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by Dan Grunebaum

OE Electronic Sound and Vision Collection
credit: Music Mine

Unpredictable Japanese DJ/producer Tatsuya Oe, aka OE aka Captain Funk, joins forces with a posse of bands and DJs as well as performance unit 66b/cell in a night of music and media at Spiral Garden in Aoyama. Best known for his 1999 Captain Funk album, Bustin' Loose, which Fatboy Slim called "f***ing insane," Oe brings a unique sense of humor to his various collaborations. Also participating in the free event, "Discover your style 2003," sponsored by Mod's Hair, are indie rock unit Buffalo Daughter, live electronica act Numb, and VJ Paradise Jam.

Spiral Garden, May 24. See events listings for details.

Yohji Yamamoto

Since his debut at the 1981 Paris Collections, the acclaimed fashion designer has been creating clothing designs that never fail to attract both praise and criticism. Yamamoto continues to be a rebel, and last year he created a stir by presenting his Yohji Yamamoto collection during the haute couture season and then presenting his Y's show during the pret-a-porter season, effectively voiding the difference between the two. Curated by Carla Sozzani, "Yohji Yamamoto: May I help you?" presents three decades of work through the individual interpretations of Yamamoto's style by eight photographers. An installation of Yamamoto designs will be on display, and the Hara staff themselves will be garbed in Yamamoto wear in this look at an icon of Japanese fashion.

Hara Museum, through July 21. Tel: 03-3445-0651.

K-Ballet Company
credit: Kyoshiro Yoda

Tetsuya Kumakawa

Following a well-attended production of Giselle in February, the heartthrob of the Japanese dance world leads his company in a new production of Tchaikovsky's most famous ballet, Swan Lake. Formed in autumn 2001, Tetsuya Kumakawa's K-Ballet Company has through Kumakawa's sheer charisma brought a whole new generation to ballet. Kumakawa himself dances the role of Prince Siegfried, with original choreography reinventing the classic tragedy of Siegfried and his ill-fated lover Princess Odette.

Kanagawa Kenmin Hall, May 24-25; Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, May 27, 29-30; Bunkamura Orchard Hall, June 11-12, 14-15. See events listings for details.

Akaoni Daiko
credit: Akaoni Daiko

Shakuhachi master Christopher Yohmei Blasdel will join Tokyo's resident international taiko drumming group in an evening of exciting music and drumming this Thursday. Surrender to the Beat will incorporate original and traditional pieces and will culminate in a drum circle led by master facilitator John Yost, where the audience can join in the rhythm and the fun. Founded in 2000 and led by Michael Naishtut, Akaoni Daiko performs traditional pieces of matsuri, mikoshi and bon odori, as well as original compositions. Naishtut also teaches an ongoing taiko workshop every Tuesday night at Bar Isn't It?

Bar Isn't It? Roppongi, May 29. See events listings for details.

The Victorian Nude
credit: ©Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Venus Verticordia, 1864-68

While 19th-century Victorian England may have been buttoned-down when it came to the public exposure of flesh, this prudishness did not extend to its artists. Controversial painters of the era created richly detailed, anatomically correct nudes based on classical mythology, fueling intense debate about public art and morals. "The Victorian Nude: Morality and Art in 19th-century Britain," on tour from the Tate Britain Museum, takes a look at the artistic output of this prosperous time at the peak of the British Empire through some 100 works by artists such as William Mulready and Joseph Noel Paton. "This exhibition charts the precarious development of subject matter which was both prestigious and dangerous," says the Tate, "highlighting concerns about sexuality, desire and censorship that are still relevant today."

Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music Museum, May 24 through August 31. Info: Mainichi Shimbun 03-3212-0189.

Charisma Man
Credit: AKNG Press

Created by writer Larry Rodney and graphic designer Glen Schroeder, the cartoon strip "Charisma Man" first appeared in the February 1998 issue of The Alien magazine and soon became part of gaijin folklore. The strip, which lampoons the inflated egos of Western men in Japan, their female Japanese admirers, and their nemesis, Western Woman, has now been collected into a volume edited by its latest writer, Neil Garscadden. Says Professor Larry Damaser of the Princeton Illiterary Monthly: "Without a doubt, some of the most significant pieces of artistic work ever."

AKNG Press, ¥1,000. Available at Tower Records' Shinjuku and Shibuya branches, Good Day Books and Caravan Books, or by contacting

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