POSTED Wed. Sep 9, 2015

Events

Hop Along to Bunnyfest '15
Cree McCree
Written by CREE MCCREE
SHARE

Back in 1977, when it was still called the 501 Club for its Napoleon Avenue address, the just-opened music venue that became Tipitina’s held its very first benefit. The host and beneficiary? The club’s in-house poster artist, Bunny Matthews.

“He funded my birth by having a party at the club, which opened right after I was born,” recalls Bunny’s son Jude Matthews, who spent his formative years at Tip’s hanging out with Johnny Guitar Watson and other musical greats.

Now it’s Jude’s turn to play host at a Tip’s benefit that will help fund cancer treatments for his dad, who was recently diagnosed with lymphoma.

Scheduled for Friday, September 11, Bunnyfest ’15 features an all-star lineup of bands from Bunny’s storied past: Quintron & Miss Pussycat, King James and the Special Men, Guitar Lightnin’ Lee, Creole Stringbeans, Lonely Lonely Knights and O.L.D.

Bunny himself created the poster for the event, shortly before he went into surgery to have a brain tumor removed (The good news is, he does not have brain cancer). Inspired by Dr. John’s “brain salad surgery” lyric, it features the sliced-open head of Vic of Vic and Nat’ly fame: the iconic Ninth Ward cartoon couple can be spotted all over town sharing a po’boy on the sides of Leidenheimer’s bread trucks.

“I can hardly be as precise as I once was,” wrote Bunny when he posted the brain-salad image on his Facebook page, where he keeps friends and fans amused with a steady stream of sardonic updates. “But the average person could care less,” he noted, then added: “Not saying that I’m average!”

Indeed he’s not. Since his high school years, when he defiantly posed for a yearbook picture wearing a girl’s ribbon in his Beatle moptop rather than obey the principal’s order to get it cut (see below), Will Bunn Matthews III has always marched to his own drummer.

In fact, he’s been a one-man band, strutting his stuff as a visual artist, a highly-opinionated scribe and a musical impresario who championed other iconoclasts, including his lifelong friend James Booker, the mad genius of New Orleans piano.

Ninth Ward multi-instrumentalist and wildly creative musical inventor Quintron is proud to be in that number, and credits then Offbeat editor Bunny with giving him his “first break in this town” a couple decades ago.

“I told [Offbeat writer] Aimee Toledano that I would only consent to an interview if Offbeat put me on the cover, thinking they would never do it in a million years,” recalls Quintron, who was still a relative newcomer. “Well, to my horror, Bunny called my bluff. Bunny Matthews was and is an example to all us artists of how it’s done. Stick to your guns and shoot only when absolutely necessary.”

Rick Olivier, whose Creole Stringbeans are on the Bunnyfest bill with Quintron and Miss Pussycat, seconds that emotion.

“Sacred cows must sometimes be tossed on the pyre, and Bunny was always willing to bring out your dead if he smelled bullsh—,” says Olivier, who, like Matthews, is also a writer and photographer. “He set a very high standard to keep [it] real and entertaining. And Bunny was open enough to encourage me. He’s got a generous “spirit” that’s unstoppable, though he’d probably cringe at that term.”

Yeah you right. But that’s not gonna stop all the recipients of that spirit from showing up in force at Bunnyfest. Dozens of friends and artists are contributing to the silent auction and raffle, where donations range from artwork and photos by Olivier and others to a kayak tour for eight people.

“We’ve been getting a lot of stuff,” confirms Jude. “Arthur Roger Gallery, who represents my dad, may put a piece of his artwork up for auction. We’ll also have prints that my dad did for sale. I gave them to him last Sunday, and he’s been signing them. Also t-shirts from the event, with Bunny’s brain salad drawing. Leidenheimer’s is getting those printed up.”

The guest of honor himself may or may not be in attendance at Bunnyfest, depending on how his chemo treatments go. But so far, so good. “Chemo isn’t affecting him that much,” says Jude. “He’s still extremely hungry, and has been sending my stepmother out for po’boys.”

It wouldn’t be Bunnyfest without po’boys, and with Leidenheimer’s pitching in to help, they won’t run out of bread. So expect to chow down on some serious Vic and Nat’ly fare when you take a break from the main event: dancing your ass off.

It’s rare indeed for such a stellar cast of musical hellraisers to appear on the same stage in a single night. Expect them all to hit it out of the park, including Dave Turgeon of O.L.D., who’s on the mend from a broken back; last time I saw him, propped up on dual walkers at a friend’s Circle Bar birthday bash, he absolutely killed it.

Chances are good that Bunny will be there to see that. If not, he’ll likely paint a vivid picture of his own Bunnyfest dreamscape and post it in Facebook.

“Last night, I had one of my usual extraordinary dreams,” he wrote on August 25, the day before returning to the hospital for chemo. “[I was] riding on the back of an alligator float we stole on Washington Avenue during Mardi Gras, crashing the elegant parade of the Krewe of Washingtonians (which I don’t think exists) and the procession of the St. Augustine High School Band (which does).”

“Washington Avenue was surrounded by skyscrapers (which is hardly the truth) and I couldn’t find my car. This is a recurring dream: losing my car in New Orleans.”

“And then I woke up and I still had cancer. Things could be worse.”

You can attend Bunnyfest ’15 on Friday, September 11 at Tipitina’s, 501 Napoleon Avenue. Doors 8pm, showtime 9pm. Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

POSTED Jul 18, 2019

Creative Culture

August in New Orleans

August in New Orleans

New Orleans may be known as a party town, but locals work as hard here as they do in any city. Take a break from the routine with…....
CONTINUE

Written by CREE MCCREE
POSTED Nov 27, 2018

Atmosphere

Ready for Reveillon

Ready for Reveillon

Just like caroling on Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral concerts, or bonfires on the levee, Reveillon dinners are a beloved Crescent City holiday tradition. This year a…....
CONTINUE

POSTED Feb 28, 2018

Events

Off To The (Wiener) Races...

Off To The (Wiener) Races...

We often stress on this site the unique nature of New Orleans. The one of a kind confluence of cultures, ethnic groups, immigration patterns and geographic conditions that…....
CONTINUE

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED Nov 30, 2017

Events

Beign-YAY

Beign-YAY

Almost any identifiably New Orleans menu item has a corresponding festival, but up until recently, one of the city’s most iconic culinary treats was left without its own…....
CONTINUE

Written by ADAM KARLIN
PAGE

    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.

    WWNO

    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at WWNO.org.

    WWOZ

    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.

    PRC

    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.

    NOMA

    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.

    X

    Thanks.

    was added to your favorites.

    VIEW YOUR PROFILE

     


    Share On Twitter Share On Facebook