Arts & Entertainment

This month’s highlights.



4 Questions for...

Lisi Harrison, Author of the Clique Series

 

 

Ehmagod, we’d be totally remiss if we didn’t tell you about the Clique, a series of ah-dorable young-adult books by Lisi Harrison, a former MTV exec turned full-time author. The novels follow the slang-talking, impossibly stylish mean girls and Keds-wearing outcasts at Octavian County Day, a fictional private school in—that’s right—Westchester. We caught up with Harrison, who this month is set to release the seventh book in the series, It’s Not Easy Being Mean.

 

(1) Since you grew up in Canada and now live in New York City, why did you choose a Westchester private school as the setting for your series? Have you spent much time here?

 

“I’ve spent enough time there to know that it would be a good setting for the book. It made the most sense geographically. It’s known for being affluent, which was important for the series, and it’s suburban, which I wanted in order to create an insular world for my characters—like they’re in a bubble. But they’re right near the city and the finest in culture, fashion, and technology, so it makes sense that it’ll all funnel to them very quickly.”

 

(2) What was seventh grade like for you, and do you think it would have been different if you had grown up in Westchester?

 

“I went to a private school in Canada, and, not only that, but a private religious school, so it was totally different. We were uncultured in a way. It kept us in our own sheltered world.”

 

(3) Do you think people can relate to your books even if they don’t come from this kind of culture?

 

“I think they can. On the surface, it’s about rich girls being mean, but underneath, it’s about feeling insecure, the lengths people go to be accepted, and the desire to get on top and stay on top. I think that’s pretty universal. In fact, most of the letters I’ve gotten are from people who are not rich and don’t even know where Westchester is.”

 

(4) What do you want seventh graders to take away from your books?

 

“I want them to realize how silly this behavior is. I want them to know that the person who is seemingly the most popular and most fabulous is sometimes just as insecure as the rest of us, and the girl who is insecure and not as popular is sometimes more fabulous. Especially when wanting to be accepted, we all share similar experiences.”

 

If I Were a Carpenter

 

 

 

“Slowly but surely, Mary Chapin Carpenter has built a repertoire that ranks with the best of her generation,” writes Steve Morse of the Boston Globe about the Virginia-based singer/songwriter. “Her days of hit singles may be over, but she was always about much more.” We couldn’t agree more. The newest addition to her repertoire, The Calling, featuring 13 new songs, is slated for release this month. On it, Chapin Carpenter takes on heavy subjects including the plight of Hurricane Katrina victims, the current state of America, and her own spiritual and political struggles. To hear some of those songs live, head to the Paramount Center for the Arts on March 23, where the songstress will perform songs from The Calling along with the older tracks that impressed the Boston Globe so much (and earned her five Grammy awards).

 

It’s Curtains for Broadway

 

 

The curtain rises at the Al Hirschfeld theatre this month on Curtains, A
much buzzed-about new musical comedy and ’50s-era “whodunit.” The fun begins when a talent-free leading lady meets her demise during an opening-night curtain call. Featuring one of the last scores by the legendary songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret; Chicago; New York, New York), and a book and additional lyrics by Scarsdale resident and multiple Tony award-winning playwright and composer, Rupert Holmes (The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Say Goodnight, Gracie), this show has “smash hit” written all over it. For more information, visit
www.curtainsthemusical.com.

Laurie Yarnell

 

In a Joffrey

 

When you think of war protests, what comes to mind? Angry demonstrators taking to the streets, impassioned letters, or candlelight vigils? What about the ballet? Yes, the ballet. Kurt Jooss’s ballet The Green Table delivers a powerful anti-war statement that was honored with first place at the International Congress of the Dance when it premiered in 1932. Today, the Joffrey Ballet uses masks and simple props to make The Green Table one of its signature works. The company will perform it on March 11 at The Performing Arts Center in Purchase. Rounding out the evening, the Joffrey Ballet will also present George Balanchine’s abstract Apollo, and Deuce Coupe, a fun ballet by Twyla Tharp set to the music of the Beach Boys.

 

What’s in a Namesake?

 

This month, Jhumpa Lahiri’s acclaimed novel, The Namesake, makes the jump from the bestseller list to the big screen, starring the formerly goofy Kal Penn of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Van Wilder fame. The film follows Penn as young Gogol Ganguli, along with his Calcutta-born parents, struggle to balance their lives in New York with their Indian traditions. At the helm of the film is director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) who, having been born in India and educated at both Delhi University and Harvard, probably understands Ganguli’s choices more than most. Want to ask her yourself? Nair will participate in a sneak preview of The Namesake on March 13 at the Avon Center in Stamford, Connecticut. A Q&A session will follow the film.

 

Roll Out the Red Carpet

 

Those looking for the newest and most thought-provoking films need not go beyond the county borders this month. The Eighth Annual Westchester Film Festival, which takes place March 9 to 11 in White Plains, will screen the best features, documentaries, shorts, and animated films from both local and national talent. Headlining the event is former Mambo King Armand Assante, who will be honored at the big awards ceremony on Sunday, March 11. Films slated to screen at the festival include Half-Nelson, which features actor Ryan Gosling’s Academy Award-nominated performance as a flawed inner-city teacher, and Approaching Union Square, a collage of 11 struggling New Yorkers.