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To Do: November 19–December 3, 2014

Twenty-five things to see, hear, watch, and read.


1. Watch Bob’s Burgers

Turkey-lurkey time.
Thanksgiving episodes are to Bob’s Burgers what Halloween specials have been to The Simpsons: a chance to layer on the flights of fancy. This year’s finds Bob boycotting the holiday, leaving Linda and the kids to attend the Turk-tacular Turkey Town Festival without him. Hitchcock-style avian mayhem ensues. —Matt Zoller Seitz
Fox, November 23 at 7:30 p.m.

2. Listen to Run the Jewels 2

One plus one equals three.
Atlanta’s Killer Mike and Brooklyn’s El-P have been making bold, adventurous hip-hop just outside the mainstream for well over a decade, but their chemistry on Run the Jewels 2, their second album together, recombines to elevate them. This is some of the sharpest and most vital music of their careers. —Lindsay Zoladz
Mass Appeal.

New Music/Movies
3. See Black Mountain Songs

Where Cage and Cunningham played.
The Brooklyn Youth Chorus resurrects the anarchic spirit of North Carolina’s Black Mountain College, a long-defunct incubator of artist-­visionaries. The National’s Bryce Dessner gathered composers, a filmmaker (Matt Wolf), and a director (Maureen Towey) to produce a choral work of utopian imagination. —Justin Davidson
BAM Harvey Theater, from November 20 to 23.

4. See Elsa & Fred

Prime Plummer.
Widower Christopher Plummer moves across the hall from Shirley MacLaine. One of them gets sick, but until then … you can figure out the rest. Plummer—even in a cranky role—has become a charmer in his old age, and Mac­Laine has enough life force to overcome the role of Life Force. —David Edelstein
Paris Theatre.

5. See R.H. Quaytman

Step into her world.
In Quaytman’s giant, spirally walk-in installation, we get hard-edged and quasi-painterly wood reliefs combining brainy art-historical references with geometric and decorative work. Quaytman says it’s about “speaking a common language without pedagogy.” —Jerry Saltz
Gladstone Gallery, through December 20.

6. See New Chamber Ballet

Look out for the tall blonde.
Miro Magloire delivers an opportunity to catch Kaitlyn Gilliland, a magnetic dancer whose career has only taken on more texture and dimension since she left New York City Ballet; she’ll perform a new solo. —Rebecca Milzoff
City Center Studio 5, November 21 and 22.

7. See Indian Ink

Last-chance gem.
Tom Stoppard tosses themes like pizza dough in this drama. But even if it never quite melds, the dialogue is deeply entertaining, and it’s worth it for the great performances: Firdous Bamji as a conflicted painter, Romola Garai as a smart-young-thing poet, and Rosemary Harris, who at 87 gives a master class in invisible acting. —Jesse Green
Laura Pels Theatre, through November 30.

8. Read Alice Munro’s Family Furnishings

Get to know a genre master.
One of those Nobelists, rare of late, who aren’t a well-kept secret, Munro—the category killer of short-story writers—has published all these tales in other books. But this collection assembles the absolute gems in one place for initiates and rereaders alike. —Boris Kachka

9. See Laggies

Adulthood, interrupted.
Keira Knightley shines in Lynn Shelton’s comedy about an adrift late-20-something who befriends a high-school student (Chloë Grace Moretz), then moves in with her and her divorcé dad (an incredibly sexy Sam Rockwell). You know where it’s going, but the trip is pretty charming.
In theaters.

10. Hear Sullivann

Come for Britney’s “Toxic” as you never imagined it; leave humming “Palisade.”

Vocal dynamo Catherine Brookman and multi-instrumentalist Joe White blend synth, guitar, mighty lung power translated via loop machine, and maybe an accordion, with lyrics that linger.
Littlefield, November 20.

11. Watch Eat: The Story of Food

For thought.

This six-hour mini-series starts with the decision to stick a piece of meat on the fire and see what happens and continues on through the contemporary quest to perfect the crunch of a potato chip. —M.Z.S.
National Geographic Channel, November 21 through 23, 9 p.m.

12. Read 33 Artists in 3 Acts

Makers’ marks.

Sarah Thornton profiles nearly three dozen artists here, ranging from Jeff Koons (harshly) to Ai Weiwei, Damien Hirst to the Dunham family, plus many others more obscure. Her interwoven interviews cohere into a strong three-part whole—first politics, then kinship, and finally craft. —B.K.

13. Watch The Babadook

Frights from Down Under.

There’s a new, bloodcurdling fairy-tale monster in Jennifer Kent’s penetrating Aussie horror movie. The title creature seems to spring fully formed from the unconscious of a single mother with a problem child, and the amazingly vivid Essie Davis makes you feel the depths of the universal struggle to balance love and resentment. Stunning! —D.E.
In theaters November 28.

14. See Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Now’s your chance.

It’s been eight years since Wagner’s glorious comedy has been seen at the Met. Otto Schenk’s luscious, wide-angle 1993 production dates from a bygone era: all the more reason to catch one of the seven performances, with Johan Botha onstage and James Levine in the pit. —J.D.
Metropolitan Opera, opens December 2.

15. Watch MasterChef Junior

The tiniest toques.

A bunch of 8-to-12-year-old cooks compete to see who can get their feelings hurt the least; there will be tears (and not from the onions) and plenty of oh-my-God-why-is-that-child-using-frying-oil?
Fox, Tuesdays, 8 p.m.

Theater/Pop Music
16. Listen to The Real Thing

They’ve lost that lovin’ feeling.

Here’s a novel thought: humming on your way out of a straight play. Director Sam Gold enlivens this revival by placing the sugary pop tunes Ewan McGregor’s character loves not just on his record player but in the mouths of the actors. Between scenes, the cast harmonize quite nicely on the likes of “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “I’m Into Something Good.”
American Airlines Theatre.

17. Listen to Mary J. Blige’s The London Sessions

Return of the queen.

Mary’s first serious record in years would be reason enough for anticipation on its own; that she’s found new inspiration collaborating with London artists like Sam Smith, Disclosure, and Emeli Sandé only ups the ante.
Capitol Records, December 2.

18. See Nick Doyle’s Steven

Character actor.

Doyle’s cheekily assured debut is a one-room SoCal-adolescence fantasia documenting the coming of age of Steven, the artist’s mopey “alter ego, doppelganger, ventriloquist dummy, identity experiment, digital projection, drone clone, Mars rover, and bête noire.”
Invisible-Exports, through November 23.

New Music/Opera
19. See InsightALT: JFK

Sneak peek.

David T. Little’s music dramas Dog Days and Soldier Songs deal with big issues: war, desperation, moral hazard, and calamity. All of which should have prepared him well to write his first big opera, JFK. It premieres at Fort Worth Opera in 2016, but New York audiences get a first taste now. —J.D.
Merkin Concert Hall, November 25.

20. See Jessica Lang Dance

Poetry in motion.
In The Wanderer, the choreographer known for her pleasing blend of ballet and modern idioms creates a visual narrative set to Franz Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, a song cycle based on poems by Wilhelm Müller. —R.M.
BAM Fisher, December 3 through 6.

21. Visit Death by Audio

Before its demise.
This wonderfully dank, graffitied DIY space is the latest cultural casualty of rising rent prices in Williamsburg. Stop by one of the (still secret) final shows. —L.Z.
Closes November 22; schedule at

22. Read Thrown

The thrill of the fight.

Kerry Howley spent three years following two MMA fighters, one a grown-up prodigy struggling to regain his status, the other a promising newbie nicknamed “New Breed.” The resulting book, Howley’s first, blends philosophy with immersive description to capture the “ecstatic experience” of fighting.
Sarabande Books.

Classical Music
23. Hear Odes: In Honor of St. Cecilia

They’re beggin’ her please.

Blocked composers, hoarse singers, and stiff-fingered violinists have a patron saint, Cecilia, to plead with or praise. The soprano Jolle Greenleaf and her early-music collective Tenet mark her feast day by performing a variety of Henry Purcell pieces (though, oddly, not his “Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day”). —J.D.
Church of St. Luke in the Fields, November 22.

24. See Father Comes Home From the Wars

The brilliant first third of it, anyway.

In Suzan-Lori Parks’s nine-part series—the first three parts of which make up this evening—a slave accompanies his master into battle on the Confederate side in exchange for a promise of freedom. Even in our supposedly ADD culture, people long for stories that engage the deepest possible issues in the most gripping possible ways. This is one of those stories—or maybe more than one. —J.G.
Public Theater, through December 7.

25. See Sunshine Noir

Fight off seasonal affective disorder.

A 21-film series featuring the sunniest (and darkest) L.A. crime dramas this side of hell, including Vilmos Zsigmond’s wide-screen rot in Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye and Tarantino’s best film, Jackie Brown. Plus, two woefully underseen films: Straight Time, with a thrillingly unmannered turn by Dustin Hoffman, and Mike’s Murder, with a never-better Debra Winger.d.e.
BAMcinématek, November 26 through December 9.


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