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Agenda Newsletter - August 13, 2007

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Agenda Top Pick Saxophonist leads telepathic quartet
Bill McHenry Quartet

Roses; September 11; $16.98; Preorder; Village Vanguard; August 21 to 26; $35; Tickets; Jazz feature

“I was just weirding out in people’s basements.” That's Bill McHenry describing his first days, in the early nineties, on New York City's jazz scene. He later hooked up with guitarist Ben Monder, bassist Reid Anderson (of the Bad Plus), and drummer Paul Motian. Says Martin Johnson, writing in the magazine: “Their years of playing together have given them that kind of telepathy that turns solos into duos and trios, and then takes entirely unexpected turns.” So now he's weirding out—in a good way! (The Bill McHenry Quartet plays Village Vanguard starting Aug. 21; Roses is out September 11).


   
Populist Dissecting Frank Lloyd Wright's affair
Loving Frank
 
When it builds up steam, Nancy Horan’s account of the affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney, the freethinking wife of one of his Oak Park, Illinois, clients, is a glory to behold. The story's from Cheney’s point of view, but it’s not a revisionist feminist novel or a bodice ripper. Without the book's core—Wright’s arrogance, Cheney’s conflict over leaving her family—all of the beautiful descriptions would merely amount to what Wright hated most: window dressing.

Nancy Horan
Ballantine
$23.95
Full review  »
Buy it
 »

     
Indieist Play spot the pop with percussion maniacs
Aa
 
Three clamorous drummers, scattered sound effects straight off Gitmo torture tapes, a live-wire front man who yields his maracas and his megaphone with equal temerity: These Bushwick residents (say “Big A Little A”) have earned their rep. But we love them for the skewed pop that gurgles out of the music. Check out “Good Ship,” where bits and pieces of noise somehow become sunny—or better yet, head to this East Williamsburg Ecuadorian restaurant to watch them tear it up.

Don Pedro’s
Tonight
8 p.m.
$6
More info  »

     
Square Brutal film aesthetic summarized
The First Films of Samuel Fuller
 
For a look at the birth of a brutal film aesthetic, check out this important new collection, which includes the films Fuller shot after witnessing the worst of WWII as an infantry soldier. This set includes his directorial debut, I Shot Jesse James (watch it to prepare for the new Brad Pitt flick); The Baron of Arizona (with Vincent Price as a real-estate crook Donald Trump would love); and The Steel Helmet, Fuller’s tough first classic.

Criterion
On sale August 14
$44.95
Buy it  »

     
Aesthete Dance titan cements his legacy
Smuin Ballet
 
These performances aren't just globetrotting extravaganzas; they're a kind of memorial service for the man, Michael Smuin, who transformed the San Francisco Ballet and ruled over that city’s dance scene for decades. The showman stayed true to form planning what turned out to be his last season. The program begins with Brazilian dance, then travels to Ireland and Japan before finishing with the premiere of Smuin’s ballet set to the scherzo from Schubert’s magnificent Symphony No. 9.

Joyce Theater Today through August 18
$44
Tickets  »

     
Kids Give in to a great show
Sesame Street
 
We went from pledging that our kid would never watch the devil television to eagerly awaiting the day's dose of Sesame Street. The show's still clever, charming, and as funny to adults as it is to children. Today it kicks off its 38th season, which will feature appearances by Tina Fey, Anderson Cooper, and Chris Brown. Plus No. 7 all-time pop-culture buddies Bert and Ernie!

PBS
Weekdays
7 a.m.

     
 
 

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Monday August 13, 2007
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