When: Fri., Jan. 7, 8 p.m. 2011
In January 2007, The New York Times ran a guest editorial by Randy Newman. It was, appropriately, the lyrics to a song, "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country," which condemned the current state of American politics through a clenched-teeth grin, belittling modern leaders in light of the more accomplished imperialists of Nazi Germany and ancient Rome. Perhaps the most flattering Times music review ever, the placement drew Newman's acerbic ire for what didn't run: several lines about incest in the time of Caesar. "What are they protecting, Tiberius?" Newman told NPR. "These people have been dead 2,000 years. ... Kevin Caesar isn't going to come out of the woodwork and sue them." The serrated barbs served as a reminder that Newman — satirical voice of a generation in the 1970s but also, since 1996's Toy Story, friendly soundtrackeur to Disney — is most animated when he isn't. All area children whose introduction to that voice came in the snoring score for The Princess and the Frog should hear "Kingfish" and "Louisiana 1927," two trenchant Pelican State anthems and emblems of the former New Orleanian's Ray Charles-sings-Mark Twain aura. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra presents and augments this rare performance. Tickets $27.50-$92.50.
Noah Bonaparte Pais