1. Watch Girls
The beginning of the end.
The premiere of the sixth and final season of Lena Dunham’s lightning rod of a series is titled “All I Ever Wanted,” and regular viewers know it’s no spoiler to hint that that might be fraught with irony. Hannah (Dunham) and her friends have been split apart and uncomfortably reconfigured many times over the years, but it’s clear that the incipient arrival of their 30s is going to wreak changes that their affinity for each other can’t overcome. —Matt Zoller Seitz
HBO, February 12.
2. See Ivan Morley
Painting’s pliability never ceases to amaze.
Stepping into the space between sewing, embroidery, painting, pattern decoration, and advertising—all with a kaleidoscopic psychedelic twist—are Ivan Morley’s densely packed images that come at the eye with relentless optical power and physical sensuousness. Every painting is a world, an undergrowth of great formal decisions and a fantastically dexterous touch. —Jerry Saltz
Bortolami, 520 West 20th Street, through February 18.
3. See The Salesman
Play within a play.
The great Iranian director Asghar Farhadi follows his excellent features About Elly and the Oscar-winning A Separation with The Salesman, a 2017 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. (Farhadi is also in the news for announcing that even if he is granted permission to enter the country for the ceremony, he’ll be boycotting in protest of Trump’s immigration executive order.) It’s a formally disciplined yet emotionally raw portrait of a theatrical couple in the process of performing Death of a Salesman in Tehran while their lives are deformed by struggles that both echo and challenge Arthur Miller’s tragedy. As usual with Farhadi, the storytelling is so superb you’re not aware of watching an “art movie.” —David Edelstein
In theaters now.
4. See Joan of Arc: Into the Fire
Now you’ll know how she felt.
Four years ago, the Public produced Alex Timbers’s terrific staging of Here Lies Love, a disco-oratorio about Imelda Marcos by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. Now the Public reunites Timbers and Byrne for a rock-concert retelling of the life of the Maid of Orléans. —Jesse Green
Public Theater, February 14 through April 16.
5. Go to Village of Love
Tunes to mend a broken heart.
Players on the city’s rock-and-roll scene celebrate Valentine’s Day with this annual covers bash. Among many others, Eleanor Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces and Vivian Girl Cassie Ramone try out their favorite love songs. Proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood of NYC.
Music Hall of Williamsburg, February 14.
6. See Tribute to Andrzej Wajda
Considering a master of world cinema.
We lost a giant in 2016 in the Polish director Andrzej Wajda. He brought a vein of tragic neorealism to Polish cinema in the 1950s with his war masterpiece Kanal, and he captured the early stirrings of the Solidarity movement in Man of Marble. Man at war was his endless subject, which makes Danton, his portrait of the French Revolution, even more fascinating than its French counterparts. —D.E.
Film Society of Lincoln Center, February 9 through 16.
7. Read The Skin Above My Knee
In the key of life.
Marcia Butler’s original and lyrically written memoir charts her rise from oboe prodigy to freelance professional on the international classical scene. Transportive portraits of Carnegie Hall concerts share space with memories of childhood trauma and gritty slices of life from 1970s New York.
Little, Brown, February 21.
8. See Michelle Dorrance With Nicholas Van Young
MacArthur winner steps out.
The tap dancer Michelle Dorrance’s dynamic performances are as notable for her quicksilver steps as for the way she seems to transform into a live percussion instrument. Here, Dorrance will be joined by dancer Van Young, members of her company Dorrance Dance, and musicians to create a “performative soundscape.”
Guggenheim Museum, February 16.
9. Listen to Prisoner
New country blues.
Every genius has a muse, and for North Carolina singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, it’s heartbreak. Adams’s new album Prisoner is, among other things, a chronicle of a crumbling marriage. It’s also a confident refinement of the Tom Petty vibes of his 2014 self-titled album and the best thing he’s put out in a decade. —Craig Jenkins
Pax-Am, February 17.
10. Watch The Missing
What if Joan Allen’s ABC drama The Family hadn’t been such a mediocre disaster? The Missing’s second installment nicks the premise (a kidnapped child returns to a distraught family) and gives it an upgrade, adding more doubt, detectives, and decent twists. It’s gripping, heart-wrenching, and sometimes hard to sit through.
Starz, February 12.
11. Read The Refugees
Voices from afar.
With his whirlwind Pulitzer-winning novel The Sympathizer in 2015 and his nonfiction exploration of war and memory Nothing Ever Dies in 2016, Viet Thanh Nguyen is on a prolific tear. He continues his book-a-year pace with The Refugees, nine stories of Vietnamese-Americans torn between cultures.
12. & 13. See Bad With Money and Patti Issues
Over the top.
Actor-monologuist Ben Rimalower takes things to extremes. His diva worship of Patti LuPone led to a catastrophic falling out with his idol; his compulsive spending led to a sideline in prostitution. But those extremes also led to the creation of two classic/crazy/funny monodramas that return to the Duplex this month and next. Onstage, at least, they crash through the wall of “too much” into a realm pretty close to art. —J.G.
The Duplex, February 19 and March 19.
14. See Sergei Eisenstein: Drawings 1931–1948
Love, Russian style.
It turns out that one of the most inventive filmmakers who ever lived, the great Russian avant-garde genius Sergei Eisenstein, also made more than 5,000 drawings. Here’s a collection of the more sexual ones—think scenes of self-fellatio and couplings in every combination. Had Stalin seen these, he would surely have had the filmmaker sent to the Gulag. —J.S.
Alexander Gray Associates, 510 West 26th Street, through February 11.
15. Go to Divided in a Diverse City
Journalist Sarah Maslin Nir curates this monthly conversation series bringing together two New Yorkers from different backgrounds to discuss issues of city life and culture. This month, journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and City Councilman Brad Lander explore diversity and racial segregation.
Museum of the City of New York, February 8.
16. Listen to DROGAS Light
Return to form.
Chicago rap whiz Lupe Fiasco promised us three whole studio albums last year but then sort of retired, as he is wont to do when things don’t go his way. February’s release of DROGAS Light is a reasonable middle ground: 14 new songs featuring guests including Rick Ross, Big K.R.I.T, and Ty Dolla $ign. —C.J.
1st & 15th Productions, February 10.
17. & 18. Listen to Falsettos and Dear Evan Hansen
Songs of the season.
Two highlights of the fall Broadway season have now spawned cast albums that couldn’t be more different. Falsettos is a musical with almost no spoken dialogue, so the recording is tantamount to the full heartbreaking experience. Dear Evan Hansen is quite the opposite: a chance to hear a suite of beautifully crafted songs outside the context of the show’s dominant — and exceptionally fine — book. —J.G.
19. Read The Edge of Everything
Escape to the underworld.
This YA thriller by former Entertainment Weekly editor Jeff Giles checks all the boxes for crossover appeal: a sassy, independent heroine, a mysterious bounty hunter with supernatural powers, and a gushing blurb from Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. Smartly written fantasy with depth.
20. Watch Humans
The singularity is here.
While you wait for more Westworld, make friends with the slowly-becoming-sentient synths of Humans. Their lives are no theme park, raising all sorts of questions about consent, procreation, workers’ rights, refugees, and so-called human rights. Still, season two, featuring a nuanced Carrie-Anne Moss, has humor and a heart.
AMC, February 13.
21. See Richard Mosse’s Heat Maps
Below the surface.
Using a super-long-range camera classed as a weapon by international law, Richard Mosse takes us to the front lines of the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe. The images, which show heat rather than visible light, skip the details we expect from photos and invite reconsideration of the crisis.
Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, through March 11.
22. See Candida
We could make it together.
This 1894 George Bernard Shaw love-triangle comedy is about an idealistic poet named Marchbanks who falls in love with Candida, the brilliant wife of the socialist Reverend James Morell. Project Shaw brings together a terrific cast for a rare reading of a key prefeminist (or postfeminist?) work. —J.G.
Symphony Space, February 13.
23. Watch Doubt
Believe the hype.
Katherine Heigl stars as an attorney at a prestigious law firm, run by an Alan Dershowitz–style legal legend (Elliott Gould), who’s assigned to defend a charismatic but elusive and unreadable client (Steven Pasquale), a pediatric surgeon recently accused of murdering his girlfriend more than two decades earlier. This sounds like a bundle of legal-show greatest hits that can’t miss. It is, and it doesn’t. —M.Z.S.
CBS, February 15.
24. See The Fool
Adventures in chamber music.
Raúl de Nieves and Colin Self’s experimental opera bursts forth in Technicolor with wild costumes and striking set design, telling an allegorical tale of the personal journey from lost to found.
The Kitchen, February 9 to 11.
25. Go to @Macaulay Author Series: A Meatloaf in Every Oven
In praise of comfort food.
Frank Bruni and Jennifer Steinhauer of the Times present their new book of recipes, personal anecdotes, and history devoted to the all-American ground-beef loaf. They’ll be in conversation with food expert Chadwick Boyd.
CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, 35 West 67th Street, February 9.