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What to Know Before You Go



Fat Pig
7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Aug. 11-12; 2:30 p.m. Sun., Aug. 13; through Aug. 26
Actors Theatre of New Orleans, second floor WTIX-FM Building, 4539 N. I-10 Service Road, Metairie, 456-4111

Tom is an attractive guy. He's funny and well liked around his office, but when he falls for a plus-sized woman, his friends and former girlfriend weigh in. He truly likes Helen, but as the couple gets closer they can't avoid the attentions of others. "They truly do love each other," says director RenŽ J.F. Piazza. "But these thoughts are in their heads, ÔWhat do other people say about us?'" Fat Pig is a compelling, often funny and frank drama about their attempts to deal with their own and their friends' body images and issues. It had a sold-out, much-talked-about run off Broadway in 2005. Now, Actor's Theatre of New Orleans is debuting its 2006 season with the battle of the bulge. The candor of playwright Neil LaBute's dialogue makes it a perfect drama for the cozy 55-seat space at Actor's Theatre of New Orleans. The characters' struggle for peace and intimacy is all out in the open. "Things that people never say —Êit's out there. It's in your face. It's gritty," Piazza says. Due to content, ticket buyers must be at least 15 years old. Tickets $16 adults, $14 students/seniors. — Will Coviello


Hope Gala
2006 6:30 p.m. Sat., Aug. 12
The Shops at Canal Place, 333 Canal St., 833-4024;

It's not a bad plan for a Saturday night. Eat some great food from a variety of top local restaurants, drink a few libations, mingle with celebrities like Cokie Roberts, listen to some live music, and help find a cure for cancer. For the price of a ticket, you can do all of that at the American Cancer Society's Hope Gala 2006. Attendees, dressed in cocktail attire, can stroll the Flower of the Lily decorated atrium while sampling food provided by restaurants including Herbsaint, Ralph's On The Park and Bayona. Wine and cocktails also will be available. Each year, the society recognizes cancer survivors, and this year's honorees are Roberts, shop owner Madeleine Guice Nicoladis and Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Jennifer Sneed. Bogalusa pharmacist Bill Neilson will be honored as an Unsung Hero for his commitment to getting cancer patients their medication following Katrina. Proceeds from the event will benefit the society's programs in research, education, advocacy and service. The entertainment includes the Tip Tops performing Motown hits. Tickets $100. Tickets for a patron party and gala $200-$500. — David Winkler-Schmit


Jacqui Naylor
8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Sat., Aug. 12
Snug Harbor, 626 Frenchmen St., 949-0696;

You've heard of mash-ups Ð little feats of electronic wizardry in which a whimsical DJ creates an electronic collage by playing one complete track over another, mixing bits and pieces in and out until the two songs meld into something new and surprisingly simpatico. Big hits in this vein include the cult Gray Album from DJ Danger Mouse, which mixes up the Beatles' White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album , or the track "A Stroke of Genie-Us," made from shards of Christina Aguilera blended with the Strokes — the less apparently complementary the tracks, the more fun. Jazz vocalist and songwriter Jacqui Naylor has a process she terms "acoustic smashes," in which she performs classic rock tunes over jazz standards. Her upcoming album, The Color Five , includes, along with several of her original compositions, five of these, such as U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," over Miles Davis' "All Blue" in 5/4 time. (Additionally, the band has five members and the CD clocks in at 55 minutes, 55 seconds — is she trying to tell us something? If so, what?) Besides the cerebral fun of the musical mash-up game, Naylor's textured and breezy originals stand on their own. Tickets $18. — Alison Fensterstock


Abita Beer 20th Anniversary Celebration
7 p.m. Sat., Aug. 12
Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528-3800;

There should be a joke inserted here regarding New Orleans' favorite local beer not being old enough to drink. Make up your own, and when you're done, consider how the Northshore's favorite brewery churns out delicious barrels of brews like the crisp Amber, the murky Turbodog, and the fruity Purple Haze, plus seasonal treats like Christmas Ale and Fall Fest and tasty alcoholic flights of fancy such as Andygator and Restoration Ale. There's even a 20th anniversary pilsner with a special label by artist James Michalopoulos. Consider, moreover, that the Abita Brewery was miraculously spared any significant damage from Hurricane Katrina. The conclusion is evident Ð God loves Abita beer, and you do, too. We Ôre indeed lucky people to live so close to its source. Show your favorite brew you care and help celebrate its blowout double-decade birthday by popping into the CAC for a night of rock 'n' roll, food, booze and surprises. On the bill for entertainment is the local-boys-made-good trio of Better Than Ezra playing one of its first local gigs in some time; its alt-pop sound draws from a '90s grunge/college-rock well and distills a mellower sound that's been compared to Coldplay and even the Dave Matthews Band. The piano-driven jazzy pop of Baton Rouge's Benjy Davis Project is also on the bill along with Dr. Gonzeaux. The Lil Rascals will parade through the party. Tickets $20. — Fensterstock


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