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Agenda Newsletter - September 20, 2007

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Agenda Top Pick Outspoken Nobel laureate will charm you
Orhan Pamuk

Barnes & Noble, 33 E. 17th St.; 7 p.m.; More info

The lone Turkish novelist with a Nobel Prize—awarded after he was prosecuted for "insulting Turkishness" by mentioning the Armenian genocide—Pamuk could easily hole up and remain aloof. But the visiting Columbia professor is a New Yorker in the best sense, warm and outspoken, and his Other Colors: Essays and a Story reflects that, with true stories about quitting smoking, applying for a passport, and getting mugged in New York—still preferable, apparently, to death threats back home.


   
Populist Humili-TV hits new high
Celebrity Rap Superstar
 
We don’t care whether celebs can sing; we wanna know if they can spit. (Three words: “Super Bowl Shuffle.”) This sensational show pits eight—now down to six—C-listers like Sebastian Bach against each other in live, American Idol–style competition. The results, including Perez Hilton’s now infamous rendition of “Jesus Walks” (DaBrat: “Jesus walked right up outta here as soon as you hit the stage”), make for the best cross-cultural wreck since, well, The White Rapper Show.

MTV
Thursdays
10 a.m.

     
Indieist New CD should remind you to buy tickets
Animal Collective
 
Strawberry Jam, the new disc by New York’s premier art-rock weirdos (they’re actually covered in jelly in photos we saw), might be the indie album of the year. Cutting away swaths of ambient sound and Rainman-esque phrase repetitions, the band gets to the melodic heart of their exuberant sound. But trust us, seeing them live is more important than hearing the CD. They hit national TV with a Conan appearance in October. Get Webster Hall tickets now, or that’s the only place you’ll see them.

Webster Hall
September 30–October 1
8 p.m.
$20
Tickets  »

     
Square Songwriter rediscovers songs
Joe Henry
 
Henry may meticulously construct his layered music the way a producer does, but really he’s a storyteller. Or at least so suggests his forthright new disc, Civilians. The fragmented sound on his last album has given way to a collection of endearingly melancholy and funny tunes ostensibly about things like baseball, war, and God, but actually about the man himself. That intimate feel makes his live performances more promising than ever.

With Mary Gauthier
Blender Theater at Gramercy
7 p.m.
$25
Tickets  »

     
Aesthete Painter skips stone across art’s waters
Julie Heffernan
 
Heffernan’s lavishly complex canvases aren’t exactly what you’d expect from an artist with active vital signs. With these recent self-portraits (long a motif of hers, though the concept’s more Cindy Sherman than Rembrandt), she applies Met-worthy technique to inserting herself into Surrealist fashion plates. Topless, the artist here wears flowing, painstakingly detailed skirts decorated with flowers and dead animals. But don’t call such details Baroque, lest you set a Cooper Union student sniggering—these are paintings for the PETA age.

P.P.O.W.
Through October 20
Slideshow  »
More info  »

     
Kids They’re not just for stepping on
Forbidden LEGO
 
It sometimes seems that the most creative use of a Lego is to leave it on the floor as a booby trap. This guide, by two of Lego’s master builders, shows how ever-handy household objects can be combined with Lego for fun new creations that are safe for people in socks: a paper-plane launcher, candy-coated catapult, a ping-pong cannon, even a high-voltage vehicle. And in the Lego spirit, there are tips on coming up with one’s own designs.

Build the Models Your Parents Warned You Against!
Ulrik Pilegaard and Mike Dooley
No Starch Press
$24.95
Buy it  »

     
 
 

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Thursday September 20, 2007
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