Evan Spigelman on “PopSmart NOLA”: Life with creeps, life in drag, and life helping queer youth with LOUD

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WHAT: Cabaret and drag show from Evan Spigelman and Dylan Hunter with karaoke hosted by Kimberly Clark
WHEN: Thurs.-Sat. in March; karaoke 9:30 p.m., show 10:30 p.m.
WHERE: Mudlark Public Theatre, 1200 Port St.
ADMISSION: $10-$20 (sliding scale)

I first came across Evan Spigelman when he was a “draguate” of Vinsantos’ New Orleans Drag Workshop (which I covered for the New Orleans Advocate as well as here), and I was struck by how his performance in particular stuck out in an evening of incredibly varied performances.

It wasn’t until later that it became apparent that this was the first formalized drag training for Spigelman, despite his Big Easy Award-winning turn in the title role in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch back in 2011.

He wears many hats. Spigelman is a performer, light designer, co-founder of New Orleans performance collective Skin Horse Theater and of LOUD, the New Orleans Queer Youth Theater. (Breaking news: He received another Big Easy Award nomination for Best Lighting Design for The NOLA Project’s “Flood City.”

He bills his latest venture, “Creep Cuts,” as a “cartoon cloud of dada and drag.” In the show, Spigelman performs as Mz. Asa Metric opposite En Between (played by Dylan Hunter) as “New Orleans’ premier electro-cabaret-dada-freak-drag-extra-hyphenated-caffeinated- duo-from-out-of-the-blue-o.” They create a show filled with sketch comedy, lip synch and original electronic music to create a wholly new form of drag cabaret to confound the senses. Bonnie Gabel of the Pelican Bomb calls “Creep Cuts” ‘Virtuosic’ and says it ‘… challenges our perceptions of drag.’ I should add the show is preceded by a karaoke hour hosted by drag performer Kimberly Clark.

In this expanded version of the segment that ran on the March 17 episode of “PopSmart NOLA” on WHIV (102.3) — complete with new day and time, Fridays at noon! — Spigelman touched on all of this work, ending with interesting insight on his work with LOUD at a time when LGBTQ youth seem in particular peril these days.

Oscar-nominated shorts to play at Prytania Theatre (Jan. 29-Feb. 4)

World of Tomorrow

“World of Tomorrow” by Don Hertzfeldt

One of the annual viewing traditions leading up to the Academy Awards is the touring collection of Oscar-nominated short films in the animated, live-action and documentary categories. The Prytania Theatre will continue that tradition by hosting the screening of the films Jan. 29-Feb. 4, the theater announced Thursday (Jan. 14).

The announcement comes on the heals of the announcement of all of the Academy Award nominations, with the ceremony televised Feb. 28 by ABC.

(Read more: Check out the complete list of nominees here.)

Details of the Prytania screening series are sketchy and should be coming soon. Until then, here are the nominated films and their directors:

“Body Team 12,” David Darg and Bryn Mooser; “Chau, beyond the Lines,” Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck; “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah,” Adam Benzine; “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy; “Last Day of Freedom,” Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman.

“Bear Story,” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala; “Prologue,” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton; “Sanjay’s Super Team,” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle; “We Can’t Live without Cosmos,” Konstantin Bronzit; “World of Tomorrow,” Don Hertzfeldt.

“Ave Maria,” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont; “Day One,” Henry Hughes; “Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut),” Patrick Vollrath; “Shok,” Jamie Donoughue; “Stutterer,” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Check for updates here and on their Facebook event page. The tour is sponsored by Shorts International.



Neil deGrasse Tyson: Interviewing the science guy, with a little help from my friends

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Thanks to all those who answered my query on Facebook to supply questions for Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson in advance of his two-night stand at the Saenger Theatre (Nov. 10-11). As you can tell from my feature in the New Orleans Advocate, as well as the “bonus content” of excerpts from the interview I posted earlier, he’s not a dull guy to interview.

So I thought it would also be fun to slap some of the “crowd-sourced” questions up as a podcast interview. As much as the more formal questions, these give the listener a window into the way he thinks — specifically, respectively, on ideas such as mentorship, the concept of time, and being one of the more popular subjects of memes on the Internet today.

Rhapsodic: Check out the New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra being all Queen-like

We went on a lark to check out the New Orleans Volunteer Orchestra‘s (NOVO) “New Home, New Beginning” program Thursday (Oct. 8) at the St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church, and it would be easy to say we got our money’s worth from the free show. As the New Orleans Advocate’s Dean Shapiro noted in his preview, the performance represented NOVO’s debut as a stand-alone, non-profit orchestra after out-growing Loyola University — where it began as a smaller, chamber orchestra.

NOVO knows its audience, which, while modest even given the church’s modest capacity, appreciated an accessible program that included sections from “Carmina Burana” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” soundtrack by Howard Shore. But the orchestra, bolstered by the newly minted chorus, also soared while performing the gospel-infused “Nearer to Thee,” a new arrangement by co-director Joseph Ciesla, and featuring a solo by Dylan Tran.

Everyone came together for the show’s closer, a repeat of the popular version of Queen’s magnum opus “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It was a fun if mixed-bag effort, emboldened by strong choral flourishes that at times were drowned out by the orchestra — but that didn’t stop the crowd from swaying to the music and capturing it on their smart phones. I was just as guilty, so here’s the version right here. Check out and consider supporting NOVO; they’re on Facebook here.