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“Symphonie Fantastique”

Basil Twist’s abstract puppet show set to Berlioz reopened this month off-Broadway at the new Dodger Stages. The production’s fans include Alfonso Cuarón, Tim Burton and David Hockney. Why? There’s nothing else quite like it. Twist and his team of four puppeteers use cut-out plastic shapes, ribbons and light projections to create a three-dimensional dance in the water that appears computer-generated. “I say they’re puppets because we’re animating them and they come to life,” says Twist, who has worked on the project since 1995. “But they don’t have faces. A typical ‘Symphonie’ puppet is a piece of fabric on a rod.”
Dodger Stages, 340 West 50th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues; Tuesday-Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 7 and 10 p.m.; Sunday, 3 and 7 p.m.; Telecharge: 212-239-6200.

This story first appeared in the September 11, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“A Letter to True”

Not everyone thinks about teaching their dogs to seize the day, but Bruce Weber does. His latest film is an essay to his youngest golden retriever about, among other things, living life post–Sept. 11. “It’s a difficult road we’ve all chosen to go,” Weber says. “Life is precious and I want him to savor the happy moments.” The photographer and filmmaker took the canine stars of the movie to a premiere in Miami. They weren’t on their best behavior. “I felt like a parent in a day care center and the kids are eating sugar,” he says, laughing. For as long as he can remember, Weber has been communicating with animals: “I don’t want to sound like Dr. Dolittle, but I’d rather sound like that than like some of our politicians today.”
Film Forum, Houston and Varick Streets;; daily at 1:15, 3, 4:45, 6:30, 8:15 and 10 p.m.

“Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” by Susanna Clarke

Susanna Clarke’s much-hyped, 800-page opus about magic in 19th-century London society — 10 years in the making — has become the fall’s Big Important Read. The New York Times Magazine pegged the first-time novelist as a J.K. Rowling for adults; Gregory Maguire, the author of “Wicked” and no stranger to “Harry Potter” territory himself, wrote in the Book Review that Clarke “just about deserves the fuss,” and next weekend, “Jonathan Strange” will enter the New York Times Bestseller List at No. 9. Discover Clarke’s world at Barnes & Noble’s Lincoln Triangle Store Tuesday night when she reads from and signs copies of her book. Expect lots of somewhat unfashionable groupies, even if the book only hit stores two weeks ago.
Barnes & Noble, 66th Street and Broadway; Tuesday, 7 p.m.

“Slava’s Snow Show”

This 90-minute production is, for the most part, a clown show created by Slava Polunin, a former member of Cirque du Soleil. Though pratfalls and big red noses might not be your thing, if you make it through a more than pleasant first act, Slava’s finale — the eponymous snowstorm — is something to behold. A few paper snowflakes falling from the ceiling can’t prepare you for what’s about to come: a massive assault of fake snow that blows from the stage directly into the audience for a one-of-a-kind sensory experience.
Union Square Theater, 100 East 17th Street; Tuesday-Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 4 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 and 5:30 p.m; Ticketmaster: 212-307-4100

Best Car Service

As everyone knows, taxis are scarce and town cars are expensive, so Fabian Basabe and his pal Zani Gugelmann recommend Tel-Aviv car service, which they use throughout fashion week. “They come in 15 minutes and they’re only $35 an hour,” said Basabe at the Earnest Sewn launch Thursday night. “It’s $5 more for a luxury sedan.”
Tel-Aviv, 212-777-7777.

Watering Holes

If you’re stumbling late at night out of any of the Meatpacking District’s hot spots — Cabanas at the Maritime Hotel or Soho House — and still in need of some refreshment, head to The Spotted Pig, a posh English pub located in the West Village. The grub is good (Mario Batali is a partner), the drinks are better and the patrons aren’t too shabby either. (Think Jay-Z, Chelsea Clinton and Bono.) If it’s really going to be a bender (and you’re under 30), head further downtown to Don Hill’s, the punky dive bar that’s been drawing fashion and photo assistants for years.
Cabanas at the Maritime Hotel, 363 West 16th Street; 212-242-4300.
Soho House, 29-35 Ninth Avenue (private club).
The Spotted Pig, 314 West 11th Street; 212-620-0393.
Don Hill’s, 511 Greenwich Street; 212-219-2850.

The Estate of Johnny and June Carter Cash

The Man in Black lives again. With Reese Witherspoon starring in the upcoming Cash biopic “Walk the Line,” it’s only a matter of time before the Nashville influence of June Carter Cash creeps into our collective style conscience. Check out over 770 lots from the Estate of Johnny and June Carter Cash, on display at Sotheby’s until Sept. 14, when the memorabilia including photos, letters, guitars and lyrics head to the auction block. Vintage lovers can bid on June’s stage wardrobe, which includes such finds as Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta gowns, and Johnny’s alligator boots — in black, of course.
Sotheby’s, 1334 York Avenue; Today, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1p.m.-5 p.m.; Monday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; 212-606-7000.

Jack Johnson

The former pro surfer may have abandoned the beaches of Hawaii for life as a successful pop folk artist, but Johnson still hasn’t lost his mellow vibe. The musician takes Central Park SummerStage on Monday alongside his labelmates G. Love & Special Sauce and Donovan Frankenreiter. Expect hits from Johnson’s 2001 debut album, “Brushfire Fairytales,” and his sophomore effort, “On and One.” There won’t be a mosh pit but fans are guaranteed to sing along. All together now, “Slow down everyone…”
Central Park SummerStage, enter at 69th Street and Fifth Avenue; Monday, 6 p.m.; 212-370-7171.


Made up of the three homeschooled DuPree sisters (Chauntelle, 22, Sherri, 20, and Stacy, 16 ), their brother, Weston, and family friend Jonathan Wilson, this band from Tyler, Tex., hasn’t even released a full-length album yet. To date, two EPs, “Laughing City” and “Marvelous Things,” are available in stores. But the band’s dreamy, sleepy, perhaps overly cute music is undeniably distinctive, with echoes of Coldplay (for whom they have opened), Radiohead and The Cranberries all in one. This Tuesday, the band opens for Snow Patrol, a quartet from Glasgow, at Irving Plaza. Check them out before they start wearing Marc by Marc Jacobs.
Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place; Tuesday, 8 p.m.; 212-777-6800.

The Liberty Fair

For fashionable Lefties in need of a political fix, Downtown for Democracy, a politically minded organization that touts itself as “mobilizing the creative community and transforming its cultural influence into political power,” is transforming a Chelsea block into “The Liberty Fair,” a carnival featuring more than 40 contemporary artists on Sunday. For a $50 contribution, activities include music, games, food, exhibitions, cookie decorating, face painting, a kissing booth and a freak show. The people-watching isn’t bad either. Look for participants Matthew Barney, Richard Serra, Ed Ruscha, As Four, Ross Bleckner, Jessica Craig-Martin and Chuck Close.
West 22nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues; Sunday, noon-7 p.m.; 718-290-9153.

Lunch Around the Tents

Muffie Potter Aston suggests Cipriani Uptown, where she races for a lunch break in between fashion shows. She always orders the same dish: steamed spinach and grilled salmon. “I don’t even need to look at a menu,” Aston said at the Bill Blass show Thursday. She came directly from lunching at “Chips,” as she calls the restaurant. “I’m so predictable when it comes to eating.”
Harry Cipriani, 781 Fifth Avenue at 59th Street; 212-753-5566.