This weekend presents ample opportunity for unabashed displays of glee, bliss and other happy outbursts. NOMA teaches a lesson on how to throw a birthday party – in short, make it 31 hours long; another drunken stampede of Santas invade downtown New Orleans; and two very different but equally special Christmas sing-alongs highlight the weekend. The countdown to Christmas is on, and the fun is unrelenting in New Orleans this weekend.
Friday, December 16:
1. NOMA’s 31 Hour Birthday Party – Turning 100 is kind of a big deal and NOMA’s made sure to plan a birthday blowout accordingly. For 31 hours straight, NOMA toasts its centennial anniversary with music, comedy, dancing and of course, art. Friday night through early Saturday morning, a variety of musicians from Wayne Daigrepont, the Isidore Newman Choir and Irvin Mayfield will perform, ending with a dance party DJ’d by Quintron. Late night screenings of indie art flicks Science of Sleep and Basquiat precede the Saturday afternoon festivities ending with live theater and more music.
Saturday, December 17:
2. Running of the Santas – It’s hard to keep up with all of the dirty, bad, sexy and other variations of naughty Santa bar hops in New Orleans as they are seemingly pervasive during the month of December. That being said, it will be really hard to miss or forget the hundreds of stumbling Santas commandeering the streets of downtown New Orleans on Saturday. Lucy’s and Dino’s will host pre-run drinking, then Ernst Café will hold the Hottest Santa Contest from 3-6 p.m. Get ready to run the arduous three blocks to Generations Hall for the main event at 6:00 p.m. General admission is $30 and tickets can be purchased online.
3. Avant Garden – Avant Garden isn’t your typical arts market as its name implies. Over 60 local artists and designers were individually curated by the New Orleans arts organization, Constance. From 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. at 2275 Bayou Road in Mid-City, the carefully selected vendors will present some of the city’s best emerging and cutting edge artistic creations. DJ Joey Buttons will be pumping electronic dance beats. From 7-9 p.m., young artists exchange their work for verbal feedback in a segment called Pecha Kucha.
Sunday, December 18:
4. Caroling in Jackson Square – Sing tidings of peace and good will towards men (and women) this Sunday with hundreds of carolers congregating in Jackson Square. The square twinkles as carolers hold candles illuminating Christmas hymns and the voices of the community choir are projected throughout the French Quarter. The enchanting, family-friendly evening sponsored by Patio Planners begins at 7 p.m.
5. Sing Along With Harry Shearer – While earnest carolers sing the traditional and heartwarming songs of Christmas in Jackson Square, Harry Shearer, otherwise known as Mr. Burns, Derek Smalls and a heralded New Orleanian, will be singing “Jesus Was A Dreidel Spinner” at the Contemporary Arts Center. Be in the choir of singing fools led by Mr. Shearer on Sunday at 4 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. Advanced tickets can be purchased online.