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GERALD SLOTASlota's aggressively crude, psychologically loaded style of photocollage is perfectly suited to the fairy-tale subjects of the series he calls "Fable." Riffing on Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel, and other fraught childhood narratives, he slips between dread and hilarity with lunatic charm. The eccentrically scalloped edges of these works frame images that shift abruptly from representation to abstraction and from color to black-and-white. Rapunzel is a pair of challah-like blond braids or a stream of wispy hair hung tantalizingly above shadowy figures; Jack's toppled beanstalk is a jagged split in the landscape. It's Baldessari unfettered and unhinged. THROUGH JUNE 14, Ricco/Maresca Gallery, 529 West 20th Street, 212-627-4819. (Aletti)

THEATER

'CAN'T LET GO'If you're one of the millions feeling more than a little anonymous and disempowered because they're stuck in a cubicle at a large corporation, or recently unstuck from one by our economic downward spiral, your personal downward spiral might get a pick-me-up from Keith Reddin's new solo play, starring favorite Broadway warbler Rebecca Luker, which deals with a young woman in a similar position at a megacorp where, as frequently in Reddin's work, things are more than a little twisted. Keen Company artistic director Carl Forsman, who knows from solo, directs. PREVIEWS BEGIN FRIDAY, OPENS MONDAY, Connelly Theatre, 220 East 4th Street, 212-868-4444. (Feingold)

Ties that bind: Takeshi Kitano's Dolls delves into everlasting love (see film).
photo: courtesy BAM
Ties that bind: Takeshi Kitano's Dolls delves into everlasting love (see film).

'MARATHON 2003'The masters of the short form are back doing their thing at Ensemble Studio Theatre's annual one-act play fest, and the bills, two of them this year, are both crowded (five plays each) and full of familiar names. Series A winds up with a new play by Romulus Linney, also boasting writers Susan Kim and Billy Aronson, and actors-turned-directors Julie Boyd and Richmond Hoxie, among its better-known contribs. Series B (starting Sunday) features works by John Guare and Tina Howe, plus a solo performance by daredevil Leslie Ayvazian. Series A currently in performance; Series B OPENS MONDAY, E.S.T., 549 West 52nd Street, 212-206-1515. (Feingold)

'SUBWAY SERIES'Just as the scandal-rocked MTA is making headlines, Tangent Theatre Company has strung together six one-acts by emerging playwrights, all of which take place on, by, with, or around NYC's most loved and loathed people mover. The evening also includes live musical interludes. And even if the appeals court doesn't give us a fare rollback, during the show's first weekend you can get a discount by displaying your MetroCard at the box office. As ethical practices go, it beats double bookkeeping. OPENS WEDNESDAY THROUGH JUNE 14, Workshop Theater Company, 312 West 36th Street, 212-946-5008. (Feingold)

WORDS

'PAGE+STAGE+SCREEN'Director Estep Nagy's 1998 debut, The Broken Giant, was quietly audacious—shots photographed with painterly care, unfolding a story rich with Faulknerian texture. For this evening organized by Housing Works and lit magazine Tin House, Nagy debuts part of his new script, Horse on Fire, about an adolescent amour fou that somehow also includes a high school production of Nixon in China. (Take that, Max Fischer!) The actors reading are TBA, but one might note that then-obscure Chris Noth appeared in Giant. Joshua Wolf Shenk and Dale Peck also stand and deliver. WEDNESDAY AT 7, Housing Works Used Books Café, 126 Crosby Street, 212-334-3324. (Park)

SUZAN-LORI PARKSThe Pulitzer-winning Topdog's debut novel, Getting Mother's Body, shows a daughter's desire to recover family treasures—the kind worth something at the pawnshop. TUESDAY AT 7:30, Barnes & Noble, 4 Astor Place, 212-420-1322. (Meyer)

MARK SWARTZRemember thinking that socially catatonic bookworm was secretly a terrorist on the make? In Swartz's Instant Karma, he is. As he exhausts the Chicago Public Library, avant-anarchist David Felsenstein is plotting his masterpiece: to blow it up. And in this, his journal, he tries to justify his motives. Destruction as art? That was so Dada. He's already worried he'll get negative reviews, and he's probably right. WEDNESDAY AT 7:30, Barnes & Noble, 267 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-832-9066. (Reidy)

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