13. See Meditation, Creativity, Peace
Serenity? From David Lynch? Yes.
David Lynch’s genius relies on two things: a brilliantly twisted mind that perceives the death (decay, bloodlust) in all life, and the ability to render and transmit his grisly perceptions with an unearthly calm. It’s the second thing that brings us to Lynch the Transcendental Meditation proselytizer and subject of the documentary Meditation, Creativity, Peace. Yes, that really is the title, and this Thursday, you can see Lynch dispense the sweet nectar of life onscreen for free (plus doughnuts and coffee for attendees). —David Edelstein
Maysles Cinema, April 25, 7:30 p.m.
14. See The Central Park Five
Ken and Sarah Burns and David McMahon’s documentary about the “jogger case” is really tough on New York’s legal system—and it should be, given that it jailed five kids wrongly and brought an already tense city to a near frenzy. The film also got a limited release, which means you probably missed it. Rectify that now.
Standard DVD, $16.99; Blu-ray, $19.99.
15. See The Assembled Parties
Richard Greenberg’s return to Broadway.
A heartbreaking play that looks at the traditional family comedy and says, “Yes—but what else is going on here?” And, amazingly, the sadness of the “what else” just makes the comedy funnier. —Jesse Green
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.
16. See Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny
A rare Weill-Brecht work returns.
The best thing about high-level student opera—apart from cheap tickets and ample rehearsal time—is the chance to hear works long absent from pro stages. The Manhattan School of Music gives just three performances of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s biting and bitterly irresistible opera, whose title translates to “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.” —J.D.
Borden Auditorium, 120 Claremont Ave., April 24, 26, and 28.
17. Watch The Americans
Before the agents go silent for a few months.
New York’s Matt Zoller Seitz recently declared this Cold War spying series with Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell the best drama to debut this year. The season finale airs this week; you’ll then get a few months to catch up with the early episodes you probably skipped, while we all wait for season two (probably coming in January).
Season finale, May 1.
18. See Engines of War
Shock and awe on view.
Patriotic Americans scream for war at a 2003 rally; dead Iraqis lie sprawled in Baghdad; maimed U.S. soldiers return home. Seen at the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War’s first shots, almost every image in this group photography show makes us know in our bones that war is hell, that war unprepared for is worse, and that even today there’s no way to get distance on this event. —J.S.
At Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, 524 W. 19th St., through May 4.
19. Watch Storage Wars
A&E’s biggest hit is back, after a cast change.
Somehow, this series about people who grub out a living by digging through abandoned storage units bought at auction is more than watchable. (Maybe we all take creepy pleasure in rummaging through other people’s stuff.) Season four has just begun sans Dave Hester, the show’s asshole among assholes, who was fired at the end of last year. That leaves us perpetually squabbling couple Jarrod and Brandi, dumb-as-rocks Darrell, and wealthy retiree (and Angeleno kook) Barry.
Tuesdays, 9 p.m.
20. See Manhunt
The truth about searching for OBL.
You could describe Manhunt, about the decadelong hunt for Osama bin Laden, as a nonfiction companion to Zero Dark Thirty. But as is so often the case, the real story is messier and more disturbing than Hollywood fiction. Greg Barker digs deep into the Bush administration’s use of torture and its usefulness; the film also profiles the real CIA analysts who informed the composite character played by Jessica Chastain in ZDT. —M.Z.S.
HBO, May 1, 8 p.m.
21. Hear Sam Waterston, James Shapiro, and Téa Obreht on Shakespeare
The Public Forum’s latest onstage chat.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold / when I hang out at Joe’s Pub discussing sonnets with Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro, actor Sam Waterson, author Téa Obreht, and a rad underage writer from the Bronx DreamYard program. See you there. —Kathryn Schulz
April 26, 7 p.m.
22. Attend The PEN World Voices Festival
Devoted to brave writers in tough places.
If you prefer to celebrate living writers, you could opt for the Pen World Voices Festival—all 70-plus events of it. The fest celebrates the courage of authors writing from places like Palestinian territories, Myanmar, and Guantánamo, and the voices in question include Judith Butler, Aleksandar Hemon, Jamaica Kincaid, Sapphire, and many, many more. —K.S.
April 29 through May 5, schedule at pen.org.
23.–25. Read The Black Count (Plus Two Others)
There goes your summer.
You know (I presume) of Alexandre Dumas. But perhaps you don’t know (I didn’t) of General Alex Dumas—the novelist’s Haitian father, the real-life figure behind The Count of Monte Cristo, and the subject of Tom Reiss’s The Black Count, which just won the Pulitzer Prize for biography. By my count (so to speak), that gives you at least three books to read: The Black Count, The Count of Monte Cristo, and, if you want, Tom Reiss’s earlier work, The Orientalist, another wonderful tale of literary sleuthing. —K.S.