Listings


WEDNESDAY

DECEMBER 10


Monkey see: Mansaku Nomura II and his grandson go bananas at the Japan Society (see Wednesday).
photo: Japan Society
Monkey see: Mansaku Nomura II and his grandson go bananas at the Japan Society (see Wednesday).

Art

MARCEL ODENBACH

Viewers expecting this German artist's video works are in for a surprise. His collages—layering personal, political, formal, and historical visual info—play stunning polemical tricks too. Each image contains a universe of simultaneous others. One minute you see a striped zebra or venetian blinds. Step closer: Within the dark stripes, a mosaic of sheet music, text, and news photos about African unrest or his own family history unfurls. Step back and a group portrait coagulates. LEVIN

Through January 10, Anton Kern Gallery, 532 West 20th Street, 212.367.9663

Books

JOHN KINSELLA+SUSAN STEWART

Australian Kinsella (20 books before he turned 40) and Penn prof Stewart (this year's Columbarium is her fourth), both much lauded lyricists, share a love for insights that emerge from confusion (and vice versa). Stewart aims for an otherworldly quiet: "Dark the wish/made on the star,/a true wish made/on the water's image." Kinsella ranges from

hermetic to noisy but is always urbane: "if you read/the nineteen eleven edition of Britannica the Thylacine is not/extinct nor would its editors without knowing the characters/of Tasmanians have guessed that within twenty five years/it would be 'it once' or 'was.' " DAVIS

At 7, Barnard Hall, Sulzberger Parlor, 3009 Broadway, 212.854.2116

Theater

MANSAKU-NO-KAI KYOGEN COMPANY

How stylized do you like your slapstick? Kyogen, the comic annex to Japan's centuries-old Noh theater, is about as austere as low comedy gets. Which doesn't mean it's not funny. This rare U.S. visit from a leading Kyogen troupe features Mansaku Nomura II, a 70-year veteran of the art form. FEINGOLD

Through Friday, Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, 212.752.3015

'THE STORY'

An ambitious black journalist is accused of falsifying a story in Tracy Scott Wilson's new play—a premise that undeniably has the freshness of this year's newspaper headlines. Phylicia Rashad heads the cast of Loretta Greco's production. FEINGOLD

Through December 21, Joseph Papp Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, 212.239.6200

 


THURSDAY

DECEMBER 11


Art

JONATHAN MONK+ALEKSANDRA MIR

In an elegant pairing, Monk's "Time and or Space" alternates super-conceptualized slide projections (one a day, each a copy of the last) and vinyl wall texts that specify a future rendezvous. Will he be waiting at the Eiffel Tower at noon on October 13, 2008? Here and now, Mir's forest of flippant street signs, from her "Naming Tokyo" project, casts another spin on options of place. The giveaway map (telling who named them and why) explains all. LEVIN

Through December 20, Swiss Institute, 495 Broadway, 212.925.2035

Dance

MISNOMER DANCE THEATER

Fuse an Ivy League education with conservatory training and many months in Bali and Turkey, and you get Chris Elam, a smart, physically fluent choreographer whose Intimacy in Transition investigates uncommon relationships among diverse characters. Jesse Manno, Andy Teirstein, and Mike Vargas provide music; Teirstein's will be performed live. ZIMMER

Through Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 5, through December 21, P.S.122, 150 First Avenue, 212.477.5288

Music

PHIL WOODS QUINTET

One of the living titans on alto saxophone, Woods is a veteran of bop who emerged from the shadow of Charlie Parker as a singular master. He is always authoritative and, when inspired, deeply affecting. This appearance is special: His longtime rhythm section (Steve Gilmore, Bill Goodwin) enjoys the return after eight years of Bill Charlap plus an exciting added starter in trumpeter Brian Lynch. Woods knows all the tunes and writes good ones, too. GIDDINS

Through Saturday at 9 and 11, Birdland, 315 West 44th Street, 212.581.3080


FRIDAY

DECEMBER 12


Film

'FILM-MAKER'S COOP HOLIDAY BENEFIT PARTY'

The original artist-run underground avant-garde film distribution outfit throws its annual benefit bash, with new work by Abby Child, Lewis Klahr, Kiki Smith, and the late Stan Brakhage, among others. There will be stuff to drink, time to schmooze, and raffles that include Super-8 equipment, slide projectors, and artists' videotapes. HOBERMAN

At 8, Millennium, 66 East 4th Street, 212.267.5665

'VON STERNBERG'

Hollywood's master craftsman, Josef von Sternberg was the Pygmalion who invented Marlene Dietrich (and himself), not to mention the silent gangster flick. At his best, VS could out-light, out-design, and out-fetishize any director on the lot. This 18-film retro opens with new 35mm prints of Shanghai Express (1932) and the even crazier Devil Is a Woman(1935). HOBERMAN

Through December 25, Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, 212.727.8110

Music

MINDLESS SELF INDULGENCE

Radio never played 'em, their label dumped 'em, and their last album came out in 2000. So how the hell did MSI sell out three nights at Irving? By being the most innovative electro-punk band since Atari Teenage Riot. Taking industrial's fury, hip-hop's cockiness, and glam's gender-fuckery to their most absurd extremes, MSI put on a show that would make Linkin Park wet their pants. With Rasputina and -kHz- on Friday; the Soul Conductors, Kenny Muhammad, and the Human Orchestra on Saturday; My Chemical Romance on Sunday. PHILLIPS

At 8, through Sunday, Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, 212.777.6800

'THE OUTSIDER ELECTRONIC MUSIC FESTIVAL'

Larry Tee's latest brainchild is the first big event at the new Crobar, but whatever you do, don't say the E-word. The headliners FannyPack sing about sugar and spice and everything nice—like cameltoes. The local dirty girls in Avenue D are Fannypack's the X-rated counterparts, with slutty lyrics set to Miami Bass. Very different techno and electro flashbacks come courtesy of LFO and Opti-grab. Leftovers from the "E" generation (W.I.T., My Robot Friend) and more. ROMANO

At 10, Crobar, 530 West 28th Street, 212.629.9000

Photo

LAURA LETINSKY

Even if Letinsky's messy tabletop still lifes look a bit self-conscious this time out, these landscapes of after-dinner disarray are oddly seductive. Possibly because nearly all of them are draped in rumpled white linen, the tables suggest beds and their wine stains and spilled sugar read as evidence of sensuous, post-coital satiation. The romantic domesticity Letinsky staged with couples in her earlier photos now seems rather prim next to her witty, sexy spreads of overripe fruit and dirty dinner plates. ALETTI

Through January 17, Edwynn Houk Gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue, 212.750.7070

 


SATURDAY

DECEMBER 13


 

Music

WADADA LEO SMITH'S GOLDEN QUARTET

A veteran of the '70s expansion of jazz, which combined collectivization, new material, and the absorption of diverse ideas, Smith is a highly personal trumpet player and theorist working on the bounding edge where Miles and Bowie collide. This quartet should quicken the pulse: bassist Malachi Favors Maghostut, taking off from the AEC drummer Jack DeJohnette, taking off from Keith Jarrett and pianist-composer Anthony Davis, returning to his roots as a musician. GIDDINS

At 7:30 and 9:30, Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, 212.539.8770

Theater

'HOW TO TURN DISTRESS INTO SUCCESS'

The Bread and Puppet Theater's latest work arrives in town just in time to put some national rethinking, as well as some theatrical flamboyance, into your holidays. It's set in an exotic imaginary place called "the More-More-More Society" that may look surprisingly like your own country. FEINGOLD

Through December 21, Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, 212.254.1109

'RIGHT YOU ARE (IF YOU THINK SO)'

Luigi Pirandello's mordant comic masterpiece, about a woman whose puzzling dual identity sets a whole town abuzz, has been sorely missed in our gossip-prone city. Tony Randall's National Actors Theatre means to repair the lack with this new production, by opera director Fabrizio Melano, which features Penny Fuller, Maria Tucci, and Randall himself among the gossips and gossipees. FEINGOLD

Through December 21, Pace University, Michael Schimmel Center, Spruce Street and Park Row, 212.239.6200

 


SUNDAY

DECEMBER 14


Film

'FLANEURS OF LOWER MANHATTAN'

Two walkers in the city, assemblagist Joseph Cornell and photographer Rudy Burckhardt, collaborated on a number of evocative street movies celebrating the lost Manhattan of the 1950s. Philip Lopate put together this show, which also features an hour of Burckhardt's solo films, including his 1948 Climate of New York and 1953 Under the Brooklyn Bridge. HOBERMAN

At 7, Ocularis at Galapagos Art Space, 70 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, 718.782.5188

Music

ASHFORD & SIMPSON

Motown songwriting stablemates who turned into a long-running advertisement for romantic marriage, they've kept a low profile live in recent years, and they were always a little weird onstage—for such an uxorious guy, Nick has a colossal ego. But they have some book. And they have a cause. Benefit concert and gala dinner for "Save a Child's Heart." CHRISTGAU

At 4, B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, 237 West 42nd Street, 212.307.7171

KOOL KEITH & ICE-T

Two years ago, Kool Keith and Ice-T collaborated to form the Analog Brothers, a quasi-concept group about pimping. This was not their finest moment. However, each of them alone can sustain a great concert—Keith with his space-age eccentricities and Ice-T with his cocksure bravado. Here's hoping they understand the virtues of going it alone. CARAMANICA

At 9, S.O.B.'s, 204 Varick Street, 212.243.4940

Theater

'HANDY DANDY'

An activist nun confronts an ultra-conservative judge in William Gibson's comedy, which isn't new but may sound a lot like things currently going on outside the theater. Don Amendolia's production for the Colleagues Company stars Robert Hogan opposite multiple Tony Award winner Helen Gallagher, who's more familiar to audiences in tap shoes than in a nun's habit. FEINGOLD

Through January 4, Neighborhood Playhouse, 340 East 54th Street, 212.239.2996

 


MONDAY

DECEMBER 15


Books

TOBIAS WOLFF+DONNA TARTT

Old School, Wolff's slim, episodic first novel, nails a brand of prep school ambition so old-fashioned one fears it's become extinct: the lust to become a writer—a great writer. His dependably luminous prose has an ingenious vehicle: three times a year, a writer—a great writer—visits the school, holding a private conference with one handpicked aspirant. The impersonations of Frost, Ayn Rand, and Hemingway are so flawless and spry they're inhabitations; right before our narrator is kicked out of Eden, his deep affection for this privileged academic existence culminates in a rhapsodic name-checking of over two dozen "old schools," from Andover to St. Mark's. Donna Tartt, in a rare New York appearance, reads from her second novel, The Little Friend, now out in paperback. PARK

At 8, 92nd St. Y, 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue, 212.415.5500

Music

DAVID BOWIE+MACY GRAY

The thing about David Bowie is that no matter how many mediocre albums he puts out, he will always be, at least occasionally, David Bowie. He'll be goofy and wince-inducing and say stupid things to stupid fans. Then he'll do "Heroes" or "Life on Mars," something in him will get triggered, and suddenly he's the Nazz with God-given ass. He's appearing with the similarly flaky Macy Gray. WALTERS

At 8, Madison Square Garden, 31st Street and Seventh Avenue, 212.465.MSG1

WYCLEF JEAN & 112

The Preacher's Son, Wyclef's new album, doesn't have the street pretensions of his last record, Masquerade, or the dilettantism of The Carnival. Ecleftic? Sure, but not wantonly so. And Clef's stage show has always been easier to swallow than his records. 112 make hi-NRG r&b even if they're not wholly sure that's what they're doing. Benefit for Wyclef Jean Foundation. CARAMANICA

At 8:30, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd Street, 212.997.4144


TUESDAY

DECEMBER 16


Dance

'SAVION GLOVER'S IMPROVOGRAPHY'

With most dancers, the fact that no publicity bulletins have been forthcoming and everyone's in the dark about plans for his three-week season would be reason enough to relegate this event to a corner of the dance listings. But Glover is the consummate tap artist of his era, almost single-handedly (now that Gregory Hines is gone) dragging this uniquely American art form into the 21st century. His shows are always rousers; his troupe, Ti Dii, includes some of the foremost tap dancers in the country. Take a gamble. ZIMMER

At 8, and December 17 through January 4, Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, 212.242.0800

Photo

JOEL MEYEROWITZ

Following eight months of daily visits to the teeming pit at ground zero, Meyerowitz returned to familiar landscapes in Tuscany and made these lovely, peaceful pictures. Primarily landscapes of the timeless countryside in every season, the photos are suffused not just with the pale Italian light but with a palpable sense of relief and pleasure. Whether he's looking at broad vistas—fields of fading sunflowers, wind-tossed wheat, and freshly turned earth—or details, Meyerowitz is always marvelously alert to the sublime. ALETTI

Through January 10, Ariel Meyerowitz Gallery, 120 Eleventh Avenue, 212.414.2770

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