arts 06.29.06

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music… Mandolins? Check. Harmonica? Check. Fiddles, spoons, washboard? Check, check, and check. If that sounds like the fixin's for an olde-timey Americana hootenanny, you're on the right track. Don't let the fact that it's a band from Brooklyn called the M Shanghai String Band fool you. (They're named after the Chinese restaurant where they first got together to play). It's rootsy music, but it sounds freshly minted. And the Shanghais make an especially good soundtrack for the holiday weekend. You can catch them live this Saturday, (three sets starting at 9pm), at their old stomping ground, M Shanghai Den, 129 Havemeyer [Grand & S.1st] Williamsburg. Free admission. They have gigs at Southpaw, Union Pool, and elsewhere throughout the summer.

indie rock… Friday: The Futureheads and French Kicks bring 4-part harmonies and herky-jerky hooks to Webster Hall. July 4th: Beirut, The Occasion and more play a Brooklyn rooftop with clear views of the 'works. Just announced…8/17 & 8/18: Wu Tang Clan. 8/19: Frank Black.

photography… The iconic photo of Marilyn Monroe's back, singing "Happy Birthday" to JFK at the Garden in 1962 was taken by former Life staff photographer Bill Ray, who has also contributed to dozens of other publications (including 46 Newsweek covers to his credit). There's a retrospective of his work on now at the Leica Gallery, 670 Bway [Great Jones/Bond] 212.777.3051. In addition to the Marilyn photo, you can see the Kennedys in Hyannisport, Elvis in Army uniform, the Beatles, and Warhol.

book… We've gotten a great deal of pleasure, appropriately enough, from a book called Stumbling on Happiness (Knopf, $24.95) by Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert. This is not a self-help book, but a smart and surprisingly funny look at why what we think will make us happy often turns out not to do the trick. It reads something like a Malcolm Gladwell piece on happiness, so it's not surprising that Gladwell says this about the book: "This is a psychological detective story about one of the great mysteries of our lives. If you have even the slightest curiosity about the human condition, you ought to read it. Trust me."

movies… At the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, you can catch one of several more screenings of The Forsaken Land, by director Vimukthi Jayasundara, that has earned critical raves and a prize at Cannes. It's a meditation (there's no sense of linear narrative) on the effects of civil war in Sri Lanka.

theater… High concept comedy comes to Brooklyn: Kung Fu Importance of Being Earnest plays The Brick, 575 Metropolitan [Union/Lorimer] 718.907.3457, has been extended — it's playing six more performances in July and August. Tickets.
With all the millions in the Daily Candy coffers, couldn't those people do something besides steal content from MUG? First item in today's 'Candy': why, it's the SpiegelPalais at Bard, and here is the very same item in MUG from a few weeks ago. And, let's see, what's up second? The new Real Food Markets. Sure, lots of people have covered this. But MUG wrote last week: "The free market applies to Greenmarkets, too…" and today DC writes that the Real Food Markets are "giving the Greenmarket a run for its money. (Yay, capitalism!)" If it weren't part of a pattern over years now, we'd let it go as a compliment we could live without. (Yay, bottom feeding!)

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