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Short Takes
CLASS ACTION By Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy Gansler In a suspenseful narrative, this book recounts in dispiriting detail the abuse suffered by the first women who went to work at Eveleth Mines in rural Minnesota in 1975, before the notion of sexual harassment entered the American lexicon or legal system. One of those women, Lois Jenson, became the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that ultimately resulted in the first successful sexual- harassment class action, a victory that set precedent but came at great personal expense to Jenson.

"A CABINET OF CURIOSITIES" New York Public Library This show could be called "The Library Bites Back." Just as the Internet is like a giga-library, full of useful information, this show is like a micro-Internet, full of stuff that's fascinating and pointless. Old, quaint erotica, Jack Kerouac's crutches, and an asbestos-bound copy of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's novel about book burning, are among the eccentric treasures. Then there's the anti-Nazi literature hidden in tea bags, above, which demonstrates one of the library's main advantages over the Web: it can prove such things existed.

SCOOBY-DOO Directed by Raja Gosnell If nothing else, Scooby- Doo reconfirms Andy Warhol's genius; it's hard to artfully recontextualize trash. This movie will make any adults it drags in wonder why they ever liked this dumb cartoon. Meanwhile, all it has to offer the intended audience, children and the stoned, are bits such as an extended Shaggy-vs.-Scooby gas-passing contest. The cast does great impressions of the original cartoon characters, and the computer-generated Scooby is convincing, but it turns out that what we liked about Scooby-Doo in the first place was that nobody was trying.

MASQUERADE Wyclef Jean When he's focused, Wyclef is easily hip-hop's best songwriter; on this new CD, he's focused about 40% of the time. On songs such as PJ's and Two Wrongs, he fuses reggae, folk and R. and B. into a sound all his own. The songs have hooks, but they lie back, content to let the lyrics and complex composition shine. The rest of the time he jumps between faux radio skits and crass, attention-seeking covers. Wyclef thinks anything he touches is interesting, but some things, like his hideous update of December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), are best left in shrink wrap.

STREET TIME Showtime, Sundays, 10 p.m. E.T. Showtime has paying viewers. It has the freedom to show naughty bits. So where is its Sopranos? Not here, though this grim look at parolees and their watchers tries. Scott Cohen (Gilmore Girls' cuddly Mr. Medina) shows some edge as a controlling parole officer, and guest star Red Buttons shines as a mobster in a who's-controlling-whom relationship with Cohen. But the writing is flat — like the clumsily topical terrorism subplot — and co-star Rob Morrow, as an ex-drug dealer trying to avoid the thug life, makes the least convincing felon since Gene Wilder in Stir Crazy. Give Street Time probation, but not yet approbation.

June 24, 2002 Vol. 159 No. 25

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