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To Do: January 27–February 10, 2016

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

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Pop
1. See Jenny Lewis
An indie darling looks back.
Jenny Lewis’s 2006 album Rabbit Fur Coat represented her breakthrough from boldly morose Rilo Kiley front woman to rhinestone cowgirl of the Valley. Witty, poignant, and restlessly searching, it definitely deserves the tenth-anniversary show she’ll play in its honor. —Lindsay Zoladz
Beacon Theatre, February 3 and 4.

Movies
2. Rewatch Everything by the Coen Brothers
Don’t be un-Dude about this, Dude.
Leading up to the opening of their all-star comedy Hail, Caesar! is this 15-movie retrospective of the work of those fun-loving pointy-heads, with a 4K-restored Fargo (the better to see blood on snow). I’d never advocate illegal drug use, but someone else might welcome the opportunity to take extra measures to laugh extra hard watching The Big Lebowski with a happy crowd. —David Edelstein
Film Forum, January 29 through February 4.

Theater
3. See Cabin in the Sky
Taking a chance on love.
This 1940 all-black musical is more than a rarity: It’s nearly a ghost. For the first production of its 2016 season, Encores! has resurrected it, with new Jonathan Tunick orchestrations of the ­Vernon Duke score to replace the lost ones. ­Ruben ­Santiago-Hudson directs a stellar cast including LaChanze, Norm Lewis, and the ­astounding Chuck Cooper. —Jesse Green
New York City Center, February 10 through 14.

Art
4. See Juwelia: Paintings
A real discovery.
The visionary gallerist Jack Hanley has identified so many artists who have gone on to great things that he deserves a mini-MacArthur. Now he brings us the almost unknown, Florine Stettheimer–like flowery fantasy paintings of Juwelia. Drenched in these performative paintings, we unravel a little, open up, sigh, and feel love. —Jerry Saltz
Jack Hanley Gallery, through February 7.

TV
5. Watch Grease: Live
It just might shape up.
NBC’s live-broadcast musicals have suffered from a flatness that even likable casts (see The Wiz Live!) can’t quite surmount. That leaves the door open for Fox to make a mark with a show best known in its onscreen version, and the team has real Broadway bona fides (Hamilton’s Thomas Kail directs; suave Aaron Tveit is Danny).
Fox, January 31 at 7 p.m.

Books
6. Read The Queen of the Night
Alexander Chee’s regal return.
Fourteen years after his breakout gay-coming-of-age novel, Edinburgh, Chee defies expectations with something very different: a giant-canvased, richly bejeweled historical novel as operatic as its shape-shifting narrator, a professional “tragic soprano” chasing glory in the ashes of France’s Second Empire — until her past threatens her independence and possibly her life. —Boris Kachka
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February 2.

Pop
7. See Wilco
Tweedy & Co., just a short train ride away.
Star Wars, Wilco’s quietly adventurous 2015 ­record, wasn’t an homage to a certain film franchise. The band’s Brooklyn dates are sold out, but you can travel to a galaxy far, far away — about 15 miles northeast of Yonkers — to catch them live. —L.Z.
Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, N.Y., February 2 and 3.

New Music
8. See Nadia Sirota
Making the case for a much-maligned string.
If the ancient and unassuming viola is having a renaissance in contemporary music, it’s thanks largely to Nadia Sirota, who specializes in, well, anything a composer can throw at her. Over five nights, she explores the range of those demands, starting with a concert that jumps from the 16th century to the 21st. —Justin Davidson
Symphony Space, February 1 through 5.

TV
9. Watch Suits
Hey, good lookin’.
In the hubbub over whether TV is the New Cinema, it’s easy to underappreciate shows that exist mainly to give pleasure. Suits, on its fifth season, is that kind of show: funny, sexy, with good-looking actors in good-looking clothes, unusually concerned with the real-world details of running a law firm but never so immersed in them that it fails to deliver ping-pong dialogue and Ocean’s Eleven–style hepcat filmmaking. —Matt Zoller Seitz
USA, January 27 at 10 p.m.

Movies
10. See Heat & Vice: The Films of Michael Mann
The master of romantic crime drama.
Michael Mann’s work dances between hyper­realism and aestheticized abstraction; his films are both painstakingly authentic and intoxicatingly dreamlike. BAM’s full retrospective of his theatrical features (including Thief, The Insider, and Heat) offers an opportunity to see them on a big screen. Mann will be present on February 11 for a lengthy conversation. —Bilge Ebiri
BAMcinématek, February 5 through 16.

Books
11. Read Rosalie Lightning
Tom Hart’s wrenching remembrance.
Graphic novelist Tom Hart and his wife, Leela, lived through a horror story: Their baby, Rosalie, died unexpectedly three weeks before her 2nd birthday. The acclaimed author of the Hutch Owen graphic novels tried to arrive at some sort of understanding by turning what happened into art; the result is simultaneously almost too painful to read and impossible to put down.
St. Martin’s Press.

Art
12. See In Place Of
A who’s who of the smartest artists out there.
This super-brainy gallery shines in a cerebral show with over a dozen artists, all dealing with sublimation, substitution, reproduction, and visual, mental, and historical occlusions. Feel the pathos of Erik Wysocan’s tiny coal-miner lamp in a clear box, soot slowly obscuring it; Lawrence Weiner’s removal of a square of the wall; and Liz Glynn’s lead casts of potato chips, chocolate bars, and cigarettes. —J.S.
Miguel Abreu Gallery, through February 7.

Theater
13. See The Woodsman
When a man’s an empty kettle …
The imaginative theater troupe Strangemen & Co. offered its lovely Tin Man prequel — a meld of live action, puppetry, shadowplay, soundscape, and music — in a much-praised short run last year. Now the tale of a witch’s curse that renders Nick Chopper limbless returns for a longer stay, still both horrifying (though without any blood) and charming. —J.G.
New World Stages, starting January 27.

Books
14. Go to the Happy Ending Series
A packed premiere.
This always excellent show, in which writers and a band perform and take a “public risk,” is now happily settled in uptown, and the season ­premiere features Colson Whitehead alongside two equally major talents, Amanda Filipacchi and Samantha Hunt, plus musical guest: Suzanne Vega. —B.K.
Symphony Space, February 10.

Pop
15. Listen to New View
Eleanor Friedberger, still your girl-crush.
Three (great) records into her solo career, ex–Fiery Furnace Eleanor Friedberger has come into her own lyrical style, blending the spoken-word cool of Patti Smith with the witty, observational humor of Courtney Barnett. Her latest record’s best songs are about the sweet bafflement of new love and the tenuous nature of happiness; rarely does ambivalence sound so lovely (and catchy). —L.Z.
Frenchkiss Records.

Art
16. See Sitting in the Dark With Strangers
Enter Richard Finkelstein’s fantasia.
In this show of photographs (and one light box), trial lawyer turned artist Finkelstein unleashes a fantasy world in miniature, with his sets and figures producing haunting cinematic scenarios. All the wonder and mystery of Joseph Cornell crossed with Edward Hopper and Alfred Hitchcock.
Robert Mann Gallery, through January 30.

Opera
17. See La Sonnambula
Don’t sleep on this.
A jealous fiancé and his bride-to-be who sleepwalks into another man’s bedroom, causing a vocal explosion in a fireworks factory: In an ideal world, that premise demands young singers who possess their elders’ technique and stage experience. That’s why Juilliard and the Met’s young-artists program collaborate on a concert performance of Bellini’s bel canto dazzler. —J.D.
Peter Jay Sharp Theater, February 9 and 11.

TV
18. Watch Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials
Ads on ads on ads.
This very-long-running series is essentially a listicle in TV form: It recycles a good many of the same ads you saw celebrated last year and the year before (gee, wonder if it’ll run Ridley Scott’s “1984” Apple ad?) while messing with the ranking and the presentation just enough to call it “new.” But it’s brilliant, in its way — and, come on, you know you want to see the Budweiser frogs again. —M.Z.S.
CBS, February 2 at 8 p.m.

Theater
19. See Old Hats
Send in the clowns.
Though eventually extending for two months in 2013, Bill Irwin and David Shiner’s hilarious high-tech slapstick revue, featuring Nellie ­McKay as the genial sidekick and musical entertainment, kept selling out. Now it’s back, with singer-songwriter Shaina Taub taking the third spot, in a revised production by the original director, Tina Landau. —J.G.
Signature Theatre, through April 3.

Pop
20. Listen to King Push-Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude
Pusha T, still undeniable.
As half of Clipse, Pusha T perfected cocaine rap and the power of a perfectly timed snarl. He’s since gone solo but sounds as energetic and fresh as ever here, especially with tightly constructed beats from Q-Tip (“F.I.F.A.”) and Boi-1da (“M.F.T.R.”).
GOOD Music/Def Jam.

New Music
21. Hear Contact!
With an eminent emcee.
Esa-Pekka Salonen, composer-in-residence at the Philharmonic, presents new music he loves (and some he wrote) at the orchestra's spinoff series. It’s not exactly fresh from the printer (the newest work dates from 1989), but it does serve to illustrate what a major contemporary composer was thinking in his early years. —J.D.
National Sawdust, February 1.

TV
22. Watch The Magicians
If Harry Potter went to grad school.
This lively adaptation of Lev Grossman’s book series puts its students of witchcraft and wizardry in danger right away instead of dawdling on campus. The more adult setting pays off: Come for the ­fantasy, stay for the levitating sex scenes!
Syfy, Mondays at 9 p.m.

Movies
23. See Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years
Simply extraordinary.
The drama in Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years is in the face of Charlotte Rampling. She’s a woman ­(married 45 years to an older man played by Tom Courtenay) who discovers her husband was not forthcoming during their courtship about an ex-lover who died on an Alpine crevasse and whose body has just been discovered. That sounds convoluted, but the film isn’t. It’s sad, allusive, with a ­nagging dread. Rampling can present the mask of a formal woman but also show its cracks. —D.E.
In theaters.

Art
24. See The Future Is OW
No brushstrokes, no problem.
Artist Mark Flood raises his digitally produced freak flag, organizing works by Houston-based artists alongside his own (including the satirical ­Executive Secretary). Turns out reproducible digital work can sometimes rival the handmade.
Marlborough Gallery, through February 6.

Classical Music
25. Go to Seeing Music Festival
Hues you can hear.
Scriabin dreamed of a color keyboard, Baudelaire wrote of perfumes sweet as oboes; now a festival celebrates the synesthetic experience. The Brentano Quartet play Bach’s “Art of Fugue” while dancers operate architect Gabriel Calatrava’s moving strings (January 30); a few days later, Clifford Ross offers visual counterpoint to the Beethoven Violin Sonatas with an animation of crashing waves (February 6). —J.D.
92nd St. Y, through February 18.


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