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To Do: December 18–January 1, 2013

25 things to see, hear, watch, and read.


1. See Eagleheart
Running joke keeps on running.
What began two seasons ago as a curiously late-to-the-joke Walker, Texas Ranger parody has evolved into a spectacularly bizarre and surreal comic treat in which Norris-ian violence is beside the point. Chris Elliott stars as Marshal Chris Monsanto, who this season is sucked into a MacGuffin of a mythology after being framed for throwing his partner into a wood chipper. His boss is being literally absorbed into his desk, another marshal is obsessed with selling her shrunken-apple puppet show The Ap’p’pals, and Chris is blackmailed into working for a blackmail company. Get a Life’s willful disregard for making sense blissfully rides again.
Adult Swim, Thursdays at midnight.

Pop Music
2. Hear Beyoncé
You need a reason?
Here’s a forecast you can count on: A storm system will blow through Brooklyn on Thursday, December 19. To see Beyoncé in concert is to behold a gale-force spectacle of old-fashioned entertainment: singing, hoofing, sequins, the works. Bring dancing shoes, batten hatches. —Jody Rosen
Barclays Center, December 19.

3. Watch A Home for the Holidays
It’s easy to be snide about Celine Dion, a singer whose lung power is reportedly classified as a military weapon by the Canadian government. But let it also be said that if you have a heart, even a stone one, her A Home for the Holidays is guaranteed to melt it. Dion retells stories of children in adoption and foster care, and tops it off with musical performances by Dion herself, Ne-Yo, Chris Young, and others. —Matt Zoller Seitz
CBS, December 18, 8 p.m.

4. See Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade 1500–1800
Big tapestry.
Great vibrations from gorgeous textiles, all made as empires were being built or decaying and parts of the world unknown were importing artistic influences so beautiful and consequential that they reverberate in contemporary art still. Curtains, bedcovers, wall hangings, and church vestments via the Silk Road, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas—some magnificently abstract, others telling cosmic creation stories—make for one of the most resonant shows of the year. Hurry: It’ll all be gone in less than a month. Another reason to love New York. —Jerry Saltz
Metropolitan Museum of Art, through January 5.

5. See Liv & Ingmar
It’s cold out, ja?
Cinephiles all over the world sink to their knees when they hear those names. The Bergman-Ullmann affair (romantic and creative) is documented in Dheeraj Akolkar’s Liv & Ingmar—having not seen it yet, I hope it mentions that roughly half of all Swedes under 40 carry randy Ingmar’s DNA—but the best news is that there’s a ten-movie festival of their work at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Must-sees: Shame (1968), the bleak wartime in extremis story centering on a couple (Ullmann and Max von Sydow) in hiding on an island, and Bergman’s best portrait of the hell he thought was marriage, The Passion of Anna (1969). —David Edelstein
Film Society of Lincoln Center, December 13 through 19, schedule at

6. See Die Fledermaus
On New Year’s Eve.
Johann Strauss Jr.’s operetta is a New Year’s Eve standard, and Jeremy Sams sets his new production on that celebratory date in 1899, when Vienna was leaping from bourgeois opulence to sleek modernity, all beneath a gold-leaf sky. —Justin Davidson
Metropolitan Opera, opens December 31.

7. Listen to Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
Okay musical gets a great cast album.
Dave Malloy’s electro-pop musicalization of Tolstoy is still too self-consciously self-conscious for its own good. But it sounds fantastic and makes more sense on the two-disc Ghostlight CD than it did onstage, perhaps because it doesn’t include vodka. (The show itself continues, at the Kazino tent on West 45th, through January 5.) —Jesse Green
Ghostlight Records.

8.–13. Read These Six Honorable-Mention Books
Last week, the top ten; this week, six more.
Like a lot of critics, I submit to end-of-year lists even while regarding them as an impossible and fundamentally dishonest task. Herewith, a handful that didn’t make the cut in last week’s issue—but that, by some other criteria or simply in some other mood, might well have done so. In fiction: I loved Lore Segal’s Half the Kingdom (slender, funny, deadly), Hanya Yanagihara’s The People in the Trees (among the boldest and best debut novels of the year), and Chimimanda Adichie’s Americanah (the best book I’ve read in ages about race in contemporary America). In nonfiction, I loved David Finkel’s Thank You for Your Service, about the experiences of U.S. soldiers returned from Iraq, and Sheri Fink’s Five Days at Memorial, about an embattled hospital during Katrina; and I always love Janet Malcolm, whose new essay collection is Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers. —K.S.
And support your local independent bookstore.

Pop Music
14. Hear Phosphorescent
Light-emitting artist.
Matthew Houck calls himself Phosphorescent, which makes sense: His lithe, lovely songs, spanning folk and country and classic rock and indie, give off a luminous glow. Houck’s latest album, Muchacho, was one of 2013’s best; live, he’s more raucous than his records suggest. —J.R.
Music Hall of Williamsburg, December 18 through 21.

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