1. See Locke
One-man show, and what a show.
This British film follows the so-called classical unities: one space, one time, one arc of action. And one person onscreen: Tom Hardy as a man driving from Birmingham to London and upending his life in front of your eyes. Also, ears: He’s making and taking harrowing phone calls. Steven Knight’s drama is fundamentally conventional (it would make a great radio play) and its hero too patently “existential,” but it’s a tour de force anyway. Hardy’s volatility comes through even when he’s playing a middle-aged, straight-arrow concrete pourer. —David Edelstein
In theaters now.
2. Hear Cher
Life after “life after love.”
No more Bob Mackie costumes, but everything else (the voice, the bod, the hair) should be in place. Do you believe?
Barclays Center, May 9.
3. See Anne Doran: Photo-Works (1985–1991)
It’s great when a younger gallery does the sophisticated groundwork required to identify and exhibit an almost-forgotten artist. That’s going on here with Anne Doran’s clairvoyant-looking show, where every piece was made more than 20 years ago. Aluminum armatures on the walls sport cutup pictures of products, porn, patterns, and strange symbols. Doran predates Windows and digital distribution systems via appropriation, politics, and a wry sense of sexy humor. —Jerry Saltz
Invisible-Exports, through May 25.
4. See Patti LuPone in The Cradle Will Rock
When the bough breaks.
Not many musicals take as their subject the ruination of democracy through unchecked greed. But not many musicals get shut down by the Feds (as this one did in 1937). Patti LuPone returns to the role of Moll (for which she won London’s Olivier Award in 1985) in a benefit performance for the Acting Company. —Jesse Green
Bernard Jacobs Theatre, May 19, 7 p.m.
5. See Lynda Barry: Everything: Part I
Marlys makes it to the Upper East Side.
The graphic novelist, artist, and creator of one of the world’s great alterna-comic strips, “Ernie Pook’s Comeek,” gets her first New York solo show, exhibiting 80 pieces made over 35 years. May it spawn the accolades and museum shows this world-class social observer deserves. Adam Baumgold Gallery, opens May 13.
6. Watch Brigadoon
Come to me, bend to me.
The title village of the classic Lerner-and-Loewe musical appears once every hundred years; the unseen-since-1966 ABC telecast (starring Robert Goulet, Sally Ann Howes, Peter Falk, and Edward Villella) jumps the gun with a special screening after only 48. Howes and Villella will be there to reminisce. —J.G.
Paley Center for Media, May 17, 3 p.m.
7. Hear A$AP Ferg
Get there as soon as possible.
Yes, M.I.A. is headlining this concert—but you’re probably planning to take in her festive agitprop at the Vulture Festival show with Solange at Webster Hall on May 10, and her support act the previous two nights is worth the cost of a ticket in his own right. Ferg is the weirdest and most original member of Harlem’s A$AP collective, which is to say he’s one of the best young rappers to emerge in the last half-decade. On his superb 2013 album, Trap Lord, he was a compelling oddball, with songs that held sharp boasts and spiritual depths; the beats—dark, grand, and woozy—are enthralling, too. Another reason to come out: the venue, a cavernous, newly renovated factory in Maspeth; further evidence that Queens is the new Brooklyn. —Jody Rosen
Knockdown Center, May 8 and 9.
8. See and Hear The Map
The peripatetic composer Tan Dun sometimes starts a new work by turning on his video camera, because why rewrite Chinese folk music when you can incorporate footage of the real thing? He is adept at mingling Chinese instruments in Western orchestras, and this multimedia work is Tan at his most virtuosically eclectic. —Justin Davidson
Skirball Center at NYU, May 12.
9. Watch Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge
Build-a-bear (and a frog, and a monster).
Just when you think the world doesn’t need another competition-based reality series, along comes a great one. Special-effects artists and up-and-comers compete to build creatures that demonstrate both imagination and an ability to follow instructions. The panel of judges, which includes Henson’s filmmaker son Brian, don’t just raise up or shoot down the puppet-builders: There’s real tough-love mentoring going on. Somehow, the inside glimpse of movie magic makes the magic stronger. —Matt Zoller Seitz
Tuesdays, 9 p.m., Syfy.
10. See Audra McDonald As Lady Day
By 1959, when Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill is set, Billie Holiday’s voice was shot. In one of the greatest performances I ever hope to see, Audra McDonald somehow manages a precise impersonation that is also a resurrection: She returns Holiday’s voice to her, and to us. —J.G.
Circle in the Square, through August 10.
11. & 12. Hear the Berg Violin Concerto and … the Berg Violin Concerto
Compare and contrast.
The rare truly beloved product of 12-tone technique, Alban Berg’s elegiac masterpiece experiences a harmonic convergence when two great violinists play it just over a week apart. Leonidas Kavakos appears with the New York Philharmonic, which pairs the concerto with Beethoven’s “Eroica”; Gil Shaham performs it with the Bavarian Radio Symphony on a program with Brahms’s Symphony No. 2. —J.D.
Avery Fisher Hall, May 8–10, and Carnegie Hall, May 18.
13. Revisit Hill Street Blues
The grandfather of the smart-TV boom.
This Steven Bochco cop series’s innovations have been so completely absorbed by television since the show’s debut in 1981 that when you revisit it on DVD, it may take a while for you to realize why it was a big deal. The refreshingly adult characterizations, the overlapping dialogue, the Robert Altman–style roving camera, the unexpected hookups, breakups, and deaths: All contributed to the sense that you are not just seeing a TV show but a buzzing community. David Milch (Deadwood) got his start writing here, along with many other future TV giants. —M.Z.S.
On DVD from Shout! Factory.
Music for Kids
14. Bring Your Child to Hear Laurie Berkner
Naptime comes later.
Along with Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner has come to define the indie-music-for-kids scene in New York, and on this weekend she’s playing her home neighborhood. The gig is tied to the recent release of Lullabies, her CD of both classic bedtime songs and tunes of her own, including some of her better-known tracks reworked for a sleepytime pace.
New York Society for Ethical Culture, May 17.
15. Hear the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Playing the Requiem.
Mortality—the fear, premonition, embrace, and transcendence of it—has produced some of the liveliest music in the classical repertoire. Conductor Manfred Honeck celebrates spring as a time of death in a program that explores the variety of the final experience and concludes with selections from Mozart’s Requiem, interspersed with readings, chants, and musical interpolations. —J.D.
Carnegie Hall, May 10.
16. Hear Cage the Elephant
You should’ve already.
Cage the Elephant might be America’s greatest current rock band. The fact that you’ve more likely than not never heard of them tells you something—tells you a lot, actually—about the depleted commercial fortunes of rock in 2014. So instead of headlining stadiums and arenas, the Kentucky quintet, led by singer-songwriter Matthew Shultz, plays mid-size venues like Terminal 5. That’s a bummer for the band, perhaps, but it’s good for the rest of us: The intimate confines are perfect for soaking up Cage’s clever, cutting, meticulously assembled songs, which freshen up hoary styles from blues to garage to punk, with bright pop hooks and a digital-era sheen. —J.R.
Terminal 5, May 6 and 7.
17. & 18. See Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case and Ai Weiwei: According to What?
Singular artist, twice over.
The first is the documentary about the mad persecution this Chinese artist has lived with; the latter, the retrospective of his work that’s up all summer in Brooklyn.
IFC Center, May 16–22; at the Brooklyn Museum through August 10.
19. See APP
Please do not turn off your cell phone.
This one might be too weird to pass up, and it’s free: a preview screening of Bobby Boermans’s evil-cell-phone thriller APP, the so-called “first second-screen feature film.” See, you download the “second screen” part on your device and then watch while, on the big screen, a Dutch student named Anna reels from texts that you also receive. If you tweet the experience, can you have a “third screen”? —D.E.
Film Society of Lincoln Center, May 8.
And Six From the Vulture Festival
On May 10 and 11, New York’s culture website will present the first-ever Vulture Festival, celebrating the best in television, music, film, and more with performances, lively conversations, and the chance to meet celebrities and our critics and editors.
20. Hear M.I.A. and Solange
Small venue, big voices.
The Sri Lankan–British activist rapper and the big-voiced no-longer-the-kid-sister-of-Beyoncé R&B star, in an unusually intimate setting.
Webster Hall; May 10, 7:30 p.m. (doors at 6:30)
21. Experience The Greatest Panel in Television History
Just in from Pawnee.
Adam Scott (of Parks and Recreation) and his wife, the TV and film producer Naomi Scott, will take their web-video series, “The Greatest Event in Television History,” onstage, discussing—and reenacting!—classic TV title sequences.
Milk Studios, 450 West 15th Street; May 10, 3 p.m.
22. Hear David Milch
Smart man who makes smart TV.
Ninety minutes with the supertalented writer and producer of Deadwood, in conversation with New York’s TV critic, Matt Zoller Seitz.
Milk Studios; May 10, noon.
23. Have Brunch With Rufus Wainwright
House of Rufus, with pastries.
Everyone’s favorite Judy Garland obsessive plays a few songs and chats with comedian and Vulture contributor Julie Klausner, while the crowd gets a Grub Street–approved brunch.
Milk Studios; May 11, 11 a.m.
24. Attend the Vulture Book Club, with Chang-rae Lee, Téa Obreht, and Akhil Sharma
Acclaimed writers discuss their work and the new global fiction with How to Read a Novelist author and former Granta editor John Freeman.
Milk Studios; May 11, 11:30 a.m.
25. Hear TV’s Best Dressers
Isabel Wilkinson, from the Cut, will chat with four of TV’s top costume designers: Lyn Paolo (Scandal, Shameless), Tom Broecker (Saturday Night Live, House of Cards), Jenn Rogien (Girls, Orange Is the New Black), and Jenny Gering (The Americans). Wear something sharp.
Milk Studios; May 11, 2:30 p.m.