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Banners 2014 Season Underway

Banners 2014 Season Underway

(February 28, 2014) This year marks the 22nd season of the Banners Cultural Season at McNeese State University with this year's entertainment including everything from acrobats to the Tournees Film Festival.
The season kicks off with a classical offering, The Harlem Quartet. The string quartet's work is to advance diversity in classical music and engage young and new audiences through a repertoire that includes works by minority composers.
Banners will then take the audience to a completely different musical destination with Sam Bush. "This Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist will show you what American bluegrass is all about," according to Patricia Prudhomme, Banners director.
Another highlight for the season is something for the whole family to enjoy - FROGZ. "This group of acrobats will present a madcap revue of illusion, comedy and fun that has inspired audiences worldwide," she said.
"We then travel back to the hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s, with The Hit Men," said Prudhomme. "Group members have performed with acts including Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Tommy James and the Shondells, Elton John and Carly Simon."
The season will wrap up with the McNeese Jazz and Percussion Festival featuring jazz musician Joey DeFrancesco.
For more information, check out the Banners website at or call the Banners office at 337-475-5123 for full season details.

Banners Calendar of Events:

Members Opening Gala - March 7
L'Auberge Casino Resort, 7-9 p.m.
The Banners Cultural Season kicks off its 2014 calendar of events with a members opening gala - one of the benefits of being a Banners supporters. Members will gThe Harlem Quartet groupet a preview of the season's artists and lectures.

Harlem Quartet - March 9
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, 3 p.m.
The Harlem Quartet is "bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent," says the Cincinnati Enquirer. The quartet's mission is to advance diversity in classical music and engage young and new audiences through the discovery and presentation of varied repertoire that includes works by minority composers.

John Griswold - March 13
Ralph Squires Recital Hall, 7 p.m.
John Griswold runs the fiction side of the Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing at McNeese and is editor of The McNeese Review. He will read from his latest book, "Pirates You Don't Know, and Other Adventures in the Examined Life," in which he attempts to make sense of his life as a writer and now professor. The answers for him are both comic and profound: "Picture Long John Silver at the end of the movie, his dory filled with stolen gold, rowing and sinking; rowing, sinking and gloating."

Halie Loren - March 14
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.
The first thing you notice is that voice: gorgeous, graceful and somehow earthy and ethereal at once. It is an instrument perfectly matched to the songwriting talents of the artist who channels it. Loren brings a fresh and original perspective to time-honored musical paths.

B.H. Fairchild - March 15
Ralph Squires Recital Hall, 7 p.m.
B.H. Fairchild's work has gained renown for its marriage of high and low culture and art, as well as its interest in evoking beauty in everyday memories and events. Fairchild's books of poetry include "The Arrival of the Future," "The Art of the Lathe" and "Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest."

The Real Story of "12 Years a Slave" - March 18
Shearman Fine Arts Theatre, film screening at 4:30 p.m. and lecture at 7 p.m.
Dr. John Keeling will place the slave narrative and film, "12 Years a Slave," in its historical context. Solomon Northup's story provides a wealth of information about the institution of slavery in Louisiana and has long been a key source for historians. He will discuss antebellum kidnappings of free African-Americans, the slave markets of New Orleans and the world that Northup navigated in 1940s Louisiana. Keeling is an assistant professor of history at McNeese.

Amour - March 19
The Tournees Film Festival
Shearman Fine Arts Theatre, 7 p.m.
A staggering, profound examination of love, Michael Haneke's compassionate film centers on Georges and Anne, long-married octogenarians and retired music teachers who still take great delight in each other. Their bonds will be tested, however, as Anne grows increasingly debilitated, both mentally and physically.

Bridgman Packer Dance Co. - March  21
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.
Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer, artistic directors of Bridgman|Packer Dance Co., have collaborated as performers and choreographers since 1978. Their innovative work developing "Video Partnering" - the integration of live performance and video technology - has been acclaimed for its highly visual and visceral alchemy of the live and the virtual.

Perfect Strangers - March 22
Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers
Shearman Fine Arts Theatre, 7 p.m.
This film tells the story of Ellie, who is determined to give away one of her kidneys, and Kathy, who endures nightly dialysis until Ellie reads her profile on an online website. The film explores the magnitude of Ellie's gift and the burden of responsibility that accompanies it, for both donor and recipient.

L'Assaut - March 26
The Tournees Film Festival
Stokes Auditorium/Hardtner Hall, 7 p.m.
Based on the hijacking of a Paris-bound Air France flight on Christmas Eve in 1994, this thriller remains taut and tense from the first frame to the last. The film includes actual footage of the rescue operation. More that 200 passengers were freed during this firefight, but the mission was Stack of frogsnot without multiple fatalities.

FROGZ - March 27
Lake Charles Civic Center, 7:30 p.m.
FROGZ has been described as Cirque du Soleil, evoking acrobatics mixed with Mummenschanz-like mime, set in a unique - yet accessible - French-influenced avant-garde playground. FROGZ is a madcap revue of illusion, comedy and fun that has inspired audiences worldwide.

Pam Houston - March 29
Ralph Squires Recital Hall, 7 p.m.
Pam Houston has had work selected for volumes of Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Stories of the Century. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA award for contemporary fiction and The Evil Companions Literary Award and multiple teaching awards. She is the director of creative writing at University of California Davis and teaches in The Pacific University low residency MFA program.

Des Hommes et Des Dieux - April 2
The Tournees Festival
Stokes Auditorium/Hardtner Hall, 7 p.m.
A tale of faith and doubt, based on a real incident, that still reverberates in France. Eight French Trappist monks settle in an impoverished village in Algeria, offering medical assistance and gaining the locals' trust. Life is disrupted by the arrival of terrorists who demand that the monks leave. Not wanting to abandon the destitute citizens who've come to rely on them, the brothers take a vote, ultimately deciding to stay.

Downton Abbey & History - April 3
Stokes Auditorium/Hardtner Hall, 7 p.m.
Dr. Derek Blakeley, assistant professor of history at McNeese, will reveal the "real" Downton Abbey. While there is no single family upon which the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their daughters are based, some of the characters and episodes are based on historical figures from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The entire series is set in an era when the British aristocracy was experiencing an unprecedented decline in power and prominence. The popular TV series offers insights into the nature of this transition and some of the flamboyant characters that lived through it.

27th Annual McNeese National Works on Paper Exhibition - April 3
April 3-May 15
Presented by the McNeese Department of Visual Arts
Grand Gallery, Shearman Fine Arts Annex, free
Opening Reception, 6-8 p.m., April 3

Lightwire - April 4laser dinosaur
Lake Charles Civic Center, 7:30 p.m.
Creators Ian Carney and Corbin Popp met while dancing in Twyla Tharp's Broadway show "Movin' Out. "An immediate connection was made as they discovered their mutual love of art, theater and technology. After coming across a product called EL wire, the lights turned on. "EL wire" is short for electroluminescent wire: Unlike black lights, the technology can be powered by batteries and requires no theatrical lighting. The possibilities seemed endless. Together with their wives, Eleanor and Whitney, they began to develop puppetry-based creatures that quickly gained personality.

Sam Bush - April 5
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.
Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist Sam Bush doesn't seem old enough to be a musical legend. And he's not. But he is. Alternately known as the King of Telluride and the King of Newgrass, Bush has been honored by the Americana Music Association and the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Robert Cooper - April 8
Stokes Auditorium/Hardtner Hall, 7 p.m.
Robert Cooper has published work in NuWest Review (Canada), Barataria Review, The Review and in the anthologies Blood to Remember, American Poets on the Holocaust and Anthology from the Mellen Poetry Press. His book, "The Camp, a Memory Book, 1942-1945," was published by Writers' House Press. His current work is "Eighty-Six Love Songs Without Music."

Coleur de Peau: Miel - April 9
The Tournees Film Festival
Stokes Auditorium/Hardtner Hall, 7 p.m.
An enchanting hybrid of animation and live-action, this adaptation of co-director Jung's autobiographical graphic novel recounts his childhood and adolescence after a Belgian couple adopts him from a South Korean orphanage in the early 1970s. "Approved for Adoption" poignantly traces one man's interrogation of ethnicity and culture.Acrobats

Kenya Safari Acrobats - April 11
Burton Coliseum, 7:30 p.m.
Kenya Safari Acrobats are a spectacle for the eyes, ears and the heart. Death defying stunts, comedy, audience participation and heart-pounding music combine to create a production that will have all ages on the edge of their seats.

The Retrieval - April 12
Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers
Ralph Squires Recital Hall, 7 p.m.
On the outskirts of the Civil War, "The Retrieval," follows a fatherless 13-year-old boy sent north by his bounty hunter gang on a dangerous mission to retrieve a wanted man under false pretense. During their journey towards the unwitting man's reckoning, the initially distant pair develops unexpected bonds. As his feelings grow, the boy is consumed by conflicting emotions and a gut-wrenching ultimate decision: betray the father figure he's finally found or risk being killed by his gang for insubordination.

The Hit Men - April 13
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, 3 p.m.
Amazing performers, superb musicians, superior vocalists, great arrangers and creative composers - the Hit Men perform the hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Group members have performed with acts including Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Tommy James and the Shondells, Elton John, Carly Simon and Jim Croce.

Les Adieux a La Reine - April 16
The Tournees Film Festival
Shearman Fine Arts Theatre, 7 p.m.
A lush adaptation of Chantal Thomas' 2003 novel about the chaos at Versailles on the eve of the 1789 revolution is told through the vantage point of the reader to Marie Antoinette. Compressed to four tumultuous days and taking place almost entirely within the actual royal palace, "Farewell, My Queen," tracks its protagonist relentlessly as she tries to make sense of the rumors she hears and rushes to read a few pages of Rousseau to Her Majesty.

McLeod Lecture Series - April 24
Shearman Fine Arts Theatre, 7 p.m.
In its 11th year, the McLeod Lecture Series will continue its focus on Louisiana politics and efforts to promote a climate of good government. The McLeod Endowment, in memory of former legislator and judge, Bill McLeod, supports the Southwest Louisiana Legislative Archives at McNeese. In addition, it provides for a McLeod Endowed Professorship each year.

ETHEL and Robert Mirabal - April 25
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.
ETHEL, a pioneering string quartet, and Grammy-winning Native American flutist Robert Mirabal present a program inspired by the sun mythology of Native America. Using the instruments of the string quartet, Native American flutes (Tdoop - Pootse) and drums (Mooloo), as well as the spirited voices of students and community members, ETHEL and Mirabal unite to create a cross-cultural contemporary music event.

The Alley Cats - April 26
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.
Doo Wop was never this fun! Tight harmonies, universal humor and unbelievable
a cappella energy equal the Alley Cats. The Alley Cats began at Fullerton College in California and landed their first professional gig at Disneyland's "Blast to the Past." Soon after, the group appeared on television, radio shows, corporate events, performing arts centers, fairs, festivals, schools and even a USO show aboard the John C. Stennis aircraft carrier welcoming home the troops from Iraq. Currently, the Alley Cats are the opening act for Jay Leno in Las Vegas.

Shearman Fine Arts, 7:30 p.m.
From Mozart to Radiohead, the eclectic repertoire and dynamic performance style of SYBARITE5 is turning heads throughout the music world. SYBARITE5 has taken audiences by storm all across the United States, forever changing the perception of chamber music performance. From the moment the group's bows hit the strings, this quintet of talented, diverse musicians takes the audience on an exciting ride that engages the senses and redefines the rules.

McNeese Jazz and Percussion Festival with Joey DeFrancesco - May 3
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.
Joey DeFrancesco has been around the world and back dozens of times with his own trio, but he is also playing and recording with some of the greatest musicians in the world, such as Ray Charles, Bette Midler, David Sanborn, Arturo Sandoval and many more.

Banners Cultural Season is one of the programs of Banners at McNeese State University, explained Prudhomme. "Banners is an organization within the framework of McNeese State University dedicated to providing the community with easy access to exceptional arts and humanities programming and education unique to the area. The Cultural Season specifically works to bring a world of culture to Southwest Louisiana by featuring performances that would not be available through other programs."
She said Banners Engages is the educational outreach component, which includes K-12 live arts and cultural presentations to public and parochial schools, as well as presentations in parish public libraries. Last year, over 13,000 students were impacted by these arts performances.
Banners memberships start at $80 for the season. Tickets to individual performances will be available at the door at $20 for adults, $5 for students and free to McNeese and Sowela students with IDs. Lectures are open free to the public. Banners is supported by membership, corporate sponsors and grants. For more information about the program, becoming a member or tickets, visit the Banners website at