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To Do: December 13–December 27, 2017

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

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TV
1. Watch A Christmas Story Live!
Be sure to drink your Ovaltine. 
The live-TV-musicals craze continues to devour ’80s touchstones — here, inspired by the recent Broadway adaptation, Bob Clark’s 1983 classic about a bespectacled Indiana kid obsessed with getting a genuine Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. This new version stars Maya Rudolph as the mom. —Matt Zoller Seitz
Fox, December 17.

Art
2. See Maryam Hoseini: Of Strangers and Parrots
Both world stage and secret garden. 
This tantalizing debut gives us complicated glowing paintings. Flashes of guns, empty ruins, and a world of only women occupy flattening scenes and spaces. Inner defiance comes in the ways Hoseini extends her paintings onto the wall, integrating her space, the gallery’s, and ours. —Jerry Saltz
Rachel Uffner Gallery, 170 Suffolk Street, through December 23.

Pop
3. See Darlene Love
Relive the Letterman tradition.
You might know soul veteran Darlene Love from her starring role in the Academy Award–winning music documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, or from Phil Spector’s 1963 classic A Christmas Gift for You. Holiday spirit is decidedly the focus of this trio of shows. —Craig Jenkins
B.B. King Blues Club and Grill, December 21 through 23.

Movies
4. Go to All or Nothing: The Fearless Performances of Daniel Day-Lewis
Oh, Danny boy. 
One of our greatest actors, Daniel Day-Lewis, insists he’s retiring after his latest film, Phantom Thread. Catch up on his greatest hits, like My Beautiful Laundrette and A Room With a View, in the meantime. Move on to There Will Be Blood and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. —David Edelstein
Quad Cinema, December 15 through 24.

Theater
5. See The Dead, 1904
Dubliners in New York. 
Raise a glass and come hungry, because dinner is (literally) served at this performance based on James Joyce’s immortal work. A holiday show for the literarily inclined, The Dead, 1904 tells the story of a gathering held on the Feast of the Epiphany in the Dublin home of two sisters, Kate and Julia Morkan. —Sara Holdren
The Irish Repertory Theatre, through January 7.

Design
6. Go to Millennium: Lower Manhattan in the 1990s
Don’t forget to look up.   
The construction of the World Trade Center had finally started to pay off, but financial institutions were fleeing the Financial District, making room for a few adventurous residents and fledgling institutions like the Skyscraper Museum. This tiny museum devoted to large buildings remembers what downtown was like in the decade before Y2K and 9/11. —Justin Davidson
The Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Place, through April.

Books
7. Read The Odyssey
When you’ve had it with mansplaining. 
This new translation of Homer’s epic by Emily Wilson, a classics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is the first by a woman in English. From the get-go, she takes a departure from her predecessors’ depiction of Odysseus, writing, “Tell me about a complicated man.”
W.W. Norton & Co.

TV
8. Watch Jean-Claude Van Johnson
New muscles from Brussels. 
What if somebody did a live-action version of BoJack Horseman, complete with inside-showbiz satire and depression and substance abuse, but put a leathery kickboxing Belgian in the lead? That’s what you get from this series. Van Damme is perfect: self-aware and exact without ever seeming to be in on the joke. —M.Z.S.
Amazon, December 15.

Storytelling
9. Go to Atlas Obscura Live! Holidays!
You’ll probably learn something.
A live variety show with a curious sensibility, in which musicians, scholars, comedians, and special guests gather to tell stories rooted in holiday traditions such as Spain’s baby-jumping festival and the Yule Lads of Iceland.
Union Hall, December 14.

Theater
10. See Twelfth Night
Tempest-toss’d twins. 
The theater company Fiasco is known for its exuberantly physical productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Now it brings its trademark brand of storytelling magic to the Bard’s hilarious, wistful tale of twins, mistaken identities, love triangles, and wise foolery. —S.H.
Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th Street, through January 6.

Movies
11. See All the Money in the World
Will the seams show? 
There’s a good reason the press hasn’t seen Ridley Scott’s true story of the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III. After the film was shot and edited, Scott, disgusted by accusations against Kevin Spacey, the original Getty I, reshot Spacey’s scenes with the reliably great Christopher Plummer — quite the ladies’ man in his time (according to his autobiography) but presumably not a predator. —D.E.
In theaters December 22.

Art
12. See Arshile Gorky: Ardent Nature; Landscapes, 1943–47
A brand-new world. 
Don’t miss this three-floor show of some of the most important drawings made in America in the mid-20th century. These are the prismatic, splintering, biomorphic graphic fields peppered with intimations of roosters, farmyards, and fences. Let Gorky’s space, shapes, and stylistic twists and turns open 100 doors for you — just as they did for Pollock and de Kooning. —J.S.
Hauser & Wirth, 32 East 69th Street, through December 23.

Books
13. Read Wild Beauty
Bursting with energy. 
From celebrated author and playwright Ntozake Shange comes this bilingual collection of poems slim enough for a subway commute and vibrant enough to leave a mark. With titles such as “we need a god who bleeds now,” “nappy edges,” and “olvídalo hermana,” Shange parses the beauty in cultural variation, music, womanhood, urban life, and language.
Atria/37 Ink.

Pop
14. See Big Freedia
Prepare to sweat.
The self-proclaimed queen of New Orleans bounce music puts on a raucous live gig. Hypnotic beats, anthemic shouts, frenetic dance routines, and spirited audience participation make for a party you won’t soon forget. —C.J.
Brooklyn Bowl, December 15.

Design
15. See The Glorious Object
Forty-two cubic feet of fantastic.
Artist Rodger Stevens always loved the wall unit of wooden cubbies in the basement of this gallery; he’s now brought it upstairs to bask in the limelight and invited his illustrious peers to show work within. Contributors include Ted Muehling, Dana Barnes, and others, creating a veritable feast of treasure in this cabinet of curiosities. —Wendy Goodman
Patrick Parrish Gallery, 50 Lispenard Street, From December 14 through January 13.

Classical
16. Hear Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia
Coming together. 
Composer Him Sophy and filmmaker Rithy Panh commemorate the horrors of the Khmer Rouge years with a consoling, ritualistic work featuring the combined forces of the New York–based Metropolis Ensemble, the Taipei Philharmonic Chamber Choir, and traditional Khmer instruments. —J.D.
BAM, December 15 and 16.

Pop
17. See Harlem Holiday Live!
Better head uptown.
This holiday variety show from the Harlem arts-education institution founded in 1964 promises student dance performances, an appearance by the Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir, and a showing by the Harlemettes (HSA’s answer to the Rockettes).
Harlem School of the Arts, December 15–17.

Movies
18. Watch My Happy Family
Domestic drama.
An older Georgian woman decides to move out of her multigenerational family home, thumbing her nose in the face of decades of tradition, in this low-key Sundance favorite about the changing nature of life in the old country.
Netflix. 

Opera
19. Go to Directory of Portrayals
Cross-cultural dialogue.
Sahra Motalebi’s experimental opera blends video, spoken word, and music to explore Motalebi’s relationship with her sister in Iran, whom she has never met in person.   
The Kitchen, December 14 and 15.

Theater
20. See Farinelli and the King
Rylance returns.
Mark Rylance, who’s frequently been called the best actor of his generation, is back in New York in a new play by his wife, Claire van Kampen, about the 18th-century Spanish king Philip V’s struggle with depression — a darkness lightened only by the voice of the famous castrato Farinelli. —S.H.
Belasco Theatre, through March 25.

Pop
21. Listen to No One Ever Really Dies
Genre-busting.
Star rap and pop producers Pharrell and Chad Hugo get the band back together for this album, featuring brash hooks, dizzying beats, and appearances from Rihanna, M.I.A., Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, and more. —C.J.
N.E.R.D Music/Columbia, December 15.

Classical
22. Hear Messiah
Hard to pick just one.
Though Handel wrote his oratorio as an Easter piece, we’ve commandeered it for Christmas duty, and the city is alive with every sort of Messiah, from wheezy sing-alongs to orchestral blockbusters. Trinity Wall Street’s Julian Wachner leads a grippingly dramatic period-instruments performance, which, thanks to the marvels of live streaming, you can enjoy on your phone. —J.D.
Trinity Wall Street, December 15 through 17.

TV
23. Watch 15: A Quinceañera Story
Coming of age.
This quartet of short documentary films chronicles the exuberant rite of passage in the lives of four 15-year-old Latina girls. Particularly moving is the story of Zoey, a transgender girl whose celebration honors her trans-madrinas (godmothers) who did not get to have their own adolescent moments in the sun. 
HBO and HBO Latino, December 19 through 22.

Pop
24. Go to A Murray Little Christmas
Ho ho ho.
Anything’s possible at the holiday show by drag king Murray Hill (a.k.a. Mr. Showbiz), with guests including burlesque star Angie Pontani and the great Bridget Everett.
Joe’s Pub, December 15 through 17.

Classical
25. Hear Haas in the Dark
Feel the music. 
A few years ago, the JACK Quartet delighted musical adventurers and sent claustrophobes fleeing with a performance of Georg Friedrich Haas’s String Quartet No. 3 in total darkness. Now comes the sequel, courtesy of the same composer and the same ensemble: String Quartet No. 9, a slow-moving work of drones and buzzes unfolding in sepulchral obscurity. —J.D.
National Sawdust, December 21. 


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