1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70113-1311
Zeitgeist – noun German. The spirit of the times; general trend, mood or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time, especially as it is reflected in the arts, literature, philosophy, etc.
ZEITGEIST MULTI-DISCIPLINARY ARTS CENTER has been bringing alternative art to New Orleans since November 1986 (over 23 years and still counting). We operate without any paid staff or public funds.
“SOMETHING FOR AND AGAINST EVERYONE!”
Founded in 1986 by Rene Broussard when he was a BFA student in the Drama & Communications Department at the University of New Orleans. Zeitgeist was initiated as an experimental theater troupe and derives its name from The Adventures of Phoebe Zeitgeist, a comic series which ran in Evergreen Review in the 1970′s. Phoebe was the lead character in Zeitgeist’s first theatrical production, Blood on the Cat’s Neck by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Zeitgeist went on to produce several other successful plays including Shakespeare the Sadist by Wolfgang Bauer, Rocking Back and Forth by Gunter Grass, Let’s Eat Hair by Karl Lazlo and an environmental theatre piece/musical about the Manson Family entitled Commune. The emphasis of the organization changed to that of the city of New Orleans’ leading exhibitor of alternative cinema with series and originally curated programs of experimental and underground films being presented in various locations. In June of 1990, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, one of the top 10 alternative arts centers in the U.S. offered Rene Broussard the position of Film Curator. In the three years Broussard was in Buffalo, N.Y. (1990-1993), Zeitgeist continued to do sporadic programming. Broussard served as a the co-director of the WAYS IN BEING GAY FESTIVAL and the director of the OUTRAGE GAY & LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL. In June of 1993, Broussard returned to New Orleans to establish Zeitgeist as a full-time alternative cinema doing regular programming at the Masonic Temple, The Latin American Bar, Muddy Waters and Pussycat Caverns eventually establishing their own screening room at the late Movie Pitchers. After three more address changes on O’keefe Ave (where we were partnered with Clinton Peltier’s x art gallery) and Magazine Street, Zeitgeist found it’s current home, located at 1724 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., which Zeitgeist has shared with Barrister’s Gallery for eight years.
Zeitgeist is an entirely volunteer, artist run organization that does not receive grants or public funds, who presents film, video, performance art, visual art and literary events six nights a week, year-round and is considered one of the premiere alternative arts center in the South.
Zeitgeist was awarded the Mayor’s Arts Award by the Arts Council of New Orleans and is the main venue for PATOIS: NEW ORLEANS INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL and the NEW ORLEANS MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL.
Last night we attended a screening of Women Without Men, a new film by acclaimed artist, Shirin Neshat. I really couldn’t believe the luck, having checked the theatre’s website for the first time yesterday, that this film was screening the same night. Adults get in for $7, students for $6. Members of Zeitgeist get in for cheaper or free for the first year of membership, I think. Zeitgeist is essentially a large warehouse type of room. A stage sits at the front of the space underneath the screen (which could be larger for the size of the space). The seating is made up of like chairs or older couches. The floor is concrete, the walls brick. The space was temperate, but I could image it being hot or cold depending on the weather. They serve drinks and munchies as well as independent / obscure DVDs, art, tea and handcrafts. Later the night of the screening, they were to feature two electronic music bands, which could have been cool to see with a large crowd, but the space was nearly empty so we left.