twi-ny, this week in new york

Romantic Night of the Week


1. Chocolate and olive trees downtown

2. Walker, Campbell, Weiner, Smith, Peili, and Collins uptown

3. Celebrating the centennial of Russian cinema

4. American Songbook in Columbus Circle

5. Outsider art in Midtown

6. Plus Riff’s Rants & Raves: Film, including TALK, TALK, TALK at the ImaginAsian, U2 3D, LOST IN BEIJING, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, THE WITNESSES, and THE EYE on DVD

7. Riff’s Rants & Raves: Live Music & Dance, including the Birthday Massacre and the Hip Hop Karaoke Championships at the Highline Ballroom, ARCH DL IV, THE SLUG BEARERS OF KAYROL ISLAND, Xavier Rudd and Richard Thompson at the Nokia, and Chinese New Year Splendor at Radio City

8. Riff’s Rants & Raves: Art & Literature, including French graphic artists at the National Arts Club, Michael Chabon’s THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION, and DO YOU BELIEVE? CONVERSATIONS ON GOD AND RELIGION at Temple Emanu-El

9. and twi-ny’s weekly recommended events, including book readings, film screenings, panel discussions, concerts, workshops, and more

Volume 7, Number 34
January 23 — February 6, 2008

Send all comments, suggestions, reviews, and questions to Mark Rifkin
at admin@twi-ny.com.

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Twi-ny, This Week in New York

Chocolate traffic lines the Brooklyn Bridge at the Ritz-Carlton


The Chocolate Bar 2008

Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, Rise, fourteenth floor

2 West St. at Battery Pl.

Friday and Saturday nights from February 1 to March 1, 6:30, 8:30, and 10:30

Special seatings at 6:30, 8:30, and 10:30 on Tuesday, February 14

Fee: $75, includes tax, tip, and bottomless Champagne

Chocolate Lovers’ Package: $475+, includes hotel room and Chocolate Bar

Sugar & Spice: $899+, includes hotel room, couples massage, and Chocolate Bar

Advance reservations strongly suggested: 917-790-2600


Two years ago, pastry chef extraordinaire Laurent Richard brought the Paris of his youth (he grew up in nearby Maison Lafitte) to the annual February chocolate celebration at the Ritz-Carlton, turning the romantic fourteenth-floor Rise bar into the City of Lights. This year he pays tribute to his current home, New York, with the spectacular "I (Heart) Chocolate." As you walk in, you will stand in awe of a huge model of the Brooklyn Bridge, sculpted in chocolate. (The real Brooklyn Bridge can be seen in the distance as well.) Every day, Richard rides his motorcycle over that historic bridge as he travels from his brownstone in Cobble Hill to the kitchen in the Ritz-Carlton. While little cars travel over the lower level of Richard’s splendid creation (what, no motorcycle?), his best-yet collection of chocolate delights stop traffic on the upper level. Chocolate raspberry sacher is wonderfully tangy. Chocolate Amaretto crème caramel slides lovingly down your throat. Chocolate crème brulée tart breathes life into an increasingly tired dessert. Chocolate banana fondant and marquise and chocolate sabayon and caramelized pineapple martini, served in fancy glasses, are classy and fabulous. Chocolate mango sandwich, lying sideways on two rows of chocolate ganache, features delicate macaroons holding together the fluffy, fruity center.


Master chocolatier Laurent Richard poses next to his Empire State Building

Ever playful, Richard has created his own marvelous take on the childhood favorite Mallomar. He even did the impossible — despite our avowed fear and hatred of peanut butter, he surprised us with his version of a peanut butter cup, with two solid pieces of dark chocolate and apricot sauce. (We ate it without knowing what it was — and are very glad we did, although it doesn’t change our opinion about peanut butter in general.) In the back, Angela serves toffee chocolate molten cake hot from the oven, topped with banana walnut ice cream. Richard also includes chocolate petit fours (chocolate soft caramels, chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate mendiants) situated into a chocolate model of his Brooklyn brownstone. Meanwhile, the bridge is surrounded by three other city icons: the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and Arturo Di Modica’s "Charging Bull," complete with edible $100 bills. (The real Wall Street bull is right around the corner, in Bowling Green.) Richard’s only misstep is a couple of New York Yankees home plates; yo, Laurent, dere from da Bronx!

In the Neighborhood


Ugo Rondinone brings Naples to Lower Manhattan


Ritz-Carlton promenade

2 West St. off Battery Pl.

Admission: free


On the plaza in front of the Ritz-Carlton, Swiss-born artist Ugo Rondinone, who lives and works in New York, has installed a pair of bare aluminum olive trees, coated in white enamel, that provide quite a contrast to the surrounding area, in the shadow of tall skyscrapers and New York Harbor. Carefully cast from actual two-thousand-year-old trees in Naples, where his family is from, the one-ton pieces rise out of the concrete, out of place and time. They looked particularly eclectic during the holiday season, set amid real trees covered in Christmas lights. Rondinone, whose rainbow-colored "Hell, Yes!" currently adorns the facade of the New Museum of Contemporary Art on Bowery, says about the installation, "What interests me about the two 2000-year-old olive trees is the fact that once they are cast bare naked they become a memoriam of condensed time. Through a cast olive tree you can not only experience the lapse of real time, that is, lived time, frozen in its given form, but through this transformation also a different calibrated temporality. Time can be experienced as a lived abstraction, where the shape is formed by this accumulation of time and wind force."

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Museum Exhibit of the Week


Kara Walker, detail, "Gone, An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred Between the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart," cut paper on wall, 1994


Whitney Museum of American Art

945 Madison Ave. at 75th St.

Through February 3

Closed Monday & Tuesday; pay-what-you-wish Friday 6:00 — 9:00

Admission: $15



Kara Walker, born in 1969 in Stockton, California, and currently living and working in New York City, chooses to work primarily in an old-fashioned medium, black cut-paper silhouettes, with an in-your-face modern sensibility. Her work investigates color in America, provocatively examining slavery and the antebellum South as well as racism in today’s society. Her large-scale pieces appear pasted on the white walls throughout this marvelous retrospective at the Whitney, enhancing their power. Walker has organized the exhibit into seven narratives: "Silhouettes," "An Historical Romance," "Uncle Tom," "Negress Notes," "African-America," "Censorship?" and "Retelling History." Through a multimedia barrage of silhouettes, watercolors, projections, shadow puppetry, collage, and video, Walker holds nothing back; in fact, when visitors get off the elevator, they are at once greeted with a shocking, explicitly sexual image at the center of "Gone, An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred Between the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart." Referencing GONE WITH THE WIND, UNCLE TOM’S CABIN, and countless tales and image of the Old South, the piece sets the tone for the exhibit with depictions of scenes of the genteel South that populate the American psyche — complete with images of sex, violence, power, subversion, slavery, birth, and death, the narrative that underlies the reality. Be sure to look closely at each scene, which are more than what they first appear, embodying the title of the show: "My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love."


Kara Walker, "Cut," cut paper on wall, 1998

In the second room, Walker tells the story of "The End of Uncle Tom and the Grand Allegorical Tableau of Eva in Heaven," another panoramic composition of images that grows more shocking with extended views. On the audio program, the soft-spoken Walker talks bout the piece, her nervous laughter both endearing and disarming. For "Darkytown Rebellion," Walker projects a colorful forest environment over her silhouettes; if viewers walk in front of the projector, their shadow becomes part of the work, making them complicit. "Slavery! Slavery!…" gets its own room, encircling the viewer in its grasp. It also features the only three-dimensional addition to the silhouettes, black-paper chains that bind a slave. Three video installations further Walker’s message, including "8 Possible Beginnings of: The Creation of African-America, a Moving Picture by Kara E. Walker," which uses Balinese-like shadow puppets to tell its powerful story; not only doesn’t Walker hide the means of production, showing hands moving the figures around, but she also reveals herself. The exhibit ends with "Cut," a fascinating silhouette of a woman floating through the air, having just sliced her wrist, shooting out black blood; the piece can be seen as a self-portrait of the artist, evoking the violent nature of cutting to bleed for her art. Interestingly, all of the silhouettes are temporary; when the exhibition closes, the pieces will be pulled off the wall and destroyed, only to be created again at the show’s next stop, a subtle reference to the continuing effects of slavery and racism in modern-day America.


Beth Campbell, detail, "Following Room," mixed media, 2007


Anne & Joel Ehrenkrantz Gallery, first floor

Through February 24

following room slideshow


Born in Illinois and now living and working in New York City, Beth Campbell creates installation art that plays with people’s perception, forcing them to reexamine their surroundings. Last summer, her "Potential Store Fronts" on Maiden Lane offered a repeating reflection of the word "Change" — while promising to be back in five minutes, as if change was teasingly just out of reach. Her current installation at the Whitney, "Following Room," is a dazzling optical illusion that calls into question both what we see and, more important, how we interpret it. At first glance, a room, featuring a chair, a spare black bookcase, a white lamp, a red pillow, and an open blue book, seems to repeat endlessly via a series of mirrors. But look again — and even put your hand through where the reflecting glass should be. In fact, Campbell has obsessively constructed ten versions of the same exact room, placing them back to back and side to side. But the mirrors aren’t the only thing missing; so is the person, who has put the book and their reading glasses down, gotten up from the chair, and walked away, leaving the light on.

The accompanying brochure includes "My Potential Future Based on Present Circumstances," in which an anxiety-ridden Campbell, upon being invited to do a project at the Whitney, maps out various paths she can go down. In one, she writes, "Try new things but my personal limitations keep revealing themselves," while in another, "I start knitting + making felt hats." In others she spends too much time watching television, cleaning the house, or becoming "suspicious of everyone" and "afraid of humanity." She foresees that "the show doesn’t open in time or even at all," it "becomes historically known as the ‘abyss,’" "My work becomes incredibly popular," and "All of the work quadruples during the show." She needn’t worry; all of her anxiety has resulted in a visually pleasing, through-provoking work, even if it isn’t "used for the next Wilco album cover."


Lawrence Weiner, "In Direct Line with Another & the Next," cast-iron manhole cover, 2000


Whitney Museum of American Art



Conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner has taken over an entire floor of the Whitney with "As Far as the Eye Can See," on view through February 10. For his first major U.S. career retrospective, Weiner, who was born in the Bronx, has redesigned the gallery space, allowing visitors to enter the multimedia exhibition in a variety of ways. Weiner plays with language and material, sometimes displaying an object, such as the trimmed limestone and wood "What Is Set Upon the Table Sits Upon the Table (Stone on Table)," and, more often, merely using the words to represent the work, such as "Illuminated by the Lights of Two Ships Passing in the Night," "Crystallized with the Drippings from the Trees that Came from the Land," and "As Far as the Eye Can See," which stretches across the Whitney’s Madison Ave. facade. Interestingly, as the exhibition travels, certain works, seen only in text here, will become objects, and vice versa. Be sure to pick up the free audio, which features the outrageous "Melodic Noise for Radio," consisting of sixteen pieces of music written and/or performed by Weiner, Ned Sublette, the Persuasions, Coosje van Bruggen, Peter Gordon, and others. Through February 17, "Television Delivers People" features screenings of videos that incorporate the medium of television, including pieces by Richard Serra, Dara Birnbaum, Michael Smith, and Alex Bag. Also through February 17, "Two Years" collects some of the Whitney’s latest acquisitions for the permanent collection, from 2006 and 2007.

Friday, January 25 Initial Public Offerings (I.P.O.): Caitlin Berrigan, free with museum admission (pay-what-you-wish), 7:00

Wednesday, January 30 Conversations on Art: "Slow Fade to Black," with Margo Jefferson, Marco Williams, and Michelle Parkerson discussing black history and stereotypes in film, relating to the Kara Walker exhibition, $8, 7:00

Friday, February 15 Gallery Talk: Tina Kukielski and Beth Campbell, free with museum admission, 8:00


Anthology Film Archives

32 Second Ave. at Second St.



Wednesday, January 23


Tuesday, January 29 In conjunction with the Whitney retrospective, Anthology will be screening seven programs of films and videos by Lawrence Weiner, two programs per night, beginning at 7:00 or 7:30, with the second program starting either at 8:30. 9:00, or 9:30, with Weiner introducing the January 25, 7:00 screening of program five

In the Neighborhood


David Smith, "Circles Intercepted," steel, painted, 1961


Gagosian Gallery

980 Madison Ave. between 75th & 76th Sts.

Through February 23

Tuesday — Saturday 10:00 am — 6:00 pm

Admission: free



In addition to his monumental works in metal, American sculptor David Smith took spray paint to paper and canvas, creating a series of illuminating pieces that succeed as both graphic representations of his sculptural output as well as abstract visions all their own. Shown for the first time in nearly three decades, these mostly untitled sprays, some of which include gouache, were made using stencils, so the geometric forms are almost like a void, as if they have been removed from the canvas and brought out — and enlarged — into real life. While the fifth floor of the gallery features smaller works that are more delineated, the sixth floor boasts larger vertical works that appear more random and breathtakingly beautiful, with more color and less specificity. In the center of the main space is the painted steel "Circles Intercepted," the tangential physical embodiment of the surrounding works. "Sprays" is a revelation, even to those who were awed by the Guggenheim’s marvelous centennial retrospective of the artist’s work in 2006.

© Zhang Peili

Zhang Peili's multimedia exhibit is at Tilton Gallery


Tilton Gallery

8 East 76th St. between Madison and Fifth Aves.

Through February 16

Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am ­- 6:00 pm

Admission: free



Through February 16 Multimedia installation by Chinese artist Zhang Peili, including photographs and video

Judy Collins will be bringing her cabaret show to the Carlyle for the last time


Café Carlyle at the Carlyle Hotel

35 East 76th St. at Madison Ave.

January 22 — March 1

Tuesday though Saturday, 8:45

Tickets: $125; VIP seating: $175 per person (dinner required)



Now in her late sixties, singer-songwriter Judy Collins will be making her last-ever performances at the Carlyle in a five-week celebration of her career, which has included forays into folk, pop, country, cabaret, and even classical. Collins is a master interpreter, scoring hits with her versions of the Beatles’ "In My Life," Stephen Sondheim’s "Send in the Clowns," and the hymn "Amazing Grace." Her most recent albums find her covering Leonard Cohen, Broadway show tunes, and Lennon and McCartney. Collins is also the founder of Wildflower Records, which features such artists as Amy Speace, Kenny White, Eileen Rose, and Zoe Lewis.

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Film Festival of the Week


Larisa Shepitko’s THE ASCENT


Walter Reade Theater unless otherwise noted

165 West 65th St. between Broadway & Amsterdam Ave., Plaza Level

January 25 — February 14

Series pass: $40 for five films



This year marks the official centennial of the birth of Russian cinema, so Lincoln Center is honoring the anniversary with more than two dozen seminal Russian works from the Mosfilm studio. From silent films of the 1920s by Granovsky, Eisenstein, and Kuleshov to recent films by Sokurov, Balabanov, and Storozheva, the series displays the unique sensibility of Russian and Soviet films over the years, through the political and social upheaval of Lenin, Stalin, the Cold War, Glasnost, and beyond. Also included is Tarkovsky’s avant-garde THE MIRROR, Menshov’s international hit MOSCOW DOES NOT BELIEVE IN TEARS, and Kurosawa’s unforgettable DERSU UZALA.

Friday, January 25 JOLLY FELLOWS OR MOSCOW LAUGHS / VESYOLYE REBYATA (Grigori Aleksandrov, 1934), 2:00

Friday, January 25 THE MIRROR / ZERKALO (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1974), 4:00

THE MIRROR (ZERKALO) (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975)

"Words can’t really express a person’s emotions. They’re too inert." So says Andrei Tarkovsky in his dream-filled, surreal masterpiece THE MIRROR, which features long scenes with little or no dialogue. Tarkovsky turns the mirror on himself and his childhood to tell the fragmented and disjointed story of WWII-era Russia through his own personal experiences with his family. Tarkovsky was obsessed with film as art, and this nonlinear film is his poetic apex; he even includes his father’s poems read over shots that are crafted as if paintings. Many of the actors play several roles; have fun trying to figure out who is who and what exactly is going on at any one moment.

Friday, January 25 THE NEW MOSCOW / NOVAYA MOSKVA (Aleksandr Medvedkin, 1938), 6:30

Friday, January 25 CARGO 200 / GRUZ 200 (Aleksei Balabanov, Russia, 2007), 8:45

Saturday, January 26 THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN / BRONENOSETS POTYOMKIN (Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1925), with piano accompaniment by Carolyn Swartz, 1:00

Saturday, January 26 WHITE SUNDAY, OF THE DESERT / BELOE SOLNTSE PUSTYNI (Vladimir Motyl, 1969), 3:00

Saturday, January 26 THE LETTER NEVER SENT / NEOTPRAVLENNOYE PISMO (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1959), 5:15

Saturday, January 26 ALEXANDRA / ALEKSANDRA (Aleksandr Sokurov, Russia, 2007), 7:15

Saturday, January 26 TRAVELLING WITH PETS / PUTESHESTVIE S DOMASHNIMI ZHIVOTNYMI (Vera Storozheva, Russia, 2007), 9:30


Sunday, January 27 COURIER / KURER (Karen Shakhnazarov, 1986), 3:15

Sunday, January 27 CARGO 200 / GRUZ 200 (Aleksei Balabanov, Russia, 2007), 5:15

Sunday, January 27 JAZZMAN / MY IZ DZHAZA (Karen Shakhnazarov, 1983), 7:15


Tuesday, January 29 JOLLY FELLOWS OR MOSCOW LAUGHS / VESYOLYE REBYATA (Grigori Aleksandrov, 1934), 2:00 and 6:15


Tuesday, January 29 HAPPINESS / SCHASTYE (Aleksandr Medvedkin, 1934), 8:15

Wednesday, January 30 HAPPINESS / SCHASTYE (Aleksandr Medvedkin, 1934), 2:30

Wednesday, January 30 CARGO 200 / GRUZ 200 (Aleksei Balabanov, Russia, 2007), 4:00


THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN is part of centennial celebration at Lincoln Center

Wednesday, January 30 THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN / BRONENOSETS POTYOMKIN (Sergei M. Eisenstein, 1925), with piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin, 6:15

Wednesday, January 30 THE THIRTEEN / TRINADTSATURDAY, (Mikhail Romm, 1936), 8:00

Thursday, January 31 THE THIRTEEN / TRINADTSATURDAY, (Mikhail Romm, 1936), 2:00 and 6:15

Thursday, January 31 TRAVELLING WITH PETS / PUTESHESTVIE S DOMASHNIMI ZHIVOTNYMI (Vera Storozheva, 2007), 4:00

Thursday, January 31 THE NEW MOSCOW / NOVAYA MOSKVA (Aleksandr Medvedkin, 1938), 8:15


Saturday, February 2 TRACTOR DRIVERS / TRAKTORISTY (Ivan Pyryev, 1939), 3:30

Saturday, February 2 BED AND SOFA / TRETYA MESHCHANSKAYA (Abram Room, 1927), with piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin, 5:30

Saturday, February 2 CARNIVAL NIGHT / KARNAVALNAYA NOCH (Eldar Ryazanov, 1956), 7:15

Saturday, February 2 SADKO (Aleksandr Ptushko, 1952), 9:00

Sunday, February 3 JEWISH LUCK / JIDISCHE GLICKN (Aleksandr Granovsky, 1925), with piano accompaniment by Donald Sosin, 2:00

Sunday, February 3 THE NEW MOSCOW / NOVAYA MOSKVA (Aleksandr Medvedkin, 1938), 4:00

Sunday, February 3 THE RUSSIAN QUESTION / RUSSKIY VOPROS (Mikhail Romm, 1947), 6:00

Sunday, February 3 TRACTOR DRIVERS / TRAKTORISTY (Ivan Pyryev, 1939), 8:00

Monday, February 4 THE RUSSIAN QUESTION / RUSSKIY VOPROS (Mikhail Romm, 1947), 2:00 and 6:15

Monday, February 4 SADKO (Aleksandr Ptushko, 1952), 4:00 and 8:15

Tuesday, February 5 THE CRANES ARE FLYING / LETYAT ZHURAVLI (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1957), 4:00 and 7:50

Tuesday, February 5 CARNIVAL NIGHT / KARNAVALNAYA NOCH (Eldar Ryazanov, 1956), 2:15 and 6:15

Wednesday, February 6 THE LETTER NEVER SENT / NEOTPRAVLENNOYE PISMO (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1959), 2:00

Wednesday, February 6 JAZZMAN / MY IZ DZHAZA (Karen Shakhnazarov, 1983), 4:00

Thursday, February 7 WALKING THE STREETS OF MOSCOW / YA SHAGAYU PO MOSKVE (Georgi Daneliya, 1963), 1:00


Andrei Konchalovsky takes on Chekhov in UNCLE VANYA

Thursday, February 7 COURIER / KURER (Karen Shakhnazarov, 1986), 9:00

Friday, February 8 WHITE SUNDAY, OF THE DESERT / BELOE SOLNTSE PUSTYNI (Vladimir Motyl, 1969), 1:00 and 6:15

Friday, February 8 THE LETTER NEVER SENT / NEOTPRAVLENNOYE PISMO (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1959), 8:15

Saturday, February 9 JULY RAIN / IYULSKIY DOZHD (Marlen Khutsiyev, 1966), 2:00 and 6:00

Saturday, February 9 WALKING THE STREETS OF MOSCOW / YA SHAGAYU PO MOSKVE (Georgi Daneliya, 1963), 4:15

Saturday, February 9 MOSCOW DOES NOT BELIEVE IN TEARS / MOSKVA SLEZAM NE VERIT (Vladimir Menshov, 1980), 8:15

Sunday, February 10 DERSU UZALA (Akira Kurosawa, 1975), 5:15

DERSU UZALA (Akira Kurosawa, 1975)

In this stunning film, director-cowriter Akira Kurosawa has fashioned one of cinema’s greatest characters, a worldly wise, deceptively simple, charming man who understands life, nature, responsibility, and helping others. Maksim Munzuk gives a marvelously understated performance as the title character, who is suddenly taken out of his quiet life of solitude when a Russian army troop comes to Siberia.

Sunday, February 10 UNCLE VANYA / DYADYA VANYA (Andrei Konchalovsky, 1970), 7:45

Monday, February 11 UNCLE VANYA / DYADYA VANYA (Andrei Konchalovsky, 1970), 2:00 and 6:15


Tuesday, February 12 DERSU UZALA (Akira Kurosawa, 1975), 2:00 and 8:30

Wednesday, February 13 THE MIRROR / ZERKALO (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1974), 2:00 and 6:30

Wednesday, February 13 THE ASCENT / VOSKHOZHDENIYE (Larisa Shepitko, 1976), 4:15 and 8:45


Thursday, February 14 MOSCOW DOES NOT BELIEVE IN TEARS / MOSKVA SLEZAM NE VERIT (Vladimir Menshov, 1980), 2:45

In the Neighborhood

© Graziella Vigo

Graziella Vigo, Verdi’s FALSTAFF


The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

40 Lincoln Center Plaza,

Closed Sunday

Admission: free



Through March 8 In Their Company: Portraits of American Playwrights by Ken Collins, Plaza Lobby and Steinberg Room Gallery

Through February 29 Graziella Vigo Captures Verdi on Stage, Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery

Through January 30 Lincoln Kirstein: Alchemist, Vincent Astor Gallery

Wednesday, January 23 Joy in Singing: Art Songs and Commentary, with Paul Sperry, Bruno Walter Auditorium, 3:00

Thursday, January 24 Bringing Balanchine to America: Chick Austin and "the Hartford Catastrophe," Bruno Walter Auditorium, 6:00

Wednesday, January 30 Joy in Singing: Art Songs and Commentary, with Paul Sperry, Bruno Walter Auditorium, 3:00

Thursday, January 31 Maxim Anikushin, pianist, Bruno Walter Auditorium, 6:00

Saturday, February 2 Introducing Bert Williams: Burnt Cork, Broadway, and the Story of America’s First Black Star, lecture by Dr. Camille F. Forbes, Bruno Walter Auditorium, 2:00

Monday, February 4 Ruth Mayleas Interviewed by Ana Steele, Bruno Walter Auditorium, 6:00

Wednesday, February 6 Joy in Singing: Art Songs and Commentary, with Paul Sperry, Bruno Walter Auditorium, 3:00


The Juilliard School, Peter Jay Sharp Theater

155 West 65th St. at Broadway

Admission: free


Friday, January 25 Celebrating Elliott Carter’s 100th Year, conducted by Pierre Boulez, 8:00

Monday, January 28


Saturday, February 2 Celebrating Elliott Carter’s 100th Year, conducted by James Levine, 8:00

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Concert Festival of the Week

Kevin Kiley

Bettye LaVette is one of the stars of Lincoln Center’s annual American Songbook


The Allen Room

Frederick P. Rose Hall

Broadway at 60th St.

January 23 — March 1



For the eleventh year, Lincoln Center will host a wide-ranging series featuring some of the best singers and songwriters in America, from the worlds of cabaret and opera, folk and rock, pop and country, and more. From the Allen Room overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park, soprano Deborah Voigt will be singing cabaret, Rob Fisher will conduct a night of Leonard Bernstein songs with Gavin Creel and Kate Baldwin, Eric Comstock will pay tribute to Charles Strouse, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals will rock the house.

Wednesday, January 23 Deborah Voigt, $45-$90, 7:30

Thursday, January 24 Lori McKenna, $35-$70, 8:30

Friday, January 25 Rob Fisher Celebrates the Leonard Bernstein Songbook, $35-$70, 8:30

Saturday, January 26 Kelli O’Hara, $45-$95, 8:30 & 10:30

Wednesday, February 6 This Is the Life: Eric Comstock Salutes Charles Strouse @ 80, $35-$70, 8:30

Joe Henry opens up his songbook at the Allen Room

Thursday, February 7 Joe Henry, $35-$70, 8:30



“I am, alas, a simple man,” Joe Henry writes in the liner notes to his tenth album, CIVILIANS (Anti, August 2007), “and my life is an open book, even if some passages have been obscured for security purposes.” Henry will open that book again at Lincoln Center, where his beguiling mix of jazz, blues, pop, rock, and country should feel right at home in the Allen Room overlooking Columbus Circle. The well-received CIVILIANS consists of a dozen songs in which life is short but nights are long, time is a dare, the world is always beautiful, and love is here to stay. Recorded and mixed in his basement studio in South Pasadena, the disc features Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz on guitar, Patrick Warren on keyboards, David Piltch on bass, Jay Bellerose on drums and percussion, and Loudon Wainwright III on backing vocals, along with such special guests as Van Dyke Parks, Chris Hickey, and the Section Quartet. Henry, who spent his early years in Charlotte and Atlanta, contributes acoustic guitar, handclaps, knee slaps, and corduroy. Although he is filled with hope, he also writes songs of pain and longing. “Every truth carries blame / And every light reveals some shame,” he sings on “Civil War.” On “Our Song,” the spiritual center of the record, Henry bumps into baseball legend Willie Mays, “the greatest center fielder of all-time / Stooped by the burden of endless dreams / His and yours and mine,” at a Home Depot in Scottsdale, where Willie tells him, “This was my country / This was my song / Somewhere in the middle there / Though it started badly and it’s ending wrong.” Following his February 7 appearance at the prestigious Lincoln Center “American Songbook” series, Henry is off on a European tour that includes stops in London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Paris. Interestingly, Bettye LaVette, whose music Henry has produced, moves into the Allen Room on February 8.

Friday, February 8 Bettye LaVette, $35-$70, 8:30

Saturday, February 9 David Yazbek, $35-$70, 8:30

Wednesday, February 20 Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, $35-$70, 8:30

Thursday, February 21 Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, $35-$70, 8:30

Friday, February 22 Jimmy Scott, $35-$70, 8:30

Saturday, February 23 John Lloyd Young, $45-$90, 8:30 & 10:30

Tuesday, February 26


Thursday, February 28 k.d. lang, $50-$150, 8:30

Friday, February 29 Christine Ebersole and Billy Stritch, $45-$90, 8:30 & 10:30

Saturday, March 1 Patti Smith, $45-$90, 8:30

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Art Festival of the Week


American Folk Art Museum

45 West 53rd St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.

January 22-27

212-265-1040 ext105


Tuesday, January 22


Sunday, January 27 Conversing with Contemporary Art: daily exhibition tours at 1:00, free with museum admission

Saturday, January 26 Uncommon Artists XVI: A Series of Cameo Talks, the Anne Hill Blanchard Symposium, Presentations include Albert Zahn by Leslie Umberger, Herbert Singleton by Andy P. Antippas, Ed Nelson by Peter Hastins Falk, and the Prinzhorn Collection by Thomas Roeske, $35, 10:00 am

Sunday, January 27 The Ties That Bind: A Conversation About Heritage, Authenticity, and War Textiles, panel discussion with Ariel Zeitlin Cooke, Steve Zeitlin, and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, $10 (includes free coffee)10:00 am


The Puck Building

295 Lafayette St. at Houston St.

Admission: $20 (includes catalog)




Thursday, January 24 2008 Outsider Art Fair Benefit Preview: open bar, hors d’oeuvres, music, honorary chairs Andrea Joyce and Harry Smith, and first chance to buy art at the fair, with an after-party at Room Service; proceeds benefit the American Folk Art Museum, $200-$1,500, 212-977-7170 ext308, 6:30 — 9:00 (early admission at 5:30 and 6:00)

Friday, January 25


Sunday, January 27 Approximately three dozen exhibitors will be on hand, including Fischer Kunsthandel & Edition from Berlin, Galerie Atelier Herenplaats from the Netherlands, Gilley’s Gallery from Louisiana, and New York City galleries Phyllis Kind, Galerie St. Etienne, American Primitive Gallery, and Ricco/Maresca Gallery as well as such self-taught artists as Mary Whitfield and Craig Norton of Galerie Bonheur in St. Louis

In the Neighborhood

© Grandma Moses Properties Co., New York

Anna Mary Robertson ("Grandma") Moses, "Catch the Turkey," oil on pressed wood, 1943


Galerie St. Etienne

24 West 57th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves., eighth floor

Closed Sunday & Monday

Through March 8

Admission: free



One of the premier galleries on 57th St. for nearly seventy years, Galerie St. Etienne specializes in two primary areas of focus: outsider art, including Grandma Moses, and German and Austrian modernists, including Otto Dix, Egon Schiele, Emil Nolde, Kathe Kollwitz, and Oskar Kokoschka. "Transforming Reality," which runs during both the Outsider Art Fair (January 25-27) and the ADAA Art Show (February 21-25) — Galerie St. Etienne will have booths at each — is sort of like the gallery’s greatest hits from both genres, at least in terms of the artists represented, and rather surprisingly, they work well together. Hermann Max Pechstein’s "Two Prostitutes," Paula Modersohn-Becker’s "The Goose Girl," and a series of Kokoschka’s color lithograph postcards share a similar essence with Ilija Bosilj Basicevic’s "The Accursed Queen Jerina," Johann Fischer’s "Bird," and Grandma Moses’s "Catching the Turkey." Comparisons abound between Nolde’s "Portrait of a Young Woman with Dark Hair" and Lawrence Lebduska’s "Portrait of Eva," Leonard Baskin’s "Crocus (Illumination)" and André Bauchant’s "Exotic Flowers," and Paul Klee’s "Delayed" and Matija Skurjeni’s "The Dance." As with MoMA’s recent "Transforming Chronologies" series, the show is not meant to imply any direct influence but rather highlight similarities in form and style.

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Riff’s Rants & Raves: Film

TALK, TALK, TALK has free premiere at the ImaginAsian


The ImaginAsian

239 East 59th St. between Second & Third Aves.

Admission: free but RSVP required



Wednesday, January 23 Monthly premiere series screens TALK, TALK, TALK (SHABEREDOMO SHABEREDOMO) (Hideyuki Hirayami, 2007), with a special appearance by Japanese film specialist and translator Linda Hoagland, 7:00

U2 explodes off the screen in 3-D concert flick

U2 3D (Catherine Owens & Mark Pellington, 2008)

AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13

1998 Broadway at 68th St.

Opens Wednesday, January 23



When we caught U2’s Vertigo Tour at the Garden in June 2006, we were up in the rafters, looking down at tiny dots that just happened to be drummer Larry Mullen Jr., bass player Adam Clayton, guitarist the Edge, and singer Bono. But now the World’s Most Important Band is front and center for everyone to see in U2 3D, the first-ever full-length film shot in Digital 3-D, directed by Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington. Using as many as eighteen specially equipped digital cameras and recording decks, Owens, who has been U2’s visual content director since ZooTV, captures the Irish band during stadium shows in South America and Mexico, focusing on the March 1-2 concerts at Estadio la Plata in Buenos Aires. The new technology, previously used for sporting events, has a fascinating layered effect that sucks in viewers — yes, who are wearing special glasses (not unlike the specs Bono used to wear as the Fly) — placing them right in the middle of the action as the band powers through an exultant setlist that, if not quite ideal, includes "Vertigo," "New Year’s Day," and "Pride (In the Name of Love)." You can’t help but reach out for Bono as he seemingly jumps out of the screen while singing "Touch me" during "Beautiful Day," and then you’ll swear he’s reaching out only to you when he stares into the camera during "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and promises to "wipe your tears away." And when tens of thousands of fans all bop up and down in unison to "Where the Streets Have No Name," forming a propulsive wave, you’ll feel a rush beneath your seat that moves up into your gut. Owens and Pellington (ARLINGTON ROAD) incorporate the band’s hypertextual stage show into the new format, as digitized figures, words, symbols, and letters from the large screens behind the band seem to float right in front of your face. The concert footage is supplemented with extreme close-ups shot onstage without an audience, and the energy level severely drops at these times, although Mullen’s drum kit looks amazing in 3-D. As straight-ahead concert movies go, U2 3D is among the best ever made, a unique theatrical experience that will blow you away.

An-kun (Tong Da Wei) and Ping-guo (Fan Bingbing) have a tough go of it in LOST IN BEIJING


Cinema Village

22 East 12th St. between University Pl. & Fifth Ave.

Opens Friday, January 25




Director and cowriter Li Yu (with Fang Li) opens her third feature, LOST IN BEIJING, with shots of cranes erecting new buildings in the Chinese capital, representing widespread economic growth. Seeking a better life, An-kun (Tong Da Wei) and Ping-guo (Fan Bingbing) have moved to the big city, where he works as a window washer, with a bird’s-eye view of financial success just out of reach, and she is a masseuse, giving expert foot rubs to wealthy, often demanding clients. Her boss, Dong (Tony Leung Ka-Fai), is part of the nouveau riche, a ruthless businessman married to the elegant and ruthless Wang-mei (Elaine Jin). After Dong takes advantage of a drunk Ping-guo — she can only put up so much of a struggle, unable to fight off the physical and societal power he wields over her — on the same day she made love with her husband, she becomes pregnant, setting in motion a complex web of blackmail, betrayal, graphic sex, paternity questions, and murder. Li Yu does a masterful job of weaving together the intimate relationships among the four leads, which change dramatically as the birth of the baby approaches. Because of a promotional campaign deemed “unhealthy and inappropriate” by the Chinese government and pirated, uncut copies of the film becoming available on the Internet and DVD, an already censored version of LOST IN BEIJING was banned in China, with producer Fang Li not allowed to make another movie for two years — a fascinating side note to a work that shows how economic growth can lead to deteriorating morality, a cinematic standard that dates back to F. W. Murnau’s 1927 film SUNRISE and other genre classics.

Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) face danger in 4 MONTHS

4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)

Opens Friday, January 25

IFC Center

323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.


Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

1886 Broadway between 62nd & 63rd Sts.




Winner of the Palme D’Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, Cristian Mungiu’s 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS is a harrowing look at personal freedom at the end of the Ceausescu regime in late-’80s Romania. Anamaria Marinca gives a powerful performance as Otilia, a young woman risking her own safety to help her best friend, Gabita (Laura Vasiliu), out of a difficult, dangerous situation. Their lives get even more complicated when they turn to Bebe (Vlad Ivanov) to take care of things. Cinematographer Oleg Mutu, who shot Cristi Puiu’s brilliant THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU, keeps the camera relatively steady for long scenes, without cuts, pans, dollies, or zooms, as the actors walk in and out of view, giving the film a heightened level of believability without looking like a documentary. Set in a restrictive era with a burgeoning black market, 4 MONTHS goes from mystery to psychological drama to thriller with remarkable ease — and the less you know about the plot, the better.

André Téchiné returns to 1980s France in THE WITNESSES

THE WITNESSES (LES TÉMOINS) (André Téchiné, 2007)

IFC Center

323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.

Opens Friday, February 1



If André Téchiné (CHANGING TIMES) had made his latest relationship drama, THE WITNESSES, around the time it is set — 1983-84 — perhaps it would have been more interesting. Or at least it would have been more relevant. Instead, it offers little new on the beginnings of the AIDS crisis. Emmanuelle Béart (8 WOMEN, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE) stars as Sarah, a successful children’s book author who discovers, after having her first child, that she really isn’t cut out to be a mother. Sarah’s best friend, Adrien (Michel Blanc), is a middle-aged gay man who falls in love with young Manu (Johan Libéreau), who insists on a platonic relationship, with Adrien becoming more of a father figure. After meeting Sarah’s husband, Mehdi (Sami Bouajila), Manu starts a torrid affair with him, keeping it a secret from both Adrien and Sarah, even though Sarah and Mehdi, a lieutenant on the vice squad, have a somewhat open marriage. When Manu comes down with a mysterious illness, things grow more complex and serious. Despite a fine performance by Béart, who lights up the screen every time she appears, the film mostly goes nowhere — or at least nowhere the audience hasn’t been before.

In Theaters Now

AMERICAN GANGSTER (Ridley Scott, 2007)

Quad Cinema

34 West 13th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.




Based on a true story, Ridley Scott’s AMERICAN GANGSTER follows the path of two very different men during the Vietnam War era. Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) is a proud, dedicated man from poor southern roots who is determined to become the most respected and loved drug lord of Harlem. Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is an honest-to-a-fault Jewish cop studying to become a lawyer while failing miserably in his personal life. Cold, calculating, and smooth as silk, Lucas will do whatever is necessary to ensure his absolute success, including shooting another player in the head in plain view on an uptown street. Meanwhile, Roberts becomes a pariah in the corrupt police department when he finds nearly a million dollars in cash and turns it in. As the war escalates in Southeast Asia, Lucas and Roberts are both on a dangerous road that threatens to explode all around them. Filmed in New York City, AMERICAN GANGSTER — featuring an excellent script by Steven Zaillian and intense, superb direction from Ridley Scott — is a compelling thinking man’s mob pic, a worthy successor to (and mash-up of) such genre classics as THE FRENCH CONNECTION, SERPICO, and NEW JACK CITY. The diverse all-star cast also includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, RZA, T.I., Josh Brolin, Carla Gugino, Cuba Gooding Jr., Common, and the great Ruby Dee and Clarence Williams III.

Robbie (James McAvoy) and Cecilia (Keira Knightley) find the calm before the storm

ATONEMENT (Joe Wright, 2007)


Keira Knightley and James McAvoy star as potential lovers torn apart by a vengeful lie in Joe Wright’s British melodrama ATONEMENT, based on the novel by Ian McEwan. Knightley gives a fine performance as Cecilia, a privileged young woman who lives with her family in their elegant mansion. She is attracted to the handyman’s son, Robbie (McAvoy) — who is also much admired by Cecilia’s thirteen-year-old sister, burgeoning writer Briony (Saoirse Ronan). Jealousy leads the precocious child to doom an innocent man, changing the fortunes of her family forever as WWII approaches. Despite Dario Marianelli’s overly sentimental music, ATONEMENT is a compelling, sweeping epic recalling Merchant-Ivory films as well as MASTERPIECE THEATER and Anthony Minghella’s THE ENGLISH PATIENT. (Minghella actually has a cameo near the end of the film.) Director Wright (THE END, 2005’s PRIDE & PREJUDICE) also pulls off a fascinating twist that calls into question the very nature of truth, as well as forgiveness.

Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman have some family problems in Lumet flick

(Sidney Lumet, 2007)

Village East

181 Second Ave. at 12th St.




Sidney Lumet (DOG DAY AFTERNOON, NETWORK) spins an intriguing web of mystery and severe family dysfunction in BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD. Andy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Hank (Ethan Hawke) are very different brothers who are both in desperate financial straits. Andy, a real estate exec, has a serious drug problem and a fading marriage to his sexy but bored young wife (Marisa Tomei), while ne’er-do-well Hank can’t afford the monthly child-support payments to his ex-wife (Aleksa Palladino) and daughter (Amy Ryan). Andy convinces Hank to knock off their parents’ (Albert Finney and Rosemary Harris) jewelry store, but when things go horribly wrong, everyone involved is forced to face some very difficult situations, leading to a harrowing climax. Seymour and Hawke are both excellent, the former cool, calm, and collected, the latter scattershot and impulsive. Tomei gives one of her finest performances as the woman sleeping with both brothers. Lumet tells the story through a series of flashbacks from various characters’ point of view, with fascinating overlaps — although a bit overused — that offer different perspectives on critical scenes. Adapted from a script by playwright Kelly Masterson – whom Lumet has never met or even spoken with — BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD (the title comes from an Irish toast that begins, "May you be in heaven half and hour…") is a thrilling modern noir that is from one of the masters of melodrama.

Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell are troubled brothers in new Woody pic

CASSANDRA’S DREAM (Woody Allen, 2007)


Woody Allen’s third consecutive film set in London (following the fine MATCH POINT and the disappointing SCOOP) is his best film in more than a decade and his most intricate character study since 1989’s CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. Ian (Ewan McGregor) and Terry (Colin Farrell) are two very different brothers who are both in desperate need of a quick cash infusion. Ian, the intelligent but ne’er-do-well son, is looking to invest in yet another get-rich-quick scheme, while Terry, a hardworking auto mechanic, has a serious gambling problem exacerbated by his drinking, endangering his future with his caring girlfriend, Kate (Sally Hawkins). The troubled siblings turn to their uncle Howard (the always outstanding Tom Wilkinson), a wealthy plastic surgeon who is willing to help them both out, but at a price neither one might be able to afford. CASSANDRA’S DREAM is a classic Greek tragedy mixed with the suspense of Hitchcock and the guilty conscience of Dostoyevsky as the close brothers search deep inside themselves to see just how far they will go to turn their lives around. Farrell is a revelation as Terry, playing the character with a compelling depth and complexity. Hayley Atwell makes a promising feature-film debut as Angela, an actress — and possible femme fatale — whom Ian falls hard for. Allen’s sharp-as-nails script is enhanced by Philip Glass’s ominous score. Interestingly, CASSANDRA’S DREAM was originally scheduled to be released in December but was moved to January shortly after making no end-of-year critics’ lists and receiving no Golden Globe nominations. It deserves better.

A mysterious monster menaces Manhattan in CLOVERFIELD

CLOVERFIELD (Matt Reeves, 2008)



A surprise going-away party turns into a nightmare in Matt Reeves’s highly anticipated CLOVERFIELD. Michael Stahl-David stars as Rob, a young man who has accepted a promotion that will send him to Japan. Although he is in love with his best friend, Beth (Odette Yustman), he is unable to tell her. But everything changes when the ground starts to shake, buildings begin to collapse, and people are on the run, attempting to escape from an enormous monster on the loose in post 9/11 Manhattan. And when Rob discovers that Beth, who had left the party early, might still be alive, he decides to risk his life and head uptown to save her. He is joined on the dangerous journey by his brother, Jason (Mike Vogel); Jason's girlfriend, Lily (Jessica Lucas); Lily’s friend Marlena (Lizzy Caplan); and Hud (T. J. Miller), who serves as the comic relief. The entire film is seen through the lens of a video camera that Hud was entrusted with at the party, giving the film the feel of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, mixed with such Gotham horror stories as KING KONG, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, and the ridiculous 1998 GODZILLA remake. CLOVERFIELD, which has an ever-widening back story growing online (similar to that of LOST, which is also the creation of J.J. Abrams), doesn’t try to be anything more than it is — a monster movie set in New York City. The creature is kept hidden for most of the film, which doesn’t try to make any grand statements about science, humanity, or, really, anything except true love — and brutal death. And yes, there is a secret message hidden in the brief sound clip at the end of the credits.

Robert Neville (Will Smith) and Sam fight for survival in I AM LEGEND update

I AM LEGEND (Francis Lawrence, 2007)


Director Francis Lawrence’s modern-day update of Richard Matheson’s classic 1954 novel, I AM LEGEND, is a tense, nonstop thriller, liberally adapted by screenwriters Mark Protosevich and Akiva Goldsman. While the book was a claustrophobic masterpiece, the film opens things up dramatically, with Robert Neville (Will Smith), the last survivor of a supposed cancer cure that turned into a deadly virus, riding the streets of New York City every day in a fancy car with his dog, Sam. In addition to hunting wild game that leaps through Midtown, Neville, an army scientist who is still searching for an antidote in his makeshift basement laboratory, kills cells of infected vampiric beings that have more in common with the violent creatures of 28 DAYS LATER than the slow-moving zombies of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Every night Neville barricades himself and Sam into their apartment overlooking Washington Square Park and dreams of the events that brought him to this point, centered on his desperate attempt to save his wife (Salli Richardson) and daughter (Willow Smith, Will’s real-life daughter). I AM LEGEND was actually filmed in New York, with pivotal scenes shot in and around Madison Square Park, Grand Central Terminal, the South Street Seaport, and a barren Park Ave., lending it a stark, frightening reality. Smith excels as Neville, his eyes quickly shifting from hope to disappointment, from promise to pain, and Lawrence (CONSTANTINE) does a marvelous job of translating the book’s inner monologue into a postapocalyptic visual nightmare.

I’M NOT THERE (Todd Haynes, 2007)

Film Forum

209 West Houston St. between Sixth & Seventh Aves.




Todd Haynes’s highly anticipated dramatization of the musical life of Bob Dylan is ambitious, innovative, and, ultimately, overblown and disappointing. Working with Dylan’s permission (though not artistic input), Haynes crafts a nonlinear tale in which six actors play different parts of Dylan’s psyche as the Great White Wonder develops from a humble folksinger to an internationally renowned and revered figure. Dylan is seen as an eleven-year-old black traveling hobo who goes by the name Woody Guthrie (Marcus Carl Franklin); Jack (Christian Bale), a Greenwich Village protest singer who later becomes a pastor; Robbie (Heath Ledger), an actor who has portrayed a Dylan entity and is having marital problems with his wife, Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg); Arthur Rimbaud (Ben Whishaw), a staunch defender of poetry and revolution; an old Billy the Kid (Richard Gere), who has settled down peacefully in the small town of Riddle; and Jude Quinn (Cate Blanchett), who is attacked by her audience when she goes electric. Each story line is shot in a different style; for example, Jude’s is influenced by Fellini and the Dylan documentary EAT THIS DOCUMENT!, Robbie’s by Godard, and Billy’s by Peckinpah. Excerpts from Dylan’s own version of his songs are interwoven with interpretations by Tom Verlaine, Yo La Tengo, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Stephen Malkmus, the Hold Steady, Sonic Youth (who do a killer version of the unreleased BASEMENT TAPES-era title track over the closing credits), and many more, with cameos by Kris Kristofferson (as the opening narrator), Richie Havens, Julianne Moore, Kim Gordon, Paul Van Dyck, Michelle Williams, and David Cross (looking ridiculous as Allen Ginsberg). The most successful section by far is Blanchett’s; she takes over the role with relish, and cinematographer Edward Lachman and production designer Judy Becker nail the feel of the mid-’60s energy surrounding Dylan. But the rest of the film is all over the place, a great concept that bit off more than it could chew.

Juno (Ellen Page) and Leah (Olivia Thirlby) are a riot in JUNO

JUNO (Jason Reitman, 2007)


When sixteen-year-old Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) suddenly finds herself pregnant, she has to choose between having an abortion, keeping the baby, or putting it up for adoption. She ultimately decides to have the baby for a wealthy, childless couple, Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner), who live in a big, fancy house very different from Juno's. Juno thinks she’ll be able to sail smoothly through her pregnancy and then just pop out the little brat, but she soon learns that everything is not quite as easy as it seems. First-time screenwriter Diablo Cody has created a marvelous character in Juno, a cynical, self-confident teenager who pretty much says whatever’s on her mind. Her dialogue with best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) is an absolute riot of teenspeak. Director Jason Reitman (THANK YOU FOR SMOKING) keeps things moving at a brisk pace, letting Juno run the show. From the opening scene — which features a hysterical turn by Rainn Wilson (THE OFFICE) as a convenience store clerk giving Juno a hard time — to the last, JUNO is a pure joy, led by Page’s brilliant performance as the unforgettable protagonist. With sweet, emotive songs by Kimya Dawson of the Moldy Peaches and a fine supporting cast that includes Michael Cera (SUPERBAD), J. K. Simmons (OZ), and Allison Janney (THE WEST WING), JUNO is one of the best films ever made about the topic of teen pregnancy, and about teen life in general, a moving, funny, and very real portrait of life in modern-day America.

THE KITE RUNNER (Marc Forster, 2007)


Khaled Hosseini’s 2003 surprise bestseller, THE KITE RUNNER, is a modern-day historical epic that follows one man as he attempts to make things right after a ghastly childhood incident that has haunted his every moment. The debut novel is filled with pivotal scenes of brutal emotion and genuine danger as Hosseini stomps on readers’ hearts. In trying to remain faithful to the book, screenwriter David Benioff (THE 25TH HOUR) and director Marc Forster (MONSTER’S BALL, FINDING NEVERLAND) have squeezed too much into their film, resulting in a jumpy narrative that is admirable yet rarely compelling. Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada) and his father, Ali (Nabo Tanha), work for Amir (Zekiria Ebrahimi) and his father, Baba (Homayoun Ershadi), a respected and successful businessman in Afghanistan. Amir and Hassan are also best friends, particularly bonding over their love of kites, a metaphor for freedom and escape. But after the horrific incident, Amir turns his back on Hassan, and it is only years later, well after the Soviet invasion and Amir’s move to San Francisco, where he has made a new life for himself, that he (now played by Khalid Abdalla) gets the opportunity to redeem himself. Even at two hours, the film feels rushed, and it gets no help from Alberto Iglesias’s mushy score. Perhaps there’ll be a director’s cut available on DVD that will fill in many of the holes and smooth out the story.

Javier Bardem gets an awesome new do for awesome new Coen brothers flick

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2007)


Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, the Coen brothers’ NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is a gripping thriller dominated by the mesmerizing performance of Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh, a psychopathic killer who believes in chance. When Llewelyn Moss (an outstanding Josh Brolin) accidentally stumbles upon the site of a drug deal gone terribly wrong, he walks away with a satchel of cash and the dream of making a better life for him and his wife (Kelly MacDonald). He also knows that there will be a lot of people looking for him — and the two million bucks he has absconded with. On his trail are the Mexican dealers who were ripped off, bounty hunter Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson), and the cool, calm Chigurh, who leaves a bloody path of violence in his wake. Meanwhile, Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) philosophizes on the sorry state of the modern world as he follows the proceedings with an almost Zen-like precision. Though it struggles to reach its conclusion, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is an intense noir Western, an epic meditation on chance in which the flip of a coin can be the difference between life and a horrible death.



J. A. Bayona’s directorial debut, THE ORPHANAGE, is a frightening horror flick in the tradition of Alejandro Amenabar’s THE OTHERS and Tobe Hooper’s POLTERGEIST (as well as Robert Wise’s THE HAUNTING, Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING, and even Richard Donner’s THE OMEN), without feeling derivative. Belén Rueda (THE SEA INSIDE) stars as Laura, a woman who, with her husband, Carlos (Fernando Cayo), and their son, Simon (Roger Princep), moves into an abandoned mansion that previously was as an orphanage. Laura wants to take in some developmentally disabled orphans, but it seems that she and her family are not necessarily alone in the big house. At a party for the reopening of the orphanage, Simon mysteriously disappears, and Laura is determined to find him, no matter who — or what — might be responsible. THE ORPHANAGE, Spain’s official selection for the 2007 Academy Awards, is a scary, edge-of-your-seat frightfest with just the right amount of heart-stopping shocks, courtesy of Bayona, first-time screenwriter Sergio G. Sanchez, cinematographer Oscar Faura, and composer Fernando Velazquez. The film also features Geraldine Chaplin as a psychic, Montserrat Carulla as — well, actually, the less you know about the film going in, the better. THE ORPHANAGE is the first film to be presented by Guillermo del Toro (PAN’S LABYRINTH, THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE), who also serves as executive producer.

Marjane Satrapi animates her life for the big screen

PERSEPOLIS (Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud, 2007)

Angelika Film Center

18 West Houston St. at Mercer St.


Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

1866 Broadway at 63rd St.





France’s official selection for the 2007 Academy Awards, PERSEPOLIS brings to animated life Marjane Satrapi’s stunning graphic novels. Codirected by Satrapi and comic-book artist Vincent Paronnaud, PERSEPOLIS tells Satrapi’s harrowing life story as she comes of age during the Islamic Revolution in Iran in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Raised in a well-off activist family, she fights against many of the country’s crippling mores and laws, particularly those that treat women as second-class citizens, trapping them in their veils, denying them any kind of individual freedom. But the progressive Satrapi (voiced first by Gabrielle Lopes, then Chiara Mastroianni) continually gets into trouble as she speaks her mind, experiments with sex, and refuses to play by her country’s repressive rules. Satrapi and Paronnaud do an outstanding job of adapting the books’ black-and-white panels for the big screen, maintaining her unique style and emotional breadth. The first part of the film is excellent as the precocious teenager who talks to God learns about life in some very harsh ways. Unfortunately, the second half gets bogged down in Satrapi’s failures as an adult, focusing too much on her myriad personal problems and taking away the bigger picture that made the first part so entertaining as well as educational. Still, it’s a story worth telling, and well worth seeing. (Interestingly, since the film, which is in French, is subtitled in English, the audience ends up reading it similarly to the way they read the graphic novel.) The closing-night selection of the 2007 New York Film Festival, PERSEPOLIS also features the voices of Catherine Deneuve as Marjane’s mother, Danielle Darrieux as her grandmother, Simon Akbarian as her father, and François Jerosme as her radical uncle Anouche.

Han Sanming tries to fill in biggest hole in his life in Jia Zhangke film

STILL LIFE (SANXIA HAOREN) (Jia Zhangke, 2006)

IFC Center

323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.




Sixth Generation Chinese film director Jia Zhangke won the Golden Lion award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival for STILL LIFE, his beautiful, elegiac, documentary-like examination of displaced family. Jia sets his film around the ongoing, controversial Three Gorges Dam project, which has forced millions of residents from their homes. Han Sanming, a miner from Shanxi, arrives in the former town of Fengjie, looking for the daughter he hasn’t seen in sixteen years, since she was a baby. Meanwhile, a young nurse, Shen Hong, is seeking out her husband, a construction executive whom she hasn’t heard from in two years. Using nonprofessional actors, Jia (PLATFORM, THE WORLD) tells their heartbreaking stories virtually in slow motion, with many scenes driven by Han’s tired eyes, featuring little or no dialogue. He gets a job helping tear down buildings, in direct contrast to his desire to rebuild his relationship with his long-lost family. Jia’s gentle camera reveals how China, in its quest for modernization and financial power, has left behind so many of its people, the heart and soul of the land that has literally been torn out from under them. STILL LIFE is a small gem.



Oh yes, there will be blood. Tim Burton’s adaptation of the hit Broadway musical SWEENEY TODD is bloody good fun. After being sent to prison for fifteen years by Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman), who had designs on his wife (Laura Michelle Kelly), innocent barber Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) returns to nineteenth-century London, reborn as Sweeney Todd, now a dark, ominous figure dead set on gaining his dastardly revenge. He gets back his coveted silver razors, which he considers an extension of his arm, and sets up shop in his old place, above the store where Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter) sells meat pies crawling with cockroaches. When Todd begins slicing throats with expert precision, Lovett has a novel way of doing away with the bodies — while increasing business. Burton and screenwriter John Logan (THE AVIATOR, THE LAST SAMURAI) have done a terrific job translating the show onto the big screen, as Depp, Bonham Carter, and the rest of the cast — including Sacha Baron Cohen as a magical elixir salesman, Timothy Spall as the judge’s wingman, and Jayne Wisener as Todd’s daughter, who is doomed to marry the judge — do a wonderful job with such Stephen Sondheim songs as "No Place Like London," "Poor Thing," "My Friends," "Pretty Women," and "Not While I’m Around." Depp is marvelous as the demon barber of Fleet Street, wearing a fright wig with a shocking streak of white, singing most of his dialogue with a gentle devilishness, enhanced by his haunting, penetrating eyes. The goth opera not only sounds good but looks even better, courtesy of cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, production designer Dante Ferretti, and costume designer Colleen Atwood. Burton and Depp, who have previously collaborated on EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, ED WOOD, SLEEPY HOLLOW, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, and CORPSE BRIDE, have another winner on their hands.

Daniel Day-Lewis searches for oil in THERE WILL BE BLOOD

THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)


Daniel Day-Lewis gives a spectacular performance as an independent oil man in Paul Thomas Anderson’s THERE WILL BE BLOOD. Day-Lewis, in remarkable voice, absolutely embodies Daniel Plainview, a determined, desperate man digging for black gold in turn-of-the-century California. His first strike comes at a heavy price as he loses one of his men in a tragic accident, so he adopts the worker’s infant son, raising H.W. (Dillon Freasier) as his own. The growth of his company leads him to Little Boston, a small town that has oil just seeping out of its pores. But after not allowing Paul Sunday (Paul Dano), the charismatic preacher who runs the local Church of the Third Revelation, to say a prayer over the community’s first derrick, Plainview begins his descent into hell. Using Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel OIL! as a starting point (and employing echoes of Orson Welles’s CITIZEN KANE and THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS in addition to the obvious reference, George Stevens’s classic 1956 oil flick GIANT), writer-director Anderson (BOOGIE NIGHTS, MAGNOLIA) has created a thrilling epic about greed, power, and corruption as well as jealousy, murder, and, above all, family, where oil gushes out of the ground with fire and brimstone. Robert Elswit’s beautiful cinematography is so gritty and realistic, audiences will be reaching for their faces to wipe the oil and blood off. The piercing, classically based score, composed by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, builds to a mind-blowing crescendo by the end of the film — a finale that is likely to be much talked about and widely criticized. Filmed in the same location — Marfa, Texas — where GIANT was set, THERE WILL BE BLOOD is an unforgettable journey into the dark heart of one man’s soul.

THE EYE (Danny & Oxide Pang, 2002)

Available on DVD


The Pang Brothers, who hail from Thailand, will creep you out with this tale of a woman who receives an eye transplant and starts seeing strange paranormal events. Lee Sin-Je is excellent as Wong Kar Mun, a musician who is suddenly cast into a frightening world — which belonged to Ling (Chutcha Ruhinanon), the original owner of her eyes. As Dr. Wah (Lawrence Chou) tries to help her, she heads from Hong Kong to Thailand to try to find out Ling’s terrifying secret. Stick with this one; the payoff’s a doozy. But skip the awful sequel, a boring, repetitive snoozefest starring Shu Qi. On February 1, the Hollywood remake hits theaters, starring Jessica Alba as the recipient of the mysterious eyes. There were no advance critics screenings for the film, which is almost always a bad sign.

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Riff’s Rants & Raves: Live Music & Dance


Highline Ballroom

431 West 16th St. between Ninth & Tenth Aves.

Thursday, January 24, 8:00, $15-$17




Touring behind their great new record, WALKING WITH STRANGERS (September 2007, Metropolis), the Birthday Massacre brought their massive sound to the Highline Ballroom on January 24 for a killer set of old and new tunes. As Rainbow slashed his guitar, Owen sliced his keyboard, and O.E. pounded on the drums, Chibi twirled about, giving the dedicated fans just what they came for — the Toronto band’s unique mix of electronica, ’80s new wave, goth, metal, and industrial, often all within the same song. Tearing through such gems as “Video Kid,” “Red Star,” “Remember Me,” and “Kill the Lights,” Chibi, her tattoos practically glowing on her bare arms, flitted about coquettishly, interacting playfully with the audience, which knew every word to every song. The three-song encore kicked off with a monster version of the haunting “Blue,” followed by “Holiday” and “Happy Birthday,” all from 2005’s VIOLET. Throughout, the band seemed to be having just as much fun as the crowd. The Birthday Massacre are a band on the rise; don’t miss them next time they come around.


Highline Ballroom

431 West 16th St. between Ninth & Tenth Aves.

Tickets: $12-$15




Friday, January 25 Twelve competitors will battle it out for the Hip Hop Karaoke championship, including K-Dot, Scooter, Doni D, Elizabeth, Robin, Pancho, Chef, Axiom, Camille, RDJ, Dashaun, and Shawn J, with judges Prince Paul, Ralph McDaniels, and DRES, 9:00

© Ben Katchor

Ben Katchor’s SLUG BEARERS bear down on the Vineyard Theatre


Vineyard Theatre

108 East 15th St. between Union Square & Irving Pl.

Opens Friday, January 25

212-353-0303 (mention code BB40SB for 30% discount)



Subtitled "A Tragicomedy for Music-Theater," THE SLUG BEARERS OF KAYROL ISLAND, about a philanthropist seeking to help exploited factory workers on a tropical island, was conceived by one of our favorite comic-book artists and lovers of old-time New York City effluvia, Ben Katchor, the man behind such works of genius as JULIUS KNIPL: REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHER and THE JEW OF NEW YORK. Katchor wrote the libretto and contributed drawings to this multimedia production, which features music by Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion), choreography by John Carrafa, and direction by Bob McGrath.


Williamsburg location to be given to ticket holders day of event

Tuesday, January 29, 8:00

Admission: $22, includes cocktails from Dewar’s and the Brooklyn Brewery


LVHRD (Live Hard) is a special-event-driven flash mob that organizes unique gatherings all over the city. In the past they’ve gathered at Water Taxi Beach in Queens dressed as tourists; descended on MoMA for a concert that involved the audience’s cell phones; watched as J. Walter Thompson employees battled New York City Ballet dancers in a vending machine eat-off and as a pair of fashion designers created instant dresses for live models; brought together comic-book artist Paul Pope and eight-bit musician Mark DeNardo for Bi-Fold I and Brazilian graffiti artist Speto and Graffiti Research Lab for Bi-Fold II; and other offbeat, creative mash-ups. The previous Architect Duel pitted two firms, Field Operations and Balmori Associates, creating a green city environment using cheese; this time around, James Adams and Paul Kim of FXFOWLE and Sean Bailey and David Ideri of Konyk will be designing structures for the future of humanity — and the caribou — in a world without oil.


Xavier Rudd offbeat instrumentation should delight concertgoers


Nokia Theatre

1515 Broadway at 44th St.

Tickets: $20.00


Tuesday, January 29, 8:00



Twenty-nine-year-old Australian musician Xavier Rudd uses slide, bass, and six- and twelve-string guitars, a battery of didgeridoos and harmonicas, djembe, shakers, ankle bells, and more to create his own appealing brand of world roots music – all by himself. The multitalented multi-instrumentalist has been touring the world for the past five years, feeding his growing fan base with appearances at numerous festivals, including Bonnaroo. Rudd’s music is an engaging blend of world rhythms drawn from reggae, south and west African music, indigenous Australian culture, and more. His songs tend to have similar rhythms and similar lyrics, but his gift for melody and excellent pacing build his live shows into genial feel-great dance jams. The vegetarian, multiculti Rudd is also an environmentally conscious musician; Clif Bar’s Green Notes is sponsoring his Better People initiative, named for the single "Better People" off WHITE MOTH: "an expression of deep gratitude to those who are taking steps to make a positive impact in the world . . . created as an extension of that gratitude, a celebration of compassion and action." It’s hard to go wrong with those sentiments, or with Rudd’s happy rhythms. Acoustic reggae soulster Mishka will open the show.


Radio City Music Hall

January 30 - February 9

1260 Sixth Ave. between 50th & 51st St.

Tickets: $58-$280


Celebrating the Year of the Rat and five thousand years of civilization, this annual event features music, dance, martial arts, acrobats, and more, with the fifty-five piece Divine Member Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra, dancer-choreographer Vina Lee, artistic gymnast Michelle Ren, dancer-choreographer Xuejun Wang, martial-arts dancer Jason Shi, dancers Cecilia Xiong and Alina Wang, tenor Guimin Guan, cellist and conductor Rutang Chen, erhuist Xiaochun Qi, violinist Chia-Chi Lin, and others.


Richard Thompson brings 1,000 years of music to Times Square


Nokia Theatre

1515 Broadway at 44th St.

Thursday, January 31, 8:00

Tickets: $29.50 - $39.50




Richard Thompson is one of the most entertaining performers around, whether he’s with his full band or doing a solo acoustic show. Although we’ve seen him playfully shoot down fans screaming out for specific songs, he recently completed three all-request shows in California, so you never know what he’s going to do. From his days in Fairport Convention to his much-chronicled marriage to Linda Thompson to his outstanding solo career, Thompson’s wry sense of humor, cynical lyrics, and guitar virtuosity continue to make for excellent records and even better concerts. For this Times Square show at the Nokia, Thompson will be looking back, playing songs from his survey of "1000 Years of Popular Music," including such genuine oldies as "Sumor Is Icumen In," "Bonnie St. Johnstone," "There Is Beauty in the Bellow of the Blast," and, of all things, "Oops! I Did It Again!"

Chunky Move gets funky with light at the Kitchen


The Kitchen

512 West 19th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.

February 7-10

Tickets: $10




Australian dance company Chunky Move presents its latest multimedia work, the thirty-minute piece GLOW, a collaboration between artistic director Gideon Obarzanek and interactive software creator Frieder Weiss, using light, motion tracking, and other technology to create a unique experience.

Dollar Store works hard for their money on new record


The Knitting Factory

74 Leonard St. between Broadway & Church St.

Friday, February 8, $10




Dollar Store’s second album, MONEY MUSIC (Bloodshot, August 2007), is a fast-paced, hard-driving romp through alt country with elements of classic rock, pop, and punk. Guitarist Tex Schmidt (the Roughnecks), bassist Alan Doughty (the Waco Brothers), singer Deano Schlabowske (Wreck), and drummer Joe Camirillo (Hushdrops), who has recovered from a serious car accident, have a good ol’ time with a dozen original tunes that aren’t afraid to show their influences. The second song, "Scrap Truck," steals the bass and guitar riffs from the Beatles’ "I’ve Got a Feeling" as Schlabowske sings about going through life picking up scraps. "Twisting in the Wind" opens with playful 1960s keyboards. "Company Town" recalls the breakneck speed of the Replacements, while the impressive "Star" kicks things off with a little "Psychotic Reaction." But Dollar Store is no mere retro act; that is only a small part of the fun as they tear through songs about "the poor and unknown," from the gorgeous guitar lines of "Work = Reward" and "One Red Cent, One Thin Dime" to the big sound of "Dying Light." And the band is as tight as an interstate trucker’s Wrangler jeans. "Make it howl," Schlabowske sings on the title track before howling himself. Check ’em out at the Knitting Factory on February 8, where they’ll play that money music and howl all night long.

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Riff’s Rants & Raves: Art & Literature


"Made in France" exhibits eight graphic artists working in France


The National Arts Club

15 Gramercy Park South between Park Ave. & Irving Pl.

Admission: free




The National Arts Club is a historic landmark on Gramercy Park that is home to myriad events related to art and literature. There’s something to see everywhere you look; upon walking in, don’t miss Alexander Stirling Calder’s bust of American painter George Bellows or Marc Mellon’s "Journey" statue. Around the corner, on your way to the elevator that will take you up to see the "Made in France" exhibit at Nyehaus, you’ll pass by the allegorical Lantern sculpture, featuring Insight, Peace, Beauty, and Strength, paintings of presidents, and a few rotating exhibits. And if you’re attending one of the upstairs events, take your time and breathe in the elegance of the gorgeous rooms, filled to the brim with classic furnishings and old-time touches.

Through February 23 Made in France: Eight Artists and the Graphic Novel, featuring work by Paolo Bacilieri, Christian de Metter, Jean-Claude Gotting, Miles Hyman, Florent Ruppert & Jerome Mulot, Christian Lax, and Sergio Toppi, Nyehaus, 8D, Tuesday — Saturday, 212-995-1785

Wednesday, January 23 THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, Act II, reading of play by J. B. Edwards, directed by Jeffery Stocker, and starring Howard Davidson, Memory Contento, Kristen Wiles, and Melissa Gessel, 8:00

Friday, January 25 Jazz at Noon, with the notable Les Lieber, Grand Gallery, 212-674-7360, 12 noon — 2:00

Friday, January 25 GARBO’S LAST WALK, reading of a new play by Kristof Bathory, directed by Susan Einhorn, and starring Kathleen Chalfant, Lisa Harrow, Taina Elg, Heather Ayers, Cathy Curtin, Gil Rogers, and Stephen Rowe, RSVP 212-969-0670, 8:00

Monday, January 28 Postcards from the Pat? Roman Buildings on Coins, with Martin Beckmann, 6:30

Thursday, January 31 Reading and reception: Steve Erickson, ZEROVILLE, Dining Hall, free, 6:30

Thursday, January 31 POSING, one-man show written and performed by Patrick Askin, followed by cocktail reception, 7:00

Friday, February 1 Jazz at Noon, with the notable Les Lieber, Grand Gallery, 212-674-7360, 12 noon — 2:00

by Michael Chabon (May 2007, HarperCollins, $26.95)


Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon’s THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION is a marvelous thriller set in a fictionalized version of Sitka, Alaska, where territory given to the Jews in 1948 is about to revert back to U.S. control. Meyer Landsman is a homicide detective playing out the string — he lives in a hovel, drinks too much, and has a growing number of unsolved murders littering his files. But when the mysterious Emanuel Lasker is expertly executed in the cheap hotel where Landsman lives, the shammes dives headfirst into the case, refusing to give up no matter how many wailing brick walls he runs into. With his half-Jewish, half-Tlingit partner, Berko Shemets, he uncovers a conspiracy that goes about as high as any conspiracy can go, well beyond the realm of any government. At the same time, Landsman is forced to reexamine the many failures of his past, often involving the game of chess and the death of his father. Chabon (THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY, WONDER BOYS) fills his complex tale with marvelously original characters, including seedy Alter Litvak, boundary maven Itzik Zimbalist, gabay Aryeh Baronshteyn, Verbover rebbe Heskel Shpilman, and Bina Gelbfish, Landsman’s ex-wife and current boss. He incorporates a litany of Yiddish words and phrases into the telling, nearly creating his own language with endless turns of phrases that are as funny as they are original. (He has one lung coughed up and the other on its way when Ester-Malke Taytsh opens the door." "Every noz in the District learns to respect the silence of the black hat." "Then he blows a great tekiah on his shofar of a nose.") THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN’S UNION is a staggering achievement.


Temple Emanu-El

10 East 66th St. between Fifth & Madison Aves.

Thursday, January 24, 7:00

Admission: free


Over the last few years, writer, editor, filmmaker, and teacher Antonio Monda spoke with eighteen men and women about faith, including Paul Auster, Spike Lee, Grace Paley, Elie Wiesel, Richard Ford, David Lynch, Salman Rushdie, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Derek Walcott, and Toni Morrison. The Q&As are collected in DO YOU BELIEVE?, with such intriguing chapter titles as "Christ Was the First Feminist" (Jane Fonda), "Reality Is an Illusion" (Jonathan Franzen), "God Is Not a Torturer" (Martin Scorsese), "I Believe in God But I Don’t Bug Him" (Saul Bellow), and "God Is the Name of Something I Don’t Understand" (Paula Fox). To celebrate the book’s release, Monda will be making three area appearances with several of the book’s participants: On Wednesday, November 7, was at the Union Square Barnes & Noble with musician Nellie McKay and journalist Katherine Lanpher; on Monday, November 19, was at the Great Hall at Cooper Union with Paul Auster, Nathan Englander, Paula Fox, and Colum McCann; and on January 24, he’ll be at Temple Emanu-El with Daniel Libeskind, Jonathan Safran Foer, Mary Gordon, and Gay Talese.

All contents copyright 2008 by Mark Rifkin and twi-ny. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted without written permission. Please note that events, dates, and prices are subject to change.

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twi-ny top two dozen (or so)
weekly reminders & special events


January 21-25 and January 28-February 1

Lunch: $24.07; dinner: $35

Reservations now being accepted


More than one hundred eateries will be offering prix-fixe lunches and/or dinners, including Asia de Cuba, Asiate, Aureole, Barbetta, Beacon, Blue Smoke, Butter, Café Boulud, Compass, Craftbar, davidburke & donatella, db Bistro Moderne, Devi, Estiatorio Milos, Fleur de Sel, Frankie & Johnny’s, Gotham Bar & Grill, Gramercy Tavern, Inagiku, JoJo, Megu, the Modern, Patroon, Payard, Petrossian, Riingo, the River Cafe, San Domenico, Shun Lee Palace, Smith & Wollensky, Tabla, Union Square Cafe, Vong, and the ‘21’ Club, among dozens of others — but you better book your reservations fast.


Carnegie Hall

Weill Recital Hall unless otherwise noted

881 Seventh Ave. at 57th St.

Tickets: $20+



Tuesday, January 22 Master Class: Marilyn Horne, Italian Songs, 7:30

Wednesday, January 23 Master Class: Graham Johnson, Songs of Schubert and Schumann, 7:30

Wednesday, January 23


Thursday, January 24 Duo Recital, 5:30

Thursday, January 24 Master Class: Dawn Upshaw, American Songs After 1910 and French Songs After 1875, Zankel Hall, 7:30

Friday, January 25 Annual Recital: An Alumni Celebration, Zankel Hall, $27-$45, 7:30


Peak Performances, Arts and Cultural Programming

Montclair State University

One Normal Ave.



Wednesday, January 23


Sunday, January 27 New English-language opera of classic story based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis, with music by Robert Aldridge and libretto by Herschel Garfein


Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

36 Battery Pl.

Tickets: $10



Wednesday, January 23 SAMSON (Andrzej Wajda, 1961), introduction and postscreening discussion with Leonard Quart, 6:30 PM

Sunday, January 27 LANDSCAPE AFTER BATTLE (Andrzej Wajda, 1970), introduction and postscreening discussion with Antony Polonsky, 2:30 PM

Wednesday, January 30 KORCZAK (Andrzej Wajda, 1990), introduction and postscreening discussion with Morris Dickstein, 6:30 PM

Sunday, February 3 THE CONDEMNATION OF FRANCISZEK KLOS (Andrzej Wajda, 2000), followed by a panel discussion with Joanna Michlic and others, moderated by Stuart Liebman, 1:00


Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

2 East 92nd St. at Fifth Ave.

Tickets: $10

Registration: 212-849-8380


Thursday, January 24 Panel discussion with intellectual property lawyer Harley Lewin and scholar Lara Kriegel in conversation with Eric Wilson, 6:30


Rangers faithful will gather to pay tribute to #2


WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden

31st to 33rd Sts. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.

Tickets: $29.50



Thursday, January 24 Fans who couldn’t get into the Garden for Brian Leetch Retirement Night can watch his number 2 jersey raised to the rafters on the giant screen in the Theater at Madison Square Garden, with special giveaways, raffle prizes, and more, hosted by Al Trautwig, 7:00


B.B. King Blues Club

237 West 42nd St. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.

Tickets: $35




Thursday, January 24 More than a thousand boxers begin their quest toward victory at the eighty-first annual competition, 7:30


Joe’s Pub

425 Lafayette St. between East Fourth St. & Astor Pl.

Tickets: $22



Thursday, January 24


Sunday, January 27 Twenty-third anniversary birthday concert, with special guest Bernice Johnson Reagon on January 27


John Ryan Theater

25 Jay St., DUMBO

Admission: free, but donations encouraged



Thursday, January 24


Sunday, February 3 Annual festival of contemporary dance presented by White Wave, featuring some sixty dance companies from New York City and elsewhere


New Museum of Contemporary Art

235 Bowery at Prince St.

Admission: $10



Friday, January 25 Art on the Bowery: Human beatboxer Adam Matta presents a multimedia program of songs from the streets of New York City, including "Mareo," "Underground," and "Day in the Life"; he will also accompany Sparlha Swa on original songs, with instrumentalists Julianne Carney, Briggan Krauss, and James Ilgenfritz, 7:00


American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West & 81st St. entrance

Tickets: $20 (includes pass for future museum visit)



Friday, January 25 Late-night dance party under the stars featuring live sets by the Cool Kids, MC Kid Sister, and turntablist A-Trak and screenings of COSMIC COLLISIONS, 9:00 pm — 1:00 am


Brooklyn Southpaw

125 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn

Tickets: $10



Friday, January 25 A Tribute to the Music of the Monkees, with Tony Leone, Mary Lee Kortes, Lil Mo & Drina Seay, Randy Lee, Jack Grace, Brandy Wood, Kate Jacobs, Nate Schweber, Deena Shoshke, Alex Battles, Bob Scheffler, and more, 9:00


Central Library

89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica

Admission: free



Friday, January 25 MULAN (Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook, 1998), 4:00, and CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (Ang Lee, 2000), 5:45

Saturday, January 26 Chinese lantern making for kids, 12 noon; lion dance, 1:15; Asian folk dance and music, 1:30; Chinese Peking Opera, 2:30; martial arts demo, 3:00


IFC Center

323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.

Friday - Sundays at 11:00 am through March 30



Friday, January 25


Sunday, January 27 THE FIRE WITHIN (Louis Malle, 1963)

Friday, February 1


Sunday, February 3 PLACE DE LA REPUBLIQUE (Louis Malle, 1974)


K2 Lounge

Rubin Museum of Art

150 West 17th St. at Seventh Ave.

Admission: free with $7 drink minimum

212-620-5000 ext 344


Friday, January 25 Mind Over Matter: THE DARK CRYSTAL (Jim Henson & Frank Oz, 1982), introduced by Cheryl Henson and Robbie Barnett, 9:30

Friday, February 1 Mind Over Matter: THE INNOCENTS (Jack Clayton, 1961), introduced by Richard LaGravenese, 9:30


Museum of the Moving Image

35th Ave. at 36th St., Astoria

Through February 24

Tickets: $10 (includes museum admission)



Saturday, January 26 DOCTOR BULL (John Ford, 1933), 2:00

Sunday, January 27 JUDGE PRIEST (John Ford, 1934), 2:30

Sunday, January 27 STEAMBOAT ’ROUND THE BEND (John Ford, 1935), 5:00

Saturday, February 2 WEE WILLIE WINKIE (John Ford, 1937), 2:30

Saturday, February 2 YOUNG MR. LINCOLN (John Ford, 1939), 5:00

Sunday, February 3 DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK (John Ford, 1939), 2:30

Sunday, February 3 THE PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND (John Ford, 1936), 5:00


Rubin Museum of Art

150 West 17th St. at Seventh Ave.

Tickets: $25

212-620-5000 ext 344


Saturday, January 26 Mystic Fire: Wim Hof attempts to break his world record for immersion in an ice bath outdoors, free, 2:00, followed by a discussion with Wim Hof and Dr. Kenneth Kamler, 4:00

Wednesday, January 30 Hudson River Wind Meditations, featuring a live performance by Lou Reed followed by a discussion with Lou Reed and Rob Hogendoorn, 7:00


Paris Commune Restaurant

99 Bank St. at Greenwich St.

Cover: $3




Sunday, January 27 Comedy show hosted by Norman Baker and Caroline Waxler, with Demetri Martin, Rachel Sklar, Jason Scarlatti, and audience surprises, 8:00


Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 Fifth Ave. at 89th St.

Tickets: $30



Sunday, January 27


Monday, January 28 DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE, comedy by Sarah Ruhl, directed by Anne Bogart, 7:30

Sunday, February 3


Monday, February 4 Fred Sherry Plays Zorn, with cellist Fred Sherry, John Zorn, Erik Friedlander, and Mike Nicolas, live performance followed by a panel discussion with Zorn and Sherry, moderated by Charles Wuorinen, 7:30


Symphony Space, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre

2537 Broadway at 95th St.

Tickets: $11



Sunday, January 27


Tuesday, January 29 THE LITTLE FOXES (William Wyler, 1941) and THREE COMRADES (Frank Borzage, 1938), 6:00

Sunday, February 3


Tuesday, February 5 THE KILLERS (Robert Siodmak, 1946) and IN COLD BLOOD (Richard Brooks, 1967), 6:00


Supreme Trading, Billiards Parlor

213 North Eighth St., Williamsburg

Admission: free ($3 beers until 10:00)



Monday January 28 Launch party for billiardsburg.com, an online guide to the best pool tables in Williamsburg, with free pool, food, and schwag, 8:00


Marriott Marquis Times Square

1535 Broadway

Tickets: $700 - $14,000



Tuesday, January 29 Nineteenth annual dinner benefiting the Baseball Assistance Team, honoring the 1968 Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals World Series, featuring more than one hundred players, including such Hall of Famers as Whitey Ford, Joe Morgan, Steve Carlton, Jim Palmer, Rollie Fingers, Bob Gibson, and Yogi Berra, who will be signing autographs for free during the cocktail reception


92nd St. Y, Kaufmann Concert Hall

1395 Lexington Ave. at 92nd St.

Tickets: $26



Tuesday, January 29 Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich interviewed by Amy Goodman, 8:00


The Knitting Factory

74 Leonard St. between Broadway & Church St.

Tickets: $25




Tuesday, January 29 Comedy benefit with Aziz Ansari, Eugene Mirman, Heather Lawless, Andrea Rosen, Slovin and Allen, Todd Barry, David Rees, Whitest Kids U Know, Laura Krafft, Greg Johnson, Shonali Bhowmik, Marcellus Hall, and more, 8:00


Joyce Theater

175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St.

Tickets: $25-$40



Tuesday, January 29


Sunday, February 3 The Toronto Dance Theatre presents the American premiere of a multimedia full-length work choreographed by Christopher House


Japan Society

333 East 47th St. at First Ave.

Tickets: $10



Wednesday, January 30 Centennial Speakers Series: Dr. Donald Keene, Shincho Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature at Columbia University and recipient of "Person of Cultural Merit" (Bunka Korosha), moderated by Thomas Hare, followed by a reception, 6:30

Meg Stuart and Philipp Gehmacher will collaborate at DTW


Dance Theater Workshop

219 West 19th St. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.

Tickets: $25



Wednesday, January 30


Saturday, February 2 New York premiere of collaborative duet between Belgium-based Meg Stuart and Austrian choreographer Philipp Gehmacher, about longing and impermanence, with live music by Niko Hafkenscheid (a preshow "Coffee and Conversations" talk with Cathy Edwards in the lobby will precede the January 30 performance, which will be followed by a discussion with Gabri Christa and the artists)


Wollman Auditorium, the Cooper Union

51 Astor Pl. at Eighth St. between Third & Fourth Aves.

Admission: free


Thursday, January 31 Discussion and book signing with Marshall Berman and Margaret Morton, 6:00


Canal Room

285 West Broadway at Canal St.

Tickets: $12




Thursday, January 31 Live music and DJ dance party with Falu and DJ Rekha, 8:00


Bronx Museum of the Arts

1040 Grand Concourse at 165th St.

Admission: free

RSVP for program: 718-681-6000 ext102


Friday, February 1 Celebrating Black History Month: A Tribute to James Brown, with J OP!, Queen Goodis, GIF, and Drumadics, 6:00 (galleries open 12 noon — 8:00 pm, including "Quisqueya Henríquez: The World Outside — A Survey Exhibition 1991-2007")


Mercury Lounge

217 East Houston St. at Ave. A




Friday, February 1 The Felice Brothers (11:30) might be the headliners at this show at the Mercury Lounge with Crazee (8:30) and War on Drugs (9:30), but we’re looking forward to seeing Alabama native A.A. Bondy (10:30) play the addictive, stripped-down tunes from his stirring debut album, AMERICAN HEARTS


Blue Note

131 West Third St.

Tickets: table $30, bar $20



Friday, February 1 Maria Pia De Vito Quartet, 8:00 & 10:30

Saturday, February 2 Roberta Gambarini with Ada Rovatti, 8:00 & 10:30

Sunday, February 3 The Big "O" Orchestra, 8:00 & 10:30

Maggie Cheung stars as an addict trying to recapture her life in CLEAN


Anthology Film Archives

32 Second Ave. at Second St.

February 1-10



Friday, February 1 LATE AUGUST, EARLY SEPTEMBER (Olivier Assayas, 1998), 7:00

LATE AUGUST, EARLY SEPTEMBER (Olivier Assayas, 1998)


Boring. If you want to spend a few hours watching a bunch of unlikable French people sipping coffee and talking endlessly about things you'll never care about, then this is the film for you. Even the wonderful Jeanne Balibar, the star of the magnificent VA SAVOIR (Jacques Rivette, 2001), can't save this mess about an older writer whom you'll hate. Don't get taken in by the hype surrounding Olivier Assayas; this movie stinks, and IRMA VEP (1996) is even worse--in that one, he wastes the talent of Maggie Cheung and Jean-Pierre Léaud.

Friday, February 1 IRMA VEP (Olivier Assayas, 1996), 9:30

IRMA VEP (Olivier Assayas, 1996)

Olivier Assayas pays homage to Truffaut’s DAY FOR NIGHT in this piece of pseudoartistic fluff about a film crew’s attempts at remaking Louis Feuillade’s 1915 classic LES VAMPIRES. The great Maggie Cheung, who later married Assayas, is wasted as the star of the remake, and Truffaut regular Jean-Pierre Léaud, playing the director, is frustratingly unintelligible when he speaks in English, which unfortunately is a lot in this high-falutin’ mess.

Saturday, February 2 HHH: A PORTRAIT OF HOU HSIAO-HSIEN (Olivier Assayas, 1997), 5:00

Saturday, February 2 IRMA VEP (Olivier Assayas, 1996), 7:00

Saturday, February 2 LATE AUGUST, EARLY SEPTEMBER (Olivier Assayas, 1998), 9:30

Sunday, February 3 LES DESTINÉES SENTIMENTALES (Olivier Assayas, 2000), 5:00

Sunday, February 3 ALICE AND MARTIN (André Téchiné, 1998), 8:30

Monday, February 4 ALICE AND MARTIN (André Téchiné, 1998), 7:00

Monday, February 4 HHH: A PORTRAIT OF HOU HSIAO-HSIEN (Olivier Assayas, 1997), 9:30

Tuesday, February 5 DEMONLOVER (Olivier Assayas, 2002), 7:00

Tuesday, February 5 CLEAN (Olivier Assayas, 2004), 9:30

CLEAN (Olivier Assayas, 2004)

With their divorce pending, writer-director Olivier Assayas and Hong Kong superstar Maggie Cheung wish each other a fond farewell in the moving drama CLEAN. Named Best Actress at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival for her extraordinary performance, Cheung (HERO, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE) stars as Emily Wang, a junkie trying to resuscitate the fading music career of her heroin-addicted lover, Lee (British musician James Johnston). Their life together is so screwed up that they rarely see their son, Jay (James Dennis), who lives in Vancouver with Lee’s parents (Nick Nolte and Martha Henry). On the road, Emily scores some drugs, fights with Lee, goes out for a ride, then returns to find him dead from an overdose and the cops waiting to arrest her. After six months in prison, she gets out to find that her life has changed more than she could ever have imagined. Cheung is effervescent every step of the way, lighting up the screen despite playing a very hard-to-like character; her tender scenes with the soft-spoken, grizzled Nolte are particularly gentle and touching. Unfortunately the subplot set in the music world is clichéd, annoying, and mostly unnecessary, everything that the rest of the film is not. The stunt casting is particularly irritating: Tricky, the band Metric, and Mazzy Star’s David Roback all play themselves. The otherwise fine cast also includes Béatrice Dalle, Jeanne Balibar, Don McKellar, and Laetitia Spigarelli, with a soundtrack dominated by ethereal songs by Brian Eno. If it all sounds somewhat familiar, that’s because Laurie Collyer’s 2006 drama, SHERRYBABY, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, has a lot in common with it.

Wednesday, February 6 LES DESTINÉES SENTIMENTALES (Olivier Assayas, 2000), 7:00


Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd St.

Free with museum admission of $9

212-534-1672 ext3395


Saturday, February 2 Gallery tour by artist Yvonne Jacquette, "Under New York Skies: Nocturnes by Yvonne Jacquette," introduced by curator Andrea Henderson Fahnestock, 2:00


Brooklyn Museum of Art

200 Eastern Parkway

Admission: free after 5:00 pm (some events require free tickets available that night)



Saturday, February 2 Live music and dance, artist and gallery talks, workshops for children, film screenings, and a DJ dance party, 5:00 — 11:00


Millennium Film Workshop

66 East Fourth St. between Second Ave. and Bowery

Tickets: $8


Saturday, February 2 TOMORROW ALWAYS COMES (Jacob Burchkardt & Royston Scott, 2006), THE PROFESSOR AND HIS IMPROPER POSITION (Jacob Burchkardt & Royston Scott, 2007), and DUET FOR SPIES (Jacob Burchkardt & Jim Neu, 1993), 8:00


Columbus Park

Mulberry St. between Worth & Bayard Sts.

Admission: free




Saturday, February 2


Monday, February 4 Fifth annual event featuring flowers, artists, and live performances welcoming in the Year of the Rat, 4706


Scandinavia House

58 Park Ave. at 38th St.

Tickets: $10



Monday, February 4 DETAILS (DETALJER) (Kristian Petri, 2004), 6:30


Aperture Gallery

547 West 27th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves., fourth floor

Admission: free



Tuesday, February 5 Tod Papageorge, American Sports, 1970, Or, How We Spent The War In Vietnam (Aperture, February 2008), 6:30


Helen Mills Theater

139 West 26th St. between Sixth & Seventh Aves.




Tuesday, February 5


Sunday, February 10 Pasion Flamenca presents a theatrical dance paying tribute to the miners of Andalucia, with music by Pedro Cortés and direction and choreography by Jorge Navarro and Antonio Hidalgo


The Gallery at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center

Tickets: $50 (includes one-year membership to Central Park Conservancy)



Thursday, February 7 Annual Winter Social, featuring specialty tapas and wine, sponsored by the Junior Advisory Committee of the Central Park Conservancy, 7:30 — 9:30

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