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To Do: November 29–December 13, 2017

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


1. See Call Me by Your Name
La dolce vita. 
Timothée Chalamet will become a star after the release of Luca Guadagnino’s lazily intense coming-of-age drama about a 17-year-old American-Italian boy and the visiting American grad student (Armie Hammer) with whom he falls in love over a summer at his family’s Italian villa. If you think “lazily intense” is an oxymoron, spend two and a half hours watching the pair trade brief looks, bathe, bicycle, and seem to do very little as momentous forces move beneath the surface.     —David Edelstein
In theaters now.

2. Listen to U2’s Songs of Experience
Anthemic to the core.
Bono and the gang dive into the dark of the American psyche on this new album, matching stories about personal setbacks and global political uncertainty to the band’s trademark hopeful bombast. —Craig Jenkins

3. See Nina Chanel Abney
She has arrived. 
In her explosive double show at two first-rate galleries, 35-year-old Nina Chanel Abney thrusts herself into the absolute top rank of living painters. Unleashing optical power, formal complexity, and a way of handling contemporary subjects like police violence against black people, Abney combines the great Stuart Davis and Jacob Lawrence to make a mix so potent as to not be denied. —Jerry Saltz
Jack Shainman Gallery and Mary Boone Gallery, 513 West 20th Street and 541 West 24th Street, through December 22.

4. See A Room in India (Une Chambre en Inde)
A room with a worldwide view. 
One of the world’s greatest living directors, Ariane Mnouchkine, brings her courageous theater company Théâtre du Soleil to the Park Avenue Armory with this epic exploration of art’s role in a world gripped by terror. Four hours, 35 multinational actors speaking six languages, and (as always in Mnouchkine’s work) a ravishing, athletic collision of Eastern and Western theatrical forms. —Sara Holdren
Park Avenue Armory, December 5 through 20.

5. Hear Sight and Sound: Schoenberg, Munch, and Expressionism
It’s hell out there. 
Between them, Edvard Munch’s 1893 painting The Scream and Arnold Schoenberg’s 1909 monodrama Erwartung practically define the turn-of-the-century sensibility that detected horror in every face, tree, street, and sunset. With “Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed” opening at the Met Breuer, Leon Botstein leads the Orchestra Now in a performance intended to lay bare the correspondences. —Justin Davidson
Metropolitan Museum, December 3.

6. Watch The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special
So glad we had this. 
Now 84, Carol Burnett, the last great star of an old-fashioned variety show, hosts this look back at her beloved CBS series, a weekly hour of comedy and music that began and ended with her talking to the audience as if they were old chums. Her co-star Vicki Lawrence will join her, along with Lyle Waggoner, Bernadette Peters, and more.      —Matt Zoller Seitz
CBS, December 3.

7. See Maria Petschnig: Thanks
A sorceress of the first order.   
The uncanny alien yearning, daggers in the psychic heart, and loving serenades to outsiders in the strange videos and sculptures of Maria Petschnig suggest she’s the art world’s Franz Kafka. An extended video interspersed with scenes of people tied up but also of flowers concentrates on anonymous people telling the artist of terrible trauma. —J.S.
Yours Mine & Ours, 54 Eldridge Street, through December 8.

8. Read The World Goes On
Voices from the void. 
László Krasznahorkai, the Hungarian winner of an International Booker Prize, may currently be the foreigner most frequently shelved in right-thinking homes, but he’s no pop sensation. His first translated story collection is a relatively forgiving entry point, however. The stories come from the second half of Krasznahorkai’s career, when he’s traveled widely and contemplated the lighter side of despair. —Boris Kachka
New Directions.

9. See Wonder Wheel
Summer by the sea. 
Woody Allen’s latest film is a tragedy that unfolds in and around the fabled Coney Island attraction in the 1950s, where an unhappily married waitress (Kate Winslet) finds release in an affair with an aspiring playwright-lifeguard (Justin Timberlake) — until the lifeguard falls for the daughter (Juno Temple) of the waitress’s husband. Self-consciously poetic and acted to the hilt, it’s not for all tastes — particularly at this moment — but deserves what respect one can muster. —D.E.
In theaters now.

10. Hear Conrad Tao
Stand back. 
The 23-year-old pianist, whose curiosity ranges well beyond ordinary virtuoso fare, projects a personality that a small room can barely contain. In a recital that’s modest by his standards, he’ll start with Bach and end with Beethoven, competing against the epochal pianists of the past, but he’s also making a detour into Jason Eckhardt’s vibrant and intense Echoes’ White Veil. —J.D.
Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center, December 3.

11. See Pirates of Penzance
Modern major musical. 
This “raucous and utterly zany” immersive adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious operetta promises “swimming pools, twinkly lights, and a well-stocked tiki bar.” Sean Graney’s acclaimed Chicago company the Hypocrites has a reputation for surprising, ambitious productions, and this time they look to be bringing a delightful dive into warmhearted holiday hilarity to New York just as the winter chill sets in. —S.H.
NYU Skirball, November 29 through December 10.

12. Hear Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Sunday-night jams.
The East Coast indie rockers still occupy a soft spot in many an aging millennial’s heart. Catch them as they take off on a tenth-anniversary tour for their breakthrough album Some Loud Thunder. 
The Bowery Ballroom, December 3.

13. See Sleep
Adventures in sleep deprivation.
Part of BAM’s always excellent Next Wave Festival, this production from Brooklyn theater company Ripe Time takes on Haruki Murakami with a New York premiere based on his famed short story about a woman’s wild battle with insomnia.
BAM, November 29 through December 2.

14. See Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You
It’s not the holidays without her. 
Mariah Carey is best known for elastic vocals and memorable diva antics, and her holiday residency at Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre is a must-see both for the promise of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and for the legend’s sheer unpredictability. —C.J.
Beacon Theatre, through December 5.

Classical Music
15. Hear the Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Check out the new guy.
The Québécois conductor Bernard Labadie is best known for the years he spent as the founder of his Baroque chamber ensemble Les Violons du Roy. Now he brings that expertise to bear on his new post as principal conductor designate of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. The job doesn’t officially start until next year, but Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony won’t wait that long. —J.D.
Carnegie Hall, December 7.

16. Watch The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee
Media matters.
John Maggio’s documentary traces the life of longtime Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee from his polio-stricken Boston childhood to his building of one of the country’s most important news organizations, a gig that peaked with the paper’s investigative coverage of Watergate. —M.Z.S.
HBO, December 4.

17. See Describe the Night
War and peace, love and espionage.  
In a political era where mention of Russia yet again sends a buzz through the air — and where it seems a new artist is arrested there daily — Rajiv Joseph’s wide-ranging exploration of writers, spies, and politicians in the former Soviet Union feels both fascinating and timely. —S.H.
Atlantic Theater Company, through December 24.

18. See The Passion of Joan of Arc
A religious experience. 
For pure cinema, Carl Theodor Dreyer might never have equaled this 1928 masterpiece, an 82-minute montage of starkly intimate close-ups chronicling the trial and execution by fire of the title character, played by the uncannily expressive young actress Renée Falconetti. The newly restored film is accompanied by Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light, performed by the vocal ensemble Anonymous 4. —D.E.
Film Forum, through December 5.

19. Hear American Composers Orchestra
Paying tribute.
Few American composers have had as much influence or bred as many acolytes as Philip Glass, who is now Carnegie Hall’s composer in residence. The ACO, celebrating its 40th anniversary, cushions his Second Violin Concerto with music by Pauchi Sasaki and Bryce Dessner, both of whom owe a large chunk of their sensibility to Glass. —J.D.
Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, December 8.

20. Read Lady Killers
Another kind of hidden figure.
Jezebel writer Tori Telfer expands on her popular column with this collection of profiles of cold-blooded female serial killers throughout history. The takeaway? Despite our efforts to “soften” female violence, women — not just men — can be capable of ruthlessness, heartlessness, and reckless mayhem.
Harper Perennial.

21. See Home
Playing house.
Experimental theater artist Geoff Sobelle returns to BAM with an ensemble of both performers and designers to attempt “a feat of impossible carpentry”: building a house onstage and turning that house into a home. Sobelle’s experiment looks both radical and gentle, a wacky, ambitious shared project and a gorgeous dance with ideas of cooperation and community. —S.H.
BAM, December 6 to 10.

22. See La Dolce Morte
Art upon art.
The 16th and 21st centuries converge in this one-act monodrama with evocative music by Suzanne Farrin and texts by Michelangelo. With the librettist’s drawings on view at the Met and the performance taking place in the Renaissance Vélez Blanco Patio, time gets even more tangled — but that’s what a museum is for. —J.D.
Metropolitan Museum, December 8 to 9.

23. See Min Jin Lee and Alexander Chee
Talking shop. 
Author Min Jin Lee is said to have worked on her National Book Award–nominated novel Pachinko for almost two decades. See her discuss craft and her multigenerational saga of an exiled Korean family in Japan with Alexander Chee, best-selling author of The Queen of the Night.
Books Are Magic, November 29.

24. Listen to From a Room, Volume 2
Kentucky state of mind.
Breakout country singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton releases the second installment of his From a Room series to close out the year. Powerhouse vocals and crushing turns of phrase abound on tracks like “Tryin’ to Untangle My Mind.” —C.J.
Mercury Nashville, December 1.

25. Read The Vanishing Princess
What women want.  
English writer Jenny Diski was known for her dark and beautifully observed personal essays, novels, and stories on everything from single motherhood to life in a mental institution. Her death from cancer last year came after she starkly chronicled her illness for The London Review of Books. Her cult 1995 story collection is now available in the United States for the first time, with a forward by Heidi Julavits.
Ecco, December 5.

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