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ART

JULES DE BALINCOURTIf his cheery dumb style of painting owes a lot to Chris Johanson, and his synthetic color owes a little to Lisa Ruyter, chalk it up to the fact that de Balincourt is still in the process of getting his M.F.A. Yet "Land of Many Uses" has enough charm, smarts, and self-deprecating wit to make this fledgling artist someone to watch. There's a big functioning multicolor tree house made of scavenged scrap wood (including a police barrier), and an adorable mini-re-creation of his old L.A. neighborhood being inundated by a stream that becomes a lake (and vice versa) in a flood cycle that takes nearly an hour. THROUGH JUNE 14, LFL, 530 West 24th Street, 212-989-7700. (Levin)

'THE STAGE OF DRAWING: GESTURE AND ACT'It may span 300 years, but this selection of 148 works on paper from the Tate's collections isn't historical. It's a personal act of consciousness, performed not only by a host of artists who drew, but by the eyes and mind of one contemporary artist, Avis Newman, who selected them, setting the stage for unlikely dialogues and small revelations. Beardsley hobnobs with Picabia, Blake communes with Barnett Newman, LeWitt hangs with William Henry Hunt, Cage with Sir James Thornhill, and Carl Andre and Eva Hesse share a use of grid paper. THROUGH SATURDAY, the Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, 212-219-2166. (Levin)

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).

DANCE

BILL T. JONES/ARNIE ZANE DANCE COMPANYBorrowing a page from the playbook of Merce Cunningham, the sinuous Jones, on the cusp of his troupe's 20th anniversary season, offers Another Evening, a new 90-minute collage of dance, live music, song, and spoken text, featuring song stylist Cassandra Wilson and the company's music director, Dr. Daniel Bernard Roumain. Like Cunningham's Events, this presentation will recombine elements from existing repertory with newly created work. The combination of Jones and Wilson is sure to sizzle. On WEDNESDAY AT 7, there's a free open rehearsal. FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AT 8, SUNDAY AT 3, Aaron Davis Hall, West 135th Street and Convent Avenue, 212-650-7100. (Zimmer)

H.T. CHEN & DANCERSCelebrating 25 years of creative work in Chinatown, Chen's multicultural troupe, which last year won the Governor's Arts Award for community service throughout New York State, offers a world premiere to a commissioned score by Ushio Torakai, to be performed live, and a revival of Opening the Gate, which has music by Bradley Kaus. Completing the program is a film on the company's history by Don Quinn Kelly. THURSDAY THROUGH SATURDAY AT 7:30, SUNDAY AT 2:30, AND JUNE 5 THROUGH 8, La MaMa Annex, 74A East 4th Street, 212-475-7710. (Zimmer)

FILM

'THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY'It's Sergio Leone's masterpiece and the greatest of all spaghetti westerns: Clint Eastwood's scuzzy bounty hunter, Lee Van Cleef's reptilian hired killer, and Eli Wallach's blasphemous bandit form and dissolve alliances, littering the screen with corpses as they search for an elusive box of gold coins. The plot keeps intersecting the fringes of the Civil War, presented as a larger, more meaningless bloodbath than anything in which the principals get mixed up, and the three-way shoot-out that ends, amid corrida fanfares and tolling bells, in a graveyard half the size of Texas is one of the great set pieces in western history. The new print restores a few scenes cut for the movie's 1967 U.S. release. OPENS FRIDAY, THROUGH JUNE 12, Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, 212-727-8110. (Hoberman)

'VILLAGE VOICE BEST OF 2002'Some of the high-scorers—distributed and otherwise—of the last Voice film critics' poll are reprised in this annual, month-long BAM event. The lineup includes Far From Heaven of course (as well as two Sirk melodramas), the Adam Sandler art film Punch Drunk Love, Godard's exquisite In Praise of Love, the films maudits Esther Kahn and Hou Hsiao-hsien's Millennium Mambo, and—a local premiere—Takeshi Kitano's Dolls. Voice writers will be introducing various screenings. OPENS FRIDAY, THROUGH JUNE 30, BAM Rose, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-623-2770. (Hoberman)

MUSIC

MANDY BARNETTThe most convincing of Nashville's sexy thrushes doesn't get north often enough. She may not come as extravagantly equipped as in 1999, when she and a major label were supporting the audacious countrypolitan retro of I've Got a Right to Cry. But she's a Nashville legend live and she deserves to be—her pipes like Patsy's, her phrasing like Peggy's, she was old at 21 and knew how to make the most of it. TUESDAY AT 9:30, Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, 212-239-6200. (Christgau)

BONE CRUSHER+RED CAFESure, it's a shtick. Every time you see Bone Crusher perform (except on Conan, strangely), the 350-pound rapper tears his shirt off and runs through the crowd, a brazen display of meaty manliness. As his single goes, "I ain't never scared!" The rest of his album doesn't quite capture the exuberant vim of that song or its accompanying performance, but the big man does make a big sound. Labelmate Red Cafe isn't half the man Bone Crusher is—physically, that is—but as one of the few MCs to crawl their way up from mix-tape respectability to major-label deal, he is just as hungry. SUNDAY AT 9, S.O.B.'s, 204 Varick Street, 212-243-4940. (Caramanica)

CYRUS CHESTNUTHe's celebrating the imminent release of You Are My Sunshine, a CD worth celebrating. The point of the album is to mine the common ground between gospel and vernacular grooves, which has always animated his music, but this set goes beyond the provincial book of Blessed Quietness, with two of the most compelling and spirited tracks devoted to Cole Porter and Erroll Garner. He'll appear with a trio, and if he sustains the energy of the CD, which he almost always does anyway, this should be a rollicking gig. WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY AT 7:30 AND 9:30, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AT 7:30, 9:30, AND 11:30, SUNDAY AT 7:30 AND 9:30, Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, 212-576-2232. (Giddins)

TERENCE TRENT D'ARBYTTD's most recent release—portentously entitled Terence Trent D'Arby's Wildcard! despite his changing his name (and karma?) to Sananda Maitreya—has generally won rave reviews from those who never lost faith in this neo-soul prodigy. Inspired production (in part provided by Dallas Austin) and perfectly manicured vocals remind us why radio initially loved him. Don't be late to the show or risk missing a favorite track from his polymorphous past. As a sly storyteller with five albums to choose from, TTD is likely to structure his playlist in order to tell you something you'll probably want to hear. THURSDAY AT 8, B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, 237 West 42nd Street, 212-307-7171. (Cooper)

JUNIOR SENIOROver-the-top tweenybop disco-rock (where both the rock and the disco sound like ultra-glam 1974, except during garage-punk and Beastie-rap and bubble-salsa parts) from one straight goofball and one gay goofball from Denmark who wish they were Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra if not the New York Dolls (they say so in one song), though they sound more like Wham! covering the Electric Six. Their singing dredges up creepy Happy Mondays flashbacks, so usually on their relentlessly ebullient debut album they just yell, and you yell back. About dancing, or good girls and bad boys. Or coconuts. With Robbers on High Street and Harlem Shakes. TUESDAY AT 7:30, Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, 212-219-3006. (Eddy)

'LOST JAZZ SHRINES'This excellent series is back for its fifth year with concerts that explore gone but unforgotten venues and the music associated with them. This time all three concerts salute Cafe Society, Barney Josephson's historic Greenwich Village club that broke the color bar and fell victim to the '50s witch-hunt. The second event explores "The Piano Tradition of Mary Lou Williams & Others"—including Hazel Scott, whose appearance led directly to her becoming the first black artist featured on the cover of the Daily News' Sunday supplement. Williams, who later spurred the music revival at Josephson's '70s club, the Cookery, left a remarkable body of compositions, which will be played by Joanne Brackeen, Bertha Hope, and Francesca Tanksley. FRIDAY AT 8, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street, 212-220-1460. (Giddins)

PREFUSE 73+FOUR TET+MANITOBA+A GRAPE DOPEIf you say yes to instrumental music with its head in the clouds and its feet tracing a groove, this is your bill. Atlanta native and Barcelona expat Prefuse 73's new One Word Extinguisher (Warp) features shorter, more- glitch-than-hop songs than its predecessors, but its bubbly, synthetic textures will grow on you. Four Tet's Rounds (Domino) is ambient IDM for indie rockers, with all the good and bad that implies. Manitoba's Up in Flames(Domino/Leaf) is even airier, though its best track is a 1:45 alien-surf instrumental. A Grape Dope are the electronica side project of Tortoise/Eternals drummer John Herndon, whose Missing Dragons EP drags Sally Timms and Dose One along for the ride. THURSDAY AT 8:30, Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, 212-533-2111; FRIDAY AT 9, Southpaw, 125 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-230-0236. (Matos)

AMY RIGBYThe best songwriter in Nashville used to live in Williamsburg and damned if I can tell whether anyone in either location knows or cares. All four of her albums are good and the new one is the best since her first. Sings like she knows who she is, loves a good band, and—I warn on general principles rather than privileged information—may not stick it out forever. Go tell her she'd better. With Kenny White. MONDAY AT 7, Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, 212-239-6200. (Christgau)

OPEN CITY

VIRTUAL UNIVERSE TOURSummer is a fine season for romantic evening cruises under the stars, but why not sail through them instead? The supercomputer-generated Virtual Universe conjured by seven projectors in the Space Theater was once the exclusive domain of astrophysicists and their students, but now, starting Tuesday (and every first Tuesday of the month) it's a uniquely New York date. Not to be confused with pre-programmed movies, live presenters will take you through space in such vivid 3-D—looping behind stars and twirling constellations—that you may get queasy. THURSDAY AT 6:30, Hayden Planetarium, Central Park West and 81st Street, 212-769-5200, amnh.org. (Baard)

 

 

PHOTO

ARNOLD NEWMANPerhaps because Newman's stylishly staged pictures of artists and performers are among the most famous photographic portraits of the 20th century, many of us have virtually stopped seeing them. So the time is right to see those photos not as overexposed icons but as the brilliant end results of a rigorous, shrewd creative process. This installation uses an array of contact sheets, uncropped originals, and other variants to show how Newman reduced a session's worth of pictures down to one or two definitive shots. His subjects range from Picasso, Stieglitz, and Stravinsky to a startlingly out-of-context Marilyn Monroe. THROUGH JUNE 14, Howard Greenberg Gallery, 120 Wooster Street, 212-334-0010. (Aletti)

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)

'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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