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Agenda Newsletter - August 20, 2007

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Agenda Top Pick Much-produced classic truly revived
The Seagull

Royal Shakespeare Company; BAM; Tickets

No, you won’t see Ian McKellen’s three cameos in this run of The Seagull, because they’re sold out (ditto his turn as Lear). But allow us to patiently inform you that Trevor Nunn’s production—part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s grand tour following an esteemed showing at the West End and Stratford-on-Avon—brings a rare rigor and clarity to the much-revived classic. And unlike Tom Stoppard's upcoming Rock 'n' Roll, which Nunn will also direct, this one won’t be around for very long.


   
Populist Make a creepy picnic of it
Psycho
 
Seeing Norman Bates go on a murderous rampage in the park at night might be scary, but at least this screening’s not in your bathroom. We needn’t argue for why you should see the movie; just get there early, bring friends and snacks, and—if you’re looking to really do it right, which we certainly hope you are—stick to the theme and bring along a pitcher of (let’s call them) Bloody Marions.

HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival
Dusk
More info  »

     
Indieist Superhero comic smashes the mold
Black Summer
 
Superheroes spend their days defeating supervillains and causing a fortune in property damage without ever expending energy on war, poverty, or famine. This near-anarchist British comic imagines what one might do were he to face real-world issues. Turns out he’d kill the fictional president of the United States (his blood and guts, splattered across the Oval Office, are beautifully illustrated in issue #0). Beyond politics, when has a superhero ever had you contemplating true evil?

Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp
Avatar
$2.99
More info  »

     
Square Discover another bad idea of Lenin’s
Lenin’s Private War
 
Perhaps you’ve fantasized of rounding up religious conservatives and shipping them somewhere far off. In 1922, Lenin did something like this, and the result, of course, was appalling. Lesley Chamberlain has written a highly compelling account of the “philosophy steamers,” two ships Lenin packed with anti-Bolshevik thinkers—eminent religious philosophers Semyon Frank and Nickolas Berdyaev among them—and their passages to Paris, Prague, and Berlin. (Might not be best on that late-summer cruise.)

Lesley Chamberlain
St. Martin’s Press
$27.95
Buy it  »

     
Aesthete Author made a fan of Kafka
The Assistant
 
Next time you hear someone call something “Kafkaesque” (three, two, one …), refer him to Robert Walser’s strange, mock-serious fiction, once admired by Franz K. himself. This newly translated 1908 novel chronicles the vicissitudes of a young man named Joseph, apprentice to an inventor named Tobler. As Tobler’s finances gradually dry up, his splendid house becomes a kind of nightmarish castle to which Joseph feels inextricably bound, to both his perverse delight and utter despair. A perfect read for your commute!

Robert Walser, translated by Susan Bernofsky
New Directions
$16.95
Buy it  »

     
Kids Teens show Disney what’s up
Angst: The New High School Musical
 
Current mood: Impressed. We just caught a Fringe performance of this witty MySpace-laced musical, and we’re betting that jaded NYC teens will agree with the kids who sat near us—it is so way better than Disney’s High School Musical, 1 or 2. Created by and featuring an ensemble of teenagers from Minnesota, Angst pokes fun at itself, Broadway, and adolescent stereotypes right from the first musical number, when the stoner asks blearily, “Why’s everyone singing?”

The Village Theatre
9:15 p.m.
$15, under 12 $10
Tickets  »

     
 
 

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Monday August 20, 2007
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