Listings

At 8, Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway, 212.307.7171

'MY LITTLE BROWN BOOK': THE JOHN HICKS ENSEMBLE

The pianist has assembled French and English horns instead of the usual brasses, along with much percussion and a reed section with flute for an evening of Billy Strayhorn. The cast includes Craig Handy, Elise Wood, Victor Lewis, and Ray Mantilla, but to stress the concerto aspect of key works, guests have been added who play the same instruments as Webster and Hodges: Joe Lovano and Gary Bartz. On Wednesday the 3rd at 7, Clark Terry, Stanley Crouch, and others discuss Strayhorn's life and music. GIDDINS

Yes dear, when you grow up, you will be rich and beautiful (see Monday).
photo: Tina Barney/Courtesy Janet Borden Inc.
Yes dear, when you grow up, you will be rich and beautiful (see Monday).

At 8, Aaron Davis Hall, West 135th Street and Convent Avenue, 212.650.7100

Theater

'NOTEBOOK OF A RETURN TO MY NATIVE LAND'

One of the first major figures in black French literature, Martinique's Aimé Césaire (born in 1913) wrote this influential, introspective epic poem in the late 1930s. Guadeloupe-born Jacques Martial, founder of Paris's Compagnie de la Comédie Noire troupe, stars in this stage version of it, part of a conference on Césaire sponsored by NYU's Department of Africana Studies. With English supertitles. FEINGOLD

At 8, Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street, 212.355.6160

 

Words

PAUL AUSTER

The hall-of-mirrors plot of Oracle Night, Auster's latest novel, turns on an array of Macguffins, including a disappearing Court Street stationery store, a Maltese Falcon sample, and a mysterious blue notebook from Portugal. In a two-day installment sponsored by 192 Books, the Brooklyn author will read the novel in its entirety before a likely audience of rapt cult fans jotting carefully in their own red notebooks. STRONG

Today and Sunday 3 to 7, Paula Cooper Gallery, 521 West 21st Street, second floor, 212.255.1105

 


SUNDAY

DECEMBER 7


Art

PIERRE HUYGHE

The galleries seem bare until five large white walls begin to move, exposing pale wall drawings and Mylar backing as they nudge us into their embrace. Then the makeshift festivities that Huyghe staged and filmed near Fishkill—with his off-kilter blend of reality, fiction, communality, and bland alienation—begin. By the time you realize the film is over, the amazing walls of "Streamside Day Follies" are gliding away. LEVIN

Wednesday through January 11, Dia:Chelsea, 548 West 22nd Street, 212.989.5566

SERGIO PREGO

Pierre Huyghe isn't the only one to make the walls move. By pure coincidence, this young Spanish artist, exploring physical connections between the body, motion, and space, does it too. "Winter Star," his installation of low-tech tilting walls, refers to William Gibson's cosmonaut stuck in orbit. But a hilariously dislocated video made of digitally combined photos (with a spatial wit akin to Buster Keaton, Matthew Barney, or Murnau's Nosferatu) steals this show. LEVIN

Wednesday through December 20, Lombard-Freid, 531 West 26th Street, 212.967.8040

 

Words

CHRISTIAN BÖK

Act fast and watch Canada's smart bard (and grammar hawk) talk and bark and lark, as all say ja and dag and slap palms. Excellent! I think! Bök's books show how Bök (from Toronto) molds words to follow Bök's odd norms; Bök's vox wows. (Truth!) Eunoia was 2001's univocalic triumph, each chapter employing a single vowel (as the sentences above attempt as well); this year's Crystallography (a re-issue/vision of his 1994 debut) is full of cool pleasures—the title literally breaks down as "lucid writing." PARK

Sunday at 2, Soft Skull Shortwave, 71 Bond Street, Brooklyn, 718.643.1599; Monday at 7, Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, 718.302.3770; Tuesday at 6, Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, 212.614.0505

 


MONDAY

DECEMBER 8


Music

ANDREW HILL & JASON MORAN

The first in a series of four piano duos, this one is especially provocative, pairing one of the most compelling figures to emerge on the fringe of the '60s avant-garde with a young beacon of the present generation who was mentored by him. Both are so individual that it's difficult to imagine how they'll accommodate each other rhythmically or melodically. It could be electrifying, deeply intellectual, or both—bet on both. Mon at 8. GIDDINS

At 8, Merkin Concert Hall, 129 West 67th Street, 212.501.3330

 

SEAL

Seal IV isn't the Trevor Horn record you probably expect, relying little on the grandiose synths that are synonymous with the ultimate producer of the '80s. Big strings replace them, along with real woodwinds, brass, etc. on what amounts to an old-fashioned psychedelic soul album, something Rotary Connection might've conceived. With Wilshire. WALTERS

At 8, Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street, 212.564.4882

 

Photo

TINA BARNEY

In recent years, Barney has put aside keenly observed tableaux of family and friends in their East Coast enclaves and focused instead on informally posed portraits of Europeans of wealth and taste. Although I miss the casual intimacy and dramatic tension of the earlier work, Barney can still serve up a fine social and psychological study, and her new series on "the French" is among her subtlest and most satisfying. With colors as rich as her subjects, Barney is at the top of her game. ALETTI

Wednesday through December 31, Janet Borden Inc., 560 Broadway, 212.431.0166

Theater

'NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH'

Under apartheid, black South Africans lived two histories: one at home, in the prison that was their country, and one abroad, battling on the world stage for its release. Actor-playwright John Kani, who lived his share of both conditions, comes back to New York in this three-character study, directed by Janice Honeyman, of the painful conflicts that can arise when the two teams try to rebuild together. FEINGOLD

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