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To Do: July 11–July 25, 2018

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

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Theater
1. See Fire in Dreamland
Up in smoke.
Set in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Rinne Groff’s new play follows a disillusioned idealist and a charismatic auteur who’s making a film about the 1911 fire that destroyed the original Coney Island Dreamland amusement park. Groff and director Marissa Wolf weave a time-crossing tale of disaster, visionary passion, and how to rebuild a life. —Sara Holdren
Public Theater, through August 5.

Art
2. See Aaron Birnbaum: Paintings 1970–1995
Memory chest.
Of the brave gallerists and curators who blew down the walls between “outsider” and “real” art during this period, dealer Kerry Schuss will be remembered as a steadfast presence in his shoebox-size spaces. Among others, Schuss discovered Aaron Birnbaum, whose works, painted from memory, shine forth now with bridges, houses, and landscapes of Ukraine. —Jerry Saltz
Kerry Schuss, 34 Orchard Street, through July 13.

Books
3. Read My Year of Rest and Relaxation
The perfect novel for the darkest summer.
Ottessa Moshfegh takes us back before New York’s darkest day, September 11, to a woman greeting the new century with a sizable inheritance and an infinite reservoir of ennui. Sick of her job and her “friends,” the unnamed narrator searches for the right drug cocktail to send her into months of hibernation. Luckily for us, Moshfegh is as funny as she is morbid. —Boris Kachka
Penguin Press.

TV
4. Watch The Handmaid’s Tale Finale
Season two comes to a close.
The second season of last year’s Emmy winner for Outstanding Drama ends with an episode that will no doubt feature an uplifting message of hope and a peppy musical number. Just kidding — like the rest of this series, it will probably be harrowing in a way that makes you start rocking back and forth repeatedly while trying not to think too much about any parallels between Gilead and our current sociopolitical nightmare. —Jen Chaney
Hulu, July 11.

Theater
5. See This Ain’t No Disco
Sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
This world premiere of the rock musical by Hedwig and the Angry Inch creator Stephen Trask and the Wallflowers’ Peter Yanowitz tells the story of the drifters and dreamers who frequented Studio 54 and Mudd Club in the grimy heart of 1979 New York City. Darko Tresnjak directs what’s sure to be a gritty, glittery blowout. —S.H.
Atlantic Theater Company, through August 12.

Podcasts
6. Listen to Caliphate
A breathtaking investigation of ISIS.
The New York Times’ limited series — led by Rukmini Callimachi, one of its foreign correspondents and resident terrorism expert, and series producer Andy Mills — focuses on a triptych of set pieces: an extensive interview with a former ISIS recruit, a dash into liberated Mosul, and a gripping look at the Islamic State’s sexual enslavement of young Yazidi girls. In the process, the project illuminates an essential question: “Who are we fighting, anyway?”               
iTunes.

TV
7. Watch Daria
Still a sick, sad world.
MTV recently announced that it would be reviving Daria, the animated series that, as Phoebe Robinson wrote in 2015, was formative for a generation of women: “If the Bechdel test existed when this show was on the air, Daria would have passed with flying colors.” The new show will arrive (under the name Daria & Jodie) at an undetermined date; till then, Ms. Morgendorffer’s deadpan asides on all 65 episodes of the show’s original run are finally streamable. La la laaaa la la.
Hulu.

Books
8. Read And Then We Danced
Step to it.
Henry Alford is an impossibly funny writer. (Anyone remember, back in the days of Spy magazine, his deep investigation into the journalistic use of the word nubbins?) This book is a droll collection of dance-related meetups and experiences, through drag balls, lessons, and a visit to the Apollo, that coalesce into a memoir of self-discovery.
Simon & Schuster.

Pop
9. Listen to The Switch
Filling the Sonic Youth–shaped void.
Do you miss the New York City rockers who pioneered punk and grunge with albums like Daydream Nation? You’re in luck. The second album from Body/Head, former Sonic Youth co-leader Kim Gordon’s outfit, is a wide expanse of breathy vocals and pleasing guitar drones. —Craig Jenkins
Matador Records, July 13.

Movies
10. See Hammer’s House of Horror
The decadent years.
The second part of the Quad’s Hammer-horror series chronicles its sexier, bloodier, more transgressive productions, among them the bleak final Cushing Frankensteins (the superb Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed and underrated Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell), the even more psychosexually jolting female-possession film Hands of the Ripper, and the vampire-witch epics Twins of Evil and Vampire Circus. —David Edelstein
Quad Cinema, July 20 to August 2.

Pop
11. & 12. Listen to Lost & Found and K.T.S.E.
An R&B resurgence.
Among the SoundCloud generation, the 21-year-old British R&B singer Jorja Smith’s debut album, Lost & Found, stands out. A bit like Gabrielle and Sade, Smith makes even the slowest slow jam thrilling. Teyana Taylor’s new record, K.T.S.E. (or Keep That Same Energy), produced by Kanye West, is just great traditional R&B. Like a light rain at the end of a scorching summer day, the album feels like relief.
FAMM and G.O.O.D. Music.

Books
13. Read No One Tells You This
The heroine’s journey.
Glynnis MacNicol’s elegantly told chronicle of her 40th year is a feminist picaresque for the modern era. Following her travels from Rockaway Beach to Iceland to Wyoming to her mother’s bedside in her final days, MacNicol’s memoir pushes back against the notion that being single and childless in your 40s means something has gone wrong. A rare and necessary perspective on the profound exhilaration of the untethered female life.
Simon & Schuster.

Pop
14. Listen to Hive Mind
The Internet takes four.
In just three albums, the Internet has grown from a two-piece Odd Future splinter group making delightful bedroom R&B recordings to a vibrant quintet crafting fleshed-out songs and albums that revisit the liquid grooves of neo-soul’s heyday. This July’s Hive Mind is a mix of sultry vocals, tasteful roller-skating jams, and hip-hop soul vibes that’ll pair nicely with a warm summer night. —C.J.
Columbia Records, July 20.

Art
15. See Hugh Steers: The Nullities of Life
Curators rush in.
At the time of his death — from AIDS-related complications at 32 — in 1995, Hugh Steers was known as a deeply whimsical and mystical figurative painter of private life and sexual innuendo, rendered in a smoldering, glowing palette of golden sienna and rosy flesh and set in oddly tilted, vertiginous, closed-in spaces. There’s heartbreak and delight in these condensed scenarios of love, loss, and aloneness — enough to suggest several small museum surveys to reveal the secrets of this special artist. This show sets the stage. —J.S.
Alexander Gray Associates, 510 West 26th Street, through July 20.

Books
16. Read The Cost of Living
From an increasingly famous British novelist.
The second memoir by Deborah Levy (Hot Milk) is slim and spare but full of emotions and allusions. This account of a year in her life — leaving her husband, nursing her dying mother, writing novels — is part of her ongoing “living autobiography.” —B.K.
Bloomsbury.

Theater
17. See Angels in America
The great work will soon depart.
The limited run can’t be extended — the cast, led by Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane, has movies to make and shows to stage — and then this demanding behemoth will vanish for another generation.          
Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street, through July 15.

Movies
18. Watch Wanda
An essential revival.
Its admirers call this 1970 film one of the greatest of the ’70s, which it’s not. But Barbara Loden’s grim story of the affair between a young woman (Loden) from a dying Appalachian mining town and an abrasive small-time crook (Michael Higgins) is a seminal American indie and an inspiration for countless Hollywood outsiders. —D.E.
Metrograph, July 20 to 26.

Pop
19. See Courtney Barnett, Vagabon, and Julien Baker
The women of indie.
Anyone paying cursory attention to indie rock over the past year knows women are steering the ship right now. For a master class in how and why, head to the Prospect Park Bandshell this summer for a taste of Melbourne artist Courtney Barnett’s peppy, snarky punk rock; the slow, mercurial guitar anthems of Brooklyn’s Vagabon; and the delicate personal reckoning of Memphis singer-songwriter Julien Baker. —C.J.
Prospect Park Bandshell, July 25.

TV
20. See Dark Tourist
For lovers of strange places.
If you’re a weird-documentary fetishist, you’re probably already obsessed with Tickled, an unbelievably strange saga of underground “tickle cells.” Now Netflix has poached the movie’s co-director and host, New Zealander David Farrier, and commissioned him to make a new travelogue series where he journeys to “often macabre” tourist destinations. If this show is even a quarter as bizarre as Tickled, it’ll be a must-see.
Netflix, July 20.

Books
21. Read A Terrible Country
A sequel of sorts.
Keith Gessen’s first novel, All the Sad Young Literary Men, focused on the confusions of hypereducated youth and the political muddle of Bush’s America. The follow-up finds one character considerably older and somewhat wiser. Like Gessen himself, Andrei ends up back in Putin’s Russia, a nation even more totalitarian than the Soviet Union his family fled a generation ago. —B.K.
Viking.

Theater
22. See The Damned
Ready for their close-ups.
International-superstar director Ivo van Hove joins forces with the prestigious Comédie-Française for the North American premiere of his adaptation of Luchino Visconti’s darkly dazzling masterpiece of Italian cinema; it’s an opulent, disturbing story of a wealthy family’s moral disintegration during the rise of the Nazis in 1933 Germany. —S.H.
Park Avenue Armory, July 17 to 28.

Pop
23. See Janelle Monáe
A stadium of beautiful women in vagina pants.
Hidden Figures
, Moonlight, and life had to happen to Janelle Monáe before she could make sense of her visual album Dirty Computer. This summer, Monáe takes her collection of funk, pop, rock, and soul vibes, including warm-weather anthems like “PYNK” and “Screwed,” on tour. 
MSG, July 18.

Movies
24. See Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
A perfect showcase for Joaquin Phoenix.
The title of Gus Van Sant’s wrenching biopic is the sardonic caption of a cartoon by the quadriplegic John Callahan, spoken by a posse leader who comes upon an overturned wheelchair in the desert. Joaquin Phoenix is among the most emotionally unruly actors alive, and even a sagacious AA guru played by Jonah Hill hits weird notes. The group-therapy scenes (featuring, among others, Kim Gordon and Udo Kier) have a smart, improvisatory feel. —D.E.
In theaters July 13.

Books
25. Read Give People Money
Annie Lowrey makes the case for a Universal Basic Income.
The Atlantic contributor (formerly of New York) lays out liberal and conservative cases for a radical yet straightforward idea: Everyone gets enough cash each month to stay clear of poverty, replacing the miserable mix of social services and gig-economy jobs that now constitute the bottom of the income scale. Short version: Pilot programs reveal that it works better than you might think.
Crown.


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