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To Do: March 27-April 3, 2013

Twenty-five things to see, hear, watch, and read.


1. Watch Nathan for You
He’s just here to help. At least he might be.
An odd, intoxicating mix of cringe comedy and flat-out strangeness: The deadpan, nerdy host, ­Nathan Fielder, “helps” people run struggling businesses, usually in bizarre ways that end up annoying more customers than they draw in.
Comedy Central, Thursdays, 10:30 p.m.

2. Hear Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell With the Richard Thompson Electric Trio
Making the Connection.
The silver-haired darling of both mainstream country music and the alt-country world—who arguably created the latter—turns 66 this week. For just one night in the big Yankee city, she’ll be shooting out the lights with both Thompson and the legendary songwriter Rodney Crowell.
Beacon Theatre, March 27.

3. Rewatch "The Marge vs. the Monorail" Episode of The Simpsons
Aw, it’s not for you. It’s more of a Shelbyville idea.
Last week, Vulture’s bracketologists scientifically declared The Simpsons the greatest sitcom ever. Why, then, are we singling out “Monorail”? Because a couple of our editors insist, unscientifically, that it’s the best episode, period. Let the next round of arguments begin!
The Simpsons—The Complete Fourth Season (1992), $34.64 on Amazon.

4. Listen to Victim of Love
Charles Bradley knows about the bad times.
One of those stories that give artists hope: Bradley’s first album came out two years ago, after 60-plus years lived hand to mouth. Now he’s touring the world, with a new record and a documentary, Charles Bradley: Soul of America, right behind it.
Dunham/Daptone, April 2.

5. See Painted on 21st Street: Helen Frankenthaler From 1950 to 1959
It’s bigger and better than a lot of museum shows.
This show at the International Museum of Larry Gagosian should disabuse those who think that Helen Frankenthaler didn’t help invent fire. Here, we see her when she burned brightest and hottest, when no one else was conducting such an all-out assault on beauty, flatness, and color. In her twenties, no less. —Jerry Saltz
Gagosian Gallery, 522 W. 21st St., through April 13.

6. See Gimme the Loot
And listen closely, too.
When you see Adam Leon’s debut feature, about teenage graffiti artists intent on tagging the Mets’ “Home Run” outfield apple, don’t overlook its secret star: the score. Mostly original tracks by Nicholas Britell that slyly deploy filters and talented guest voices, it mimics period funk, jazz, and rap to eerily natural effect.
At the IFC Center.

7. See Saul Steinberg: Works From the 50’s–80’s
One New Yorker’s view of the world.
Yes, Steinberg—arguably the best visual artist ever to come out of The New Yorker—has had his share of museum retrospectives. But who doesn’t like to revisit those strange, scratchy fantasias of New York life?
Adam Baumgold Gallery, through April 20.

8. Read Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life
Her again, here again.
Life After Life is a literary Groundhog Day: the tale of a young woman who keeps dying and finding herself reborn right into the same body, personality, place, time, and family. It’s also an exercise in narrative gutsiness; a meditation on history, contingency, and free will; and the best new novel I’ve read this year. —Kathryn Schulz
Reagan Arthur Books, April 2.

9. Read Jill McCorkle’s Life After Life
That’s no typo: same title, different book.
If you want to make that Groundhog Day–esque experience more meta, you can also read the other Life After Life. This one, by Jill McCorkle, also addresses issues of time and memory—here, through the interconnected lives of characters in and around a retirement home. —K.S.
Shannon Ravenel Books, March 26.

10. Watch The Neighbors
Season finale No. 1 (with aliens).
Decried as one of the stupidest, weirdest new sitcoms of the season, this show about a gated community aswarm with secret extraterrestrials already has a cult following, maybe because of that weird stupidity. Try it and you may agree: The Neighbors is the second coming of early-eighties Steve Martin films. —Matt Zoller Seitz
ABC, March 27, 8:30 p.m.

11. See The Flick
From (imagined) screen to (real) stage.
As good as Annie Baker’s play is, it would be excruciating if the actors weren’t skilled enough to create and suspend complete characterizations across its wide expanses. Ironically, a play set in a beat-up movie house makes a compelling argument for the continued necessity, and profound uniqueness, of live ­theater. —Jesse Green
Playwrights Horizons, through April 7.

12. Hear Sandra Day O’Connor Converse With Madeleine Albright
FWOTSC speaks with FWSOS.
Two women who (it’s fair to say) not only leaned in, Sandberg style, but demolished whatever it was they were leaning over the top of. Likely to be a good, sparky bipartisan evening.
At the New York Public Library, March 28.

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