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Christie's to Sell Pigeons, Shit

After a weekend full of avant-garde art — Scope, the Armory Show, and so on — Christie's is stepping up to the plate with a contemporary-art auction of its own. Together with Swiss art dealer and contemporary-art fiend Pierre Huber, the stately Rockefeller Center auction house will tonight offer Huber's eccentric collection of photographs (e.g., Thomas Ruff's hazy, glammed-up Internet porn), paintings (Christopher Wool's enormous abstract canvases), sculpture (Piero Manzoni's famous canned shit, which is, well, exactly that), and large-scale installations (i.e. Mike Kelley's wackily eerie Test Room). Each one is sporting a hefty price tag — even the shit is estimated at $50,000 to $70,000 — for a total sale estimate of $11 to $15 million. That's low for postwar and contemporary sales, but pretty significant considering there's nary a Pollock in sight. —Rachel Wolff

Britney, Artist?

We've already established that today is contemporary- art day in New York. But is it possible that seemingly bottoming-out Britney Spears is actually mounting a shockingly highbrow and witty performance piece? Consider: At left is Ms. Spears on the cover of today's Daily News; at right is half of Pipilotti Rist's Ever Is Over All, a 1997 video installation in MoMA's collection. Coincidence? —Karen Rosenberg Brit Freaks Again as Train Wreck Rolls On [NYDN] Pipilotti Rist. Ever Is Over All. 1997. [MoMA.org] Earlier: Daily Intel's coverage of the Armory Show

You Might Want to Skip Lunch

Wherein we arrange Times headlines in verse to bring you secret messages from the paper of record. All the Body's a Stage Brother Who Left Wine for Cheese, DiesAgency Confirms That Peanut Butter Was Tainted. Boston Police to Destroy Pepper-Spray Guns: Bile and Vitriol by the Ton, and Yet Still Never Enough. As Piazza Sips Elixir of Youth, Williams Nips a Bitter TonicOnly the Swans Know Why a Love Has Died.... Aid Sought for Fishermen: Half-Ton Squid Reeled In, A Tomato Soup Can, and a Pocketful of Coins. Let Them Eat Foie Gras (Gift Bags Are So Last Year).

Seven Things We Noticed at the Armory Show

The ninth annual Armory Show opens at the West Side piers today, bringing 148 of the world's leading contemporary art galleries to Twelfth Avenue and 55th Street. (This is not to be confused with the Art Show, which is smaller and stodgier and opened yesterday at the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue.) Yesterday was the press preview for the show, and New York art critic Karen Rosenberg was there. Her observations, in no particular order: 1. Stephen Shore's black-and-white photographs of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick, at 303 Gallery, have all the charisma that's missing from Factory Girl — and they were captured by an original Factory Boy. 2. There's the obligatory but effective protest piece: Thomas Hirschorn's sculpture at Arndt & Partner, combining grotesque bulges of newspaper and packing tape with unedited photographs of deformed people. 3. The BritArt Neon Wars rage on: Martin Creed's succinct "SHIT" faces off against Tracy Emin's confessional cursive "People like you need to fuck people like me."

Ira Glass TV: A Sexy Liberal Bod to Match Sexy Liberal Voice?

Last spring New York brought you news that Ira Glass's This American Life would be coming to Showtime. And now, almost a year later, it's nearly here. It'll debut March 22 on Showtime, but, meantime, a video teaser has been posted to the TAL site. We took a look, and though we're a touch skeptical of Glass's claim that his show will "look different from anything else on television," we know this: Finally those gruppy Brooklyn gals will have a visual aid to help round out their audio fantasies. This American Life: The Television Show [ThisAmericanLife.org] A Chicago Radio Hit Moves to New York, and TV [NYM]

The Post-Valentine's Day Verdict

In which our faithful correspondent arranges Times headlines in verse to bring you secret messages from the paper of record. On a Clear Day ... Looking to the Future, Living With the Past, There's Good News and Bad News The Past Masks the Present, New Grievance Deepens Old Quarrels A Collision of Role Players on the Busy Avenue of Life, Transcending Pain, a Friendship Fed on ImaginationAdventures in Geometry and Color, as Well as Dancing, Blasts of Color, Evoking Memories Freedom from Fear? Think Small. Forget What You Know: Listen Anew — All Eyes Are on You.

Fab, Kirsten, and the Arcade Fire

Our review of the Arcade Fire's first sold-out show at Judson Memorial Church last night is brief: The sound was muddy, the crowd's energy was better than usual, the new songs were more introspective than the old ones and therefore less fun, and the experience of seeing a concert in a church wasn't all that special, though the stained-glass windows were cool. But that's all beside the point. The big story we have from the evening came while we were waiting on line for a beer. We noticed a guy — tight black jeans, a scruffy chin, looking slightly familiar — and, yeah, we were checking him out. We eavesdropped as he told the sound guy about how he'd been to McDonald's recently and was disappointed by soggy burgers. "It's never as good as you remember." Our thoughts exactly! We stared longingly. And then we realized who he was: Fabrizio Moretti. And we noticed a cute blonde in a hoodie next to him: Kirsten Dunst. Now, we're not saying that we saw them engage in any couple-y behavior. They were clearly there together. Maybe they're just friends. But we couldn't think of a situation in which their social circles might overlap, unless it involves that Strokes song that was on the Marie Antoinette trailer. All we're saying is that we saw them together and we thought it was odd, and that we cursed Kirsten Dunst for ruining our game. —Jada Yuan

Slate Knows No One Loves You, Provides Highbrow Dirty Talk

Don't despair, lovelorn: Slate is today offering an anthology of sex poetry, presumably as a salve to those of us who won't be getting any. We'll leave it to you to read the actual verse, but we'd like to highlight three curious facts. First, that Robert Pinsky, the Webmag's poetry editor and a former U.S. poet laureate, seems even more obsessed with who is gay than Rosie O'Donnell is; second, that Emily Dickinson's "If You Were Coming in the Fall" is not a double entendre; and, third, that Robert Frost's "Putting in the Seed" is. Class dismissed. Great Poems About Sex [Slate]

‘Putnam County’ Goes G-A-Y

It is a question handed down since the time of the pharaohs, or at least since the time of Joseph: How is gay night at a Broadway musical different from all other nights? The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee — already a not-ungay show, featuring both a character with two dads and music and lyrics by William Finn, who wrote and composed the pioneering gay musical Falsettos — attempted to find out yesterday, with a special "gay night" performance.

Indie Music Awards a Little Too Indie?

Thank heaven for David Cross. The 2007 PLUG Independent Music Awards at Irving Plaza Saturday night were an appropriately “indie” mess. Would-be attendees stood for hours in the cold before being informed that the “day-of” tickets allegedly available at the sold-out show were a myth, the sound system was plagued with technical problems all night long, and, during the long wait for sets by scene favorites Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, El-P, and Silversun Pickups, attendees sat through a succession of odd, intermittently successful acts, very few of which went off without a significant delay. A much-hyped “iPod Battle” found the participants standing awkwardly onstage for ten minutes before they were able to kick off the “battle,” which culminated with a pair of oddballs in gladiator masks sprinkling glitter on each other to the tune of “Oh Yeah” by Yello. Jason Trachtenburg (of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players) led a hoarse, out-of-tune sing-along of “World’s Best Friend” (his wife and daughter were absent) that had most audience members heading for the bar for depressingly tiny $8 drinks. A barbershop quartet sang a cappella between bits. And so it fell to poor emcee David Cross to make light of things.

Have Fun, Kiddies! (Just Use Protection)

Wherein our faithful correspondent arranges Times headlines to bring you secret truths from the paper of record. The Romance of a Dozen Roses, the Gritty Reality of a Truckload In Defense of the Desperate (And the Notorious), Who's Afraid of an Artist Who Loved Flowers? Relics of the 19th Century, in a Sentimental Mood He's Bringing Commitment Back (and Not in a Box). How He Arrived at That Acquired Taste? A Turnaround Born of Pain, Now Yielding Opportunity: Sex, Repressed and UnleashedThe Big Bang and the Bucks Set to Collide in Inner Space. A Matter of Fair Play... A Cigar Isn't Just a Cigar? Ay-Ay-Ay.

Naked Comedy: Less Arousing Than It Sounds

"Clothing required on your left, clothing optional on your right," greeted the usher for the Naked Comedy Showcase at the PIT over the weekend. One middle-aged woman shimmied out of her skirt (and everything else) to the tune of "Hey Ya!" with about as much fanfare as someone getting ready for a shower, which provoked not whistles but rather indifference. Host Andy Ofiesh, a pudgy redhead who notes that "my penis is fun size; you can fit the whole thing your mouth," introduced Tommy D., who's proud of his copious body hair and man boobs, and had his cell phone tucked into his white socks and sneakers. He read poetry while a tiny bead of a mysterious white substance dripped off his balls onto the ground — the first clue that although this was indeed naked, it wouldn't necessarily inspire hooking up after the show.

Todd Oldham Is Not Our Bravo Idol

Top Chef viewers who dealt with their postpartum depression last night by mooning around Bravo hoping for another toque or two before things were truly cashed found themselves suddenly facing an entirely different kind of high. Coming up next was the premiere of Bravo's new Top Design, in which Todd Oldham wannabes remake rooms for a chance at some start-up cash and a place in a top interior-design firm. The new show, it seems, will stick to the standard reality formula: early ejection of boring contestants, the establishment of a villain (oodles of possible Marcels, don't worry), and a new mentor and host in Oldham himself. But that, sadly, is the show's big problem: Oldham's wooden delivery was in desperate need of some hot Tim Gunn glue. (How Top Chef's Padma was allowed to sound half-asleep all the time, we'll never know.) Which gives us, suddenly, the perfect idea for the next reality show: So You Want to Be a Reality-Show Host. And sorry, Todd, you've got some talent, but we just don't think you've got the stage presence to be an idol. Top Design [BravoTV.com] Earlier: For Todd Oldham, Brunch Is a Prison

Jonathan Ames to Bring Moby, Nudity to Pitkin's for a Rematch

Word comes from performance author Jonathan Ames that his show at Mo Pitkin's tonight will include "nude wrestling, pillow-fights, paddling, chaos, excellent performances, and a likely guest appearance by Moby." Nekkidness, chaos, and Moby the Jesus-fearing vegan, all in one place? Not as strange as you'd think: We heard from a witness that the shaved one once had so much fun at a Stamford, Connecticut, strip club that he convinced the staff to keep the place open for him several hours past closing. When the owners wanted to charge him a couple thousand dollars more for this indulgence than he thought was fair, he not only refused to pay a cent of it but also threatened to call the cops and report a fight outside of the club. "The sad part about this," Moby allegedly told a bouncer, "is that when we wake up tomorrow, I'll still be me and you'll still be you." Even worse: He'll still be the guy who said that. —Daniel Maurer The Jonathan Ames Show [MoPitkins.com]

Sundance Report: Mark David Chapman Pic Doesn't Endear Filmmaker to Beatle-Loving Throngs

When filmmaker Jarrett Schaefer took the stage at Park City's Prospector Theater this morning for a question-and-answer session after a screening of his debut film, Chapter 27, a glimpse into the deranged mind of Mark David Chapman — played by a plumped-up Jared Leto — during his days in New York prior to the murder of John Lennon, there was an obvious thing to ask. Where were you when John Lennon was shot? "I was 1," he said. "My dad said I was watching football." The audience laughed. It was the first laughter heard in the last 90 minutes.