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‘AMERI©AN DRE@M’ “Gentlemen, America is in trouble,” says Ida Applebroog’s sweet statuette with a thought balloon. From George Petty’s vintage pinups and Jane Philbrick’s Jesse Helms to Jason Salavon’s Playboy centerfolds and Michael Wilson’s Ashcroft, this sprawling survey of socially engaged works by nearly 90 artists considers sex, violence, politics, race, the state of the union, and the gap between dream and reality. With Ed Ruscha’s Miracle, Roxy Paine’s Bible, Dyke Action Machine’s posters, and a lot else, it looks great at the gallery. If the law of diminishing returns sets in at the annex space, concentrate on the terrific videos in the basement. THROUGH MARCH 29, Ronald Feldman, 31 Mercer Street and 419 Broome Street, 212-226-3232. (Levin)

ALEXANDER VINOGRADOV & VLADIMIR DUBOSSARSKY In the eyes of this Moscow duo, whose ongoing, humongous, and presumably endless Our Best World currently consists of 38 end-to-end canvases stretching 180 linear feet around the walls, the American dream meshes with post­Soviet Realist happiness. They paint a paradise of dappled leaves, pretty people, gentle animals, rainbows, Marilyns, Elvises, Teletubbies, stretch limos, onion domes, and pink Caddys, sprinkled with doves, Coca-Colas, and roses. With painterly touches, scale shifts, and a vision that’s synthetic, cinematic, celebratory, and insistently innocent, it’s a new kind of strangely conservative radical painting. THROUGH APRIL 19, Deitch Projects, 76 Grand Street, 212-343-7300. (Levin)

MARK MORRIS DANCE GROUP If the Jacuzzi in his office is the source of Morris’s extraordinary fecundity, maybe every choreographer should get one. The Baron of the Bathtub shows four works new to New York, on two programs. The premieres: Serenade, a solo for Morris to guitar music by the late Lou Harrison; Kolam to a fusion score composed and played by tabla master Zakir Hussain and pianist Ethan Iverson; the gangster-themed Resurrection, to Richard Rodgers’s “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue”; and Something Lies Beyond the Scene, to music by William Walton and poetry by Edith Sitwell. And more. WEDNESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY AT 7:30 AND SUNDAY AT 3, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-636-4100. (Zimmer)

SEÁN CURRAN COMPANY Percussion is Curran’s middle name. Framing a program to please the patrons at “New York’s first theater for kids,” he’s built a bill sure to delight lovers of rhythm no matter their age. Grounded in Irish dance and polished in the postmodern scene, Curran collaborates with Tigger Benford on The Amadinda Dances and the rousing Quadra Box Redux. Bring everybody. FRIDAY AT 7, SATURDAY AT 2 AND 7, SUNDAY AT NOON AND 5, AND MARCH 27 THROUGH 30, New Victory Theater, 209 West 42nd Street, 212-239-6200. (Zimmer)

‘DECASIA’ Bill Morrison isn’t the first artist to take decomposing film stock as his raw material, but he plunges into this dark nitrate of the soul with contagious abandon. Accompanied by Michael Gordon’s no-less-textured wall of sound, the calligraphy of decay grows increasingly hallucinated and catastrophic. The most widely praised avant-garde film in recent years, Decasia is a fierce dance of destruction. Its flame-like roiling black-and-white inspires trembling and gratitude. THROUGH TUESDAY, Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue, 212-505-5181. (Hoberman)

‘JAPÓN’ Funny, mournful, weird, Carlos Reygadas’s first feature is the new Mexican cinema’s wiggiest manifestation to date–an existential drama with the wide-screen ratio and bleached tinge of a vintage spaghetti western. Reygadas’s deliberate pace shows a certain Tarkovsky influence; but more eccentric than overweening, the story of a nameless man who goes to the bottom of the Copper Canyon in order to commit suicide is pure, if perverse, Nature Channel pantheism. Indeed, the jaw-dropping capper to this panoramic movie could itself be considered among the wonders of creation. THROUGH APRIL 1, Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, 212-727-8110. (Hoberman)

‘OSCAR IN NEW YORK’ Once in a while, the Best Pic takes place here. This series features eight–from Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend (1945) through Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977). Celebrity presenters include Budd Schulberg (On the Waterfront) and Voice writer Michael Musto (All About Eve). THURSDAY, THROUGH MARCH 30, BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-623-2770. (Hoberman)

’25 YEARS OF WOMEN CALLING THE SHOTS’ It’s an action-packed week of panels, personal appearances, and screenings with directors Lee Grant, Nancy Savoca, and Christine Choy (to name only a few) introducing their films. The movies themselves are an eclectic assortment of indie features, experimental work, and docs–but there’s also a panel on the long-running soap The Guiding Light. WEDNESDAY THROUGH MARCH 26, Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, 212-875-5600. (Hoberman)

BETTIE SERVEERT No longer in vogue but fondly remembered, Amsterdam’s Carol Van Dyk and her band have been getting better ever since they broke a decade ago. Their new album is as songful as they’ve ever been, and showcases a zest for the long instrumental that guarantees a rocking show as well as an articulate one. Friday with New Wet Kojak and the Caulfield Sisters and Saturday with Sea Ray and the Fly Seville. FRIDAY AT 9, Southpaw, 125 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-230-0236; SATURDAY AT 10, Maxwell’s, 1039 Washington Street, Hoboken, New Jersey, 201-653-1703. (Christgau)

BUCK 65 Formerly Stinkin’ Rich, Richard Tefry of Halifax and Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia, would seem a geographically unlikely candidate for finest hip-hop artist in Canada. And admittedly, beats aren’t his strong suit. But that’s only because few rappers anywhere

are dropping such well-spoken rhymes–his

self-portrait as a centaur was only the tip of

the membrum virile. Opening Sunday: dark-

rocking Newark rapper Dalek and his homeboy Oddateee. SUNDAY AT 8:30, Maxwell’s, 1039 Washington Street, Hoboken, New Jersey, 201-653-1703; MONDAY AT 8:30, Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, 212-219-3006. (Christgau)

CALEXICO + NINA NASTASIA Calexico’s newest, Feast of Wire, is a loosely assembled gumbo of the band’s Tucson-rooted boogies, dusty whiskey waltzes, and the occasional Tabasco-seasoned pop song. At times the album saunters lazily between the three like a drunken coyote, but the music itself–especially when flushed out in a live setting–has the power to transport even a horn-rimmed hipster from, say, a cramped L.E.S. club to the parched, turquoise- and tumbleweed-strewn landscapes of mariachis and margaritas. Nina Nastasia, whose soft-spoken songwriting would be lost in its own sobriety without the help of her beautiful strings section, is a fitting opener. SATURDAY AT 10, Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, 212-533-2111. (Viera)

ROSANNE CASH Although she’ll perform at Joe’s Pub Monday, don’t expect much promo from the Nashville star who long ago chose to pursue her own muse at her own pace right here in Manhattan. In fact, this benefit for Housing Works may be the best way to hear the new and old songs on her first album since 1996. The openers are quality too: singing DJ Laura Cantrell, another New Yorker with strong feelings for Nashville, and Grammy-winning Norah Jones songwriter and guitarist Jesse Harris, whose third album will soon pack considerably more corporate support than the first two. FRIDAY AT 7:30, Housing Works Used Book Café, 126 Crosby Street, 212-334-3324; MONDAY AT 7:30, Joe’s Pub, Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, 212-239-6200. (Christgau)

BILL CHARLAP Having recorded one of the outstanding albums of the past year, Stardust (Blue Note), and proved that he is not only a superbly original, imaginative, often mesmerizing pianist but also the leader of one of the most impressively unified trios in years, Charlap’s on a roll and every appearance is an event. With Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums, the repertory of mostly standards takes on renewed suspense as the players tune in to each other and the music, unafraid of rests or languorous tempos that make the reserved virtuosity all the more riveting. WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY AT 9 AND 11, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY ALSO AT 12:30 A.M., Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, 212-255-4037. (Giddins)

MACY GRAY + LAMYA The Middle East meets the Midwest on this intriguing double bill. Oman and Ohio must provoke similar motivational impulses as stepping-off places for would-be global pop stars. Lamya Al-Mughiery did vocal apprenticeships under everyone from Vaughn Mason to David Bowie before recruiting Nellee Hooper to produce her solo debut last year. All her influences, from disco and alt-rock to rai and trip-hop, swirl without definitive resolution throughout last year’s Learning From Falling. Similarly quirky and talented, the Grammy-laureled Macy Gray defied multi-platinum expectations on her second LP by deviating sharply from her

initial role as a catchy ’70s soul-funk revivalist. Two maverick singer-songwriters, two women of color, who dare to keep us

guessing–fans and detractors alike. Welcome to the Twilight Zone. SATURDAY AT 9, Warsaw, 261 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-

387-0505 or 866-468-7619. (Cooper)

BOBBY HUTCHERSON Mercurial, intense, and superbly inventive, Hutcherson remains the cutting edge of the vibes after more than 35 years. His notes flow not with the linear decisiveness of Milt Jackson or the plush lyricism of Gary Burton, but in a consuming rush that nonetheless remains light, nimble, and focused. This week he leads a sextet for what sounds like a ’60s Blue Note session brought to life and up to date, with alto saxophonist James Spaulding, trumpeter Wallace Roney, pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist Dwayne Burno, and drummer Billy Drummond. WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY AT 8 AND 10, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY ALSO AT MIDNIGHT, Iridium, 1650 Broadway, 212-582-2121. (Giddins)

THE STREETS Last fall’s Mercury Lounge appearance, in which Mike Skinner short-circuited his own showmanship after breaking a microphone the previous night at the Bowery Ballroom, was a disappointment. But the joint still lit up when he went into ruffer material like “Give Me Back My Lighter,” a trend that continues on his recent remixes (see the Roll Deep remake of “Let’s Push Things Forward”). Harder beats tend to equal better dancing, but even if you’re not much of a mover, Skinner’s such a canny raconteur he’ll get you going with his words alone. WEDNESDAY AT 9:30, Warsaw, 261 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-387-0505 or 866-468-7619. (Matos)

DAVID HILLIARD Hilliard’s big, memorable, multi-panel photos use subtly shifting viewpoints and supersaturated color to sketch elusive but tantalizingly ripe narratives, nearly all of which revolve around sex or solitude. A nearly naked hunk preens before a group of overdressed men; two young girls in swimsuits vamp atop a picnic table; a young woman on a rumpled bed covers her bare breasts and glances warily at the shirtless guy leering from the other side of a screen door. Though erotic heat isn’t the only thing on Hilliard’s mind, it smolders so brightly here that all his other pictures bask in the glow. THROUGH MARCH 22, Yancey Richardson Gallery, 535 West 22nd Street, 646-230-9610. (Aletti)

INGAR KRAUSS In this impressive American debut, Krauss shows small black-and-white photos of pale, haunted-looking German boys and girls that are unsettling enough to recall the remorseless children of the damned. But there’s also a strange beauty to his portraits, suggesting Balthus crossed with Sally Mann and Francesca Woodman: innocence and experience combined in one fragile vessel. Krauss underplays the artifice, but he still seems to have entered a dream world and brought these lovely, uncanny creatures along with him. THROUGH SATURDAY, Marvelli Gallery, 526 West 26th Street, 212-627-3363. (Aletti)

‘AIR RAID’ Before even seeing the performance, you can give the prize for astute revival selection to the National Asian American Theatre Company for choosing poet Archibald MacLeish’s 1938 radio play, which dramatized for Americans back then, in a scarily impassive mock-documentary tone, exactly what was happening in Europe. Those who want to know what it’s like before we start doing it to Iraq had better take the opportunity while they can; governments that wage unilateral wars are famous for discouraging works of art that question the results. NAATCO’s production, directed by Stephen Stout, is the broadcast work’s stage premiere; the cast’s known quantities include Michi Barall and playwright Han Ong. IN PREVIEWS, OPENS SUNDAY, HERE, 145 Sixth Avenue, 212-647-0202. (Feingold)

‘GOLDA’S BALCONY’ Indomitable, outspoken, and impervious to criticism, Golda Meir, the Milwaukee schoolteacher who became prime minister of the state of Israel, was one of the most admired–and in some quarters most reviled–women of her time. Playwright William Gibson (The Miracle Worker, Two for the Seesaw) spent eight months with her in 1977. The anodyne result didn’t stay long on Broadway, with Anne Bancroft, in ’77­’78. But both Broadway and the Middle East were different then. Gibson’s new script, culled from his conversations with Meir, is likely to be franker–and who better to incarnate frankness than Obie winner Tovah Feldshuh? Scott Schwartz directs. IN PREVIEWS, OPENS MARCH 26, Manhattan Ensemble Theater, 55 Mercer Street, 212-925-1900. (Feingold)

‘HASHIRIGAKI’ Gertrude Stein and the Beach Boys were both from California, but for any further connections they have to each other, or to the Japanese calligraphic style that gives this piece its title, you’ll have to inquire of composer-director Heiner Goebbels, whose production for Theatre Vidy-Lausanne is the source of their linkage. Passages from Stein’s epic novel The Making of Americans crisscross with Brian Wilson’s instrumentals from Pet Sounds. London and L.A. liked the result; what we’ll make of it remains to be seen. Wednesday through SATURDAY, BAM Harvey Theatre, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718-636-4100. (Feingold)

‘MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN’ The traumatic hour in 1947 when India became an independent nation set off conflicts that still reverberate: between old and new, Asian and Western, colonial and third world, Hindu and Muslim. Born at the moment of independence, the hero of the novel that made Salman Rushdie famous has the telepathic power to hear the inner voices of all sides. Rushdie’s stage version of his teeming book, made in collaboration with Simon Reade and director Tim Supple, has been brought over by the Royal Shakespeare Company, for a limited run in one of New York’s more reverberant venues. OPENS FRIDAY, THROUGH MARCH 30, Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th Street, 212-307-7171. (Feingold)

‘BEAU SIA’S WHATEVER’ A fine conundrum you’ve gotten yourself into, eh Beau? Spouting your verse on a Broadway stage, night after night after night. Surely the Playbill format is

problematic–what about the spontaneity? Sia’s own event is shaping up as a release of sorts for the Def Poetry Jam gang–who rush in after each Tuesday-evening performance for, well, whatever. Slamming and spinning and shenanigans, oh my! DJ Tendaji, who also shines on the big stage, sticks around for an after-party for the after-party until 2 a.m. TUESDAY AT 10:30, Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, 212-614-0505. (Snow)

CHARLES KEIL + ROBERT CHRISTGAU The inimitable musicologist Charles Keil’s latest collaboration, Bright Balkan Morning: Romani Lives and the Power of Music in Greek Macedonia, locates the hybrid vigor of so-called Gypsy music as heard against a complex, multiethnic landscape. Keil champion and Voice music sage Robert Christgau engages him in a spirited discussion–perhaps leading to the ideal of kefi, a sort of “contemplative ’emotional engrossment.’ ” WEDNESDAY AT 6:30, New School, 66 West 12th Street, fifth floor, 212-229-5488. (De Krap)

‘STONE READER WEEKEND EVENT SERIES’ When director Mark Moskowitz finally read 1972’s The Stones of Summer in 1998, he became obsessed with finding out what happened to its author. His documentary Stone Reader, a bibliophile’s delight, now plays amid the glitz of the Deuce, where a literary salon follows each matinee. This weekend: Martin Roper, telling tales out of school (the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, from whence Mossman emerged), and Kate Moses, author of the acclaimed Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath. SATURDAY AND SUNDAY AT 11 A.M., AMC Empire 25, 243 West 42nd Street, 212-398-3939. (De Krap)

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