Our top picks of the month’s events
Festing on the Fringe
If things seem a little dramatic this month, you’re right: 45 theater groups from New Orleans and beyond will comprise the New Orleans Fringe Festival, putting on more than 120 show at locations around town. This year’s festival, which takes place Nov. 11-15, will present theater of all types: opera buffa, drama, physical clown theater, dark comedy, cabaret, romance noir … the list goes on and on, and undoubtedly everyone can find a genre or two they will enjoy. Highlights include Rigorous Disco of Doom a Providence, R.I.-based troupe, which puts on a crackpot swamp wedding that turns into zombie mayhem; Play. Music. Heal., a Lafayette-based drama with colorful South Louisiana characters; and The Goats of Belle Reve, an enchanting dance-drama hybrid performance of Streetcar Named Desire.
The Fringe Festival has organized seven locations at grassroots theaters and other spaces in the Bywater and Marigny neighborhoods, including the Marigny Theatre, Sidearm Gallery, Hi-Ho, Skull Club, Backyard Ballroom, Peter’s Piano Place and the Holy Trinity Church on St. Ferdinand Street.
Tickets are inexpensive; there are also a variety of free events, such as the Nov. 12 preview party at the festival tent with beer from NOLA Brewing Co. One thing is for sure: the creative forces at work will be inspiring and entertaining.
Information, 941-3640. www.nofringe.org.
Dreams Coming True
New Orleans is known for its romantic atmosphere; it’s not difficult to imagine a fairytale ending – or beginning – somewhere in this picturesque city.
Disney Studios has finally caught on to this: With the opening of the movie The Princess and The Frog, this sweet take on the classic children’s fairytale gets a decidedly local twist as characters navigate their way through love – and low-lying swamps.
The New Orleans Museum of Art will host a special installation of Disney animation art beginning on Nov. 15, the same day the movie is released. “Dreams Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy Tales from Walt Disney Studio” will present more than 600 pieces of original production art. For nostalgia’s sake – or for the sake of your children’s entertainment – head over to NOMA to look at art that pays tribute to Silly Symphonies, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Princess and the Frog. The exhibit will run through March 15, 2010, and there will be a preview of the exhibit at a fundraising gala, held Nov. 14.
The first-ever Scandinavian Festival will take place at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church (aka the “Jazz Church,” as it regularly features local musicians) Nov. 5-8. The festival will help bring in the holiday spirit with one-of-a-kind items, sweaters and linens, Scandinavian crystal, jewelry, pewter and toys for sale. Included in the festivities are lots of music, and Scandinavian food in the beautiful courtyard and in booths that will line Urania Street. Musicians this year will include Lars Edegran, Jeremy Davenport, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, Christian Winther and numerous others.
The Norwegian Seamen’s Church (on Prytania Street) has a rich history in New Orleans; it has served as a refuge for the many sailors and seamen who work on ships in New Orleans’ ports. The church has also become a community center for the many New Orleans residents with Scandinavian (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic and Finnish) backgrounds.
Star-Crossed Lovers with a French Twist
Possibly the world’s most famous star-crossed teenaged lovers, Romeo and Juliet will be making an appearance in New Orleans, arising (briefly) from the dead to be seen at the New Orleans Opera Association’s production of Charles Gounoud’s Roméo et Juliette. The doomed couple will be singing in French this time around, rather than reciting Shakespearian English. The supremely talented cast includes Louisiana native Paul Groves as Romeo, and Nicole Cabell will perform as his leading lady. This performance will leave you a little misty-eyed, and hoping to never relive your dramatic teen years. Performances will take place on Nov. 20 and 22 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts on the Placido Domingo Stage.
Information, 529-2278, neworleansopera.org.
The Bywater Neighborhood Association’s Mirliton Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary at Markey Park on Nov. 7. This is the day where New Orleanians (and visitors) can visit one of the hippest neighborhoods and mingle with artists, musicians and those looking for a good time. The diverse and talented musical lineup includes The Valparaiso Men’s Chorus, DJ Jubilee, Happy Talk Band, R. Scully Rough 7 and others. The Mirliton Festival will also showcase food from area eateries, including The Country Club, Jack Dempsey’s, The Joint, Markey’s Bar, Country Gourmet Foods and Karma Kitchens. In addition, Bacchanal will contribute a selection of wines. The fest is family-friendly; there will be children’s activities, arts and crafts and more.