13. See The Night Alive
Conor McPherson’s latest heartbreaker came too late for last year’s praises and too early for this year’s prizes. So, quickly before it goes, catch Ciarán Hinds and a top-notch cast in this perfect (and perfectly Irish) look at the DMZ where crazy marginality and bone-deep kindness coexist. —J.G.
Atlantic Theater Company, through February 2.
14. Hear London Grammar
Nottingham trio in town.
Say “Brit trip-hop” three times fast. Then check out this new breed of brood and lead Hannah Reid’s transfixing vocals. (They’ll also be on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on January 13.)
Baby’s All Right, January 15.
15. Hear A Bartók Quartet Marathon
The string quartet is a composer’s confessional booth—it’s where the bombast and posing fall away. Bartók’s six quartets are almost painfully intimate, and hearing them all in two consecutive concerts is a full immersion into the composer’s rich, dark world. —J.D.
Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, January 18 and 19.
16. Hear Disclosure
Settle, the debut by Guy and Howard Lawrence, from Reigate, Surrey, U.K., was last year’s most acclaimed dance album for good reason: It was the smartest and most seamless execution of a formula everyone tried, cannibalizing house and dubstep for beats and stirring in lush pop hooks. —J.R.
Terminal 5, January 17.
17. Hear Simone Dinnerstein
Matching Bach and Beethoven with recent music is the highbrow equivalent of steampunk retro-futurism: The new illuminates the old. Dinnerstein applies that principle with flair, using the classics to frame music by George Crumb and Nico Muhly. —J.D.
Miller Theatre, January 23.
18. Watch 30 for 30: The Price of Gold
Back with Tonya and Nancy, twenty years on.
Documentarian Nanette Burstein revisits the Olympics’ loopiest scandal, the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan by Jeff Gillooly, ex-husband of her competitor Tonya Harding. Burstein interviews most of the players, including Harding and Kerrigan’s husband-manager Jerry Solomon, peeking behind the curtain of media frenzy to reveal the human frailty it concealed. —M.Z.S.
ESPN, January 16, 9 p.m.
19. See Vengeance Is Shohei Imamura
The work of the Japanese director Shohei Imamura (who died in 2006) is tough to come to terms with, and a good occasion to try is the Asia Society’s five-film festival. In such movies as Vengeance Is Mine and Black Rain, the tone is clinical, the subtext acid to the point of making you wince. But he’s not reductive, and his pitiless postwar universe is rendered with the kind of urgency that marks a true, vital auteur. —D.E.
Asia Society, January 17 through February 1.
20. And Then See Boy
A very different kind of Japanese movie.
Boy, from 1969, is at once the most contained and freakiest of Nagisa Oshima’s films, and its formal audacity induces gasps on the big screen. The movie centers on a 10-year-old who’s used by his parents in a scheme to fake traffic accidents—spiritually murdering a young innocent. While you’re studying his disintegration, you’re keenly aware of the artificial colors of his consumerist society. Like many kids, he’s the canary in the coal mine. —D.E.
Film Forum, January 17 through 23.
21. Hear Paul Auster
Auster (author of The New York Trilogy, Winter Journal, etc.) is coming to the Morgan Library, where he’ll discuss one of my pet topics: Edgar Allan Poe. Go. I will be under the floorboards, making that knocking sound. —K.S.
Morgan Library & Museum, January 16.
22. Hear Juilliard Focus! on Alfred Schnittke
A January visit to Russia.
Even before the Soviet Union crumbled, strange sounds, ancient and shocking, were emerging from the tundra. Juilliard’s annual themed festival revolves around Schnittke and other Russian composers like Giya Kancheli and Valentin Silvestrov, whose mystical music never quite fit in an atheistic state. —J.D.
Peter Jay Sharp Theater, January 24 through 31; schedule at events.juilliard.edu.
23. Hear Sondheim Unplugged
On a Sunday.
Come for the monthly evening of Stephen Sondheim’s songs, this time focused on his duets (“A Little Priest” and “Agony” for starters); stay for the special guests, who in the past have included Len Cariou, Donna McKechnie, and Chip Zien.
54 Below, January 26.
24. Hear Paul Appleby
A voice, and face, to watch.
The tenor’s ardent voice and youthful presence made him a convincing troubled teenager (he’s in his thirties) in Nico Muhly’s Two Boys; this recital will be a far more intimate—and cheaper—experience.
Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, January 26.
25. Hear Aretha Franklin
Bow down and pay … you know.
It’s Aretha Franklin, people. Enough said.
Radio City Music Hall, January 17 and 18.