arts 01.17.08

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architecture…The Starchitects you hear so much about these days—the Frank Gehrys, the Rem Koolhaases—are all well and good, but sometimes our attention drifts. When it does, it tends to drift toward people like Shigeru Ban. That's because Mr. Ban, who was born in Tokyo in 1957, bridges ideas of East and West, is forward-looking but not a showboater, and conceived an innovative use of cardboard tubing that offered a practical solution to a pressing need. It was after the Kobe earthquake of 1995 that Mr. Ban came up with the idea of using these tubes, which he call "improved wood." To house disaster victims, refugees, and for temporary structures such as exposition pavilions, the material is relatively inexpensive, strong, recyclable, and even quite attractive in his hands. And check out his design for the Centre Pompidou-Metz (pictured), still under construction, that will be a cultural center featuring art, exhibitions, and live performances. Mr. Ban will be giving a talk at Cooper Union, 7 E. 7th [3rd] on Tuesday, 1/22, at 7pm, $10. The topic is Architecture and the Environment.

indie rock… Saturday: Apes and Androids bring their crazy "Queen meets Tron" performance art rock show to Mercury Lounge. Saturday: Acclaimed indie rock veterans Blonde Redhead titillate Terminal 5. Just Announced…1/31: Joanna Newsom. (Photo: Pete Newsom) 2/4: OK Go. 5/15: The Black Keys.

theater… The Ted Haggard Monologues, a trenchant embroidering of the Haggard sex scandal, will make you laugh, but also make you sit up and listen when you get to lines such as "Want is simple, and I understand it, and I think that makes it American, and I know it is right." It's written and performed by Michael Yates Crowley, backed by 'The Gospel of Sexual Liberation Singers.' The first preview is tonight, 10pm, at Collective: Unconscious, 279 Church [White/Franklin] 212.352.3101. Tickets are $12.

performance… Patti Smith will be at the Met Museum this Friday, 7pm, performing (with a little help from her friends) "Poems and Songs for the Young at Heart." Featured will be works of Hans Christian Andersen, William Blake, Lewis Carroll, A.A. Milne, Rudyard Kipling, and Robert Louis Stevenson. It's SRO.

out of town… Some Mexican sun would probably do you good right about now. Our friends at Travelzoo have an offer for this resort, in Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya, for $99 a night per person.

books… This promises to be a good evening: on Friday, 7pm, at McNally Robinson, 52 Prince [Mulberry/Lafayette] 212.274.1160, Zadie Smith and Gary Shteyngart will read from the extraordinary novel Memoirs of an Anti-Semite by Gregor von Rezzori. The intro will be by Erica Jong and the evening is hosted by Edwin Frank, editor of the NY Review of Books Classics, which recently reissued the work.

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