Esperanza Spalding will perform at the Orpheum Theater Nov. 3 to open the Faux/Real Festival of Arts (www.fauxrealnola.com). Spalding is touring following the March release of Emily's D+Evolution, and in the show, the jazz bassist adds a theatrical performance to her genre-spanning music.
Faux/Real debuted in 2015 as an overhauled continuation of the New Orleans Fringe Festival. Festival director Ben Mintz says Faux/Real continues to evolve but remains focused on theater and performance art.
The Faux/Real schedule has been condensed from three weeks to 10 days (Nov. 3-13), and there will be 30 events, including theater, magic and culinary events.
Around the globe, fringe festivals are known for packing lots of alternative theater shows and experimental works into short periods of time. The final New Orleans Fringe Festival in 2014 packed 70 shows — including genre mashups of theater, dance, music, comedy, aerial, circus and sideshow acts — into five days. There was a free-for-all feel to the mix that included many unconventional venues and DIY productions.
Faux/Real has evolved into a completely curated festival, Mintz says. The festival does not call for applications, though some performers approached the festival seeking to participate. The full schedule has not been released, but Mintz says it will include more nationally known performers, and it will build on the culinary events introduced last year, such as bar crawls led by local brewers and bartenders and special restaurant pop-ups.
Spalding established herself in the jazz world and has won four Grammy awards, including Best New Artist in 2011. With her 2012 album Radio Music Society, she sought to make jazz more accessible. She has performed songs by artists from The Beach Boys to jazz legend Wayne Shorter, and she's appeared on recent albums by Janelle Monae and Bruno Mars.