B O O K S
SATYRICON USA By Eurydice This collection of interviews with inhabitants of the sexual fringe reads like an odd combination of a reporter's raw files and an undergraduate's paper. The strength here is that the author does dig up unquestionably fascinating subjects: vampires who drink one another's blood, necrophiliac morticians, people who claim to have been abducted and sexually molested by aliens, a married surgeon who sleeps with 10 women a month. But her writing style can be monotonous and self-conscious, and her need to place these people in cultural context and blame society for their freakish proclivities is trite. Still, the book is worth skimming--you'll feel contentedly average afterward.
C I N E M A
OFFICE SPACE Directed by Mike Judge He offers the mildest demurral, and his bosses say, "Sounds like you've got a case of the Mondays." So ordinary worker ant Peter (Ron Livingston, with a suburban charm and anxiety that verge on the Hanksian) wonders how to end the day. Quit? Suicide? Or a little corporate revenge? He picks (c), which is where Office Space goes off the rails. For the first half of the film, though, Judge (King of the Hill) runs some interesting twists on workaday boredom. At its shambling best, Office Space is like a bracing break at the coffee machine. Some horrible Monday, why not cut work to see it?
M U S I C
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH Original Cast Recording How strange that rock 'n' roll in all its flamboyance so rarely finds common ground with theater. The rock musical Hedwig is an exception. A bona fide off-Broadway smash and soon-to-be-movie, Hedwig also makes a captivating rock-'n'-roll album. The tale of a transsexual trailer-park denizen, Hedwig echoes the gender-blending audacity of late 1970s David Bowie and the hormone-stoked feverishness of early Meat Loaf. But John Cameron Mitchell's vocals and Stephen Trask's music have their own raw poetry. The spirit of Hedwig shines through: cheeky, resilient, wounded but triumphant.
TRIO II Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton They're getting up to a collective century of professional singing, and they exemplify three angles of redefining country: through folk, L.A. rock or Nashville pop. Yet Harris, Ronstadt and Parton harmonize like a true trio in 10 rapturous airs spanning six decades. They could've been swapping these parts since girlhood. And the voices! Still pure--purer than on their solo CDs. On Neil Young's apocalyptic After the Gold Rush or Donagh Long's ultimate love song, You'll Never Be the Sun, they sound like the perfect down-home choir. Thanks, trio, for an angelic encounter.
T H E A T E R
THE MISANTHROPE, a version by Martin Crimp Ah, the vagaries of buzz. Nicole Kidman comes to Broadway in a David Hare trifle, and the theater world foams at the mouth in anticipation. Uma Thurman, another hot film star, makes her off-Broadway debut in a Moliere classic and gets a big yawn. To be sure, her performance betrays inexperience: slouchy and tentative instead of brittle and biting. But the production around her is smashing. Director Barry Edelstein puts slick designer duds on Crimp's smart update of the play to the phony '90s show-biz world, and the terrific Roger Rees, as Alceste, could teach any young actress a thing or two. Uma...Roger.