1. Watch Smash
Four episodes to go.
If you’ve drifted away—and to look at Smash’s ratings, a lot of people have—now is the moment to drop back in. The Broadway-show-within-the-show has finally opened, after two years, as the series counts down to its finale in May. Don’t you want to see how it does?
NBC, Saturdays, 9 p.m.
2. Listen to Deerhunter’s Monomania
Play by night.
Deerhunter is led by Bradford Cox, a prolific weirdo genius who’ll play “My Sharona” for an hour onstage or wander around the Jimmy Fallon offices mid-performance. The band’s description of this, their fifth album, is “nocturnal garage.”
4AD records, May 7.
3. & 4. See Sorcerer and Cruising at “Friedkin 70s”
Pick your feet in Poughkeepsie (and in Brooklyn).
William Friedkin won an Oscar for directing The French Connection in 1971, creating what Pauline Kael called the “Urban Gothic” genre. Two years later, he served up The Exorcist, that infamous blend of sanctimony and spew. BAM is showing both, but “Friedkin 70s” also features two undersung gems: his flop Sorcerer, with its louche jungle setting and brilliantly sustained tension; and Cruising, the much-reviled noir in which undercover hetero Al Pacino finds his truer sexual self. Friedkin will be present for a Q&A (and to sign his new memoir) after Sorcerer on May 2. —David Edelstein
Brooklyn Academy of Music, May 2 through 7.
5. See Tim Hawkinson at Pace Gallery
Madman of materials.
Here’s a (not exhaustive) list of things Tim Hawkinson used to make the sculptures in his new exhibition: palm fronds, jacaranda logs, Bondo, acorns, bronze, polyester resin, pinecones, and his daughter’s bicycle. We’ll let you discover which one(s) went into the oversize seahorse sculpture.
508 W. 25th St., opens May 3.
6. Listen to Darcy James Argue’s Brooklyn Babylon
With Secret Society, the youngest great big band around.
A great eighteen-piece jazz orchestra that bounces, churns, tiptoes, and skips through composer Argue’s borough of the mind.
New Amsterdam Records.
7. See Iron Man 3
We can’t promise it’ll be great. But we can promise that it will have Robert Downey Jr. in it.
This may be Downey’s final appearance as Iron Man, and he’s certainly the most cerebral actor who’ll ever wear the exoskeleton—one who can turn those scripted-to-seem-tossed-off asides into actual wit. We’ll be there.
Opens May 3.
8. Hear Brooklyn Rider
World music for a world city.
As its name suggests, this string quartet has both a strong sense of place and an urge to travel. That same tension runs through the group’s bewitching new album, A Walking Fire, which flanks Bartók’s Second String Quartet with a Gypsy-flavored piece by the violist Ljova and a Persian-ish work by one of the quartet’s violinists, Colin Jacobsen. —Justin Davidson
Littlefield, 622 Degraw St., Gowanus, May 1, 8 p.m.
9. See The Lords of Salem
Zombie does witches.
Rob Zombie’s witches’ brew is a satanic answer to Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder: Malick moves toward the holy light, Zombie—as befits his nom d’enfer—the unholy darkness. It’s a gloomy ride, and the director’s wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, is an increasingly addled (and dull) heroine. But the three hens who descend on her are deliciously infernal, and the dream sequences are riotously blasphemous. —D.E.
In theaters now.
10. Read Light Without Fire: The Making of America’s First Muslim College
On the slippery redefinition of American-ness.
Scott Korb’s gracefully written story of Zaytuna College in California, the first liberal-arts Muslim college in the country, is suddenly ultrarelevant, as we all consider what it means to be an assimilated American, especially an Islamic one.
11. See Dialogues des Carmélites
Poulenc, for a moment, at the Met.
Wagner has squeezed almost everything else out of the season’s final month, but the Met has made room for just three performances of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, set in a convent during the anti-clerical French Revolution. It would be hard to imagine a more vibrant cast of nuns than one that includes Isabel Leonard and Patricia Racette. —J.D.
Metropolitan Opera House, opening May 4.
12. See Voyage to Italy
This trip won’t end well.
There’s always a place for a good degenerating-marriage road film. Among the most influential in the fifties and least-seen today is Roberto Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy (1954), in which Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders contemplate craters, skeletons, Pompeian petrifaction, and other objective correlatives of their troubled relationship. For the opening-night screening of this restored print, Film Forum has snagged Bergman and Rossellini’s daughter—the sublime Isabella—to speak. —D.E.
Film Forum, May 1 through 9.
13. See Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! Live in New York
It’s not just disembodied voices.
To non-listeners, “Wait Wait” probably seems pointy-headed: a public-radio news quiz. In fact, its panelists and especially the quick wit of host Peter Sagal keep it genuinely funny and fast-paced, as do the well-chosen celebrity guests (who have ranged from Barack Obama to Elmo; this time, it’s Steve Martin). This is the first taping to be simulcast to movie theaters around the country; it’s almost sure to sell out, so get in fast.
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, May 2.