Barnes & Noble, 33 East 17th Street; 7 p.m.; Profile; More info
We’ve been waiting eleven years for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, the long-promised novel from Dominican-born New Yorker Junot Díaz. His debut, the short-story collection Drown, was as popular in Brooklyn Heights as in Washington Heights, and the new novel proves well worth the wait: An epic, semi-magical history of one pitiable overweight nerd and his Dominican-American family, it’s even truer to Díaz’s distinctive immigrant-nerd style than his long-ago breakthrough book. This is one author you’ll want to hear in person.
The makeover show made over
Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style We were totally faithful that Gunn’s makeover-TV venture would land just right—but we watched video clips anyway and can confirm that the show seems pretty great. The genteel Project Runway mentor has teamed up with erstwhile model Veronica Webb for a more sensitive (those pants don’t “flatter your silhouette”), more thorough (computer simulations! Entire episodes devoted to people!) transformation than, say, TLC’s What Not to Wear. And it goes without saying, darling, that it’s more fashion-forward. Bravo
Thursdays, 10 p.m.
Show & Talk blog »
Bon Jovi With
My Chemical Romance
Newark’s new stadium, the Prudential Center, opens with a bang with a ten-show residency from Jersey’s other favorite sons. We’ve got tickets to the kickoff event, with My Chem opening. Enter now!
Father-daughter team make penis-pump opera
Pumped Fiction Father-daughter teams in opera are rare, but ones who base a libretto on the founder of the penis pump are truly one-of-a-kind. Enter, swinging to the left, John and Estela Eaton, who have come up with a truly strange modern-day opera buffa about a not-so-cocky manufacturer of sex toys who’s having love troubles with his porn-star muse. Members of the orchestra wear fake phalluses on their heads; a dream sequence with a three-foot-long dildo will have you doing double takes. Tonight
Pocket Opera Players
Drama defeats cliché
The Wind That Shakes the Barley Ken Loach’s astringent IRA drama, now on DVD, is set in the classic brother-versus-brother mode: the placid former med-school student Damien (Cillian Murphy) balanced off the righteous, pliers-to-fingernail thug Teddy (Pádraic Delaney). But the film veers off the expected path. As David Edelstein points out, post-treaty, “it’s Damien who becomes a committed killer … while flamboyantly valiant Teddy quickly accepts his role as an enforcer of the ruling class—and ends up conducting raids on the very same places he once hid out in.” IFC
Review » Buy it »
Ex–New Yorker returns for retrospective
Zhang Huan: Altered States Chinese performance artist Huan has been bound, gagged, poked, prodded, and covered with (fake) blood all in the name of art. Last year he moved from New York, where he had spent eight years as an gallery staple, to Shanghai and shifted mediums from his body to sculptural tools like iron, wood, and copper. Now Huan is back in town for his first full museum retrospective, bringing with him large-scale sculptural works like an ash-covered Buddha, and cringe-y documentations of his pioneering performance pieces. Asia Society
More info »
Endear yourself to the little groupie
Laurie Berkner Band Now that preschool favorite Berkner is a big-deal recording star and a mama (you may recall our recommending her songbook), she’s only playing the occasional major gig. That makes her upcoming Carnegie Hall show, where she’ll be performing at least one song from the new CD she’s been working on, a double must. What better intro to New York’s haute-culture venue could there be for a child? Carnegie Hall
Tickets on sale tomorrow
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