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To Do: March 25–April 8, 2015

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

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Jessie Ware in concert, and more New York events.  

TV
1. Watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Let it be known: This show is strange.
Kimmy’s just spent the last 15 years in an underground bunker, being lied to by a cult preacher; now she’s back in the real world and trying to make a life for herself. That’s a lot of heavy baggage for a sitcom, yet here it feels effortless and occasionally breezy, and as Kimmy, Ellie Kemper is just about perfect. —Margaret Lyons
Netflix.

Art
2. See ‘Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic’
Swaggering canvases.
Wiley casts young men (and now women) wearing sneakers and hoodies in poses echoing ­European history paintings, giving us black ­Napoleons and beautiful queens of unnamed lands and the street. Even if Wiley’s ploy is drop-dead obvious, the near absence of black faces in Western art rises up and makes history stand (partially) corrected. —Jerry Saltz
Brooklyn Museum, through May 24.

Movies
3. See It Follows
Fright night.
There are many ways to scare an audience: with special effects and loud noises, with disquieting camera angles, with a pop-up “Boo!” The low-budget horror film It Follows is the most terrifying film in many years, while doing nothing of the above. Director David Robert Mitchell puts his murderous entities (human in appearance) way, way back in the frame, and as they walk (not particularly quickly) toward their target, we feel the impossibility of escape in our guts. —David Edelstein
In theaters.

Cabaret
4. Hear Patti LuPone
And stay for “I Wanna Be Around.”
She opened the joint in 2012 and returns this month to perform “The Lady With the Torch,” her beautifully considered and perfectly sung show of weepers and screamers and everything in between. —Jesse Green
54 Below, April 2 through 14.

Books
5. Read Tracy K. Smith’s Ordinary Light
After a Pulitzer, back to reality.
Smith’s memoir is about a life in many ways ­ordinary — suburban-California upbringing, elite-college education, upward mobility and black assimilation. But her writing is both precise and transcendent, so that when Smith digs deeper into her black rural roots, her revelations about identity, religion, and family feel as momentous as anything Barack Obama once put between covers. —Boris Kachka
Knopf, March 31.

TV
6. Watch Going Clear
Peek behind the curtain.
The latest from filmmaker Alex Gibney is a can’t-look-away documentary about the Church of Scientology, adapted from the book by Lawrence Wright. Watch for the rare interviews with former followers like director Paul Haggis; there’s also plenty of organizational history, including allegations of abuse of members and intimidation of journalists. —Matt Zoller Seitz
HBO, March 29 at 8 p.m.

Pop
7. See Jessie Ware
Velvet voice, major presence.
Jessie Ware’s Tough Love was last year’s most elegant pop album — 11 understated anthems that showcased the British singer’s breathy alto and rose-tinted romanticism. But even though Ware’s particular brand of cool is more subtle than showy, she can really belt it out live. —Lindsay Zoladz
Terminal 5, April 1.

Opera
8. See The Tempest Songbook
Singing and dancing up a storm.
On an intimate scale, Gotham Chamber Opera manages to imaginatively fuse music with evocative visual storytelling. This evening takes an inventive premise — pairing Purcell’s incidental music for The Tempest with Kaija Saariaho’s Tempest-inspired score from 2004 — and then creates a world Prospero might approve of, amplified by video projections and Martha Graham dancers.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, March 27 through 29.

Dance
9. See Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance
And get a history lesson, too.
Still working hard at 84, Taylor recently reconfigured his company’s mission to present not only his works but those of other modern-dance giants, too. This season is a first look at Taylor 2.0, with works by Shen Wei, Doris Humphrey, and others alongside Taylor classics and ­premieres. Rebecca Milzoff
David H. Koch Theater, through March 29.

TV
10. Watch Comedy Central’s Roast of Justin Bieber
Easy target.
These celebrity roasts can be pretty unimaginative, so I’m usually loath to recommend them. But this time, the host is Kevin Hart and the guest of honor is a target of opportunity —­ especially when the roasters include Hannibal Buress, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Shaquille O’Neal, and, of all people, Martha Stewart. —M.Z.S.
Comedy Central, March 30 at 10 p.m.

Theater
11. See Money Lab
It makes the world go round.
Untitled Theater Company No. 61 presents a rotating cabaret of monologues, skits, talks, and even a mini-opera on everyone’s favorite subject. Catch I’m Bullish, a tap dance about stock-­market theory; Ultimate Stimulus, a satirical talk about concubinage as viable solution to inequality; and The Wizard of Ounces, a puppet show about the gold standard. —J.G.
HERE Arts Center, through April 11.

Classical Music
12. Hear Leila Josefowicz
Storytelling with strings.
Composer John Adams’s latest work, the Scheherazade.2 “dramatic symphony” for violin and orchestra, is an ambitious response to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Über-rhapsodic (and Über-famous) score. If anyone can stand up to that warhorse, it’s Josefowicz, a fierce violinist and champion of new music.
Avery Fisher Hall, March 26 through 28.

Theater
13. See Cry, Trojans!
From the Wooster Group.
The Trojan War as seen from the losing side is just part of the idea behind Cry, Trojans!, which mashes up Troilus and Cressida, American mythology, and the Wooster Group’s usual irreverent inventiveness. —J.G.
St. Ann’s Warehouse, starting April 4.

Art
14. See ‘Under Construction’
Viewpoints worth viewing.
A traveling group exhibition from Amsterdam unites common themes in the work of ten U.S. and Canadian photographers who collage and compose vibrant, dense, experimental images.
Pioneer Works, through April 26.

Pop
15. See Arca
The man behind the music.
Venezuelan producer Arca has collaborated with such sonic innovators as Kanye West and Björk, but this time he’s on his own, with a uniquely slurry, shape-shifty take on electronic music. —L.Z.
Bowery Ballroom, April 8.

Books
16. Read Agorafabulous! Dispatches From My Bedroom
Inside story.
Sara Benincasa is a very funny person (on YouTube, radio, Twitter) who’s lived through some very unfunny things (agoraphobia, panic, depression). In her memoir, we hear how she got herself out of the house to build a stellar performing career.
Audible.

Art
17. See ‘Judith Scott: Bound and Unbound’
Transfixingly tangled.
Born with Down syndrome, Scott created forms beyond language: protrusions, winglike appendages, puckered hearts, all layered in twine, string, and yarn. A kind of biological morphology takes over, adding up to one of the most beautiful abstract visions of the last 30 years. —J.S.
Brooklyn Museum, through March 29.

Dance
18. See Armitage Gone! Dance
Under the whale.
Karole Armitage is known for her sharply urbane take on ballet, but she’s actually a biologist’s daughter who loves the outdoors. She contemplates the widening gap between science and the public’s understanding of it in this sprawling new work: 30-odd dancers on three stages throughout the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. —R.M.
American Museum of Natural History, March 25 through 27.

Movies
19. See China Is Near
Bellochio’s second — and, so far, funniest.
When he’s at his best, no filmmaker alive mixes politics and absurd human impulses as deftly as director Marco Bellochio. Now Film Forum is bringing back this 1967 satirical farce in which the avowedly socialist main characters are too self-serving to see the larger picture and all roads lead to mayhem. His gliding camera ties the wayward strands together; as Pauline Kael wrote, “Bellochio makes it all rhyme.” —D.E.
Film Forum, through March 26.

Jazz
20. Hear Cyro Baptista
Spirit sounds.
With a fuzzy goatee and a thing for feathers, percussionist Cyro Baptista looks like a sorcerer, and to see him flit among his literal bells and whistles, you’d believe he has magical powers.
Harlem Stage Gatehouse, March 25.

Pop
21. See Miranda Lambert
Blonde ambition.
As much spitfire rocker as country sweetheart, Lambert proved at the Grammys that she can easily dominate, and charm, even a giant hall.
Madison Square Garden, March 28.

Books
22. Read Crow Fair
Thomas McGuane’s Big Sky tales.
More stories from the wry bard of Montana display the full range of his talent for mashing up the pastoral and the domestic — exposing the petty squabbles, infidelities, and tragedies of modern life. —B.K.
Knopf.

Cabaret
23. Hear Lena Hall
Out of drag.
On Broadway, Lena Hall shone (and won a Tony) as Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s Yitzhak; she’ll bring that punky charisma up close and personal at this rock-and-blues-tinged show.
Café Carlyle, April 7 through 18.

TV
24. Watch Outlander
It’s baaack.
The first half of the season required patience (especially for Jamie and Claire’s wedding night), but the second half zips right along as our heroine discovers she’s not alone in her time travels.
Starz, April 4 at 9 p.m.

Dance
25. See Ballet West
From small screen to small stage.
On their CW reality show Breaking Pointe, this Salt Lake City troupe seemed to do more gossiping than actual dancing. In New York, they’ll perform a diverse selection of recent work. —R.M.
Joyce Theater, March 25 through 29.


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