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Agenda Newsletter - May 25-27, 2007

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Agenda Top Pick Extraordinary cast makes working-class indie flick
Steel City

Your Half Pictures; Opens tonight; Edelstein's review; Tickets

This is the kind of working-class movie a young Bruce Springsteen might make. The story’s ballad-simple: While dad sits in jail, two brothers try to make ends meet, and one tries to make it with a girl. Tom Guiry (the best in an extraordinary cast, which includes Ugly Betty’s America Ferrara) brings simmering emotions as the youngest son. Filmmakers will make flashier debuts this year, but few will match first-time writer-director Brian Jun’s unforced and naturalistic touch.


   
Populist New novelist hilariously spoofs John Hughes
I Love You, Beth Cooper
 
Doyle was a New York editor who went on to write for The Simpsons, so it's tempting to playa-hate and say his first novel is a laugh-free clunker. But the book is great. Those of us who find that The Breakfast Club is a more meaningful experience than anything that actually happened to us as teenagers will delight in this dark, absurdist, insanely funny send-up of a John Hughes movie.

By Larry Doyle
Ecco
New
fiction
 »
Buy it  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistDid someone say pirates?
PopulistWake up early for Maroon 5 live.
PopulistAl Gore storms Barnes & Noble.

     
Indieist See the results of a Jacko obsession
Live From Neverland
 
Paul Pfeiffer is slightly obsessed with Michael Jackson. The artist’s 2002 video "Live Evil" turned the pop star into a flailing sort of insect; his latest piece uses footage from a 1993 press conference in which Jacko addressed molestation charges. In the two-screen installation, the singer’s words are echoed by a modern-day Greek chorus. Pfeiffer, with his sly digital edits, breathes new life into the old story of a pop star’s fall from grace.

Paul Pfeiffer
The Project
Through
June 22
More info  » More MJ-inspired
art
 »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistUnion Pool does up Memorial Day.
PopulistClosing party: Zombies Attack!
PopulistPantyho’s: A lesbian dance party.

     
Square Dance to a modern Woody Guthrie
Rainin in Paradize
 
We guarantee you won’t hear a peppier, more upbeat song all year—or at least, not one that also includes the words “atrocity,” “catastrophe,” and “calamity.” (Did we mention “Fallujah”?) Chao, a Spaniard raised in France, may have a punky background, Pan-Latin fan base, and swirl of world-musical influences, but we hear Woody Guthrie in him. This heartfelt reaction to institutionalized violence, available free on his Website, will seize you by the proverbial lapels—and make you dance.

Manu Chao
Download  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistThe return of Wynton Marsalis’s original septet.
PopulistNYC Ballet (gracefully) tackles Tchaikovsky.
PopulistThe very best of the African Film Festival.

     
Aesthete Catch Robert Altman's Van Gogh biopic
Vincent & Theo
 
Leave it to Robert Altman to appreciate Vincent van Gogh as more than just a madman painter. This stunning 1990 biopic is an examination of fraternal love: Theo was the younger brother who played both substitute parent and patron to his tortured elder. Altman perfectly captures both the meditative moments of artistic creation and the macabre ear-cutting episode—which shouldn’t prevent you from sampling the Sacher torte and excellent Viennese coffee they serve in the café.

Café Fledermaus
at the Neue Galerie Mitchell Algus Gallery
6:30 p.m.
Free
More info  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistEiko and Koma dance in the St. Marks Church graveyard.
PopulistThe Whitney’s much-ballyhooed psychedelic art show.
PopulistClosing: Susan McClelland's risk-taking installation.

     
Kids Legends get a scientifical treatment
Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids
 
If the Brooklyn Museum can create a Star Wars–themed exhibit—as they did in 2002, and, yes, we went—who’s to say that the Museum of Natural History can’t display “life-size” models of griffins and unicorns? (No wookies, sadly.) The show draws on everything from sixteenth-century illustrations to a Kirin Ichiban beer label for these representations, but it's also got the bones of real animals, like the prehistoric beaked protoceratops, to illustrate the origins of the legends.

Museum of Natural History Opens
May 26
$12–$21
Tickets  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistOpening: Greek myths come alive
PopulistAcrobats and animals take over a Hudson Valley manor.
PopulistFamily Fun Panorama Challenge!

     
 
 

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weekend May 25-27, 2007
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