Volume 75, Number 39 | February 15 -21 2006

The A List

Stepping Out Reggie Wilson, a modern dancer who has traveled extensively around Africa and the Caribbean as a “lay anthropologist,” surprisingly discovered Stepping, a social dance descended from the Lindy Hop, while partying in his hometown of Milwaukee. In “Npinpee Nckutchie and the Tail of the Golden Dek,” premiering at Dance Theater Workshop Feb. 15, Wilson and his Fist and Heel Performance Group rework Stepping and other forms of African American social dances as as a way of questioning identity and relationships. “I go to places like Cameroon, where you figure you’re going to see something you don’t expect,” Wilson said. “But it was R&B, and they had used it differently in my own backyard!” he added, describing his intrigue at discovering Stepping, a trend he says is popular in the Midwest and the South but not on the East Coast. A vocalist quartet will perform Southern folk songs, among a varied soundtrack of jazz, funk and pop. February 15-25 at Dance Theater Workshop, 219 W. 19th St. (212-691-6500; dtw.org) — Sara G. Photo Levin Antoine Tempe

Highway to Hell The final installment of Punk Rock/ Heavy Metal Karaoke at the Continental will take place this Monday, February 20th, a sign of bad things to come at the second to last bastion of punk music in New York. But whereas CBGB’s will be closing its doors for good come October, the Continental will just be changing its tune this spring, eliminating its live music acts and turning into your run-of-the-mill bar, complete with pool table and pricey drinks. Punk Rock/Heavy Metal Karaoke bassist Rob Kemp will be sad to see it go, but reflects that it’s just a continuation of the ongoing exodus of music venues from St. Marks to points further east. “CBGB’s and The Continental held on for a long time, but there’s only so much you can do,” says the 35-year-old musician and rock journalist who founded live music karaoke in New York City, along with band members David Richman and Devin Emke. Since PRHMK’s first residency at Arlene’s Grocery in 1999, which lasted till they moved to the Continental in 2004, live music karaoke has flourished around the city. A copycat band replaced them at Arlene’s, and other variations on the theme can be found everywhere from Jersey City to Brooklyn. “We have about 50 to 60 diehard fans [who followed us to the Continental],” says Kemp, “but it’s proved difficult to get the word out.” Until they find a new home, this Monday is the last chance to perform with the men who made it possible to sing songs like “Mongoloid” and “Balls to the Wall” outside the sanctuary of your living rooms. 10 pm to 1 am, Monday, Feb. 20, Continental, 25 3rd Ave. btwn. Saint Marks Pl. and 9th St. (212-695-7400; punkmetalkaraoke.com). Photo Lauren Krohn


Into the Woods Off-Broadway’s MCC Theater has gained its acclaim largely for edgy, ultra-modern productions addressing pedophile serial killers, adulterers exploiting September 11th, and the social perils of bedding the obese. So you might by surprised by MCC’s newest play, especially since it’s directed by Trip Cullman, the hot young thing who turned television stars into bi-curious, drug-addled Peanuts characters in “Dog Sees God.” “The Wooden Breeks,” which opens February 21st at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, takes place in a fantastical hamlet where a village tinker tells a young boy magical stories in front of the family hearth. Still, don’t expect an everyday fairy tale. Seattle Weekly praised the ability of playwright Glen Berger, above, “to be off-the-chart unusual and still say something of universal resonance.” Through March 11th at Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street, btwn. Bleecker and Hudson. (212-279-4200; ticketcentral.com). — Rachel Fershleiser. Photo Courtesy of MCC Theater


Heddatron Actors, beware. Robots have replaced half of the cast in a post-modern staging of Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler,” the first theatrical production to rely just as much on machines as man. Les Freres Corbusier, a theater company known for its brave reinventions of classic figures, takes the story of the deeply distraught Gabler and shatters it into competing tales, including an antic-filled interaction between August Strindberg and Ibsen and a Midwestern housewife who is abducted by androids and forced to perform “Hedda Gabler” over and over. The robots figure throughout, inhabiting an LED-lit land called Robotforest and using a text-to-speech program that allows them to interact with the live actors on stage, all of which serve to remind you that this is not your mother’s Ibsen. Through Feb. 18 at HERE: Arts Center, 145 Sixth Ave., between Spring and Broome (212-647-0202; here.org).Photo courtesy Joan Marcus/Les Freres Corbusier

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