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September 19, 2005 // UPDATED 1:58 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

Esther's secret (not Victoria's)

Esther is wistful as she sits at the sewing machine. She's engaged in the solitary career of crafting fine delicates for varied clients, including everyone from the lowly prostitute to high-profile misses in the play "Intimate Apparel."

From her fashionable shop in 1905 New York, Esther sells the notion of romance in the form of sexy lingerie (turn-of-the-century sex appeal). While she stitches meticulous detail oh-so-carefully onto barely there silks and satins for women who hope to rekindle love, Esther herself feels a personal void.

That is, she yearns to reap what she sews. At 35 years old, she's a proud entrepreneur saving up to open a beauty parlor. Although she likes her autonomy, she's conflicted: Is she destined to remain single forever? While she enables others to feel attractive with her feminine creations, there's nobody to encourage her on the dating scene.

A history of bad dates and lackluster affairs don't lift her spirits.

That's how her correspondence with a mysterious suitor starts. Pre-e-mail and speed-dating, Esther enjoys a snail-mail relationship with a man who claims to be writing from the Panama Canal.

As is the case with online relationships, Esther doesn't really know with whom she exchanges personal information. Of course, that's not the only surprise in store for her.

• Tu-Su Sept. 24-Oct. 23; Tu-Sa 7:30 p.m., Su 7 p.m. Guthrie Theater, 725 Vineland Pl. $15-$50. 377-2224,

The sound of music

Artists at Interact Center for the Arts produced a trio of three-minute films that confine a single sustained sound for a show called "Off the Page." Collectively, they isolated just one note that wasn't synched with the films.

The noise is editorial and acts as a collective voice over the otherwise silent films. In addition to the audible component, they incorporated a large pair of wings housed at Interact's Inside Out Gallery.

These surreal films were labor intensive, produced on old-fashioned splicing machines and viewed with antiquated projectors. Created in five-person ensembles, the films have been in the production phase since May (they were recently edited).

First, in "The Sound Set the Microphone Free," a lonely microphone struggles to hear. The microphone, which is intended to amplify noise, is finally set free by sound.

"I Wish I Could Fly" is a poetic piece, with text woven throughout the abstract plot that probes what freedom is to each of the film's participants.

"Birds and Cats Make the Best Friends" follows a cat with wings that embarks on a trip of self-discovery and gathers friends along the way.

"Off the Page" also includes works from disabled artists Donovan Durham, Robert Torfin, Janice Essick, Hadley Rosenberg and Nancy Liedl.

Producer Jennifer Arave, who facilitated the project, said that she was heartened by the result.

"What's interesting is how they [the artists] started to open room for each other and assisted each other in coming up with a story and the technical process of editing. They really started to pound out common ideas and images, things they could really hold onto," she said.

• M-Sa Sept. 23-Dec. 10, noon-4 p.m. Inside Out Gallery at Interact Center, 212 3rd Ave. N. Ste. 140. Free. 339-5145 ext. 13,

Endeavor 8000

As someone who's not even good at foosball, much less an endurance sport such as mountain climbing, I can especially appreciate Ed Viesturs' second climb up Mount Everest. For me, that sounds like living the impossible dream.

Plus, I'm curious where the drive to climb mountains comes from? How do you stay focused? I can't even watch the same channel for too long, much less face the same scenery for hours while I progress gradually up a peak that changes only subtly.

I just don't have Viesturs' patience. The 8,000-meter summit made him the first American to achieve a series of climbs up 14 peaks of the same altitude (without an oxygen supply) in Endeavor 8000, a project accomplished incrementally throughout 16 years.

Viesturs will be on hand to reflect on his hard-won journey.

• Th Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m. The Woman's Club Theatre, 407 W. 15th St. $15. 651-989-5151,

Anna Pratt can be reached at