MATTHEW BARNEY With blue Astroturf, athletic padding, oozing Vaseline, and a hexagonal video of Barney climbing the walls suspended like a giant gem, the grand finale of “The Cremaster Cycle” is a glamorous neo-rococo installation as well as a glacial survey of his prosthetic sculptures, photos, drawings, and extravagant films. It’s got celebratory banners, funereal pomp, Masonic and Celtic emblems, testicular symbols, cross-species mergers, live birds, great physicality, and ungraspable meaning. Call it preposterous, mannered, brilliant, pretentious, or unresolved, it’s absolutely American and the most ambitious art we’ve got. THROUGH JUNE 11, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, at 89th Street, 212-423-3500. (Levin)

DONALD MOFFETT His work has changed radically since his angry light-boxes from the early days of ACT UP, but Moffett is still a master of subterfuge and politicized sites. “The Extravagant Vein” opens with a diagram of the Rambles and a small green oil painting (subtitled Terra Verte) as spiky as cut grass. A shimmering landscape illusion follows: leafy woodland video images (from the Rambles) projected onto brushy metallic gold monochromes. Seductive and understated, they teeter between painting and video, and between superficial delusion and layers of coded meaning. “Mr. Gay in the U.S.A.,” a sketchbook project in the back gallery, is barely visible but perfectly clear. THROUGH MARCH 15, Marianne Boesky Gallery, 535 West 22nd Street, 212-680-9889. (Levin)


NEIL GREENBERG His new multimedia quartet, Two, investigates the “either/or” duality, incorporating video (made in collaboration with Charles Dennis), music by Zeena Parkins, and live images from onstage cameras; the audience makes decisions about how to experience the work. Completing the program is the quintet Construction With Varied Materials, which has music by Tchaikovsky, Ray Charles, and Betty Carter, as well as Greenberg’s signature projected text. TUESDAY AT 7 AND MARCH 12, 20, 21, 29, AND 30, Dance Theater Workshop, 219 West 19th Street, 212-924-0077. (Zimmer)

J MANDLE PERFORMANCE The uniquely garbed members of Julia Mandle’s troupe turn heads wherever they go. Mandle’s new, three-hour-long FEAST, a performance installation for four dancers, transpires in a 5000-square-foot, cathedral-like DUMBO space. Inspired by Plato’s Symposium, and with choreography by the really smart Dutch artist Beppie Blankert, it features collaged tableaux; audience members enter on the half hour, drop into the lounge for refreshments, and return to the performance environment. Paul Geluso created the sound score, and Aaron Copp the lighting. THURSDAY AND FRIDAY FROM 7 TO 10, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY FROM 4 TO 7, THROUGH APRIL 6, the Stable, 16 Main Street, at Water Street, Brooklyn, 718-246-7440. (Zimmer)


‘SLIGHTLY SCARLET’ The Allan Dwan retro winds up with a bang. Among other things, the title of this 1956 whatzit refers to the coiffures sported by redhead sisters Rhonda Fleming and Arlene Dahl. The aging director’s adaptation of a purplish James Cain novel, shot by master cinematographer John Alton, may be the craziest, most garish color noir ever made—at least before the underground extravaganzas of George Kuchar and Manuel De Landa. THURSDAY AT 4:20 P.M., Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, 212-875-5600. (Hoberman)

‘TEN’ Abbas Kiarostami addresses Iran’s “woman question” in this digitally shot, structuralist countdown—a series of conversations between a car-driving divorcée and her various passengers. The movie is conceptually rigorous, spendidly economical, and, perceptually speaking, extremely modern—suffused in urban overstimulation and filled with the stuff of the photographic unconscious. Neither fiction nor documentary, Ten shows Kiarostami as one of the few filmmakers since Andy Warhol to radically rethink the nature of on-screen acting. THROUGH MARCH 18, Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, 212-727-8110. (Hoberman)

’10TH NEW YORK UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL’ The typically variegated show opens with the local premiere of appropriately named Weather Underground—a documentary portrait of the disaffected ultras straight Amerikkka loved to hate. Also screening: two new features, one non-narrative, by festival favorite James Fotopoulos, always outré Jon Moritsugu’s “anti-digital video” Scum rock, and Jeff Krulik’s bizarre World War II nostalgia trip Hitler’s Hat. Closer to the edge: a live projector perf by the amazing Luis Recoder, plus an actual 8mm, vintage psychedelia, and a doc on feminist porn. THROUGH TUESDAY, Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue, 212-505-5181. (Hoberman)


TORI AMOS The queen of eccentricity continues to march across the country in support of her latest, Scarlet’s Walk, a return to form of sorts, wherein the flame-haired pianist-singer charts her geographical and psychological progress, vis-à-vis the United States, of the last year and a half. Typically discursive, cryptic, and marked by post-9-11 sadness, Amos (perhaps likening herself to the plucky heroine of the same name?) has created 18 more of her “girls” to share with the world. THURSDAY THROUGH SATURDAY AT 8, Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Avenue, 212-247-4777. (Havranek)

A.R.E. WEAPONS “Suicide + the Spa guest list” or “Andrew W.K. in good shoes,” Yancey Strickler and a pal of his sniff. But all I know is these electroclashed art gallery slimeballs’ April-due LP rocks harder than Suicide (their most blatant template, despite Lou Reed/Aerosmith/Ethel Merman quotes) ever did—vocally, rhythmically, emotionally. And if W.K. is Dee Snider, A.R.E. are Iggy Stooge. Or at least James Chance. Their decadent street-kid shtick might even speak for actual kids. Cool, scared, spazzy ones. Stuck in a nuclear war. SATURDAY AT 11, Luxx, 256 Grand Street, Brooklyn, 718-599-1000. (Eddy)

ERASURE It’s been more then a decade since the electro-pop stars went wild on the Beacon Theater, turning the house into a “phantasmagorical” extravaganza with a campy display of glitz, glam, and a giant white swan. I say I say I say, the British duo is worthy of any Broadway stage. This time around they’re acting quite civilized, donning crinoline, corset, top hat, and long gloves for an Edwardian parlour-room setting. Frontman Andy Bell—always the belle of the ball—should be most ladylike for the affair, and hopefully keyboardist Vince Clarke will venture from behind his computer bank when they perform tracks from their covers album Other People’s Songs and classics from 18 years’ worth of n’synth hits. Rumor has it there may be a striptease involved—bring the smelling salts. FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AT 8, Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway, 212-496-7070. (Bastidas)

DAVE FRISHBERG & BOB DOROUGH Two veterans of Schoolhouse Rock, they traffic in original songs and interpretations, bebop piano, and enough wit and whimsy to keep you thoroughly diverted and often chuckling. Dorough is the more idiosyncratic, Frishberg the more nostalgic, but, as they proved on a Blue Note recording a couple of years back, they find plenty of points of contact (they co-wrote and have updated “I’m Hip”). You have to catch them when you can. THURSDAY AND SATURDAY AT 7 AND 9:30, Public Theater, Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, 212-260-2400. (Giddins)

KING CRIMSON Distilled to a hot, dense quartet, the sixth KC lineup since tough-love bandleader Robert Fripp formed the band in 1969 alternately plows through polyrhythmic jungles like an atomic bulldozer and languishes in mellow percussion. The Power to Believe, a sensitive bruiser of an album, is their most disciplined release since, arguably, Discipline (1981). Guitarist Adrian Belew’s screaming animal cries still sound as startling as ever against Fripp’s surgically precise loops and knots. WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY AT 8:30, Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, 212-840-2824. (Gehr)

DANIEL LANOIS The perfectly titled Shine is the first solo album in nearly a decade for this big-ticket producer and singer-songwriter whose recordings always lean toward the luminous. And while the lighting may be overly diffuse at times, the first half of his latest is as warm and welcoming as a million-kilowatt smile. Acadiana and the Deep South intersect chez Lanois, where pedal-steel licks drift slowly across the big sky, and your favorite songs loop languidly forever. WEDNESDAY AT 7:30, Public Theater, Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, 212-260-2400. (Gehr)

LIQUID LIQUID+OUT HUD Fans of funky minimalism might prefer ESG (also recently reformed and touring), and history might not have been so kind to LL if Grandmaster Flash hadn’t appropriated them. Still, the Beastie Boys thought enough of them to outbid other suitors to reissue their early-’80s material. And Flash always knew where to find fresh beats, and this local crew’s got ’em. While some might credit/blame them for spawning post-rock, Out Hud are definitely one of their more righteous progeny. FRIDAY AT 8 AND 11, Knitting Factory Main Space, 74 Leonard Street, 212-219-3006. (Gross)

JAMES BLOOD ULMER+QUARTET INDIGO Following Ornette Coleman’s example, Ulmer has notated several harmolodic works. This concert features his guitar with a string quartet that includes violinist John Blake, who made a series of widely noted albums in the ’80s, and cellist Akua Dixon. Billed as “Blues & Strings,” this is yet another presentation in an amazingly diverse series of presentations for an irreverently funky guitarist who sounds like no one else, while implying much of the instrument’s history. The impact of a Blood set owes as much to the guttural lion’s roar of his singing, which the strings will not quell. SATURDAY AT 8, Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, 212-864-5400. (Giddins)

UMPHREY’S MCGEE+TOPAZ Prog rock and metal’s double-clutching precision smashes headlong into the jamband clan’s urge to luxuriate in the never-ending now in Chicago sextet Umphrey’s McGee. The most entertaining fusioneers to come down the pike in years, they’re equally comfy tipping their hat to Yes and covering Snoop Dogg. Tonight they’ll alternate interlocking sets with Topaz, a cowboy-capped jazz-funk ruler from whose tenor sax grooves flow like buttuh. SATURDAY AT 10:30, Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, 212-533-2111. (Gehr)

JOHN BRILL Brill, whose photos usually deal with material at the outer limits of perception, turns to the cosmos in this handsomely mounted show, complete with a vitrine and videos. His new images are atomized abstractions that purport to show various astronomical bodies and phenomena, but the results are, typically, more romantic than scientific. Brill’s gas cloud, spiral galaxy, and exploding star, all printed in sandy sepia tones, might be nothing more than dust on the lens, but they tap into our fascination with outer space more accurately than the sharpest satellite feed. THROUGH MARCH 15, Kent Gallery, 67 Prince Street, 212-966-4500. (Aletti)

JOAN FONTCUBERTA This Spanish trickster’s latest work involves the photographer himself, dressed in monastic robes, as a student at an imaginary Finnish school of miracle-workers. He records these miracles—which include the beginners’ “classic,” walking on water—in meticulously crafted, elegantly persuasive images that tweak every variety of belief. After surfing on a dolphin, replicating himself in a poppy field, and passing through a stone wall, our devout initiate holds up slices of Iberian ham in whose rich marbling the images of Hitler, Che Guevara, and Osama bin Laden have miraculously appeared. Dinner is served. THROUGH SATURDAY, Zabriskie Gallery, 41 East 57th Street, 212-752-1223. (Aletti)


‘ORIGINAL CAST RECORDINGS’ If those three words make your heart skip a beat, you’re probably already on your way to Lincoln Center, where the New York Public Library is unveiling a major exhibition devoted to “the history and artistry” of capturing original Broadway, Off-Broadway, and London casts from the era of Bert Williams and Lillian Russell onward. Try not to let the rare album-cover art overexcite you, and please don’t use the word “soundtrack.” Live theater is never pre-recorded. (League of Off-Broadway Theatres, please note.) OPENS THURSDAY, THROUGH JUNE 7, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, 212-870-1630. (Feingold)

‘OUR LADY OF 121ST STREET’ A nun beloved and feared by her neighborhood dies, her body vanishes from the funeral home, and everybody gets wildly excited—”everybody,” in the case of Stephen Adly Guirgis’s new play, including the critics who reviewed its Off-Off performance by the LAByrinth last fall. Thanks to their excitement, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s production has moved Off-Broadway, with its workshop cast largely intact. Those who missed the earlier go-round and want an advance peek can find the complete text in February’s American Theater. IN PREVIEWS, OPENS THURSDAY, Union Square Theater, 100 East 17th Street, 212-505-0700. (Feingold)

‘STRING FEVER’ The thorny feminist issue of having it all takes on a new wrinkle in Jacquelyn Reingold’s play, the centerpiece this year of E.S.T.’s annual “First Light Festival,” spotlighting performance works that deal with science and technology. As her title indicates, Reingold’s heroine has to grapple not only with single momhood and unrequited love, but with a highly contested theory of the universe. If this sounds awfully abstract, Mary B. Robinson’s cast, which includes Cynthia Nixon and Evan Handler, should be able to provide plenty of specificity. THROUGH MARCH 23, Ensemble Studio Theatre, 549 West 52nd Street, 212-206-1515. (Feingold)

‘VINCENT IN BRIXTON’ Back when he still had two ears and the bulk of his sanity, the young Vincent van Gogh spent some time in a rooming house in the shabby South London district of Brixton. Add the young widow who kept the house and her daughter, let your imagination run away with you, and you might have a play if Nicholas Wright hadn’t beaten you to the punch. His speculation on this thickly impasted triangle, lauded in London, arrives here under the same director, Richard Eyre, with its London stars, Jochum ten Haaf and Clare Higgins, re-creating their roles. Arles you ready for it? IN PREVIEWS, OPENS THURSDAY, Golden Theatre, Broadway and 45th Street, 212-239-6200. (Feingold)


GARY SHTEYNGART AND PETER CONSTANTINE In his debut novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, Shteyngart posits his young hero as a wayward victim of failed assimilation, both as a would-be hipster American immigrant, and back “home,” mixed up with the Mafia in Eastern Europe. And he does so tragicomically, with the innate earnestness and knowing of one who has traveled that line himself. Fittingly, Shteyngart will read with Peter Constantine, the translator of The Complete Works of Isaac Babel, on the occasion of Amnesty International’s campaign in defense of human rights in the Russian Federation. THURSDAY AT 7, KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street, 212-505-3360. (Snow)

‘TRANSFERRED TO CELLULOID’ Which is better, the book or the movie? Hear the writers’ take, as the real Susan Orlean (author of the Adaptation-inspiring The Orchid Thief) joins The Hours novelist Michael Cunningham and About Schmidt creator Louis Begley to reveal the gripes and gratification attending their respective novels’ respective forays into film. Motherless Brooklyn author Jonathan Lethem moderates. MONDAY AT 7, Housing Works Used Book Café, 126 Crosby Street, 212-334-3324. (Meyer)