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.