1. Watch True Blood
Can’t shake the disease.
The people of Bon Temps can’t fight off the Hep-V plague forever—but with the beloved Viking vamp Eric Northman among the stricken, can a cure be found? In this episode (titled “Karma”), it turns out an unlikely savior has had it inside herself all along.
HBO, July 27.
2. & 3. See Another Look at Detroit: Parts 1 and 2
Double show, singular city.
The curator Todd Levin excels at complex group shows with multilayered juxtapositions: He loves furniture, curios, posters, and mixing old and new and has a knack for pulling off extraordinary loans from great institutions. All of that is on display in this outstanding pair of exhibitions that includes artists Mike Kelley, Diego Rivera, Anna Sui, Dana Schutz, and many others who all have connections to Levin’s hometown. This homage to the past and present greatness of Detroit gets to the core of why its tremendous art museum must be saved. Just like the city, and that museum, this show is a keeper. —Jerry Saltz
Marianne Boesky Gallery and Marlborough Chelsea, through August 8.
4. Read Knish
Laura Silver’s friendly little history of what she calls “the Jewish soul food” is a savory slice of New York life: lightly spiced, evocative of your grandparents, and just filling enough.
Brandeis University Press.
5. Hear Sila: The Breath of the World
A cloud of composition descends on West 65th.
John Luther Adams, new New Yorker, composer of nature, and ambivalent refugee from the hush and roar of rural Alaska, has composed a piece for an outdoor environment he’s still discovering: the city, with all its variety of noises. Eighty musicians will take up positions across Lincoln Center for the world premiere of a work with no conductor, no fixed tempo, and no clear end. Audiences may come, go, and move around, which means that each listener has a fundamentally different experience. —Justin Davidson
Lincoln Center, July 25 and 26.
6. Read Outlander
Advance reading, part I.
Don’t just take our word for it—here’s Taystee’s recommendation from an Orange Is the New Black episode: “Lady travels back in time to Scotland, hooks up with this big sexy outlaw type, and they be gettin’ it day in and day out. Yo, it’s hot!” Read all eight of the Diana Gabaldon books before the Starz series starts August 9.
7. Read Guardians of the Galaxy
Advance reading, part II.
The sixties Guardians of the Galaxy comics—the movie adaptation’s out on August 1—can be baffling, in part because some characters are actual raccoons and trees. So where do you start figuring this out? With the past five years’ comics, because they’re the ones in which the team from the movie appears. Start with Annihilation: Conquest (books one and two), Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume One—Legacy, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume One—Cosmic Avengers.
8. See Bolshoi Ballet
For the first time since 2005, the grandest of companies is returning, with the kind of appropriately opulent story ballets the Russians embrace: Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and Spartacus. It’s also our first chance to see David Hallberg, who is both an ABT star and a member of the Bolshoi, perform in New York alongside his Russian fellows—an experience that has only enhanced the nobility of his dancing. —Rebecca Milzoff
David H. Koch Theater, through July 27.
9. Listen to “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Mandatory Fun
Don’t fear the polka.
And don’t roll your eyes: You know more of his songs than you care to admit, and he’s an extremely skilled producer, able to knock off anything from Quincy Jones to Pharrell.
10. Hear Mostly Mozart
Wolfgang is back.
The venerable festival keeps shaking off cobwebs with new music, late-night recitals, counterintuitive programs, and dance collaborations—so much so that “mostly” is a matter of interpretation. Still, the festivities start with a rich helping of Mozart three ways, and hearing Richard Goode play the A-major Piano Concerto is an experience that heals many forms of hurt.
Avery Fisher Hall, July 29 and 30.
11. See Times Square, 1984
The New Times Square’s baby pictures.
Thirty years ago, Times Square was poised between its seamy past and its gaudy future and was really up for grabs. The Skyscraper Museum exhibition gathers some of the proposals—utopian, deluded, demoralizing, and beautiful. Today, those pictures have a fanciful, almost sci-fi alternate-reality look (thank goodness, in the case of Johnson and Burgee’s phalanx of fat leaden towers). But that stew of ideas helped shape the square we know today. —J.D.
The Skyscraper Museum, through January 18.
12. See Snowpiercer
With special effects.
Viewing note about this action film from the South Korean director Bong Joon-ho: See it at the Angelika, because it’s set on a postapocalyptic train, and those infamous rumbles from the Lexington Avenue line will only add to the experience.
Angelika Film Center.