arts 04.20.06

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reading…David Mitchell's last book, Cloud Atlas, was a fascinating, telescoping narrative that stayed with you at least as much for its style as for the interconnected stories, though Mitchell can hardly write an uninteresting sentence. His new novel, Black Swan Green (Random House, $23.95), is a coming-of-age story set in Thatcher's England, 1982. He'll be reading tonight, 7pm at Three Lives, 154 W. 10th [Waverly] 212.741.2069. Get there early.

indie rock… Saturday: Ex-members of The Unicorns play Avalon under their new name Islands. Monday: Two Gallants bring their punk-driven drinking hymns to Bowery Ballroom. Just Announced: 6/6 Tapes N' Tapes, 7/6 Broken Social Scene.

art… Works on Paper 1981-2005, an exhibit of the work of artist James Brown, opens on Sunday, 3pm, at the Fisher Landau Center for Art, 38-27 30th St. [38th/39th Aves.] LIC 718.937.0727. Over 100 works on paper — watercolor, collage, pencil drawing, oil, and mixed media. More on the Fisher Landau Center here.

movie… Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story is a comedy about paintball star Bobby Dukes who, in a tournament, commits the serious cheat of wiping his jersey, getting him banned from the game. Ten years later, he tries to get back in it. In the film are the Daily Show's Rob Corddry and Ed Helms. It's playing at the Pioneer, starting tonight at 9pm until next Wednesday. Corddry and others will be at the screening tonight.

cocktail lessons… If there were an Alcohol University, Gary Regan, and his wife Mardee, would chair most of the departments and the waiting list for admission would be long. In lieu of that, Mr. Regan will be giving cocktail lessons, and signing his book Joy of Mixology this Saturday, 4pm-6pm, at LeNell's, 416 Van Brunt [Coffey/Van Dyke] Red Hook 718.360.0838.

travel… Skytrax is out with their 2006 awards, which recognize airline excellence — and there's not an American (and scarcely a European) airline among them…
Cabin Staff Service: Thai Airways
Airport Service: ANA
Low-cost Airline Service: Air Berlin
Onboard Service Improvement: Aeroflot
Onboard Catering: Gulf Air
Inflight Service Consistency: Qatar Airways
Airport Lounge Service: Cathay Pacific
Inflight Entertainment: Emirates
Economy Class Onboard Service: Malaysia Airlines
Business Class Onboard Service: China Airlines
First Class Service Onboard: Asiana Airlines

walking tour… Objectivism fans: Ayn Rand's Fountainhead Skyscrapers Walking Tour is offered this Sunday, 11am-1:30pm, $15. Get the details here.
Jean Georges, Shanghai
A reader sent us this today: "Hi from Hangzhou. Just checked my emails and saw your link about JG keeping its four stars. Husband and I went to JG in Shanghai last week. Though there were a couple of minor quibbles with the food, all in all it added up to one of the premiere dining experiences in our recent memory. Extraordinary service, terrific ambience, and that Shanghai je ne sais quoi…Fantastic!"

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