14. Reread At Home With Pope Ron in ‘The Fran Lebowitz Reader’
While waiting for that little puff of smoke.
A perfect parody of celebrity journalism by the wry and unprolific Lebowitz, this 1982 essay really could be a “Shouts & Murmurs” version of this past week’s papal-conclave coverage.
15. Laugh at Maria Bamford at Carolines on Broadway
Skittery stand-up brilliance.
For a preview of her live act, check out Bamford’s Special Special Special!, which was taped before an audience of two—her parents—and drew as many laughs from its awkwardness as for the jokes. Ridiculously original, and odd and confessional.
March 4, 7:30 p.m.
16. Learn From Collecting Art for Love, Money and More
Art-buying for non-dummies.
A how-to book from Ethan Wagner and Thea Westreich Wagner, two of the sharpest eyes in contemporary art. Topics include “The Thrills of Collecting Art,” “Personal Taste and Knowledge,” and “The Vicissitudes of the Art-Market.” It would be hard to imagine two better-qualified guides for these choppy, sometimes disgusting, often ecstatic waters. —J.S.
17. Hear the New York Philharmonic’s Carousel
It was Richard Rodgers’s favorite.
Hum a snatch of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, and it’s not usually the accompaniment that comes to mind, despite one of the sprightliest overtures ever. But the New York Philharmonic puts the band onstage with a concert performance featuring the vocal forces of Broadway (Kelli O’Hara) and opera (Nathan Gunn). —Justin Davidson
Avery Fisher Hall, February 27 through March 2.
18. Contemplate Richard Artschwager’s Door, Mirror, Table, Basket, Rug, Window D
The 89-year-old artist died on February 9, just six days after his full-career retrospective closed at the Whitney. That left us with not a single Artschwager work on view in New York—until the museum moved this 1975 drawing back into view in the lobby. It’ll be up, says a Whitney representative, for “a few weeks.”
Whitney Museum of American Art.
19. See How to Survive a Plague on DVD
The epic of the epidemic.
Oscar or no, it’s the documentary of the year. Even Ed Koch—who takes an onscreen shellacking—said its activist subjects deserve the Medal of Freedom.
20. Lose Yourself in Francesca da Rimini at the Metropolitan Opera
Three brothers, one bride: Uh-oh.
A scrap of the old Met is fluttering into the present: a revival of this opera by Riccardo Zandonai, with an obscure but glittery score in a deluxe production that’s been in storage since 1986. The opera itself has what might be termed “a reputation”: lush and over-the-top and luxuriously pretty. —J.D.
March 4 through 22.
21. Discover John Byam at Andrew Edlin Gallery
Because you’ve actually never seen art like this.
Never before viewed in New York City, and barely exhibited anywhere, these wee, captivating wood carvings include sprinkles of sawdust, other detritus, paint, and ink, and depict stairs, caskets, ladders, and furniture. They’re made by an upstate visionary named John Byam who operates under that absurd label “outsider artist.” He’s an artist, period, and continues to make art as he approaches his 84th birthday. —J.S.
Through March 16.
22. See Caesar Must Die
How can anyone not adore Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s new film? In a scant 76 minutes, it enlarges your notion of what theater and cinema can do. A group of prisoners in an Italian maximum-security prison audition for, are cast in, and rehearse a production (heavily abridged) of Julius Caesar. Quickly, the roles take over, and we’re watching the play itself. —D.E.
23. Follow Up With The Staircase: Last Chance
The coda to an amazing story.
Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s eight-part documentary The Staircase, about Michael Peterson, who was convicted of killing his wife, was a surprise hit on the Sundance Channel in 2005. In this two-part follow-up, we hear about new dev-elopments that may open the door to an appeal. —M.Z.S.
The Sundance Channel, March 4 and 11, 10 p.m.
24. See Mary Poppins
Do it for the kids. Before it’s too late.
No, it’s not very good. But will your 11-year-old niece go goggle-eyed when Nanny P. unfurls her umbrella and floats up to the proscenium? She almost surely will. If you hurry …
Closes March 3.
25. See Like Someone in Love
Iranian director transcends two languages.
The Iranian art-house darling Abbas Kiarostami has evolved into a magical storyteller, and Like Someone in Love, his newest film (in Japanese!), is full of artful cinematic sleight-of-hand. It centers on a young call girl and a grandfatherly old client, but Kiarostami’s center never holds. Identity is fluid—like the director’s uniquely meditative syntax. —D.E.
At the Landmark Sunshine.
For full listings of movies, theater, music, restaurants, and much more, see nymag.com/agenda.