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Agenda Newsletter - October 5-8, 2007

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Agenda Top Pick Clooney makes conspiracy movie of the year
Michael Clayton

Warner Bros. Pictures; Review; Showtimes

Oh, the David Edelstein quotes we could plaster on this movie’s poster: George Clooney, playing a lawyer tasked with covering up scandals, “is as good as he has ever been”! Tilda Swinton, chief counsel of a corporation charged with knowingly selling a cancer-causing weed killer, is “a fascinating face of evil”! And the climax—well, the climax is “smashingly cathartic”! We threw in the exclamation points because from the sound of everything else Edelstein says, this is the conspiracy movie of the year … exclamation point.


   
Populist You can still get in—to everything
'The New Yorker' Festival
 
Yes, everything sold out—but this year, they held 10 percent of tickets for door sales. Start with the expert Iraq panel at 7:30 tonight (or Junot Díaz and Annie Proulx) and then cab it to George Saunders and Jonathan Safran Foer. Catch Ian McEwan Saturday morning, and stick around for Seymour Hersh and alarming Iran scenarios at one. For evening music, see Fiona Apple in Brooklyn (Yo La Tengo play after). Take Sunday easy with Calvin Trillin’s brunchtime food tour. Dessert: the unfunny David Denby's discussion with the funny Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen.

Various locations
Tickets at the Metropolitan Pavilion
October 5–7
More info  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistTicket alert: Dreaming of a Clay Aiken Christmas.
PopulistTrespass—legally!—at the N.Y. Open House.

   

Celebrity Autobiography
at the Zipper Factory

The brutal celeb-on-celeb-satire comedy-sensation returns. Want tickets? Enter now!

   
Indieist Paltrow, Cruz go head to head
The Good Night
 
David Edelstein quite likes this directorial debut from Jake Paltrow, Gwyneth’s brother. Unsurprisingly: As the ex of a man now with an unremarkable (read brunette) woman—Gwyneth playing against type—Penélope Cruz swoops in as only she can and upstages her inheritor. Paltrow told us she was physicalizing her “New York Jewish half.” Replies David: “Oh, Gwyneth, I could tell you stories about New York Jewish girls that would send your willowy blonde Wasp half to Bellevue.”

Yari Film Group
Paltrows interview Review  » Showtimes  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistBrian Coleman drops hip-hop knowledge.
PopulistArthur Baker leads the Dance Music Invasion.

     
Square Opera singer blows the roof off
Lucia di Lammermoor
 
This production has its good points and its bad points. They’re both represented by Natalie Dessay, who plays Lucia. Justin Davidson found her acting overly giddy, but her singing—well, come to the show and wait for this: “In the crucial mad scene, the orchestra practically abandons her, making the voice sound fragile and alone in that big, thick silence. Dessay, undaunted, turned in a vocal performance of lucidly plotted insanity: silvery, graceful, and extravagant.”

Metropolitan Opera
Through March 13
$15–$275
Tickets  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistLute solo! Boston Early Music Fest hits town.
PopulistJanet Malcolm connects Gertrude Stein with brunch.

     
Aesthete Artist displays new juju
Jon Kessler: Works on Paper
 
For those of you who saw his monster mash of jerry-rigged surveillance sculptures at P.S. 1 last year, these dozen or so works on paper show a more pliable side of Kessler. That doesn’t mean he’s not going full guns—these collages emit a primitive totemic power. Many have hair attached, or gashes cut in them. Fashionistas, models, movie stars, and politicians look like an army of the damned—think voodoo dolls and shrunken heads. A terrible-wonderful juju oozes from these pictures.

The Drawing Room
Through October 25
Slideshow  »
More info  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistHarlem shows off its homegrown art talent.
PopulistXambuca: all performance art, no hangover.

     
Kids Great show will draw adults, too
The Wolves in the Walls
 
We’re not in the custom of quoting other critics, but, well, The Guardian called this adaptation of Neil Gaiman and David McKean’s novel “Bambi with fangs.” The Improbable Theater’s Julian Crouch is on the creative team, so this tale of a girl whose family can't hear what she hears (wolves!) is told with weird puppets, dark video projections, and musical pandemonium. Secure tickets for your young ones before the theater crowd takes notice.

National Theatre of Scotland
New Victory Theater
Through October 21
Tickets  »

 

More weekend picks
PopulistMilkshake Band brings all the tykes to the yard.
PopulistGet 'em in late, and free, at the Children’s Museum.

     
 
 

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Friday October 5-8, 2007
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