Sometimes Mutation Is a Good Thing
The return of Brazilian pop legends Os Mutantes
Forget about all the washed-up has-beens coming through town every week for geriatric classic-rock reunion tours; Os Mutantes are a band truly worth dusting off and revisitingor getting to know. Formed in 1966 and disbanded by 1978 (a slow fade-out rather than a burn), São Paulo, Brazil's Os Mutantes's freaky-deaky psychedelic rock has stood the test of time as some of the most individualized and influential contemporary pop music. The band saddled the gilded-paisley hooks of the Beatles, the wah-wah pedal splats of Hendrix, and the keyboard drizzles of the Doors atop their native ass-shakin' bossa nova and samba sounds. If that wasn't maverick enough, they did it with a constant ear toward experimentationdabbling in feedback, studio trickery, folk, choral music, musique concréte, and general carefree folly. Along with artists such as Gilberto Gil, Tom Zé, Caetano Veloso, and Gal Costa, they were the cornerstones of Brazil's '60s avant art movement Tropicália. Tonight's Os Mutantes in redux bring us two founding members, brothers Arnaldo Baptista (bass, keyboards, vocals) and Sérgio Dias (guitar, vocals), along with Dinho Leme (drums) and Brazilian pop megastar Zélia Duncan (vocals) filling in for Rita Lee, who will be sadly missed. (Lee still does solo stuff. A few years back she hosted a Brazilian talk show.) Thanks to fans like Beck, Kurt Cobain, Stereolab, and David Byrne and his label Luaka Bop (home of Os Mutantes reissues and a sweet best-of CD), many newfound fans will be singing along to classics like "El Justiciero" and "Bat Macumba." At 7, Webster Hall, 125 East 11th Street, 212-353-1600 D. SHAWN BOSLER
Party on the Green
Soulful house tunes that uplift
Not only bad things come in threes, as evidenced by Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's Summer Sessions: Design + DJs + Dancing, an after-work party for those who like to eye artwork, listen to tight mixes, and boogie. Every Friday, local turntablists play everything from tech house to Caribbean funk in what used to be Andrew Carnegie's grandiosely lush garden back when the museum was a private mansion. Tonight Jeannie Hopper (of the long-running independent radio show Liquid Sound Lounge and WPS1.org's DJ Curator) spins selections from her extensive collection of rarities and uplifting, soulful house tunes. Get a beer buzz and dance barefoot on the grass or mosey on through the museum to check out exhibits such as "Solos: Matali Crasset," an interactive light and sound installation by the French industrial designer that should make the revelry enlightening as well. From 6 to 9, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden, 2 East 91st Street, 212-849-8400, cooperhewitt.org, $7-$12 KEISHA FRANKLIN
Hold the Soap
L.A. dance company does laundry
Washing clothes is never fun, especially when you're dragging a 30-pound cart in 95-degree heat to a poorly ventilated place named Bubble Zone. The Collage Dance Theater gives us another reason to visit the Laundromat with a site-specific piece titled Laundromatinee, in which five dancers dip their heads in and out of washing machines and dangle from drying bars. Founder Heidi Duckler, who is fearless when searching for unusual spaces for the company's workone site was in a subway station among ratschose the venue for its local significance. "I was interested in cultural icons and practices that were fading from the landscape. Laundromats were disappearing from gentrified neighborhoods in Los Angeles," she said about the performance's debut in 1988. With nabes changing daily on the East Coast as well, the correlation is not lost, so come witness this display of public art (the company's overall mission) and urban commentaryno quarters needed. At 8:30, through July 23, 168 Elizabeth Street, free KEISHA FRANKLIN
A horse is a horse, of course of course
There are 61 OTB locations in the city, where you can spend the day betting on horses while stale cigarettes hang by your lip, but only one Belmont Park, where real enthusiasts head for actual atmosphere. The 430-acre racetrack, located on the border of Queens and Long Island, opened in 1905 and is home to the final leg of racing's Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes. Tonight's Sunset Racing starts at 3 p.m. and is a chance for some prime-time wagering. Even if you don't know anything about the horses, you can bet by name, number, or the color of the jockey's silksthe indecisive can use the "quick-pick" machines for a random selection. However you choose your thoroughbred, it's a sure bet you'll experience a heart-pounding thrill when your horse races in full stride toward the finish line, with a photo finish deciding the outcome. At 3, Belmont Racetrack, 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont, New York, 516-488-6000, $2-$5 ANDREW ABER
Anny Ondra in Blackmail (1929, British) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
photo: Courtesy of BRIC
A Hitchcock classic gets a perfect score
As if Miller weren't busy enough, the Mission of Burma guitarist takes a break from that band's current tour to stop by Prospect Park with his Alloy Orchestra, which Roger Ebert has called "The best in the world at accompanying silent films." Tonight, the trio takes on the silent version of Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail (the film was later turned into Hitch's first talkie), a classic thriller about a detective's girlfriend who gets involved in a murder. Under Brooklyn's dark night sky, Alloy Orchestra's creepy synthesizer drones, startling percussive outbursts (on their famous "rack of junk," among other things), and haunting musical-saw warbles are sure to heighten the suspense. And who knows what they'll do with that tense family-breakfast scene? At 7:30, Prospect Park Bandshell, 9th Street and Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, 718-855-7882, ext. 45, $3 KEN SWITZER
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