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Grrrrl Power

There is much sound and fury, signifying something in "Girls Rock!," an ambitious though not entirely successful documentary about a rock and roll camp for 8-18 year-old females. On the surface, the film breaks down stereotypes of women in music -and clearly shows how girls can become empowered through performance. When a female band burns up the stage at camp one afternoon, many of the girls in the audience see these performers as role models. Comment

Anxious and on the Outside

"Anybody has better things to do than listen to me," declares Keith Sontag (Dore Mann), the hero of "Frownland." The film takes a big risk in placing at center stage a guy many of us would dash out of a subway car to avoid having to listen to. "Frownland" offers the flipside of American independent cinema's common glorification of all things and people quirky and eccentric. It depicts a truly marginal man, an outsider so quirky that he can barely finish a coherent sentence and so eccentric that he's a step away from homelessness. Comment

Desperately Seeking Carmen

The role of Carmen is in some ways an insuperable obstacle to the performer. Carmen should embody the irresistible allure of the "other," a sexual appeal that subdues the rational mind and destroys the will. Comment

My First Cruisy Cruise

"It'll be fun!" the boyfriend enthused as I finally gave in to his annual plea and okayed the idea of a gay cruise. Like many of you out there, I was a tad traumatized by the florid brochures, featuring insanely leering, muscle-bound party boys hoisting Cosmos, not to mention the ubiquitous inclusion of that sole Asian, as if to say, "Yes, we welcome aboard our 'just as hot, large money-earning' yellow brothers, as well!" Comment

Sisters Gone Wild

I suspect that one reason "Crimes of the Heart," Beth Henley's pungent play about estranged sisters surviving the hard-knock life, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981 was due to its deft blending of comic and tragic. Comment

No 'Ordinary Sunday'

"See how she shimmers. I mean, from the heart." That's how the character Marie describes her mother, Dot, featured in George Seurat's neo-impressionist painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." The sentence also describes the magnificent revival of "Sunday in the Park with George," the Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine musical inspired by the painting. Comment

Therapeutic History

Early in Juliette Mapp's moving emotional memoir "Anna, Ikea, and I," I looked around the audience at St. Mark's Church, wondering if some of what she was saying required insider knowledge. Certain references, like the precise name of the venue -- Danspace Project -- got hardy laughs from those in the know, and cocked heads from others. Comment

Three Faces of Vishneva

You have to hand it to Diana Vishneva, the beautiful ABT and Kirov ballerina. She could do anything her heart desires, and does. Her spirit of adventure and support inspired three choreographers to go all out, at her command. Comment

Fab Dncr ISO Gd Choreog

An intriguing publicity photo resembling a prehistoric predator piqued my interest in seeing Jolene Bailie, a performer I'd never heard of. A Winnipeg-based solo performer, she's a fabulous physical creature - long, lean, and limber, with a spine that twists and bends as supplely as rope. In her evening at Joyce SoHo, February 21-23, Bailie presented three dances choreographed by her and fellow Canadians Marie-José Chartier and Joe Laughlin, and a short film directed by Jeff McKay. Comment

There Will Be Development

Bipartisanship may be an ideal in some corners of American politics, but it's surely an understatement to point that it's not a concept honored by most documentarians. As some critics have speculated, Tony Kaye's abortion doc "Lake of Fire" likely bombed because of its refusal to choose sides in the debate. Comment

Revisiting the Silent Era

Music and film have been inextricably linked since the first pianist played along with a silent movie in 1895. In those days, music was an essential part of the experience but as talkies gave way to the summer blockbuster, the role of music became more incidental. At the Kitchen February 13, however, filmmaker - and ersatz guitarist - Brent Green presented works closer in spirit and execution to the Age of the Silver Screen. Comment

Windy City Blues

Chicago has often been the place where American justice goes to die. From the Haymarket affair of the 1880s, to the smashing of the Wobblies in 1918, and Red Squad rampages of the '30s, to the projectiles hurled at Dr. King, routing him as even the South could not, Chicago has time and again proven its mettle. Comment

The Body Politic is a Woman

Renee Archibald, Heather McArdle, and Luciana Achugar, all in the early stages of their choreographic careers, were chosen to create dances in a three-month residency at Barnard - the college at Columbia University for women and dance. Mary Cochran, the dance department chair, Marissa Beaty of WAX, the Williamsburg Art Nexus, and invited mentor Donna Uchizono were the overseers, but they didn't interfere. They even allowed for the possibility that the choreographers' works wouldn't be performed in the second Sugar Salon at the Henry Street Settlement's Abrons Art Center February 15 and 16, planned as the culmination of the residencies. Comment

The Long Movement

A certain irony attends the fact that the study of civil rights in America, at least in the academy, is burgeoning even as our government and society at large appear to retreat ever further from the goals expressed by the civil rights movement, goals enshrined in public consensus yet far too often betrayed in practice. Comment

Nomadic Beats Crazy

Ruth leads a nomadic life. At the beginning of "Hunting and Gathering," she runs through the list (and slide show) of apartments she's lived in as a subtenant, house-sitter, or long-term guest as she tries to make it in the city. As it turns out, she's part of a distinctly New York subculture that manages to hold onto youthful illusions by never having a fixed place of residence, something she shares with her friend Astor. Comment

Sound and Fury at BAM

After the February 17 performance of "Macbeth" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theater, I had the misfortune to attend a post-show platform with the leading man, Patrick Stewart, in conversation with Shakespearean scholar James Shapiro. I say "misfortune" because Stewart has such a winning personality that I am loathe to talk about not being conquered by the production. Comment


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