‘This is NOLA’ represents ‘New’ Orleans

Stephanie Chen, Senior Staff Reporter

New Orleans’ history may be steeped in culture, but significant art can be found without digging deep into the archives. This Is NOLA, a new monthly event hosted by Winter Circle Productions, will highlight contemporary artists on the vanguard of the ‘new’ New Orleans. The event will feature musicians, visual artists and food trucks starting 8 p.m. Friday at the Joy Theatre. Entry is free with RSVP, and those without tickets can arrive early for extra spots.

Though New Orleans has no shortage of cultural offerings, WCP founder and Tulane alumnus Reeves Price said he was frustrated by the city’s aversion to outsiders and up-and-coming artists.

“It’s frustrating to me when I see the same acts that have gotten so much support from … your typical outlets for music, and you see the same names, the same sounds, the same people getting plugged and pushed over and over and over again,” Price said. “It was important for me to try to build a platform from which our contemporary arts and music could gain some exposure.”

Though the event focuses on young, up-and-coming artists, its lineup by no means showcases obscure acts. Local breakout group Hurray for the Riff Raff will headline Friday evening’s performances. The band released its most recent album “Small Town Heroes” earlier in the year to critical acclaim for its welding of social activism and folk ballads. With performances on Late Night with David Letterman and praise from the Guardian, NPR and Pitchfork, the group ideally demonstrates New Orleans’ evolution, spinning the unexpected out of the traditional. HFTRR’s music is immersed in traditional modes of storytelling, using them to examine gender politics and build a sense of community on local and national scales. The night will also feature the band’s frequent collaborators the Deslondes, as well as local band Coyotes.

This Is NOLA may heavily feature musical acts, but it is dedicated to portraying New Orleans as an interdisciplinary hub.

“We like doing different types of events and bringing different types of people and energies to the table,” Price said. “For this [event], it was important that it was representative of more than just the contemporary music community, but also the arts and culinary community as a whole.”

Between acts, local filmmaker Garret Bradley will screen work from his new film “Below Dreams,” which will also screen at New Orleans Film Festival next week. Cocktails from the Doris Metropolitan’s Konrad Kantor will be available, as well as food from NOLA Girl Food Truck and St. Clair Wood Fired Pizza.

For a city that never stands still, This is NOLA hopes to depict a condensed snapshot of New Orleans culture. It’s a slice of a community whose art coalesces at the intersection of technological, culinary and artistic innovation, where new voices are just as important as the old.

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