Vox and the Hound guitarist, and OffBeat contributor, Rory Callais and beloved New Orleans burlesque artist Bella Blue will put on their second annual David Bowie tribute at the Howlin’ Wolf on Saturday, July 15. Dubbed “Oh! You Pretty Things: An Immersive Theatrical David Bowie Experience,” the show will find a variety of local artists teaming up to perform two sets of music from Bowie’s five-decade career.
“I think Bella and I both started thinking about how we can make the show better immediately after the first Bowie show’s curtain call,” Callais said. “While we were both pleased with the first edition of the show, there were clear areas where we could grow and improve. Over the course of planning the 2017 show, we have basically rebooted the entire concept of the show. There are nearly twice as many songs and performances now. We are doing two sets with an intermission. We are upping the visual components and will turn the Howlin’ Wolf into our own little world featuring art installations from Dara Quick of She Comes in Peace. People who come to the show can even get makeup and face paint through Elektra Cosmetics.”
The night’s house band includes keyboardist and vocalist Jenna McSwain, bassist Trey Boudreaux, drummer Chad Clements (Dat Band), percussionist Marion Tortorich (formerly of Sweet Crude), guitarist Bryan Gottshall (Little Maker), saxophonist Lori LaPatka (The Crooked Vines), violinist Amanda Wuerstlin (formerly of Big History) and Callais. They will be joined by an array of singers that includes McSwain, Leo DeJesus (Vox and the Hound), Micah McGee (Little Maker), Erik Corveau, Angie Z and Lola Van Ella.
In addition to writing and recording timeless music, Bowie was also famous for his performance art, which often manifested itself in the outlandish personas he embodied on stage and in public. On Saturday night, this aspect of his work will be honored by numerous actors and burlesque artists, including Bella Blue, Franky Canga, Midori Tajiri-Byrd and Willy LaQueue. Tortorich, Van Ella and Angie Z—who set to perform in the band and sing as well—will contribute to the performance art side of things too.
On top that,, the event hopes to raise money for the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), a public creative arts high school that has trained and inspired some of the city’s most prominent artists (the Marsalis brothers, Harry Connick Jr., Trombone Shorty, Wendell Pierce, Anthony Mackie and Jonathan Batiste, just to name a few). Callais and Bella Blue have launched an Go Fund Me campaign in conjunction with the show that aims raise $3,000 for NOCCA, along with $1,000 to cover the costs of the show itself.
“On what would have been David’s 70th birthday, a bunch of his old bandmates and friends put on a charity concert benefiting Children and the Arts, an arts school in the UK. When Bella and I decided we wanted the show to have a charitable component, we wanted the money to stay in New Orleans,” Callais adds. “Between his 70th birthday benefit show, Bowie being so influential to multiple artistic disciplines, and the fact that both Bella and I went there, NOCCA became the obvious choice.”
Oh! You Pretty Things: An Immersive Theatrical David Bowie Experience will kick off at 10pm. Tickets for the show are on sale now for $15.