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ART

WILLIAM ANASTASI In 1966, during the buildup to the Vietnam War, Anastasi proposed to camouflage the interior of the Dwan Gallery, but it didn’t happen. Instead, he camouflaged the gallery with its own image, replicating each wall—air vents, outlets, and all, reduced in scale by 10 percent—on huge silk screen paintings. Now, decades later, the original camouflage proposal has been realized, obscuring walls, floor, ceiling, sprinkler pipes, desk, and door. Titled “Blind,” it’s a timely visitation from the past. So is the Karl Kraus quote: “How is the world ruled and how do wars start? Diplomats tell lies to journalists and then believe what they read.” THROUGH APRIL 12, White Box at the Annex, 601 West 26th Street, 646-638-3785. (Levin)

TRENTON DOYLE HANCOCK In his first show, this African American artist from Paris, Texas, introduced a dying primal protagonist named the Mound. The current chapter in his elaborately convoluted narrative of prelapsarian animal-vegetable-mineral creatures involves mound babies in flower beds created by a masturbating ape daddy with “a knack for turning impulsion into compulsion. He has an eye for beauty but knows no moderation.” The installation of wall drawing, hand-painted text, and paintings of striped mounds (sprouting flowers, faces, toilets, handcuffs) on floral wallpaper with subliminal underbrush is gorgeous, immoderate, and irresistible. THROUGH SATURDAY, James Cohan Gallery, 533 West 26th Street, 212-714-9500. (Levin)

DANCE

‘BROWN BUTTERFLY’ This multimedia performance about Muhammad Ali was conceived by composer-trombonist Craig Harris and Marlies Yearby, nominated for a Tony for her work on Rent. Directed and choreographed by Yearby, with an original score by Harris, it incorporates archival film footage and a live-mixed video installation by Jonas Goldstein. It sets out to find Ali’s movement, his “dance of life,” with six dancers and seven musicians. THURSDAY THROUGH SATURDAY AT 8, SATURDAY ALSO AT 2, AND SUNDAY AT 3, Aaron Davis Hall, Convent Avenue and 134th Street, 212-650-7100. (Zimmer)

HARKNESS DANCE PROJECT: KEVIN WYNN COLLECTION Kevin Wynn is a choreographer only a dancer could love—and that’s a recommendation. Some critics grow impatient with his overstuffed compositions, but he’s tapped into the rewired, highly visual and kinetic perception of a younger generation, which flocks to perform in his work. A dozen dancers execute Ruptured Angels on the Asphalt, which responds to the work of playwright Adrienne Kennedy as it explores issues of identity and community. People float. People fly. People support one another in the face of struggle. In a dark time, Wynn will lift your spirit. WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY, AND SATURDAY AT 8 AND SUNDAY AT 2 AND 7, the Duke on 42nd Street, 229 West 42nd Street, 212-239-6200. (Zimmer)

FILM

‘NEW DIRECTORS, NEW FILMS’ The 2002 edition (which introduced two of the year’s best movies in Late Marriage and Fast Runner) is a tough act to follow. Opening with the charming Loisaida romance Raising Victor Vargas, the 2003 edition seems more modest but no less far-flung. Familiar instances of Hong Kong power-pop, Iranian self-reflection, and Japanese crazy comedy are complemented by movies from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Slovenia, Tajikistan, and Camp Ovation. THROUGH APRIL 6, MOMA at the Gramercy, 127 East 23rd Street, 212-777-4900; Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, 212-875-5600. (Hoberman)

‘UNKNOWN PLEASURES’ His assured, almost ethnographic, movies framing the bewildering social flux of contemporary China, 32-year-old Jia Zhangke has placed himself at the forefront of Chinese cinema. Unknown Pleasures, which is more pop, impressionistic, and improvisational than Platform, may be Jia’s most concentrated evocation of contemporary China’s spiritual malaise. Shot in digital video, the film teems with visual interest. It’s both distanced and immediate—a fiction with the force of documentary. OPENS FRIDAY, Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, 212-924-3363. (Hoberman)

MUSIC

AISLERS SET+HELLA+THE QUAILS The northern California, indie-rock underground is representin’ for the West Side with distortion pedals cranked way up. Bay Area-scene royalty the Aislers Set’s shoegazer-meets-’60s-girl-group pop floats by on an undercurrent of balmy Pacific breezes, while fellow San Franciscans the Quails raise their fists in catchy, danceable punk protest. Sacramento’s Hella are sort of a West Coast answer to Lightning Bolt: a drummer and a guitarist hammering out paroxysmal, yet surprisingly melodic, bursts of noise. FRIDAY AT 10, Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, 212-219-3006. (Phillips)

DAN BERN I don’t know about you, but these days I don’t want to hear somebody’s greatest hits with a few words about how shitty this war feels and maybe a discreet paean to peace. I want somebody who’s fighting mad and funny about it and has just written two new songs and resuscitated four others to explain why. Bern is that somebody, and let’s pray to the god of chaos that there’ll never come a better week to check out his shtick than this one. SATURDAY AT 11 AND SUNDAY AT 10, Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, 212-533-2111. (Christgau)

DAVE DOUGLAS The trumpet player and composer who seems to have a new band for every season is celebrating his 40th birthday (that was quick), with a party that involves no fewer than 10 of them. In first set/second set order, they are Parallel Worlds & Witness and Alloy on Wednesday, Charms of the Night Sky and El Trilogy Ensemble on Thursday, his Sextet on Friday, his New Quintet on Saturday, and his Septet on Sunday. If Douglas’s trim sound and sparing lyricism are the key draws, other players include Roy Campbell, Bakaida Carroll, Mark Feldman, Greg Tardy, Greg Cohen, Uri Caine, Chris Potter, James Genus, Joey Baron, and Clarence Penn, among many others. WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY AT 7:30 AND 9:30, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY AT 7:30, 9:30, AND 11:30, AND SUNDAY AT 7:30 AND 9:30, Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, 212-576-2232. (Giddins)

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR+BLACK DICE Forget the icy Sigur Ros: Montreal’s Godspeed cram so many bodies and instruments onto the stage that their ragged dark-rock crescendos can’t help but exude a sort of perverse warmth. Brooklyn’s Black Dice have their own dark secret: an almost hippy-dippy back-to-nature thread running through the frayed layers of their blistering ambient noise. TUESDAY AT 9, THROUGH APRIL 2, Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, 212-533-2111. (Catucci)

BIRELI LAGRENE An erstwhile child prodigy who descends from the same tribe as Django Reinhardt and perfected most of the master’s fingerings by age 14, Lagrene has tried various contexts over the past decade, but he keeps returning to Django. This appearance by Gypsy Project is rare enough to provoke much anticipation; it includes the exceptional violinist Florin Niculescu and packs a rhythm wallop that inspires Lagrene to some of the most daring work you will ever hear on acoustic guitar. WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY AT 8 AND 10, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY ALSO AT 11:45, Iridium, 1650 Broadway, 212-582-2121. (Giddins)

KELLY OSBOURNE+HAR MAR SUPERSTAR Obnoxious or just noxious. You decide. She’s a real live pre-fab AI toy with the best mop in teensploit and plus, she rips up “Papa Don’t Preach” like the “You Oughta Know” flailer she may become. See her now before somebody introduces her to Glen Ballard. And as for Har Mar’s super-schmuck drum-box striptease, Voice reviewer Jeanne Fury nailed it after his last show: DIY sexuality. FRIDAY AT 8, Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, 212-777-6800. (Sinagra)

TURBONEGRO So you think you’ve had a pepperoni? Well, not like this. Both the hardest-rocking and most homoerotic band on earth for the past decade. Cult heroes enough to inspire tribute CDs where death-metal trolls cover “I Got Erection,” even though the body-fluid riffs these Norwegian apocalypse dudes spurt are 100 percent Stooges/Dictators/ Leather Nun/Accept, zero percent Slayer. Songs about special friendships with sailor men, hobbit motherfuckers, and jailbait boys. Two albums just reissued, a new one due. And after a long breakup, they still dress like Rammstein buggering the Village People. Fuck you if you can’t take a joke. SUNDAY AT 11 AND MONDAY AT 10:30, Mercury Lounge, 217 East Houston Street, 212-260-4700. (Eddy)

ZWAN In the city, lots of us don’t drive cars too much, but I suggest that before dissing Billy Corgan’s post-Pumpkin quintet Zwan, you try popping it in the dash deck at least once. Gear-hum and wheel-whirr have always made the best sonic cradle for Corgan’s vocal scrape, and in this context, the songs from Zwan’s gloriously titled Mary Star of the Sea achieve a traction less smashing than gritty, even slinty. FRIDAY AT 6:45, Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street, 212-564-4882. (Sinagra)

PHOTO

NOBUYOSHI ARAKI In 1972, Araki pasted 94 rolls’ worth of small photos into four large notebooks and allowed their emulsion to deteriorate. He enlarged 48 of the resulting ruins, 20 of which are here along with the original notebooks and a newly issued facsimile edition. You don’t have to be a convert to the cult of Araki to find these images compelling and unsettling, especially when the subject is the pornographic nude. Sex and death are intimately linked here: A woman’s head, half obliterated by black decay, is frozen between agony and ecstasy while genitals in close-up look like barren, blasted landscapes. THROUGH APRIL 26, Roth Horowitz, 160A East 70th Street, 212-717-9067. (Aletti)

‘EDWARD WESTON AND MARGRETHE MATHER: A PASSIONATE COLLABORATION’ Although there aren’t many photos in this elegant, compact show that are credited to both Weston and Mather, the physical and artistic collaboration between these two artists went well beyond a few atmospheric portraits from 1921. They shared a taste for spare, stylized, vaguely orientalist compositions that allowed them to make a natural transition from soft-focus Pictorialism to hard-edged Modernism. After their separation in 1923, Weston’s career utterly eclipsed Mather’s, but the evidence of their time together is proof enough that Mather could easily hold her own. THROUGH APRIL 19, AXA Gallery, 787 Seventh Avenue, at 51st Street, 212-554-4818. (Aletti)

THEATER

‘THE CRAZY LOCOMOTIVE’ Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (1885-1939)—call him Witkacy (vit-KAH-tsee)—described his plays as “comedies with corpses.” This 1923 specimen, a topsy-turvy melodrama that features gangsters, duchesses, surrealists, and shrinks crashing into one another on society’s runaway train, is no exception. Christopher McElroen’s production for the Classical Theatre of Harlem, the cast of which includes artistic director Alfred Preisser, may give Witkacy’s high Europeanness an unexpected down-home accent. OPENS FRIDAY, HSA Theater, 645 St. Nicholas Avenue, 212-206-1515. (Feingold)

‘THE ISLAND’ The more astonishing of the two revelatory plays that South African actor-writers John Kani and Winston Ntshona created three decades ago in collaboration with Athol Fugard was this evocation of life among the apartheid regime’s political prisoners on Robben Island (the most famous of whom was Nelson Mandela). Two cellmates (Kani and Ntshona) rehearse their idea of a suitable prison show: Sophocles’ Antigone. Rarely has tragedy’s meaning seemed so direct. How it will seem in our changed world, with its creators 30 years older, we can only guess till next week. OPENS TUESDAY, THROUGH APRIL 13, BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, 718-636-4100. (Feingold)

‘THE MOTHER’ The most Polish joker of them all was the great avant-garde playwright, painter, and novelist Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz. Check out the second LaMaMa visit by Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, a troupe dedicated to his madcap works. This time around, they’ve chosen his “unsavory” comic takedown of modern drama’s maternal figures, from Ibsen’s Mrs. Alving onward. OPENS THURSDAY, THROUGH APRIL 13, La Mama ETC, 74A East 4th Street, 212-475-7710. (Feingold)

‘THE NEW MOON’ “In this year of 1792/Our conventions have been thrown all askew,” the heroine remarks, as if to prove that even operetta can have a touch of contemporary relevance. The French Revolution’s Reign of Terror comes hunting for escaped aristocrats hiding out in New Orleans, but don’t expect amplified hog swill in the Les Miz style: In this 1928 romance, revolution sweeps in on the wings of Sigmund Romberg’s most lushly tuneful score, though Oscar Hammerstein’s love-struck lyrics sometimes get a tad too sweeping. The Encores!- staged concert teams Broadway’s Christiane Noll as the heroine and opera baritone Rodney Gilfrey as her stouthearted man. THURSDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street, 212-581-1212. (Feingold)

‘THE PLAY WHAT I WROTE’ Hamish McColl and Sean Foley are a comedy duo; Hamish wants to give up the gig and get a play he’s written produced on Broadway, for which he needs a major star. From this proceeds the London comedy hit, authored by its stars and Eddie Braben, that arrives on Broadway this week. Hamish does indeed get his major star—a new one every week. The results are alleged to include a lot of puns and slapstick. Kenneth Branagh directed, though rumor alleges that co-producer Mike Nichols has added a few tickles. IN PREVIEWS, OPENS SUNDAY, Lyceum Theatre, Broadway and 45th Street, 212-239-6200. (Feingold)

WORDS

JIM KNIPFEL The New York Press columnist celebrated for his unflinching dark humor reads from his debut novel, The Buzzing, a wandering, noirish tale about an NYC reporter on the kook beat. Constantly bombarded by wackos (who make claims like “I have been kidnapped by the state of Alaska”), protagonist Roscoe Baragon cruises the city in search of the truth—or, more importantly, a good story. His sense of reality is further hindered by his propensity to drink. THURSDAY AT 7, BookCourt, 163 Court Street, Brooklyn, 718-875-3677. (Meyer)

‘POETRY AND THE CREATIVE MIND’ National Poetry Month 2003 is commencing and so the Academy of American Poets will present an evening curated by Jorie Graham and Rose Styron to celebrate the effect of American poetry on American culture. The broad range of creative work of the evening’s featured presenters should stand as a testament to poetry’s powers. George Plimpton, Natalie Portman, Frank Stella, Mark Morris, Meryl Streep, Zadie Smith, Laurie Anderson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Jessye Norman, Caroline Kennedy, and William Styron are among those who will discuss poems that have helped shape their lives and work. TUESDAY AT 6:30, Juilliard Theater, 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, 212-274-0343. (Snow)

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