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From the sands of the Sahara to the mountains of northeastern China to the Konyak tribes of India, thrill-seeker Zelda Kaplan has just about seen it all. Now the 92-year-old socialista ping-pongs about Manhattan, regaling hipster artists, A-list celebs, and the fashion elite with her inspiring multicultural tales. This month Kaplan evaluates an eclectic -- and rather creepy -- set of new releases, including an Oscar-winning Japanese film about a cellist turned funeral professional, a Broadway play about a novelist haunted by the ghost of his first wife, and the sophomore LP from Brighton, Englands indie spook princess Bat for Lashes.

Departures, Yojiro Takitas Academy Award winner about a laid-off classical musician who perfects the art of Nokanshi, ceremonially preparing dead bodies for the afterlife: The film deals with death realistically -- everyone doesnt react to it in the same way -- and the departure ceremony was interesting for me as a culture freak. Id suggest editing down the beginning, though. I havent come to see a travelogue -- Ive come to see a story. Six out of 10. Departures opens in select theaters in May.Blithe Spirit, the Broadway revival of Nol Cowards 1941 comedy about a man caught between his second wife and the jealous spirit of his first, starring Rupert Everett, Christine Ebersole, and Angela Lansbury: "Great performances. Its a privilege to watch Lansbury, my idea of an agile, superb actor. Shes so confident of her craftmanship that she could play a 16-year-old or a 116-year-old. Seven out of 10." Blithe Spirit is playing at the Shubert Theatre in New York City.Two Suns, Bat For Lashes album of contemporary fables exploring chaos, the divided self, and metaphysical ideas concerning the connections between all existence: She must be superintelligent to think this way. Shes a well-schooled musician, but I wouldnt want to be in a relationship with her. Youd have to be a masochist! Id simply say, Bye, bye, baby. Im too lazy to be a drama queen. Its pleasant listening, though. Seven out of 10. Two Suns is out now on Astralwerks.Send a letter to the editor about this article

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