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A&E Feature

What to Know Before You Go



7:30 p.m. Wed., Aug. 8
Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528-3800;

Its name may not ring a bell, but if you've ever been to the airport, used the New York subway system, filled out an IRS tax form, or even stepped outside any metropolitan city, for that matter, you're already familiar with it. Director Gary Hustwit believes there's more than meets the eye with the most widely used sans-serif font. His documentary, Helvetica , delves into the now 50-year-old font's life, from its Swiss conception (ÒHelveticaÓ is Latin for Switzerland) to its status as the type of choice for corporations like American Airlines, Sears, Microsoft and Target, among many others. It's the face Ñ or typeface Ñ of globalization. The film touches on the controversy generated by the seemingly nonthreatening font. Its ubiquity has created a divide between designers who praise the font for its sleek, modernist look, and others who consider it a group of scarlet letters. Helvetica is set to a soundtrack of hip post-rock as it eases through interviews and images with the clarity and efficiency of the font itself. — Lauren LaBorde MUSIC

Two Gallants 7 p.m. Sat., Aug. 11

House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999; San Franciscans Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel took the name for their raw, folksy indie-rock duo from the James Joyce story in the collection Dubliners , which should tell you something about their rather masculine, gruff-yet-poetic aesthetic. Childhood friends who've been playing music together since the age of 12, the pair did their time in punk and hardcore acts, but when they formed Two Gallants, they chose a different kind of rough edge to work with. The pair's soaring Americana sound is rooted firmly in rural folk and Delta blues, favoring hardscrabble character narratives, shiny harmonies and lo-fi production Ñ a sound as gritty as the old-timey America where their songs live. Like Shane McGowan or Jack Kerouac, they mine poetry and emotion out of tough, hardscrabble material, singing songs of bad luck, trouble, hard times and murder in the country in a way that makes you almost believe that when the set is over, this pair of urchins will load their gear into a boxcar and rumble off into a dusty sunset. Two Gallants opens for the Florida-based hard rock act Against Me! The bluesy punk band Gaslight Anthem also appears. Tickets $12.50. — Alison Fensterstock


Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Induction
3 p.m. Sun., Aug. 12
Congo Square in Armstrong Park (N. Rampart St. at St. Ann)

Third-generation Mardi Gras Indian Cherice Harrison-Nelson has spent the better part of the last decade working to make sure the grassroots Indian traditions persevere. She's also worked to document the culture, which is a tall order for a community-based phenomenon that historically was exclusive in its membership and customarily puts more emphasis on spectacle than recordkeeping. Harrison-Nelson, the council queen for the Guardians of the Flame and daughter of the late Big Chief Donald Harrison Sr., assembled a contact database of more than 600 Indians that proved helpful for recovery and aid efforts after the storm. She also organized an elementary school curriculum that brought Indians into the classroom to share the traditions with kids. The ninth annual Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Induction and awards ceremony honors four Big Chiefs and Big Queens who've both masked with distinction over several decades and served as positive role models and mentors in their community. The Hall of Fame is also honoring several non-Indians this year, including Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, R&B guitarist Irving Banister Sr., photographer Dwight Harris and Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation Executive Director Scott Hutcheson, among others, for their support of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition. (Pictured is 2006 honoree Big Chief Clarence Dalcour of the Creole Osceola). Free. — Fensterstock


Rykodisc Showcase featuring My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult
9 p.m. Fri., Aug. 10
Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS;

Founded in 1983 as a CD-only reissue label, Rykodisc has emerged over 25 years as a torch-bearer of enduring coolness as well as a powerful distribution company for many indie labels. The upshot is that the Ryko umbrella shades an eclectic hodgepodge of hip but disparate acts, as their second annual showcase at Tip's during their yearly convention in New Orleans, shows in spades. The bill includes Motown girl group the Velvelettes, country keyboardist Spooner Oldham and the playful, poppy electronic dance music of Danish duo Junior Senior, whose Aug. 14 release Hey Hey My My Yo Yo features a schizoid cast of characters including the B-52's Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. The analog-attitude-meets-digital-sound gang My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult brings its brand of dark, sexy, swirling industrial go-go music to the stage. Also on the bill are Nashville-based roots-rocker Will Hoge, whose down-home classic-rock sound garners comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, and Australian act-of-the-moment Eskimo Joe. It's stateside debut Black Fingernails Red Wine , a No. 1 hit in its native Oz, drops this week. Tickets $15. — Fensterstock


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