arts 09.5.06

13 for Fall

It's that time again…time to make peace with the end of summer. But with the change of seasons comes the promise of top-shelf indoor events. Here are our picks for some of the most promising events and openings this fall.

movie: Volver
Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's surreal naturalism (as he calls it), his ability to draw great performances from actresses, and his cool eye/warm heart have rarely been put to such good use. "Volver" is the story of a mother who, after her death, returns to her village to address unfinished business with her family, including a daughter played by Penelope Cruz. Looks like this will be Almodóvar's biggest hit in years. Opens November 3. Website

indie rock: The Knife
There can't be too many electronica bands from Sweden comprised of a brother and sister, but if there are more than we know of out there, they still can't be as compelling as The Knife. For the first time ever performing on these shores, they'll be at Webster Hall on November 1, a multimedia collaboration with artist Andreas Nilsson. Website

musical: High Fidelity
We've been looking forward to the musical adaptation of Nick Hornby's novel ever since we heard a terrific concert version of the score early last year. The score is by talented composer Tom Kitt, lyricist Amanda Green (she's the daughter of Adolph Green and Phyllis Newman), and the book is by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire. Will Chase (pictured), stars as Rob. Begins previews at the Imperial, November 20. Website.

workshop: The Agony and The Agony
Even the title of the play is vintage Nicky Silver, a writer who finds comic agony in just about every aspect of life. This workshop, at the Vineyard theater, is open only to Vineyard members — reason enough to join them for the full season. Here, Silver ups the ante by starring in the role of a playwright who finds comic agony in just about every aspect of life. Runs the first three weeks of December. Website

fiction: A Spot of Bother
Mark Haddon's new book, in stores today, following his The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This one's a comedy of family dysfunction — British style — that starts when recently retired George Hall convinces himself that the eczema on his hip is actually cancer (a spot of bother). Website

tour: Open House NY
The fourth annual lollapalooza for lookie-loos, otherwise known as Open House NY, takes place this fall on the weekend of October 7th and 8th. Details of this year's site will be posted on the website in mid-September.

play: The Vertical Hour
No Broadway season is complete without a bona fide snob hit, and this one's got the pedigree: The play is by David Hare (Plenty, Stuff Happens), it's directed by Sam Mendes (Cabaret, Take Me Out), and it stars Julianne Moore, making her Broadway debut. Begins previews November 9 at the Music Box. Website

art: Americans in Paris
100 oil paintings by 37 American artists from the late 19th century who made their way to the Parisian proving ground. Included in the exhibit at the Met are works by Whistler, Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, and Winslow Homer. Opens October 24. Website

cabaret: Julia Murney
A delightful performer, she of the big voice (that still manages subtle shadings), Ms. Murney has returned from the national tour of "Wicked" and plays Birdland in October. No doubt she'll sing from her CD "I'm Not Waiting"; with luck, the set will include "When I First Met Him," cut from "The Wild Party." October 23, 7pm, $25. Website

non-fiction: The Greatest Story Ever Sold
Over the past few years, reading Frank Rich on Sunday has been reliably enlightening and his column has also served as a useful escape valve for the anger that has welled up among an increasingly large number of Americans over the Iraq war and this most incompetent and arrogant of administrations. The book focuses on the way the Bush team has sold its bill of goods, aided by a compliant press and a woebegone Democratic party. Pub. date is September 19th. Website

opera: The First Emperor
An event, to be sure. At the Met, a world premiere of an opera set in the court of China's first emperor, who united the country and built the Great Wall. The composer is Tan Dun, the libretto is by Ha Jin and Tan Dun, Plácido Domingo sings the title role. Count on scenic bells and whistles galore. Debuts December 21. Website

exhibit: Gold
They've done diamonds, amber, and pearls…now it's gold's turn. The Museum of Natural History will show off bling from museums and private collections around the world.Opens November 18. Website

festival: The New Yorker Festival
It's a gathering of the cool kids at the magazine's annual festival: catch Zadie Smith, Roz Chast interviewed by Steve Martin, Tom Stoppard interviewed by John Lahr, Oliver Sacks revisiting the extraordinary experiments documented so movingly in Awakenings, and Jon Stewart interviewed by David Remnick. Website
Off Leash Website
Dog owners know that the 20-year-old off-leash accommodation in Central Park and elsewhere is endangered by some idiots in the Juniper Park Civic Association. Not only have they said no to the courtesy off-leash hours, they've said no to a dog park and they want the law enforced to the letter citywide. If they're having problems there, they should solve them there and leave the rest of the city out of it. There was a hearing on August 29 at which the City's attorney said they'll immediately begin the process to amend the law to give the Parks Commissioner specific discretion on this. But it's still an open case. A website called NYC Offleash has been created to track developments.

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