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Agenda Newsletter - September 19, 2007

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Agenda Top Pick Reality show hastens the Rapture
Kid Nation
CBS; Premieres tonight; 8 p.m.; In Vulture

If this show is half as entertaining as Vulture's coverage of it, it will prove itself as humankind’s greatest entertainment since the Roman games and/or Superbad. And with a “premise surely conceived by the smartest angels in the most beautiful part of heaven”—unsupervised children survive alone in the desert, (accidentally) burning themselves with grease and drinking bleach—how could it not be? No matter who the winners turn out to be, we’re prepared for the reality-TV equivalent of the end-times.


   
Populist Dissect it at school tomorrow
Gossip Girl
 
We’ve seen the first episode—you can download it free from iTunes—and our painstakingly considered critical judgment is that so far, this translation of “clique lit” to the small screen is…pretty good. But the facts overwhelm any mere opinion: The series is based on the best-selling books by Cecily von Ziegesar and produced by O.C. creator Josh Schwartz, and is thereby quite possibly the most important television event since Kennedy debated Nixon. (Tune in early: America's Next Top Model returns to the CW at eight.)

CW
Premieres tonight
9 p.m.

     
Indieist Photographer goes deeper
Larry Clark: Los Angeles,
2003–2006
 
Don’t call it a fetish, but from the time Larry Clark directed the controversial Kids, he’s been known for his near-obsessive interest in the strange breed of humans we call teens. This intimate series, a result of his ‘05 film Wassup Rockers, chronicles four years in the life of one Jonathan Velasquez, an L.A. youngster into punk and skateboards. The result’s a PG-13 tableau of contemporary urban youth—the type you won’t find in Kid Nation or Gossip Girl.

Luhring Augustine
Closes October 13
More info  »

     
Square Legend rules your world
Eartha Kitt
 
PETA nemesis. Antiwar agitator. Ageless sex kitten. This cabaret legend (and former lover to Orson Welles) exudes a cool badassery that lends her stage act a riveting sense of attack. Compare her sultry rendition of “Santa Baby” to Madonna’s version, or contrast her Catwoman and Julie Newmar’s: Whether she originates or revives, Eartha defines. She’s been nominated for Tonys, Grammys, and an Emmy. She’s never won—maybe because she has no competition.

Café Carlyle
Through October 27
Tues.–Sat., 8:45 p.m.
Fri.–Sat., 10:45 p.m.
$85–$150
Tickets  »

     
Aesthete For once, shove aside Schubert
Opening Night 2007:
American Explorations
 
With all the Chopin and Schubert, chamber-music concerts can feel like the highbrow (and yes, brilliant) equivalent of Clear Channel radio. So we don’t think we’re being overly fickle or patriotic when we say it’s refreshing to see an entire winter season devoted to American voices in classical music—starting with this exciting sampler of innovators new (Alan Louis Smith, with “Vignettes: Ellis Island,” a song cycle cobbled together from immigrant oral histories) and old (Dvorak, Stravinsky).

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Rose Theatre
8 p.m.
$30–$44
Tickets  »

     
Kids Read-in attracts big names for a reason
Read for the Record
 
The Story of Ferdinand, our favorite kids' tale of a conscientious objector, has inspired this nationwide series of simultaneous readings sponsored by the literacy nonprofit Jumpstart. Bring your little sophisticate to what will likely be the biggest gathering, where Mayor Bloomberg, Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, and Wyclef Jean will read not just to you and yours, but also a bank of TV cameras. Witnessing all the hoo-ha will likely teach kids as much as the book.

Rockefeller Center Plaza
September 20
7 a.m.
More info  »

     
 
 

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Wednesday September 19, 2007
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Carry a stack of books in one hand.

The Reader. From Sony