Home CULTURE ARTS Arts: September 2014

Arts: September 2014

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On the Laugh Track: A weekly comedy show stands the test of time.

ArtsSeptember2014Anyone who’s ever idly considered signing up for a stand-up comedy open mic knows that just the thought can be enough to make your palms sweaty and your mind blank. Despite that fear, dozens of comics take the stage every Wednesday at Carrollton Station to try their humor on an amiable crowd — the “Think You’re Funny?” Comedy Open Mic, hosted by Mickey Henehan and Cassidy Henehan, has been going strong at this Uptown bar for years.

The Brothers Henehan, as they bill themselves, come from a “pretty goofy and gregarious family,” Mickey says. Cassidy began doing stand-up in New York City in 2002, and a few years later, Mickey followed suit.

Around 2009, Mickey and his former roommate, comic Scotland Green, took over the hosting and promotion of a Wednesday night open mic. They eventually moved the show to Carrollton Station. “Cassidy moved back; we triple-teamed up, and the show has thrived with the help of new emerging talent, engaged audiences and a very supportive venue,” Mickey says.

What’s special about the Wednesday mic? “One thing I will take credit for is the construction of the shows themselves,” Mickey says. “Every week, Cassidy and I evaluate the tone, energy level, demographics and politics of our returning talent and craft them into a ‘set list’ that we would sit through ourselves.” He notes that comedy show hosts are not “unskilled labor” — an understatement clear to anyone observing the Henehans’ banter and quick wit between open-mic comics.

Since Mickey started his comedy career, the local scene has grown exponentially — from one show per week, citywide, to different shows almost nightly around New Orleans. “I think between emerging talent and the support of good bars, like Carrollton Station, and hardworking groups, like the New Movement Theater, comedy in New Orleans has grown in scope as well as stature,” Mickey says.

If you’re looking to try your luck at stand-up comedy, there’s just one thing you need (and it’s not Louis C.K.’s insight or Lewis Black’s rage). It’s tenacity. “Either you begin to naturally access the charm, empathy, wit and poise to succeed, or you flame out and go back to real life,” Mickey says. “Or, like me, you go up just often enough to not rot away from disuse. Like astronaut exercises.” carrolltonstation.com

“Grind Over Glamour”: Streetwear with a mission hits shelves soon.
When Brennan Manuel started designing clothing in high school, the New Orleans fashion scene was nonexistent. “It wasn’t a dream; it was a hobby,” he says of his designs. But throughout college, as he airbrushed T-shirts and brainstormed clothes, fashion remained on Manuel’s mind.

After college, Manuel enrolled at Tulane Law School. “It was killing me,” he says. “It was tough, and I was thinking, ‘Why don’t I put this energy toward something I love?’” He took a leave of absence, enrolled in sewing classes and began researching fashion trends. “I really gravitated toward menswear,” he says.

Manuel enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Technology’s menswear design program and spent a year there; then, Tulane let him know he would have to reapply if he didn’t return. “I came back to New Orleans and got the law degree, but then moved forward immediately with fashion,” he says. After showing at NOLA Fashion Week three times, Manuel received his first order from men’s boutique Friend.

Returning to the Big Apple, Manuel interned with menswear teams at labels like Harbison and 3.1 Phillip Lim. However, he was still searching for his own direction. “What I was doing was more dressy,” he says. “But I wanted to make clothing that gave me a voice and spoke to where I was at that point in my life.” Since 2011, the designer has documented everything he accomplishes, by the hour, in a notebook.

Manuel came up with 6AM Clothing, a streetwear line representing “those who are waking up early and getting in late,” and giving all of their energy to pursuing their dreams. “6AM is for seekers — those people who search for other artists and find them,” Brennan says. “They search for music and cultures that expose them to other attitudes. They search for knowledge that makes their lives better.”

He partnered with his brother, filmmaker/director Zac Manuel, to position 6AM as a lifestyle brand encompassing much more than clothing. Director of operations Zack Jarmon also joined the team this year.

6AM Clothing is available online — and soon, Manuel says, 6AM fair-trade coffee will make it easier for those on the grind to get their work done. Look out for the label in local stores soon. 6amclothing.com

Maddening Moments: Artists find inspiration in life’s Small Indignities.
This month, Red Truck Gallery, one of Royal Street’s most immersive fine art destinations, presents its first-ever exhibition. Red Truck co-owner Noah Antieau explains that the idea for Small Indignities was born from “moments in life that are soul-crushing, but they’re also mundane, so you can’t complain.”

With more than 15 artists presenting new work on that theme, including international heavy-hitters like Mark Ryden, Marion Peck and Camille Rose Garcia, Small Indignities promises a big impact. The show’s work spans a huge range of media — from Ben Venom’s heavy-metal T-shirt quilts and Mike Stilkey’s massive book-spine paintings to Tom Haney’s distressing wooden automatons and Ian Berry’s intricate blue-jean collage.

Other artists creating work based on moments of indignity include Ransom & Mitchell (a team of artists, consisting of photographer Jason Mitchell and set designer/digital artist Stacey Ransom), Jessicka Addams, Dan Barry, Jana Brike, Bryan Cunningham, Jason D’Aquino, Bosko Hrnjak, Marion Peck, Chris Roberts-Antieau, Casey Weldon and John Whipple. While a number of the selected artists show regularly at Red Truck, several are making trips across oceans and continents to attend the opening.

“There are some crazy, world-famous artists in the show, which blows my mind,” Antieau says. “Mark Ryden will be a draw internationally. We’ll get people who will come from Germany to see his piece. It’ll be sold before it’s put on the wall.” Sounds like advice to get there early!

The Small Indignities opening reception takes place on Sept. 13 from 7 pm to 9 pm, and the show will remain open until Oct. 5. redtruckgallery.com