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I Am Eleven Explores a Number Rather Than Lives

Here’s how an 11-year-old French girl describes the future. “There are flying cars, dogs who eat screws and batteries, and aliens have captured the world,” she gushes. But then she slows, thinks harder, folds her arms, kicks her legs in their black leggings. Inspiration strikes: “And every human being has a huge house, and human beings don’t have to do anything because the robots do everything.”

Her forecast is paranoid and utopian, imaginative and shopworn, a goony improvisation and possibly revelatory in the manner of play-therapy. Rather than explore it, or ask a follow-up, director/interviewer Genevieve Bailey just cuts away, to another kid elsewhere in the world, talking about wanting to grow up to be an actress.

Bailey’s I Am Eleven travels the world, pointing the camera at 11-year-olds and just letting the kids rip. She favors contrasts over context, presenting her subjects in a restless montage that never lets up. The thoughts of an Aboriginal girl in a Melbourne housing complex might be followed by those of Goh or Jack, kids in Thailand astride elephants, or the Swedish boys, both Muslim, who want to be rappers one day. Jianfang in China shows off pigs, horses, and chrysanthemums; a global-minded French boy declares, “I love snakes, and I don’t like racist people at all.” The States are well represented by a Georgian boy who, after reading National Geographic, wants to grow up to be a scientist — although he acknowledges that he won’t be able to crack cold fusion by himself.

“I wanted to make something energetic, optimistic, universal, and real,” Bailey announces in voiceover as the movie begins. She’s certainly accomplished that, but it’s too bad she didn’t also aim for vital, illuminating, or consistently compelling. She cuts from kid to kid so quickly that we rarely get the chance to feel we know them, and I Am Eleven devotes too little time to the circumstances of a child’s life in, say, India or Bulgaria. (The kid from the latter sports an eyepatch and says he would fight anyone anywhere “for love.”) One wrenching surprise works its way in in spite of Bailey’s approach: Shy Siham, in Morocco, answers questions about herself, but is continually interrupted by a local woman just offscreen, presumably her mother: “Tell her we don’t have electricity.”

“Why?” Siham ask, beaming but nervous. “Do you think if I tell her she will connect the electricity?”

The woman continues: “Tell her your family is poor. Your father is a laborer. Whenever someone needs him, they call him, otherwise no income. Tell her . . . the women cannot work.”

Siham obliges, telling Bailey some of this stuff, but both subject and interviewer seem more comfortable once the conversation turns back to the young girl’s hobbies. (“Study, sport, and travel.”) Even while facing relentless poverty, kids say the darnedest things.

Just how little I Am Eleven reveals about the kids is laid bare by the movie’s unfortunate website. Here’s actual captions from some of its striking photos of these kids: “Siham is from a small village in Morocco where she lives with etc etc.” “Goh lives in the former capital of Thailand Ayutthaya with his family and elephants etc etc.” That dummy text — the first thing I found online when searching for Siham — is, sadly, what most viewers of the film will walk away with.

Any isolated 10 minutes of I Am Eleven would make for excellent viewing. (Witness the charming girl in India who says, “I didn’t know what an interview was before.”) But heaped together into a feature, these brief introductions prove frustrating, unrevealing of any greater truth, and weighed down by the soundtrack’s jaunty ukuleles, which too often suggest those commercials where banks insist they’re as unique as you are.

Bailey’s thesis is that 11 is the age “when the world feels big in a good way — and at our feet,” and her film plays as a meditation on that simple idea. I use the term “meditation” advisedly: I Am Eleven asks you to sit in the dark and contemplate an upbeat idea for 90 minutes, even as the world — in the form of poverty, inequality, and the commands of that offscreen woman — batters against it.

She’s dedicated, and she sticks with it. No matter how interesting the world around these kids might seem, Bailey’s always ready to shut it out and move on to etc. and etc.

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Glenn Close Recounts Humanity’s Crimes Against the Planet in Home

Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s Home is an urgent jeremiad decrying man’s plundering of the earth’s natural resources. Or so anyone who paid attention only to the film’s audio track would be led to believe. As mournful strings set the tone, narrator Glenn Close delivers a withering, if repetitive, account of humanity’s crimes against the planet, a list that includes factory farming, deforestation, and the building of megalopolises that require an ever-increasing supply of energy to power. But while Close’s testimony is sufficiently terrifying, moving toward an apocalyptic vision of climate-change catastrophe, the urgency of her tone is belied by the placidity of the film’s visuals. Capturing the earth’s rural and urban landscapes in a series of overhead shots taken across 54 countries, Arthus-Bertrand shoots everything with the same slightly bland, meticulously pretty kino-eye. The result is a leveling impulse that refuses to make an aesthetic distinction between uncontaminated nature (a hot spring turned a near-psychedelic aqua by its algae content), devastated landscapes (soil-eroded hills in Madagascar that look like raw meat), and the negative results of humankind’s actions on impoverished populations (aerial shots of teeming Lagos). With everything glimpsed at a comfortable overhead distance, our planet becomes so much eye candy for the Nat Geo set.

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Dinosaur Feathers Mix Choral Splendor with Snappy Drum Machines

It was in part from a series of dinosaur-themed picture books—specifically, the volume about the bizarre winged devil-turkey known as the archaeopteryx—that I first learned, as an eight-year-old, that the so-called terrible lizards were actually closer to giant plucked chickens. Greg Sullo, frontman for the Brooklyn-based indie-pop band Dinosaur Feathers, found out in early 2008: “I was at the Museum of Natural History, and learned the wonderful fact that dinosaurs had feathers—even T. rex and the velociraptor,” he recalls, visibly excited.

He was so inspired by that marbled nugget of truth and whimsy—not hard to believe, given that he used to write songs based on National Geographic articles about Bhutan and the polar ice caps—that it came to define his band, which now tends toward groggy acoustic pop tunes sandwiched between abundant vocal harmonies and a sequenced drum machine. “History Lessons,” the B-side from Dinosaur Feathers’ debut single, is nothing so much as a fossilized Fleet Fox, opening with four-part choral interplay, forest-gully reverb, and triumphant major chords. But the band forges its own textures, thanks to the drum machine, which sounds anything but mechanical, at least once Sullo uses it to get his More Cowbell on, as well as his congas, tablas, and bells, all heavily altered and pitch-shifted, usually with nary a snare sample in sight.

That exotic zest has become one of the band’s defining features, even though it comes from a can. “I think it drives a lot of what this band does, in terms of the flavor,” says Derek Zimmerman, Sullo’s lanky former college a cappella buddy who now plays keyboards and handles most of the vocal arrangements.

“I wanted to create something that seemed sort of fantastical, but when you broke it down into its elements, was still very organic,” explains Sullo, who immediately thereafter describes “taking a look back at those old ’50s and ’60s songs and reimagining them with modern technology that the Beatles and Os Mutantes didn’t have.” Either way, Dinosaur Feathers are evolving nicely—from this summer’s free-download Early Morning Risers EP to the full-length scheduled for March—but Sullo still worries about his favorite paleontological theory. “It’ll be interesting to see where that information goes in 20 years,” he says. “I wonder how much of it is getting into literature and textbooks and the sort of books you’d have as a kid. Maybe we can do our part to help.”

Not necessary, guys: It’s already out there. And, in any case, when faced with a chimera that’s part dragon and part peacock, who can really say which half doesn’t belong?

Dinosaur Feathers play Cameo November 23 and December 7 and 17

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ND/NF: Louis Psihoyos Must Save the Dolphins

The Cove is Louis Psihoyos’s documentary indictment of the Japanese dolphin trade, in which the mammals are herded—the preferred sold to Western aquariums (for $150,000) and the rest slaughtered, with their mercury-tainted meat then fed to an unsuspecting Japanese public. Much of the graphic violence was shot with hidden cameras, planted by Psihoyos and his crew the night before a dolphin slaughter. John Anderson spoke to Psihoyos, a former award-winning National Geographic photographer, before his film’s “New Directors” New York premiere.

Is the Japanese intractability regarding dolphin slaughter as insurmountable as it seems? And is it just cultural?

If you argue with the Japanese ministry of fishing about killing [a smart] animal for food, you get in all kinds of trouble, because cows are smart, pigs are smart—some cultures eat dogs. Inhumanity to animals is widespread. But we can leapfrog over that to an inhumanity-to-man issue, because the animals are toxic. We don’t even have to discuss the cruelty—that’s obvious. And if they’re toxic, why does the government encourage people to eat dolphins? The health ministry’s website encourages pregnant women to eat 80 grams of bottlenose dolphins every 60 days. It’s unconscionable.

The main problem isn’t really dolphin eating, though, is it?

If there weren’t a captive-dolphin industry, it wouldn’t pay for them to go out and hunt these animals. It’s a global industry because Westerners are great patrons of dolphin-ariums.

New Directors is an arts festival, and yours is an issue-driven film. Were you surprised to be accepted?

We were ecstatic, which is how you feel when your work can be shown at MOMA. Even the horrific parts are really kind of beautiful. I can say this because I didn’t shoot it—and nobody in the crew really shot it—but it contains some of the best cinematic moments in movie history. The one sequence is like the Zapruder film, except it goes on for five minutes. And the hidden cameras blew anything I did away. The crew was shooting the Citizen Kane of environmental films while they were sleeping.

What do you want The Cove to accomplish?

I would love to shut down the cove. And I’d like people to think twice before they go to a dolphin-arium. When you train these intelligent animals to do stupid human tricks, it says more about our intelligence than it does theirs.

“The Cove” screens March 28 and March 31

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Tarsem’s The Fall: A Singular Spectacle

Something like a pain-fueled, R-rated Princess Bride, The Fall straddles the intertwined worlds of storytelling and story. One half is a child’s-eye-view tour of the convalescent wing of a Los Angeles hospital, set during the infancy of the film industry. Heartbroken-to-the-brink-of-suicide stuntman Roy (Lee Pace) finds himself fabricating a tale about a band of brethren brigands to entertain a recuperating nine-year-old girl (Catinca Untaru, so adorable that I vacillated between feeling saccharine-sick and wanting to adopt her). The other half of the film involves the girl’s visualization of this improvised bedtime story, as the multinational, one-dimensional bandits sally forth in billowing slo-mo on an epic journey to topple a tyrannical governor. As Roy’s depression deepens, the story darkens accordingly. Director Tarsem, a commercial-shoot hired gun whose first and last feature until now was 2000’s The Cell, grabbed vistas for his bloviated pictorialist fantasia on cross-continental on-location shoots, pulling together a supersaturated, border-blurring National Geographic travelogue of steppes, deserts, and Ottoman extravagance (the director’s Indian origins gives the movie’s references to Orientalism an interesting twist). If the human details are often problematic, the IMAX-grade bombast, ceremonial camera, and Jodorowsky-esque eclecticism still combine for a singular spectacle.

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Total Denial

Total Denial is, to put it lightly, a niche film. Directed, produced, and edited by the Bulgarian journalist Milena Kaneva, it tells the story of human-rights abuses committed by the Burmese military on behalf of Unocal, an American oil company laying a pipeline there. Kaneva was obviously shooting on a budget: Some of the camera work is messy and slapdash, and the narrative can be confusing—I didn’t realize just who was killing whom until nearly an hour had gone by. Still, Total Denial is intelligent and brimming with what can only be called heart. A great deal of this is due to its protagonist, the charismatic human-rights activist Ka Hsaw Wa, who has spent the past 10 years hiding from the Burmese military regime (lately much in the news for its violence against the country’s Buddhist monks) and documenting the stories of villagers whose lives have been disrupted by the oil pipeline. Wa and his wife eventually filed suit against Unocal in California, under the provisions of an obscure 1789 law. The film moves back and forth between jumpy National Geographic–style footage of jungle huts and deadpan coverage of the vagaries of the American circuit-court system, which quickly emerges as the more outlandish locale.

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All Herzog, All the Time

As a filmmaker, Werner Herzog has more in common with the intrepid explorer-cineastes of the silent era than with anyone working today. Herzog, who maintains that “humiliation and strain” are essential parts of his creative process, has specialized in movies resulting from some self-imposed ordeal, both for him and his associates. Typically shot in difficult locations (jungles, mountains, deserts) or under bizarre conditions (with the entire cast hypnotized), nearly all of his fiction films have documentary subtexts; most of his documentaries, which are among the most subjective in movie history, involve an element of physical risk.

These avant-garde National Geographic adventures, gathered together at Film Forum for a three-week sojourn into the director’s outer limits, range in location from the slopes of an active volcano ( La Soufriére) to the fires of post–Desert Storm Kuwait (Lessons of Darkness) to the prisons of the Central African Republic ( Echoes From a Somber Empire). In addition to extreme landscapes, they include portraits of Herzogian soul mates: obsessive ski-jump champs, ranting televangelists, and megalomaniacal actors (namely Klaus Kinski), as well as the doomed, bear-loving protagonist of Grizzly Man.

Herzog, who dismisses “so-called cinema vérité” as “the truth of accountants,” maintains that his own documentaries are predicated on “imagination” and “fabrication.” Not surprisingly, he’s drawn to the fervor of religious pilgrimages (in Mexico, Russia, India, and Roswell, New Mexico) and has more than once sought to document the undocumentable—desert mirages in Fata Morgana, the world of the blind and deaf in Land of Silence and Darkness. Many of these docs have not always been seeable. Film Forum, which has been showcasing Herzog for decades, casts a wide net, augmenting his best-known documentaries with some that are virtually unknown. There are also several portraits of the artist, who will attend select screenings and has added further context by selecting a number of nonfiction films by kindred spirits Chris Marker, Jean Rouch, Ulrich Seidl, and Errol Morris. Herzog (Non)Fiction, May 18 through June 7, Film Forum.


Also:

Werner Herzog will screen material from his made-in-Antarctica documentary-in-progress, Encounters at the End of the World, and will also be on hand to encounter his audience. The event is free but you must RSVP (212-439-8700). May 19, 1:30 p.m., Goethe-Institut New York.

Claude Chabrol’s 1978 account of the infamous French teenager who led a sexual dou-ble life, plotted to kill her parents, and, with her trial, became a Surrealist heroine, is an exceed-ingly dark comedy that afforded Isabelle Huppert one of her greatest performances. Terrific as it is, Violette has been long unavailable in any format, including 16mm; although the image seems slightly cropped, Koch Lorber’s DVD is a welcome corrective. kochlorberfilms.com.

White Nights, an excellent mid-period Visconti, gets a rare screening. This 1957 feature neo-realizes the poignant Dostoyevsky novella (subsequently adapted by Bresson in Four Nights of a Dreamer). Mar- cello Mastroianni stars as the unrequited lover, a performance that led to his career- making role in La Dolce Vita. May 16, 8:15 p.m., Walter Reade.

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Suspicious Minds

In Carl Gonzalez’s entertaining dark comedy, New Jersey housewife Claire (Glory Gallo) hosts a Tupperware-style party (featuring “spider hole” cakes with gummy Saddams in the middle) that goes awry when her daughter’s Afghani math tutor, Robina (Sarah Miriam Aziz), shows up. Intending only to drop off some books, Robina instead gets stuck when the police blockade the roads to hunt for a suspected terrorist on the loose. Thrust together in Claire’s living room, the women make awkward conversation with Robina, initially believing she is the terrorist (“She’s liable to jihad us all,” one woman says idiotically), and then hilariously attempt to sell her kitchen products.

Inspired by the famous National Geographic cover image of the “Afghan Girl,” Gonzalez places the photo in the room as Claire’s daughter’s school project, an intriguing conversation piece that triggers a debate on whether the girl would’ve had a better life in America. Of the talented six-member cast, Amy Bizjak is the standout as Claire’s racially insensitive sister, Beth, who’s angry that her military-enlistee son is being sent to Afghanistan and takes it out on Robina. Derek Jamison’s taut direction maintains suspense as emotions spiral toward a shocking conclusion.

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Horoscope

ARIES (March 21–April 19): “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom,” wrote Norwegian philosopher S Kierkegaard. That’s vividly true for you right now, Aries. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you’ll thrive on the whirling gaga that overwhelms you as you play in vast, open spaces. Your best decisions will arise as your mind is boggled and wobbled by liberating dramas. So let’s celebrate the disorientation you’re feeling and do everything we can to make sure that more is on its way.

TAURUS (April 20–May 20):I know how you’re feeling, Taurus. I’ve done time in the same psychic prison you’re trapped in. Because of my exemplary behavior while incarcerated, luckily, I was freed well in advance of my scheduled release date. Would you like to know what I did to win my early release? Four things: (1) I took responsibility for the ways I had perpetuated my own suffering. (2) I practiced feeling grateful for the lessons my pain had taught me. (3) I thought deeply about the actions I could take to atone for how I had hurt other people. (4) I vowed to use the shame I felt as a motivation to become smarter and kinder and wilder.

GEMINI (May 21–June 20): Does one of your pretty-good relationships need a boost? Does one of your challenging partnerships need some slack? If so, I’d like to help. Here’s my offer: I’ll perform a healing ceremony for a relationship of your choice. In return for doing you this favor, all I ask is that you too carry out a ritual on behalf of the same relationship. Think of it as being akin to a matching-funds grant: I’ll help you if you help yourself. It is the perfect astrological moment to do this—to make splashy gestures that invoke blessings for relationships that are in need of a shift. Now send me a brief description of the relationship you’d like me to shower some magic on. Write to uaregod@comcast.net. I won’t be able to write back, but I will definitely carry out a ritual for you.

CANCER (June 21–July 22):“They might be small, spiky, and spineless, but they’re still family.” So begins a
National Geographic story about sea urchins, creatures that biologists now know have far more in common with humans than anyone realized. (They share 7,077 genes with us and are actually on the same branch of the evolutionary tree of life.) Let that opening sentence be your motto during the coming week, Cancerian, as you adjust your attitude toward not only the runts and outcasts of your tribe, but also toward the parts of yourself that you tend to neglect and underestimate. Now say this: “They might be small, spiky, and spineless, but they’re still family.”

LEO (July 23–Aug. 22):I hope that one day you will learn how to give all the extraordinary love you have to offer. Another one of my greatest desires for you is that you will cultivate, earn, and seize all the freedom you need in order to become yourself completely. To my great pleasure, you’ve recently begun to tune in to the possibility that these two goals might be extremely fun for you. During the coming weeks their hold on your imagination should heat up considerably. In 2007, I hope they’ll become your modus operandi, your weltanschauung, and your raison d’être.

VIRGO (Aug. 23–Sept. 22):In one of Aesop’s fables, a donkey becomes enamored of the crickets’ serenades. Longing to produce the same sound himself, he goes to a cricket for advice. “What kind of food gives you that sweet-sounding voice?” he asks. The cricket says, “My food is the air and the dew.” The donkey then begins a new diet, hoping that by eating nothing but air and dew he too will be able to make beautiful, whirring melodies. It doesn’t happen, of course. The donkey merely starves. Let this be your teaching story for the coming week, Virgo. Sing your own song with your own voice, whether that sounds like a hee-haw or a warble. And get the exact nurturing that will help you sing your own song with your own voice, not the nurturing that helps others sing their special tunes.

LIBRA (Sept. 23–Oct. 22):As a general rule, standing your ground and dealing squarely with a problem is the best policy. But for you right now, escape is a viable option. In fact, I think that running away is actually preferable. All I ask, though, is that you choose a specific place to flee to, so that you’re not just running
from something but also running toward something. As long as you’re driven solely by a big
no, in other words, dashing around will weaken you and aggravate the problem you’re dodging. But if you’re also motivated by a vivid
yes, you’ll find the strength and wisdom to make all the right moves.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23–Nov. 21):Earth Island Journal says scientists have discovered natural ways to clean up old munitions sites. If you plant periwinkle and parrot feather plants in soil that’s been bombed with TNT, they’ll soak up and neutralize the noxious stuff. Likewise, pondweed absorbs and transforms nitrogly-cerin in land where explosives have been detonated. I urge you to find the metaphorical equivalents of periwinkle, pondweed, and parrot feather plants this week, Scorpio. It’s a perfect moment to detoxify the places in your life where past battles left behind toxic debris.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22–Dec. 21): On Jupiter’s moon Europa, there is an absolutely straight, narrow line about 125 miles long. NASA’s photos show it clearly. Commenting on this improbably regular feature, renowned author and inventor Arthur C. Clarke says he finds it hard not to conclude that it was constructed by intelligent life. “I’m beginning to think the unthinkable,” he writes. Make that sentence your watchword in the coming week, Sagittarius. Be ready to imagine the unimaginable, see the unseeable, and think the unthinkable. And I mean that you should do that with the most optimistic attitude possible. According to my reading of the astrological omens, the almost unbelievable prospects coming into your sphere are interesting and invigorating.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22–Jan. 19): As I see your situation, it’s like you’re acting famished even though the cupboards are stocked with goodies. You’re pining and moaning to be close to a treasure that’s right next to you. You’ve got 98 out of the 100 things you need, yet you just can’t stop obsessing on the two that are missing. If I’m wrong about this, Capricorn, just ignore what I’m saying and rejoin me next week. But if you suspect I may be onto something, please act fast to purge your delusions.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20—Feb. 18):This week I propose that you feel gratitude for every person who has ever told you that you were inadequate, that there was something wrong with you, that you would never amount to anything. You might even carry out a little ceremony in which you bow down to an altar containing their photos or slips of paper on which their names are written. And why am I suggesting this? Because those jerks helped motivate you to become as cool as you are. And if I’m reading the omens correctly, it’s time to summon a huge new burst of creative energy as you disprove their misbegotten ideas about you even more completely.

PISCES (Feb. 19—March 20):Why do cigarette makers put ammonia in their product? For the same reason that drug addicts use ammonia to turn cocaine into crack: It helps render the nicotine and cocaine into a gas, making it easier for the lungs to absorb them and dramatically amplifying the high. I hope you can find a healthy, legal, and metaphorical equivalent to this process in the coming weeks, Pisces. You have both poetic license and an astrological mandate to squeeze at least three times more fun and insight out of every single thing you do. It’s the intensity season.

Homework What thing do you desperately want that would also benefit other people? Testify by going to freewillastrology.com and clicking on “Email Rob.”

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Rockie Weekly Horoscope October 20-26

General Forecast

The Libra new moon late Saturday night should fill us with harmonious, peace-seeking vibrations. However the sun’s meeting with militant Mars late Sunday suggests something else entirely. More confusion on Monday as first the sun, then Mars switch to a “stick to your guns” Scorpio mode. On Tuesday, Venus also enters that secretive, security-conscious water sign. If you’re planning a tryst sometime soon, schedule it for late Tuesday so you can take advantage of the heat generated by feminine Venus’ conjunction with masculine Mars. Wednesday brings the last square between Saturn in Leo and Jupiter in Scorpio, the relationship alleged to account for fluctuations in the real estate market. Prepare for the 28th, when Mercury turns retrograde for the next three weeks.


Aries

Aries: Mar. 20 – Apr. 19You are strong, you are invincible and right now you are quite desirable. Your Mars ruler, by joining forces with the Libra sun on Sunday, could provide more power than you know what to do with. Even highly-trained athletes will be amazed at what they’re able to accomplish this week. But it’s the merger of Mars with magnetic Venus Tuesday night (and for the rest of the week) in sexy Scorpio that’ll raise your level of “hot!” Venus gets together with Mars every year, but for their hookup to happen in passionate Scorpio, is a special treat. Enjoy.


Taurus
Taurus: Apr. 20 – May 20

Read for Aries. While you might not have the physical stamina afforded to Rams this week, Bulls will certainly have as much sex appeal. And because Mars’ meeting with your Venus ruler takes place in Scorpio, the sign of your cosmic mate, you could make a more permanent connection. Perhaps even with a gad-about Ram. So by all means hit every one of those Halloween events dressed to the nines so that you can be ready for the allure you’ll radiate when the Scorpio sun illuminates Venus on the 27th.


Gemini
Gemini: May 21 – Jun. 20

The Libra new moon on the 21st takes place in your house of romance and risk. If ever you’re being urged by the cosmos to take a chance, this week would be it. While your Mercury ruler is about to turn retrograde (giving you some time to mull over your decision), its first meeting with far-sighted Jupiter over the weekend should improve your ability to envision what lies ahead. Two more encounters with the jolly giant planet before the holiday party season sets in, and whatever you finally decided will be a fait accompli.


Cancer
Cancer: Jun. 21 – Jul. 22

It’s confusing. Two new moons in a row taking place in the last degree of their signs could send a Moon Child a mixed message. In September you barely had enough time to absorb the Virgo new moon vibe and the sense that a new cycle was about to start when the sun went into Libra. The same holds true this month with the Libra new moon on the 21st and the sun’s switch into Scorpio on the 23rd, an entirely different operational system. Let’s hope you get used to it; for the rest of the year, that’s how those balls in the sky will bounce.


Leo
Leo: Jul. 23 – Aug. 22

It works both ways. The advantage Aries and Taurus natives receive when their ruling planets are bolstered by a meeting with your sun ruler is returned in kind. You’ll have more physical prowess and a greater willingness to take a chance because the sun and ballsy Mars connect this weekend. And you can anticipate a lot more loving when the sun merges with affectionate Venus next weekend. That all this action takes place in and around your neighborhood is reason enough to spruce up the house. Decorate it for Halloween, buy new sheets.


Virgo
Virgo: Aug. 23 – Sep. 22

The discriminating Virgin could get quite lucky when the creative sun, impulsive Mars and value-conscious Venus get together in your second house of money earned and objects acquired. The lucky part is that this sequence of astrological events takes place before your Mercury ruler turns retrograde on the 28th. So you’ll have a few days to make that fabulous purchase or return it if it doesn’t meet your pristine standards. With Mars and Venus together in sexy Scorpio for the first time since December 2004, imagine the fun you can have this Halloween.


Libra
Libra: Sep. 23 – Oct. 22

Read for Aries, Taurus and Leo; what the hell, read all 12. No one can ever be certain how a memorable meeting between your loving Venus ruler and horny Mars will turn out, but the above forecasts could provide a clue. Then when the sun catches up with the goddess and engulfs her with its beneficial rays on the 27th, you may be inspired to create something beautiful that’ll last longer than the day. At the very least, you might feel a lot happier and a lot luckier than you usually are. P.S. Mercury flips in your Scorpio money house on the 28th; buy what you must before then.


Scorpio
Scorpio: Oct. 23 – Nov. 21

Like Libra you should probably read the entire column. So much is going on in Scorpio in a variety of areas, e.g., you could be in the process of expanding your business as Jupiter would have you do. Perhaps you’re thinking about getting “busy” with a new love interest because, until the end of the month, romantic Venus will be climbing all over your Mars co-ruler. Mercury retrograde from October 28 to November 17 suggests that you should be preparing for that as well. Then there’s another birthday that needs to be celebrated.


Sagittarius
Sagittarius: Nov. 22 – Dec. 21

Centaurs who depend on their communication skills—be it via assorted media outlets, the classroom or offering advice whether or not it’s solicited—will have a field day once they appreciate how wide their base will broaden after their expansive Jupiter ruler merges with Mercury on Sunday. This realization is important because in just one more month Jupiter will become embedded in Sagittarius for the next 12. Come December, after another crucial consultation with the Messenger, what arose from their initial meeting should be confirmed.


Capricorn

Capricorn: Dec. 22 – Jan. 20The recent lunar phenomena that may have disoriented your Cancer complement can affect you this month, too. That’s because the Libra new moon on the 21st takes place in your career zone and inaugurates a new cycle of pleasing your boss or placating a client. Since Caps are usually so goal-oriented anyway, it’ll pay to carefully track what develops during the next few days with anyone who has some authority over you. This week also marks the last challenging square between pie-in-the-sky Jupiter and your conservative Saturn ruler.


Aquarius
Aquarius: Jan. 21 – Feb. 18

“Exotic and mysterious” is what could command your attention this week. Leafing through National Geographic again? The current pile-up of planets in Scorpio can heighten a desire to explore the unknown. For many Aquarians, it might be reading up on the psychology of something they’re fascinated by, for others it could be hiking unfamiliar terrain. And some will be determined to find a way to widen the career path they’ve already forged for themselves. If you need better credentials, now is the time to get them.


Pisces

Fish can’t help but benefit from the four planets plus the sun and on Sunday the moon in Scorpio, the water sign that is more often than not the most compatible with Pisces. That passionate Mars and embraceable Venus are hooking up in that sexy sign suggests that your romantic forecast looks not merely rosy but red hot. Mid-March Fish could advance through the hallowed halls of academia faster than expected thanks to the combined intelligence of prophetic Jupiter and informative Mercury. While Mercury is retrograde, double-check your facts.