Well, it’s November in New Orleans and the turkeys are getting nervous. I’ll be spending Thanksgiving in Germany this year, on the road with Lydia Lunch, selling t-shirts and assorted products to the Lydiettes during her 22-city tour of the old countries. Meanwhile, I gotta lotta pluggin’ to do so away we go…
YOU SHOULDA BEEN THERE DEPT.…Alex Rawls held his second annual “Celebrity Lit Crimes” readings at the Maple Leaf, October 27. Various local poetry fans read gems by such masters of verse as Ally Sheedy, Leonard Nimoy and Suzanne Somers. Alex also awarded the first Chubby Award to Richard Harris for “his totally incomprehensible mastery of babble.”
THE PLAY’S THE THING DEPT.…George Patterson’s production of James Goldman’s The Lion in Winter will open at Le Petit Theatre (616 St. Peter St.) on Friday, November 1. This historical drama is based on the love-hate relationship of King Henry II of England, his ambitious Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their three sons. The production will star Marion Zinner and Jim Gibbons. Call 522-2081 for ticket info.
Across the river in Gretna, the Starcastle Dinner Theatre (2400 Belle Chasse Highway, 366-0999) is offering Rest Assured, a “modern day Scrooge story.” Directed by Rick Sasnett, the comedy, starring Bob Krieger and Dr. Robert Azar (didn’t he just run for some political office too?) will run Thursdays through Sundays until November 16.
ART FOR ARTS SAKE DEPT.…Try to check out the beautiful work of Jose Loria Mendez at the Global Gallery (One Canal Place). Mendez paints naturalist scenes from his home in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The show opens Wednesday, October 30, and will hang through November 15.
Rita Broussard, creator of whimsical “Zy-Deco” rubboard jewelry, is selling her stuff like hotcakes to the likes of Marcia Ball, Rita Coolidge, Robert Palmer, Sissy Spacek and Paul Simon. Several members of Simon’s band were using Rita’s rubboards during his HBO special.
NIGHTCLUBBING DEPT.…Clinton Peltier and wife Amy are ruling the dance club scene once again, and their new pad is at the Country Club, 634 Louisa Street. “We’re focusing on a variety of scenes on different nights,” Clinton explained to me as I climbed out of the club’s jacuzzi at 4 a.m. the other night (a lot of the folks from the Decadence Party on Burgundy Street wound up at the Country Club that night). There’s also a pool for you polar bear club-types. On Saturdays, the club is the new home for Snap! (formerly packing them in at Cafe Istanbul); Fridays it becomes House of Desire and Wednesdays will feature the Ready Teddy Show (he’s the infamous local deejay billed as “The Blues Playboy of the Airwaves”; see his record reviews, this issue).
Storyville Comedy & Jazz Club at 1104 Decatur Streeet has finally reopened with Harry Anderson and Jay Johnson on the bill the first few weeks.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU DEPT.…Zoom Six, the co-operatively owned “gallery for jewelry” at 1229 Decatur Street, will celebrate its first year in business with a party at the store on Saturday, November 16, from 7 p.m. until late. If you read this, you’re invited, so wear your party hat!
HOME COOKIN’ DEPT.…Cafe Atchafalaya (901 Louisiana Avenue, 891-5271 for reservations) reopened in early October under new manager Iler Pope, with one of our city’s best cooks, Ruth Forrest, supervising the kitchen. “We stress homemade meals here,” Ruth told me. “Even the bread is baked fresh daily.” The peach and apple cobbler are killers, especially a la mode with some of their homemade ice cream.
For home cooking of another sort entirely, you should head out to the ‘burbs to taste the specialties of Bennachin Restaurant. For those who haven’t sampled bennachin at the Jazz Fest, that’s African jambalaya, and it’s great. Co-owners Fanta Tambajang and Alyce Njenge have a modest little restaurant at 3205 Edenborn Avenue, in the same strip center as Sound Chek in Fat City (for you musicians in the know). The surroundings are cozy and the service is pleasant, but the food is exotic and tasty to the max. Fanta and Alyce are from Gambia and Cameroon respectively, and they bring their African home cooking to New Orleans with dishes like Ndole (that’s tender beef or lamb chunks with spinach and peanuts served with plantains—rich and delicious); Chu-E-Ganarr (tender hen stewed in a smooth gravy with rice); Shipa-Shipa (killer shrimp stew, better than mama’s); Cous-Cous (a dessert variety made with raisins, fresh pineapple and coconut) and of course, Bennachin. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday, and best of all, the prices are downright cheap. Recommended.
MUSICAL NOTES DEPT.…Jay and Chris are cooking up a nice live musical menu over at their bar, Lucky’s (1625 St. Charles Avenue). So far, the Backsliders and the Bloodhound Blues Band have rocked the house, and Jay hinted at plans for a reggae porch barbeque night, to be announced soon. On Wednesdays, you ought to check out Boo La Crosse, playing “cutting-edge in-your-face rock ‘n’ roll” from 8 p.m. until late. Speaking of the Backsliders, singer Ben Maygarden recently laid their Live in Japan tape on me and it smokes. The band recently recorded some tunes for an as yet untitled feature film and are keeping busy on the local scene.
Vic’s Kangaroo Cafe at 636 Tchoupitoulas Street is offering music now too, and will soon up the schedule to several nights a week. I was glad to learn about this place, ’cause it stays open (and serves food) til 3:30 a.m.—a great help for us party animals!
John Blancher of the world-famous Mid-City Bowling Lanes (4133 S. Carrollton Ave.) is into the blues. So much so that he’s started a contest (co-sponsored by blues lovers’ favorite beer, Abita, and this estimable rag) every Thursday evening at the Open Blues Jam. Winners receive prizes from Abita, advertising in OffBeat and the grand prize is a gig during Jazz Fest at the Bowling Alley. Call John or Nita at 482-3133 for more info.
EMI Records has just released a four-CD box set that chronicles much of local legend Fats Domino’s recordings for Imperial Records in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. This set is a must for fans of the Fat Man.
NEW MUSIC FANS REJOICE DEPT.…
The RC Bridge Lounge, at 1201 Magazine Street, is set to become a haven for lovers of punk, bizarre and avant garde music. Promoter Mary Phillips has booked some rather interesting bands in November, one of whom, the Dwarves (November 18), has a real cult following.
GOOD CAUSE DEPT.…Don’t miss the annual Children’s Hospital Benefit at Tipitina’s on November 16, featuring Dr. John. Tip’s’ Monday night ‘TulBox shows continue to feature some of the finest “alternative” (I hate that term) acts from around the world. I recently caught a show with Jonestown and Les Thugs (from France) and was once again blown away by two bands I’d never heard of. As we were going to press, plans were announced for two Rock Against Racism Concerts—one at the N.O. Entertainment Hall on November 9, and another at the Tulane Quad just before the upcoming runoff election.
REALLY GOOD SHEWS DEPT.…Loketo, last year’s hottest soukous performers at the Jazz Fest’s Congo Square Stage, make it back to New Orleans at Jimmy’s on November 2 and the new Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge on November 1. Don’t miss this show, especially the dancers, who will literally make every red-blooded male in the audience’s blood boil!
Jack Quigley hosts a fine open mike night over at Checkpoint Charlie’s every Sunday from 10 p.m.-2 a.m., and you can do your laundry while you listen to the local talent. Jack, who performs as “Jack Quigley and His Only Friend,” recently released a cassette of 13 original songs called It’s A Quigley Thing, You Wouldn’t Understand on the Good Rockin’ New Orleans label. The tape is available at Tower Records or any Sunday night from Jack his ol’ self at Checkpoint.
Also don’t miss Widespread Panic at Tipitina’s on November 25. This band you’ve gotta hear. The group serves up an eclectic mix of Fleetwood Mac-esque and congo rhythms by way of the Grateful Dead.
Another weekly scene worth addicting yourself to is Plantation Posse’s reggae dance party every Thursday at Cafe Brasil. Ben Hunter’s band has been spreading Irie Vibrations there for about one year and they get hotter every week. You can also purchase the band’s tape, A Freedom Song, at their gigs. Guitarist Bob Folse who plays with several bands around town including Plantation Posse, plans to release three cassettes featuring his different musical styles by the time Interfest starts in late October. One will feature his fusion jazz group, another highlights Latin-American guitar and percussion sounds and the third will showcase Bob’s solo guitar talents.
Interfest is set to roll October 31-November 3 at the Clarion Hotel, and bands are gearing up like crazy to play at the showcases that will take place at the hotel every day of the conference.
OOPS DEPT.…I made a major glitch in spelling one of the actor’s names from IRMA VEP last column, so allow me to correct that: it’s Patrick Frederick not Patrick Graham.
NAUGHTY BITS DEPT.…Vital Funktion (aka David Jennings) has just released a sizzling 12″ dance record called “Head” (zzi music). Produced by Steve Winn and Louie Ludwig, the disc and cassette feature three mixes of the tune: the Kneepad edit, the Reader’s Digest mix and a Head for the House mix. If this were Hustler magazine, I’d tell you exactly what this song’s about, but it’s not, so I won’t. You’ll have to buy a copy at your local record store.
INNOVATION’S OUR GAME DEPT.…Always evolving, that’s us at OffBeat. We’re adding a Classifieds section (including personals, for all you folks who need that service). We’ve also added the new Listen Here Line for musicians in town who want to get their music heard. See page 6 for instructions on how to use the line
…That’s all for this month. Adios Spare Parts fans!