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To Do: August 9–August 23, 2017

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


1. See An Inconvenient Sequel
Readying for change.
Following up on An Inconvenient Truth, this sequel, directed Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, is decidedly more upbeat. This time, a more animated Al Gore does less lecturing and more zipping around looking at new opportunities for economic growth that don’t harm the planet. —David Edelstein
In theaters now.

2. Watch The Story of Diana
The royal life and tragic death of an icon. 
Twenty years after Princess Diana’s shocking death in a car crash, this joint project from ABC and Time Inc. draws on both organizations’ trove of Diana-related images and video (she was on the cover of People 57 times). The special is broken into chapters, each zeroing in on a particular phase of her life. —Matt Zoller Seitz
ABC, August 9 and 10.

3. See Pipeline
You’ve got to be carefully taught …   
Namir Smallwood gives an immensely powerful performance as a high-schooler wrestling with generations of inherited rage in Dominique Morisseau’s new play about a teacher’s struggle to save her son from a society that all too often crushes young black men in the gears of an unjust system. —Sara Holdren
Lincoln Center Theater, through August 27.

4. See Wind River
Guns and dilemmas. 
Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen play a tracker and an FBI agent trying to solve the murder of a young woman, but this film is about much more than that, highlighting energy-industry abuses as well as the repercussions of the reservation system for Native Americans.
In theaters now.

5. Hear The Dark Mirror
Warm weather chill. 
Mid-summer may not be the ideal time to contemplate the snow-and-ice-slowed wanderings of the narrator in Winterreise. But Schubert’s song cycle lends itself to an infinite range of reinterpretations, and tenor Ian Bostridge visits the Mostly Mozart Festival with an extreme version, orchestrated by the composer Hans Zender and embedded in a black-and-white staging by Netia Jones. —Justin Davidson
Rose Theater, August 12 and 13.

6. Read The Seventh Function of Language
Think The Da Vinci Code, but better. 
This novel by Laurent Binet begins with Roland Barthes, the towering literary theorist who wrote “The Death of the Author” and was fatally struck down by a laundry van in Paris in 1980. Binet uses this “absurd” incident to interrogate history itself, and the result is a deconstructed police procedural with suspects including Michel Foucault and Judith Butler. 

7. Listen to Rainbow
Taking it on.   
Pop star Kesha returns with her first new album in nearly five years, spotlighting her resilience in the wake of a legal battle with her former producer and label head Dr. Luke over sexual-assault allegations. —Craig Jenkins
Kemosabe Records/RCA, August 11.

8. See So I traveled a great deal …
Surprises abound. 
This group show of six Northern California artists is a revelation of the first order. The inclusion of the not-enough-known late great visionary Jordan Belson’s drawings alone is worth the price of the free admission. —Jerry Saltz
Matthew Marks, 522 West 22nd Street, through August 18.

9. See Logan Lucky
Goes with popcorn.
Steven Soderbergh couldn’t walk away from directing movies, and with Logan Lucky he’s back with a peculiar blend of his own Ocean’s heist pictures and one of the Coen brothers’ hick comedies. The first half is a blast, but the plotting is not exactly clockwork, and Hilary Swank is a drag doing Clint Eastwood in drag. —D.E.
Opens August 18.

10. See Sunset Décor
This stellar space is known for being the first U.S. gallery to exhibit legendary Belgian Marcel Broodthaers (1924–1976), who worked with plants, props, and eggshells. This show, organized by an independent curator from Mexico City, pays tribute to the highly influential artist; with wonderful contributions by Eadweard Muybridge and Timothy H. O’Sullivan. You’ll want to breathe in the elegance and wit. —J.S.
Marian Goodman Gallery, 24 W. 57th St., through August 25.

11. See Mark Lanegan Band
Whiskey-soaked sounds.   
Smoky-voiced Seattle singer Mark Lanegan made waves as front man of the grunge act Screaming Trees and sometime support singer for Queens of the Stone Age, but his solo work is every bit as powerful. Catch him and his band celebrating this year’s bluesy Gargoyle. —C.J.
Gramercy Theatre, August 18.

12. See Joe Mande
Incisive wit. 
In July, Joe Mande’s Award-Winning Comedy Special hit Netflix, touching on everything from MTV nostalgia to ISIS and showcasing skills the writer (Parks and Rec and Master of None) first developed in the New York comedy scene. Though the special’s “award” is fake, the hilarity at Joe’s Pub will be very real.   
Joe’s Pub, August 14 and 15.

13. Watch Orphan Black
Dark endings. 
Graeme Manson and John Fawcett’s prismatic sci-fi melodrama concludes its five-season run tonight, wrapping up all remaining loose ends of its scientific-political conspiracy and giving star Tatiana Maslany one last chance to make like Peter Sellers in a hall of mirrors.—M.Z.S.
BBC America, August 12.

14. Hear Danish String Quartet
Such great heights.
It never ceases to amaze how vast a range of human experience, from effervescent joy to existential drama, a homogenous quartet of instruments can produce. The Danish String Quartet comes to the Mostly Mozart Festival to mine that huge expressive terrain for nuance, first with a pair of Beethoven quartets, then, at the upstairs after-concert, in a set of Nordic folk tunes. —J.D.
Alice Tully Hall and Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, Lincoln Center, August 10.

15. Read Eat Only When You’re Hungry
Excellent by the pool.
Lindsay Hunter (Don’t Kiss Me, Ugly Girls) comes roaring back with this odyssey: Greg, an overweight, middle-aged dad is searching the seediest corners of Florida for his missing addict son, Greg Junior. The journey will test his already fractured self-image, resurrect a legacy of familial failure, and dissolve the accepted distinction between shooting up and eating oneself to death.

16. See Mulatu Astatke
Ethiopia meets Ellington.
Ethio-jazz begins with this 73-year-old vibraphonist, who places American funk, bop solos, and the 12-tone scale against an East African pentatonic. The result is a big band delighting in odd-couple pairings of chords.   
Central Park, August 20.

17. See Machinalia
Violent femmes. 
Playwright Steph Del Rosso and Director Will Detlefsen bring a hard-rocking, experimental new take on Sophie Treadwell’s expressionist masterpiece, Machinal (inspired by the real-life story of the 1928 execution of Ruth Snyder for the murder of her husband), to this small but mighty performance space in Brooklyn. Expect things to get messy.  —S.H.
JACK, 505½ Waverly Ave., Brooklyn, August 3–11.

18. Go to Summer Double Features
Back-to-back good times.  
Before people “owned” movies, the theatrical double feature was the nearest you could get to a binge-watch. This festival of 28 double bills is packed with gems. Will I see you at the opening pairing of both Scarfaces, by Hawks (1932) and De Palma (1983)? Also: Czech lunacy (Daisies), Astaire, Bresson … Just go! —D.E.
Film Forum, August 11 through September 5.

19. Watch Marvel’s The Defenders
What happens when Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist walk into a New York City bar? They kick some major ass … and get their own supergroup Marvel television show. If you enjoyed their individual shows, you’ll get a kick out of this big team-up.   
Netflix, August 18.

20. See Don Giovanni
Walking dead.
Conductor Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra reprise their sleeper hit of the 2011 Mostly Mozart festival, a creepily inventive semi-staged production of Mozart’s opera about the wages of self-indulgence. Death lurks over life, a point driven home by the contrast between the vibrant cast and a chorus of ashen zombies. —J.D.
Rose Theater, August 17-20.

21. See Las Culturistas Live: I Don’t Think So, Honey!
What’s up with that?
At the end of each Las Culturistas podcast, hosts Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers pick one bothersome topic in culture and throw heavy shade at it. This is a live show made up of those witty, minute-long rants, featuring 50 guest stars.                
Littlefield, August 11.

22. Listen to Painted Ruins
At long last.
Brooklyn quartet Grizzly Bear’s poppy, choral folk rock has been sorely missed in the years since 2012’s Shields. Their new album is a timely installment of singer-songwriters Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen’s rustic arrangements and gorgeous harmonies. —C.J.
RCA Records, August 18.

23. See John Maus
The professor takes the stage. 
The introverted composer is known for his body-flailing one-man shows and highbrow cuts of lo-fi pop that sound like John Carpenter doing New Wave.
MoMA PS1, August 19.

24. See Ingrid Goes West
Say cheese.
Aubrey Plaza is Ingrid, a woman who takes Instagram stalking to vertiginous new heights. As she ingratiates herself into the life of the seemingly perfect Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), a game of wait and see ensues: Just how, and how badly, will Ingrid’s loosely held-together web of lies fall apart?
Opens August 11.

25. Read Watch Me Disappear
What remains.
Best-selling author Janelle Brown (All We Ever Wanted Was Everything) returns with this crackling mystery-meets-family drama about a California mother who goes missing on a solo hike. A smoldering summer read with depth and insight.
Spiegel & Grau.

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