1. Hear Danny Brown’s Old
The party rapper returns.
With his 2011 album XXX—named for his 30th year—and now this, Brown may be trying to say that he’s aged out of relevance. But there’s still enough playfulness among these twenty tracks (see “Smokin & Drinkin” and “Kush Coma”) to go around.
Fool’s Gold Records.
2. Reconsider All Is Lost
Robert Redford needs you.
All Is Lost opened soft, probably because young folks don’t think spending two hours with 77-year-old Robert Redford sounds like much of a party. But it’s a treat to watch him all by himself in J. C. Chandor’s terrific survival-at-sea drama. (Maybe I should have blurbed it better: “Found: An Oscar for Redford in All Is Lost.” “All Is Lost—except Oscar!”) Also, there’s much behind Redford: The film boasts the most creative editing and sound design—boat creaks, splashes, low doomy strings—of the year. —David Edelstein
In theaters now.
3. See Steve Mumford at Postmasters Gallery
Back from a tough situation.
Yay! Postmasters has reopened after losing its Chelsea location to an astronomical rent spike. The gallery’s back in form in Tribeca with a charged show of detailed ink-and-wash paintings made on-site at Guantánamo Bay’s naval base by Steve Mumford, who has previously done similar work in Iraq. We see abandoned interrogation huts, guards reading, barbed wire, and artist notations that read “classified area” or “secret.” This is the perfect first show. —Jerry Saltz
54 Franklin Street, through November 23.
4. Make Contact!
Early look at the Philbiennial.
The New York Philharmonic is expanding its new-music purview with a blowout biennial next spring. As a teaser, this downtown excursion by the orchestra features chamber music by Esa-Pekka Salonen, who’s evolved from composer to celebrity conductor and back again. —Justin Davidson
SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street, November 4.
5. See The Junket
Mike Albo’s monologue about journo-life.
Albo—a really funny writer, sometimes for New York—is doing just six performances of The Junket, his eviscerating, hilarious thinly veiled roman à clef about the freelance-writing life.
Dixon Place, November 1 through 16.
6. See Lincoln Center’s Scary Movies Festival
The selection is so vast that it’s … monstrous. The seventh edition of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Scary Movies festival begins on Halloween and carries the tricks and treats well into November. There are nine premieres and a bevy of classics like Michele Soavi’s impudently ghoulish Cemetery Man (Dellamorte Dellamore) and John D. Hancock’s moody Let’s Scare Jessica to Death. Don’t miss Clive Barker’s 144-minute cut of his 1990 flop Nightbreed—a dark ode to mutants of all stripes—that’s now a cult classic despite its being panned by just about every critic (except me, in the New York Post). —D.E.
Full schedule at filmlinc.org.
7. Hear Ned Is Ninety
Rorem, roaring along.
The New York Festival of Song might exist even if Ned Rorem had never lived, but it’s unlikely. You might say the same for the American art song as a genre. All three will come together for an elegant, tuneful birthday party. —J.D.
Merkin Hall/Kaufman Music Center, November 5.
8. See Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s Hustlers
Last chance before closing time.
A truly great photographer’s breakthrough work, reshown on the twentieth anniversary of its exhibition at MoMA: young male prostitutes in L.A., posing in exchange for their standard fee. Still vivid and unnervingly edgy, especially given that he paid them with National Endowment for the Arts money (during the Jesse Helms era!).
David Zwirner, through November 2.
9. Read I’m a Frog!
Gerald and Piggie are back.
I’m a Frog! is the latest in Mo Willems’s “Gerald and Piggie” series of witty bunny-slope titles for small children. (This one’s ostensibly for ages 6 to 8, though a bright 4-year-old can appreciate it.) They’re the “I Can Read” books for our time, and as a bonus, they are—and parents who have to plow through several books per evening will understand what we mean here—blessedly short.
10. Watch city.ballet
NYCB and SJP.
As the CW’s ballet reality series Breaking Pointe has pushed actual dancing to the side in favor of backstage drama, this new web series based at New York City Ballet—produced and narrated by NYCB fanatic Sarah Jessica Parker—puts artistry at the fore, exposing the nuts and bolts of how a world-class ballet troupe operates, from casting to breaking in pointe shoes. Of course, there are backstage confessionals, pretty faces, and hot bodies on display, too. —Rebecca Milzoff
AOL On, starts November 4.
11. Read The Isle of Youth
Short stories that zing.
My current favorite short-story-writer-too-few-people-have-heard-of is Laura van den Berg, whose new collection, The Isle of Youth, is a smart, fun, noir-y treasure map of where families hide their secrets and lost souls hide themselves. Van den Berg somehow packs a duffel bag of plot into carry-on-size stories. She also has the right kind of range: from brutal to moving to funny, South America to Paris to Antarctica, really great to freaking outstanding. —Kathryn Schulz
FSG Originals, November 5.
12. See Fun Home
Characters well drawn.
To turn Alison Bechdel’s memoir-in-graphic-novel-form into a musical, playwright Lisa Kron and composer Jeanine Tesori threw out the musical-theater rule book. The result: A new kind of story (lesbian daughter discovers her dad is gay) gets a thrillingly new kind of treatment. Sam Gold directs; Michael Cerveris delivers a spectacular wallop of sadness as the father. —Jesse Green
Public Theater, through December 1.