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To Do: September 6–September 20, 2017

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


1. Watch Queen Sugar
Stories from the South. 
Ava DuVernay’s series about the Bordelon family’s struggle to keep their Louisiana sugar plantation alive was one of the most original and surprising dramas to debut last year. Season two serves up a second helping of the show’s signature mix of family drama, soap-opera satisfactions, and astute cultural commentary about sex, race, class, and politics. —Matt Zoller Seitz
OWN, September 6.

2. See Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends
Last chance for an epiphany. 
Robert Rauschenberg is the American Picasso; a fecund volcano of ideas with a body of work that has influenced artists for almost 70 years. This show takes you from masterpiece to masterpiece and will have you stopping in your tracks, thinking, Oh my God! He was one of the first to do this, too! Even if you don’t care for what he did, what he did changed the world and can still change your life. —Jerry Saltz
MoMA, through September 17.

3. Go to Film Forum Jr.
Oh, for a month of Sundays!
Some of us parents have trouble getting our kids to concentrate on older movies, so I say drag the little bastards out of bed on Sunday mornings and take them to the Film Forum Jr. series. It opens with three Buster Keaton short classics — an hour of bliss that includes The High Sign. On Sundays to come, they can see The Red Pony and even the Toho kiddie classic Mothra. —David Edelstein
Film Forum, opens September 10.

4. Listen to Half-Light
Coming out strong. 
Former Vampire Weekend utility player Rostam Batmanglij steps out as a solo artist with this album, a sweetly offbeat showcase for his tender vocals, sweeping string arrangements, and wistful storytelling. —Craig Jenkins
Nonesuch Records, September 15.

5. See Café Müller and The Rite of Spring
A master’s work, resurrected. 
Paradigm-shifting German choreographer Pina Bausch died in 2009 at only 68 years old. But the stunning dancers of her Tanztheater Wuppertal continue to bring her unmistakable work to life. In 1984, Bausch’s company made its New York debut at BAM with these two masterworks, and now they return to the Next Wave Festival with a restaging of that seminal double bill. —Sara Holdren
BAM, September 14–24.

6. Read Dying: A Memoir
Requiem for a dream. 
Cory Taylor, who died of cancer last year, not long after this book was published in her native Australia, left behind one of the best entries in a grim genre. Her language is sharp and clear, her senses heightened by the feeling of time running out. —Boris Kachka
Tin House.

7. See La Fanciulla del West
Opening strong.   
The original spaghetti Western, Puccini’s opera set in a California mining town returns to a resurgent New York City Opera in a staging that originated in Italy. It’s the first of four productions in the company’s robust season. —Justin Davidson
Rose Theater, September 6–12.

8. See Beach Rats
Coming of age by the sea. 
The second feature by writer-director Eliza Hittman is feverish and gripping and all the more amazing because it’s shaped around a blank — a teen forced to keep his gayness hidden amid the macho daily rituals in working-class neighborhoods around Coney Island. Few directors have captured so well the impact of sexual repression in a culture of sexual exhibitionism. —D.E.
In theaters now.

9. See ERS’s Measure for Measure
Groucho, Chico, Harpo … and Isabella?
Elevator Repair Service has gained fame for its unique literary adaptations. Now the company tackles Shakespeare for the first time. Not every production of Measure for Measure — a story of political corruption and psychosexual violence — promises “Marx Brothers–inspired slapstick” and “radical experiments with speed.” Whatever ERS has planned for the Bard, it’s bound to be exciting. —S.H.
The Public, opens September 18.

10. See Oh Sees
Psych by any other name. 
This year marks the 20th birthday of John Dwyer’s band — merry, roiling pranksters who embody psychedelia but like a hit of speed and acid at the same time. To celebrate, he’s dropped the “Thee” from the group’s name for the taut new record Orc.
Warsaw, September 9 and 10.

11. Listen to Brick Body Kids Still Daydream
Double duty.   
Get familiar with Cali rapper-singer Open Mike Eagle’s tight rhyme schemes, whip-smart humor, and plaintive hook writing on this clever, affecting new album before he takes off in the forthcoming Comedy Central variety show The New Negroes. —C.J.
Mello Music Group, September 15.

12. See Eileen Myles
Dog days. 
The downtown laureate reads from Afterglow, a new memoir about her pit bull, Rosie, whom Myles picked from a litter on the street in 1990.
The Strand, September 13.

13. Hear Supercodex [live set]
At close range. 
Ryoji Ikeda translates numbers into enveloping, hyperactive sounds and pulsating abstract imagery, producing an overpowering environment that shudders through your body but is not for the overly sensitive (or epileptics). —J.D.
Metropolitan Museum, September 6 and 7.

14. Go to Photoville
Try to contain yourself.
Everyone’s favorite shipping-container photography fair returns with nearly two weeks of debuts, panel discussions, and workshops on the waterfront. Don’t miss Finding Home, a project that follows the lives of three Syrian-refugee mothers and their babies.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, September 13–24.

15. Go to the Meadows Music & Arts Festival
Last dance.
The Meadows Music & Arts Festival returns for an end-of-summer blowout headlined by Jay-Z, Gorillaz, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, with noteworthy performances from Erykah Badu, M.I.A., Broken Social Scene, and dozens more. —C.J.
Citi Field, September 15–17.

16. See Mimi Pond
Cartoonist tells all.
Writer and artist Mimi Pond has been in the entertainment hustle for decades, creating hit comics like Over Easy and writing the first full-length Simpsons episode. Her latest graphic novel, The Customer Is Always Wrong, is her best yet, and she’ll discuss her long career in a conversation with designer Todd Oldham. 
Fishs Eddy, September 6.

17. Read Freud: The Making of an Illusion
Pioneer or occultist? You decide. 
Frederick Crews’s powerful and thorough takedown of Sigmund Freud casts the founding psychoanalyst as a far better self-promoter than scientist, even by the standards of his day. —B.K.
Metropolitan Books.

18. See For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday
Another awfully big adventure.
Sarah Ruhl returns to Playwrights Horizons with her frequent collaborator director Les Waters to tell a story about growing up, growing old, and the ageless power of make-believe. Kathleen Chalfant stars as Ann, who fondly remembers playing Peter Pan as a child in a little homegrown production more than 50 years ago. Now she and her siblings are long since grown, but the pull of Neverland remains. —S.H.
Playwrights Horizons, through October 1.

19. See Four Nights of Dream
Book to stage.
Composer Moto Osada has adapted a classic Japanese novel by Natsume Soseki, Ten Nights of Dream, into a spare and inventive chamber opera. The 2008 work gets its American premiere in a production commissioned by the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan performance center, directed by Alec Duffy and conducted by Ken-David Masur. —J.D.
Japan Society, September 13–16.

20. Go to Time’s Arrow Festival
Exquisite sounds. 
Julian Wachner, the conductor at Trinity Wall Street, has turned the church into one of the city’s musical hothouses, offering superb and frequent (sometimes two-a-day) concerts that are almost always free. He leads a yearlong exhaustive survey of the hushed, terse, and delicately intense music of Anton Webern, placed in exquisite company. One typically inventive program is on September 14, with music by composers old (Tallis) and new (Dorfman). —J.D.
Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel, starts September 12.

21. Read Lights On, Rats Out
Struggling upward.
Cree LeFavour glorifies therapy as a happy ending — albeit a very slow fix. Her eloquent, irreverent memoir chronicles her climb out of bulimia and self-harm with the help of Dr. Adam Kohl, and it’s enriched by the psychiatrist’s own notes. —B.K.
Grove Press.

22. Go to The Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival
Laugh early, laugh often.
The festival feels just as intimate as it did when it started nearly a decade ago, except now some participants are famous and exploiting their children for comedy (see “Sh!t Show” in the lineup). Up-and-comers like Julio Torres and Cole Escola are represented too, as well as at least one show featuring a This American Life host. 
Various locations, September 15–19.

23. Go to Now Hear This
Listen up.
This second annual podcast festival features performances, meet-and-greets, and live tapings of shows like The Mortified Podcast, The Nod, and Terrible, Thanks for Asking, author Nora McInerney’s deeply empathetic exploration of how to talk honestly about life’s most painful moments.
Javits Center, September 8–10.

24. See The Red Letter Plays
The ABC’s of injustice.
Suzan-Lori Parks has twice reworked Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter in theatrical form, tackling issues of hypocrisy, social stigma, and the judgment heaped on women of color. Under the direction of Jo Bonney (Fucking A) and Sarah Benson (In the Blood), Signature brings both of Parks’s “Red Letter Plays” to the stage for simultaneous runs. —S.H.
Signature Theatre, through October 8.

25. Hear New York Philharmonic
Beginning again.
The orchestra opens a new chapter under the baton of music director Jaap van Zweden, who launches the season with a gala performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. —J.D.
David Geffen Hall, September 19.


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