Stage

Friday, April 20, 2018

Survivor Story Showcase features theater, dance and performance pieces by sexual violence survivors

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 4:52 PM

Organizer Lauren Hind has created several performances dealing with sexual violence. - PHOTO BY SCOTT MCKIBBIN
  • PHOTO BY SCOTT MCKIBBIN
  • Organizer Lauren Hind has created several performances dealing with sexual violence.

Sexual violence, performance and visual artist Lauren Hind says, is a silencing thing.

"One thing that survivors all have in common is just this unbearable secrecy and quietness. ... It often is very isolating," she says. "And in that isolation, I think, that's the part where it just becomes such a heavy trauma."

Hind first started thinking about this silence — and how to break it — during conversations several years ago with a group of other artists who also had survived sexual violence and abuse. Those conversations eventually made their way into a performance piece about healing the group staged at the Alternate ROOTS art activism conference, which provided Hind with the germ of inspiration for an upcoming production she's organizing with New Orleans Family Justice Center at Cafe Istanbul. Survivor Story Showcase opens April 25 and comprises 12 artists presenting theater, dance and other performance pieces drawn from experiences of sexual assault and what it took to move past them.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Dreamgirls, South Pacific and Santaland Diaries highlight 2018-2019 JPAS season

Posted By on Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 4:17 PM

Anais St. John will star in a musical show about Lulu White Aug. 18-26 at Teatro Wego!
  • Anais St. John will star in a musical show about Lulu White Aug. 18-26 at Teatro Wego!

The Jefferson Performing Arts Society (JPAS) announced its 41st season today. Shows include Dreamgirls and South Pacific. The full list of events at Jefferson Performing Arts Center (JPAC), Westwego Performing Arts Theatre and Teatro Wego! is below.


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Valiant Theatre and Lounge announces closure

Posted By on Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 10:30 AM

See ’Em On Stage Productions presented Triassic Parq at Valiant Theatre and Lounge. - PHOTO BY BOB MURRELL
  • PHOTO BY BOB MURRELL
  • See ’Em On Stage Productions presented Triassic Parq at Valiant Theatre and Lounge.

Richard Mayer announced on his Facebook page that the Valiant Threatre and Lounge is closed.

The full statement says: "My business partner has taken steps which make it impossible for the Valiant to continue operating. I am terribly sorry to say that we will be shutting down effective immediately. This is particularly unfortunate because the last few months have been our best to date, and we had shows booked through the end of 2018. Thank you all for your support, and I will let you know what comes next.
Illegitimi non carborundum."

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Friday, April 6, 2018

International indy wrestlers dazzle at Evolve 102

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2018 at 4:37 PM

I like the Kenner lakefront. I like Williams Boulevard, I like WTIX Oldies Night at the Treasure Chest, I like the anomalous beach-volleyball complex, the airplanes overhead, the unintuitive street grid, the cozy coffee shops where both Jefferson and St. Charles Parish politicos loudly plot and swap gossip.

On Thursday, the first big night of a long WrestleMania weekend that will run through SmackDown Live on Tuesday, I was in Laketown to see some outstanding independent wrestling. I attended "Evolve 102," put on by Evolve, a promotion that's part of the WWN Streaming Network and shares talent with some other bigger independent wrestling organizations.

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For a wrestling fan, WrestleMania week is long days and nights of tough choices. No matter what event you attend, you know at any given time you're missing at least one or two other events that might be as good or better— and with so many megastars in town, there's no predicting who'll make a surprise guest appearance where. You've just gotta roll the dice, pick a show and mute your phone's relentless fusillade of FOMO fuel.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

A conversation with Paul Heyman, the best talker in the wrestling business

Posted By on Tue, Apr 3, 2018 at 1:52 PM

The business of pro wrestling — the art, the sport, the drama of pro wrestling — is predicated on selling tickets. If a great wrestling match is scheduled for one fall in the forest and nobody pays to see it, then it's not a great match.

There are a few different ways to sell tickets to a pro wrestling show. One of the best ways, though not the easiest, is with your mouth. A gifted wrestler or promoter or manager can get on the mic, look into the camera and tell the audience something that will get them out of their chairs and to the next live show, ready to hand over cash. What's said might be a promise, a prediction or a threat. It might even be a fib or an optimistic exaggeration ... but it has to sell tickets.

Paul Heyman (right) speaking on behalf of his client, WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.
  • Paul Heyman (right) speaking on behalf of his client, WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.
I don't believe there's anyone alive, in any language, who's better at selling tickets with their mouth than Paul Heyman. He's in a class by himself, at the very tippy-top. The past few years he's been on TV mostly as the manager — the "advocate"— for the current WWE Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar. Heyman was ringside in the Superdome when Lesnar broke the collective heart and spirit of the wrestling world by ending the Undertaker's 21-match WrestleMania undefeated streak, and he'll be ringside Sunday when Brock Lesnar defends his championship against Roman Reigns in WrestleMania 34's main event.

But Heyman stays busy. He's launched "An Evening with Paul Heyman," a series of freeform audience question-and-answer events, the next of which will be here at the Joy Theater on Thursday, April 5. When Heyman talks, he ensorcels the listener. At an "Evening" in London a couple years back he put forth a conspiracy theory about Lesnar ending the streak that, despite being in this humble scribe's opinion transparently unlikely (and that's being polite), racked up millions of views on YouTube. Heyman is a powerful spellcaster, and Thursday night at 10 p.m., attendees will have a long-form opportunity to witness him weave his magic.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Review: Men on Boats

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 3:52 PM


One-armed explorer John Wesley Powell (Claire Gresham) leads an expedition on the Colorado River in Men on Boats. - PHOTO BY JOHN BARROIS
  • PHOTO BY JOHN BARROIS
  • One-armed explorer John Wesley Powell (Claire Gresham) leads an expedition on the Colorado River in Men on Boats.

History is written by the winners and sometimes exaggerated and mythologized beyond that.

The Grand Canyon has several geographical landmarks named for members of John Wesley Powell’s 1869 expedition, which explored the Green and Colorado rivers for the U.S. Government, but none of the men are household names.

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Supercard of Honor: chatting with wrestler Cody 'The American Nightmare' Rhodes

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2018 at 5:23 PM

Back at WrestleMania 30 in 2014, the talented Cody Rhodes, a hard-working wrestler with a magic touch for finding ways to connect with the audience, was relegated to a minor role in an opening multi-man match. Four years later, he's returning to New Orleans a proven main-eventer, and on Saturday, April 7 at Ring of Honor's Supercard of Honor, he'll face Kenny Omega in a dream match pro-wrestling fandom is buzzing about.

Cody (left) and Kenny Omega (right) will face off April 7 at "Supercard of Honor" - RING OF HONOR
  • RING OF HONOR
  • Cody (left) and Kenny Omega (right) will face off April 7 at "Supercard of Honor"

After almost a decade at WWE, Cody left in 2016 to make a living as an independent wrestler. He's not the first to try, nor the first to succeed, but as a longtime fan it's been gratifying to watch Cody's journey, first out from under the shadow of his legendary father (bleach-blonde Hall-of-Famer Dusty Rhodes, The American Dream) and then beyond the gates of WWE as an international independent star.

Cody's always had charisma. Years ago, his absurdly perfect good looks were the basis of an ultra-vain "male beauty" persona that remains dear to the hearts of many (and helped get my then-partner interested in watching wrestling). It was Cody who finally reintroduced WWE's iconic white-leather Intercontinental Title belt, and he proved capable of making all kinds of unlikely material work, including getting fans excited about something as seemingly basic as him growing a mustache.

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Review: Vieux Carre

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 5:50 PM

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The Bee Gees’ 1977 hit “How Deep is Your Love” is not often mistaken for a traditional jazz ballad. But backed by the jazz band Krewe of Bechet, Vinsantos Defonte croons an entertaining version of it at the beginning of Vieux Carre at the AllWays Lounge (running through Sunday, March 25)

That interpretation of the song straddles the odd timeframe of Vieux Carre, which Tennessee Williams began working on in the 1930s and finished late in his life in the 1970s. The play bombed on Broadway and closed after several days.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review: A Streetcar Named Desire

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 4:37 PM

Beth Bartley (Blanche) and Curtis Billings (Stanley) star in A Streetcar Named Desire. - PHOTO BY BRITTNEY WERNER
  • PHOTO BY BRITTNEY WERNER
  • Beth Bartley (Blanche) and Curtis Billings (Stanley) star in A Streetcar Named Desire.

The words “Named Desire” could be tagged onto the end of many Tennessee Williams plays. Why not Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Named Desire or The Night of the Iguana Named Desire or Sweet Bird of Youth Named Desire? Unfulfilled desire is at the core of many of Williams’ best dramas, and characters are driven to misery if not madness by societal constraints that thwart their longings. Audiences have repeatedly embraced that storyline in Williams' work. Of course, the phrase belongs to A Streetcar Named Desire, where Blanche DuBois reaches the end of the line.

As director Maxwell Williams notes, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre’s production of Streetcar, running through March 31, takes place a few doors down from an apartment where Tennessee Williams lived and worked on the play. According to one account, the radio Stanley Kowalski throws out of the apartment in the drama is based on Williams’ typewriter being thrown out of that apartment on St. Peter Street.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Politically themed drag show Extra opens at AllWays March 27

Posted By on Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 2:00 PM

Drag performer Quinn Laroux as a "Gulf Coast oil spill mermaid."
  • Drag performer Quinn Laroux as a "Gulf Coast oil spill mermaid."

"Especially right now, everything in the news is just getting more and more ridiculous," says drag performer and producer Quinn Laroux, mentioning a recent tossed-off presidential remark about a military space force. "With drag, you're already starting on a note that's a little ridiculous to begin with."

That idea — commenting on the food-processed 2018 news cycle through the excesses and outrageousness of drag — is one Laroux has had for a while. In more satirical, conceptual performances, she's performed a reggae-based number that skewered cultural appropriation and sent up Kendall Jenner's racially-tinged Pepsi ad fiasco to "Where Is the Love?" With Extra: A Political Drag Cabaret, Laroux brings an entire show's worth of political drag and variety acts to AllWays Lounge & Cabaret March 27.

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