance-abuse treatment center for women. Fest highlights include "Zydeco Sweetheart Rosie Ledet, who somehow makes zydeco sexy with her bluesy delivery in both Creole French and English and plays traditional and original material. Steve Riley leads the Mamou Playboys on a single-row diatonic accordion handmade by fellow Cajun music-maker Marc Savoy. Other unique flavors rounding out the bill include the Irish Dancers of New Orleans, Geno Delafose, the always-dapper Zion Harmonizers and the young Cajun group Feufollet, who have been reinterpreting traditional Cajun classics since elementary school — which for them wasn't too long ago. All these featured Acadiana artists will keep the beat for dance contests in both the Cajun and zydeco styles, with prizes totaling $6,000. Tickets $10. — Welch


Darius Goes West
7:30 p.m. Wed., Dec. 5
Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 569-9070;

It's hard out there for a guy who wants his ride pimped. In one of the oddest road-trip movies you're likely to ever see, Darius Weems chases a dream: He wants MTV to customize his wheelchair on its show Pimp My Ride . At the age of 15, Darius is a bright kid who likes video games and rapping for his friends. He's also afflicted with Duchenne Muscular Dystophy (DMD), and he's never left his hometown of Athens, Ga. Together with a crew of twentysomethings — supporters and friends of his older brother, Mario, who died of DMD at the age of 19 — Darius gets in a specially outfitted RV and sets out across the country. It wouldn't be a road-trip movie if everything went according to plan and there are all sorts of funny, outrageous (as in infuriating) and inspiring turns in the road. Much of what they pursue is not handicapped accessible, but youthful idealism is, and Darius is having the time of his life. Early in the trip, he visits New Orleans and enjoys a meal at Brennan's (pictured), spends some time on Bourbon Street and ventures into the swamps to see alligators. You'll probably never see handicapped accessibility or MTV the same way again. Proceeds from the screening benefit the Charley's Fund to find a cure for DMD. Admission by sliding scale donation. — Coviello

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