Hopkins hailed: The Walker-commissioned Must Don’t Whip ‘Um, Cynthia Hopkin’s newest performance piece and a highlight of this year’s Out There festival, opened at St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York to acclaim. The New York Times, describing Hopkins’ voice as “delicate and emotionally forceful — part Natalie Merchant, part Madeline Peyroux,” hails the music-theater work as “a triumph of disciplined thinking, narrative fluidity and musical accomplishment.” (After the Walker show, Variety took a stab at describing Hopkins’ pipes: “Hopkins is gifted with an instrument of uncanny tone, almost angelic, and her phrasing at times clips her lyrics with acidic tinges that bring to mind Billie Holiday’s combination of aching passion and brains.”) See MDWU at St. Ann’s through Februrary 4.
Attacking the bearded lady: The Riot Group, from San Francisco, is racking up praise for this year’s final Out There piece, Pugilist Specialist (tonight and Saturday night only) which follows US military specialists as they plan an assassination attempt on an Arab despot referred to only as the “bearded lady.” Psychologically gripping yet hilarious, this piece, well-timed for an age of Abu Ghraib and the Global War on Terror, is “visceral and thoroughly engaging, even as it raises disturbing questions” (Star Tribune).
Free culture: For you, an mp3 of Seu Jorge performing “Rebel Rebel” and others at the sleepwalkers opening at MoMA, plus I Met the Walrus, a very short film animating a 1969 interview on war and peace conducted by 14-year-old Jerry Levitan. For more free mp3s and news on independent music, visit Spacelab.