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Holiday events make New Orleans sparkle and shine

Advocate photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The annual switch-on of the Christmas lights on Canal Street was hosted at the Astor Crowne Plaza Tuesday, November 26, 2013.

With concerts, tree lightings, parades and parties, there are dozens of ways to get into the spirit of the season. Here’s a roundup of December holiday events that range from family fun to grown-up elegance, with lots of merriment in between. New Orleans Christmas in the District is lighting up the Convention Center… Continue reading →

Christmas Concert Series sets annual event lineup

Photo provided by Shades of Praise - To celebrate 13 years of singing, the Shades of Praise will hold 'Love Will Lift Us Higher,' a gala concert and fundraiser from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13 at Race + Religious, 510 Race St.

New Orleans artists perform one-of-a-kind concerts at the St. Louis Cathedral Christmas Concert Series. This free series features local greats such as Ellis Marsallis and Ronnie Kole. The one-hour concerts are held at 6 p.m. on select nights in December at St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square. The lineup is: Dec. 1: Leroy… Continue reading →

Melissa Etheridge lands back in New Orleans

Photo by JOHN TSIAVIS -- Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Etheridge — the two-time Grammy winner and Oscar winner whose 1993 album, “Yes I Am,” sold 6 million copies — hasn’t played in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. She’s making a belated return Monday for a show at the Saenger Theatre. Etheridge, the singer whose gritty, passionate hits include “Bring Me Some Water,” “I’m the… Continue reading →

‘Catch 23’ a tale of learning and growing

Photo provided -- Cameron-Mitchell Ware's one-man show explores the experiences of an aspiring actor in New York City.

The title of Joseph Heller’s bestselling 1961 book, “Catch 22,” has entered the American lexicon as a synonym for a no-win situation — damned if you do, damned if you don’t. So what is “Catch 23”? Cameron-Mitchell Ware answers that question with his one-man show this weekend at Mid-City Theatre. “As the title of my… Continue reading →

Draw-A-Thon’s ‘giant collaboration between strangers’ goes around the clock

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- Byron Perkins, 8, add his flag to the globe during the Draw-a-thon last year.

Looking to make your mark this weekend? Press Street — a nonprofit literary and visual arts collective — is hosting its ninth annual 24-hour Draw-a-thon at the Marigny Opera House from 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 30. The free event invites people of all ages to join more than 30… Continue reading →

In the orbit of Prospect.3, there’s plenty more to see

Photo by John d'Addario -- Carl Joe Williams: '70s Thug gets Bitch Slapped by his Mama,' 2012

Confused about all those pink-and-white “P.3” and “P.3+” signs at the entrances to art venues in New Orleans this fall? You’re not alone. Basically, P.3-labeled venues feature works by the 58 artists selected by Franklin Sirmans for the central Prospect.3 exhibition. Think of it as a single, massive, thematically cohesive group show spread out all… Continue reading →

Creativity shines during City Park Christmas event

With well over a million tiny lights draped through oak trees and arranged into dazzling displays, contrived from the imagination, Celebration in the Oaks illuminates 25 acres of City Park throughout the holiday season. The collection of awe-inspiring exhibits honors beloved New Orleans traditions and icons, recognizes numerous cultures and religions and showcases creativity… Continue reading →

European-style light shows to brighten the night

Photo provided by Arts Council of New Orleans  Gallier Hall will be painted in light, as shown in this artist's rendering.

New Orleans will become a city of lights during LUNA Fête 2014, a European-style festival by the Arts Council celebrating the city’s art and culture scene. The highlight of the weeklong event is a luminous, open-air video mapping installation, projected nightly onto the majestic façade of Gallier Hall. “The mission behind LUNA Fête is to shine… Continue reading →

Check out these ideas for offbeat, inexpensive dining near the holiday shopping hubs this weekend

Advocate staff photo by RUSTY COSTANZA --  Oak Oven in Harahan is a modern Italian restaurant built inside a former fast food franchise.

Black Friday is not for the meek. There are doors to be busted, bargains to be bagged, traffic to maneuver and lists to complete. Savvy shoppers know they must keep up their strength, and that means taking a break for lunch. Don’t assume, however, that you have to settle for food court… Continue reading →

Cozy retreats take the chill out of winter days

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The Columns Hotel bar's Flaming Coffee.

Winter is tricky in New Orleans. Visitors wrongly assume that it never gets cold in the Big Easy. How many of us have had to endure “you don’t know cold” lectures? And while it’s true that we may see T-shirt weather one day, it can drop to a temperature that has you grabbing the parka… Continue reading →

Don’t Miss events in New Orleans Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2014

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- Southern University Jaguars wide receiver Willie Quinn (25) trades hands to the faces with Grambling State Tigers defensive back Dwight Amphy (31) in the fourth quarter as Southern University defeats Grambling 40-17 in the Bayou Classic at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

DON’T MISS NOV 27 Thursday The 107th running of this Thanksgiving Day 5-miler for adults and half-miler for kids raises funds for Spina Bifida of Greater New Orleans — a great way to build up an appetite before the feast. $30 day-of-race registration. 7 a.m. registration and… Continue reading →

New Movies for the week of Nov. 27, 2014

Photo provided by DreamWorks Animation -- From left: Kowalski (voiced by Chris Miller) , Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath), Rico (voiced by Conrad Vernon) and Private (voiced by Christopher Knights), are featured in a scene from 'The Penguins of Madagascar.

“HORRIBLE BOSSES 2”: In the sequel to the 2011 comedy “Horrible Bosses,” the boss-persecuted characters played by Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis decide to be their own bosses. They’re dreams are dashed, however, and they turn to drastic measures. Co-starring newcomers Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz and returning cast members Jennifer Aniston and Jamie… Continue reading →

New Orleans events calendar, Nov. 27-Dec. 4, 2014

NORTHSHORE TURKEY TROT: 8 a.m., 100 Terra Bella Blvd., Covington. One-mile and 5K run benefiting Run for Hope. $20. (504) 715-2768. theyatrace.com/event/northshore-turkey-trot-2014. NOAC TURKEY DAY RACE: 8:30 a.m., Tad Gormley Stadium, City Park, 5400 Stadium Drive, New Orleans. New Orleans Athletic Club 5-mile and kids’ half-mile races to benefit Spina Bifida of… Continue reading →

New Orleans arts events, Nov. 27-Dec. 4, 2014

OFFSTAGE GALLERY ARTISANS’ EMPORIUM: 5:30 p.m., opening reception Nov. 28, through Dec. 14. Slidell Little Theatre, 2024 Nellie Drive, Slidell. Original art in a variety of media for purchase. (404) 784-6880. EDNA CARR PROJECT: Monday through Dec. 31. Algiers Regional Library, 3014 Holiday Drive, Algiers. Photography by Akasha Rabut. (504) 529-7323. www.neworleanspubliclibrary.org. THE PERPETUAL INSTANT: 6 p.m. to 9… Continue reading →

New Orleans music calendar, Nov. 27-Dec. 4, 2014

THANKSGIVING ZYDECO WITH GENO DELAFOSE: 8:30 p.m., Rock ‘n’ Bowl, 3016 S. Carrollton Ave. KENNY TRICHE & FRIENDS: 9 p.m., Banks Street Bar & Grill, 4401 Banks St. MICAH MCKEE & LITTLE MAKER: 7 p.m., Blue Nile, 532 Frenchmen St. CHRIS KLEIN & THE BOULEVARDS: 6 p.m., Café Negril, 606 Frenchmen St.… Continue reading →

‘Duck Dynasty’ star makes ‘Dancing’ finals

ABC photo by Adam Taylor -- Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas react to the judges' scores on Monday night's 'Dancing with the Stars.'

Louisiana contestant Sadie Robertson has made it to Tuesday’s finale of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” The “Duck Dynasty” reality show personality and her professional dance partner Mark Ballas wowed the judges Monday night with a repeat of the samba they performed Oct. 6, dancing to Pharrell’s “Hunter.” The couple scored 38/40 with the… Continue reading →

Aretha Franklin blasts author of unauthorized bio

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2014 file photo, Aretha Franklin attends the 92Y Presents Aretha Franklin and Clive Davis In Conversation at the 92nd St. Y in New York. Franklin, in a statement to the Associated Press on Tuesday, called David Ritzs unauthorized biography, Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin, a trashy book. Ritz has written a number of biographies, ranging from Etta James to Rick James to Ray Charles. He has won the Ralph Gleason Music Book Award four times, and last year he received the ASCAP Timothy White Award for outstanding musical biography for the Buddy Guy book, When I Left Home. (Photo by Brad Barket/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Queen of Soul says don’t waste your money — or soul — on the recently released unauthorized biography about her. In a statement, Aretha Franklin called David Ritz’s “Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin,” a “trashy book.” The two have a history of collaborating: Franklin and award-winning Ritz worked together on… Continue reading →

’Wizard of Oz’ Cowardly Lion costume fetches $3 million

This Nov. 21, 2014 photo shows Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion costume and a three-sheet poster from

NEW YORK (AP) — Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion costume from the classic film “The Wizard of Oz” has sold for more than $3 million at an auction in New York City. The big cat outfit had been authenticated as the one Lahr wore in the 1939 film. Its face is a sculpted likeness of the late actor.… Continue reading →

‘Frozen’ star Idina Menzel to perform at New Orleans’ Saenger Theatre in July

Photo by ROBIN WONG -- Idina Menzel

Singer and actress Idina Menzel, the voice of Elsa in the animated Disney hit “Frozen,” will perform at the Saenger Theatre on July 30. Menzel’s recording of “Let It Go,” the Oscar-winning song from “Frozen,” was a Top 10 hit and a million-seller. “Frozen” has also become the highest-grossing animated movie in history. The… Continue reading →

More Cosby shows canceled as women allege assault

In this Nov. 6, 2014, file photo, Entertainer Bill Cosby gestures during an interview about the upcoming exhibit, Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington.  Cosby's appearance at Tuscons Desert Diamond Casino has been canceled. No reason was given by the casino for the canceled date, which had been scheduled for Feb. 15. In the past week, numerous allegations of sexual abuse by Cosby from a number of women have led to canceled interviews and NBC and Netflix projects. The Cosby Show also was pulled off the air on TV Land. Cosby issued a statement Sunday discrediting decades-old accusations and his attorney has denied four of the allegations. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stage performances by Bill Cosby in Las Vegas, Illinois, Arizona and South Carolina have been canceled as more women come forward accusing the entertainer of sexually assaulting them many years ago. Officials at the Treasure Island hotel and casino on the Las Vegas strip said Friday they mutually agreed with the comedian to… Continue reading →

Review: Latest ‘Hunger Games’ installment needs next one to work

Photo by MURRAY CLOSE -- From left, Commander Paylor (Patina Miller), Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth), Boggs (Mahershala Ali), Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), and Pollux (Elden Henson) are featured in a scene from  'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1.'

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1” bides its time. In doing so, the film diminishes the impact of its heroine, Katniss Everdeen, and mutes the urgency in Suzanne Collins’ futuristic “Hunger Games” novels. Breaking book No. 3 of the “Hunger Games” trilogy into two movies, the filmmakers responsible for “Mockingjay — Part 1” deliver… Continue reading →

O’Keefe painting sells for record $44.4 million in NYC

Artist Georgia O'Keefe, shown in an undated portrait by by Ralph Looney. (AP Photo/Ralph Looney, University Press of Colorado)

NEW YORK (AP) — A Georgia O’Keeffe painting of a simple white flower has sold for $44.4 million, more than triple the previous auction record for a work by a female artist. Sotheby’s New York says the 1932 painting, “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1,” sold Thursday during the auction house’s sale of American art. The painting… Continue reading →

Mike Nichols, crafter of films, plays, dies at 83

Journalist Diane Sawyer and director Mike Nichols arrive at the AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards honoring Mike Nichols, at Sony Pictures Studios in this June 10, 2010, file photo taken in Culver City, Calif. ABC News confirms director Mike Nichols and husband of Diane Sawyer died Wednesday evening Nov. 19, 2014. He was 83. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Nichols, the director of matchless versatility who brought fierce wit, caustic social commentary and wicked absurdity to such film, TV and stage hits as “The Graduate,” “Angels in America” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” has died. He was 83. The death was confirmed by ABC News President James Goldston on Thursday. Nichols died… Continue reading →

NBC scraps Cosby television project

Bill Cosby

NEW YORK (AP) — NBC says it has scrapped a Bill Cosby comedy that was under development, the second outlet within a day to put off or abandon a Cosby project as another sexual assault allegation against the comic has emerged. NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks said Wednesday the project “is no longer under development,” and had no… Continue reading →

Beaucoup picks the best bets for the holiday movie season

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures -- Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins in ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.’

The holiday movie season starts Friday with surefire hit “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1.” Like the book series-based “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” movie franchises that preceded the likewise lucrative “Hunger Games” movies, the “Mockingjay” filmmakers are stretching their box office receipts by dividing one book into two movies. Let’s hope they don’t save all… Continue reading →

Visiting cellist to perform long-lost Haydn concerto

Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco -- David Finckel and Wu Han.

A musical masterpiece that went missing for 200 years will highlight this weekend’s concerts by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. The musical score for “Cello Concerto in C Major,” written in the early 1760s by Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn, mysteriously disappeared shortly after its creation; it was unexpectedly unearthed in 1961 in… Continue reading →

Country crooner Frankie Ballard says hard work is paying off

Photo by JOE LEMKE -- Frankie Ballard

After toiling in the fields of country music for a decade, Frankie Ballard thinks he’s finally gotten a boot in the door. And he’s right. The Nashville, Tennessee-based singer from Battle Creek, Michigan, has two big hits to his name. In 2013, “Helluva Life” became Ballard’s first No. 1 song. Now there’s “Sunshine &… Continue reading →

Goat in the Road stages a history of anesthesiology in ‘Numb’

Photo by Rachel June Photography -- From left, the cast of 'Numb': Dylan Hunter, Ian Hoch, Todd D'Amour, Leslie Boles, Shannon Flaherty, and Francesca McKenzie.: The play tells the story of how a dentist from Hartford discovered the secret to pain-free surgery.

Intellectually demanding yet accessible, Goat in the Road’s production of “Numb” is an occasionally wobbly, but ultimately rewarding, evening based on the strength of its acting company and the directorial skill of creator Chris Kaminstein. As a history of anesthesiology, Kaminstein’s text is not always easy, and at times, it falls too deeply under its… Continue reading →

Holiday on pretend ice is back at the Audubon Zoo, one day only

It’s not real ice, but it is real fun. That’s how the Audubon Zoo is pitching the return of its one-day “ice” skating event on Sunday, Nov. 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of the Capital One Stage. Free with admission to the zoo, the event will center around a… Continue reading →