Mardi Gras blows into town
"Let the good times roll!" is the thing to do come Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, and there's cause for celebration even out here in the middle of the Pacific.
The main event happens downtown next week on Fat Tuesday. It's the eighth annual "Mardi Gras -- Carnaval 2008," which promises to be a new spin on the Honolulu festival. Parades with floats, samba dancers and Brazilian percussion will march down Nuuanu Avenue at 7 and 9 p.m., between Chaplain Lane and King Street.
The samba parades with batucadas (Brazilian percussion ensembles) will feature, at 7 p.m., the Sambanda Batucada & Dance Ensemble, and then at 9, the Tropikalia Batucada & Dance Ensemble.
There will also be food and beverage booths, a main music stage, and outdoor tables and seating along the street. Nawlins-inspired food will be served from restaurants Indigo, Cassis, Du Vin, Kevin Two Boots, Soul de Cuba, Caf Joy, Tea at 1024 and more.
Live music starts on the Hotel Street main stage at 6 with Delta Skelta, followed by the Sambanda Band, the newly formed Nuu Orleans Gumbo Revue and Tropikalia. A separate Pauahi Street dance will mash up the music of DJs Caju and Cookiehead Jenkins with live African drumming, along with performances by local capoeira troupes.
New this year is a contest for artists for best float and best costume. Cash prizes of $100 to $500 are available for floats, either wheeled, carried or electric-powered. The most entertaining -- both in costume and spirit -- person that night will receive a $500 prize and be crowned king or queen of the Mardi Gras.
For more information, call 521-9699.
Aloha Tower Marketplace will also have its own Mardi Gras celebration throughout the place on Tuesday, starting at 5 p.m. Festivities include live entertainment on multiple stages with jazz and blues, a Brazilian samba parade and strolling entertainers. There will be prize giveaways throughout the night, and participating restaurants will offer food and drink specials as part of their regular menus. Call 545-5900.
And finally, veteran showman Jack Cione brings his seasonal show to the Hawaii Theatre this weekend. The fundraising "Hawaii Theatre Follies: Les Mardi Gras!" will play Friday through Sunday. It's a fully produced costume spectacular featuring a cast of more than 60, showcasing singing and dancing, spectacular showgirl costumes, music and lavish production numbers.
Featured performers include John Valentine; song stylist and comic Brandy Lee; Leiliana Pelekai and Andrew Menor, the 10-year-old winners of the Al Waterson Keiki Karaoke Contest; gospel singer Riya Davis; and singer-dancer Yvette Ni'i.
Plus, this year's "boys will be girls" headliners will be Derek Daniels and "Poilicious," described as having "hair bigger than her opu."
The revue will happen 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25, $35 and $45 with a $3 per ticket theater restoration fee, with discounts for Hawaii Theatre members, youth (17 and under), seniors, students and military, both with valid ID.
Call 528-0506 or visit www.hawaiitheatre.com.