Our top picks of the month’s events
Boogie on the Bayou
Now a late-May mainstay, the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo takes place May 20-22, featuring dozens of free performances, food and fun activities for people of all ages. The community celebration takes place on the banks of Bayou St. John where Moss Street intersects Orleans Avenue and has been growing each year since its inception.
The musical lineup includes popular local acts Jumpin Johnny Sansone, DJ Jubilee, Donald Harrison & the Congo Nation, Los PoBoy Citos and Flow Tribe, among numerous others. Vendors’ and artists’ tents will be scattered throughout the neutral ground, offering crafts, food and shade from the heat. Another highlight is the Bicycle Pub Crawl, which begins early on Saturday morning at the Buttermilk Drop Bakery and Café and ends at the Bayou Beer Garden, stopping at various neighborhood watering holes along the way. The Bayou Boogaloo, which is put on by the Mothership Foundation, is as socially conscious as it is social: One of its most popular events is the Second Harvest Food Bank’s Annual Rubber Duck Derby, in which 10,000 rubber ducks are dropped into the bayou for a race. Guests are invited to “adopt” a rubber duck and give to the cause with a chance to win prizes – should your duck be so lucky.
Set in a mystical Greek forest, William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of his most cherished comedies, full of love triangles, mistaken identities, mischief-makers and magic. Centuries after it was written, it still remains popular today – and perhaps it could be especially appreciated in a town such as New Orleans, known for its revelry and merry wanderers of the night.
The play is centered around four lovesick Athenians who wander into an enchanted forest, where fairies, gods and goddesses cast spells on them – some spells are cast with the best of intentions, while other spells serve to entertain the forest-dwellers (and the audience). Performances will be held on May 6, 13, 20 and 27 at 7 p.m. in the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, as part of NOMA’s Friday night programming, “Where Y’Art.” Directed by Andrew Larimer, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is performed by actors from the award-winning NOLA Project. The 90-minute production will enchant viewers, and the backdrop of Spanish moss-covered oak trees in City Park at dusk makes the production seem both more magical and realistic.
Information, 658-4100, www.noma.org/nolaproject.
Song for My Fathers
Tom Sancton, an internationally known journalist, professor and musician, published his poignant memoir in 2006, Song For My Fathers: A New Orleans Story in Black and White, in which he chronicled his passion to learn jazz music as a young white boy in the segregated South.
After being introduced to aging black musicians – many of whom were contemporaries of Louis Armstrong – Sancton, a clarinetist, became a student of theirs and formed such a deep connection that he considered them to be his fathers and spiritual leaders.
For the second year in a row, the story comes to the stage in a multimedia performance directed by Ron Rona (alter-ego: Ronnie Numbers of Bingo! Show) and produced by Ben Jaffe, creative director for Preservation Hall.
Taking place at Le Chat Noir May 13-15, 21 and 22, Song For My Fathers features live readings by Sancton himself, historic video footage, photography and live musical interludes featuring the Preservation Hall All-Star band. Song For My Fathers is an innovative tribute to New Orleans music and traditions, bridging generation gaps and demonstrating how closely linked music and family are.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry
An annual five-day fête, the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience takes place May 24-28, uniting bon vivants and culture enthusiasts to participate in dozens of tastings, wine pairings, seminars and other activities. This year, more than 175 wineries will be paired with food from more than 75 restaurants; though the participants are nationally known, the festival places a great focus on spotlighting regional ingredients and flavors. The event kicks off with the Ella Brennan Award Dinner & Live Auction (Ed. Note: see pg. 78 on this year’s honoree, Chef Paul Prudhomme) and is followed by wine dinners in the city’s most prestigious restaurants. Additional highlights include the Royal Street Stroll and the Vinola Tasting, as well as grand tastings.
The New Orleans Ballet Association finishes its 2010-’11 season with a performance by Corella Ballet Castilla y León at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. The dance troupe, which began in just 2008, has been making waves around the world, as it is the only company specializing in the classical dance of Spain. Artistic director Angel Corella, a native of Madrid, has been internationally applauded for his talented ensemble and creative vision.
The evening features “Soleá,” a duet created by renowned Spanish flamenco dancer and choreographer María Pagés and performed by Corella and his sister, Carmen. This 8-minute piece features an intriguing melding of flamenco and classical ballet and is danced to music by guitarist Ruben Lebaniegos. Also on the program is Christopher Wheeldon’s “DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse.” The opening work is former ABT principal dancer Clark Tippet’s neo-classical piece, “Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1.”