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a selective listing of recommended cultural and community events

compiled by megan finnegan

friday, may 7

are we alone?-the "ethics in film" group screens contact (1997), followed by a discussion. in the film, dr. ellie arroway (jodie foster) searches for extra-terrestrial intelligence with the encouragement and romantic interest of author and christian philosopher palmer joss (matthew mcconaughey). story by carl sagan and directed by robert zemeckis. new york society for ethical culture's ceremonial hall, 2 w. 64th st., 212-874-5210 x113; 7 p.m., $5 suggested donation (includes drinks and snacks).

cellos get real-the modern "cello-rock" group break of reality "plays with genuine technique but rocks out like it means it," says time out new york. the group features cellists martin torch-ishii, patrick laird and philip borter, with ivan trevino on percussion. break of reality has released two albums and is currently working on a cover song project featuring works by groups like metallica and system of a down. not exactly your father's string quartet. baruch performing arts center, 55 lexington ave., 646-312-5073; 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., $45.

works of faith-the drilling company celebrates the assumption of the lease on their longtime home, the drilling company theatre (formerly the 78th street theatre lab), with a production of nine short plays on the subject of faith. the productions are meant to reflect the company's self-proclaimed "faith in the space" and cover a range of ideas and writing styles. with both veteran and emerging acting talents, including darrell larson, veronica cruz, william balzac, bob greenberg and karla hendrick. through may 23. the drilling company theatre, 236 w. 78th st., 212-873-9050; 8 p.m., $15.

saturday, may 8

chelsea galleries-rafael risemberg, ph.d., guides a "best exhibits" tour of seven chelsea galleries in search of the best current shows in painting, sculpture, electronic media and photography. tours last approximately two hours. meet in front of 526 w. 26th st., 212-946-1548; 1 p.m. and 3:45 p.m., $20.

botanicals-as part of new york city wildflower week, the green energy arts and education center solar one hosts an interactive plant fair. attendees can pot a native new york city plant to take home or take a tour of the native flora gardens. kids can learn about insects and wildflowers, work on crafts and get their faces painted. the lower east side ecology center lets kids get a hands-on experience with composting worms. solar one, 24-20 fdr drive near east 23rd street, 212-505-6050; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., free.

world languages-district 3 hosts a daylong celebration of world languages and the arts. activities include a panel discussion of the role of foreign languages and the arts in children's education, featuring officials from the spanish, french and italian consulates; an international food tasting; and performances by various school groups, including p.s. 87's flamenco dancers and p.s. 165's international choir. p.s. 75, 736 west end ave., 212-678-5857, x4; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., free.

fundraiser-the immanuel lutheran church congregation hosts a bazaar to raise money for a new roof and steeple for the church, founded during the civil war. browse items like kitchen and housewares, appliances, bric-a-brac, accessories, paintings, silver, china, clothing, books, toys and furniture. immanuel lutheran church, 1296 lexington ave., 212-289-8128; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., free.

silver anniversary-laguardia high school celebrates its 25th anniversary with a fundraising auction. celebrity auctioneer alasdair nichol (of antiques roadshow) joins actors jay o. saunders and maryann plunkett, along with laguardia parents, as hosts. fabulous prizes include tours of designer isaac mizrahi's studio and backstage experiences at cbs, the metropolitan opera and various broadway shows. raffle tickets will also be sold, with winners getting the opportunity to choose from lots including dinner for six with food network star daisy martinez and insider passes to the new york film festival. laguardia high school, 100 amsterdam ave., 718-499-1974; 6 p.m., $50.

celebrate mamita-the ballet hispanico school of dance invites kids of all ages to mamitas day 2010. putting a special twist on mother's day, this event includes creative movement classes for parents and kids in addition to salsa and hip-hop dance classes. also take in an arts and crafts room for children, a preview class for ballet hispanico's pre-school summer dance workshop and a student performance by ballet hispanico's school ensemble. ballet hispanico, 167 w. 89th st., 212-362-6710, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., free.

youth ballet-the cuyahoga valley youth ballet present fancy nancy. this pre-professional ballet company from northeastern ohio perform a family favorite, based on the book series by jane o'connor about a young girl who visits the museum of natural history in new york city only to have the museum displays come to life before her very eyes. this new production features choreography by francis patrelle, artistic director of dances for the professional company dances patrelle, and an original score by composer patrick soluri. peter norton symphony space, 2537 broadway, 212-864-5400; noon and 2 p.m. $10 to $30.

sunday, may 9

abt history-the guggenheim marks the 70th anniversary spring season of the american ballet theatre with a special sneak preview. abt dancers perform excerpts from this season's repertoire, and a panel with abt alumni, representing each of the company's seven decades of existence, discusses the group's work. also may 10. peter b. lewis theater, solomon r. guggenheim museum, 1071 fifth ave., 212-423-3587; 7:30 p.m., $30.

stories for haiti-the storytelling center of new york hosts a family-friendly celebration of haitian culture to raise money for the earthquake-stricken nation. various performers from haiti (lily cerat and singer erol josue) and new york (diane wolkstein and bill gordh) bring haiti's music, dance and stories to life. a silent auction at 1 p.m. supports atd fourth world, a charity that has been working in haiti since 1981, and helps the disadvantaged access food, shelter and medical assistance. a special mother's day brunch is served. scandinavia house, 58 park ave., 212-613-3117; 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., $20.

monday, may 10

art and soul-chabad of the upper east side hosts an art exhibition and sale featuring paintings, lithographs and bas-relief mosaics by the world-renowned artist michoel muchnik. muchnik's mosaics adorn both the schneerson center for jewish life and the jacques and hanna schwalbe mikvah. the schneerson center for jewish life, 419 e. 77th st., 212-717-4613; 8 p.m., $10 in advance, $18 at the door.

making art work-the carter burden center for the aging invites all new yorkers over the age of 60 to a showcase of crafts and artwork to kick off national senior center week. the show features crafts and artwork-including cloth dolls, pillows, quilts, greeting cards and jewelry-made by seniors who participate in "making art work" classes. guests can also take part in a free class to learn how to create altered fabric brooches. "making art work" classes are offered twice a week through the center's luncheon club. multi-generational art classes are also available at gallery 307, in chelsea. the carter burden center's luncheon club, lower level of jan hus church, 351 e. 74th st., 646-400-5254; 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., free.

health food-dorot presents a discussion of food safety and nutrition led by howard brandstein, director of the sixth street community center. the discussion covers issues like food safety, genetic engineering and organic standards. the film the real dirt on farmer john, a documentary about a midwestern farmer who abandons traditional chemical farming in favor of organic farming, is screened. dorot, 171 w. 85th st., 212-769-2850; 2:15 p.m., $5.

tuesday, may 11

mexico's 200th-the philharmonic orchestra of the america's begins its yearlong celebration of mexico's bicentennial with a presentation of "mi alma mexicana." the orchestra's founder and music director, alondra de la parra, leads a performance of rediscovered and little-performed pieces by mexican composers written during the last two centuries. she is the first woman from mexico to conduct in new york city. the concert is followed by a vip dinner at rosa mexicano on columbus avenue to support the orchestra's annual fund. alice tully hall at lincoln center, 1941 broadway, 212-671-4050; 7 p.m., $15 to $125.

wednesday, may 12

the other mendelssohn-the lyric chamber music society of new york hosts a special event featuring the music of fanny mendelssohn, sister of the better-known composer felix. the event celebrates the release of a new biography of fanny, the other mendelssohn, by dr. larry todd. the concert features music by fanny and other composers in her circle, including the husband-and-wife team of clara and robert schumann and johannes brahms. a post-concert reception and book sale follows. kosciuszko foundation, 15 e. 65th st., 212-239-9190; 7:30 p.m., $65.

thursday, may 13

shop for a cause-the 38th annual posh fashion sale features clothes and accessories from top designers such as carolina herrera, christian lacroix, oscar de la renta, ralph lauren, coach and burberry. proceeds go to lighthouse international, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment. through may 15. lighthouse international, 111 e. 59th st., 212-821-9445; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., $10.

killer game of monopoly-the beckett theatre presents the new york premiere of the new comedy killing women, by wasserstein award-winning playwright marisa wegrzyn. starring lisa brescia (wicked), this satire of corporate america focuses on abby, an up-and-comer at a company of assassins who is simultaneously denied a promotion and is asked to kill another woman. what happens next, described as a "life-or-death game of monopoly," shows what happens "when a woman is not taken seriously, but she does have a gun." through june 5. the beckett theatre, 410 w. 42nd st., 212-279-4200; 8 p.m., $18.

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