Monday 8/7 and Tuesday 8/8
Manu Chao: Ooh! Wow!
Lauded Latin rocker makes rare U.S. landing
Manu Chao brings his multiculti party train to Brooklyn for a rare stateside appearance. The world-music poster boy was destined to play the part: Born in France to Spanish parents, his eclectic, sprightly street tunes are sung in Spanish, French, Arabic, Galician, English, Portuguese, and even the African language Wolof. Chao's early bands melded rockabilly and punkespecially the Clashwith hip-hop, flamenco, rock, and raï (Algerian folk-pop). And now with his band Radio Bemba Sound System (playing tonight), he expands on that framework with an international cast of musicians, varying styles from Mexico, France, Jamaica, Brazil, and Argentina. Sure, he's one of the world's bestselling artistshopefully you've heard his classic solo album, Clandestinobut oddly enough, Chao has yet to find much love on the American charts. It's likely his infrequent U.S. tours have more to do with his radical politics (he's outspokenly pro-Zapatista) and his Bush bashing than any concern for record sales. Tonight is a benefit concert helping to keep Celebrate Brooklyn's much loved outdoor series free. D. SHAWN BOSLER
Authors discuss the Pixies' sordid past
After a year of conducting research for a musical about the Pixies, author Josh Frank had enough material for either several Pixies musicals or a book. The result is a fascinating, comprehensive biography of the seminal rockers, entitled Fool the World: The Oral History of a Band Called Pixies. The book is co-authored by former Spin editor Caryn Ganz and features choice photos of the spry, young group starting out in Boston in the '80s. Bono, Beck, Polly Jean Harvey, Billy Corgan, and others who have had the privilege of calling Frank Black by his real name, Black Francis (OK, Charles Thompson), weigh in on the group's influence and gush profusely about how (insert any Pixies album title here) changed their lives. Tonight you can ask Frank and Ganz what it was like to spend so much time with rock greatness and find out why on earth they decided to drop the "the" from Pixies in the book's title. At 7, the Strand, 828 Broadway, 212-473-1452, free ANGELA ASHMAN
Rap Him Up to Go
Ladies still love LL Cool J
Two decades into a business that normally has a 60-second lifespan, LL Cool J is still at the top of his game. At 38 years oldsenior citizen status in hip-hophe is arguably the hardest-working man in showbiz. Over the years, this buff boy wonder has blessed fans with more than 10 albums, starred in 17 movies, and penned a sexy autobiography. There's no question why the ladies still love this guy. Tonight, the lip-licking superstar will rock the Brooklyn house when he performs legendary hits like "Mama Said Knock You Out" and "I Need Love" for his home crowd. The concert is outdoors and it's free, so arrive early and listen to the lady-killer do his thing. At 7:30, Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series at Wingate Field, Winthrop Street between Brooklyn and Kingston avenues, Brooklyn, 718-469-1912, brooklynconcerts.com, free ANDREW ABER
Streep undertakes Mother of a role
Wagons are often hitched to stars, but stars rarely hitch themselves to wagons. Nevertheless, screen siren Meryl Streep will harness herself to the stage's most famous peddler's cart when she assumes the titular role in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, the final production of this summer's Shakespeare in the Park. Written in 1940, and newly translated by Tony-winning Tony Kushner with music by Jeanine Tesori, Brecht's play concerns an entrepreness and the three children she loses to the ravages of war in 17th-century Germany. With Christopher Walken a casualty to scheduling conflicts, director George C. Wolfe has plucked the dashing Kevin Kline (Streep's co-star in Sophie's Choice) to play the Cook. Previews begin August 8, opens August 21, through September 3, Tuesday through Sunday at 8, Delacorte Theater, Central Park, enter at 81st Street and Central Park West, 212-539-8750, free ALEXIS SOLOSKI
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