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The Independent Culture

Burne-Jones. Large, almost convincing retro-spective of the gloomy and sensual Pre-Raphaelite. Birmingham Gas Hall (0121 303 1966), to 17 Jan. Sun 12.30-5, Mon-Thurs 10-5, Fri 10.30-5.

Grinling Gibbons. All you need to know about the baroque wood-carver. V&A, SW7 (0171 938 8349), to 24 Jan. Sun, Tues-Sat 10-5.45, Mon 12-5.

Picasso: Painter and Sculptor in Clay. A dazzling selection of the master's ceramics. Royal Academy, W1 (0171 300 8000), to 16 Dec. Sun-Thurs & Sat 10-6, Fri 10-8.30.

John Singer Sargent. Posh people, slithering brush-strokes: but lots of these portraits are rather good. Tate, SW1 (0171 887 8000), to 17 Jan. Daily 10-5.30.

When Time Began to Rant and Rage. Excellent, often sad survey of 20th- century Irish painting. Liverpool Walker Art Gallery (0151 478 4199), to 10 Jan. Sun 12-5, Mon-Sat 10-5. TIM HILTON


A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe (Cape, pounds 20). A brilliant book - vast, satiric, moving, often profound. Wolfe's deliberate play for the title of America's Dickens. JUSTIN CWRIGHT

Sir Vidia's Shadow by Paul Theroux (Hamish Hamilton, pounds 17.99). Inhabiting a fissure between memoir and fiction, Theroux has written a case for the moral and literary death of VS Naipaul. See review, page 13. WILLIAM SUTCLIFFE

Antonia White by Jane Dunn (Cape, pounds 25). Dunn turns her penetrating gaze on one of the most interesting writers of the 20th century.

Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice by AS Byatt (Chatto, pounds 12). The hedonist, art-lover and poet in Byatt take centre stage in this new collection. See review, page 11. MICHELE ROBERTS

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind (Bloomsbury, pounds 20). An inquiry into the upheaval in American filmmaking during the 1970s. See review, page 12. ANTHONY QUINN


Buffalo '66 (15). Welcome to Vincent Gallo's world: the writer-director-star likes cosy warm-heartedness and cool perversion, he likes Dennis Potter and John Cassavetes, and he likes the indecently over-exposed cleavage of his co-star Christina Ricci. One of the year's most enthralling and memorable films. Screen/Baker Street (0171 935 2772) 1.00 3.00 6.00 8.30.

The Dream Life Of Angels (18). Erick Zonca's loosely-woven character piece stars a perfectly-cast Elodie Bouchez and Natacha Regnier as two young women caught in the poverty trap in Lille. Zonca's understanding of the grammar of such friendships is sure: his film rings with a bright note of truth. ABC Swiss Centre (0870 9020403) 1.40 4.00 6.20 8.40; Clapham Picture House (0171 369 1720) 4.00 9.00; Curzon Minema (0171 369 1723) 2.30 4.40 6.50 9.00.

The Fountainhead (PG). See review, page 5. Curzon Soho (0171 734 2255) 4.30 7.00; NFT (0171 928 3232) 8.45.

My Name Is Joe (15). Ken Loach's latest slice of socialist realism is one of his best; passionate, powerful, and blessed with a remarkable performance from its star, Peter Mullan, as a recovering alcoholic. Louise Goodall is the health visitor assigned to him. ABC Tottenham Court Rd (8070 902 0414) 1.15 4.00 6.40 9.20; Gate (0171 727 4043) 3.45 6.15 8.50; Ritzy (0171 733 2229) 3.45 6.30 9.05; Screen/Green (0171 226 3520) 3.30 6.30 8.50; Virgin Haymarket (0870 907 0712) 12.55 3.30 6.10 8.40.

The Truman Show (PG). Jim Carrey is at the centre of the panopticon in Peter Weir's engrossing morality tale about TV and the tyranny of everyday life. Weir sidesteps his own questions in the closing moments, but you can go home and argue them out for yourselves. Odeon Swiss Cottage (0181 315 4220) 1.10 6.15; Virgin Trocadero (0870 907 0716) 4.35 6.50 9.20; Whiteleys (0990 888990) 6.20 8.40. (P) MATTHEW SWEET


REM: Up (Warner). Overflowing with ideas after nearly two decades - REM at their most interesting and beautiful.

Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Columbia). The Fugees' chanteuse kills all our doubts softly with her songs. A hip-hop-soul- reggae-gospel masterpiece.

Beck: Mutations (Geffen). No samples, no hip-hop beats, and the new Dylan is still well ahead of the pack. NICHOLAS BARBER

Various: Gershwin - America's Favourite Songwriter (Carlton). It's hard to beat this cheap and cheerful, double-CD centennial tribute, with contributions from Astaire, Holiday, Garland, Sinatra and more. Plus, Gershwin himself playing "Rhapsody in Blue".

Joe Harriott: Free Form; Abstract (Verve Redial). Re-releases by the Jamaican-born inventor of British free jazz. Recorded in 1961 and 1962 respectively, these are essential documents from a heroic past. PHIL JOHNSON


The Featherstonehaughs. Lea Anderson's all-male company look into the erotic sketchbooks of Egon Schiele. Goodrich Theatre, SW15 (0181 871 8711), tonight.

Stomp. Pure solar-plexus pleasure in a rhythm 'n' dance show that uses everything including the kitchen sink. Roundhouse, NW1 (0171 420 0171), to 27 Dec.

Rambert Dance Co. This company is on a roll: an exhilarating triple bill of work by Merce Cunningham, Siobhan Davies and Christopher Bruce. Sheffield Lyceum (0114 276 9922), Wed-Sat. JENNY GILBERT


Marco Polo. The American-based, Chinese composer Tan Dun conducts the UK premiere of his exotic, esoteric but award-winning opera as part of the 21st Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Huddersfield Town Hall, 01484 430528, tonight; Barbican, EC2 (0171 638 8891), Tues. MICHAEL WHITE


Britannicus. The second of Jonathan Kent's two West End productions of Racine triumphs with Toby Stephens as the malevolent Nero, Diana Rigg as his formidable, scheming mum and Julian Glover and David Bradley as rival advisers. Albery, WC2 (0171 369 1740), in rep to 12 Dec. Thurs & Fri 7.30. M: Sat 3.00.

Love Upon the Throne. A right Royal satire from the National Theatre of Brent, about our forelock-tugging reverence for the monarchy. Comedy, SW1 (0171 369 1731), to 31 Jan. Mon-Sat 8.00. M: Wed & Sat 3.00.

Richard III. Elijah Moshinsky's stirring main-house production, happily unburdened by concepts and clearly audible, has a comically mischievous Robert Lindsay as Richard. Cardiff New Theatre (01222 878889), Tues-Sat; then touring. Tues-Sat 7.30. M: Wed & Sat 2.00.

The Seagull. An avuncular Ian McKellen heads an exuberant cast in Jude Kelly's go-for-broke traverse staging of Chekhov. Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse (0113 213 7700), to 5 Dec. Mon-Sat 7.45. M: Wed & Sat 2.00.

The Weir. Conor McPherson's anecdotal play, set in a small bar in the west of Ireland, has some of the best ensemble acting in London, with Jim Norton outstanding. Royal Court Downstairs, WC2 (0171 565 5000), to 23 Jan. Mon-Sat 7.30. M: Wed & Sat 3.30. ROBERT BUTLER


Live Flesh. Pedro Almodovar's latest film explores his long-standing themes - desire, jealousy, destiny, sexual pleasure and sexual inadequacy - but its subdued style creates a thoughtful, tender and generous film. DENNIS LIM