1. Watch Hard Out Here
Lily Allen’s newest: Love it or loathe it?
The lyrics of Allen’s first single in four years cackle at the culture of body-snarking, and the video completely takes the piss out of “Blurred Lines.” Or: The whole thing is lame and obvious, shamelessly crafted for linkbait and glib praise. Either way, it’s four minutes out of your day: Go watch it and make up your mind.
2. See Miriam Cahn at Elizabeth Dee
Forgotten Swiss artist returns.
Once upon a time in the eighties, Cahn’s bold drawings of warships and fighter jets were shown with the work of guys like Anselm Kiefer and Jörg Immendorff. Some of them became art stars. She faded. Here, she blazes forth in glowing paintings of hovering ghostlike apparitions. The most startling wears a veil and is otherwise naked to the world. Welcome back to the fold. —Jerry Saltz
545 West 20th Street, through January 11.
3. Watch The Getaway
Dream tour guides, Bourdain style.
Imagine a travel show with the on-the-ground spirit of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and advice you can actually use. That’s The Getaway in a nutshell: The hosts wander around cities they actually know, which means Joel McHale discovering the best hangover cure in Belfast and Aziz Ansari finding Happy Foot Spa, a massage spot for resting your toes after canvassing Hong Kong.
Esquire Network, Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
4.–7. See City Lights, Nashville, Tokyo Story, and The World Cinema Project
Criterion’s holiday feast.
The Criterion Collection has a batch of new Blu-rays for the holidays, and among them are some of the most celebrated and controversial films ever made. What to choose, what to choose … I can think of few gifts to a young person more precious than Charlie Chaplin’s sentimental masterpiece City Lights, the one with the Little Tramp and the blind girl. Robert Altman’s panoramic Nashville looms large—his widest canvas, his deepest emotions. Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story and a Martin Scorsese–curated selection of six little-known features from seven countries (The World Cinema Project) round out a gorgeous package.—David Edelstein
Details at criterion.com.
8. Read William R. Corliss
While you’re thinking about the typhoon.
William Corliss (1926–2011) was a fringe figure: curious, obsessive, part scientific, part crackpotic. He dedicated his life to collecting information that did not seem to fit inside reigning scientific paradigms, then organizing it into books—more than two dozen of them, all wonderfully illustrated, from Biological Anomalies: Mammals (Parts I & II) and Biological Anomalies: Humans (Parts I, II, and III) to Rare Halos, Mirages, Anomalous Rainbows, and Related Electromagnetic Phenomena and Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena. Don’t ask how many of them I own. They’re good to look at when you or the cat or the world or the weather is behaving madly; or, conversely, when life seems mundane and you want to be reminded of its mysteries. —Kathryn Schulz
Bibliography (and more) at science-frontiers.com.
9. See Ballet Hispanico
Showtime, without the amateurs.
Three premieres performed by this ever-vibrant company, all by Latino choreographers, including one with live, original music by the infectiously exuberant Ljova and the Kontraband. —Rebecca Milzoff
Apollo Theater, November 23, 7:30 p.m.
10. See 21c Liederabend
In the third installment of an every-few-years tradition, 23 composers contribute a bushel of fresh art songs, opera scenes, and choral numbers, spread out over two evenings. You couldn’t ask for a better one-stop survey of what’s happening in new music now. —Justin Davidson
Brooklyn Academy of Music, November 22 and 23.
11. Watch Moonlighting
Because you once liked Bruce Willis, and it’s free.
The late-eighties show that made Willis’s career and revived Cybill Shepherd’s—and set the standard for rom-com prime-time flirting—is surprisingly present on YouTube, copyrights be damned. A very pleasant, quippy way to spend a couple of weeks’ lunch hours.
12. Argue Over Blue Is the Warmest Color
Hot or not?
Lots of lesbians have been weighing in on the long, graphic sex scene in the French sensation Blue Is the Warmest Color, and the consensus is that it’s not how they do it. The best rejoinder is that it’s less a film about being gay than about finding one’s identity via first love—and about the devastation (and loss of identity) that comes when that love is lost. See it and decide how it fits into your romantic life.—D.E.
13. Watch Maria Bamford
If you missed her show, see her onscreen.
If you’re like me and can’t get enough of Maria Bamford (or haven’t yet joined her cult), there are firm steps you can take. Her sold-out show at the Skirball Center for the New York Comedy Festival—where she was billed mysteriously far down—is over, but you can download The Special Special Special, her live performance for her parents in their living room. She bends low over the mike and talks in a tiny, tremulous voice—the voice of fear and of depression (serious depression)—and then comes out with uncannily robust impersonations of more confident souls. She’s transcendent. —D.E.
14. See Mark Morris Dance Group
Landmark piece, justly revived.
It’s difficult to describe Morris’s evening-length L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato; it’s really more about getting the ecstatic shivers as you watch. In short, it’s the kind of dance piece that offers something new with every viewing, and happily, though Morris made it way back in his wunderkind days, the White Light Festival has brought it back. —R.M.
David H. Koch Theater, November 21 through 23.