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To Do: July 25–August 8, 2018

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

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Art
1. See Alexis Rockman: New Mexico Field Drawings
Climate change on canvas.
At 55, hard-core fantasist-realist painter Alexis Rockman has been covering decaying waterfronts for decades. In his beautiful, glowing paintings that tell the story of death stalking us and our polluted environment, he bears better witness than most to lost worlds in the making. His grotesque bestiary will soon be fact, not invention. —Jerry Saltz
Sperone Westwater, 257 Bowery, through August 3.

Books
2. Read Brother
In a time of gross American injustice.
David Chariandy’s poignant novel of immigrant struggle plumbs prejudice and the limits of social mobility in an unexpected place. The author locates his novel in a darker corner of our supposedly enlightened neighbor to the north — Chariandy’s native Toronto neighborhood of Scarborough. Wide-eyed Michael and his cynical brother, Francis, are taught by their Trinidadian mother to strive against the odds, even as her own broken state belies her cherished ideals. —Boris Kachka
Bloomsbury, July 31.

Movies
3. Go to The Female Gaze
A new lens.
There’s much talk about the need for a female gaze to counterbalance the dominant male one — and lo, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has programmed a superb series intended to explore just that: “The Female Gaze,” featuring 36 films by 23 female cinematographers. Seize the chance to savor Maryse Alberti’s work for such radically different directors as Todd Haynes in Velvet Goldmine and Ryan Coogler in Creed, Agnès Godard’s with Claire Denis in Beau Travail, Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson, and much else. Stop by July 28 for a conversation with Godard and cinematographers Natasha Braier, Ashley Connor, and Joan Churchill. —David Edelstein
Film Society of Lincoln Center, July 26 to August 9.

TV
4. Watch Castle Rock
Streaming screaming, from Stephen King.
Fans of King’s work may enjoy playing spot-the-familiar-reference in this new Hulu horror series, which is set in — can you guess? — Castle Rock, Maine. There’s some business involving a prison called Shawshank and a creepy inmate, played by Bill Skarsgård, who portrayed Pennywise in the recent big-screen version of It, which is referenced in other ways in the series. In short, it’s super–Stephen King–y. —Jen Chaney
Hulu, July 25.

Theater
5. See The Saintliness of Margery Kempe
A fantastic woman.
The actress Andrus Nichols — a founding member of the Bedlam theater company, where she’s played, among other things, a stunning Saint Joan — returns as another, more worldly saint in a revival of John Wulp’s comic examination of the iconoclastic 14th-century visionary (and beer brewer!) Margery Kempe. Austin Pendleton directs this story of a woman who, against the world, is assured of her own extraordinary destiny. —Sara Holdren
The Duke on 42nd Street, July 5 to August 26.

Movies
6. See Female Trouble and Hairspray
A John Waters revival.
An elegant essayist and peerless provocateur, John Waters is a rather uneven filmmaker, but thanks to the IFC Center, you can see his two most divinely inspired films in weeklong runs. Female Trouble (1974) is his masterpiece — the story of a delinquent teenager (Divine, natch) that transcends camp to become a misfits’ angry cri de coeur. Hairspray (1988) is far better than the musical it inspired and features Ricki Lake, Divine in two roles (one male!), and the craziest collection of updos in cinema history.  —D.E.
IFC Center, July 27 to August 2.

TV
7. Watch Comedy Central’s Roast of Bruce Willis
Boom: John McClane, roasted.
Have you ever wanted to wipe the wry smirk off Bruce Willis’s face? Are you still bitter about the money you spent on that movie ticket for Hudson Hawk? Then perhaps you’ll enjoy this pre-recorded takedown of Willis, hosted by his Looper co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt. —J.C.
Comedy Central, July 29.

Classical Music
8. & 9. Hear Americans in Paris and Grand Pianola Music
Mostly Mozart’s 20th-century highlights.
With the demise of the Lincoln Center Festival, Mostly Mozart ranges more widely than ever. Louis Langrée leads its orchestra in a program that highlights Franco-American musical rapport: Bernstein’s setting of Voltaire’s Candide, Gershwin’s An American in Paris. Christian Reif conducts the International Contemporary Ensemble in the latter-day equivalent, mixing late-20th-century classics (John Adams’s 1982 Grand Pianola Music), George Lewis’s freshly revised 1987 Voyager, and Courtney Bryan’s duet for piano and YouTube videos Songs of Laughing, Smiling, and Crying. —Justin Davidson
Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, July 24 and 25; Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College, August 2.

Pop
10. See Sleep
Metalheads, rejoice.
The California stoner-metal trio Sleep sprang back to life this year with the unexpected release of a new album, the excellent The Sciences, on (of course) 4/20. Its predecessor, 2003’s hour-long, single-song Dopesmoker, is a heady metal classic lesser bands would celebrate in nostalgia tours for life. Come to the show for slow, snaking, impossibly heavy grooves crafted expressly by and for avid tokers. —Craig Jenkins
Brooklyn Steel, July 26 and 27.

Art
11. See Peter Fischli
Beyond Snowman.
Peter Fischli, the surviving half of the brilliant duo Fischli-Weiss, rises to solo brilliance with a gallery of cut-up and glued cardboard sculptures covered in newspaper. The modernist shapes, abstract sculptures, opened tin cans, and gift boxes brings us in as close as one dog gets to another to sniff out the identities and intentions of these tremendously banal yet deliriously curious forms. Fischli is having another lifetime; viewers are lucky. —J.S.
Reena Spaulings Fine Art, 165 East Broadway, through September 15.

Opera
12. Hear Demon
The Russians are coming.
Anton Rubinstein’s 1871 opera, full of satanic lasciviousness and vivid melodrama, was a huge hit in Russia and remains popular there but is rarely staged elsewhere. Leon Botstein conducts an all-Russian cast in a new production by Thaddeus Strassberger at Bard’s SummerScape Festival. —J.D.
Fisher Center at Bard College, July 27 to August 5.

Books
13. Read Give Me Your Hand
A thrilling relationship.
Megan Abbott’s ninth novel follows a pair of women, Kit and Diane, far beyond high school as they become leading research scientists. They were friends until Diane divulged a life-changing secret. They meet a decade later, competing for a slot on a team studying premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Gendered notions of emotional stability are a major theme, but this is no research paper; it’s pure suspense, hinging on terrifyingly real characters. —B.K.
Little, Brown.

Festivals
14. Go to Panorama
A new mainstay.
Janet Jackson leads a lineup of heavy hitters including the Killers, the Weeknd, Lil Wayne, and SZA in the East Coast’s answer to Coachella, which in its third year looks like it’s here to stay.
Randalls Island, July 27 to 29.

Theater
15. See Fiddler on the Roof
Anatevka in its native tongue.
Broadway legend Joel Grey directs the Harnick and Bock classic in Yiddish! The translation is by Shraga Friedman, and it’s sung by Steven Skybell as Tevye and the always fabulous Jackie Hoffman as the matchmaker Yente. —S.H.
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, through Sept. 2.

Pop
16. See Jay-Z and Beyoncé
The gangster and the queen.
On the Run II, the duo’s second tour as a couple, is a celebration of Jay’s clever wordplay and ineffable swagger, Bey’s futuristic soul music and elite stage show, and this summer’s joint album Everything Is Love, on which husband and wife proved they’re as formidable together as they are on their own.           —C.J.
MetLife Stadium, August 2 and 3.

Opera
17. Hear The Force of Things
An opera for objects.
Composer Ashley Fure has to invent instruments before she can write for them: paper drapes vibrating to frequencies humans can’t hear, a single-stringed apparatus made of airplane cable tightened over blocks of foam. Fure’s work is a full-body experience of sounds you feel in your bones. —J.D.
Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center, Brooklyn, August 6 to 8.

Theater
18. See Straight White Men
Men behaving desperately.
It’s exciting and disturbing that Young Jean Lee is the first Asian-American woman playwright to have a play produced on Broadway. Even more complicated: It’s called Straight White Men. It tells the story of a father and his three adult sons at a Christmas get-together gone increasingly, ruthlessly awry. Lee and director Anna D. Shapiro dissect privilege, power, and identity in this scathing riff on American fathe

TV
19. Watch Casual
Say good-bye to these Californians.
This Hulu series, now in its fourth, final season, has always attracted a niche audience. But the show, about a pair of dysfunctional siblings, is wonderfully observant and well-acted—Michaela Watkins and Tommy Dewey are terrific as brother and sister, as is Tara Lynne Barr as Watkins’s character’s daughter. —J.C.
Hulu, July 31.

Podcasts
20. Listen to You Must Remember This
Hollywood urban legends.
Karina Longworth’s sublime history podcast returns with stories inspired by Hollywood Babylon, the hugely entertaining, not entirely trustworthy 1959 book of golden-age movie-business gossip by Kenneth Anger. It’s deliciously ripe for fact-checking, and Longworth says this season will be spent analyzing its myths and legends.
iTunes.

Movies
21. Visit Film Forum
Arthouse reborn.
New York’s most precious first-run indie and revival house reopens after a nearly $5 million makeover, with new seats, new sight lines (yay!), and a fancy new theater. On the four screens, you can see the excellent Nico biopic; a Jacques Becker retrospective (including the U.S. theatrical premiere of Rendezvous in July); the prize-winning Iranian thriller No Date, No Signature; and a revival of the anti-nukes midnight classic The Atomic Cafe. —D.E.
Film Forum, August 1.

TV
22. Watch Better Call Saul
The emergence of Saul Goodman is close at hand.
Season four of one of TV’s best dramas finds Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) grappling with the season-three death of a significant character and inching closer to what we’ve all been waiting for: his transformation into Saul Goodman, the sleazy lawyer we fell in love/hate with on Breaking Bad. —J.C.
AMC, August 6.

Pop
23. Listen to Stay Dangerous
Suu whoop.
Compton rapper YG is a throwback to smart, crass West Coast rap of old: He’s a tough guy and an elaborate storyteller, a writer who’ll tell you the elaborate moves he’d pull in a heist, then pontificate on the pressures and inequities that push desperate people to crime. His third album, Stay Dangerous, is another tight batch of snarky, catchy tunes in the spirit of his 2014 debut, My Krazy Life, and the acclaimed follow-up, 2016’s Still Brazy. —C.J.
Def Jam, August 3.

Movies
24. See The Miseducation of Cameron Post
YA fiction on the silver screen.
Chloë Grace Moretz is the title character of Desiree Akhavan’s semi-satirical drama, a teen caught having sex with a prom queen and sent away for “gay conversion” therapy. Jennifer Ehle will chill your privates as the presiding doctor. John Gallagher Jr. plays her brother, a supposedly successful convert who labors to radiate Christian beatitude. —D.E.
In theaters August 3.

Books
25. Read Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win
Staying on message.
Journalist Jo Piazza interviewed more than 40 female politicians and candidates as research for this of-the-moment story of a Silicon Valley exec who moves her family to her working-class Pennsylvania hometown to run for a midterm Senate seat. EMILY’s List, Twitter wars, and dishy secrets all make an appearance, but it’s the shrewd look at the innumerable extra hurdles women candidates face that sets the book apart. An elevated summer read, tailor made for these combustible times.
Simon & Schuster.


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