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A&E Feature

What to Know Before You Go



Soul Fest at Audubon Zoo
10 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri.-Sat., June 17-18
Audubon Zoo, 6500 Magazine St., 481-4629;

As if the amazing animal exhibits weren't enough temptation, this weekend's Soul Fest at Audubon Zoo ups the ante for a good time for the whole family. The festival features two afternoons of live local music interspersed with you-can't-stop-you've-got-to-bop beats by DJ Captain Charles. The event begins with a celebratory second line to the main stage led by the Geronimo Hunters Mardi Gras Indians on Saturday. The afternoon line-up includes Donald Harrison, Nu Jazz Order, the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church Choir and the Shades of Praise Gospel Choir. Sunday's schedule features the Hot 8 Brass Band, Phillip Manuel and Imunique. Local diva Charmaine Neville will close out the event on Sunday evening. Kids can fete in the new "Children's Global Playgound," a place to learn about diverse cultures through world music. The New Orleans Saints Experience (on Saturday only), a mini water slide and a Space Walk will take the stress out of parenting for the weekend. Music and special events are included with regular admission, and dads are admitted free on Father's Day. Admission $12, $7 kids ages 2-12, $9 seniors 65 -up, free for members. — Vi Landry


Original Superstars of Jazz Fusion
7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Fri., June 16
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 529-BLUE;

Legendary vibes player Roy Ayers is generally considered the father of acid jazz, the experimental, free-styling hybrid sound that emerged in the '70s. During that decade, Ayers produced groundbreaking sounds that drew from Latin music, funk and R&B as well as contemporary jazz — his 1977 album Lifeline , which contains the often-sampled hit "Running Away," is considered a benchmark for the free jazz genre. After 40 years in the business, Ayers is still writing and producing fresh sounds today — his most recent album, Mahogony Vibe (Uno Melodic) features both Betty Wright and Erykah Badu. This band brings together some of the most extraordinary talents in the industry, including Jean Carne on vocals, Wayne Henderson of the Jazz Crusaders on trombone, Bobbi Humphrey on flute, Ronnie Laws on saxophone, Jon Lucien on vocals and acoustic guitar and Lonnie Liston Smith on keyboards. Tickets $30. — Alison Fensterstock


French Summer Wine Festival
6 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Fri., June 16
Hotel Monteleone, 214 Royal St., 561-0070

The French American Chamber of Commerce is offering its own Tour de France at the French Summer Wine Festival. The wine offerings draw from Alsace, Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Loire valley, some of France's most renowned wine-producing regions. Taste your way through Pinot Gris from Alsace, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Burgundy, Vouvray and Sancerres from the Loire and red and white wines from Bordeaux. Some of the participating restaurants include Rene Bistrot, The Longbranch, CafŽ Degas, Dominique's, Table One and Andrea's. There will also be artisanal cheeses from Martin Wine Cellar and pastries from Dorignac's. The jazz band Vavavoom will entertain during the tasting soiree. Tickets $45 for French American Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana members, $55 non-members. — Will Coviello


The Last Madam
8 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 3 p.m. Sun., June 15-18; through July 9
Southern Repertory Theatre, The Shops at Canal Place, third floor, 333 Canal St., 522-6545;

New Orleans' notorious madam Norma Wallace always referred to herself as a "Captain of Industry." By the 1960s, she had run her infamous prostitution business for so long and so well that she felt that she had earned a place in proper society. With so many politicians and leading citizens as regular clients, how could they begrudge her the recognition? But the times were changing and she found herself fighting for more than just respect. Her entire enterprise is on the line in The Last Madam , Jim Fitzmorris and Carl Walker's adaptation of Christine Wiltz's biography of Wallace, The Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld . Christine McMurdo-Wallis plays the charming and ruthless Wallace as she tangles with crooked politics and tries to extract her bordello at 1026 Conti Street from an emerging turf war between the chief of police and the DA. All Kinds of Theatre debuts the production at Southern Rep. Tickets $29. — Coviello


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