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Agenda Newsletter - July 30, 2007

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Agenda Top Pick South African piano legend blesses New York
Abdullah Ibrahim

The Jazz Standard; Solo, July 31–August 2, $25; Trio, August 3–5, $30; Tickets

We've only one misgiving about the six-day residency this pianist begins tomorrow: The onetime Duke Ellington collaborator's history is so intricate, his influence so profound, that we wonder if fourteen shows can really do his legacy justice. We recommend the solo sets that start July 31 (the trio plays beginning August 3): Ibrahim's piano work transcends jazz and even his instrument, deftly synthesizing a multitude of South African–township styles, Ellingtonian harmonies, and church music, replete with playful, Coleman-esque stabs of the avant-garde.


   
Populist Mel Brooks previews a likely monster hit
Young Frankenstein
 
We’re already giggling at the possibility of a song that mispronounces “Frankenstein” or a fright-wigged bride-to-be hitting endless high notes. But we also know that Mel Brooks and director-choreographer Susan Stroman have imaginations far exceeding our own. (The Producers had old ladies tap-dancing with walkers and pigeons giving the “Heil Hitler.”) With comic geniuses Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), Andrea Martin (SCTV), and Sutton Foster (The Drowsy Chaperone) onboard, we're betting Young Frankenstein will be a scream.

Previews begin October 11
Opens November 8
$51–
$121
Tickets  »

     
Indieist Discover what's really up in Iraq
No End in Sight
 
We’ve seen a few great documentaries about the war in Iraq (Iraq in Fragments, The War Tapes), but none has captured the ugly scope of the whole disaster more persuasively than this one. David Edelstein calls it “a meticulous, thoroughly engrossing lesson” and says it “proves there’s nothing more subversive than a somber, lucid recitation of facts.” There’s no better primer on a war that gets more complex—and dangerous—by the day.

Magnolia Films
Director interview  » Review  » Tickets  »

     
Square Really geek out online
Seedmagazine.com
 
Bulk up your gray-matter reading about dark matter on this site, an extension of Seed magazine that blends pop culture, science, and philosophy. Take in video of a debate about the human fascination with symmetry, tour a chemist’s bookshelf and desk clutter, or download a cheat sheet on string theory. The sex-obsessed bi-weekly column “I Can’t Believe It’s Science” catalogues bizarre research findings—apparently women’s bodies get addicted to sperm.

Seed
magazine
.com
 »

     
Aesthete Artist’s eccentricities laid bare
The South Bank Show:
Francis Bacon
 
Ubu.com, purveyor of artsy writing, video, and MP3s, recently posted a doozy in the form of this 1985 BBC documentary about painter Francis Bacon. The loquacious artist derides his own work and appears slightly sloshed throughout, though whatever’s lost in incomprehensibility is made up for in eccentric charm. Wait for the moment when Bacon abruptly stands up in a restaurant, grabs a bottle of wine, and pours himself and his nonplussed interviewer two generous glasses, adding, wearily, “Cheerio!”

BBC via Ubu.com
Watch  »

     
Kids Parent site launches musical offensive
Greasy Kid Stuff
 
There’s a war brewing between Babble and “alternadad” Neal Pollack’s newer, funnier, more cynical parent site. Offsprung’s latest coup: a blog by Greasy Kids Stuff’s Belinda and Hova, the darlings of grupville. The couple pretty much invented the idea of cool kids’ sounds with their quirky WFMU radio show. Online, they're sketching music's mini-me landscape of the eighties and nineties with a promise to provide playlists for parents who like to share their iPods with their children.

Read  »

     
 
 

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Monday July 30, 2007
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