The A List
A New Do A beauty salon may be an odd place to start picking up the pieces of Afghanistan, post-Taliban, but as we see in the new documentary, The Beauty Academy of Kabul, thats exactly where many women found empowerment (and employment) after the American invasion. Documentary filmmaker Liz Mermin focuses her film on a beauty school founded by Western hairdressers in Kabul in 2003; all are volunteers, and two of the teachers are Afghan, returning to their native country after 20 years. Their purpose is to show these women how to style, perm, and cut hair so they can support themselves in the newly open society. But as we learn in the film, many women operated salons in secret, servicing even wives of the Taliban who hid their new dos beneath their burkas. Its an interesting take on how women managed to attend to themselves in the face of such oppression. Opens Friday, March 24 at Angelika Film Center, 18 W. Houston St. at Mercer (212-995-2000; angelikafilmcenter.com).
Russian Invasion Auktyon, a hero of Russias avant-garde rock scene, is getting less and less underground these days, which is quite a bit of luck for Europeans and Americans. Together since 1978 and a member since 1983 of the subversive Leningrad Rock Club, Auktyon has gone through several incarnations and earned a cult following in their homeland and beyond. They may sing in Russian, but their music exudes a worldly eclecticism that dispenses with genre boundaries. Expect to hear elements of punk, jazz, North African rhythms and 60s American pop all in one song. To top it off, their stage shows are always theatrical, dismissing draconian political gloom and doom to another era. Saturday Mar. 25, 7 PM, Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard bet. Broadway and Church St. (212.219.3132; knittingfactory.com). Aileen Torres Courtesy: Vadim Shesterikov
Blueslady Bailey The first thing that you will notice about Sheryl Bailey is that she has really studied the guitar. Indeed, she is the rarest of jazz guitar birds as she is able to balance superior technical skills with a strong lyrical sense and a swinging touch. While she can go from zero to blazing in two beats, Bailey never lets technique override musical ideas, choosing to use her ability to string together long, beautifully articulated lines as a means to release from bluesy and melodic set-ups. Rounding out the Sheryl Bailey 3 is a first-rate rhythm section featuring Brian Charette (jazz organ) and Ian Froman (drums), who fuse a variety of influences such as rock, funk and pop while still remaining grounded to their blues-oriented roots. 55 Bar, Thursday, March 23, 7:30-9:3. 55 Christopher St., btwn. 7th Ave. So. & Waverly Pl. (212-929-9883; 55bar.com). Lee Metcalf
Ill Be Your Mirror Photographer Nan Goldin is famous for documenting her circle of friends in the 70s and 80s, a collection of artists and addicts that became, in effect, her family. In her new solo exhibit, Nan Goldin: Chasing a Ghost, she turns the camera on herself and her sister. Both are sad stories, told via a slideshow accompanied by mournful songs like the Johnny Cash cover of Hurt, a dark, Nine Inch Nails song. Her sisters is the more tragic life on view she committed suicide at 18but Goldin is not afraid to share her dark places, using black and whites from childhood and more recent photos she took of herself at a drug rehab. Arresting photos of girls in institutions and the mythic Saint Barbara complete this moving triptych of images, titled Sisters, Saints, & Sibyls. Also on view are three dozen new color photographs, including landscapes and pictures of her nephew. Through April 22, Matthew Marks Gallery, 522 West 22nd St. btwn 10th and 11th Aves. (212-243-0200; matthewmarks.com) Matthew Marks Gallery.