14. Attend Great GoogaMooga
Nowhere to go but up.
Consider us cautiously optimistic, because, yes, this fine-dining-and-music festival was kind of a mess last year: too many ticketed attendees, overstressed resources, and ridiculous wait times for tiny bites of food. But the idea has good bones, and if the organizers have learned from their mistakes, Great GoogaMooga (full disclosure: it’s co-sponsored by New York) has the potential to be a pretty awesome experience.
Prospect Park, May 17 through 19; schedule at brooklyn.googamooga.com
15. Hear Kurt Vile
And the Violators.
The indie rocker’s fifth album, Wakin on a Pretty Daze, arrived last month to nearly perfect reviews, and he’ll be playing the Bowery for just one night. It’s sold out, so either hit up Stubhub or start planning for his return visit, on June 29 at South Street Seaport.
Bowery Ballroom, May 16.
16. See Design(in) The New Heart of New York
How to visualize a whole neighborhood, built from scratch.
It’s difficult to grasp the behemoth that is Hudson Yards, the shopping center, office district, and residential combo that will one day occupy the westernmost chunk of midtown Manhattan. To help visualize the details, the Center for Architecture has mounted an exhibit that will remain up until June 30, and a series of weekly panels explaining what it’s all about.
Center for Architecture, 536 La Guardia Place, through June 30.
17. See Scarecrow
Endorsed by a man who’d know.
No less an authority than Gene Hackman (now, alas, retired) considers his best performance to be in Jerry Schatzberg’s Scarecrow, a scruffy, intimate 1973 drama that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes but went almost unseen. Hackman and Al Pacino play Beckettian hobos traveling cross-country to open a car wash, and the tall man and the shrimp make beautiful music together. The role uses all Hackman’s gifts: his violence, his improvisation chops, his ability to match wits with a fellow Method titan. Pacino, meanwhile, is at his lightest, sweetest, and most playful. The undersung (except in France, where they love their Jerrys) Schatzberg will introduce the May 17 show. —David Edelstein
Film Forum, May 17 through 23.
18. Listen to James Levine’s Return
He steps back up.
James Levine has been injured and absent from public life for so long that the Metropolitan Opera seemed almost to have learned to function without its music director. But he’s been busy backstage. He finally makes his comeback on May 19, conducting the Met’s orchestra at Carnegie Hall in a preview of his return to the Met podium next season. —Justin Davidson
Carnegie Hall, May 19.
19. Hear Black Francis
A real live Pixie is in town for a special acoustic show. One night only.
Symphony Space, May 17, 8 p.m.
21. Read A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It Or Not!” Ripley
Here’s something you didn’t know.
He’s dead more than 60 years, yet Robert Ripley’s brand still marches along. Neal Thompson’s biography reveals a man who figured out the secrets of bitsy and irresistible content long before there was an Internet. Crown Archetype.
22. Watch Kingdom Come
Vampire turned documentary subject.
The surreal heartaches of indie filmmaking are laid bare in this doc about Daniel Gillies, a.k.a. Elijah Mikaelson on The Vampire Diaries. It chronicles Gillies’s attempts to finance his feature Broken Kingdom, starring himself; his wife, Rachael Leigh Cook; and the veteran character actor Seymour Cassel (Rushmore). Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Spurlock, and Kevin Smith chime in to explain the dreary ins and outs. —Matt Zoller Seitz
Showtime, May 15, 7 p.m.
23. Watch Scandal
The season-two finale.
When Scandal premiered last year, it seemed a promisingly soapy, if grim, prime-time drama about public relations and politics. Over the course of two seasons, it’s evolved into something much more impressive than that: a nightmare representation of love, sex, and power, with past agonies constantly intruding on the present and the characters’ neuroses pushing the U.S. government through one scandal after another, right up to the brink of war. Shonda Rhimes’s series is so trashily expressionist that complaints of implausibility ricochet off its slick surface. This is the second craziest show on television, after American Horror Story. —M.Z.S.
ABC, May 16, 10 p.m.
24. See Tom Jones
So unusual at Bowery Ballroom.
That’s Sir Tom Jones, age 72, these days (and please pause here to picture the Hairy-Chested Thrown-Panties-Receiving King of Tight Pants himself as he bowed down before Queen Elizabeth II). Expect a multigenerational crowd: It’s the rare Bowery Ballroom show that will be equally appealing to twentysomethings and their grandmothers. Probably in different ways.
May 18, 9 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.).
25. See the 1963 Jason and the Argonauts
And remember Ray Harryhausen.
Harryhausen, one of the last golden-age practitioners of stop-motion animation and arguably its greatest, died last week at 92. Although some would plump for Clash of the Titans, from 1981, Jason and the Argonauts is widely held to be his best film: the little posable character figures are surprisingly atmospheric, and unlike a lot of rubber-monster movies, this one has a decent script. The battling-skeletons sequence is forever a classic.
DVD, $9.37; Blu-ray, $14.99, both at Amazon.
*This article has been corrected to show the proper name and description of Terry Evans's exhibition.