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What to Know Before You Go


Ogden After Hours: James Hall
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St., 539-9600;

The last time most of us saw James Hall (second from left), he was being James Hall: storming about the One Eyed Jacks stage without barely taking a step, a rage in a cage of a performance that, despite the signaling of the death of Pleasure Club, reminded everyone just how much sound and fury Hall still possesses. And even when some buddy of actor Matthew McConaughey hurled a cup at the smooth Texan near the front of the stage and instead smacked Hall on the forehead, the rocker kept on rocking. What a pro. Which is why it'll be interesting to see how Hall delivers such hip-shakers as "Here Comes the Trick" in this performance at the hippest happy hour in town, blending performance with an interview with Gambit 's own Alex Rawls. Bursting onto the scene with the Atlanta-based group Mary My Hope, Hall has spent what now seems like a lifetime living on the edge of stardom with that group as well as with Pleasure Club. His '80s-friendly goth-meets-glam fusion may have seemed just five minutes past its prime, but it is never dull, always catchy and filled with Hall's passion. Let's hear what he has to say about it all. Free admission. — David Lee Simmons


"Art Against AIDS"
8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16
The Howlin' Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., 460-0921;

There was supposed to be the 16th annual NO/AIDS Walk, the largest fundraiser of the year for NO/AIDS Task Force, on Sept. 25. But then, there were supposed to be a lot of things going on after the Kat was dragged in. The hurricane blew away the walk and flooded and mangled the organization's offices, scattering staff you know the drill. So NO/AIDS held its walk online, a virtual walk, but this time provides something very real to experience in the 19th annual "Art Against AIDS" fundraiser. Needless to say, and in keeping with other events being held these days, this year won't resemble previous Art Against AIDS affairs, but it's to the credit of everyone around the city to move forward with their own separate gigs in whatever fashion (or scale) they can. This will be no different; this year's theme (now) is "Back to the Drawing Board," featuring a cocktail-and-dessert reception, but there will still be a silent auction so that aficionados can still get their crack at quality art works. Local schoolchildren (and some in exile) have provided ornaments and magnets, and music will come from the songbird that is Ingrid Lucia (pictured). Tickets $30. — Simmons


Symphony Chorus of New Orleans
2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18
Holy Name of Jesus Church, 6363 St. Charles Ave., 737-0647;

Although the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is unable to perform Handel's Messiah this year due to scattered members, the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, LPO's principal volunteer chorus, is completely gung-ho about preserving the holiday tradition. Even Steven Edwards — the chorus' musical director and conductor for the past 15 years, whose home was flooded and who is temporarily living in Chicago — is returning for the concert. Assistant Director Karen Jakiela will also conduct. Four special guest soloists will join the chorus and will be accompanied by a 19-piece orchestra. Tenor Fernando del Valle (aka Brian Skinner), mezzo-soprano Lainie Diamond, bass Patrick Jacobs and soprano Danielle Nice all started their musical careers in New Orleans and are thrilled to be returning from their respective cities to help heal the spirits of New Orleanians and to bring hope and joy to the city. Tickets $20 general admission, $10 students. — Katie Walenter


Arlo Guthrie and Friends, featuring Willie Nelson and Guy Davis
9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17
Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS;

On his Web site, folk icon Arlo Guthrie writes, "When I think of New Orleans, I think of music. The City of New Orleans is America's first music city. New Orleans is the city that truly began America's contribution to the history of music world-wide. Without it, there'd be no popular music as we know it today." To help musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina, the singer of "The City of New Orleans" and "Alice's Restaurant" has organized "The City of New Orleans" Tour. Guthrie and friends are taking the famous song's namesake train south from Chicago, stopping along the way to perform and raise money to buy instruments and equipment to help New Orleans musicians get back to work. He isn't only thinking of the performers, though. "I think of the stuff you need in the hundreds of little clubs and bars that bring the music to the street — the street that brings the people to the city. And I think of the many thousands of people who depend on those people for their livelihoods," says Guthrie, son of folk legend Woody Guthrie. The journey will end in New Orleans on Saturday with a distribution of the equipment gathered along the way, and a performance with special guest Willie Nelson, whose Farm Aid this year helped farmers who were affected by the storms. Tickets $40. — Alex Rawls


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