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To Do: April 23–May 7, 2014

25 things to see, hear, watch, and read.


1. See Only Lovers Left Alive
Vampire groovesters of Sodom.
Jim Jarmusch’s latest is a neat little comedy about deadpan hipsters who happen to be undead—and confer funereal hipness on their famously dying city, Detroit. How can you get more weirdly ­beautiful than Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, and of course Mia Wasikowska’s devil grin? It’s a crumbling, poisoned world, but once you embrace that, it has its charms.—David Edelstein
In theaters now.

2. Encounter Poetry in Motion
A weekend mucking around in verse.
New York State crazy-brilliant poet Marie Howe has organized two days of interactive poetry at Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall. Springfest, as she and her partners the MTA and the Poetry Society of America are calling it, has a “Peanuts”-style booth (“The Poet Is In”), where established poets write for you on the spot; Pulse Poems, which measures lines of verse to a person’s heartbeat; and more. For poetry lovers, dabblers, children, and people waiting for a train. Big fun.
Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal, April 26 and 27.

3. Watch Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
Prepare for a world without The Colbert Report.
The Daily Show correspondent who killed it as an anchor during Jon Stewart’s leave now has his own news-parody half-hour on HBO. Oliver has ­already begun developing a voice distinct from Stewart’s, trumpeting his own laziness. Rest assured that if something happens just ­before a broadcast, you’ll hear his take seven days later. —Matthew Zoller Seitz
HBO, Sundays, 11 p.m.; premieres April 27.

Pop Music
4. Hear tUnE-yArDs’s Nikki Nack
Drink it up.
The single from Merrill Garbus’s new album is called “Water Fountain,” but you will soon think of it as that “Woo-Ha! Woo-Ha!” song. Possibly the catchiest record of the year.
4AD, May 6.

5. Read Infinitesimal
Math + history = entertainment.
Pop quiz: Can a line be divided into a series of points that are themselves indivisible? No? Try this: Why did that question once foment such passion that it was banned by the Catholic Church and divided some of the greatest minds alive? Those questions are the heart of Amir Alexander’s fun, lucid book that obliquely serves as a history of early modern Europe. —Kathryn Schulz
Scientific American/Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Pop Music
6. Listen to Wye Oak’s Shriek
Better-than-you-expect Baltimore indies.
On paper, Wye Oak (Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack) are a pro forma indie-rock duo, makers of careful, pretty, rather vaguely sketched folk-­inflected rock songs about uneasy feelings and difficult relationships. But they execute better than most bands; their melodies stay with you, and the ­arrangements don’t merely signal “dreaminess,” they actually cast a spell. —Jody Rosen
Merge Records, April 29.

7. See Women
Alcott meets Dunham.
The funny mash-up of Girls and Little Women ­returns. Does Shoshanna get tuberculosis? Is there an alt-romantic-composer soundtrack?
The PIT; Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m., through May 6.

8. See Othello
More Moor, for Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.
It was one of those Orson Welles projects: three years of fly-by-night shooting, and recasting, with much of the dialogue post-synched. And yet his 1952 ­Othello is one of the better realizations of Shakespeare on film—a rough charcoal sketch with enough cinematic punch to hit home. —D.E.
Film Forum, April 25 through May 8.

9. See Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
And the rest of BAM’s Ellen Burstyn tribute.
A nine-film tribute to that powerhouse Ellen Burstyn. The highlight is bound to be Martin Scorsese’s gritty road movie Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, with a Burstyn Q&A after the 7:30 p.m. screening on May 3. —D.E.
BAMcinématek, April 30 through May 6; schedule at

Pop Music
10. Hear Lily Allen’s Sheezus
Her time?
Not sure about this one—on Twitter, she’s publicly distanced herself from the singles—but it’s Lily Allen, so we’re always paying attention.
Warner Bros., May 6.

11. See Beyond the Supersquare
Architecture into art.
In Latin America, where muralists can turn a cinder-block slum into a hillside Mondrian, the distinction between art and architecture—or ­between easel and city—is not fixed. This show traces those overlapping, back-and-forth, and subliminal relationships. —Justin Davidson
The Bronx Museum of the Arts, opening May 1.

12. See Tyne Daly in Mothers and Sons
Another master class.
In Terrence McNally’s play, the former Detective Lacey demonstrates the art of giving nothing away. Watch her reach for a drink to balance her nerves, then not drink it. Watch her get every laugh by seeming to squash it. Watch her mop up the sentiment of a sentimental story—and make you cry. —Jesse Green
Golden Theatre.

Classical Music
13. Hear the FLUX Quartet Play Morton Feldman’s String Quartet No. 2
Be quiet and sit … and sit, and sit.
Feldman the man was big, loud, and Brooklyn; his music is vast, quiet, and ethereal. The Second String Quartet takes his home borough’s oh, yeah? swagger to extremes, stretching over six hours of quietude (the audience can come and go; the players are stuck) and evolving like a melting glacier: so slowly, yet faster than you’d think. —J.D.
Park Avenue Armory, April 26.

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