1. Read All I Love and Know
Timely, twice over.
Judith Frank’s new novel has—like too little literary writing—an actual plot: A married same-sex couple from Massachusetts relocate to Jerusalem to raise their niece and nephew, recently orphaned by a bombing. You will most likely cry while reading it, but you won’t despair.
2. Hear Nick Hakim and Yellerkin
Not for the last time.
Two Brooklyn acts have suddenly been getting buzz lately—especially Hakim, whose moody, gorgeous voice suits a sweaty summer night.
Baby’s All Right, August 27.
3. Dip Into Shark Week
The yearly bonanza is one of TV’s greatest examples of how to have your fish cakes and eat them, too. Shark Week is full of pop science, educating the public on the dietary, reproductive, and migratory habits of the world’s oldest predators, and viewing their overfishing as a sort of animal genocide in the making. And yet at the same time, Shark Week is an exercise in stealth fear-mongering; every special is ultimately about the Jaws image of the razor-toothed aquatic grim reaper, and the adrenaline rush we get from watching is akin to that NASCAR rubbernecker sensibility: enjoying the race, anticipating the blood. —Matt Zoller Seitz
Discovery Channel, through August 17.
4. Hear Mozart’s Requiem
D minor is the only minor thing about it.
A Mostly Mozart Festival concert can be a light summer affair, with its white-jacketed orchestra and flower-strewn stage. But this year it ends with the Requiem, conducted by the superbly Mozartian Louis Langrée. If you know it only from Amadeus, you owe yourself the staggering, full impact of one of the most vibrantly solemn and dramatic pieces of music ever written. —Justin Davidson
Avery Fisher Hall, August 22 and 23.
5. Finish Off True Blood
Just one more bite.
Seven seasons of vampires, werewolves, werepanthers, shape-shifters, faeries, brujos, tramps, thieves, and Anna Paquin draw to a close as True Blood trues its last blood. Will Sookie, Eric, and Bill set up house as a tender threesome? Will the cure for hep V help our infected vampires in time? Will Lafayette ever get the happiness he deserves? Or will everyone—please, oh, please—meet his or her true death?
HBO, August 24, 9 p.m.
6. & 7. Watch Legends and Wilfred
Can Gandalf be far behind?
Sean Bean’s new show premieres opposite the series finale of Elijah Wood’s Wilfred. One ring shall rule them both!
TNT, August 13, 9 p.m.; Fox, 10 p.m.
8. See Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness
Photo geeks and brainiacs: Put your thinking caps on.
Christopher Williams makes photographs about photographs; photography; and how photos are made, presented, and framed, plus any other formal twist you can think of. Many are pictures of other pictures, or others he has merely retitled. He likes pictures of cameras, developing trays, film boxes, all of it. Yet if you zero in on enough of this dry didacticism, it reveals a pleasure in pictures and their beauty, and Williams’s strange obsessions combine to offset grumbles and forehead-smacking. —Jerry Saltz
Museum of Modern Art, through November 2.
9. Listen to Jenny Lewis’s The Voyager
Not just one of the guys.
The former Rilo Kiley front woman’s first solo album in six years is full of dreamy-sounding, soulful songs and just may inspire an entirely new generation of women.
10. Watch Doctor Who
Wherein Peter Capaldi debuts in his first full episode as the Twelfth Doctor, and totally owns it. This is not a dapper, dashing, flirty doctor. Capaldi plays him as imperious, a bit of a bulldozer, always wanting to get on with it, and often amusingly oblivious to the niceties others observe. This is going to be a fun ride. —M.Z.S.
August 23, 8 p.m.
11.–13. See The Birds, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Pitch Perfect Outdoors
Watching a movie under the stars can be exhilarating or—thanks to planes, cars, bugs, etc.—an irritating series of distractions. But it’s so worth the risk for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, which never, no matter how many times you see it, gets less weird, clunky, or pit-of-your-stomach dreadful (in the original sense). And now you can watch it in the company of real birds! (Bring a baseball bat.) Among the many other outdoor options, which are happening nearly every night this season: The Royal Tenenbaums, with the best performance—Gene Hackman’s—in any Wes Anderson film, and the delicious musical Pitch Perfect, at which you can sing along with Anna Kendrick and her fellow “acas.” —David Edelstein
Brooklyn Bridge Park, August 21; Central Park Sheep Meadow, August 19; South Street Seaport, August 16.