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Saturday night, the New Orleans Bingo Show brought its makeup, bingo cards, and a whole bunch of friends from New Orleans to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. The showcase was designed to show off and celebrate New Orleans’ music in a unique, Cajun circus-like way.
Over the course of the three-hour show, all flavors of brass bands were represented, from the traditional end (Preservation Hall Jazz Band) to the more modern (Noisician Coalition) to something in between (Young Fellaz Brass Band). Burlesque group Fleur De Tease brought dazzling visuals and Mystic Pony Aerial Troupe handled the amazing aerial displays. Helen Gillet performed elegantly on her cello; the youthful voices of GIVERS and the swampy sounds (and puppets!) of Quintron and Miss Pussycat mixed things up even more.
But the two highlights had to be bounce artist Big Freedia and the New Orleans Bingo! Show itself, if only because of the total strangeness of seeing them in a room as hallowed as the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Big Freedia—-maker of jams like “Azz Everywhere”—-brought a year’s supply of ass, and wasn’t shy about showing it onstage in front of an all-ages crowd. The Bingo Show, featuring Clint Maedgen, wasn’t deterred by the stage’s vast breadth, holding its usual bingo game. When the two older ladies who yelled “Bingo!” were brought to the stage, a robot dance-off (obviously) determined the winner. In the end, both ladies were so good that the audience demanded they both win.
Very few performers could turn the concert hall into such a killer party; it was a pleasure to see one as weirdly delightful as the New Orleans Bingo! Show do it so well.
See a plethora of photos from the three-hour show in the gallery.