arts 05.12.05

MUGWeekend

Movie
Mad Hot Ballroom follows NYC school kids as they learn ballroom dancing. This year's "Spellbound" and a mad hot hit.

Reading
Flight, a debut novel by Ginger Strand (Simon & Schuster, $24), tells the story of a Michigan family in the days leading up to a wedding, a year after 9/11. Ms. Strand knows how to tell a story (actually, several of them) and how to turn a phrase. She's reading tonight, 6:30pm, at Coliseum Books, 11 W. 42nd [5th/6th] 212.803.5890.

Music
An absolutely original, amazingly good album called "Let It Die" from Leslie Feist who goes by her last name only. She has sung with Broken Social Scene and Kings of Convenience, among others. But this is a gorgeous, idiosyncratic, cross-genre work that, while it may evoke Dusty Springfield and Cat Power, finally sounds like nothing but Leslie Feist. She'll be in town at the Bowery Ballroom this weekend, opening for the sold out British Sea Power concert. Mushaboom? That's a song? Wait until you hear it.

Local bands and barbecue at Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer [Frost/Richardson] Williamsburg 718.302.3770, benefits East Village Radio. BBQ starts at 5pm this Saturday, music from 6pm, $8.

Kids
We particularly love the parrot-beaked dinosaur. But your kids will have their own favorites at the Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries exhibit opening Saturday at the Museum of Natural History.
5 List: Jury Duty Restaurants
Great NY Noodle Town. 28 Bowery [Bayard] 212.349.0923
Joe's Shanghai, 113 Mott [Canal/Hester] 212.966.6613 and 9 Pell [Bowery/Mott] 212.233.8888
New Green Bo, 66 Bayard [Eliz/Mott] 212.625.2359
Nha Trang, 87 Baxter [Bayard/Canal] 212.233.5948 and 148 Centre [Walker/White] 212.941.9292
Pongsri Thai, 106 Bayard [Baxter] 212.349.3132


Kicking Him When He's Down
Finally, finally, John Simon has been given the heave-ho from New York mag. We've waited 20 years for this. In all this time, he's been forgotten but not gone.

Well, actually, we didn't forget. We didn't forget his ad hominem attacks on actresses, during which Simon relished any opportunity to criticize their looks. And we didn't forget 1985.

That year, during intermission of a play about AIDS, Simon said in earshot of Liz Smith: "I can't wait until they all get it and die; then I won't have to see any more of these plays." It was only days later that Simon dismissed the play Octette Bridge Club in his review as "faggot nonsense."

At the time, we wrote a letter complaining to then-editor Ed Kosner, who wrote back this (PDF). Current New York editor Adam Moss was gracious about Simon's tenure and his departure. But we don't have to be: John Simon was a nasty piece of work who made New York, the magazine and the city, the worse for his presence.


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