Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

To Do: November 1–November 15, 2017

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


1. See My Friend Dahmer
Trippy, man. 
Marc Meyers’s portrait of Jeffrey Dahmer as a high-school student (class of ’78) is the most ineffably ’70s movie since Dazed and Confused — Dahmer’s creepiness fits into the era’s fuzzy-freaky mosaic. Former Disney star Ross Lynch (see page 85) plays Jeff, affectless under oversize glasses until he launches into spazzy spasms to get attention. —David Edelstein
In theaters November 3.

2. Watch Nature Boy
Agony and ecstasy. 
ESPN’s consistently excellent 30 for 30 series continues with this documentary by Rory Karpf (The Book of Manning) about the tumultuous life and career of pro wrestler Ric Flair, who survived a plane crash and went on to fashion himself into a rule-breaking showboater clad in sparkling gold. —Matt Zoller Seitz
ESPN, November 7.

3. See Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo
Great museological thinking abounds! 
The Brooklyn Museum is getting incrementally better under director Anne Pasternak. Don’t miss this three-person show that includes a montage of Eisenstein’s films, Goya’s earth-shattering etchings, and black-and-white drawings by Robert Longo — each as big as a boat. —Jerry Saltz
Brooklyn Museum, through January 7, 2018.

4. See People, Places & Things
Twelve steps, one explosive play.
With the world the way it is, can you stay sober and survive? Denise Gough won the Olivier Award for her portrayal of Emma, an addict struggling to do both, in Duncan MacMillan’s raw, riveting new play that makes its U.S. premiere after an acclaimed run at London’s National Theatre. —Sara Holdren
St. Ann’s Warehouse, through December 3.

5. Read Dunbar
Reimagining the Bard. 
Hogarth Press’s Shakespeare series, wherein contemporary writers modernize eternal plays, makes the perfect match between Edward St Aubyn, master anatomist of solipsistic upper-class decay, and King Lear. His modern Lear is a media mogul in the Murdoch mold, dispatched to a nursing home, whence he breaks out with a washed-up comedian. —Boris Kachka

6. See Janet Jackson
Barclays Center, November 15.

Janet Jackson is pop royalty, and the State of the World tour is a reminder that her hits come with not just high production values and dance routines but fearless, impassioned politics. —Craig Jenkins
Barclays Center, November 15.

Classical Music
7. Celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s Philharmonic
His centennial celebration gets going. 
One former Philharmonic music director pays tribute to another in a festival that covers all of Bernstein’s symphonies. Alan Gilbert conducts No. 2, The Age of Anxiety; a week later, Leonard Slatkin leads the Third, Kaddish. —Justin Davidson
David Geffen Hall, through November 14.

8. See Hank and Jim
Such agreeable friends.
This series is pegged to Scott Eyman’s new book Hank and Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart. Among the highlights: two Anthony Mann Western double bills (the less familiar is The Naked Spur and The Far Country; November 15) and my personal favorite film, Preston Sturges’s The Lady Eve, with Fonda at his most charming. —D.E.
Film Forum, through November 16.

9. Read Voices in the Dark
Quirky, emotive, and stunning. 
Ulli Lust’s debut graphic novel (translated by John Brownjohn and Nika Knight) has an unusual provenance: It’s an adaptation of a 1995 novel about sympathetic Nazis. It’s a coup for the NYRB’s fledgling comics division, and a masterpiece in faded hues and expressionistic pen strokes. —B.K.
New York Review Books.

10. See Kelela
On the way up. 
Singer-songwriter Kelela whipped up a potent mix of sultry soul and envelope-pushing electronic music across her debut mixtape Cut 4 Me and the just-released studio album Take Me Apart. Catch her playing smaller venues while you still can. —C.J.
Bowery Ballroom, November 12 to 13.

11. Hear American Composers Orchestra
Sounds of the future. 
When the ACO was founded in 1977, it was a lonely champion of American orchestral music. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary under new leadership and eager to refresh its identity, the group looks back at Ellington and forward with composers like Elizabeth Ogonek. —J.D.
Rose Hall, November 7.

12. See Christoph Niemann
Inside the creative mind. 
At the start of this scintillating survey, Niemann, known for his great New Yorker and New York Times Magazine covers, provides a long wall that perfectly diagrams the psychological heaven and hell of making art. Not to be missed. —J.S.
SVA Chelsea Gallery, through November 4.

13. See Animal Wisdom
Midnight in the garden of Heather Christian. 
Obie Award–winning composer and performer Heather Christian’s new musical is a “lo-fi, idiosyncratic, folk-blues Requiem” based on her southern Catholic upbringing and the ability of the women in her family (and maybe herself?) to talk to the dead. There’s only a few more weeks to see this edgy exploration of the gothic, the mythic, and the musical. —S.H.
The Bushwick Starr, through November 18.

14. Read The Power
Dark days.  
What might sexual domination, bullying, and populist tyranny look like in a matriarchy? Just as bad, but differently bad. Like many sci-fi predecessors, Naomi Alderman frames the narrative of her speculative dystopian novel as buried history in a distant future where the polarities are so thoroughly reversed that a different order is unimaginable. —B.K.
Little, Brown.

15. See True West: Sam Shepard on Film
Paying tribute.
Sam Shepard’s greatness was in his writing for the theater, but this tribute shows how Shepard used his graceful, laconic presence onscreen to cement his celebrity. Foremost is Philip Kaufman’s exuberant The Right Stuff (November 5), with Shepard’s iconic pilot Chuck Yeager. —D.E.
BAM, November 3 to 9.

16. Hear Daniil Trifonov and the Mariinsky Orchestra
Keyed up. 
The super-pianist Daniil Trifonov made his reputation with light-touch performances of heavy-duty Russian concertos. Now, in the tradition of composer-virtuosos like Rachmaninoff, he performs his own piano concerto, bracketed on the program by music of Strauss and Prokofiev. —J.D.
Carnegie Hall, November 15.

17. Go to New York Comedy Festival
So many laughs to choose from.
Now in its 14th year, this annual festival mixes local talent, live tapings of cult podcasts like 2 Dope Queens, and big-name headliners including Kevin Smith and Nick Offerman. Its Stand Up for Heroes show will feature Hasan Minhaj, Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and more, in honor of veterans.
Various locations, November 7 to 12.

18. See The Mountain Goats
New beginnings. 
Fresh off the heels of Goths, a lush tribute to people committed to wearing all black in the California sunshine, indie-folk vets the Mountain Goats will perform at this newly reopened arts center in Jersey City. —C.J.
White Eagle Hall, November 10.

19. See Pride and Prejudice
Lizzy and Darcy, at it again.
Kate Hamill’s cheeky adaptation of Sense and Sensibility was a hit with the Bedlam theater company last year, and now she brings her irreverent, jolly jaunt of a Pride and Prejudice (in which she also stars as Elizabeth Bennet) to Cherry Lane. —S.H.
Primary Stages at Cherry Lane Theatre, November 7 through December 15.

20. Watch AMC Visionaries: Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics
Outside the box.
Kirkman, the creator of two hit AMC series, gets the tastemaker treatment in this installment of the channel’s new series about popular art forms, giving audiences a thumbnail history of his native medium. It includes interviews with Stan Lee, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, old-school Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, and (of course) Kevin Smith. —M.Z.S.
AMC, November 12 to 13.

21. Hear The Routes of Slavery
Weaving a tapestry.
No musical tradition is ever pure; it’s a hybrid formed by journeys, conquest, and exchange. The early-music magus Jordi Savall gathers together colleagues from the pathways of the slave trade, where human bondage and musical memory traveled together. His collaborators include musicians from Mali, Madagascar, Colombia, and the United States, as well as Savall’s native Spain. —J.D.
Rose Theater, November 15.

22. Hear Gloria Steinem in Conversation With Ms. Editors
Chronicling the resistance.
The groundbreaking feminist title Ms. — which started as an insert in New York — marks its 45th anniversary this year. Founding editor Steinem will talk with its contemporary editors and writers, including Aviva Dove-Viebahn and Carrie Baker.
Hunter College, November 15.

23. See The Breeders
Never change.
The indie rockers’ seminal Last Splash lineup of twins Kim and Kelley Deal with Josephine Wiggs and Jim Macpherson reunite for this tour featuring new material plus old favorites straight from 1993. Sold out; check secondary outlets.
Bowery Ballroom, November 5.

24. Go to Night Train With Wyatt Cenac: Five-Year-Anniversary Show
Last chance.
Wyatt Cenac has hosted this Monday-night show for five years, where some of the best comics in the city can be heard for less than the cost of a cocktail. The anniversary outing will be the final one, but the upside is a stellar lineup including Michelle Wolf, Hari Kondabolu, and likely a surprise guest or two.
Littlefield, November 6.

25. Go to The Psalms Experience
Reaching for the divine. 
As long as there have been composers in the West, they have been setting the Psalms to music. Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival dips into that tradition for a dozen concerts covering 150 works, from medieval chant to whatever comes after post-Minimalism. —J.D.
St. Paul’s Chapel and various locations, November 2 to 11.


Current Issue
Subscribe to New York

Give a Gift