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To Do: November 4–November 18, 2015

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

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Mamie Gummer in Ugly Lies the Bone, Lulu at the Metropolitan Opera, and more New York events.  

Movies
1. See Goosebumps
Fast, funny, and frightening.
This creepy, energetic adaptation of R. L. Stine’s enormously popular kids’ horror stories has a teenage boy accidentally unleashing all the monsters from the books on his unsuspecting Delaware town. Jack Black is terrifically demented as Stine himself, and the film has the feel of a story being spun before our very eyes. —Bilge Ebiri
In theaters.

Theater
2. See Mamie Gummer in Ugly Lies the Bone
The perilous fight.
Mimicking a moment of pain onstage involves certain tricks an actor can learn; inhabiting an existence that is nothing but pain is much more difficult. In Lindsey Ferrentino’s uneven but promising new play, Mamie Gummer, as a veteran suffering from third-degree burns, goes deep into the emotional devastation of severe injury — and triumphs. —Jesse Green
Roundabout’s Black Box Theatre, through December 6.

TV
3. Watch W/ Bob & David
Serving good sketch.
Twenty years ago, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross had one of the most innovative (if least-watched) comedies on television, HBO’s Mr. Show With Bob and David; it was maybe the closest that American TV has gotten to the stream-of-consciousness lunacy of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. W/ Bob & David reunites them in a similar setup, with Paul F. Tompkins, Jill Talley, Jay Johnston, John Ennis, Brian Posehn, and other co-stars and guests. —Matt Zoller Seitz
Netflix, starting November 13.

Pop
4. Hear Carly Rae Jepsen
Hey, it’s sold out/But StubHub maybe?
The upside of Carly Rae Jepsen’s being one of our most underrated pop stars? You get to see her in a venue as small as Irving Plaza (if you can find a ticket). The romantic bombast of her great album Emotion will surely fill the place to the rafters. —Lindsay Zoladz
Irving Plaza, November 11.

Art
5. See Nina Chanel Abney’s ‘Always a Winner’
American splendors.
Blasting us with polyphonic optic power and delivering a punch of political activism, Abney’s new paintings of police, people on the street, and passersby are continuous one-surface news reports. Using bright color, text, cartoonlike figures, and her incredible sense of allover design, these paintings are drumbeats of their own time and place. —Jerry Saltz
Kravets/Wehby Gallery, through November 14.

Movies
6. See The Peanuts Movie
Who’s that round-headed kid?
A decade ago, I interviewed director Joe Dante about his vastly underrated Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and he said that at one point, as a goof, he had Bugs and Daffy undergo a dimensional shift and move from flat to 3-D. He dumped the gag because he found it “too nightmarish.” Well, the creators of the new Peanuts feature were not quite so sensitive, turning Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, and Snoopy into fully rounded figures. Will the movie — unseen as I write — be true to Schulz’s grown-up view of childhood neurosis? —David Edelstein
In theaters November 6.

Comics
7. Go to The Spirit 75th Anniversary Celebration
It’ll move you.
All great comics and graphic novels (from Spider-Man to Fun Home) have one common ancestor: the late writer-artist Will Eisner. Cartooning legend Jules Feiffer (who apprenticed with Eisner) and the comics editor and historian Paul Levitz will dig into the origins and legacy of Eisner’s boundary-shattering 1940s pulp series The Spirit, which elevated comics from garbage to art. —Abraham Riesman
SVA Theatre, November 11.

Design
8. See ‘Wendell Castle Remastered’
An innovator then and now.
If there were any doubt that Castle has earned his place as an American design icon, this show settles the question. His heroically organic early furniture designs are juxtaposed with more recent work combining handcrafted techniques with digital technologies like 3-D modeling and computer-controlled milling. (Don’t skip the two short films about Castle, showing on the fourth and fifth floors.) —Wendy Goodman
Museum of Arts and Design, through February 28.

Books
9. Read Orhan Pamuk’s A Strangeness in My Mind
An exquisite formalist — and dissident.
The Nobel–winning Turkish novelist vivisects Istanbul’s last 50 years — its fascinating byways and customs, but also its corruption and heedless modernization — mostly through the eyes of Mevlut, a haplessly striving, eternally curious food peddler who’s joined a mass migration from the countryside. Forsaking much of his glimmering postmodernism, Pamuk comes up with an urban paean in the mode of Balzac. —Boris Kachka
Knopf.

Movies
10. See Out 1: Noli Me Tangere
The cinephile event of the season.
A gigantic, nearly impossible-to-see slab of cinema history rumbles into the BAMcinématek in the form of Jacques Rivette’s 13-hour Out 1: Noli Me Tangere — eight episodes to be screened in pairs, five days each during a 16-day run. Like much of Rivette’s work, it’s reportedly a puzzle movie, here involving two theater troupes, a female con-artist seductress, and the hunt for a secret society set in Paris after its late-’60s social upheaval. No, I haven’t seen it; I’ll be in line, too. —D.E.
BAMcinématek, November 4 through 19.

Opera
11. See Lulu
Femme fatale.
The South African artist and director William Kentridge dissects, then reassembles Alban Berg’s dark tale of a doomed and toxic woman. Marlis Petersen sings the title role in a score that mixes creepiness and seduction. —Justin Davidson
Metropolitan Opera, open November 5.

Pop
12. Listen to Beach House’s Thank Your Lucky Stars
Prolific popsters.
Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House decided to lie low for a few years — then put out two albums in two months. First we got the great, sumptuous Depression Cherry, which was packaged with a velvet cover and sounds just as soft. This follow-up shows a slightly rougher side of the band; start with the misty, distortion-drenched “One Thing.” —L.Z.
Sub Pop.

Theater/TV
13.-15. Watch Chita Rivera, Act One, and Kander & Ebb on PBS’s Arts Fall Festival
Home theater.
In its fifth year, PBS’s Arts Fall Festival includes more theater than usual. This month’s offerings start with Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ to Do, covering 65 years in the career of the dancer-singer-actress (not always in that order). Next comes a taped performance of the 2014 Lincoln Center Theater production of Act One, based on Moss Hart’s autobiography and starring the terrific Tony Shalhoub and Santino Fontana. Finally, there’s First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb, including new arrangements of songs so smart and famous you’d swear musical theater wasn’t dead. —J.G.
PBS; November 6, 13, and 20.

Dance
16. See BalletCollective
Led by one to watch.
New York City Ballet corps member Troy Schumacher continues to make a strong case for himself as an important new choreographic voice, most recently with his vibrantly inventive Common Ground for the company. Further proof of his consistently inquisitive approach to ballet: his independent troupe (all NYCB dancers) dedicated to collaborative new works, which presents two new Schumacher works with fresh scores here. —Rebecca Milzoff
NYU Skirball Center, November 4 and 5.

Classical Music
17. Hear Paul Lewis
Death and transfiguration.
Sidelined by surgery for part of the fall, this master of understated lyricism returns for the White Light Festival to play Beethoven’s final, transfigured sonatas — and Lewis has made a specialty of deathbed masterpieces. —J.D.
Alice Tully Hall, November 14.

Pop
18. Listen to Raury’s All We Need
Very necessary new music.
Raury Tullis is just 19, but his debut studio album brings Afrocentrism back in a big way, merging the ethos of traditional folk with hip-hop and black consciousness. Try the futuristic, titular album opener, which closes with a prodigious rap verse from the Stone Mountain, Georgia, native.
Columbia Records.

Movies
19. See Sembene!
A loving and lovely tale.
A testament to the transformative power of film, this documentary follows the seismic career of Senegal’s Ousmane Sembene, often called the father of African cinema. But directors Jason Silverman and Samba Gadjigo also interweave a personal story — that of Gadjigo himself, and how discovering the older master’s works helped him find his own voice and develop his own identity. —B.E.
In theaters November 6.

Art
20. See Jordan Casteel’s ‘Brothers’
Fraternity.
It is tremendous to see complex paintings of black men together — brothers at home, surrounded by everyday objects — as they are in Jordan Casteel’s sensual, highly chromatic paintings. Her method of pictorial depiction is a wonderful woozy wobble between realism and improvisation in space that flattens, then turns photographic, then visionary. —J.S.
Sargent’s Daughters, through November 15.

Books
21. Read The Blue Touch Paper
An unsentimental education.

For the playwright David Hare (Plenty, Skylight), everything is political, including his own autobiography. As he tells it in this angry and drily funny new memoir, the path from a self-hating, class-obsessed childhood to success as one of England’s most incisive dramatists is littered with bad intentions. —J.G.
W.W. Norton & Company.

TV
22. Watch Cop Rock
A worthwhile ’90s flashback.
Twenty-five years ago, innovative TV producer Steven Bochco filled the gap between his Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue with this entirely unexpected law-and-order melodrama about economic deprivation, class and racial conflict, police corruption, bureaucratic inertia, and the beating heart of the city. It aired just 11 episodes, all of which are now viewable on YouTube, before getting canceled and landing on all sorts of Worst of the Year lists. The thing is, it’s kind of amazing. Not all of it works — a lot of it is misjudged — but it’s consistently compelling and sometimes sublime. —M.Z.S.
All episodes on YouTube.

Classical Music
23. Hear Rachmaninoff Festival
Rarefied romanticism.
The New York Philharmonic opens its festival devoted to the sometime New Yorker, an artist and showman who made the piano an instrument of pop entertainment and high art. The not-to-be-believed virtuoso Daniil Trifonov plays Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and the Second Piano Concerto. —J.D.
David Geffen Hall, November 11 through 17.

Movies
24. See The Armor of Light
Taking aim.
The most depressingly funny images on the internet lately are signs with variations on “Welcome to America. [0] Days Since the Last Mass Shooting.” Abigail Disney’s grim documentary approaches anti-gun activism from an unusual perspective: that of a fervently anti-choice, right-wing, Evangelical minister who began a long journey to take on the NRA after a follower shot abortion provider Barnett Slepian and the 2013 Navy Yard shooting erupted in his D.C. neighborhood. It’s not a hopeful portrait — but at least someone is keeping the faith. —D.E.
In theaters.

Theater
25. See Dear Elizabeth
The drama’s in the mail.
The passionately non-erotic correspondence between poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, as dramatized by Sarah Ruhl, calls for an especially intimate kind of acting. Of the six matchups that Women’s Project Theater is offering during the play’s six-week run, I’m therefore especially looking forward to the November 23 through 28 pairing of Ellen McLaughlin and Rinde Eckert (who really are married) and the November 9 through 14 pairing of Becky Ann Baker and Peter Scolari (who are married on Girls). —J.G.
McGinn/Cazale Theatre, through December 5.


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