Taking in Tennesse
Literary luminary Tennessee Williams will be celebrated this month at the annual New Orleans Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, March 20-24. The five-day fête will host a variety of celebrities, including author Michael Cunningham (who will judge a fiction-writing contest), Oscar-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley and “Mad Men” actor Bryan Batt, among dozens more. As usual, the fest will be rife with educational seminars, workshops, tours, performances and discussions; it will take place at a variety of locations around Williams’ beloved French Quarter.
Ready for the Races
The Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will celebrate a milestone this month on March 30: The Louisiana Derby, which is poised to be the biggest in track history as it launches the new Infield Festival. The festival is a new entertainment experience that will allow guests to congregate on the green space within the track oval – for the first time on a live racing day since the 1930s. Rockers Cowboy Mouth will perform, and guests can dine on cuisine from a variety of food trucks. The VIP offerings will include both mobile suites, identical to those at professional golf tournaments and tented party areas.
Further evidence that New Orleanians can bounce back quickly after Mardi Gras is the yearly St. Patrick’s Day parade, during which everyone becomes a part of a drunken sea of green in the historic Irish Channel neighborhood and Magazine Street. You can also get pelted by cabbages and other vegetables thrown by merrymakers – or opt for a kiss and a flower. The parade is on March 16.
BUKU Music + ART Project
Winter Circle Productions has been producing concerts for about the past five years in New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities, and the group launched a hip new music and art festival, BUKU, in 2012. Mirroring the excitement of its fans, co-founder Dante DiPasquale expresses enthusiasm to bring the festival back to the Crescent City on March 8 and 9 and says that each day will draw at least 10,000 fans ready to dance, party and celebrate. Information, TheBukuProject.com
Who are some headliners? BUKU has some pretty diverse headliners including Kid Cudi, Calvin Harris, Passion Pit, Kendrick Lamar, Nero, Flux Pavilion … The list goes on and on. We think the lineup as a whole encapsulates what people are listening to and is a nice mix of the most relevant artists of 2013 (like Japandroids, Alt-J, Zedd) and some veterans (like one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all-time, Public Enemy, Primus’ 3-D show and two sets from Sound Tribe Sector 9). The BUKU camp’s tastes in music vary widely.
What are you personally most excited about? I am most excited to see Flying Lotus’s Layer-3 visual show, Blackbird Blackbird on the VIP-only riverboat and the first-ever U.S. festival appearances from Earl Sweatshirt, Trinidad Jame$ and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Plus a lot of the artists have collaborated with each other on tracks before, so I’m excited about the possibility of some guest sit-ins.
How spread out is the festival? How many stages, and where are they? The unique indoor-outdoor layout of the festival grounds allows there to be several stages in a smaller amount of space than you see at most festivals with no audio overlap. This year, BUKU has five stages: “The Power Plant” outside with the broken down Market Street Power Plant in the background; “The Float Den,” set in a Mardi Gras float manufacturing warehouse; “The Ballroom,” a sleek ballroom space with a balcony; “The Riverfront,” which we have some pretty crazy surprises for; and the VIP-only S.S. BUKU, a New Orleans-style riverboat docked alongside the festival grounds with views of the main stage.
Besides music, what other kind of entertainment can people look forward to? BUKU isn’t just a music project, it’s also an art project. Our art director is a mad man, and he will kill me if I spill the beans on any of the art exhibits his team has in store, but trust me, they’re going to be sweet. And since New Orleans is home to some of the best cuisine in the world, BUKU will feature several local food stands. We have some more things for entertainment up our sleeves, but we want to keep them a surprise.
March 8-10. Chard Gonzalez Dance Theatre presents “Down the Rabbit Hole;” Marigny Theatre. Information, ChardDance.org
March 8. 6th annual Big Easy Blues Festival: Lakefront Arena. Information, arena.uno.edu
March 9. Italian American Marching Club parade; Information, IAMCNola.org
March 15 & 17. Samson et Dalila; Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Information, NewOrleansOpera.org
March 17. St. Patrick’s Day block party; Parasol’s Bar. Information, ParasolsBarAndRestaurant.com
March 17. St. Patrick’s Day parade; Metairie Road. Information, StPatricksDayNewOrleans.com
March 21. Alicia Keys; New Orleans Arena. Information, OrleansArena.org
March 22-23. Hogs for the Cause; City Park. Information, HogsForTheCause.org
March 23. Eric Clapton in concert; New Orleans Arena. Information, OrleansArena.org
March 23. Martha Graham Dance Company; Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Information, NobaDance.com
March 23. St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser; Finn McCool’s. Information, StBaldricks.org
March 24. Louisiana Irish-Italian parade; Metairie. Information, StPatricksDayNewOrleans.com
March 28. Leonard Cohen’s “Old Ideas World Tour”; Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Information, MahaliaJacksonTheater.com