ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
The only modern dance troupe that can sustain a month-long Manhattan run, this ensemble of crackerjack dancers opens a 45th anniversary season featuring new work by Robert Battle, Alonzo King, Jennifer Muller, and Dwight Rhoden. At the opening gala, you can see artistic director Judith Jamison's Hymn, and two favorites by Ailey himself, Cry and Revelations, performed to live music (a delightful treat that will be repeated Saturday). Donald McKayle's iconic Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder also gets live music, Tuesday and on December 13. Muller's Footprints premieres Friday, and can also be seen Saturday and Sunday evenings. Other choreographers on display this week include Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Billy Wilson, and Ronald K. Brown. ZIMMER
At 7, and Thursday, Friday, and Tuesday at 8, Saturday at 2 and 8, and Sunday at 2 and 7:30, through January 4, City Center, 135 West 55th Street, 212.581.1212
Erstwhile D'Angelo backup, Hamilton's one of few current artists to hit on his sophomore run. Seems '03 is keener for quirky Southland soulmen with self-styled trucker personas. This I95 South veteran owes a debt to Withers sonic-wise, Womack vocally, and Wonder for his album title, yet has got potential for "neo-soul" longevity. (And glad to see the BL darken/hip its palette a bit.) CRAZY HORSE
At 7:30 and 10:30, Bottom Line, 15 West 4th Street, 212.228.6300
The love-hate rivalry of fin de siècle Europe's two great actresses, Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse, was more than a press agent's fabrication. Their aesthetic battle still reverberates in today's theater, and still spawns dueling biographies. Don't count on Otho Eskin's play to provide the last word, but do count on powerhouse performances by two of our own best actresses, Laura Esterman and Pamela Payton-Wright. Ludovica Villar-Hauser directs. FEINGOLD
In previews, opens Thursday, Greenwich Street Theater, 547 Greenwich Street, 212.351.3101
'THE SECRET HISTORY OF DRAG: A VISIT WITH AGRIPPINA VAN HANSSEN-CORTEZ'
We've heard of the 2,000-Year-Old Man, but a 2,000-year-old drag queen is a new one for us. We'll have to wait till Obie winner David Drake smooths out all the ruffles on his new solo piece to figure out who's dragging whom where. FEINGOLD
Today and December 10 and 17, Dixon Place at the Marquee, 356 Bowery, 212.219.0736, ext.106
'NATIVE AMERICAN FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL'
Not just work about, but more often, work by Native Americans, this densely programmed festival spans the hemisphere from Canada's Nunavut territory to Brazil's Mato Grosso. The emphasis in many programs is on indigenous TV. Screenings are free; reservations suggested. HOBERMAN
Through Sunday, National Museum of the American Indian, 1 Bowling Green; Donnell Media Center, 20 West 53rd Street; American Indian Community House, 404 Lafayette Street, 212.514.3737
RYAN ADAMS+THE STILLS
Adams's songwriting skills may have suffered when he transformed from weepie alt-country heartthrob to tabloid-fodder Rock Star, but in a live setting, when drama matters more than metaphors, his new Replacements- and U2-aping material should hold up just fine. The Stills can get as wonderfully mopey as the Adams of old, but they drown their tears at the new wave club, not the honky-tonk. PHILLIPS
At 8, Webster Hall, 125 East 11th Street, 212.307.7171
'THE PALMER RAIDS'
John Ashcroft isn't the first U.S. attorney general to be constitutionally illiterate where noncitizens are concerned: In 1919, after radicals left bombs in some socially prominent mailboxes, Ashcroft's predecessor A. Mitchell Palmer launched a sweeping series of no-knock raids and mass deportations of immigrants, mainly Russian Jews. Chicago's Plasticene Physical Theatre Company makes its New York debut with this "lyrical documentary" version of the whole explosive story. FEINGOLD
Opens today, through December 14, Ohio Theater, 66 Wooster Street, 212.613.3173
'FROM HERE TO ETERNITY'
Celebrating its golden anniversary with an excellent restoration, this quintessential service drama is an example of something that ended with The Godfatherthe transformation of a sprawling Dreiser-tradition bestseller into all-star, character-rich, Oscar bait. Contemporary audiences may not see why, even cleaned up, From Here to Eternity was the most daring movie of 1953, but should appreciate the acting bonanza. HOBERMAN
Through December 11, Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, 212.727.8110
Some detractors or even fans might say Black Rock's flagship band are attempting the nigh impossible . . . for the chaotic creative and commercial tenor of the times is inhospitable to second acts. Still the people must be speaking: We need that thunderous funky rhythm section, the mack daddy churchisms of Glover, and, above all, Reid's ax wizardrythe most eclectic in this hemisphere. With Tony C and the Truth. CRAZY HORSE
This Swiss photographer's '60s portraits of outlaw teens and sexy motorcyclists look like Danny Lyon as interpreted by Steven Meisel (who's already used them as fodder for a Versace Jeans campaign). Because Weinberger zeroes in on his subjects' DIY denims, rakish sideburns, and crude tattoos, fashion and fetish overwhelm any documentary impulse here, especially on a wall featuring 70 unframed images of brawny sex objects. Weinberger was too smitten to distance himself, but chances are you will be too. ALETTI
Wednesday through December 20, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, 526 West 26th Street, 212.243.3335
The big news is not that he's recording with Willie Mitchell again. He did that on a gospel album once. The big news is his unembarrassed return to secular material, which will render one of the great live performers of his generation available unencumbered to legions of old fansand also some new ones. Don't miss this chance to witness a legend. With Cassandra Wilson. CHRISTGAU
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
At 8, Aaron Davis Hall, West 135th Street and Convent Avenue, 212.650.7100
'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
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
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 Fishkillwith his off-kilter blend of reality, fiction, communality, and bland alienationbegin. 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
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
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 pleasuresthe 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
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 bothbet on both. Mon at 8. GIDDINS
At 8, Merkin Concert Hall, 129 West 67th Street, 212.501.3330
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
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
'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
Opens today, Mitzi Newhouse Theater, Lincoln Center, 212.239.6200
Filling that dread space between the idiosyncratic culture of the young intellectual and the academic ponderousness of the old guard is The Believer, a monthly magazine about books and stuff. Their first soiree features co-editor Heidi Julavits talking with Jennifer Egan, Susan Choi, and Stephen Elliott about political fiction post 9-11plus Touré interviewing Q-Tip we hope, Chipp Kidd talking to Milton Glaser, extreme banjo-playing, and more. REIDY
At 7, Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, 212.229.5488
DAYTON CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY
Celebrating the centenary of Orville and Wilbur Wright's first flight, as well as its own 35th anniversary, this terrific group commissioned choreographers Bill T. Jones, Bebe Miller, Dwight Rhoden, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Sir Warren Spears, and Doug Varone to make dances inspired by the idea of flight; three of them offer work on each of two different programs. Go twice. ZIMMER
At 7:30, and December 10 through 13, BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718.636.4100
'THE GIRL WITH THE HAT BOX'
Made in 1927, this charming housing-shortage comedy is Russian director Boris Barnet's best-known movie, mainly because it features the future failed Hollywood star Anna Sten, here a Soviet Kewpie doll with bee-stung lips, working for a shady, profiteering milliner. Pianist Donald Sosin supplies appropriate live music. HOBERMAN
At 7:30, BAM Rose Cinema, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 718.777.FILM
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