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.
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.
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 bam.org.
10. Hear Lily Allen’s Sheezus
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
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.
14. See IRL Club
The strange world of the internet, onstage.
Writers and performers take turns enthusiastically showing off (via projector) the loopiest, most compelling things they have turned up in their deepest Google dives. Laugh, gasp, cringe.
The Bell House, April 30.
15. See Nate Lowman: Rave the Painforest
Growing up, a little.
The bratty early-2000s art star has given everyone plenty of reasons to write him off. But his new show’s paintings show a little development, a little maturation, and the flickering of something subtle. Time for a little cautious optimism?
Maccarone, through June.
16. Watch Saturday Night Live: SNL Digital Shorts
Not actually live.
In every “whither SNL?” essay, there’s agreement: that the show’s preshot films and fake ads have been consistently better than the live stuff. In this two-hour compilation, expect to see “Dick in a Box” and “Wes Anderson’s ‘The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders.’ ” —M.Z.S.
NBC, April 24, 9 p.m.
17. Listen to Future’s Honest
On his 2012 debut Pluto, the Atlanta rapper Future threw together flossy rap, Auto-Tune, Afro-futurism, and power-ballad schlock with improbably spectacular results. Album No. 2 is finally here, heralded by the year’s most irresistible rap single, “Move That Dope,” and by the title track, a humblebrag for the ages. —J.R.
18. Hear Britten’s War Requiem
A pacifist’s lament.
Benjamin Britten sat out World War II as a conscientious objector, but his contribution came 17 years later, when he opened the post-Blitz Coventry Cathedral with a massive work that’s less antiwar than pro-bliss. It’s just the kind of elevated megawork that can be counted on to fire up Robert Spano’s Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. —J.D.
Carnegie Hall, April 30.
19. Read In Paradise
Peter Matthiessen crosses over.
“I nominate hogs to inherit the Earth, because hogs love to eat any old damned thing God sets in front of them, and they’re ever so grateful for God’s green earth even when it’s all rain and mud, and they just plain adore to feed and fuck and frolic and fulfill God’s holy plan.” That is the great Peter Matthiessen, who earlier this month left the world he too inherited—publishing In Paradise three days after he died. —K.S.
20. See Oliver Wasow: Studio Portraits
Behind the subjects.
Wasow’s portraits with digitally inserted backdrops buzz with psychology and wall power. In David, we see the artist’s bearded brother, looking down and away, as the icy romantic landscape behind him isolates him further until we’re in touch with some existential pain. Wasow burrows into the space between what’s seen, what’s not, and what’s been manipulated. —Jerry Saltz
Theodore: Art, 56 Bogart Street, Bushwick; through May 11.
21. Hear Richard Goode
The superb pianist with the downy touch can play the hell out of a juggernaut sonata, but here he makes a daisy chain of miniatures. Each little packet by Janácek, Schumann, and Debussy is a sonnet, a watercolor, a playlet, or a dream. —J.D.
Carnegie Hall, May 1.
22. See The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill, Volume 2
Any page of early O’Neill might instruct actors to speak searchingly, ironically, scornfully, heartily, chokingly, coldly, or irritably. That’s what you’ll get (and all you’ll get) from the New York Neo-Futurists, who enact the stage directions sans text. Volume 2 extends the premise. Promisingly. —J.G.
Theater for the New City, through May 11.
23. Listen to Sheldon Harnick: Hidden Treasures
Such delicious tingles.
“You say a butcher has no soul? It cuts me to the bone.” So goes a lyric from Fiddler on the Roof that bit the dust in development. You can hear that one and many others—including outtakes from She Loves Me and The Apple Tree—on this set of lesser-known songs by the lyricist and composer. A must for completists and a pleasure in itself. —J.G.
Harbinger Records, May 1.
24. See Chicago in L.A.
Judy Chicago, before Dinner.
Brooklyn’s show of this argument-starter’s early work is twinned with a new book, Institutional Time, diagnosing the ills of arts higher ed. She’ll also be hosting a public event called “A Butterfly for Brooklyn” in the Long Meadow on April 26. Brooklyn Museum, through September 28.
25. See Lyon Opera Ballet
Look beyond Paris.
Lyon’s company is a powerful commissioner of new work. As part of the “Danse” festival of French talent, it will perform Christian Rizzo’s fantastical, mysterious ni fleurs, ni ford-mustang. —Rebecca Milzoff
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, May 7 through 9.