1. See Fast & Furious 6
This is not a misprint.
Don’t turn up your nose. This installment in the popular daredevil racer series is a brilliant example of new-style syncopated action cinema. In this one, the fourth directed by Justin Lin, our multiracial family of outlaw heroes—led by Vin Diesel and Paul Walker—go to work for the law (Dwayne Johnson—so muscled he makes Diesel look like Pee-wee Herman) to catch a terrorist-thief and find the once presumed dead Michelle Rodriguez. The setup is functional, but the movie builds to a near-hallucinatory string of crash-and-burn car chases and high-impact martial arts. —David Edelstein
In theaters now.
2. Read The Shining Girls
I’m going to break critical form and recommend a violent and scary-ass novel by the South African writer Lauren Beukes. Why? First, because Beukes (best known in the U.S. for Zoo City) is a complex, interesting writer, always frying bigger things than you think. Second, four words: time-traveling serial killer. —Kathryn Schulz
Mulholland Books, June 4.
3. Hear Toad the Wet Sprocket
Sans electric triangle.
Since their nineties heyday, the Santa Barbara alt-rockers have broken up and reunited, and are again making new tunes. If it’s anything like their Bowl show last summer, expect teary fans who still know every word and a band that sounds eerily like its younger self.
Brooklyn Bowl, June 8.
4. See Rebecca Naomi Jones in Murder Ballad
And watch out—she may hop on your table.
A tireless cast of Broadway regulars cannonballs through the musical Murder Ballad, but Jones (who’s rocked out before in Passing Strange and American Idiot) as the narrator nearly steals the show: She’s a Greek chorus in hot pants.
Union Square Theatre.
5. See Arne Svenson’s The Neighbors
No, really: See his neighbors.
For two years, Svenson photographed his Tribeca neighbors through their windows. The results—all faces are obscured—are intimate but not spylike, alarming but not creepy, intrusive yet respectful. (But we’re still relieved not to be living next door.)
Julie Saul Gallery, through June 29.
6. See Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
It’s not perfect, by any means: There’s a frustrating detachment, achieved through irony and anachronism, to this musical slice of War and Peace staged in a tent near the foot of the High Line. But as it proceeds, the sarcastic veneer begins to delaminate, and the core material is allowed to shine honestly. By the end, co-star and playwright Dave Malloy even pulls out a gorgeous anthem about the title comet as it passes over a city soon to be burned. —Jesse Green
At Kazino through September 1.
7. Hear Cibo Matto
Still working for vacation.
The Japanese duo with the Italian name play the town that made them famous. Will sometime member Sean Lennon join them onstage?
Littlefield, May 30 and 31.
8. Board The AIA’s “Around Manhattan” Tour
O’er land, by sea.
As New York development has reached out to the waterfront, it’s gotten so that the water is the only place where you can step back far enough to get a full picture of the city’s constant change. The New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects runs almost daily tours from Chelsea Piers aboard the yacht Manhattan, featuring architect as guides to the parks and spires that have replaced steamships and stevedores. —Justin Davidson
Reserve at zerve.com.
9. Hear The National
Yeah, yeah, we know.
Okay, maybe they come off as McIndie Band by now. That’s the price of success: backlash. Set it aside and listen to them like it’s the first time.
Barclays Center, June 5.
10. Hear Simone Dinnerstein
Something about the Goldberg Variations—maybe the combination of methodical obsessiveness and lyrical tenderness—attracts pianists who like to think through a score from scratch. Dinnerstein, who worked her way to the head of the piano pack not by winning flashy competitions but with serious, questing interpretations of Bach, brings the work back to her native habitat, (Le) Poisson Rouge. —J.D.
(Le) Poisson Rouge, June 9.
11. See Laurel Nakadate: Strangers and Relations
Winding her way back via the double helix.
Haunting portraits of Nakadate’s distant relatives, found via DNA searches, reveal a new American family. These photographs—shot at night with a flashlight—immediately take their place in the pantheon of people who need to be seen by people who need to see. The ghosts of August Sander and Mike Disfarmer stir anew. —Jerry Saltz
Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, 535 West 22ndStreet, through June 29.
12. See BAMcinématek’s Russian Cinema Now
BAMcinematek’s celebration features a 30th-anniversary salute to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia—see it here, starting on May 31, not only for its melancholy grandeur but because Tarkovsky’s poetic longueurs tend to induce narcolepsy on TV. Opening the festival is the documentary The Russian Winter, which tracks Fugees co-producer John Forté on a concert tour via the Trans-Siberian Railway. The parable My Joy has been called “Ukraine’s answer to Deliverance.” Sooey! —D.E.
June 7 through 13.