Tonight Carter helps usher in late summer. Her second novel, Swim to Me, is a delightful escape, but its message is anything but escapist. It’s the Nixon seventies, and 16-year-old Delores Walker, a first-class swimmer at the Y, sets off from the Bronx to achieve her dream of becoming a performing mermaid at Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs. Her quest is a sweet, laudable fantasy of good-hearted upward mobility—and a handy bit of inspiration as vacations end.
Find out where R. Kelly’s coming from
Trapped in the Closet, Chapters 13–22 As much as we love R. Kelly—and we really, genuinely love R. Kelly—we’d like to make a meta-recommendation here. Read what performance artists and Kelly home-scholars Neal Medlyn and Kenny Mellman (from Kiki & Herb) have been saying about the new chapters previewed in the last few days, then buy the DVD; contextualized by the duo, Rudolph the grumpy old man, Pimp Luscious, Reverend Mosley James Evans, and the rest suddenly seem … way less random. Jive
Buy it » 2007’s Final P.S. 1 Warm Up
With Oneida, Ex-Models
Make summer’s end count with P.S. 1’s last outdoor dance party of the season, a Brooklyn/Pittsburgh underground rock show featuring a half-dozen bands and D.J.’s. Win tickets now!
Barnes & Noble, 2289 Broadway; 7 p.m.;
Your little brother’s faves play
The Format Somehow the stars have aligned to bring us the year’s ultimate guilty-pleasure indie-pop bill: Sunny, hooky Arizonians the Format headline with support from the yuksters in Piebald, broken-hearts in Steel Train (the front man, Scarlett Johansson’s high-school boyfriend, still isn’t over her), and Americana act Limbeck. These bands might vie for your little brother’s attention, but you’ve taken note of his girlfriends, too, no? Webster Hall
Bring a Stasi spy home
The Lives of Others Take David Edelstein out of context and this DVD might not seem a relaxing weeknight watch: “The Lives of Others is a cunning piece of construction—a Kafkaesque tearjerker, a tragic farce.” But there’s another angle on this story of an East German member of the secret police spying on his countrymen: “We fear for the freedom of the vulnerable couple, yet on some level it’s a kick to spy on them along with [the agent].” Break out the microwave popcorn! Sony Pictures Classics
In the theater »
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Long-ago Paris proves satisfyingly gruesome
Novels in Three Lines Today’s lurid tabloid journalism has nothing on these newly collected short news items, originally published anonymously in the French daily Le Matin in 1906. The man behind them was one Félix Fénéon, part-time anarchist, and they reveal a delight in the fateful cruelties of life: Random shootings, premeditated suicides, and awful robberies were his main fixations. It’s no insult to our own taste for the sensational when we admit to finding Paris the city more fascinating than Paris the woman. Félix Fénéon, translated by Luc Sante
New York Review Books
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Local mother supplements Agenda
Mommy Poppins Like parents, we here at Agenda do the best we can for you, our charges, while knowing deep down that we can’t necessarily meet your every last need. Enter Mommy Poppins, a.k.a. Anna Fader, a native New Yorker and mother of two whose blog clues readers in to great experiences all over the five boroughs and tells what’s new on the home front. Our favorite recent post rooted out a local service that lets you test-drive pet ownership. Read »
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