Nemo and Looney Tunes notwithstanding, the year’s most ingenious and original animated feature is this gloriously retro whatsit. Virtually without dialogue, Sylvain Chomet’s infectiously scored saga of a kidnapped cyclist, his determined grandmother, an ancient swing trio, and an imaginary New York is one animation that never stops thinking about motion. It’s nasty but droll, cheerfully grotesque, and the triumphant opposite of precious. HOBERMAN

Opens today, Landmark Sunshine Cinema, 143 East Houston Street, 212.777.FILM



Puerto Rico’s Tego Calderón blows Jamaica’s Sean Paul away both live and on record with a dancehall style that easily blends salsa, merengue, bomba, Rasta reggae, and surprising fragments of zoot-suit jazz into the catchy mélange that kids in the barrio have taken to calling “reggaeton.” Rapping in fluid Spanish peppered with multiculti slang—and sly bursts of incisive commentary that owe more to Che Guevara and Tite Curet Alonso than to Jay-Z—Calderón and his crew make good on the failed promise of Panama’s El General, who became Spanish ragga’s first street star in 1990. COOPER

At 8, United Palace Theatre, 4140 Broadway, 212.568.6700


Let’s get ill . . . and stuff. If P. Diddy can train himself to run a marathon in under six months and turn a group of rap nobodies into MTV-funded Billboard babies, there’s no reason whatsoever to think his forthcoming dance album will be anything short of synergistic genius. Witness new friend Johnny Vicious, the kind of mega-club-traxxx producer who funks up U2 and works with, who else, Loleatta Holloway. Everybody dance now. CARAMANICA

At 8, Roseland Ballroom, 239 West 52nd Street, 212.247.0200


In 1995 this most generous and genteel of Puerto Rican soneros headlined Carnegie Hall with the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra. Tonight he and fellow vocalist Cheo Feliciano stick more to their dance-band roots in honor of another Puerto Rican legend, best known for his contributions to New York’s Latin craze of the ’50s and ’60s: bandleader-multi-instrumentalist Tito Rodríguez. COOPER

At 8, Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Avenue, 212. 903.9600


‘FRAME 312’

Say “Zapruder film” to a conspiracy-theory buff and chances are you’ll hear some interesting stories . . . which might be true. As might the story of Keith Reddin’s intriguingly creepy new play, in which a woman who worked in journalism when JFK was assassinated unearths a reel of film her former boss gave her for safekeeping. Karen Kohlhaas directs the Atlantic Theater Company’s production, with those two excellent actors, Mary Beth Peil and Larry Bryggman, in the leading roles. FEINGOLD

In previews, opens December 11, Atlantic Theater, 336 West 20th Street, 212.239.6200





This material-based West Coast conceptualist, teacher of Jason Rhoades and the Khedoori sisters, finally gets his East Coast due. His 1969 Lot’s Wife, a stack of salt-lick blocks, was conceived to be eaten by cows. Among his other radical works—toying with time, balance, space, politics, homing pigeons, melting ice, and light—is the legendary Chartres Bleu, a 27-channel stained-glass video installation that condenses 12 hours to 12 minutes. LEVIN

Through December 6, Grey Art Gallery, 100 Washington Square East, 212.998.6780



Casebere’s scale-model interiors, once humble, austere monks’ and prisoners’ cells, have become more refined over the past few years, but they remain haunted by history. His new show includes more flooded rooms in Jefferson’s Monticello (note the play of liquid reflections) and a screened Japanese space with a marvelously incongruous hill of dirt shoved against one wall. This drama is nicely balanced by a return to austerity: a terrific Richard Neutra series that recalls the punishing rigors of modernism. ALETTI

Through December 6, Sean Kelly Gallery, 528 West 29th Street, 212.239.1181





Celebrating its 50th year, this annual blowout by the New York City Ballet, featuring dancing snowflakes and warrior mice and anorexic ballerinas inhabiting Candyland, was the master choreographer’s first full-length work, and remains the gold standard for Nutcrackers nationwide, retaining the power to delight and inspire, whether you’re six or 36. ZIMMER

At 8. Also Saturday at 2 and 8, Sunday at 1 and 5, Tuesday at 6, and other dates through January 4, New York State Theater, Lincoln Center, Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, 212.870.5570,



There’s virtually no dialogue in this exceedingly curious, fiendishly clever Hungarian contraption devised by 27-year-old György Pálfi. Framed by an old man’s case of the hiccups, and associatively edited for maximum shifts in perspective, Hukkle moves from barnyard frolic to sardonic murder mystery. The cartoon pantheism sometimes suggests an eccentric nature documentary (or a comic version of Humanité), but Hukkle is one of a kind. HOBERMAN

Opens today, Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, 212.924.3363



Three reasons you don’t want to miss this: You don’t often get to hear this radiantly personal altoist, whose ’80s comeback was a benchmark of the period, introducinga distinctive, heartbreaking sound and lyricism to the Parker tradition; he’s using the occasion to record a new album; he’s got his powerhouse quartet with Billy Hart, Curtis Lundy, and the empathic pianist George Cables, whose touch alone is a thing of wonder. GIDDINS

Through Sunday at 7:30 and 9:30, Friday and Saturday also at 11:30, Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, 212.576.2232


Damn jam dilemmas: Phil & Friends or Dark Star Orchestra? New Deal, O.A.R. (snicker), Phish or Moe? Phish ain’t stanky. But our practical side says stay. Get moe bang for yer buck—techno stylee from Al, pop sensibility from Rob, Jerry-like licks from Chuck, two times the drumming from Vinnie and Jim, and plenty of rock all rolled into one ticket. Plus, shorter travel times mean after-show overload. ROTHMAN

Today and Saturday at 7:30, Beacon Theater, 2124 Broadway, 212.496.7070





An irrepressible son of the Bronx returns with The Gates of Gomorrha and three other new tapes. His subjects seem to be onanistic reverie and summer in the city or both: “Scantily clad sun worshipers lounge about the greenery of the saturated soils while the skies await the annual assault of holiday rocketry.” HOBERMAN

At 8, Millennium, 66 East 4th Street,




As the headline to Frank Kogan’s rave review of their nifty The Dirt Tier on these pages a few months ago put it, “Shifty hick licks help sick beatnik shit-snack shtick click”: Young Cali bohos pretend to be old Cali hobos and pull Captain Beefheart’s proto-blues-and-jazz songsters-and-saints rock through your Ugly Casanovas and Holy Childhoods to a place where sometimes it even beauties and boogies at the same time. With harmonicas, natch—and what Frank called “wheezy sorrow.” With Sam Jayne. EDDY

At 8, Pianos 158 Ludlow Street, 212.420.1466


One of the great figures of post-war jazz, Konitz has remained a beacon of individuality and determined invention; as ageless and original as Benny Carter, he plays solos that unwind as intrepid explorations. He has a great band this week, with veteran bassist Gary Peacock and two musicians—Bill Frisell and Matt Wilson—whose very presence suggests how innovative-lee, tender-lee, and timeless-lee this master continues to play. GIDDINS

Today and Thursday at 8 and 10, Friday through Sunday at 9 and 10:30, Friday and Saturday also at midnight, Iridium, 1650 Broadway, 212.582.2121



Even when Tillmans seems a little off, as he does in this show, his work exudes a kind of vivacious energy and inventiveness that I find impossible to resist. As usual, the installation—a seemingly spontaneous arrangement of large and small, framed and unframed images—is crucial, and the individual pictures are almost incidental to the prevailing mood, which swings between celebratory and contemplative. At once intensely personal and we-are-the-world universal, Tillmans’s photos always hit home. ALETTI

Through December 6, Andrea Rosen Gallery, 525 West 24th Street, 212.627.6000





Referring to vernacular handicraft and the turned-on ’60s in a freewheeling debut here, this L.A. artist—who has been chosen for the upcoming Whitney Biennial—peoples the space with bizarre painted bronzes. Her mountainous human blobs, skeletal hippies, turds spiked by flies, and cobwebbed cacti are grotesque and exhilarating. Never mind that a hand that’s got legs gives us the finger. Beyond the big-beaded curtain is a morbidly cheery unicorn. LEVIN

Through December 20, Marianne Boesky Gallery, 535 West 22nd Street, 212.680.9889





“Writing a short story involves struggling with a different kind of time [than writing a novel],” explains Bausch in the preface to his collection The Stories of Richard Bausch, “the time you will portray in it . . . how deeply back you may go, or how deeply in, while remaining true to the confines of the form.” This precision of thought, the philosophical framework of a true aesthetic, pervades these stories, which most often allude to those moments of fracture, bold or subtle, that come to define a life, sometimes years later. With titles like “Valor,” “Riches,” and “Self Knowledge,” it’s clear Bausch inclines toward the big questions, but he discovers them within the realm of the common: A factory worker confronts a greedy world; a respected elementary teacher steadies herself with whiskey. REIDY

At 7:30, Barnes & Noble, 4 Astor Place, 212.420.1322



And he can cook, too. Jonathan Reynolds, known theatrically for sardonic scripts like Rubbers, Geniuses, and Stonewall Jackson’s House, also writes on food for The New York Times Magazine. Now under Peter Askin’s direction, he’ll spend 90 minutes onstage nightly preparing a holiday feast, salted with the anecdotes each course evokes. Warning: Board of Health regulations mean the audience can’t share the bounty. Then again, maybe we should be grateful: The main course is deep-fried turkey. Let’s hope the show isn’t. FEINGOLD

In previews, opens December 16, Second Stage, 307 West 43rd Street, 212.246.4422





The Voice‘s art critic, who is even more entertaining in person than he is in print, takes on a favorite topic in a slide lecture titled “The Good, the Bad, and the Very Bad: A Year in the Life of an Art Critic.” Saltz promises a wide-ranging discussion of “failures, flops, hits, and has-beens” with special attention on “conservative painting that masquerades as modern and modern painting that masquerades as conservative.” ALETTI

At 6:30, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, 212.423.3587



Last year’s Small Town was Block’s ambitious stab at a post-9-11 thriller, set in his Gotham stomping grounds. But he’s best-known for his addictive series characters: warm-blooded hit man Keller, sleuthing used-book seller Bernie Rhodenbarr, international man of mystery Tanner, and especially Matthew Scudder, ex-cop turned A.A.-attending freelance detective. (Let’s not forget the entertaining investigations of apprentice gumshoe Chip Harrison, who wryly observes at a strip bar: “The one thing that both of them made you dramatically aware of is that human beings are mammals.”) Learn some of Block’s trade secrets as S.J. Rozan interviews him. PARK

At 7:30, 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, 212.415.5500



Since the 1960s, King’s been generating dances from language, and his Writing in Motion (just out from Wesleyan, with a foreword by our own Deborah Jowitt) collects the fruit of nearly 40 years of his prodigious explorations. He’ll share the evening’s performing with octogenarian Alenikoff, still a pistol, and sign copies of the book. (King and Alenikoff repeat their performance December 4 at Lincoln Center’s Library for the Performing Arts.) ZIMMER

At 8:30, Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, 131 East 10th Street, 212.674.8194



Rare and wonderful, Boris Barnet’s 1928 comedy is a beguiling tale of love and politics in Soviet Moscow—so playful that it sometimes suggests an antic precursorto Man With a Movie Camera. Donald Sosin is the piano man; the screening kicks off Barnet’s first U.S. retrospective. HOBERMAN

At 7:30, BAM Rose Cinema, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 718.777.FILM



The old story about the boy who finds the magic lamp gets a cross-cultural updatein this collaborative piece by London’s Motiroti company and our own Builders Association. This time around, global capitalism is the beneficent but fearsome genie, and the lamp that summons it is telemarketing. Count on Builders Association for some appealing techno-fun, at least. FEINGOLD

Through December 6, BAM Harvey Theatre, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718.636.4100


Fess up now, isn’t a brand-new, authentic George Gershwin musical exactly what you wanted for Christmas? This one, produced in London in 1924, is finding its way to New York for the first time, in a concert staging by Musicals Tonight. If you can hum the entire score going in, you’ve probably been living in the Secaucus warehouse where it was rediscovered in the mid 1980s; Mel Miller of Musicals Tonight unearthed the script last year in a London archive. FEINGOLD

Through December 21, 14th Street YMHA, 344 East 14th Street, 212.868.4444