On Friday, December 1st, 2023, Jefferson Performing Arts Society will present the iconic Blind Boys of Alabama gospel group, bringing their Christmas concert to the New Orleans area for the first time. Enjoy familiar holiday classics and hand-clapping gospel favorites for the whole family. The Blind Boys have been touring for 75 years and are considered a pillar of American music. According to The New York Times they "epitomize what is known as jubilee singing, a livelier breed of gospel music."
Click here for event information, concert videos and more: Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Concert | Jefferson Performing Arts Center (jeffersonpac.com)
WHO/WHAT: Mister Mao is known for hosting its wildly popular guest chef pop-up series, a one- night-only dinner series that spotlights visiting chefs, vendors, and more. The inauthentic, tropical roadhouse is thrilled to welcome Chef Finn Walter, 2022 James Beard Semifinalist for Best Chef: Texas, of The Nicolett, the fine dining destination in West Texas. Chef Finn has lived and worked in top culinary cities, including San Francisco, Paris, Napa Valley, Austin, Santa Fe, and New Orleans, cooking in tiny bistros and multiple Michelin-starred restaurants.
Starting off the month of December with a bang, Chef Finn will take over the kitchen for a decadent seven-course feast priced at $125 per person (plus tax and gratuity). The splurge-worthy menu follows:
Elk Tartare (juniper, fry bread)
Yucca Churro (caviar, yucca blossoms)
Crab (nopales, xoconostle)
Beef Cheek Bao (bluegrass soy)
Black Cod (hoja santa, spruce tip)
Lamb Neck (in the style of brisket, Fresno pepper piperade)
Chocolate (chicory, pinon, Sotol candies)
WHEN/WHERE: The Mister Mao and The Nicolett Dinner will take place on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 7PM. Reservations can be made on Resy. Mister Mao is located at 4501 Tchoupitoulas in New Orleans. www.mistermaonola.com.
Everyone’s invited to swing in to the holiday market Sip & Shop Pop-Up on King’s rooftop terrace at Kimpton Hotel Fontenot on Sunday, November 19 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to discover and support tons of great local vendors offering unique and artisanal gifts for the holidays.
From clothing and accessories to stunning works of art and crafts to candles and aromatherapy, there will be something for everyone. The event is free to attend and open to the public. Bubbly and other beverages will be available for purchase. And those who come hungry can head downstairs after or before to partake in the delicious lunch menu at King Brasserie & Bar featuring items like the Gulf Oyster BLT, Quiche Lorraine, King Burger, and Croque Monsieur. Reservations to dine are recommended and can be made online at kingbrasserieandbar.com.
WHEN: Sunday, November 19, 2023 | 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
WHERE: King Brasserie & Bar’s rooftop terrace, 521 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130
King is open for breakfast daily, 7 - 11 a.m., and for lunch daily, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Dinner is served Sunday through Thursday, 5 - 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 5 - 10 p.m. Happy hour is daily, 5 - 7 p.m. More information on King can be found at kingbrasserieandbar.com. You can also follow King on Instagram at @kingbrasserienola and Peacock Room on Instagram @peacockroomnola.
READ OUR REVIEW OF KING BRASSERIE
Porgy's Seafood Market, the newest venture from Dana Honn (Carmo), Marcus Jacobs and Caitlin Carney (Marjie’s Grill, Seafood Sally’s) is opening this month! In keeping with their goal to be a community-driven resource for fresh, wild-caught Gulf seafood, they've rolled out an innovative crowd-funding campaign:
A beautiful, hot mess!
Looped @ Westwego Cultural Center
review by Todd Perley
Ah, Tallulah Bankhead (1902–1968). The diva of stage, radio, and screen. An amalgamation of Bette Davis, Oscar Wilde, Mae West, and Morticia Addams, with a healthy dose of Bitchy Drag Queen (which just sums up the previous attributes, honestly). And did Jennifer Saunders write a bit of her into Edwina Monsoon in the TV show 'Absolutely'?
Bisexual, promiscuous, ubiquitous drink in hand, a cigarette in her mouth, and white-ringed nostrils. She for whom Tennessee Williams wrote the character of Blanche Dubois. Wouldn’t you like to spend an evening with her?
Well, you’re in luck, thanks to this play, by Matthew Lombardo. As they bill it: “This three-person drama is based on a real event that took place in the summer of 1965, when an inebriated Tallulah Bankhead required a full day to redub – or loop – one line of dialogue … The recording session ends up lasting eight hours due to her drunken behavior.”
The campy mood is set before you even enter the theater. The lobby becomes an interactive playground. Sign your name to a star on the floor. Take a photo with Tallulah wearing borrowed mink and holding fake cigarettes and champagne. Don’t forget your complimentary packet of candy cigarettes. (Yes, they still make those!) Many theater-goers dress the part. I stood in the wine line with a man who had sewn dozens of dangling cigarettes to his blazer. (“It’s my smoking jacket.”)
Set in an L.A. recording studio, the three-hour-late Bankhead finally shows up to read her one line. Film editor Danny Miller’s nerves are quickly shattered as she fails, fails, and fails again. She’s more interested in prying into his life, revealing sides of her own…and drinking, smoking, snorting, and pill-popping, natch.
Eric Lincoln as Danny is believably (and justifiably) frustrated with the shenanigans. Leslie Castay delivers Tallulah’s barbs and quips with appropriately acerbic dryness. It would be easy to play this role as a campy diva stereotype, dah-ling, but Castay is never shallow.
Director Janet Shea wants us to know the real Tallulah. As sloppily aloof as she seems, her inquisitive humanity and self clarity is always at the foundation. She’s a mess, Danny’s a mess, and she recognizes this and demands to connect with him, much to his consternation as well as that of the equally-frustrated tech booth worker Steve (David L. Haydel, Jr.).
Act One is a fun-fueled bitchy romp, and Act Two, while still bitchy and quip-y, becomes legitimately moving. I confess to some casual weeping as Bankhead/Castay delivers a brilliant monologue as Blanche Dubois.
I signed up for the iconic Tallulah caricature, but her depth and fragility was lagniappe, without ever dragging the mood irretrievably into the land of morbid. As Bankhead/Castay says, “We all have our vices, dah-ling. Mine just all come out to play at once.” And you should come to this play. At once.
Looped runs through November 19th @ Westwego Cultural Center. More info and tickets here.
More on Out All Day New Orleans by Todd Perley:
True stories: No rain probably helps
True Stories: Tree beads hold their value
On Friday, November 17th, Executive Chef Marcus Woodham will host a very special Steak & Old Fashioned Lunch. From 11AM – 1PM, guests can enjoy a delightful two-course lunch, along with $10 Buffalo Trace Old Fashioneds. Priced at $50 per person (plus tax & gratuity), menu follows:
Bower Caesar Salad
Little Gem lettuce, parmesan, anchovies, pangrattato, house Caesar dressing
12 oz. New York Strip
Choice of bordelaise or au poivre sauce
Served with crispy new potatoes and creamed collard greens
Advance reservations are required via OpenTable or by calling the restaurant at 504.582.9738.
READ OUR NEW REVIEW OF THE BOWER
Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein
Review by Paul Oswell
It’s been feeling a bit like ‘Monster of the week’ in the city’s theater scene this month, with a handful of seasonally spooky productions. ’Let The Right One In’ brought the serious Scandic Noir, The NOLA Project’s ‘Dracula’ brimmed with original silliness, and now ‘Young Frankenstein’ at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center adds to the Halloween hilarity.
With musical numbers and script by the great Mel Brooks (who also wrote and directed the well-loved 1974 movie version) and the late Thomas Meehan, you arrive expecting to be launched into a high-octane, gag-filled romp, and that’s exactly how it goes. It’s not just a parody of the Frankenstein story that we all recognize; Brooks also pokes fun at the tropes of musicals, with pastiches of Cabaret and any number of Andrew Lloyd-Webber productions.
Directed with tangible enthusiasm and delight in the material by New Orleans’ own Leslie Castay, there’s little room for subtlety as the double entendres and innuendo, not to mention straight-up filthiness (the good kind), come at you from the off.
Dr Frederick Frankenstein (Michael Paternostro) leaves his prudish fiancee Elizabeth (Jennifer Delatte) to attend to his deceased grandfather’s estate in Transylvania. Events conspire to have him reanimate a corpse with a stolen brain, creating the iconic monster (Adriel Aviles). Here, he is comically assisted by sidekick Igor (Scott Sauber), seduced by saucy scientist Inga (Charlie Carr) and reprimanded by Teutonic scold Frau Blucher (Meredith Long-Dieth).
The plot, involving the monster’s escape, Elizabeth’s unexpected arrival and the villagers forming angry hordes, is a minor concern. Young Frankenstein is more a celebration of suggestive vaudeville, set pieces as vehicles for Brooks’ jokes and some top-notch physical comedy. I’m not above an obvious analogy in that the production itself feels stitched together from movie, musical and vaudevillian traditions, and like the monster, it lives, laughs and lumbers into becoming its own entity.
Paternostro gives us a relentlessly energetic lead performance, requiring no small amount of discipline to maintain some dramatic cohesion. Sauber absolutely slays the crowd as the knowingly incompetent Igor, the funniest role in both the movie (recalling the flawless Marty Feldman) and this musical. Delatte’s journey from frump to femme fatale is embellished with some seriously stirring pipes and Carr and Long-Dieth both ham up their roles with impressive commitment. Long-Dieth, for example, positively relishes racy lines such as “He won the three-legged race all by himself” as she reminisces about Frankenstein senior’s memorably-proportioned physique.
The highlights for me were the set pieces of the monster’s chaotic, slapstick-heavy arrival at the home of a blind hermit (Ken Goode) and an all-singing, all-dancing, all-bellowing rendition of Puttin’ On The Ritz that you’d have to be undead not to enjoy. Aviles skillfully winkles a personality out of the monster that is both charming and sinister, and the chorus deliver some fine moments with dynamic dance routines and pitchfork-waving mob work.
Young Frankenstein is indelicate, risqué and raucous, but even the most politically-correct reading would struggle to find offense. If you love unpretentious, bawdy laughs, then animate your own bag of bones and lurch along for one last salute to this year’s spooky season.
Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein runs at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center through Nov 5th. Tickets and more info here.
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