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To Do: October 4–October 18, 2017

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

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Theater
1. See Too Heavy for Your Pocket
The costs of resistance. 
Playwright Jiréh Breon Holder and director Margot Bordelon present a story of the clash between the personal and the political during the civil-rights movement. Holder, who is Tennessee-born, sets his play in 1961 Nashville, where his 20-year-old hero has just given up the transformative opportunity of a college scholarship to join the Freedom Riders. —Sara Holdren
Roundabout Theatre, through November 19.

Art
2. See Mel Kendrick: Woodblock Drawings
That’s art, not just process.
It’s a hard truth that most of the artists who emerged from the late-1970s process-art scene never really evolved. A wonderful exception is Mel Kendrick, 68, who is still all process, all the time, but whose monumental gray-black jigsawlike renderings made into drawings come on like claps of optical thunder with lingering intellectual reverberations. —Jerry Saltz
David Nolan Gallery, 527 W. 29th St., through October 28.

Classical
3. Hear The Philadelphia Orchestra
Early birthday. 
It would have pleased the ever-expansive Leonard Bernstein (born August 25, 1918) to know that his centennial celebrations are getting under way almost a full year ahead of time. The Philadelphia Orchestra launches the Carnegie Hall season with his suites from On the Waterfront and West Side Story, and the coming months will bring much, much more. —Justin Davidson
Carnegie Hall, October 4.

TV
4. Watch The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who’s Walking
Getting the band back together. 
This animated zombie-apocalypse special from the Robot Chicken folks is also an off-season cast reunion for The Walking Dead, featuring voice performances by series regulars like Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, and Sarah Wayne Callies. Showrunners Seth Green, Matthew Senreich & Co. tend to be at their best spoofing pop-culture touchstones like this one, somehow splitting the difference between irreverence and affection. —Matt Zoller Seitz
Adult Swim, October 9.

Pop
5. Listen to Take Me Apart
Soft and slow. 
D.C.-born songstress Kelela expands on the envelope-pushing R&B of her mixtape Cut 4 Me and EP Hallucinogen with this debut album, a subtle refinement on her dewy, reflective late-night jams. —Craig Jenkins
Warp Records, October 6.

Movies
6. See Faces Places
Big pictures. 
Following an ecstatic reception at Cannes and Toronto, Agnès Varda’s freewheeling documentary is finally playing at a theater near you. Now 89, the beloved French New Wave director found a magical subject and companion in the 33-year-old street photographer known as “JR,” who pastes his huge black-and-white photos taken in slums, ghettos, and favelas on the sides of buildings around the world. —David Edelstein
In theaters October 6.

TV
7. Watch Frontline: North Korea’s Deadly Dictator
Bad actor, on TV. 
PBS’s long-running investigative series has episodes in production for weeks or months, yet somehow their timing often seems eerily right — never more so than with this installment, which investigates the assassination of Kim Jong-un’s half-brother and uses it to build a psychological portrait of one of the world’s more frightening leaders. —M.Z.S.
PBS, October 4.

Books
8. Read The Glass Eye
On losing a parent and, almost, oneself. 
Jeannie Vanasco’s debut memoir is a portrait of a daughter’s grief for her father with a twist: It’s also a wildly innovative tale of the author’s own mental breakdown after his death.
Tin House.

Movies
9. See Spielberg
Regarding Steve.
For her documentary Spielberg, director Susan Lacey spent 30 hours with the generally inaccessible 70-year-old director-mogul, who spoke as openly about his work as he ever has or probably ever will. Among those who talk about Spielberg’s work and life are Francis Ford Coppola, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Zemeckis — and me. —D.E.
HBO, premieres October 7.

Pop
10. See Best Coast
Breathy melodies. 
Singer-guitarist Bethany Cosentino makes wistful, lovelorn guitar pop as Best Coast. See her live this fall and get wrapped up in her pangs of love and loss. —C.J.
Rough Trade, October 8.

Theater
11. See Richard III
Sex, drugs, and regicide. 
Director Thomas Ostermeier brings his growling, glittery take on the murderous escapades of the world’s favorite wicked hunchback from the Schaubühne Berlin to BAM’s Next Wave Festival. Lars Eidinger — who played a mud-slathered Hamlet for Ostermeier and has a face that leaps between beautiful and grotesque — takes on the title role, imagined as a kind of savage, monomaniacal rock star.  —S.H.
BAM, October 11 through 14.

Pop
12. See Khruangbin
Cultural immersion. 
This three-piece band plays slinky, nearly lyric-less music based on Thai funk from the ’60s and ’70s. When Khruangbin (the name means “airplane” in Thai) came to town in the spring, they opened for Tycho at Brooklyn Steel; this time, they’ll play a smaller venue with Chicano Batman, a Latino band playing equally psychedelic funk and rock.
Warsaw, October 6.

Classical
13. Go to Répons
Moving parts. 
The total-immersion work by the composer, conductor, and provocateur Pierre Boulez, who died last year at 90, can be stunning, disorienting, and thrilling. Vast in scale and dizzying in detail, it’s a kind of Gothic cathedral in sound, surrounding the audience with a swirl of musical mystery. The Ensemble Intercontemporain (which Boulez founded) performs the work twice in a row, allowing listeners to change places. —J.D.
Park Avenue Armory, October 6 and 7.

Art
14. See Leslie Wayne: Free Expression
Good moves.
Leslie Wayne has upped her painterly game considerably. Her new small-scale works shine in spectacularly complex and layered ways, becoming pictures, still-lifes, landscapes, paintings, and things that are more than “about” things. —J.S.
Jack Shainman Gallery, 524 W. 24th St., through October 21.

Movies
15. See Better Watch Out
Ho-ho-horrifying.
Scary Christmas movies are a real treat when they’re done right, and this one looks like Home Alone from horror-party hell: It’s got a cute babysitter, a staged home invasion, and a tween with a penchant for revenge killing.   
In theaters October 6.

Comedy
16. See Janelle James
It’s a funny story …
This Caribbean-born former dominatrix recently caught the eye of Chris Rock, who put her on his Total Blackout Tour thanks to her risqué but relatable material about topics like vaping in the suburbs and the usefulness of inner-thigh fat. She celebrates the launch of her first album, Black & Mild.
Knitting Factory, October 9.

Movies
17. See Take My Nose …Please!
It’s a cut-up. 
After a run as a contributor to New York, Joan Kron spent many years at Allure, where she met many of the world’s elite plastic surgeons and their hush-hush clients. She makes her directorial debut with this lively, crisply edited, occasionally appalling documentary. It’s not what you expect: Kron thinks nips, tucks, and all that goes with them are hunky-dory, even empowering. She focuses especially on actresses and female comedians — the most wittily self-deprecating bunch imaginable, among them Roseanne Barr, Joan Rivers, and Lisa Lampanelli. —D.E.
In theaters October 6.

Books
18. Read Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies
A long good-bye.
Longtime television journalist Michael Ausiello peppers his sad, sweet memoir of losing his husband to a rare cancer with enough pop-culture references to keep even confessional-averse readers entertained. Come for the industry gossip, stay for the poignant portrayal of letting go.
Atria Books.

Classical
19. Hear Shai Wosner
Piano brilliance on a budget.
The Peoples’ Symphony Concerts, founded in 1900 to bring great music at low cost to students and workers, is such an astonishingly pure, progressive organization that it’s hard to believe it still exists. Just $14 will buy a ticket to hear the inquisitive and light-fingered pianist Shai Wosner launch the season with a program of impromptus; get a subscription and the per-concert cost falls to barely half that. The series remains what it always has been: the best cultural deal in New York. —J.D.
Washington Irving High School, October 14.

Pop
20. Listen to Masseduction
Five times as good.
Annie Clark as St. Vincent melds whip-smart lyrics, ace guitar chops, tasteful electronics, quirky production, and subtle pop smarts on her fifth studio album. —C.J.
Loma Vista Recordings, October 13.

Theater
21. See Strange Interlude
Eight characters, six hours, one actor.
Erudite, tender, definition-defying writer-director-performer David Greenspan joins forces with dramaturge Kristina Corcoran Williams and director Jack Cummings III for what the artists themselves are calling “an almost preposterous feat”: a six-hour-long solo performance (by Greenspan, embodying fragments of all eight characters) of Eugene O’Neill’s Pulitzer Prize–winning, nine-act-long 1920s experimental masterpiece. Ambitious? Oh, yes. Nutty? Maybe. Transcendent? In Greenspan’s hands, probably. —S.H.
Transport Group at Irondale Theater Center, October 6 through November 18.

Classical
22. Hear The Orchestra Now
Rising action.
While professional orchestras struggle, youth and graduate training orchestras proliferate. Not only do they catch malleable, enthusiastic musicians on the cusp of their careers — they can also be a lot cheaper to run. One new ensemble, based at Bard, allows its leader, Leon Botstein, to extend his practice of unorthodox programming. Who else is going to perform Anton Rubinstein’s Fourth Piano Concerto? Here, it’s played by Anna Shelest and led by guest conductor Neeme Järvi.   —J.D.
Rose Theater, October 15.

Movies
23. See Lucky
In memoriam.
Harry Dean Stanton, who recently died at 91, lived to see this cinematic pedestal built for him play to rapturous festival audiences. John Carroll Lynch directed him in the Ur–Harry Dean role, that of a prickly atheist living alone in a small desert town who smokes and meditates and smokes some more. —D.E.
In theaters now.

Talks
24. Go to Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
News you can use.
Leave with answers to questions you didn’t even know you had when the hit podcast–game show helmed by Freakonomics Radio’s Stephen J. Dubner tapes six live shows at Joe’s Pub, with co-hosts including Top Chef’s Gail Simmons.
Joe’s Pub, October 5 through 7.

Theater
25. See Mementos Mori
Shadow-dancing with death. 
The Chicago-based theater company Manual Cinema is young, smart, and endlessly ingenious in the pursuit of its incomparable art form: a unique theater of shadow puppetry using fleets of overhead projectors, live-feed video, sensitive and humorous performance, and meticulous, gorgeous musical accompaniment. Sadly, its few shows are technically sold out, but they’re well worth the wait in the standby line. —S.H.
BAM, October 18 through 21.


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