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To Do: September 11–18, 2013

Classical Music & Art
14. Hear The Grand Tour
The Metropolitan Museum’s walk-and-listen.
Musicians regularly crop up in European paintings, but less often in the European Paintings galleries at the Met. This week, though, the museum hosts a pair of tours with ensembles playing period music to complement the art. —J.D.
September 17 and 18, 8 p.m.

15. See The Return of Ulysses
Sing to me, O Muses!
Opera began as a way to act out grand themes in small but elegant rooms. The tiny company Opera Omnia returns to the genre’s roots but democratizes them, staging Monteverdi’s adaptation of The Odyssey in English-language “streamlined”—i.e., abridged—form. —J.D.
Baryshnikov Arts Center, through September 12.

16. Hear Two Biographies: One Fat One Thin
Four literary minds in concert.
A pair of lively writers talk about a pair of troubled ones: D.T. Max and Blake Bailey discuss their respective books, about the beloved Infinite Jester David Foster Wallace and the nearly forgotten Lost Weekender Charles Jackson.
powerHouse Arena, September 12, 7 p.m.

17. See Dane Cook
Don’t knock him till you’ve watched.
He gets slagged off in cerebral-comedy circles, but you know what? Dane Cook is straight­forwardly, uncomplicatedly funny, and delivers an incredibly tight set—which may be why he is among the most successful stand-ups alive.
Beacon Theatre, September 14, 8 p.m.

Classical Music
18. See The Art of the Score
Not a crime caper, despite the title.
Encounters with paparazzi notwithstanding, there’s no doubting Alec Baldwin’s seriousness when it comes to the New York Philharmonic. He’ll serve as artistic adviser to this week of film music, which starts with two all-Hitchcock programs (Herrmann’s music for Vertigo, Tiomkin’s for Dial M for Murder, more) and continues with a pair of 2001: A Space Odyssey concerts. —Rebecca Milzoff
Avery Fisher Hall, September 17, 18, 20, and 21.

Pop Music
19. Hear Breakfast Can Wait
It’s kinda hot in here.
The new single is not exactly a surprise: Prince, singing about postcoital lounging, sure. But that cover image, of Dave Chappelle in full-era velvet, bespeaks a sense of humor that we never expected from the tiny Minnesotan.
3rdeyegirl/Kobalt Label Services.

20. Read My Brief History
Not a black hole.
I am sorry to report that the Stephen Hawking memoir is not called A Brief History of Me. That lapse aside, fans of perhaps the world’s most famous scientist will enjoy My Brief History, his account of his life in science. And in sickness: Hawking was diagnosed with ALS at 21, and in this new book, he describes how his mortality affected his work—for the better, apparently. Technology has affected it for the better, too: His autobiography is the first book since A Brief History of Time that Hawking has been able to write on his own. —K.S.

21. See Touchy Feely
Hands off.
The best reason to see Lynn Shelton’s shapeless but likably offbeat comedy is Rosemarie DeWitt, one of our most exquisitely sensitive actresses. She plays a masseuse who has an existential crisis—it manifests itself as an aversion to skin—and it’s fascinating to watch her face and its micro-emotions as she moves in and out of lucidity. Some of that sensitivity rubs off on Ellen Page as her niece, who’s stuck living with her repressed dentist dad (Josh Pais). —D.E.
In theaters now.

22. Read Dissident Gardens
You can read Jonathan Lethem’s Dissident Gardens—a kind of many-boroughed novel of Queens, the Village, the American Communist Party, race, ethnicity, and mothers and sons—or you can just take the subway there: He’ll be reading at the Upper West Side Barnes & Noble on September 12. —K.S.

23. See Fall for Dance
In the dark.
For ten years, this festival has offered chances to see the best companies in town outside their expensive homes; this year, it goes one better, placing four stellar troupes—New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, and STREB Extreme Action—onstage for evenings at the Delacorte. —R.M.
September 16 and 17, details at

24. See Why We Left Brooklyn
Frowsy, funny, quietly furious.
Matthew Freeman’s play—a dinner party from hell packed with aging, underemployed actors and artists clinging to the fringes of their ever-gentrifying borough—doesn’t stop short of caricature: It barrels right through, spilling up-sold wine and cheap irony all over the Ikea furniture. —S.B.
Fourth Street Theatre, through September 21.

25. See The Newsroom
Stop saying you hate-watch it, and admit that you’re just watching it.
The criterati still knock its condescending female characters and liberal soapboxing, but it’s strangely engrossing, and Sorkin’s time-shifted structure (built around the investigation of a Tailwind-type scandal) has made this season cohere in ways that last year’s never did. The finale is set on Election Night 2012. Who’ll win, do you wonder? —M.Z.S.
HBO, Sundays, 10 p.m.