Back From The Dead
Kiki & Herb take on Broadway
They're baaack! What a long way Kiki & Herb have come. We're not sure what's harder: Coming back from sleazy gay bar the Cock or coming back from the dead. "You can take the girl out of the Cock, but don't try taking the cock out of the girl," says Kiki, adding about the whole death thing: "It was really great. More people should be dead." The drag cabaret extravaganza that is Kiki & Herb features the caustically brilliant work of washed-up chanteuse Kiki (played by Justin Bond) and her trusty, long-suffering piano man, Herb (brought to life by Kenny Mellman). They've made it all the way to Broadwayhide your uncles and your grandmaswhere they will be drunk-singing their twisted and often touching remakes of popular songs like "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "Baby One More Time" in their new show Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway***. Sixty- (or is it seventy-?) something Kiki puts down her drink and pack of cigarettes long enough to croak out political tirades and tawdry confessions, and tell her life story while poor Herb struggles to follow her antics on the piano. Through it all, you can take comfort that they will be terrifying Middle America. "Are you kidding? Everybody loves me!" protests our heroine. "How do you think I made it to Broadway? I've got the 'Common Touch.' " Through September 10, Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 West 44th Street, 212-239-6300, $25$88 TRICIA ROMANO
The city's public pools, without the pee
Long before bands such as Bloc Party and Secret Machines started rockin' out beneath hordes of hipsters inside McCarren Park's dilapidated pool, people used to actually cannonball into it. It was one of 11 public pools that the city opened in working- class neighborhoods across the five boroughs in the summer of 1936, during one of New York's worst heat waves and in the midst of the Great Depression. Splash! A 70th Anniversary Celebration of New York City's WPA-Era Pools showcases stunning, vintage photographs of elaborate opening-day festivities and W.C. Fieldslooking bathers alongside gleaming Olympic-sized pools, as well as never-before-shown historic color films of their construction. The exhibition also features the two bronze eagles that once ornamented the pool at McCarren Park. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, through September 7, parks department headquarters, Arsenal Gallery, Central Park near Fifth Avenue and 64th Street, 212-360-1311 KEN SWITZER
Happy Birthday, Fringe!
Celebrating 10 years of outrageous theater
Gay penguins, samurai clowns, band geeks, Girl Scouts, and an NFL cheerleader turned Orthodox Jewyup, that's right, the Fringe Festival is back. The zany, eclectic theatrical extravaganza is celebrating its 10th year with its largest lineup ever. Potential highlights include Reservoir Bitches, an all-female parody of the Tarantino film; The Saints of Festus, a one-man comedy about small-town life directed by Obie winner David Drake; and Corleone, the Shakespearean Godfather, which tries to answer the burning question "What if Shakespeare had written Mario Puzo's classic?" A grand total of 216 performances by emerging theater troupes and dance companies at 21 downtown venues will perform spoken word, puppetry, multimedia, children's shows, and more. In addition, 10 shows from past years will be resurrected for encore performances. We especially like Brian Parks's acclaimed Americana Absurdum, a black comedy in two parts featuring funeral parlors and a mysterious wolverine. Various venues, opens today, through August 27, 212-279-4488, fringenyc.org, $15 ANGELA ASHMAN
Black dance in a green place
Whatever it takes to keep the dynamic history of African and African American dance alive, Urban Bush Women will do. Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, steeped in this legacy through study (in the tradition of the late, great performer and dance anthropologist Katherine Dunham) and personal experience (her mother was a Kansas City shake dancer), helms this troupe of smart, limber, lively black dancers who also talk and sing, sharing female perspectives on such issues as the texture of their hair and the dimensions of their butts. For this SummerStage performance they take off from the anthropological work of dance pioneer Pearl Primus, whose travels in Africa inspired Zollar's Walking With Pearl . . . African Diaries, using Primus's writings as the basis for lyrical images of Africa's past. Sharing the program is hotshot Jamel Gaines's Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn, a multimedia ensemble of professional and student dancers who blend ballet and street styles in an effort to unify the cultural world in which they live. At 8, Central Park SummerStage, Rumsey Playfield, mid-park at 72nd Street, summerstage.org, free ELIZABETH ZIMMER
Dont say no: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
photo: Jamie Daughters/Interscope Records
Dive into the deep end (or stage dive, rather) at the McCarren Park Pool tonight and tomorrow when raucous art punksters the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and legendary avant-garde rockers Sonic Youth take over the derelict urban oasis. It's a show filled with earsplitting, crowd-surfing potential, evoking daydreams of Karen O and Kim Gordon uniting on a spontaneous, art-rock punk duet, or Nick Zinner and Thurston Moore sparring on guitar, or all of them battling it out with a pogo-style dance-off (a pogo-off?). In the pit, anything goes. Both bands are currently touring in support of new records: The YYYs for their much praised second full-length Show Your Bones and Sonic Youth for their poppy-but-still-noisy-as-hell Rather Ripped . With openers Blood on the Wall tonight and Awesome Color on Saturday. At 5 tonight and Saturday, McCarren Pool, Lorimer and Driggs avenues, Brooklyn, 212-307-4100, $35 ANGELA ASHMAN
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