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The V Side: Laughs, original art and dance lessons

THURSDAY / A riot on the road: We all need laughs, right? Well, Baltimore’s Wham City Collective promises to provide them when the Wham City Comedy Tour arrives at 10 p.m. Thursday at Zeitgeist Theatre, 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. The troupe’s two-hour variety show bounces from experimental theater to performance art, video to stand-up. The comedians have been around since 2004, but didn’t take their show on the road until last year – a move that netted them a spot onstage in October with Second City. Admission is $5. Click here for more.

Preservation Hall benefit includes a new exhibition at the Mint that pairs images of Preservation Hall by art photographer Shannon Brinkman with interviews by radio documentarian Eve Abrams.

FRIDAY / Preservation salutation: So what better way to launch the weekend than with a quartet of great jazz bands, all under one roof, playing stellar New Orleans music, in homage to a place where jazz practically began? The Louisiana Museum Foundation presents Preservation Hall at 50: Celebrating Jazz! with tunes by The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Roots of Music, and The Preservation Hall Junior Jazz & Heritage Brass Band, plus equally delectable dishes from an array of local restaurants. And you can preview the new $4 million performance hall at the Mint. The fun takes place from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday at the Mint, with tickets $50 in advance and $60 at the door. Info online here, or call 558-0493.

SATURDAY / Mind Boggling: Yes, literature can be alluring. Just check out the 10th annual New Orleans Bookfair from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday along Frenchmen Street (“the thinking man’s Bourbon Street”) in Marigny. Highlights include readings by Bryan Batt (Faubourg Marigny Art and Books, 11 a.m.-1 pm.) and end with Keith Spera (Groove Interrupted, Snug Harbor, 5-6 p.m.) – talk about great bookends. The calendar also includes continuous readings at The Maison and Boggle and Scrabble games all day at Cafe Brazil, and live music from 2 to 4 p.m. at the corner of Frenchmen and Chartres. For a complete schedule, click here. Oh, and you have to go to find out where the top-secret after-party is being held.

Lory Lockwood is among 35 artists whose works will be featured at the Mid-City Studios open house Saturday.

SATURDAY / Mid-City house call: Three dozen leading New Orleans artists invite the world into their workshops with the only-once-a-year Artists Open House from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Mid-City Studios, 4436 Toulouse St. The renovated warehouse has been a workplace for local artists for 15 years; in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, many of them have renovated their studios and gotten back to work creating paintings, sculpture, watercolors, prints, pastels and photography. It’s not too early to start that holiday shopping, and these are one-of-a-kind works for sale. It’s a tax-free zone, too.

Lori and Glen show their two-stepping.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY / Steppin’ out: Of course you know it’s Swamp Fest at the Audubon Zoo Saturday and Sunday. Of course you know that the event, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (and free with zoo admission) offers top-notch Cajun and Zydeco bands, food and fun. But did you know that Cajun dance masters Lori and Glen will be on hand to teach you the Cajun Two-Step and Cajun Jitterbug? The two teach every Tuesday at Rock ‘n Bowl, and Mondays at the Tooloulas Lounge in Slidell. This weekend, catch them at 11:30 a.m. (Swamp Exhibit) and 3 p.m. Saturday (Performance Pavilion) and at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the zoo. For more on fests and dancing, read Mary Lou Atkinson’s Crescent City Culture column here.

SATURDAY / We’re not exactly sure what a bottle signing is, but we know there aren’t many on the calendar. If your curiosity has been piqued, then head to a Bottle Signing and Come Ask the Expert Event from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Balzac Antiques, 3506 Magazine Street. Martha Stewart chum and antique restoration expert Christophe Pourny will tell you how to take care of grandma’s hand-me-downs. Click here to enjoy TP fashion editor Susan Langenhennig’s interview with Pourny. It’s free (both the story and the event).



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