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To Do: July 15–July 29, 2015

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

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True Crime at Film Forum, Patti LuPone in Shows for Days, and more New York events.  

Pop
1. Listen to Miguel
Splendidly crafted sexytimes.
“The muted world, does it dream in colors?” Miguel asks in the opening moments of his great new album Wildheart—a sprawling, prismatic reverie that proves, at the very least, that he does. Bolder and more atmospheric than his 2012 breakthrough Kaleidoscope Dream, Wildheart deftly blends rock and R&B into a genreless swirl and describes in lyrical detail the kind of fantasies that would make even Prince blush. —Lindsay Zoladz
RCA.

Classical Music
2. Hear Strauss’s Daphne
Played by an exquisite ensemble.
The Cleveland Orchestra, led by the Austrian Franz Welser-Möst, is the heartland’s protector of Mitteleuropean authenticity, and it joins the Lincoln Center Festival bearing Strauss’s heartrending opera about the nymph who transubstantiates herself into a tree. —Justin Davidson
July 15, Avery Fisher Hall.

TV
3. Watch I Am Jazz
Giving reality TV a better name.
The timing couldn’t be better for this reality series about the life of teenager Jazz Jennings, who was born biologically male but told her parents she identified as female as soon as she could talk. The series follows Jennings as she enters a new school at 14, after years of living as a transgender child. Tough, funny, and emotional without being gratuitously sentimental, this is one of TV’s summer sleepers. —Matt Zoller Seitz
TLC, July 15 at 10 p.m.

Books
4. Read Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman
Scout’s second (or is it first?) chapter.
Regardless of the squirm-inducing circumstances of its rediscovery and publication—or even, maybe, of its quality—the 89-year-old author’s “prequel” to To Kill a Mockingbird (actually a precursor draft) is an important cultural document. Embargoed until publication, this more directly personal novel features a full-grown Scout in the “present” of the mid-’50s, trying to balance her progressive New York life with the pull of family and history back in segregated Alabama. It could tell us more about its beloved author’s experiences and attitudes than anyone has to date. —Boris Kachka
HarperCollins.

Podcast
5. Listen to ‘Mystery Show
Pleasantly probing.
This new podcast solves little mysteries, conclusively, definitively, absolutely. But the real draw is that it finds emotional angles on just about everything, with an “everybody has a story” attitude and a gently meandering narrative style from host Starlee Kine. —Margaret Lyons
Gimlet Media.

Theater
6. See Patti LuPone in Shows for Days
Ionesco among the Amish.
Douglas Carter Beane has written not just a vehicle for Patti LuPone but a glossy and curve-hugging Ferrari of a comedy. As Irene Sampson Keller, the idealistic and overdramatic theatrical empress of Reading, Pennsylvania, circa 1973, LuPone burrows deep into the neurotic and political circumstances that make such a creature so awesome and necessary. The result is a precisely detailed and never less than hilarious triumph. —Jesse Green
Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, through August 23.

Art
7. See ‘Flaming June’
The season’s spirit, in one transfixing image.
In oranges burning into blazing red, the sprawling female body of Frederic Leighton’s Flaming June becomes a stand-in for the long days and hot nights of summer. See this woman asleep, lost in something seething, filling the frame with steamy dreams, and sniggle a little at the thought of a male painter trying to come to terms with women: looking at them, making metaphors, always coming up short, but always going all out. —Jerry Saltz
The Frick, through September 6.

TV
8. Watch Humans
Anticipating the singularity.
Humans presents a reality in which robots, built to look just like us, act as domestic servants; the ripples of panic materialize when some of these “synths” show signs of consciousness. The dystopian tech drama is chillingly good—not as an image of the future but as a reflection of how our culture responds to what is alien.
AMC, Sundays at 9 p.m.

Movies
9.–13. See Amy, Cartel Land, Stray Dog, Do I Sound Gay?, and The Wolfpack
Doc-o-rama.
Forget dinosaurs, paunchy Terminators, ant superheroes, etc. and escape into reality with a bumper crop of docs for every fancy. Amy penetrates deep into the self-destructive psyche (and art) of Amy Winehouse, the greatest female vocalist of the last half-century. Cartel Land brings you face to face with real-life vigilantes on the U.S.-Mexican border and inside one of Mexico’s most murderous provinces. Stray Dog meditates on the half-life existence of a burly biker vet in the Ozarks. Do I Sound Gay? explores whether people actually do. Of course, crap movies do have their place: Watch how they sustained a group of brothers imprisoned by their crazy dad in the great The Wolfpack. —David Edelstein
In theaters.

Theater
14. See The Wild Party
Raise the roof.
In 2000, theatergoers had the weird opportunity to fight over two musicals called The Wild Party, both based on the same Jazz Age poem. Michael John LaChiusa’s ran briefly on Broadway; Andrew Lippa’s even brieflier Off. Now the “Encores Off-Center!” series offers a second look at Lippa’s version, with a stellar cast led by Sutton Foster, Steven Pasquale, and Brandon Victor Dixon. —J.G.
New York City Center, July 15 through 18.

Dance
15. See Lil Buck
And sharpen your own moves, too.
The Memphis jookin’ maestro is worshipped for his liquid-limbed, seemingly time-stopping style, but he’s also got the finely tuned musicality of a ballet dancer. At a late-morning show, he’ll use violinist Yoon Kwon’s melodies as a foil, then teach the audience a few basic steps; later, he kicks off an evening with jazz masters Randy Newman and Wycliffe Gordon. —Rebecca Milzoff
Lincoln Center Out of Doors, July 25 at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Theater
16. See Kafka on the Shore
From page to stage.
An Oedipal curse, an old man in search of a stone with supernatural powers, epic romance, talking animals aplenty: Haruki Murakami’s magical-realist novel cries out for a dramatic interpretation. At the Lincoln Center Festival, Japan’s Ninagawa Company embraces the spectacle (and, yes, there will be talking cats).
David H. Koch Theater, July 23 through 26.

Art
17. See Jazz-minh Moore’s ‘Middle of Nowhere’
Walking in fields of gold.
The moving sight of a single-woman artist heading out across America in a beat-up camper, on the familiar mythic voyage to find nothing and the self, is captured with vivid painterly pathos in Moore’s miniaturist-naturalist, almost souvenir-snapshot paintings. We see, lovingly depicted on cast-off pieces of beautifully burnished wood, blazing sun, empty desert, open spaces, and other strangers on this journey of nothingness. —J.S.
Claire Oliver Gallery, through July 31.

Classical Music
18. Hear Harry Partch
A tuneful travelogue.
Partch was a true American original who built his own instruments, invented his own music theory, and bummed around the country in the depths of the Depression, jotting down the songs and musical speech of those he met along the way. The Lincoln Center Festival offers a two-part tribute: First, percussionist and singer David Moss performs excerpts from Bitter Music, the journal with tunes that resulted from those wanderings, in a Partchian hybrid of concert and talk; then, kindred spirit and fellow composer Heiner Goebbels directs Delusion of the Fury, Partch’s final large-scale score for his Dr. Seuss–like “instrumentarium,” as a theatrical extravaganza. —J.D.
New York City Center, July 23 and 24.

Pop
19. See U2
In the city of blinding lights.
Following a series of snafus—Apple’s Songs of Innocence debacle, the Edge’s punchline-writes-itself tumble off a narrow stage—the ever-­resilient foursome return to New York for eight nights at the Garden (checkmate, Billy Joel). For the past decade or so, U2’s entrenched success has made the band’s music feel more and more complacent, but their live show is always full of fight and urgency—and will probably be more triumphant than usual given that, for the first time in more than a decade, they’ve actually got something to prove. —L.Z.
Madison Square Garden, July 18 through 31.

Dance
20. See ‘DanceNoise
Bringing the past to the present.
In the early ’80s, Anne Iobst and Lucy Sexton’s subversive performance pieces, blending modern dance with tongue-in-cheek social commentary, vividly captured the burgeoning No Wave ethos. For this residency, they’ll re-create their classic shows, perform new work, and reimagine King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, the fondly remembered East Village bar where they hosted a weekly series. —R.M.
Whitney Museum, July 22 through 26.

Theater/TV
21. Watch Understudies
Please stand by.
Elisabeth Gray understudied Emilia Clarke as Holly Golightly in the recent, horrible Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Broadway, so she knows what she’s talking about in the satirical new web series she co-created with Daniel Zimbler. She plays Astoria Bagg, understudy to Holly Gonightly, the lead of a Capote-vampire mash-up called Twilight at Tiffany’s. The first season (13 short episodes) makes for a terrific summer Schadenfreude binge. —J.G.
Dailymotion.com/understudies.

Movies
22. See True Crime
Root for the bad guys.
Cinema was built on true crime, so let’s wallow in the mythic sensationalism of Film Forum’s four-week festival, featuring gangsters, Western outlaws, serial killers, body snatchers, and psychos of all classes and abilities, from the likes of Hitchcock, Hawks, Kazan, Boetticher, Corman, Frankenheimer, Penn, Lumet, Imamura, De Palma, Friedkin, Spielberg, Scorsese, and Malick. Consider all three takes on Leopold and Loeb—Compulsion, Rope, and Swoon—or celebrate the capture of the Dannemora fugitives with I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang, Birdman of Alcatraz, and Escape From Alcatraz. —D.E.
Film Forum, through August 5.

Books
23. Read Stephen Jarvis’s Death and Mr. Pickwick
Charles would be proud.
Historical fiction always contends with the problem of how to fit research and hindsight seamlessly into an in-the-moment narrative. Jarvis meets the challenge ingeniously in this alternate history of Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers. His main character is a researcher hell-bent on proving that Boz’s first character was stolen from the now-forgotten illustrator Robert Seymour. In the process, he unfurls the social canvas of 1830s England in its boozy, frumpy glory, evincing a knack for puns and character sketches (and serial digressions) his idol would likely admire. —B.K.
FSG.

Movies
24. Watch Love Is Strange
Apt post-Pride viewing.
Ira Sachs’s bittersweet, gracefully acted winter-of-life romantic drama is the perfect film to watch post–gay-marriage ruling. It’s about obstacles overcome and obstacles still standing. Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) tie the knot after 39 years together, but as a consequence George loses his job directing a Catholic-school choir and the pair become homeless. As they sip drinks at the Stonewall Inn, the grim irony hangs: The upshot of their marriage is they can’t sleep side by side. Onward! —D.E.
On Amazon Instant Video and Netflix DVD.

Pop
25. Listen to Vince Staples’s Summertime ’06
MC on the make.
The rising Long Beach rapper Vince Staples’s first album combines the bold stylistic dissonance of Kanye West’s Yeezus with Kendrick Lamar’s humanitarian eye for detail; so far, it’s rap’s strongest debut of the year. —L.Z.
Def Jam.


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