Recently featured in the Times-Picayune for its riveting staging of Blackbird, Elm Theatre brings socially conscious theater to New Orleans's drama devotees. North Baton Rouge native and recent Windy City dweller Garrett Prejean returns to his home state to teach introductory acting to aspiring stage stars and uncanny De Niro impressionists sick of doing scenes with their reflection in a mirror. Prejean is a graduate of The Second City’s acting program, and he later taught at the famed comedy-star breeding ground. At Elm Theatre, he leads a series of workshops that includes the Acting 1 course. Groupon holders will be treated to an exclusive, three-week abridgement ($31.25-per-week value) of this course, with no required long-term commitment or blood-signed contract. The three-week session will touch on monologues, auditions, acting exercises, and the fundamental techniques actors use to create and finely tune their characters.
In 1977, Professor Longhair didn't have long to live. As a human bridge connecting early 20th century blues, traditional Big Easy jazz, and Cuban funk, the now legendary musician changed the soundtrack to the city, paving the way for acts such as Dr. John and Allen Toussaint. Perhaps most notably, he penned the ubiquitous carnival anthem "Mardi Gras in New Orleans." But when it looked like his time was up, the NOLA community wasn't going to let him fade away. A group of fans, dubbed "The Fabulous Fo'teen," sought out a spot for the "Fess" to play at until his dying day. And that's exactly what he did at Tipitina's. They even named the place after one of his songs.
Proof that a former gambling parlor and cathouse can change its ways, Tipitina's century-old building has earned a reputation as one of New Orleans's finest music venues. Within its hallowed walls, many famous Crescent City acts have launched to stardom, from funk collectives such as The Neville Brothers and The Meters to rockers like Better than Ezra and the Radiators. All of these names grace the outdoor Walk of Fame, and the club also attracts national artists such as Wilco and Nine Inch Nails. However, the venue's immersion in the musical community goes beyond just shows—it also hosts music lessons for kids, weekly Cajun dance parties, and a retirement home for senior citizen horns. But as much as Tipitina's has expanded over time, it pays respect to the Longhair of its namesake every year with the appropriately punned "Fess Jazztival."
When players don their vests, squeeze the handle of their glowing pistol, and enter Laser Tag of Metairie’s neon-lit arena for the first time, one thing is clear: this place does not take laser tag lightly. Capable of hosting up to 44 players at once, the multi-level, futuristic battlefield sets combatants loose among ramps, tight corners, and shadowy corridors ideal for ambushing adversaries or learning to knit in the dark. Each game lasts seven minutes, and the arena’s officials keep a quick pace, making sure when one battle ends, another will soon begin.
The clatter of skee-ball machines drifts from the center’s arcade, mingling with strings of notes from Guitar Hero and sounds from other games. Each machine is equipped with a swipe-card system that tracks players’ credits electronically so they no longer have to measure their self-worth by how many tokens are in their pockets. In addition, guests can test their steering skills in the Spin Zone, a bumper-car area with one quite literal twist: there are two zones on the track that will send cars into a tailspin if drivers attempt to pass over them or park on them to exchange insurance information.
Bustout Burlesque evokes the haughty heyday of Bourbon Street nightclubs for adults-only audiences in an authentic 1950s spectacle of showgirls, jazz, comedy, and hot-under-the-collar choreography. Voted one of the top 10 burlesque shows in the world by the Travel Channel's panel of howling cartoon wolves, Bustout Burlesque’s professional cast of glamorous goddesses strips and teases in elegant routines that make ears steam and bow ties spin. The traditional New Orleans swing of the Bustout Burlesque Jazz Band soundtracks the ruffling of feathers with disrobing trombones and panting cornets, as pupils dilate to an antiquated display of the wholesome and risqué. With bewitching sirens, cathouse lighting, seductive songbirds, and a comic emcee, Bustout Burlesque entices genders and generations with charm, elegance, and sauciness.
Pots of bubbling water cook freshly made pasta until it’s ready to join meatballs and calamari on plates doused in zesty sauces. Nearby, pizzas are loaded with prosciutto, shrimp, and roasted garlic, while fresh mozzarella rains over a pizza crust headed for a wood-fired oven. Leonardo Trattoria forgoes local New Orleans food influences, instead maintaining “a focus on Sicilian dishes and cooking styles,” as Ian McNulty of Gambit writes. The full-fledged Italian atmosphere continues in the dining room, where flat-screen TVs mounted on brick walls play Italian mobster movies or hours of footage of Dante’s writing desk. Outside, lush foliage hangs from a second-story balcony, adding to the ambiance that helped the eatery snag a diners’ choice award for outdoor dining from OpenTable readers.