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Satin Rouge

Todd Haynes, whose Far From Heaven reimagined All That Heaven Allows, apparently is not the only filmmaker enamored of the work of ’50s melodrama master Douglas Sirk. In this Tunisian-French coproduction, director Raja Amari tells the story of a widowed Tunisian seamstress who undergoes an unexpected sensual awakening at midlife. Snooping around a nightclub after the sexual habits of her daughter, Lilia (Hiyam Abbas, pictured) instead discovers friendship with its performers (belly dancers) and romance with one of the patrons. Not surprisingly—à la Sirk—the woman’s daughter and friends do not appreciate this. (Amari has said that the film was attacked in Tunisia not for its dancing or sensuality, but because it “desecrated” the ideal image of motherhood.)

The film—which has won critical raves around the world, and is making its local debut at Time & Space Limited—is notable for its setting and context. After all, it’s a about a 40-something, middle-class Muslim woman becoming a belly dancer, a form of expression that has come increasingly under fire from religious fundamentalists across the Middle East. More interestingly, argues Salon critic Stephanie Zacharek, the director has made an insightful movie about a middle-aged woman—something few filmmakers try, let alone succeed at.

Satin Rouge will be screened at Time & Space Limited (434 Columbia St., Hudson) today (Thursday, May 15), tomorrow (Friday, May 16) and Saturday (May 17) at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $7.50 and $5. For more information, call 822-8448.

Fleetwood Mac

Ever since Rumors made the breakup of Fleetwood Mac’s two couples public knowledge through song, and made the band millionaires in the process, each new rumor of the band’s comings and goings has caught our attention. The original Fleetwood Mac began in England as a blues-rock outfit created in the wake of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (with Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Peter Green), eventually finding the formula our pop-fueled veins craved with 1975’s Fleetwood Mac—the first album featuring the soft-rock musings of guitar god Lindsey Buckingham and his hippie girlfriend, Stevie Nicks (part of the aforementioned broken-hearts club).

The pop-rock gems from that album—“Monday Morning,” “Rhiannon,” and “Say You Love Me”—piqued our interest; and once Rumors rolled around in ’77, we salivated over the drama unfolding between Nicks and Buckingham and the McVies, and Fleetwood’s part in all of it—and we liked it (misery loves company, after all).

That was the golden age of Fleetwood Mac: “Go Your Own Way,” “Dreams,” “Don’t Stop,” “You Make Loving Fun.” Rumors sold more than 17 million copies in the United States and became the No. 2 biggest seller of all time. The songs, written by Buckingham, Nicks and Christine McVie, wove a story of heartbreak and pain (amid rampant drug use) that struck a nerve with the kids of the ’70s.

But after the avant-leaning double album Tusk (’79), it was all over for us. That quickly. That album, mostly Buckingham’s baby, gave us the beloved “Sara” and “Tusk” (what were they on?, we mused—well, actually, we knew), but the love affair was over—all the way around.

Yes, Fleetwood, Buckingham, Nicks and Christine McVie all gave us solo albums, and Fleetwood Mac as a name went on. But the glory days were gone. They reconnected for Clinton’s 1993 inauguration gala (gee, when you’re president, you can do anything), and we held our collective breath waiting for a reunion—which came five years later when they did a few live dates together, but no records followed.

Well, kids, last month Fleetwood Mac released Say You Will, and it’s an 18-songer—nine of Buckingham’s and nine of Nicks’—that’s about as close to a reunion album as we’re gonna get. Christine McVie is in the background of some of the tunes, but none of them are hers, and when Fleetwood Mac come to our area as part of a 40-city tour behind the release, Christine will not be with them. Nevertheless, they do intend to play some of her songs (they’d have to). So it’ll just be Fleetwood, Nicks, Buckingham and John McVie—and we’ll all be searching for any underlying drama that we can get our mitts on. There’s sure to be some.

Fleetwood Mac will play the Pepsi Arena (51 S. Pearl St., Albany) on Wednesday (May 21). The show begins at 8 PM, and tickets are $49.50-$126. Call 476-1000 for tickets.

The Fly-Bottle

If you’ve ever sat through an undergraduate philosophy class thinking, “What I wouldn’t give for a blunt object right now,” you are not alone. Even among professional philosophers, the desire to respond to intellectual repartee with a more aggressive riposte does surface from time to time. For example: Rumor has it that in October 1946, two of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century attempted to settle a debate regarding transcendent morality vs. linguistic relativism with a fireplace poker. Sadly, this all occurred long before the debut of Cops; however, a dramatic re-creation of that very event is still available to all philosophiles when The Fly-Bottle opens Shakespeare & Co.’s season at the Spring Lawn Theatre in Lenox, Mass., beginning Friday (May 16).

David Egan’s new play is based on the book Wittgenstein’s Poker, which examines the often mutually contradictory eyewitness accounts of the debate between Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper (in the presence of celebrity philosopher Bertrand Russell) at the Moral Science Club in Cambridge, England. The anecdote has become a cult legend in philosophical circles, but just how many of its details are true? Did Wittgenstein use the poker as an example of a concrete and irrefutable object, toy with it idly, or brandish it menacingly? Did he storm out in a huff, or simply depart quietly? And in response to his challenge to propose one true and absolute moral rule, did Popper actually respond, “Not to threaten visiting lecturers with pokers”?

Egan—who graduated with a philosophy degree from Harvard University—tackles the historical uncertainty and accentuates the humor in the event by presenting it from multiple perspectives (à la Rashomon). The device allows for subtle revelations about the multivalent intellectual issues involved—and the distinct and very strong personalities of those advancing them. According to director Tina Packer, “There are several stories here. One is about schools of thought in philosophy, and another is about the three philosophers themselves—their personal desires, relationships, and aspirations. David Egan is a brilliant young man who wonders about the same things as these philosophers—but also a man of the theater struggling to make sense to an audience, and with a very wry sense of humor. It makes for much fun in the script.”

The Fly-Bottle will be performed at the Spring Lawn Theatre (70 Kemble St., Lenox, Mass.), beginning Friday (May 16) and running through Aug. 24. For tickets or information, call (413) 637-3353.

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