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To Do: October 21–November 4, 2015

Twenty-five things to see, hear, watch, and read.


American Ballet Theatre, Disclosure in concert, and more New York events.  

TV
1. Watch Supergirl
Truth, justice, and feminism.
Tired of watching emotionally constipated superheroes brood in the rain? Check out Supergirl, a hopeful, sweet, and engaging retelling of the femme-centric comic, starring Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers, a.k.a. Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin. —Matt Zoller Seitz
CBS, October 26 at 8:30 p.m.

Pop
2. See Disclosure
Brothers with the beat.
Even though the brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence were mere babies in the ’90s, their 2013 debut album, Settle, established them as the most famous faces of electronic music’s house revival. They’ll hit MSG to play songs from their sleek, star-studded new album, Caracal. —Lindsay Zoladz
Madison Square Garden, October 24.

Movies
3. Watch Scary Movies 9
Through your fingers.
Nobody has the will and resources to do Halloween better than the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and this year’s Scary Movies 9 is all treats. It’s preceded (a prologue!) by Kent Jones’s doc on the seminal Hitchcock-Truffaut interviews; opens with the bally­hooed Southbound (a bloody, omnibus road movie); and closes with Bernard Rose’s modern-day, L.A.-set Frankenstein. In between, catch the tribute to indie-horror godfather Larry Fessenden, featuring his superb eco ghost story The Last Winter. —David Edelstein
Film Society of Lincoln Center, October 30 through November 5.

Art
4. See ‘Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom’
After the pyramids, before the Golden Age.
For a comparatively brief 400-year moment in Egyptian history (circa 2030 B.C. to 1650 B.C.), the arts slid from highly stylized, abstract, hieroglyphic-y, profile-y depictions to something clearer, more crystalline, more real. We see figures giving and receiving gifts, great chunks of meat on plates, piles of plants, figures fanning themselves in majesty. Go revel in our collective inner past. —Jerry Saltz
Metropolitan Museum of Art, through January 24.

Theater
5. See Cloud Nine
Getting better with time.
Many timely dramas shrink and buckle with age, their laudable politics as passé as their clothes. But Cloud Nine, Caryl Churchill’s 1979 play about the necessity and cost of all kinds of liberation, has only grown fuller, meatier, sadder, funnier, sexier, and more provocative — more theatrical, too, in this superb revival by James Macdonald — as the conditions from which it arose have changed radically, and have not. —Jesse Green
Atlantic Theater Company, through November 1.

Pop
6. See Blur
Damon and the boys are in town.
The Britpop legends haven’t toured the States in 12 years, and they’re only playing two U.S. dates in support of their comeback album, The Magic Whip — which means their first-ever headlining spot at the Garden is not to be missed. Guaranteed goose-bump moment: stadium-size sing-along “Tender.” —L.Z.
Madison Square Garden, October 23.

Opera/New Music
7. See Refuse the Hour
Making music from the minutes passed.
Anyone who’s ever met a deadline, watched the sun set, or waited for a bus knows that time is a rubbery substance that twists and stretches and snaps. The composer Philip Miller turned those sensations into opera — or maybe it’s a dance piece, or a one-man play — for the artist William Kentridge, who threads his way among a choir of giant metronomes, each marking off a separate flow of time. —Justin Davidson
BAM Harvey Theater, October 22 through 25.

Books
8. & 9. Read Patti Smith and Carrie Brownstein
Remembrances from two rockin’ ladies.
In bookstores filling up fast with alt-rock memoirs, two new testaments belong on the front table. M Train, Smith’s sort-of sequel to Just Kids, is gentler and weirder: Wild adventures have given way to the far-flung travels of a famous artist, and the names dropped belong to distant heroes like Rimbaud, Schiller, Kurosawa. Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is more straight-ahead and DIY, not unlike both her feminist punk (in Sleater-Kinney) and her comedy (in Portlandia). The surprisingly earnest account of an artist’s making and constant remaking reflects Brownstein’s role in the riot-grrrl movement. —Boris Kachka
Knopf (Smith) and Riverhead (Brownstein).

Movies
10. Watch Mississippi Grind
A winning bet.
In Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden’s drama, a gambling addict (Ben Mendelsohn) and a fast-­talking extrovert (Ryan Reynolds) meet in Iowa and decide to travel to New Orleans together, hitting every casino along the way. There’s plenty of betrayal, but we’re drawn in by the generous characterizations, the atmospheric filmmaking, and the subtle interplay between the oft-misused Reynolds, who finally finds a role to match his aristocratic insincerity, and Mendelsohn, who beautifully mixes the melancholic and the manic. —Bilge Ebiri
In theaters.

Dance
11. See American Ballet Theatre’s Fall Season
Dancers, stretching.
The marvelously varied fall season always showcases ABT’s stellar dancers’ full range. This year, among the nine ballets programmed, look for a premiere by principal dancer Marcelo Gomes, the return of Twyla Tharp’s intricately composed Brahms-Haydn Variations, and an all-new work set to Hummel’s Piano Septet No. 2 in C Major by the ever-inventive Mark Morris. —Rebecca Milzoff
David H. Koch Theater, October 21 through November 1.

TV
12. Watch The Leftovers
Texas forever?
Season two maintains the show’s dreamy, woozy vibe while amping up the narrative momentum and relocating the main story to Jarden, Texas. Maybe it’s a miracle town — or maybe it’s just as broken and dangerous as everywhere else. —Margaret Lyons
HBO, Sundays at 9 p.m.

Theater
13. See Songbird
Flying over southern skies.
Chekhov’s Seagull, that tale of Russian theater types, has been transposed to South Carolina, Australia, and the Hamptons, reset among modern dancers, French cinéastes, and Canadian pop stars, and given avian titles from Drowning Crow to Stupid Fucking Bird. So why not Nashville? That’s where Michael Kimmel’s Songbird takes place, with the likes of Kate Baldwin and Erin Dilly singing country songs by native Tennessean Lauren Pritchard. —J.G.
59E59 Theater, through November 29.

Art
14. See Jim Shaw’s ‘The End Is Here’
Jewels from junk.
Opening doors into obscure Americana, cult theories, pop oddities, and more, this jam-packed retrospective shows us the power of not-modernism: art that comes from the lowest end of the cultural spectrum. Shaw, a collector of thrift-store paintings, cultivates high art that wouldn’t otherwise see the light of museum day, making things destined to die come alive in ways both incredibly generative and beautiful. —J.S.
New Museum, through January 10.

Movies
15.–17. Watch Peter Sarsgaard in Black Mass, Experimenter, and Pawn Sacrifice
He’s inescapable.
Have a Sarsgaardfest this Halloween: The peerlessly edgy actor is everywhere! You can see him as driven social scientist Stanley Milgram in ­Michael Almereyda’s delightfully experimental Experimenter; as an increasingly hysterical would-be rat in Black Mass; and as a calm chess-master priest and Bobby Fischer handler in Pawn Sacrifice (should you prefer to stay in, he’s also on demand in The Slap and The Killing and as a creepy ecoterrorist in last year’s film Night Moves). You’ll have till next year to see him in the resurrected Twin Peaks; in the meantime, you can spot him strolling around Park Slope. —D.E.
In theaters.

Books
18. Read Thirteen Ways of Looking
Four fine stories from Colum McCann.
The author of Let the Great World Spin has spent so long illuminating history through fiction that readers can miss the real source of his power: his perfection of sentence, idea, and voice. In this new quartet of stories, all thematically related to a random assault McCann suffered last year, he displays a rare confluence of skill, style, and moral vision. —B.K.
Random House.

Pop
19. Listen to Julia Holter
Pretty music about unpretty feelings.
L.A. chamber popper Julia Holter’s great new album, Have You in My Wilderness, is also her most affecting. These songs pirouette through turbulent emotions with Holter’s signature grace — like a breakup album recorded inside a music box. —L.Z.
Domino.

Classical Music
20. Hear Theodora
Oratorio or opera?
After years of writing operas in Italian for London’s spectacle-loving snobberati, George Frideric Handel adapted to a changing market by switching to oratorios — religiously themed dramas, performed without staging, in English. Theodora is a rarity: not an uplifting setting of an Old Testament episode but an operalike tragedy about the doomed love of a martyred saint, full of blood and passion and perfect for William Christie and Les Arts Florissants. —J.D.
Alice Tully Hall, October 31.

Art/Dance
21. See Fortunata Desperata
In Prada.
Renaissance court dance regularly makes trite appearances in any number of period pieces, but in this Performa commission, ABT principal dancer David Hallberg and artist Francesco Vezzoli make a case that it’s worth a closer look. Working with a historian, Hallberg meticulously re-created the pristine patterns of court dance here, performing (in a bespoke costume by Miuccia Prada) with an ensemble in the imposing St. Bart’s space. —R.M.
St. Bart’s Church, November 1.

TV
22. Watch Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank
A man in full.
Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler’s funny, fierce documentary gives America’s first openly gay congressman the complex portrait he deserves. Based on what appears to be unrestricted access, the camera crew follows Frank as he prepares to marry his longtime mate. In between the present-tense moments, there’s a candid ­biography. —M.Z.S.
Showtime, October 23 at 9 p.m.

Theater
23. See The Minstrel Show Revisited
Beyond blackface.
Donald Byrd’s Tony-nominated 1991 piece forced audiences to confront American racism by placing one of its ugliest manifestations onstage. Spurred by the Black Lives Matter movement, he has revised and will revisit the work, with both traditional (Scott Joplin) and new (Mio Morales) music.
NYU Skirball Center, October 28 through 30.

Classical Music
24. Hear ACO’s Orchestra Underground
Scores of new names.
Sometimes New York seems to consist of one endless new-music festival in which the same contingent of players and composers go crashing joyously around the city under different names. The SONiC Festival concludes with the American Composers Orchestra playing a fistful of world premieres by Nina Young, Melody Eötvös, Hannah Lash, Conrad Winslow, and Michael-­Thomas Foumai. —J.D.
October 23, Zankel Hall.

Movies
25. See The Waking Dreams of Wojciech Has
Peeking into a psychedelic psyche.
Poland’s Wojciech Has was one of the trippiest directors to flourish behind the Iron Curtain, and he gets a first-rate retrospective here. By all means, start with The Saragossa Manuscript, an Andalusian fever dream of a film that reportedly obsessed both Luis Buñuel and Jerry Garcia with its blend of the gothic and the acid-drenched 1960s. —D.E.
BAMcinématek, through October 27.


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