arts 01.7.04


When Adam Block's play "Five Flights" ran in San Francisco, it was named one of the top 10 cultural events of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle. The dysfunctional-family comedy in five scenes is the story of siblings who have to figure out what to do with an aviary built by their recently deceased father. Mix in hockey players, hummingbirds, and loons of all stripes. It stars Alice Ripley (pictured, top left) along with Joanna Adler and Jason Butler Harner. Previews begin January 13th at the Rattlestick, 224 Waverly [Perry/W. 11th] 212.627.2256. Tickets are $37.50 here.

The impossibly pretty, impossibly young Ben Jelen (pronounced Yellen, pictured, top right) may have to work a little harder to prove his musical credentials, but based on what we've heard of and about him, he's one to watch. Another in the line of emerging SMSSs (sensitive male singer-songwriters), Mr. Jelen taught himself piano, guitar, and violin, writes his own music, and has some full-throated heft to his voice. His first album "Give It All Away" will be released on Maverick in March. Meanwhile, you can hear the single "Come On" at his website. He'll also be performing at the Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard [Bway/Church] 212.219.3132 on January 12th. Tickets are $8 in advance.

With the milder temperatures last week, a few of the cherry trees got their dates wrong and started blooming in Central Park. Nice, as the gray season begins, to see some life in the trees. Indoors, two shows in the art world have trees as central figures. The first is called "Dervish" at the Team Gallery, 527 W. 26th [10th/11th] 212.279.9219, also starting January 10, Benjamin Butler's exhibition "Trees" features boldly-colored, geometric abstractions that may be landscape painting, though not in the familiar sense. They're highly evocative nonetheless.

We love a career changer and Doris Eaton Travis is certainly that. At age 99, she's come out with her memoir, called Days We Danced: The Story of My Theatrical Family from Florenz Ziegfeld to Arthur Murray (Univ. of Oklahoma Press, $27.95). In it, she recalls her days (career number one) as the youngest member of the Ziegfeld Follies and her work on Broadway and in Hollywood. Career number two: a chain of highly successful Arthur Murray dance studios in the midwest. Career number three: running a quarter horse ranch. She moonlighted as a student during that last one, earning herself a bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma at age 88. Holy moly! You can meet Ms. Travis (pictured, bottom right) at Coliseum Books, 11 W. 42nd [5th/6th] 212.803.5890, tonight at 6pm. You go, girl!
Last chances: The El Greco exhibition closes this Sunday at the Met…Lincoln Center Theater's glorious Henry IV runs through January 18.

New episodes of AbFab are on the Oxygen Network (Time Warner Channel 61), Fridays at 9pm.

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