SUSAN WIDES Wides's terrific new photos of spiders and their webs look like a combination of automatic drawing and scientific investigation. Made outdoors under natural light (much of which bounces around the frame in bright prismatic bars) but before midnight blue backdrops, the pictures play nature against artifice without any unnecessary polemics. Set in their glistening nets, the spiders appear jewel-like or sinister (depending on your arachnid comfort level), but the work is utterly seductive. Ready-made abstraction should always be this cool. THROUGH MARCH 15, Kim Foster Gallery, 529 West 20th Street, 212-229-0044. (Aletti)

'AVENUE Q' Theater, they say, is where you exorcise the demons of your childhood. The new generation of musical-theater writers represented by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx, and Jeff Whitty, at least according to advance rumor, feels the urgent need to exorcise Sesame Street. That, anyway, is the matrix of their new satirical review aimed at twentysomethings. Rumor says it's funny, too. Jason Moore directs the not yet famous cast, with choreography by Ken Roberson and puppetry by Rick Lyons. IN PREVIEWS, OPENS MARCH 19, Vineyard Theatre, 108 East 15th Street, 212-239-6200. (Feingold)

'FUCKING A' Suzan-Lori Parks's superb In the Blood received some sniffy reviews a few years back; maybe this new work, which takes a different tack while spinning off the same distant source (Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter), will be more to the sniffers' liking, especially since Parks acquired extra creds in between by winning the Pulitzer Prize for Topdog/Underdog. Michael Greif directs; the emphatically not-shabby cast includes S. Epatha Merkerson, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Topdog's Mos Def. IN PREVIEWS, OPENS SUNDAY, Joseph Papp Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, 212-239-6200. (Feingold)

'THE PLEASURE MAN' The heterosexual double entendres in Sex got playwright-actress Mae West a week on Rikers Island; transvestism got her homophile work The Drag shut down in Bayonne. Her third play, in which the Don Juanish hero has inclinations toward both genders, is less well- known because it managed to fight the vice cops to a draw, being raided after two of its three performances but suffering no legal consequences. Elyse Singer, who revived Sex not long ago, is going West again with this staged reading?the play's first public showing in 75 years?as a fundraiser for her company, Hourglass Group. Downtown flamboyances Charles Busch and David Drake will be among those pleasant. MONDAY AT 8, Culture Project, 45 Bleecker Street, 212-459-8122. (Feingold)

'ZANNA DON'T' The heroine of Tim Acito and Alexander Dinelaris's musical is a teenage matchmaker with magical powers, one of which is apparently inducing, in Off-Off audiences, an enthusiasm that conquers all objections to its punning title. The magical result is its transfer to a commercial Off-Broadway run of Devanand Janki's production. Apart from one of the actors being named Zeus, which suggests even more magical powers, the names involved are all unfamiliar, traditionally a good omen. IN PREVIEWS, OPENS MARCH 20, John Houseman Theatre, 450 West 42nd Street, 212-239-6200. (Feingold)

'STANLEY KUNITZ ON PAUL CELAN AND THE POETRY OF THE HOLOCAUST' Paul Celan, who went "toward language with his very being," is as much the astonishing poet of language's difficulty as a great writer of the Holocaust, which he survived while his parents did not. His poems are gem-like songs of loss at least half ready to lose themselves. Galway Kinnell introduces. THURSDAY AT 7, Greenberg Lounge at New York University, 40 Washington Square South, 212-998-8816. (Clover)

EDMUND WHITE+JOYCE CAROL OATES+KIM SOOJA Linda Yablonsky is back in the Kitchen to serve the final course in this year's "Spotlight Readings" series. In curating this evening of aural and visual stimuli, she's assembled a salon of sorts, with works from literary siren Joyce Carol Oates, cultural critic and flaneur extraordinaire Edmund White, and video artist Kim Sooja, who will screen work with both video and lighting elements. TUESDAY AT 7, the Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, 212-255-5793. (Snow)

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