Events » New Orleans Event Previews

A&E Feature

What to Know Before You Go


Varla Jean Merman is Anatomically Incorrect
8 p.m. Wed.-Sat., Jan. 3-6; through Jan. 12
Le Chat Noir, 715 St. Charles Ave., 581-5812; www.cabaretlechatnoir. com

The beautiful and illustrious Varla Jean Merman returns to the stage to set the record straight, sort of, on gender bending in Varla Jean Merman is Anatomically Incorrect . The newest comedy-cabaret show in her ever-expanding body of work, Anatomically Incorrect debuted this past summer and is set for a world tour winding through the continental United States and Hawaii en route to a weeklong engagement at the Sydney Opera House. The show includes new videos and songs. Jeffery Roberson, aka Varla Jean, last appeared locally in the fall with frequent collaborator Ricky Graham in the show Shut Up, Sweet Charlotte! Anatomically Incorrect also stars Mark Cortale and the Mermenators, Steve Coenen and Kai Brothers. Varla Jean has been a frequent visitor to New Orleans and has broken into both film and television on MTV's new network Logo and elswhere. Tickets $36 (includes $5 bar credit). — Will Coviello



The Fens
12 p.m. Sun., Dec. 31
Coffea, 3218 Dauphine St., 342-2484

The Fens have been haunting New Orleans bars since 1998 É and sometimes they play music there, too. Frontman Pete Orr plays mandolin and guitar, and sings rather badly bent original compositions that look at life in New Orleans through a rather cockeyed lens. Orr sometimes plays with a percussionist, sometimes with accompaniment on upright bass, and sometimes with both, but the core of the act is his twisted turn of phrase. His wry, funny and occasionally bitter lyrics spend plenty of narrative time in the world of empty bottles, dirty sheets and poor decision-making. The stories are always hilarious, self-aware and usually smarter than they should be, considering the nature of the confessional subject matter. The sound goes from solemn doo-wop to rip-roaring, ragged and dirty blues. Orr also dallies on the mic between songs, with trivia questions and general musings that are often at least as entertaining as the music. The Sunday noontime gigs are a regular thing and quite a tonic for a booze-abused system after a rough Saturday night. Free admission. — Alison Fensterstock


Linnzi Zaorski
6 p.m. Sun., Jan. 7
d.b.a., 618 Frenchmen St., 942-3731;

Sultry songstress Linnzi Zaorski has been peddling her vintage Blossom Dearie purr and squeak in the gin palaces of New Orleans for many years now, and she remains one of the most stalwart purveyors of atmosphere in a city that's dripping with it. The blonde Bywater torcher is back in town for good now, and she's heating things up with several regular weekly gigs around the city. Her saucy vintage vocals on jazz and blues standards could make any room feel like a speakeasy — dark, romantic, a little sexy and a little dangerous. This isn't slick ballroom swing. It's what 'after hours' sounds like, with raunchy trumpet and noirish, swinging strings. Her current band includes the excellent Ryan Burrage on saxophone and clarinet, and Ninth Ward icon Chaz Leary on washboard. The latter also adds an extra playful grit to the effect. Free admission. — Fensterstock


Phunny Phorty Phellows
7 p.m. Sat., Jan 6
Canal Street streetcar line;

Neither rain nor sleet nor hurricane debris shall keep the Phunny Phorty Phellows from their appointed ride. The masked revelers herald the beginning of the Carnival season by staging a Twelfth Night parade. This jaunt is their 25th anniversary ride, a streak not broken by Katrina's aftermath. Traditionally, they ride on a streetcar, departing from the Uptown streetcar barn on Willow Street. Last year, they made a shorter trip, riding on the newly restored lines from the Krause building downtown to the base of Canal Street and along the Riverfront. This year, they gather on Esplanade Avenue near NOMA for a trip along Carrollton Avenue before heading down Canal Street. Along the way, they toss the season's first beads, and the group selects its 'Boss' (in lieu of a king) and queen by King Cake lottery. As usual, the Storyville Stompers will be on board to provide music. The Phellows are named for a satirical marching group of the same name that made its debut in 1878, when it followed the Rex parade on Fat Tuesday. — Coviello


Add a comment