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.
14. See Whales: Giants of the Deep
And the Twitterers who love them.
We don’t need to make the case for the museum or its “Whales” exhibit (who doesn’t like whales?). So all you really need is an excuse to go, and this is a good one: a meet-up of the museum’s Twitter followers, at which curators and scientists and Scientific American editors will answer questions over drinks and snacks.
American Museum of Natural History, May 1, 6:30 p.m.; register at amnh.org.
15. See Alexandra Pacula at Gallery Henoch
A commuter’s-eye view.
It’s her large-scale painting Tram that catches the eye: six panels, seven feet long altogether, constituting a photo-realistic close-in view of the Queensboro Bridge by night. In its longitudinal jumps, we see shifts in perspective and depth—evoking the great if occasionally slightly queasy-making view from the Roosevelt Island tram.
555 W. 25th St., May 2 through 25.
16. Hear Johnny Marr
He’s got two New York shows.
The second-most-famous Smith has just released his first solo album, and since the band’s clearly never getting back together, we might as well enjoy him on his own.
May 2, Irving Plaza; May 3, Music Hall of Williamsburg.
17. Watch Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous
Or is he?
MTV is dipping back into the single-camera sitcom game with this new series, about a kid who decides to skip college in favor of an attempt to court fame. (He’s kind of a Kardashian without portfolio.) Could be terrible, could be great—but it sounds like just the sort of conceit that MTV has a knack for executing. We’re curious.
MTV, premieres May 2, 10:30 p.m.
18. Read A Small Corner of Hell or A Dirty War
Chechnya, illuminated in fact …
Before she was murdered in 2006, the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was one of the most informed and impassioned voices about the ongoing conflict in Chechnya. If the Boston Marathon bombings made you want to understand more about this troubled region, read her A Small Corner of Hell (2003) or A Dirty War (2001). —Kathryn Schulz
University of Chicago Press/Random House.
19. Read A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
… and in fiction.
By a remarkable coincidence, this week also sees the publication of an excellent novel about Chechnya. Anthony Marra’s grave, complex, elegant exploration of how war and occupation warp the human psyche is more than good enough to merit reading even if we hadn’t suddenly developed a national interest in its setting. —K.S.
20. Hear Richard Goode and Maurizio Pollini
Ludwig, twice over.
Beethoven addicts never have to wait long for their fix, but rarely do his piano works come in two such sumptuous doses. On May 1, Goode plays the late sonatas, which glow with a strange grandeur that the centuries have not been able to neutralize. On May 5, the speed-loving, patrician Pollini breezes through four earlier sonatas, the “Pathétique,” “Waldstein,” and “Appassionata,” and the moniker-less No. 24. —J.D.
21. See David Bowie’s Producers
Just for one day. An entire day.
After the release of The Next Day, in March, David Bowie quashed all hopes for a tour. Here’s a pretty good consolation prize: an all-day talk by Ken Scott, Tony Visconti, and Nile Rodgers (the producers behind Ziggy Stardust, Heroes, and Let’s Dance), who’ll share studio wisdom and gossip.
Sky Room at the New Museum, May 5, noon–8:30, $15.
22. See 42
As square a movie as they come, but it works.
Lots of Hollywoodizing, lots of clichés—but it’s the kind of movie where you forget about subtlety and story. Here’s the bottom line: The Jackie Robinson biopic tells us that if you’re good at baseball, you bring in money, and nothing else matters. And 42 can play, and it knows it. —Bilge Ebiri
In theaters now.
23. See The Royal Ballet of Cambodia
Choreographed by an actual princess.
In this rare look at a 1,000-year-old art form, chanting and serious costuming round out the mannered, gorgeous choreography supplied by Her Royal Highness Princess Norodom Buppha Devi. She’ll teach a master class on May 4, too.
Brooklyn Academy of Music, May 2 through 4.
24. & 25. See Lloyd Ziff: Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, 1968–1969 and Mapplethorpe Self Portraits
In one show, just kids; in another, grown up.
Two exhibitions bracketing Robert Mapplethorpe’s career: At Danziger, Lloyd Ziff, a long-ago classmate of Mapplethorpe’s, is showing portraits he shot of his very young friends—grainy and crudely posed, intended as stills to be incorporated into a Mapplethorpe film. At Skarstedt, we see the mature portraitist, shooting himself with finesse and mastery.
Danziger Gallery, through May 4; Skarstedt Gallery, through June 15.