The Annual French Quarter Fest
is begins this evening and will continue throughout the weekend. The Festival kicks off with a live performance by the Rebirth Brass Band
, who recently earned themselves a Grammy Award. Now, Rebirth isn’t the only musical sensation hitting the streets. Over the next few days performers such as, Cyril Neville and the Royal Southern Brotherhood, Amanda Shaw and Troy “Trombone Shorty”, Deacon John, Jeremy Davenport, and Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
will be hosting live concerts throughout the historic quarter.
This festival is free of charge and features affordable sample-sized portions of food from the area’s restaurants. Attendees of the fest are most excited for the NOLA restaurant’s
stuffed chicken wings, Royal House
’s charbroiled oysters, and also Antoine
’s famed baked Alaska with chocolate sauce! It all sounds good to this Southern Celebrity Gossiper, and it sounds like a great opportunity for some celeb sightings! With named actors such as Tom Cruise, Leo DiCaprio,
and now Denzel Washington
all in town for filming- hopefully, we’ll catch a glimpse of some of them sampling those oysters!
From everyone at Southern Celebrity Gossip, we’re wishing you a fun and safe weekend- and we hope you enjoy the fest!Check out the line-up!
As you are all very aware, the Carnival season has passed. But, while Mardi Gras may officially be over, but that doesn't mean the buzz has died down on the Celebrity Sitings! Over the past 4 or 5 days here in New Orleans stars from music, television and films have been parading around town decked in their very best costumes. Here are some pictures of the star-studded cast of this year's celebration for those of you that missed seeing it in person:
Patricia Clarkson in the Krewe of Muses
Maroon 5 in the Krewe of Endymion
Mariska Hargitay in the Krewe of Orpheus
Hilary Swank in the Krewe of Orpheus
Harry Connick Jr. in the Krewe of Orpheus
Bret Michaels in the Krewe of Orpheus
Cyndi Lauper in the Krewe of Orpheus
Will Ferrell in the Krewe of Bacchus
In a city famous for its festivals- one of biggest events is the annual Jazz Fest.
This 2 weekend event features performers from around the world playing their music all across New Orleans. The line-up generally features over 100 performers, with a great majority being those who are originally from Louisiana. 2011’s Fest was yet another huge success and drew in a crowd of over 400,000 people! We’re confident that 2012 has just as much to offer!
And the performers are…
Trombone Shorty, Eagles, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters, Zac Brown Band, TBA, John Mayer, The Neville Brothers, Al Green, Herbie Hancock, Ne-Yo, My Morning Jacket, Bon Iver, Paulina Rubio, Jill Scott, Florence + the Machine, Allen Toussaint, Feist, Bunny Wailer, Bonnie Raitt, Irma Thomas, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Dr. John, Janelle Monae, Yolanda Adams, Iron and Wine, Pete Fountain, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Steel Pulse, Rebirth Brass Band, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Esperanza Spalding, funky Meters, Levon Helm Band with special guest Mavis Staples, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Aaron Neville, Steve Earle, Galactic, Preservation Hall Jazz Band 50th Anniversary Jam, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Ani DiFranco, Givers, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, Dianne Reeves, Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Better Than Ezra, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Bruce Hornsby, Dave Koz, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Gomez, Pedrito Martinez, The Bounce Shake Down feat. Big Freedia, Katey Red, Keedy Black, and DJ Poppa, Israel & New Breed, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Zebra, Amanda Shaw, James Cotton "Superharp" Band, Cowboy Mouth, Asleep at the Wheel, Papa Grows Funk, David Sanborn & Joey DeFrancesco, Bobby Rush, Chuck Leavell & Friends, Ellis Marsalis, Marcia Ball, Voice of the Wetlands All Stars, John Boutté, Gary Clark Jr., Texas Tornados, Poncho Sanchez Latin Band with Terence Blanchard, Cheikh Lô (Senegal), Tab Benoit, Regina Carter's "Reverse Thread", Bombino (Niger), Glen Hansard, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Jeremy Davenport, Sara Jarosz, Bonerama, Evelyn Turrentine-Agee, Terri Lyne Carrington's Mosaic, Ruby Wilson's Tribute to Bessie Smith & Ma Rainey, Wycliffe Gordon, Donald Harrison, Lindigo & Fixi (Reunion Island & France), Sonny Landreth, Buckwheat Zydeco, Soul Rebels, The Stars of Heaven, Jewel Brown with the Heritage Hall Band, Rockin' Dopsie, Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters, Anders Osborne, Honey Island Swamp Band, Theresa Andersson, John Mooney & Bluesiana, Eric Lindell, Walter "Wolfman" Washington & the Roadmasters, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, Pine Leaf Boys, James Andrews & the Crescent City Allstars, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, Big Chief Bo Dollis & the Wild Magnolias, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles, Shamarr Allen & the Underdawgs, Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience, Dr. Michael White & the Original Liberty Jazz Band feat. Thais Clark, Banu Gibson, Hot 8 Brass Band, Creole Wild West, George French
Phew! The festival certainly has a lot to offer. Tickets will be prices vary, and can be purchased through ticketmaster
. This full list was provided by International Business Times. You can read their article here!
of New Orleans will re-open on December 29th! This iconic feature of Canal Street has been closed since 2005, after suffering severe damages from Hurricane Katrina. There have been a lot of naysayers over the past 6 years who said that the theatre was beyond repair, but when McDonnel Group took over as contractor, everything changed. Suddenly the building that was flooded beyond recognition, that had slabs of ceiling on the ground, began to reclaim its original shape. The JOY first opened in 1947, and the renovations have upheld the historical integrity of the building. Art deco pieces accent the main lobby, and a vintage ticket turnstile allows entry. Those involved with this, seemingly impossible, undertaking are themselves surprised by the progress made on this particular project. The Talent Coordinator, Bill Johnston remarked
, "It's incredible how much has been done since mid-September and how much more needs to be done before the end of the month — and it's going to be… It's just staggering.” Tickets are already on-sale for the line-up following the Grand Opening on the 29th. Musicians from around the country have been trying to rent the space just to be a part of this historic event.
Since the storm, Canal Street has become a symbol for New Orleans’ progress. Revitalizing old structures- like the JOY, remind residents of the greatness that can be recaptured here in New Orleans. Louisianans have rallied behind this Grand Opening, and tickets are selling fast for upcoming performances. The Gambit
recently wrote a more detailed account of this story, including the history of the JOY Theatre. The article is available on their website
. On this site is also information about upcoming performances and tickets sales. This story is absolutely worth your attention, especially around this time of year. Having some JOY back in New Orleans is certainly something to celebrate! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! From all of us at Southern Celebrity Gossip!
At any of Kermit Ruffins' barroom gigs in his hometown of New Orleans, you can bet that there's someone in the audience who's tapping a new visitor on the shoulder, saying, "That's the guy from 'Treme.' "
Basin Street Records president Mark Samuels, whose label has released Ruffins' music for 13 years, says he sees it happening with growing frequency at the vocalist/trumpeter's weekly set at Vaughan's Lounge, and at other performances in the city.
Now Samuels is looking for the critically acclaimed HBO drama to work its magic on the Rebirth Brass Band, which has also appeared on the show. Basin Street will release the band's new album "Rebirth of New Orleans" on April 12, timed to roughly coincide with the city's French Quarter Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the April 24 season premiere of "Treme."
Since the series premiered a year ago this month, "Treme" has become a powerful promotional platform for New Orleans musicians who make their living playing at local venues. And in a city that has based its music economy on gigs and little else, the show has also introduced a welcome new source of revenue: synchronization licensing and appearance fees, money that originates from beyond the club owners and session producers that the musicians are used to dealing with.
"Historically, it's a bird-in-the-hand approach," says "Treme" music supervisor Blake Leyh, who has ingratiated himself into the city's various musical communities during the last two years. "There's a certain amount of education that goes on with any music that's close to the ground like bounce, Cajun, blues and even some jazz musicians. They haven't all had contact with the mainstream music community. There are times when you have to help them understand how the business works."
"Treme" has earned trust by consciously working to steer money into the pockets of New Orleans musicians and songwriters, hiring actual bands to perform rather than actors, and by allowing younger artists' songs to land on the show, not just Big Easy standards.
"You could postulate about the trickle-down effect because 'Treme' folks go out of their way to make sure they are doing the right thing to get money to artists who need it the most, making sure synch money goes to the artists," says Scott Aiges, who comes in contact with countless local musicians in his capacity as director of programs for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. "The diligence with which they have done that means dozens of musicians are able to pay their rent and sustain their livelihood in ways they otherwise wouldn't."
Leyh projects that the second season of "Treme" will match the $1 million-plus in appearance and synch fees that he says the show paid to local musicians during its first season.
Performers in the first three episodes of the new season include Ruffins, brass bands Hot 8 and Baby Boyz, Steve Earle, the Subdudes, the fictional Soul Apostles featuring Antoine Batiste (played by Wendell Pierce) and bounce artist 10th Ward Buck.
Slated to make appearances later in the season are the Rebirth Brass Band, Cyril Neville, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Steve Riley, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson and George Porter. More Cajun, country and zydeco music is forthcoming as well.
The debut episode of the second season features about a dozen performances, one of which is a club performance by rapper Juvenile with funk band Galactic and the Dirty Dozen Band. None of the artists had ever met prior to the show.
"We write it and cross our fingers that our music supervisors can work out the logistics," says Eric Overmyer, who produces the show with David Simon.
Fortunately for the producers and Leyh, enlisting musicians is easier than it was for the first season, when they shot eight episodes before the series premiere."Until we were on the air, we had to overcome the New Orleans suspiciousness of Hollywood, which has portrayed the city somewhat poorly," Overmyer says.
"We're over that hump. I may be blissfully unaware, but people in the city have been very cooperative."
At a time when New Orleans streets are becoming increasingly populated with film crews thanks to a Louisiana tax credit for movies shot in the state, "Treme" has drawn a local following for using the city as the city and not as a stand-in for another locale.
Bennie Pete, the tuba-playing leader of the Hot 8, couldn't fit the first season's shooting schedule into the band's calendar. But the act appears in four of the first eight episodes of season two. Separately, band trumpeter Terrell Batiste has become a fixture on the show.
Eager to participate, Pete became a fan of "Treme," he says, for showing the city according to "a New Orleanian's point of view versus someone visiting the town." The show takes place in the months following Hurricane Katrina, chronicling the struggles of local musicians and other Crescent City residents as they cope with its aftermath.
Pete is especially keen on the coming season's focus on the crime wave that disrupted life in the city as many displaced residents began returning after Katrina. The topic hits home for him: Four members of the Hot 8, founded in 1995, were murdered between 2004 and 2007.
"Crime is a reality in New Orleans," he says, noting that he hopes the show will also chronicle the tensions that have arisen as newcomers have bought up real estate and politicians have instituted noise ordinances that have largely shut down street performances by brass bands.
The Hot 8 will perform at HBO's "Treme" season premiere party in New York on April 21. Pete is hoping the band's second studio album will be pressed and available before the 11-show season ends, at which time it will be wrapping up a U.S. tour opening for Lauryn Hill and heading overseas to play festivals.
Meanwhile, New York-based Absolutely Live Entertainment, headed by veteran festival producer Danny Melnick, is producing a tour called A Night in Treme that has been booked for nine dates this summer, beginning June 10 at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. The concerts will include performances by acts featured on the show, such as Ruffins, the Rebirth Brass Band, Dr. Michael White, Donald Harrison and Big Sam Williams. The tour borrows its name from a one-off benefit show held at New Orleans' House of Blues last August on the fifth anniversary of Katrina.
Melnick says he hopes to book additional dates in the winter and spring leading up to, one hopes, season three of "Treme." HBO is participating in the promotion of the shows but has no other connection. "It's not about a TV show," he says of the tour, which will include recorded‹and for some dates, live‹narration from "Treme" star Pierce. "It's about everything that happened before the storm. We want to entertain and educate, make sure people understand the history and what this music means to the world‹without preaching. Rebirth is there to party." And, Basin Street's Samuels hopes, to sell a few CDs.