CALEXICO + NINA NASTASIA Calexico's newest, Feast of Wire, is a loosely assembled gumbo of the band's Tucson-rooted boogies, dusty whiskey waltzes, and the occasional Tabasco-seasoned pop song. At times the album saunters lazily between the three like a drunken coyote, but the music itself--especially when flushed out in a live setting--has the power to transport even a horn-rimmed hipster from, say, a cramped L.E.S. club to the parched, turquoise- and tumbleweed-strewn landscapes of mariachis and margaritas. Nina Nastasia, whose soft-spoken songwriting would be lost in its own sobriety without the help of her beautiful strings section, is a fitting opener. SATURDAY AT 10, Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, 212-533-2111. (Viera)

ROSANNE CASH Although she'll perform at Joe's Pub Monday, don't expect much promo from the Nashville star who long ago chose to pursue her own muse at her own pace right here in Manhattan. In fact, this benefit for Housing Works may be the best way to hear the new and old songs on her first album since 1996. The openers are quality too: singing DJ Laura Cantrell, another New Yorker with strong feelings for Nashville, and Grammy-winning Norah Jones songwriter and guitarist Jesse Harris, whose third album will soon pack considerably more corporate support than the first two. FRIDAY AT 7:30, Housing Works Used Book Café, 126 Crosby Street, 212-334-3324; MONDAY AT 7:30, Joe's Pub, Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, 212-239-6200. (Christgau)

BILL CHARLAP Having recorded one of the outstanding albums of the past year, Stardust (Blue Note), and proved that he is not only a superbly original, imaginative, often mesmerizing pianist but also the leader of one of the most impressively unified trios in years, Charlap's on a roll and every appearance is an event. With Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums, the repertory of mostly standards takes on renewed suspense as the players tune in to each other and the music, unafraid of rests or languorous tempos that make the reserved virtuosity all the more riveting. WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY AT 9 AND 11, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY ALSO AT 12:30 A.M., Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, 212-255-4037. (Giddins)

MACY GRAY + LAMYA The Middle East meets the Midwest on this intriguing double bill. Oman and Ohio must provoke similar motivational impulses as stepping-off places for would-be global pop stars. Lamya Al-Mughiery did vocal apprenticeships under everyone from Vaughn Mason to David Bowie before recruiting Nellee Hooper to produce her solo debut last year. All her influences, from disco and alt-rock to rai and trip-hop, swirl without definitive resolution throughout last year's Learning From Falling. Similarly quirky and talented, the Grammy-laureled Macy Gray defied multi-platinum expectations on her second LP by deviating sharply from her
initial role as a catchy '70s soul-funk revivalist. Two maverick singer-songwriters, two women of color, who dare to keep us
guessing--fans and detractors alike. Welcome to the Twilight Zone. SATURDAY AT 9, Warsaw, 261 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-
387-0505 or 866-468-7619. (Cooper)

BOBBY HUTCHERSON Mercurial, intense, and superbly inventive, Hutcherson remains the cutting edge of the vibes after more than 35 years. His notes flow not with the linear decisiveness of Milt Jackson or the plush lyricism of Gary Burton, but in a consuming rush that nonetheless remains light, nimble, and focused. This week he leads a sextet for what sounds like a '60s Blue Note session brought to life and up to date, with alto saxophonist James Spaulding, trumpeter Wallace Roney, pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist Dwayne Burno, and drummer Billy Drummond. WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY AT 8 AND 10, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY ALSO AT MIDNIGHT, Iridium, 1650 Broadway, 212-582-2121. (Giddins)

THE STREETS Last fall's Mercury Lounge appearance, in which Mike Skinner short-circuited his own showmanship after breaking a microphone the previous night at the Bowery Ballroom, was a disappointment. But the joint still lit up when he went into ruffer material like "Give Me Back My Lighter," a trend that continues on his recent remixes (see the Roll Deep remake of "Let's Push Things Forward"). Harder beats tend to equal better dancing, but even if you're not much of a mover, Skinner's such a canny raconteur he'll get you going with his words alone. WEDNESDAY AT 9:30, Warsaw, 261 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-387-0505 or 866-468-7619. (Matos)

DAVID HILLIARD Hilliard's big, memorable, multi-panel photos use subtly shifting viewpoints and supersaturated color to sketch elusive but tantalizingly ripe narratives, nearly all of which revolve around sex or solitude. A nearly naked hunk preens before a group of overdressed men; two young girls in swimsuits vamp atop a picnic table; a young woman on a rumpled bed covers her bare breasts and glances warily at the shirtless guy leering from the other side of a screen door. Though erotic heat isn't the only thing on Hilliard's mind, it smolders so brightly here that all his other pictures bask in the glow. THROUGH MARCH 22, Yancey Richardson Gallery, 535 West 22nd Street, 646-230-9610. (Aletti)

INGAR KRAUSS In this impressive American debut, Krauss shows small black-and-white photos of pale, haunted-looking German boys and girls that are unsettling enough to recall the remorseless children of the damned. But there's also a strange beauty to his portraits, suggesting Balthus crossed with Sally Mann and Francesca Woodman: innocence and experience combined in one fragile vessel. Krauss underplays the artifice, but he still seems to have entered a dream world and brought these lovely, uncanny creatures along with him. THROUGH SATURDAY, Marvelli Gallery, 526 West 26th Street, 212-627-3363. (Aletti)

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