1. See John Singer Sargent Watercolors
Ninety-three works, many unseen for decades.
The Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, got together on this one, mining their holdings for an unusually comprehensive survey of these intense, beautiful paintings. Keep them out of storage, guys!
Brooklyn Museum, opens April 5.
2. Watch Vice
With special guest Kim Jong-un!
Yes, Vice is off-putting. But give ’em this: They got in to see the Outstanding Leader when nobody else could. That alone will get us to watch for a few weeks. Well played, guys.
HBO, premieres April 5.
3. Read Bad News
As the series concludes, revisit book No. 2.
The second of Edward St. Aubyn’s five “Melrose” novels—especially chapter seven, a Fugue for 400 Voices Inside a Smack Addict’s Head—makes me want to resuscitate the phrase tour de force. —Kathryn Schulz
4. See Judith Belzer
Belzer channels her inner West Coast self through the spirits of Thiebaud and Diebenkorn in these richly sketchy panoramic landscapes with sweeping spaces, vertiginous views, the light of San Francisco, and the glow of a restless painter in search of a real abstract landscape. —Jerry Saltz
At Morgan Lehman, through April 27; and in the group show “Against the Grain” at the Museum of Arts and Design, through September 15.
5. See Miroslaw Balka: The Order of Things
Balka’s gigantic installation The Order of Things looks like a machine from hell, spewing two great rushing jets of ink-black water and sounding like it’s from the Stygian abyss. Go and be dwarfed by it; bow down to it; try to beat your hands against it. Don’t turn your back on it. The thing may only be a sculpture, but it feels like it could turn on you at any moment. —J.S.
Gladstone Gallery, through April 13.
6. Hear Leonard Cohen
At Radio City Music Hall.
Wear a snap-brim hat, and plan to go drinking after.
April 6 and 7.
7. See The Last Detail
In a 4K restoration.
Jack Nicholson first proved he was a hell of an actor in this 1973 film, one of Hal Ashby’s best pictures, from a script by Robert Towne. He plays “Badass” Buddusky, one of two sailors assigned to transport a poor patsy of a petty thief (dumb, lovable Randy Quaid) to the brig for what promises to be eight brutal years. I’ll never forget seeing this in the seventies: Its boisterousness and wild profanity elated me, and its overriding melancholy packed a wallop. —David Edelstein
At Film Forum, April 5 through 11.
8 & 9. See and Read William Klein
One of the most important photographers alive, on view and in print.
A big luxe survey of the mid-century master, now 84: fantastic street views, vivid backstage scenes, the contact sheets on which he paints, lots of magazine covers, and more. He designed the companion volume himself, too, and it includes bits and pieces of his photo books of the fifties and sixties. Impeccable.
William Klein: Paintings, Etc. on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery through April 27; William Klein: ABC, out now from Abrams.
10. Hear Chris Hardwick
The comic and voice behind the “Nerdist” podcast comes out of his basement and onto Carolines’ stage. (For what it’s worth, he’s quite charming in person—the least-geeky geek you’re likely to see.)
Carolines on Broadway, April 5, 6, and 7.
11. Hear Hot Chip
London’s favorite synthesizer jockeys come to midtown, where they’ll download their latest into your brain. Welcome your robot overlords!
Roseland, April 9.
12. Hear Isabel Leonard
A singular soprano, and one to watch out for.
It’s a dangerous world out there for a young opera singer with the voice, the looks, and the onstage ease to upstage the reigning diva, but Isabel Leonard also seems to have the grit and sensitivity to be an all-around star. The Met’s underusing her, so for now she’s just a spectacularly talented performer, so versatile she can’t quite decide whether she’s a soprano or a mezzo. She returns to the Met in May in Dialogues des Carmélites, but in the meantime catch her solo at Carnegie Hall. —Justin Davidson
Recital at Zankel Hall, April 9.
13. Hear Alarm Will Sound
And we will respond.
Alarm Will Sound is the Seal Team Six of new music, comfortable in any stylistic terrain, always flicking technical challenges. The group returns to its sometime base at Zankel Hall for the world premiere of Fly by Wire, by the guitarist and caffeinated composer Tyondai Braxton. Also on the program: selections from The Hunger, a new music-theater piece by the Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy that incorporates vintage recordings of Gaelic folk song. —J.D.
Zankel Hall, April 6.
14. See Aircraft Carrier
An Israeli-architecture primer.
Most of what Americans know about architecture in Israel consists of footage of pop-up settlements on the West Bank or wrecked Palestinian houses in Gaza. To broaden our view, the ever–socially conscious Storefront for Art and Architecture is hosting “Aircraft Carrier,” a survey of what’s been built, unbuilt, and designed but never built since the Yom Kippur War. —J.D.
Storefront for Art and Architecture, through April 24.
15. Watch Little Fugitive
A wistful onscreen trip to the Boardwalk in 1953.
Coney Island’s open for the season—before you go, warm up with this tone poem of a movie, made 60 years ago (Jennifer Senior discusses it in her essay on childhood in New York; see page 22). A 7-year-old flees his bullying brother, spending an almost wordless day and night amid Coney’s amusements. Directed by Ray Ashley, Morris Engel, and photographer Ruth Orkin, it shows a lost city—and you’d never even imagine a plotline like that today.
Special-edition DVD, $17.47 through kinolorber.com; Blu-ray edition, $26.21.
16. Read The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards
A ferocious first novel.
Kristopher Jansma’s incredibly unreliable would-be-author-as-narrator hops around the globe, in an attempt to relate the story of his parting from his friends and untangle his life from his constant fictionalization of it. Writing about writing is rarely so lively.
17. Revisit Muddy Waters
Born a hundred years ago this week.
His centennial is just an excuse to celebrate the Chicago bluesman whose “Rollin’ Stone” gave its name to a Bob Dylan hit, a somewhat successful British rock band, and a music magazine. He also lived long enough to ensure that his stuff was recorded pretty well, and the Chess box set is your best starter purchase: three discs, 72 songs, serious but not overwhelming.
The Chess Box: Muddy Waters, $40.56 at Amazon.com.
18 & 19. See Wrong and Eddie: the Sleepwalking Cannibal
Two out-of-whack indie oddities.
If formula movies have you snoozing, Quentin Dupieux’s Wrong is strenuously dislocating—the tale of a man (Jack Plotnick) who wakes up to find his beloved dog gone and his life gone to the dogs. Boris Rodriguez’s Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal is a delicious gory parable in the Bucket of Blood tradition, about a blocked painter (Thure Lindhardt) whose creative floodgates open when he becomes the guardian of a traumatized mute (Dylan Smith) given to nocturnal frenzies. A feast for the accursed soul! —D.E.
Wrong is in theaters now; Eddie opens April 5.
20. Hear Understudies & Swing(er)s at Toshi’s Living Room
Headlining at last!
A fun night for deep-Broadway fans: Every Monday from six to nine, a major show’s understudy or swing (meaning one of those folks in the second row of the dance numbers, namelessly belting their guts out, living the dream) gets to show his or her stuff as a headliner. On April 8, it’ll be Russell Fischer from Jersey Boys; the next week, Kyle R. Carter from In the Heights.
1141 Broadway, at 26th St., $10 minimum.
21. Read Our Man in Iraq
A fictional fabricating war journalist.
Take an ambitious and insecure journalist in Zagreb, have him start secretly rewriting all the news reports filed by the unhinged cousin he sent to Baghdad to cover the war, and you get Robert Perisic’s Our Man in Iraq—a timely if unconventional novel for the tenth anniversary of the war, and likely the only book you’ll ever read translated from the Croatian. —K.S.
Black Balloon Publishing.
22. Watch Hannibal
The first bite.
Between Fox’s The Following, A&E’s Bates Motel, and whatever bloodfest happens to be opening at your local multiplex this month, the serial-killer genre is down to table scraps. Still, though, how can you not tune in to the premiere of Hannibal, an origin story about how two of Thomas Harris’s most famous characters—FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and psychiatrist and liver-gobbler Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen)—came to meet and work together?
NBC, April 4, 10 p.m.
23. Read Things Fall Apart
“Let no one be fooled by the fact that we may write in English, for we intend to do unheard-of things with it.” So said the Nigerian-American writer Chinua Achebe, who died on March 21 after a lifetime of doing the unheard-of with English—and earning a reputation as the father of African literature along the way. If you’ve never read his 1958 Things Fall Apart, take this opportunity to do so. Most things do fall apart; but his book holds up, beautifully. —K.S.
24. Rewatch MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco
Season 3, when it really started getting real.
Vulture’s exhaustive survey of the 27 (gasp!) seasons of the defining reality-TV show puts the 1994 cast at the top of the list. Puck became a stand-in for an entire generation’s assholish roommates, Pedro was the first real AIDS sufferer most TV viewers ever saw, and Rachel Campos slowly peeled off her right-wing blinkers.
All episodes viewable at mtv.com.
25. Hear The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
At Webster Hall.
Karen O. & Co. are back from their good long break, with a new album (Mosquito, out April 16) and just one concert date in their hometown. Inevitably, it’s sold out; get on StubHub or Craigslist, and prepare to pay up.
April 7, 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.).