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Agenda Newsletter - August 10-12, 2007

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Agenda Top Pick Visit an American defector to North Korea
Crossing the Line

Cinema Village; $10; Tickets

Ever wondered what life’s like in North Korea? We haven’t either—we think nice thoughts!—but this documentary, an extended portrait of James Joseph Dresnok, the last American defector in North Korea, mesmerized us all the same. We visit the former U.S. soldier in the secretive country he’s called home for more than four decades, and the impoverished land suddenly becomes three-dimensional. We never quite get a handle on Dresnok’s psyche—but his opaqueness makes him that much more fascinating.


   
Populist TV duo play genuinely terrific songs
Distant Future
 
It is to our great shame that we failed to tell you about Flight of the Conchords when the program—every bit an HBO coup, like their soaps—first came on. The last couple of episodes of the show, which follows two deadpan, lovelorn New Zealand bandmates and airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m., haven’t been quite so hot, but this EP perfectly encapsulates the duo’s appeal, compiling genuinely hilarious genre parodies that also happen to be great, great songs. Tenacious D: You suck.

Flight of the Conchords
Sub Pop
$4.98
Watch "If You're Into It"  »
Buy it  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistTouch, er, hear Justin Timberlake.
PopulistTicket alert: So You Think You Can Dance live.

     
Indieist Julie Delpy directs her nutty self
2 Days in Paris
 
Not to be confused with 1 Night in Paris (for non-film buffs, the Paris Hilton flick that isn’t House of Wax), Julie Delpy’s directorial debut doesn’t upend the male-centric romantic-drama arc that’s grown so familiar. But David Edelstein was taken with her performance in a couple of key scenes: “One in which she drunkenly insists she has food poisoning, another in which she tries to rip the head off a smarmy ex-boyfriend.” Enjoy it, he recommends, “in the moment.”

Delpy interview  » Tickets  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistTed Leo dives into the McCarren pool.
PopulistBoozy dance party–slash–open studios at 3rd Ward.

     
Square Tease (but don’t taunt) your brain
Mental Floss Trivia
 
We wouldn’t be caught dead (or at least, sober) playing trivia games in a bar, but at work, we’re as into testing our knowledge of ephemera as we are stealing office supplies. Our editor can blame Mental Floss’s trivia page. Now active for about a year, it’s well stocked with addictive brainteasers, under rubrics like “The Most Important Question of the Day” (greatest female pirate of all time? Grace O’Malley), and “The Quiz,” wacky facts cleverly strung together.

Mental
floss.com
 »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistClosing: A “laugh-out-loud funny” MLK play.
PopulistMoby-Dick fest beached at South Street Seaport.

     
Aesthete Filmmaker takes down the bourgeoisie!
The Films of Dziga Vertov
 
Some 40-odd years before the confrontational movies of cinema verité and the French New Wave, Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov tried to take down "bourgeois fairy-tale scenarios" with—what else?—montage editing experiments and footage shot by hidden cameras. A staunch Marxist who believed in film's ability to tell absolute truths, Vertov split the difference between propaganda and the avant-garde. Knocked Up, in other words, they ain’t, but these early feature-length documentaries address our bougie American lives all the same.

Essential Cinema
Anthology Film Archive
August 12
5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tickets  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistWatch Williamsburg video art.
PopulistLast chance: The everyday made artsy.

     
Kids Kids watch adults act like kids
Paping Soapbox Derby
 
The rest of the country can keep its Nascar-sponsored “All American Soapbox Derby”: We’ve got this homegrown version, created by a Bronx elementary-school art teacher and his artist friends. There’s one golden rule: The vehicles must be made from junk. The event ends when most of the cars have crashed into one another (there’s a prize for best crash), or when the cops shut it down. Kids are better off watching from the sidelines, where they’ll get their fair share of adrenaline.

Fort Tryon Park
August 11
3 p.m.
More info  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistMini Karen Os put on a show.
PopulistThe Wizard of Oz, minus Pink Floyd.

     
 
 

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Friday August 10-12, 2007
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