Our top picks of the month’s events
“I Am New Orleans” benefit celebration, Sept. 11
Lafayette Square will host the annual New Orleans Seafood Festival for a celebratory three days of culinary crafts and music that are unique to the region. The fête, Sept. 10-12, is aimed to raise awareness and funding for the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, whose mission is to help the hospitality industry to improve in a variety of ways.
Now, in the wake of the Gulf oil disaster, the hospitality industry may need our support more than ever as the toxins hinder the wildlife and seafood that were once so prevalent in the area.
Debuting at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center, “Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers” will serve as an entertaining, powerful social and political commentary on the rise of hate crimes against Latinos and the criminalization of other immigrants across the country. In what he describes as a “sci-fi Latino noir” performance, artist and creator José Torres-Tama explores immigration issues with his riveting, multimedia solo performance. On stage, Torres-Tama shape-shifts into numerous Latino “extraterrestrials” who bilingually challenge the status quo.
It is a satire rife with dark humor, but the performance boldly exposes a complicated issue. “Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers” is Sept. 16-19 at Ashe Cultural Arts Center and will then move to the Shadowbox Theatre on St. Claude Avenue for an additional three weeks. As lagniappe to the performance, Torres-Tama has put together a panel discussion for Sept. 18, featuring a variety of speakers whose organizations have been involved in reaching out to Latino immigrants who came to New Orleans to help reconstruct the city during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Information, npnweb.org, www.theshadowboxtheatre.com, www.torrestama.com.
Stomp in the Swamp
Years ago, a local group of dedicated rock ‘n’ roll fans, dubbing themselves the Mystic Knights of the Mau-Mau, founded the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preservation and presentation of American roots music. Expanding over the years but remaining very much New Orleans-based (collaborating frequently with the Ogden Museum of Southern Art as well as the Louisiana State Museum), the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation will host its biggest event at the House of Blues, Sept. 24-25.
The Ponderosa Stomp will feature performances by headliners Duane Eddy, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Honeyboy Edwards, The Midniters, Red Simpson and the Trashmen, encompassing a wide range of genres – rhythm and blues, garage rock, twangy guitar and more. Louisiana native musicians include Johnny Allan, Doug Ardoin and Bert Miller, DL Menard, Lil’ Buck Sinegal & the Topcats and the Lost Bayou Ramblers. In addition to the concerts, the Ponderosa Stomp also offers a music history conference, a film festival at One Eyed Jack’s, and an outdoor record shop in front of the Cabildo.
Burlesque, a main attraction in the French Quarter in the 1940s through the ’60s, made a resurgence in the mid-’90s and seems to permeate through the city these days; hardly a week goes by without the opportunity to see performances by ladies with cherry-red lips and lacy underthings who appear to have stepped out of yesteryears.
Sept. 17-19, the New Orleans Burlesque Festival, founded by New Orleans native (and creator of the Bustout Burlesque troupe) Rick DeLaup, will take place at Harrah’s, the House of Blues and the Parish. All of the events celebrate the classic art of striptease with humor and music thrown in, too. Highlights include the “Queen of Burlesque” presented by Secrets in Lace; and a “Risque Soiree.”
A Valiant Effort
Perhaps best known for his hit song “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (not to be confused with the Mariah Carey song), Vince Vance is a big personality with big hair – and a big heart. On Sept. 11, Vance will perform with his band, The Valiants, at Southport Hall for the “I Am New Orleans” benefit celebration, which fêtes the Crescent City in coordination with the Emerald Society of Metropolitan New Orleans-Law Enforcement. Highlights of the evening will include an open bar of top-shelf liquor and Lucky Dogs. The spirited celebration is also a tribute to Patrolman Patrick Rose, a member of the Emerald Society of Metropolitan New Orleans Law Enforcement, who was severely injured in pursuit of fleeing suspects – he is now unable to walk without the assistance of a cane due to neurological traumas and herniated discs. The Emerald Society is a nonprofit organization; co-chairs of the evening are Dr. Charles C. and Lynn Mary.
Information, 849-1299, 835-2903, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perhaps best known as “Gay Mardi Gras,” Southern Decadence celebrates its 39th year as one of New Orleans’ biggest annual celebrations. With more than 100,000 participants, Southern Decadence will take over the French Quarter with “Leather and Feathers” (the official theme of the weekend). The festival, which was originally thrown as a simple going-away party years ago, has witnessed tremendous growth over the years, primarily situated at the nightclubs near the intersection of St. Ann and Bourbon streets. Dance parties will rage from Sept. 1-6; performers and entertainers include Deborah Cox with Erika Jayne, Kimberley Locke and Jeanie Tracy and a wide array of DJs.
There is also a free outdoor concert presented by Napoleon’s Itch in association with the Bourbon Pub/Parade.
Sunday is the grand finale of a colorful weekend, with Grand Marshals Julien Artressia and Toby LeFort leading the annual afternoon parade.