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Title: The Arts of Mardi Gras
START DATE: 1/18/2009
Duration: 7 Hours
Location: Bywater/Marigny
Location Details:
Studio at Colton
2300 St. Claude Avenue
New Orleans, La. 70130
Event Topic: Arts of Mardi Gras
Event Type:
Contact Name: Jeanne Nathan
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: 504.218.4807
In conjunction with the closing of Prospect.1, the Studio at Colton presents a Mardi Gras arts workshop celebrating the long-standing local arts traditions of New Orleans including demonstrations, talks, exhibitions and film screenings from Colton resident filmmakers Court 13, Krewe du Vieux Captain Ray “Plaine” Kern and a special Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday bash for kids hosted by the Guardians Institute and other local community organizations. Other events include Luther Gray and Uganda Roberts talking about the “Beat of New Orleans;” and Cree McCree and friends on costuming, masking, throws and beads. All events are free and open to the public.

The Mardi Gras Arts workshop will take place on Saturday and Sunday throughout the Studio at Colton with art pieces, installations, lectures, discussions and film screenings assembled in various spaces on the ground floor. As always, selected upper level studio spaces will also be open and available for viewing.

In the Convergence Gallery from noon until 2 p.m. on Saturday and again from 1 until 3 p.m. on Sunday, Court 13 will present their giant float-like boat structure featured in their recent award-winning film “Glory at Sea,” as well as several other film props and pieces including mammoth monster heads created using some of the traditional methods seen in Mardi Gras float construction. Members of the Court 13 crew will be available to provide commentary on the methods and techniques used to create the pieces and the various stages of development from the studio to the set.

Saturday’s talks will be held in the Red Ball Room from 3 until 5 p.m. beginning with Cherice Harrison who will discuss traditions of Mardi Gras Indians.

The famous satirical Krewe du Vieux will also be in the building this weekend represented by a selection of one of a kind evocative parade pieces from the Krewe archives, Krewe Captain, Ray “Plaine” Kern as well as six other KDV sub-captains and Krewe royalty from years passed. Along with the display of parade pieces, Captain Kern will present a lecture at 4 p.m. in the Red Ball Room with a brief overview of the Krewe’s history and their iconoclastic approaches to parade season each year. A question and answer session will follow the talk. Krewe du Vieux members have historically moved on from krewe activities to develop their own creative practices within the cultural economy built upon the disciplines developed through Mardi Gras arts.

Spoken word artist Chuck Perkins and legendary drummers Luther Gray and Uganda Roberts will present a musical performance and talks titled “The Beat of Mardi Gras,” featuring percussion music in the Convergence Gallery at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon from 1 until 3 p.m. in the Convergence Gallery, pre-school through middle school kids are invited to enjoy a different kind of king cake at a special birthday party for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. presented by Guardians Institute. Southern Non-Violent Coordinating Committee activist and founder of the Free Southern Theater and Colton resident organization Junebug Productions John O’Neal will be present along with Bessie Vaughn, who will teach and sing songs of the Civil Rights Movement in remembrance of Dr. King’s life and influence. All children who attend will receive a free, age-appropriate new book and will be encouraged to participate in party activities based on Dr. King’s life, the Civil Rights Movement and African American history.

On Sunday from 1 until 3 p.m. there will be a talk on the crafts of Mardi Gras titled “The Art of Ad-hoc costuming, mask making and the business of beads,” presented by Mobile Costumier Cree McCree and friends and Tammy Thibodeaux from Beads by the Dozen.

On Saturday and Sunday, special Mardi Gras/New Orleans cujlture film screenings will be presented from 3 until 7 p.m. in room 214 by local filmmakers including Rebecca Snedeker’s “By Invitation Only”, Chappy Hardy’s “Chappy Goes to Mardi Gras”, Lolis Eric Elie’s “Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans”, Royce Osborn’s “All on a Mardi Gras Day”, Justine Malle’s “Light in April”, and Lisa Katzman’s “Tootie’s Last Suit”.

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