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IF YOU WANT the usual, we-know-what-we're-getting New York theater experience well there's always "Cats" or "Footloose.~ But if you're up for something decidedly different, as well as free, there's "By Any Means Necessary: New Experiments in Interdisciplinary Performance," a series of four, one-night events that starts Wednesdav at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris in Manhattan.

"The premise is a little bit to bring downtown to midtown, and to give people a chance to try something new," says Debra Singer, resident curator and producer of the series. While the Whitney branch offers free performances year-round she says this series is different in being unrelated to the gallery's exhibitions.

In its sampling of the 'downtown' avant-garde, "By Any Means Necessary", which ends June 7, emphasizes unusual combinations of dance, mime, sound, images and text.

Performance artist-comedian Zero Boy, known for his wacky vocal sound effects, will paradoxically combine mime and sound in "AIice in Zeroland~ (May 10), a work-in-progress the artist describes as "an 'Alice in Wonderland' meets 'Blade Runner' cyberpunk performance trip." (It's one of those things you probably just have to see to understand.)

The glass-walled performance space has seating for 200, with standing room for another 200, Singer says. Performances, which last an hour or so, begin at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30, ~ seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis, and no reservations are accepted. Just show up and catch the vibes.


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