DONNA MOYLAN Slipping between abstraction and representation, her work always went its own way with an intriguing painterly intelligence. Now, in a new series of "Paintings on a Theme," she gets the mood of the moment absolutely right. It's not quite fair to say these works are about terror, destruction, global strife, and desert warfare, because they're not really about anything except the miracles of color and the mysteries of the painted plane. But Moylan's paintings on wood veneer panels—desolate, steaming, whorled mirages infiltrated by tiny lost soldiers, trucks, and helicopters—exude a weird mix of anticipation, anxiety, dread, gorgeousness, and incomprehension. THROUGH AUGUST 1, Nicole Klagsbrun, 526 West 26th Street, 212-243-3335. (Levin)

KARA WALKER It's simply called "Drawings," and nothing in this show grabs at the collective unconscious of the antebellum South quite as insistently as her installations. But this generous and unpretentious array of sketches, studies, silhouette drawings, penciled texts, washy watercolors, and large works on paper runs the gamut of Walker's antic investigations into the hideous realities, hidden fantasies, and complex codependencies of this nation's racial history. And it's just as effective at getting under our collective skin. Peopled with male colonists, mulatto women, wraiths, skeletons, evil genies, free spirits, and an alligator in a top hat—suckling, shackling, and doing unspeakable things to themselves and each other—it's a veritable orgy of the unrepressed psyche. THROUGH JULY 25, Brent Sikkema, 530 West 22nd Street, 212-929-2262. (Levin)

The Kirov Opera reinterprets Verdi's Macbeth at the Lincoln Center Festival (see theater).
photo: Monika Ritterhaus
The Kirov Opera reinterprets Verdi's Macbeth at the Lincoln Center Festival (see theater).


NRITYAGRAM DANCE ENSEMBLE+MOLISSA FENLEY & DANCERS The whole world's the choreographic inspiration of these two groups, sharing a free outdoor program: India's Nrityagram, based in what may be the world's only "dance village," brings a program of live dance and music in the Odissi style. Fenley (born in Vegas, raised in Nigeria and Spain, educated at Mills in Oakland, California), long an austere fixture of the downtown scene, shows three recent works. Come early or bring your binoculars. WEDNESDAY AT 8:30, Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, mid-park, at 72nd Street, 212-360-CPSS. (Zimmer)

'TAP CITY 2003' It's hard to tell exactly what drug they're taking, but when the international tap community gathers, faces light up and feet flip and a century of cultural exchange surfaces in a range of star turns. This third annual festival opens over the weekend with classes, workshops, and marathon performances. The first two feature young talent. (You're also invited to the curtain-raiser party at Jimmy's Uptown, 2207 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, SUNDAY AT 5:30.) MONDAY AT 9:30, TUESDAY AT 7 AND 9:30, AND OTHER TIMES THROUGH JULY 19, the Duke on 42nd Street, 229 West 42nd Street, 212-239-6200. (Zimmer)


'KAURISMÄKI GOES AMERICA' Aki Kaurismäki, Finland's laconic gift to world cinema, gets his most extensive solo retrospective to date, including the early, hard-to-see postmodern literary adaptations Crime and Punishment and Hamlet Goes Business, the estimable "working-class trilogy," and of course, the various adventures of the "world's worst rock 'n' roll band," the Leningrad Cowboys. OPENS THURSDAY, THROUGH JULY 17, BAM Rose Cinema, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-777-FILM. (Hoberman)

'MADAME SATÃ' A street-fighting, slum-dwelling Josephine Baker wannabe, the eponymous hero of Karim Aïnouz's first feature might have been imagined by Jean Genet after a night in Rio. Actually this bohemian outlaw is a historical figure as well as a walking provocation. Considering the conventions of Brazilian cinema, Madame Satã is surprisingly understated, but there's no denying the incendiary power of Lázaro Ramos's title performance—the movie is as much the story of his transformation into Madame Satã as it is Madame Satã's. OPENS WEDNESDAY, THROUGH JULY 22, Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, 212-727-8110. (Hoberman)

'TRASH SINEMA' An East Side July can have its own fragrances, and so too does this series. John Waters is the presiding deity—he's represented by his breakthrough Pink Flamingos and early masterpiece Female Trouble, as well as the documentary portrait Divine Trash. Other dumpster divers include the exploitation pioneer Herschel Gordon Lewis, post-punk John Moritsugu, and the brothers Kuchar—nothing, however, is trashier than the 1979 proto-Blair Witch pseudo-doc Cannibal Holocaust. OPENS WEDNESDAY, THROUGH JULY 29, Pioneer Theater, 155 East 3rd Street, 212-254-3300. (Hoberman)


'BLACK PRESIDENT: THE ART AND LEGACY OF FELA ANIKULAPO-KUTI' One of the more resonant countercultural figures of modern times, Afropop superstar Fela Kuti visited America in 1969 and returned home to Nigeria with heavy Pan-African politics and the Funk. He died of AIDS in 1997, leaving behind a couple dozen wives and some 70 albums, whose magnificent cover art will be on display along with 42 other works by artists he inspired. Films and videos document his hyperkinetic stage shows and ongoing clashes with Nigeria's government. Fela rebelled by forming his own political party and seceding from the state during a time of what one local daily characterized as "bliss, folly, and sorrow." OPENS FRIDAY, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 28, New Museum, 583 Broadway, 212-219-1222. (Gehr)

BROOKS & DUNN You won't believe me when I say Ronnie and Kix are about to unleash the most rocking album of 2003, but that's your loss. Red Dirt Road starts up with the riff from "Start Me Up," finishes with 1965-Dylan-style holy-war apocalypse rapped from the point of view of an evangelist who foresees Jews fighting junkies, and packs tons of absurdly great soul and gospel and ZZ Top under its big tent between. It's closer to Exile on Main Street than Exile in Guyville ever was. The Drive-By Truckers or the White Stripes should kidnap the drummer. SUNDAY AT 3:30, PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, New Jersey, 201-307-7171. (Eddy)

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