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Coming Up

Arts on the Fringe: Faux/Real Fest

The quirky festival returns to New Orleans from Nov. 3-13.

orpheum close up
Hand-painted details inside the theater. (Photo courtesy Jamey Shaw)

Juggling fire and knives. An election night party celebrating the “theatre of the absurd.” Colonial-style cocktails. The quirky festival based in performance arts, Faux/Real Fest, returns to New Orleans from Nov. 3-13. Now in its second year, Faux/Real is still New Orleans’ local fringe-style festival but updated, improved, and expanded to included a wider variety of events.

For anybody to whom Fringe was near and dear, no need to despair: Zoe Cuneo of Faux/Real assured us that, “at the heart of the Faux/Real Festival is still the performing arts events, but Faux/Real incorporates food and beverage events, literature events, and parties into the festival lineup.”

The festival largely takes place at venues in the downtown area.

Esperanza Spalding opens the fest. (Artwork provided by artist)

The opening act

Faux/Real’s headlining event this year is Esperanza Spalding Presents: Emily’s D+Evolution. Spalding, a modern jazz musician and four-time Grammy winner, has a new persona– Emily D– and dropped a new album, Emily’s D+Evolution, that takes an experimental twist on jazz. Her performance at the Orpheum Theater will include elements of narrative, music, and performance art. Thursday, Nov. 3, 7:00 p.m. at the Orpheum Theater (129 Roosevelt Way).

Boozy highlight

The bar at the Catahoula Hotel. (Courtesy photo)

Thirsty for more? While Faux/Real Fest offers some of the same elements as Fringe Fest, it is a new festival in its own right. Cuneo explained last year that the founders of the Fringe Festival “thought it was ready to expand and evolve into a full-fledged arts festival.” And not just arts. Faux/Real offers some drink-centric events, without which any New Orleans festival would feel quite incomplete (quite like the Tin Man with no heart).

During Flipping’ Out, guests will be whisked away on a tour of colonial cocktails with Nathan Dalton and Wayne Curtis. The focus, for this event, is on cocktails made using the “flip” method– “For the uninitiated,” according to Faux/Real, “a flip is a cocktail made by inserting a hot lagerhead into a molasses-based mix causing a crystallization.” During the event, Dalton and Curtis will attempt the largest flip ever, which will include a helluva cauldron and some fire. Music, performance art, and costumes are all part of the fun. Thursday, Nov. 10, 7:00 p.m. at the Catahoula Hotel (914 Union St.).

a night at the circus

Catch Rickles and Pickles, which features the talents of Rick Wellington, a world-famous (wait for it…) juggler, and tommEE pickles, an award-winning local magician. Add a little magic and wonder to your life with this performance including juggling with knives and/or fire and a magic show with a comedic bent. Wednesday, November 9 (additional details TBD).

Cane and Table on Decatur Street hosts an election night party as part of Faux/Real. (Courtesy photo)

Election night Party

One of Faux/Real’s most anticipated under-the-radar events will be its Election Night Party, Colonial Style. Faux/Real Director (and spirit guide) Ben Mintz clarifies how the event fits into the Faux/Real framework as it’s “devoted to an election that many label as ‘theatre of absurd.'” The event will feature “a meticulously researched menu comprised of drinks that can be directly traced to the founding fathers,” he tells us, and will include “a fully immersive mix of interactive art and real-life news.” For example, a town crier will announce key results as they come in. Oh, and there are incentives for anyone dressing in colonial or presidential-style costumes (half-priced tankards). Tuesday, November 8, 7 p.m. until… at Cane and Table (1113 Decatur St.). Free admission!

A tour for the truly lazy

Faux/Real Fest comes at art from all angles. Take A Sitting Tour of NOLA, for example, which offers some of the history and charm of a local walking tour without ever leaving your seat. In addition to some of the city’s best tour guides sharing bits of local history, they also (bonus) present monologues about tourists gone wild– all in good fun, of course. Monday, Nov. 7 (additional details TBD).

Faux/Real is a festival unlike any other with truly out of the ordinary, avant-garde events. To make the most of it, Mintz says, “don’t be intimidated by the unknown, and jump right in.”

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