Agenda Newsletter - October 1, 2007

Ground your opinions on NYC
Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York

Untitled Document

Municipal Arts Society; Through January 5, 2008; Davidson on Jacobs; More info
If aliens landed in New York, they’d hear the the term “gentrification” so much they might think it was our word for “love” or “Where’s the bathroom?” As we’ve obsessed over changes in our city, Justin Davidson recently argued, the legacy of urban thinker Jane Jacobs has been distorted. This revealing show, which “nudges viewers into looking around their neighborhoods with Jacobsean alertness to detail” clears things up—and allows you to speak a little more knowledgeably on you-know-what.

Show up the average Trekkie
Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Complete Series   This sleek 49-DVD set, containing every episode of the Star Trek series that featured Patrick Stewart regularly calling out the phrase “number one,” may be a fan trophy extraordinaire—at it’s price, an IPO-blessed-fan trophy extraordinaire—but it’s also the kind of completist time capsule we’d like to jettison into space in hopes that some warmongering alien race will discover it and be awed by our politically correct, high-tech powers of empathy. And you know what else? We liked all the technobabble. Paramount Home Video
On sale October 2
Buy it  »      

Original gossip experiments with film
The Films of Kenneth Anger, Volume II   Kenneth Anger is of course best known for his illicit Hollywood Babylon books—coffeetable collections of backlot scandal that were the TMZ of their day. But we adore Anger for his borderline-nuts experimental films, which combined sex fantasies, occult myths, and b-movie plots with Dracula capes, Pharaoh costumes, and leather biker jackets. This new set collects five of his later works from 1964’s Scorpio Rising to 1981’s Lucifer Rising—and mash-notes from fans like Gus Van Sant and Martin Scorsese. Fantoma
On sale October 2
Buy it  »      

Documentary runs almost as long as WWII
The War   Ken Burns’s long, long, long—long—WWII documentary might be an accomplishment on par with the triumph of the Allies, but it’s also a TiVo choker. So watch this six-disc set at will and record the new fall shows, too. As John Leonard noted, Burns opts for “nuanced, retrospective witness” from vets and other survivors. The series isn’t shocking, but it’s deeply moving, “largely bereft of celebrity actors reading the mail of the blameless dead”—and best of all, “altogether innocent of rinky-dink piano-roll music.” PBS
On sale October 2
Buy it  »      

Truffaut defines the French New Wave
The 400 Blows
  François Truffaut’s unforgettable film is the essential document of the French New Wave. Released in 1959 but perpetually young, it chronicles the travails of Antoine Doinel, a character Truffaut used in numerous subsequent films. He’s a troublemaker at school (he plagiarizes Balzac!) and a nuisance at home (he finds his mother with another man!), and his inchoate grappling with responsibility is heartbreaking. Truffaut’s camera—a frenzied but nostalgic eye—moves like none had before, but many would move after. Film Forum
Through October 9
Showtimes  »      

Let them think they’re sneaking in
Open House New York
  This annual peek inside NYC’s non-public buildings is a hot ticket: Make reservations, then pick a couple of sites and get there early or risk spending all day in line. Kids will appreciate the Floyd Bennett Field control tower and the underground access tunnel that led to the runways, the John Harvey Fireboat (yes, the same boat Maira Kalman has made a book about), and Tom Otterness’s studio (Otterness will be there). Various locations
October 7 and 8
Hours vary
Tickets  »        

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October 1, 2007

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Agenda Newsletter - October 1, 2007