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  • Article

    Pared Down

    Do that again and I'll scream,'' says the mother. Hooked on repetition, the child is startled. Faced with extreme repetitiveness in music or dance, audiences tend to swing between these two extremes, either drawn in or driven nuts. The reiterated pat...

    by Deborah Jowitt on October 13, 1998
  • Victoria's Public


    Victoria's Public

    We make too much, nowadays, of Victorian repression. Like us, the Victorians loved crime and sexual scandal; to study the newspaper reports of famous cases is to be startled, quite often, by the explicitness of the details this ''repressed'' society ...

    by Michael Feingold on October 13, 1998
  • Article

    Mad Science - Three Chaos Junkies at the Kitchen

    A.P. chem was never like this. When physicists Anna Lenehan and Lorenz Boleslaw--adjusting oscilloscopes, pounding data into Powerbooks, and denying geometry, all in the name of scientific research--break through to the Chaos Zone, we're not just tal...

    by Margot Ebling on October 13, 1998
  • Article

    Pure Drivel

    The mystery of Steve Martin is that he can express intimate knowledge of the ways of the kitten while retaining machismo cred; eclipse that grumpy Mike Davis to write the published portrait of Los Angeles this year; dissect linguistics with the weigh...

    by Sarah Vowell on October 13, 1998
  • Article

    On Point

    Not even John Simon, in the midst of a spinal tap, could say anything mean about ''Live From the Edge Theatre'' (P.S. 122, closed). This attitudinal two-part variety show hails from the Bronx and germinated at the Point, a cultural center that has re...

    by James Hannaham on October 13, 1998
  • Article

    Show World

    A woozy intensity surrounds Susan Meiselas's gyrating images of carnival strippers from the early 1970s. Rawness prevails in this series of grainy black-and-white photographs of women who strip for a living at small-town American fairs. These pictur...

    by Alexandra Rowley on October 13, 1998
  • Millennial Rites - A Greek Director Updates the Eleusinian Mysteries


    Millennial Rites - A Greek Director Updates the Eleusinian Mysteries

    The Italian restaurant clatters with the din of New York at lunch. Director Vasilios Calitsis has stamped out a cigarette at the door and is now scarfing down pasta bolognese. In a few days, he'll be isolated with his actors in the mountains of his n...

    by Deborah Jowitt on October 13, 1998
  • Scents and Sensibility


    Scents and Sensibility

    Scents war and mingle in Shani Mootoo's evocative first novel Cereus Blooms at Night. Troubling the sultry air of a Caribbean village, with its reassuring smells of coal, decaying guavas, chicken coops, and periwinkle snails, are other scents that t...

    by Celia Wren on October 13, 1998
  • Article

    Word of Mouth - Amy Smith, Andrew Simonet, and David Brick run Philadelphia's Headlong Dance Theater, opening Thursday at DTW.

    Simonet: We didn't want to be in New York; we wanted our own studio and the time and space to concentrate. Brick: Experiment. Try stuff out. Smith: We're from the Richard BullCynthia NovackSusan Foster tradition of postmodern choreographic impr...

    by Elizabeth Zimmer on October 13, 1998
  • Shining Through


    Shining Through

    Two rooms of the dozen or so in this Mark Rothko retrospective will rock you. Maybe others will, too, depending on your susceptibility and appetite. Rothko was always onto something, usually an insinuating quality of light, even in his gawky early fi...

    by Peter Schjeldahl on October 6, 1998
  • Article

    Hide and Speak

    What the literary world really wants from novelist Marianne Wiggins is a memoir about her marriage to Salman Rushdie. It was Wiggins, after all, who lived in hiding with Rushdie after the Ayatollah Khomeini issued him a fatwah upon the publication of...

    by Meghan Daum on October 6, 1998
  • Past Shock


    Past Shock

    Written in 1978, John Guare's Marco Polo takes place in a 1999 that still seems fairly distant, though some of Guare's predictions are amazingly close to the mark in their off-kilter way. Like all good futurology, though, Guare's comedy is chiefly co...

    by Michael Feingold on October 6, 1998
  • Middle Passage - A Radical Artist Evolves


    Middle Passage - A Radical Artist Evolves

    Bill T. Jones has moved through life making people mad. He fully understands the artist's role as provocateur. So it's ironic that We Set Out Early...Visibility Was Poor, opening at BAM on Tuesday, may anger people simply because it isn't provocative...

    by H.B. Kronen on October 6, 1998
  • Article

    No Cigar?

    Bill Clinton isn't the only one with a "lower half problem," as Japanese newspapers call it. Sarah Lucas makes art that indulges in adolescent gratifications, self-destructive impulses, and salacious innuendo. But the naughty London artist--whose las...

    by Kim Levin on October 6, 1998
  • Talk Is Cheap


    Talk Is Cheap

    Teenage girls got me to watch Jerry Springer, but Joshua Gamson taught me how to watch him. At the high school where I teach, South Park's Cartman is a folk hero for boys, whereas the young women offer encyclopedic recall of Springer's R-rated Too Ho...

    by Jesse Berrett on October 6, 1998
  • Article


    In novels such as People in Trouble and Rat Bohemia, Sarah Schulman argued that homophobia leads to an institutionalized callousness toward people with AIDS. Her new, nonfiction Stagestruck takes the opposite perspective, examining how the most perva...

    by Michael Paller on October 6, 1998
  • Article

    Bearing Up

    I know all about life and death. I am, after all, a scholar of Donne's Holy Sonnets,'' Kathleen Chalfant, as Dr. Vivian Bearing, announces magisterially near the start of Wit (MCC Theater). In fact, she knows neither. Margaret Edson's dazzling first...

    by Francine Russo on October 6, 1998
  • Meta for Measure


    Meta for Measure

    As a study in dissembling, with characters disguising themselves to reveal the hypocrisy of others, Measure for Measure must have been irresistible to David Herskovits: many of his previous productions with Target Margin Theater exposed the dupliciti...

    by Marc Robinson on October 6, 1998
  • Article


    James Kudelka isn't the most scintillating conversationalist, but his dances are never dull. Cruel World, a flurry of duets made for American Ballet Theatre in 1994, divided viewers, who saw either the paragon of partnering or the musings of a misant...

    by Christopher Reardon on October 6, 1998
  • Article


    In The Weatherbox, a peculiarly likable though rough-around-the-edges meditation on the American family from Rattlestick, playwright Travis Baker hits so many uncomfortably true-to-life notes that his play frequently makes you feel like you forgot to...

    by James Oseland on October 6, 1998
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From the Print Edition

Audra McDonald Brings Billie Holiday to Life in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill

Any theatergoer expecting in this revival of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill an excuse for an Audra McDonald concert won't find the singer's full-bodied, mellifluous voice here. Instead,… More >>

The Heir Apparent Brims With Linguistic Panache and Stellar Performances

"I'm a one-man Comédie-Française," boasts the scheming servant Crispin, comparing his acting skills to France's national theater. Crispin (Carson Elrod) isn't totally exaggerating: In the course of The Heir Apparent,… More >>

Photographic Fiction and Fact in the LES Photographic Fiction and Fact in the LES

Within a block of each other on the Lower East Side, two photographers who dig into genres we thought we already knew — Heather Bennett uses self-portraiture to don various… More >>

Shameless and Uncharismatic, Bullets Over Broadway Loses The Sophistication of Its Source Material

Bullets Over Broadway is an old-fashioned musical, if for you the term "old-fashioned" connotes a version of 1920s New York in which Italian-American stereotypes are the only ethnic other, most… More >>

Infidelity and Architecture Underpin the Meditative Isolde

Richard Maxwell’s new play is about myth, memory, and a house that never gets built. Lighter and more sardonic than the playwright-director’s recent work (especially 2013’s densely poetic Neutral Hero),… More >>

Scott Z. Burns and Steven Soderbergh Team Up For Post-Colombine Psychological Mystery The Library

Audiences today need little urging to accept age- and color-blind casting on the stage, but Steven Soderbergh and Scott Z. Burns's life-in-the-aftermath drama The Library perhaps pushes viewers to accept… More >>

A Hilarious Ride Through the Inner Workings of a Small Town Arts Council in The Most Deserving

Sotheby's and Christie's may have cornered the real-world market for bitchiness and backstabbing in the name of art, but in The Most Deserving, Catherine Trieschmann's newest play, produced by Women's… More >>

Will Eno and Lorraine Hansberry Write Home in Two New Productions

Is New York theater suffering a housing crisis? How else to explain the glut of this season's plays (Fun Home, The Open House, A Doll's House, The Tribute Artist, The… More >>

Beautiful and Violent Art from the Civil Rights Movement at New Brooklyn Museum Show Witness

Something is terribly wrong with the sedan in this black-and-white photo: The doors gape open, glass is shattered, dark drips trail down the seat back. In 1965, civil rights activist… More >>

Rich Visual Schemes Undermine Dramatic Subtlety in The Threepenny Opera

The Threepenny Opera, now at Atlantic Theater, is no conventional, rough-hewn beggars' tale. For this staging, director Martha Clarke applies her sophisticated visual sensibilities to Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's… More >>