movies from Boyz N the Hood to Players Club and Three Kings. But in struggling to balance market and artistic demands he's come pretty close to squandering his natural leadership role. Maybe this will be Cube's first masterpiece since Death Certificate, and a precedent for all the rap visionaries who want to direct. (You know the music industry is stifling when its stars pine for the relative artistic freedom of Hollywood.) Perhaps Next Friday will be to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air what Boys Don't Cry was to Bosom Buddies.
(By the way, moviegoers literally stunned by the literally stunning Boys Don't Cry might want to attend the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center's "The Making of Boys Don't Cry" evening with director Kim Peirce and star Hilary Swank, next Thursday night at the Marriott Marquis. (1/20, 8 p.m., 1535 B'way, betw. 45th & 46th Sts., 645-2686, $25, reservation only; follows optional 6 p.m. cocktail reception and benefit at Riverside Townhouse, $100 contrib. to GenderPAC.)
Of course television is currently in the process of being redeemed by The Sopranos, probably the most spectacular union of real critical and commercial success since Nirvana. The second season starts Sunday (1/16, 9 p.m. on HBO), but will not, at least in the first three episodes, feature the return of Bokeem Woodbine as college-educated hiphop playa Massive Genius. The career aspirations of young Christopher Moltisanti will, in fact, turn from the music industry to the stock market, which should be almost as funny. Yet, I hope before the second season ends the tri-cultural storyline?initiated in episode 10, "A Hit Is a Hit," about Massive G's showdown with Hesh Rabkin over stolen r&b profits?is played out as satisfyingly as the rest of the debut season's dramas were. It just ain't Jersey if it don't got wops, kikes and Negroes all in the mix.
There'll be at least two of the three in attendance (minus my classless use of derisive terms, for which I hereby apologize) at the 92nd St. Y's observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. James Earl Jones will read from American slave narratives, including works by Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth. To preclude any chance of the narrations sounding like a Bell Atlantic commercial, you might want to hear Jones as Darth Vader for at least part of the time. Nat Turner imbued with the Dark Side of the Force will come closer to Dr. Dre than to MLK, guaranteeing an historical presentation as screwed up as our present. (1/17, 8 p.m., 1395 Lexington Ave. at 92nd St., 996-1100, $15.)
Surveillance is the technology that will keep institutionalized racism in place well into the 21st century. So the prophecy delivered in Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" is exponentially further from being fulfilled than it was back when that song and "Whitey on the Moon" came out. This is perhaps for the best?especially if Massive Genius manages to shake those old royalties out of the Soprano family. Still, Scott-Heron's tribute to Dr. King, Sunday night at S.O.B.'s, should offer much in the way of perspective for hiphop heads whose idea of political action involves painting "No More Prisons" on sidewalks. (1/16, 204 Varick St. at W. Houston St., 243-4940, $20.)
Also in town this week is Mayo Thompson's Red Krayola, Thursday at Maxwell's and Saturday at the Knitting Factory. (1/13, 1039 Washington St. at 11th St., Hoboken, 201-653-1703, $8; 1/15, 74 Leonard St., betw. Church St. & B'way, 219-3055, $10.) David Grubbs of Gastr del Sol and George Hurley, late of the Minutemen, play in this incarnation of the band that first put the post- in post-rock. They've been around even longer than Gil Scott-Heron, since before Harmony Korine was born. Harmful's new band, Ssab Songs, is scheduled to open the Knitting Factory show. Unless Korine brings his friend Ol' Dirty Bastard onstage to garnish the post-rock with some post-post-rock, this show is unlikely to be as interesting as Anthrax's hometown stop on their greatest-hits tour, Tuesday at Roxy. Amiable tube-amp stoner-rockers Fu Manchu open that one. (1/18, 515 W. 18th St. at 10th Ave., 645-5156, $17 plus service charges.)
A good New York tour guide could show you the Queens warehouse where Anthrax resided with Metallica, in extreme poverty, before they all got famous. But where I've always wanted to go even more is the secret forbidden places in Grand Central Station. Ever been waiting for a train there and seen someone up on the suspended walkways? I think this 92nd St. Y tour?"An Insider's View of the New/Old Grand Central Terminal"?might lead there. (Sunday, 1/16, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 996-1100 to reserve a place, $25.) If you take this tour and it doesn't go anyplace cool, tell them I said you should get your money back. They'll respect that, because I promote the 92nd Y's events constantly. For example: If you're thinking about converting to Judaism, Rabbi Carol Levithan will teach a seminar on Wednesday night that will cover the practical and philosophical issues involved. (1/12, 7:30 p.m., address & phone above, $10.)
Or, if you'd rather convert to Italianism, supplement your Sopranos viewership with a deep classic, Vittorio DeSica's Bicycle Thief, Sunday night at 7 p.m. at Anthology Film Archives. It's being screened as part of a victory lap of all-century classics at Anthology?the least moronic place in the whole East Village. (32 2nd Ave. at 2nd St., 505-5110.) Also showing this week are Buster Keaton's The General (Fri., 7 p.m.) and the double feature of Bergman's The Seventh Seal (Mon., 7 p.m.) and Murnau's Nosferatu (Monday, 9:15 p.m.). Adult readers, I mention all this FYI. But just for the kids?because from the heart "Heimytown" is all about the kids?let me just say: Go see a classic film you stupid kids! It's inspirational art for the ages you can enjoy stoned, sitting down in a comfy chair, in the dark, over the course of 90 minutes, and in these cases complete with real war wreckage, live stunts on trains, chess with Death and a bald vampire?so get off the fucking sofa and do it! You want to be down with the reference when Nas releases Nasferatu, don't you?! (Personally, I'm betting his next title will be Les Naserables, but one cannot be too ready, children.)
Ahem. My CD pick of the week is Kreidler's 1996 debut Weekend, previously available on import only, now scheduled for Tuesday rerelease on Mute. Ignore the facts that Kreidler is a side-project of not-very-exciting German avant-techno act To Rococo Rot, that Kreidler's not-great Mute debut Appearance and the Park was compared to lame-ass Trans Am and Tortoise and that German techno is simply a problem. Ignore it all, damn you! (Easier said than done, ja. My aversion to German-ness is so strong I have trouble not pronouncing the group's name "Kreedler" even though the "ei" there is pronounced just like the one in "Heimlich"?an Hungarian name, you meddling kids!) Humorous Weekend is more akin to Faust and Werner Herzog than the German acts that are big in English discos; the album in fact resembles Chiastic Slide?the 1997 release by Yorkshire outcasts Autechre?more than anything else. It's just a series of rebounding, interlocking beats, each building from a few brightly spastic tones to a thick, elastic web before giving way to the next set. Supposedly the music was inspired by Kreidler's detached observations of citizens going to and from work in Dusseldorf, which is one of those spotless German cities that was completely rebuilt after the war. Workers must have looked to these weekending cats like bulbous little orbs that bounce around creating the universe.