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Comedy deals with confronting prejudice

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Pharus Jonathan Young, played by Christian Jones, speaks to the members of the choir Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, during New Venture Theatre's rehearsal for its upcoming production,

The first time Greg Williams Jr. saw a production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Choir Boy” he wanted to stage it. “When the show was over, I just sat there for five minutes. I knew I’d seen something incredibly special,” says Williams, artistic director for New Venture Theatre. “It was very simple, very powerful.” The play… Continue reading →

Arts Calendar for Oct. 19, 2014

Here’s what’s going on this week in the area arts and cultural scene: BREC’s Baton Rouge Gallery, 1515 Dalrymple Drive, is hosting children’s fall classes, “Saturday Studio: Investigating 20th Century Artists,” 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays, beginning Oct. 25. The class fee is $75 per person for four weeks with materials included or one session… Continue reading →

Sympathy for the musician: Growing up in the band has given Thomas insight that gets her compositions played

Photo by Jason Smith -- Composer Augusta Read Thomas is working this week with the LSU Wind Ensemble, which will perform two of her works in a Tuesday, Oct. 13, concert in the LSU Union Theater.

Musicians always notice a sympathetic composer. They show it by how they play the music. “When you have music that is sympathetic to the musicians, it’s played more,” composer August Read Thomas says. “I started taking piano lessons when I was 4, and I started playing the trumpet in the third grade.… Continue reading →

Gallery members exhibit works through October

Photo provided by Baton Rouge Gallery -- Rosemary Goodell uses monotyping as the outlet for hier exhibit, 'Quirky Gardens,' which runs through Oct. 31, at Baton Rouge Gallery.

Baton Rouge Gallery, 1515 Dalrymple Drive, is featuring the latest works from three of its artist members — Rosemary Goodell, Craig McCullen and Amy James — in its October exhibition. The artists’ shows will run noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays until Oct. 31. Admission is free. Goodell reforms the familiar… Continue reading →

Arts Calendar for Oct. 12, 2014

Photo provided by Southeastern Louisiana University -- Southeastern Louisiana University's faculty band, Impaired Faculties, will perform 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, in the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in Hammond.

Here’s what’s going on in the area arts and cultural scene: ■ Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, 100 North Blvd., Baton Rouge, will open the exhibit “The Social History of Stationery,” with a reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15. The show runs through Dec. 20. Admission is free. For more information,… Continue reading →

LASM exhibit asks artists to ‘Inflate. Draw. Pour.’

Photo by BRYAN TARNOWSKI -- Artist Heather Hansen brings together a mixture of techniques, activities and motivations for dance and movement to create her kinetic drawings. On Nov. 7, Hansen will demonstrate her technique at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum.

Action painter. “Who is the first person you think about?” asks Elizabeth Weinstein, curator for the Louisiana Art & Science Museum. The whirl of movement and paint of Jackson Pollock come to mind. “That’s right,” Weinstein continues. “Jackson Pollock was the first action artist — the first action painter — where the process… Continue reading →

Southeastern opens season with ‘Rumors’

Photo provided by Southeastern Louisiana University --Larry Heard of Abita Springs, left, playing the role of

— Neil Simon’s comedic play “Rumors” will open the theater season at Southeastern Louisiana University with a four-night performance at Vonnie Borden Theatre scheduled Tuesday through Friday, Oct. 7-10. The play, which Simon called a “comedic farce,” is part of Southeastern’s 29th Fanfare season, a fall celebration of the arts, humanities and social… Continue reading →

Awesome Art festival scheduled in Gonzales

The Awesome Art on the Bayou festival is set for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 11-12, on the banks of Bayou Francois in Gonzales. Admission and parking are free. The festival will feature a variety of arts and crafts. There also will be an indoor art contest, featuring paintings, photography and three dimensional art by adults, young… Continue reading →

Couple match up to open Sinfonietta season

Dinos Constantinides

The Louisiana Sinfonietta’s season-opening concert on Sunday, Oct. 12, will be a little different for pianist Michael Gurt. He regularly solos with the group, but this time around his piano will be matched by one played by wife, Jamie. “Michael and Jamie have never performed together in one of our programs, so this will be… Continue reading →

LSU Museum lecture series set for downtown BR

Photo provided by the LSU Museum of Art -- Martin Johnson Heade's painting, 'Cattleya Orchid and Three Brazilian Hummingbirds' will be among the images curator Katie Pfohl will highlight in the Oct. 8 lunchtime lecture at the LSU Museum of Art.

Call it a lunchtime vacation, an hourlong escape from the daily workday problems. It happens on the first Wednesday of each month at the LSU Museum of Art’s lunchtime lecture series, “Around the World at Lunch: American Artists-Travelers Abroad.” The series began in September with a look at artist Henry Ossawa Tanner’s time spent in Paris.… Continue reading →

LSU Libraries Special Collections planning open house

LSU Libraries Special Collections will host an open house event from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, in Hill Memorial Library. This event is an opportunity to meet the staff, see items from the collections and hear about the types of activities that go on in the multifaceted library. The theme for this year’s… Continue reading →

Arts Calendar for Oct. 5, 2014

Here’s what’s going on this week in the local arts and cultural scene: ■ 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, Oct. 6-10, the LSU Student Union Art Gallery’s fall poster sale in Free Speech Alley Circle, Baton Rouge. More than 1,000 posters will be available with most prices ranging between $7 and $9. For more information,… Continue reading →

Review: Swine Palace’s ‘Frankenstein’ worth seeing

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --Elizabeth, played by Amanda Clark, reaches out to Victor Frankenstein, right, played by Tim Moriarty, as The Creature, played by Brendan Averett, grips her in a scene from Swine Palace's Frankenstein, the first production of the 2014-2015 season.

Frankly, Swine Palace has a hit. Director George Judy steers that old warship “Frankenstein” through the Straits of Seen That, down the Narrows of Done That to the Gulf of All Right! This Swine Palace production is not at the old hog barn, but at the Claude L. Shaver Theatre on Dalrymple Drive, Baton Rouge.… Continue reading →

The Creature Feature: Swine Palace opens its season with Shelley’s classic horror ‘Frankenstein’

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The Creature, played by Brendan Averett, comes alive in a scene from Swine Palace's Frankenstein, the first production of the 2014-2015 season.

Most people know the Mary Shelley story. The young Dr. Frankenstein breathes life into the dead through a scientific experiment. The resulting creature ends up wreaking havoc on his search for acceptance and even love. This search is the focus of Swine Palace’s production of Victor Gialanella’s stage adaptation of Mary Shelley’s 1818 best-selling novel,… Continue reading →

‘Based on a Totally True Story’ hits LSU Theatre

LSU Theatre presents its second lab show of the season, “Based on a Totally True Story,” written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and directed by Scott Mitchell, with performances scheduled for Oct. 7-12 in the Studio Theatre in the LSU Music and Dramatic Arts Building, Dalrymple Drive, Baton Rouge. A contemporary comedy that moves at the… Continue reading →

Arts Calendar for Sept. 28, 2014

HERE’S WHAT’S GOING ON THIS WEEK IN THE AREA ARTS AND CULTURAL SCENE: ■ TICKETS ARE ON SALE FOR THE PENNINGTON DANCE HEADLINER: Los Angeles Ballroom Studio Dance at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Manship Theatre in the Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St., Baton Rouge. Elena Grinenko, star of five seasons of ABC’s… Continue reading →

Arttalk Artists share credit, work at BR gallery

Advocate photo by ROBIN MILLER --

Artistic destinations fill Baton Rouge Gallery’s walls in September with the emphasis on the journeys. In this case, the journey refers to the processes used to create the work in exhibitions by gallery artists Charles Barbier, Leanne McClurg Cambric, Paul Dean and Scott Finch. Barbier, Dean and Finch presented gallery talks at the gallery’s monthly… Continue reading →

Cangelosi to showcase signature styles

Kris Cangelosi’s new show is designed to give local professional dancers a chance to show off. Even though Cangelosi performs around town all the time, she doesn’t often get the chance to showcase her signature contemporary style. “I realized that I thought the same thing about other (local dancers),” she says. The idea behind… Continue reading →

Theatre Baton Rouge finds its voice under new direction with ‘Mary Poppins’

Photo provided by Theatre Baton Rouge -- Melanie Couvillon has the starring role and Zachary Denham plays her friend, Bert, in 'Mary Poppins' at Theatre Baton Rouge.

When the cast list came out for “Mary Poppins,” Theatre Baton Rouge seemed to send a not-very-subtle message: Management may have changed, but the standards haven’t. Despite some significant opening-night technical glitches, the message was affirmed. Vocally, this may be as strong a group as TBR has assembled in recent memory, including last year’s summer… Continue reading →

Photographers let La. shine in exhibit at Old State Capitol

Photo provided by the Old State Capitol -- Beverly Coates' photo,

It’s all about perspective in Louisiana’s Old State Capitol’s second-floor galleries. That’s where 25 members of the Louisiana Photographic Society are showing their work in the exhibit, “Light Up Louisiana.” It’s also where the old statehouse itself is the dominant subject. The show runs through Saturday, Sept. 20. “It’s an exhibit celebrating Louisiana,”… Continue reading →

K-5 students sought for Kids’ Choir program

The Kids’ Orchestra announces its new program, Kids’ Choir, for the 2014-15 school year. The choir is open to all kindergarten through fifth-grade students in the Baton Rouge area and is under the direction of Sarah Bartolome, an assistant professor of music education at LSU. The Kids’ Choir will meet from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.… Continue reading →

Arts Calendar for Sept. 14, 2014

Here’s what’s happening in the area arts and cultural scene: Ascension Community Theatre will conduct auditions for its upcoming production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” from 3-6 p.m. today, Sept. 14, and 7-10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, at the theater, 823 N. Felicity Ave., Gonzales. Callbacks will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16. The… Continue reading →

Center celebrates Ernest J. Gaines, 50th anniversary of first novel

Ernest J. Gaines

Literature survives because it teaches us universal lessons. The Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is planning to commemorate exactly that Sept. 17 through Nov. 21. In events planned with public libraries, the center will mark the 50th anniversary of Gaines’ first novel “Catherine Carmier” as well as… Continue reading →

Straightening up and flying right

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Melanie Couvillon and  Zachary Denham will bring Mary Poppins and Bert to life in in Theatre Baton Rouge's production of the Broadway musical 'Mary Poppins.'

Yes, Mary Poppins is definitely going to fly in Theatre Baton Rouge’s production of the Disney-based musical, which opens Friday. That’s the question director Lyn Holderidge has gotten the most in the past few months. But, if you ask Melanie Couvillon, who is taking on the role of the nanny, this is a story… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre schedules Ensemble auditions

The Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre, under the direction of Molly Buchmann and Sharon Mathews, announces auditions for its new contemporary group, The Ensemble, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Dancers’ Workshop, 10745 Linkwood Court. The Ensemble will provide performing opportunities for professional dancers age 18 and older, focusing on modern and contemporary works. The… Continue reading →

LSU Student Union Theater sets six shows

The LSU Student Union Theater, Raphael Semmes Drive on campus, is celebrating its 50th season with its 2014-15 “Union Theater Presents” series. The series consists of six shows, including a swashbuckling off-Broadway prequel to an iconic story; a nun; a musical exploration of the soul genre; and a performance of beauty and ballet. “I can’t… Continue reading →

Drama ‘Fat Pig’ hits stage in Lafayette

The Riveters Theatre Company will open Neil Lebute’s drama, “Fat Pig,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, at Cite des Arts, 109 Vine St., Lafayette. Other performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 12-13; 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14; 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 18-20; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21.… Continue reading →

BR playwright brings ‘Freedom’ in N.O.

“Freedom Summer” by Baton Rouge educator, author and playwright Spencer Howard will be presented when the American Theatre Project of New Orleans returns to Dillard University and Samuel Dubois Cook Fine Arts Center for its seventh season Sept. 11-21. “Freedom Summer” tells the story of two young people who join the civil rights movement and advocate… Continue reading →

Accalia and the Swamp Monster: ‘Dysfunctional’ family provides artist inspiration for work

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Artist Kelli Scott Kelley's new exhibit at the LSU Museum of Art is based on her autobiographical book, 'Accalia and the Swamp Monster.' That's the 'monster' she's holding.

Kelli Scott Kelley’s “Accalia and the Swamp Monster” isn’t a once-upon-a-time kind of fairy tale. The lioness mother tears off the distant father’s arms, then feeds them to the Swamp Monster in Kelley’s story. Gruesome? Yes, but not without reason. Without that act, Accalia, the girl with two wolf-like dog faces, would never have embarked… Continue reading →

LSU’s band taking drones to the skies for guidance

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- A hexacopter hovers above the practice field behind Tiger Band Hall on Aug. 23. The LSU Tiger Band has gone high tech in its rehearsals. This year, each section leader will hold an iPad while a drone records the practice, then sends a live video feed to the iPads showing the formations, who's in line and who isn't.

LSU Tiger Marching Band, be aware: someone is watching you. And it’s not Big Brother. It’s band Director Roy King, who can see everything happening on the field, even the most miniscule discrepancies in your pregame lineup. “Fly it a little closer, Moe,” King says to the band’s volunteer videographer, Moe… Continue reading →

‘Touching story’ tells of grandparents raising grandkids

Photo provided by Maddgame Entertainment -- From left, Naomi Trahan, Ashley Millender, Shana Renee' Burris andTelisha Diaz go over a scene from 'Sunday Morning Kind of Gal.'

The specter of abandonment haunts all the characters in Christina Cottles’ new play “A Sunday Morning Kind of Gal.” Delores Bellard, a hardworking mother and grandmother who takes care of everyone in her family, is even visited by a real ghost, the mother who left her to chase a man and later died young. The play won this year’s… Continue reading →