When I heard they were tearing down the 30s-vintage Hayden, it seemed reasonable to assume that the replacement would be an imitation of the "interactive" science museums they have in San Francisco and Seattle?sort of physics playgrounds that don't teach much but are very colorful because every exhibit has a different corporate sponsor, and are always big draws because kids can touch everything. The people behind the Rose had a lot more imagination than that, though, and now it'll be West Coast tourists buying tickets to touch our big sphere. Just being in the main room is half the fun of the Rose. It's about the size of the interior of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and as nicely sunlit as a penthouse apartment. It's a real tasteful kind of grandiosity, iconic and unglossed, not like what you find out West. Who'd have thunk old money could do new science?
Wonderfully, all the Rose's big exhibits convey the same lesson in different dimensions, and it's one that, when you think about it, old money might be well suited to teach: perspective on our place in the universe. There's the timeline walk from the Big Bang to the present, where all human history is represented by the width of a hair. Encircling the sphere one floor up is a series of stations explaining what happens to 10 every time you add a zero to it, with clever size comparisons against the sphere to drive each point home. The sky show inside the sphere is about pulling back from Earth to see how it looks amidst the solar system, then how the solar system looks in the Milky Way, and how the Milky Way looks in the Local Group and so on. Arriving at an amazingly arrogant moment in our cultural evolution?when we see fit to teach kids that physics is something they interact with, instead of something that acts on them?the Rose Center is a temple of humility.
The Rose Law Firm, in contrast, was a den of corruption and sleaze. But I am humbled, too, by the presence of Hillary Clinton in town this week. (Weds., 2/16, at the 92nd St. Y, 1395 Lexington Ave. at 92nd St., 996-1100.) The fake New Yawk accent in her atrocious reading of the scripted soundbite line in her announcement speech was absolutely stellar in its naked phoniness and ineptitude. It truly arouses in me the sort of wonderment akin to what one feels gazing upon the heavens, to watch such a complete lightweight succeed so out of her depth. If she can be the senator from New York, acting the way she does on the stump, with the anti-qualifications for the job she has, then there is no reason I can't become the next power forward for the Knicks.
We know Rudy is a monstrous asshole, but we're talking about Pat Moynihan's seat here. It must not go to a woman who cannot deliver a frickin' speech. Rudy's press conference on "Captain Jack" wasn't what a healthy person would call erudite, but c'mon, it was hilarious. So was the one in response to Hillary wearing a Yankee cap. He's much more likely than Hillary to win federal funds (aka our tax dollars) for the city, and the Senate might prove a good venue for ol' skeleton-face to learn humility. He'll probably end up having his nasty ass censured. (But if you just can't wait, join the Citywide Coalition to Stop Giuliani, which meets Thurs., 2/17, 6:30 p.m., 122 W. 27th St., 10th fl., betw. 6th & 7th Aves., 718-859-0857.)
Yes, expect to have to watch your mouth during the McCain administration, 'cause that wingnut medicine-show barker don't take no guff, dagummit. Wake up, America. It's horrible how the guy suffered, but it doesn't make him any more patriotic or heroic than a stinky hippie who moved to Canada to avoid fighting in that unjust war. This is partly the fault of Tom Brokaw, or whoever wrote The Greatest Generation for him?lending currency to the preposterous boomer notion that we who've had an "easy ride" haven't really "lived," maaaan. So let's elect Grampa Shellshock and make a tough ride for ourselves?brilliant. Brokaw is giving a seminar on tv news Thursday at the Museum of Television and Radio, if you wanna stop by and give him a snappy salute. (2/17, 7:30 p.m., 25 W. 52nd St., betw. 5th & 6th Aves., 621-6600, $10.)
Also scheduled to appear in person this week is author Kurt Vonnegut Jr., who quite annoyingly didn't show up when New York Press' C.J. Sullivan booked him to read at Rocky Sullivan's bar. This time, the crustiest, bitterest member of the Greatest Generation is scheduled to discuss literature with the don of middlebrow criticism, The Nation's John Leonard. (2/21, 8 p.m., at the 92nd St. Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 996-1100, $15.) Bronx Boy C.J. Sullivan, meanwhile?younger, more reliable, with a better voice?reads one day earlier, as part of a variety show called the Dog and Pony Show, Monday at Walkerspace. (2/21, 8 p.m., 46 Walker St., betw. Church St. & B'way, 254-9888, $6.)
Monday, Presidents' Day, is also the night of the next hiphop show of note, at Don Hill's of all places. Headlining this one is the great and unsung J-Live. Scheduled to host is Apani B-Fly of Polyrhythm Addicts, another great underground MC. As for the rest of the bill, as usual, anything can happen, but at press time they're advertising Scienz of Life, Dujeous, Breez Evahflowin (apparently not the great Breeze from Juggaknots), Writers Guild and C-Vees. (2/21, 511 Greenwich St. at Spring St., 334-1390, $10.)
Forgive my unusual lack of trenchant hiphop criticism this week, as I'm dumbfounded and flabbergasted by the terrifically bizarre new album by Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele. Anyone else grappling with this latest milestone from the Wu-Tang camp, please e-mail me if you want a correct track listing. Epic managed to provide one at the press listening session, but the list on the label is, as you may have noticed, wrong and incomplete. Just to make the album more confusing, I guess.
In preparation for the next Wu-Tang landmark?RZA's soundtrack for the new Jarmusch film, Ghost Dog?Anthology Film Archives is doing a Jarmusch retrospective. See the Movie Clock for a full schedule, but I want to call special attention to the screenings of Dead Man, because it's a minor masterpiece, had a severely truncated theatrical release and doesn't come across half as well on video. A story about how identity oozes through the cracks between cultures, Dead Man plays Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 9:30 p.m. & Sunday at 2 p.m. (2/18-20, 32 2nd Ave. at 2nd St., 505-5110.)