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A&E Feature

What to Know Before You Go


Spencer Bohren The Long Black Line CD-Release Party
8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tue., Aug. 29
Snug Harbor, 626 Frenchmen St., 949-0696;

Spencer Bohren premiered his Katrina single "The Long Black Line" this year at a Jazz Fest that underscored for many the unsettling feeling of being trapped in an older, stranger, more tragic America. It was Bruce Springsteen's Seeger Sessions Band set that, in revisiting almost century-old folk and blues songs that bore witness to past disasters and trials, showed us that we're not as far from the past as we might have thought. Folk music, the form that once served as news network and history book for the rural poor, has different sounds now — just lend an ear to umpteen post-Katrina hip-hop releases. Bohren's traditional rootsy Americana sound, though, is firmly based in that classic folk tradition, and "The Long Black Line" — the reference is to the fading waterline that still wends its way through our neighborhoods — is a piece of history. It's a slow, hushed, almost apocalyptic-sounding chant over a spare lap steel whine that's prayerful in its intensity. The full-length album of the same name, out next month, includes more of the same folk-country sound, including covers of Bobbie Gentry's ballad "Ode to Billy Joe" and Woody Guthrie's "Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)." Tickets $10. — Alison Fensterstock


Callie's Tally
8 p.m. Thu.-Sat., Aug. 31-Sept. 2; 3 p.m. Sun., Sept. 3; through Sept. 17
Southern Rep Theatre, The Shops at Canal Place, 333 Canal St., third floor, 522-6545;

To say children are priceless is really, well, just a figure of speech. In reality, they're a money pit. If it weren't for the pay-as-you-go financing mechanism, who could afford the luxury of kin? At least that was the line of thinking that got Betsy Howie interested in doing a little number crunching. Amazed at how much she was spending just during pregnancy, she starting keeping her receipts. That turned into a best-selling book titled Callie's Tally. And later that book was adapted for the stage. So call it labor party solidarity, these stage moms are getting ready to hand their children the bill. The play was originally supposed to run at Southern Repertory Theatre last year but had to be postponed. Now it has the honor of opening Southern Rep's 20th season after running as a post-Katrina benefit for the theater at regional playhouses around the country. The play features several women talking about the toll of raising a child and a plan for reasonable compensation. Loy Arcenas directs Lara Grice, Carol Sutton, Maria Mason and Morrey McElroy. Tickets $15-$30. — Will Coviello


Tony Joe White
10 p.m. Fri., Sept. 1
Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS;

Louisiana native Tony Joe White, otherwise known as the Swamp Fox or the Gator, came on the scene in the late '60s with the top-10 hit "Polk Salad Annie," a driving swamp-rock blues tune that was later covered by Elvis Presley. But even the King couldn't mimic White's earthy, extra-low baritone. His lazy, dangerous vocal style — impossibly deep, practically a whisper sometimes, and just a little too slow for the beat — makes you think of a sleepy alligator. White made his bread and butter mainly from other artists recording his songs — like the hit "Rainy Night In Georgia" recorded by Brook Benton in 1970 — but he's enjoyed a fairly consistent cult audience over the years. And like Jerry Lewis, the French adore him. This September, he's releasing a full-length album, Uncovered, on Swamp Records, the label he started in 2004 with his son, Jody White. Uncovered is vintage Tony Joe, with guest spots from Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, J.J. Cale and the late Waylon Jennings. Tickets $12. — Fensterstock


Southern Decadence
Wed.-Sun. Aug. 30-Sept. 4

In another festival showing that New Orleans is back in the spirit, the 35th annual Southern Decadence celebrates over the long Labor Day weekend. After the festival was cancelled last year, this year's theme became Rebirth. The Decadence parade marches through the French Quarter on Sunday afternoon, beginning at Lucille's Golden Lantern (1239 Royal St.) at 2 p.m. What started as a never-ending going away party for a community member in 1972 eventually morphed into an annual drag queen parade. Then a parade with a surrounding weekend of events in the French Quarter and Marigny's gay and lesbian community. With the launch of an Internet presence in the mid-90s, it grew as more of a gay-pride celebratory weekend. The camp and satire of the parade then enjoyed a renaissance several years ago when a marital couple led the procession with a long stream of bridesmaids, in perhaps not the most flattering bridesmaid dresses, singing "Chapel of Love." The weekend is presided over by Grand Marshals XXXIII Lisa Beaumann and Regina Adams (pictured). See the Web site ( for a full list of parties and events. During the Decadence weekend, a new event presented by the Bienville Foundation called Decafest ( will present a series of films about gay and lesbian culture and identity, a musical comedy performance by Jade Esteban Estrada, and host its own parties. — Coviello

  • Roberto S.C. Soares

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