OUR TOP PICKS OF THE MONTH’S EVENTS
A riveting, highly innovative performance by the Stephen Petronio Company will take place March 2 and 3 at the Freda Lupin Memorial Hall at NOCCA. Co-presented by the NOCCA Institute and the New Orleans Ballet Association, Petronio’s troupe fuses their imaginative dance moves with music, visual art and high fashion. This program will feature “Underland,” a work set to the dark, bittersweet songs of rocker Nick Cave; another highlight is “City of Twist,” a tribute to New York City with music by performance art guru Laurie Anderson.
A Study in Teen Angst
Salome, the story of a love-scorned emotional train wreck of a princess, will be performed by the New Orleans Opera Association at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts on March 2 and 4, with unforgettable displays of passion, anger, fear and complex familial relationships. Set in King Herod’s palace, the story takes a turn when Jochanaan, a jailed prophet, curses Queen Herodias, mother of the adolescent Salome. Infatuated by Jochanaan, Salome begins a disastrous flirtation with him and is rejected and pushed over the edge when he urges her to seek salvation in the Messiah. Memorable scenes include the famously provocative “Dance of the Seven Veils,” some dramatic deaths and stunning opera singing from a cast that includes Miada Khudoley, John Mac Master, Ryan McKinny, Gwendolyn Jones and others.
Beads, Brogues and Rogues
As a welcome respite from the post-Carnival chill-out (you know you miss the parties), the 65th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, put on by the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club, will get your spirits soaring again. The streets will be filled with cabbage, green beer, beads and brogues as the parade, held on Saturday, March 17, winds its way through the Irish Channel and Garden District. The parade starts around noon and you might either get pinched or kissed, depending on whether luck is on your side and how much green you’re wearing.
Memories of Music
Playwright Tennessee Williams wrote in The Glass Menagerie, “In memory everything seems to happen to music.” This year at the annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, local musician, writer and educator Tom Sancton will kick off the celebration on March 21 at The Old U.S. Mint with “Song for My Fathers,” a multimedia autobiographical performance that celebrates the city’s music and pays a heartfelt tribute to those who taught it to him. Based on his memoir, “Song For My Fathers” weaves live music from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Sancton’s personal experiences, offering glimpses into an era that remains a powerful influence on our culture.
What is this performance about? “Song for My Fathers” is the story of a young white middle-class kid’s encounter with a group of elderly black jazz musicians at the tail end of the segregation era in the 1960s. The boy learns to play their music and gets a privileged lesson on life, culture and humanity from his willing mentors. That is the central theme of both the book and the stage show version.
Who’s involved? Ben Jaffe [of Preservation Hall] is the overall producer. Staging and direction were handled by Ron Rona of Preservation Hall; he was also the one who put together the terrific audio-visual package. I am present as the narrator. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is on stage and provides live music, and we have a young man, Zach Young, who plays me as a teenager.
How does it tie in with the festival? It ties in with the festival in several ways. First, it’s theater – not an actual play, but certainly a theatrical presentation. Secondly, it’s based on a literary work, my coming-of-age memoir. Thirdly, it celebrates New Orleans culture and musical history. I have been involved in the festival in various capacities for the past few years and like to consider myself part of the Tennessee Williams Festival “family.”
The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival takes place March 21-25, featuring plays, staged readings, lectures, panel discussions, parties and more, at various locations throughout downtown. Information, TennesseeWilliams.net.
March 2, 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28. French Quarter Wine Festival; Le Meritage. Information, FrenchQuarterWineFestival.com.
March 3. Bonerama + Yojimbo; Tipitina’s Uptown. Information, tipitinas.com.
March 9-11. Foburg music festival; throughout Marigny/Bywater. Information, FoburgNewOrleans.com.
March 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30-April 1. JPAS presents Flanagan’s Wake; Teatro Wego! Theatre, Westwego; St. Catherine of Siena School, Metairie; and North Star Theatre, Covington. Information, jpas.org.
March 14-18. Art in Bloom – New Orleans: Life in Color; New Orleans Museum of Art. Information, noma.org.
March 14, 21, 28. Wednesday at the Square concerts; Lafayette Square. Information, WednesdayAtTheSquare.com.
March 14- April 15. The Lion King; Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Information, MahaliaJackson.com.
March 15. AIA New Orleans 2012 Design Awards, Design Beyond Sustainability; Patrick F. Taylor Library, Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Information, AIANewOrleans.org.
March 16. An Evening with Heart; House of Blues. Information, HouseOfBlues.com.
March 17. St. Patrick’s Day block party; Irish Channel.
March 17. SweetArts fundraiser; Contemporary Arts Center. Information, cacno.org.
March 22-25. Louisiana Crawfish Festival; Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center, Chalmette. Information, LouisianaCrawfishFestival.com.
March 31 and April 2. NCAA Final Four basketball games; New Orleans Arena. Information, ncaa.com.
April 1. The O-Mazing Race; throughout the French Quarter. Information, OgdenMuseum.org/race/OmazingRace.html.