WeekINDer for November 2012

by Walter Pierce

Highlights on the arts and entertainment calendar

Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012
Written by IND Monthly Staff

You haven't heard of Caleb Elliott yet. But you will. The lanky, baby-faced kid from Lafayette has just released a fantastic new pop record, Where You Wanna Be, crackling with happy, upbeat, often wistful songs that are mature beyond Elliott's years - deftly written arrangements, earnest lyrics that variously bring to mind everything from Joni Mitchell to Toad the Wet Sprocket to the Beatles to JJ Grey, with the vocal command of Jeff Buckley. Or something like that. It's a damn good record.

But don't take our word for it, check out the guest musicians on Elliott's disc: Doug Belote, Sam Broussard, Josef Butts, Susan Cowsill, Tony Daigle, Tom Drummond, Harmony Minturn and Mitch Reed. That's a roster.

Many of those fine musicians will join Elliott at the Blue Moon Saloon on Saturday, Nov. 3, for a CD-release party. It's a double bill with Al Berard & The Girls. Admission is $10 and the record will be on sale for the same price. If you're more 21st century you can purchase a download card for the full album for $5. Learn more about this up-and-coming singer-songwriter at his website, CalebElliott.com.

In addition to being one of the finest jazz pianists in the world, Judy Carmichael is a student and a scholar of her craft. The National Endowment for the Arts thinks so much of Carmichael's breadth of knowledge of jazz piano history it provided her with a major grant to travel the country and teach college students about it.

But back to the music. Count Basie - yes, the real Count Basie - nicknamed a young Judy Carmichael "Stride" in admiration for her command of the physically and technically demanding stride style of jazz piano, which she mastered at a young age and has earned her Grammy nominations and the accolades of her peers in a very exclusive club.

In addition to touring the world, sharing the stage with the likes of Joel Grey and Michael Feinstein, appearing frequently on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" and writing two books on stride piano along with numerous articles on the topic, Carmichael has been the host for two decades of the popular NPR radio program "Judy Carmichael's Jazz Inspired." She is wearing us out!

Carmichael is the latest stellar performer in the Acadiana Center for Arts' Jazz @ the Center series. She'll take the stage at the James D. Moncus Theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9. The series features jazz club-style table seating with cocktail service. It's very, very cool. Table seating is $30 per person; $40 for VIP table seating.

Call 233-7060 for ticket information or log on to the AcA website at AcadianaCenterForTheArts.org.

There's no greater horror than the grandmother's realization that her son and his family are being marched away to their deaths - and that she's next - in Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man is Hard to Find. O'Connor's gift for probing and prodding themes of grace and redemption in Roman Catholicism, without seeming to do so, made her not just one of the great Southern American short story writers but one of the great American writers.

Fifty years ago, at the height of her literary influence, O'Connor came to Lafayette to speak at USL (now UL Lafayette) about her faith and its influence on her art. Recently a recording of that speech, "Flannery O'Connor: The Legacy of a Southern Catholic Writer," was discovered in an archive at UL and digitized by the Center for Louisiana Studies, and on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9-10, academics and admirers of O'Connor's work will gather at UL to celebrate her work and to hear the rare recording.

The event kicks off Friday evening with an opening reception at the Alumni Center. Then, from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday a symposium featuring several O'Connor scholars will be held, followed by a themed dinner and movie later that evening. The symposium is $75 and there are additional charges for the other events. The whole shebang is sponsored by Ragin' Cajun Catholics, Deep South Magazine, the UL English department and Friends of the Humanities. To find our more, log on to OurLadyOfWisdom.org.

Talk about synergy. The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra will blend the beauty of live symphonic music with the wonder of the European cirque tradition on Nov. 10 at the Heymann Performing Arts Center when it presents Cirque de la Symphonie.

This new production brings in cirque artists from around the world - acrobats, contortionists, dancers, balancers, aerial flyers, jugglers - who will perform professionally choreographed routines to both masterpieces of the classical tradition and popular contemporary works. The family-friendly performance will also feature face painters, balloon artists and even a visit from Ronald McDonald to make the evening truly surreal.

The 7:30 p.m. concert will feature works by Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Rimsky-Korsakov and others. Tickets range from $20-$48 are available through Ticketmaster, the Heymann Center box office and the ASO's website, AcadianaSymphony.org.

Dutch Kepler, the retired art professor at UL and longtime host of free jazz jam sessions at his spread in rural St. Martin Parish, has a story to tell, and he's telling it throughout November with a new series of paintings, "Roswell Roots," at Gallery 549. The opening reception is 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10 during the Second Saturday ArtWalk.

So here's the deal: A native of Missouri, Kepler moved to Roswell, NM, as a child. His mother was teacher and his father was stationed at Roswell Air Force Base. See where we're going with this? He was 4 years old on July 8, 1947 when those famous unidentified flying objects crashed on a farm, unleashing a UFO craze that has hardly abated in the 60+ years since.

Of "Roswell Roots," Keppler says, "A fascination with Native American imagery from Taos and Santa Fe combined with reportage about the Alamogordo bomb tests also propelled the narrative for this show."

It's Berlin on the eve of destruction as the Nazis are rising to power. The cosmopolitan city's nightlife is in full swirl. Over at the seedy Kit Kat Club, beautiful young American cabaret performer Sally Bowles is falling in love with fellow Yank Cliff Bradshaw, a writer. Meanwhile at the boarding house, owner Fraulein Schneider and her suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor, come to grips with a darkening zeitgeist. Their divergent stories blend seamlessly into one of the most popular Broadway musicals of the last half century - Cabaret - and for the first three weekends in November the theater at Cité des Arts downtown is the scene of an ambitious new and strictly local run of the hit.

Presented jointly by Cité and The Riveters, Cabaret features live music under the musical direction of Esther Tyree and Adam Trouard. Jessica Jouclard takes her turn as Sally. Other cast members include Aren Chaisson, Caroline Helm, Amanda Newberry and Milton Resweber, with choreography by Travis Guillory and direction by Christy Leichty, Cité's very capable program director.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays Nov. 2-17 with a pair of 2 p.m. Sunday matinees. Tickets are $15 a piece. Call 291-1122 to find out more or purchase tickets through PayPal at Cité's website, CiteDesArts.org.