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WEDNESDAY

JANUARY 14


Books

WALTER MOSLEY+MANTHIA DIAWARA

In Mosley’s latest novel, The Man in My Basement, a (white) stranger takes up residence in a (black) homeowner’s cellar, and the result is an echo chamber of memory and morality. Mosley talks with author, filmmaker, and NYU professor Manthia Diawara, whose memoir We Won’t Budge recounts his odd jobs and academic awakening in America, student days in France, and growing up in Mali, dazzled by Jimi Hendrix. PARK

At 6:30, New York Public Library, 8 West 40th Street, 212.980.0855

Dance

BEN MUNISTERI DANCE PROJECTS

Wrapping up this season’s Altogether Different Festival are two performances by an upstart, now in his second decade of choreographing, whose work has appeared mostly in alternative spaces. Munisteri, a graduate of Stuyvesant High and Oberlin College, is a veteran of the Doug Elkins Dance Company. His six dancers will be joined by guest artists Larry Keigwin and David Leventhal in the premiere of Turbine Mines, a formalist work with a sci-fi edge; they’ll also perform Muse of Fire, Smash Into Sunlight, and his breakout work, Late-Night Sugar Flight. ZIMMER

At 8 and Sunday at 7:30, Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, 212.242.0800

Music

JOEL FRAHM & BRAD MEHLDAU

Sometimes it’s all about old-fashioned musicianship, and as the saxophonist with the predilection for inside-out poetics meets the pianist with the runaway regard for derring-do, it becomes clear that craft can be the launching pad for small miracles. Their new duet disc is a marvel of accord, blending a knotty turn through Ornette’s “Turnaround” with a sentimental valentine on McCartney’s “Mother Nature’s Son.” MACNIE

At 7:30 and 9:30 tonight and Thursday, Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, 212.576.2232

UNICORNS

Like their whimsical, mythical moniker, Unicorns are at once too good to be true and too enchanting to ignore. With the help of guest pennywhistlers, fiddlers, and cheapass keyboard players, the Canadian trio recorded one of the most understated, quirky pop albums of 2003, which, sarcastically and prematurely, explores issues of death and dying over danceable beats. Sounds sketchier than it is, but Unicorns are real. Also: Amber Smith. VIERA

At 9, Southpaw, 125 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718.230.0236

Theater

‘HIROSHIMA MAIDEN’

Never one to shy away from difficult subject matter, puppet artist Dan Hurlin brings his inanimate sorcery to dramatize the “collateral damage” wreaked by the atomic blasts that ended the Second World War. His focus rests on a group of Japanese women flown to the States to undergo plastic surgery for their wounds—and forced to appear on This Is Your Life to pay for their medical expenses. A story, in short, that’s ripe for Hurlin’s poignantly political, not to mention captivatingly ironic, sensibility. MCNULTY

Through February 1, St. Ann’s Warehouse, 38 Water Street, Brooklyn, 718.254.8779


THURSDAY

JANUARY 15


Art

WILLIAM POPE.L

Claiming to be “the friendliest black artist in America,” this wily performance and installation maverick has long remained on the outer fringes of the art scene, pushing the limits. For 25 years he has negotiated the politics of race by eating The Wall Street Journal or crawling through the gutter in a business suit. Finally he has his first retrospective, here split in two. Part 1 is at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, until February 5, and “eRacism Part 2” is in Soho. A third show is at the Project (see listings). LEVIN

Opens today, through February 21, Artists Space, 38 Greene Street, 212.226.3970

Books

PETER MANSEAU & JEFF SHARLET

In Killing the Buddha: A Heretic’s Bible, Manseau and Sharlet enlist the help of 13 contributors to rewrite the not-so-Good-as-it-was-used Book. Finding heresy a palimpsestic conundrum (“Strip off the heresy, and beneath there’s orthodoxy, which turns out to be nothing but another heresy got up in drag”), they boldly state their ambition: “not to replace the Bible, but to light it and its successors on fire.” In their fractured meta-world, Eileen Myles’s fictional “Daniel” invokes Woody Allen and Soon-Yi; Francine Prose recalls Passover seders past with blossoming resentment in “Exodus”; and Le Thi Diem Thuy briefly inhabits “Ruth” as she comes to terms with her mother’s death. Manseau and Sharlet themselves contribute “The Book of Psalms” as revelatory dispatches from their road trip across America. REIDY

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

Music

DAVID MURRAY CUBAN BIG BAND

Like all of us with a nose for new(s), the brawny tenor man has been roaming the globe of late. Africa, Guadeloupe, Trane Town—each stop has put a spin on his sound. Now Is Another Time brought his big band to the Caribbean, and it was a blend of swagger and girth that defined the way it clung to the clave. These guys treat their music in a very physical way. MACNIE

Through Sunday at 8 and 10, Iridium, 1650 Broadway, 212.582.2121

Photo

JOE DEAL

Although not as well-known as his New Topographics colleagues Robert Adams and Stephen Shore, Deal shares their cool, intensely descriptive approach to the American landscape. The subject of these terrific black-and-white images made between 1976 and ’86 is Southern California as a work in progress—a terrain in permanent transition from wilderness to suburbia, where the paved highway meets the dirt road. Deal’s elevated viewpoint cuts out the horizon and grounds us somewhere between raw earth and the backyard pool. ALETTI

Through January 31, Robert Mann Gallery, 210 EleventhAvenue, 212.989.7600

Theater

‘DEMON BABY’

Playwright Erin Courtney continues her fruitful association with Clubbed Thumb, the downtown theater company devoted to freshly provocative dramatic voices. Courtney’s latest revolves around an American wife, who begins hearing far too provocative voices of her own while living in London with her workaholic husband. From all reports, her expatriate anxiety has a commandingly surreal, if not downright diabolical, stage presence. MCNULTY

Through January 31 at Ohio Theater, 66 Wooster Street, 212.868.4444.


FRIDAY

JANUARY 16


Film

‘CRIMSON GOLD’

Iranian director Jafar Panahi’s latest is an anti-blockbuster that brilliantly combines unpretentious humanism and impeccable formal values. Based on an actual incident, the movie opens with an amazingly bungled armed robbery, then flashes back. Crimson Gold is as visually eloquent as a silent movie; playing a Tehran pizza boy, real-life deliveryman Hussein Emadeddin projects tremendous tragicomic dignity—imagine Buster Keaton as Fatty Arbuckle. HOBERMAN

Opens today, Lincoln Plaza, Broadway and 62nd Street, 212.757.2280

‘NEW YORK JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL’

Journeys undertaken for the purposes of survival, spiritual enlightenment, or a better bra fit form the core of this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival. Twenty-nine films explore the Jewish experience from Argentina to Ireland, in our very own Harlem, and on the Lower East Side. Highlights include Hiding and Seeking, a documentary following a search for religious tolerance in Poland (of all places); Almost Peaceful, a feature set among Parisian post-war tailors; Samy and I, a comedy about Argentinean Jewish angst; and the Yiddish archival film, A Vilna Legend (1924/33). CAMHI

Through January 29, Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center, 165 West 65th Street, 212.875.5600

‘TOKYO GODFATHERS’

Satoshi Kon’s anime transposes John Ford’s sagebrush crèche 3 Godfathers to the lower depths of a lovingly detailed, snow-covered Tokyo skid row—and casts a turbaned trannie in the John Wayne role. The movie is mainly about families—lost, found, and invented. Supernaturalism is withheld up until the last moment, when the skyscrapers dance in a final “Ode to Joy.” HOBERMAN

Opens today, Angelika Film Center, 18 West Houston Street, 212.777.FILM

Music

TARAF DE HAÏDOUKS

The greatest Gypsy band in the world comprises nine Romanian guys playing fiddle, flute, cymbalum, and other stuff. Sporting manly mid-ranges and gentle falsettos that were even more spectacular before they hit 70, the three singers would fit in at any Italian, Greek, or Eastern European storefront social club in the tristate area. The

lead cymbalum player looks like he can also type 200 words a minute. CHRISTGAU

At 8:30, Zankel Hall at Carnegie, 881 Seventh Avenue, 212.247.7800

Theater

‘INSTRUCTIONS FOR FORGETTING’

The U.S. debut of England’s multimedia theater company, Forced Entertainment, has received a favorable chorus of advance buzz. Part fictionalized memoir, part lecture on world history, the piece searches (with apparent video panache) for imagistic insights into the dizzying flux of personal and political reality. MCNULTY

Through January 25 at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, 212.477.5288


SATURDAY

JANUARY 17


Music

BETTE MIDLER

She’s been a phenomenal live performer for 30 years. Last time she proved it was 1993, with 30 sold-out shows at Radio City. This time she’s cutting down on her workload by playing a really really big room, and you bet she’ll fill it—with fans and with her monumental self. If you can get in—make the effort, you think you’re gonna live forever?—you’ll be more dazzled by the comedy routines than by the songs. Each needs the other. CHRISTGAU

At 8 tonight and Sunday, Madison Square Garden, 31st Street and Seventh Avenue, 212.465.MSG1

 

MISSION OF BURMA

The greatest American art-punk band took 19 years off to let their rep mature, but they rocked monstrously hard at their shows here two years ago, and were even better in Philly last year: texturally dense, wise to the point of brutality, as gung ho about the new songs as the old. And they’ve got a new record coming out this spring. Life is good. With Rye Coalition. WOLK

At 8, Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, 212.777.6800

Photo

EDWARD BURTYNSKY

Burtynsky doesn’t just work large—all his color prints are suitably grand—he works with big subjects. He follows a show on the dismantling of massive tankers with “Before the Flood,” a series on the gradual destruction and salvaging of Chinese towns along the Yangtze River before their inundation by the completed Three Gorges Dam Project. Often viewed from on high, these broad vistas of tiny people scrambling over a shattered landscape are frozen in a post-apocalyptic calm that’s downright eerie. ALETTI

Through January 31, Charles Cowles Gallery, 537 West 24th Street, 212.741.8999


SUNDAY

JANUARY 18


Art

KRISTIAN BURFORD

A sharp young Australian who studied with Mike Kelley lures us past crushed-velvet curtains and a table set with airless clay maquettes to a startling life-like peekaboo tableau. Descended from Duchamp by way of Duane Hansen, it features a nude youth (cast from Burford’s clay original) sprawled in a luxuriant mess of brocades with his hand in a goblet, filming himself. Every oppressive detail counts—from the musty odor to an almost-live-feed mirroring video image. The 109-word title explains it all, sort of. LEVIN

Through January 29, I-20, 529 West 20th Street, 212.645.1100


MONDAY

JANUARY 19


Music

PAULINE OLIVEROS, SUSIE IBARRA & DAVID DOVE

What happens in a meeting of one of the premier minimalist composers with one of the premier jazz drummers today? No easy answer here (where will the balance tip?), and that’s going to be part of the thrill, just hearing what transpires. Nice that this is also a femme summit, proving again that gents don’t have a lock on great avant music. With Evidence. GROSS

At 8, Tonic, 107 Norfolk Street, 212.358.7501


TUESDAY

JANUARY 20


Dance

JAMES SEWELL BALLET

A decade ago, Sewell moved his eight-person ballet troupe from New York to his native Minneapolis, where the borders between disciplines are permeable. He returns with the 32-minute Barrage, which responds to traumatic events since 9-11. Music’s by Handel, Tchaikovsky, and Fatboy Slim. His ballet dancers have trained in contact improvisation as well as classical techniques, so look to be surprised; completing the program are dances to 17th-century lieder and to Bach, Monteverdi, Baaba Maal, and Combustible Edison. ZIMMER

At 8, through January 25, Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, 212.242.0800

Music

VIJAY IYER & MIKE LADD An encore presentation of “In What Language?,” the collaborative agit project of jazz pianist Vijay Iyer and art-rapper Mike Ladd, which is now available on CD. Ladd paints character sketches of immigrants in states of transition, with themes gleaned from interviews with folk in his South Bronx neighborhood, while Iyer conducts a seven-piece on a sonic world tour that’s equally ill at ease everywhere—it’s the sound of the costs of diaspora. CARAMANICA

At 9:30, Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, 212.539.8770

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