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To Do: August 22–September 5, 2018

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


1. See 1969: The Second Man
Featuring a seven-piece band.
This rueful, raucous song cycle weaves a musical myth around the second astronaut to take that one small step for mankind. Buzz Aldrin told reporters that he “really didn’t want” to be the first on the moon “because of the added heartache.” This new folk-rock fable digs into the pathos of “the runner-up in all of us” and its resonance for a country obsessed with coming in first. —Sara Holdren
Next Door at NYTW/Fourth Street Theatre, August 24 to September 8.

2. See Paul Bloodgood and Michael LeVell
Hail, White Columns!
Three things should be more widely known: White Columns, a dauntless and visionary alternative space, just keeps getting better; the subject of the gallery’s central show, the late abstract-figurative painter Paul Bloodgood, deserves a focused museum show; and finally, the sumptuous prismatic paintings of Michael LeVell — diagnosed with autism, deaf, and legally blind — in the west gallery are a thrill to behold. —Jerry Saltz
White Columns, 91 Horatio St., through September 15.

3. Watch Star Trek: Nemesis
Even the haters.
Now that Patrick Stewart has rocked our galaxy by announcing his return in a new Star Trek series, it’s time for another look at the movie that had up till now ended his involvement with the Federation, Star Trek: Nemesis. Trekkies hated this bleak film with its shocking, downbeat ending. True, Tom Hardy with his adder-bladder lips is not a plausible clone of young Picard, but he’s sensational going head-to-head with Stewart, and the movie has a post-9/11 Götterdämmerung vibe like nothing else in the series. —David Edelstein

4. Watch Sharp Objects Finale
Your summer addiction — and ours.
The enthralling limited series, about a vodka-soaked Amy Adams attempting to concuss her demons and get to the bottom of a murder mystery, airs its finale. We hope it’ll resolve all lingering questions, like: Who killed Ann Nash and Natalie Keene of Wind Gap? What’s the deal with Camille (Adams) and her control-freakish mother (Patricia Clarkson)? Will you ever be able to wipe away the image of sweaty Chris Messina or forget the sounds of fever-dreamy Led Zeppelin? (Spoiler on that last two-part query: No.) —Jen Chaney
HBO, August 26.

5. Listen to Getting Curious With Jonathan Van Ness
Who gave you permission to be this good, JVN?
Jonathan Van Ness has been making this fantastic interview podcast since well before he booked Queer Eye. Digging back through the archives, it’s apparent that Van Ness has always been a remarkably generous, collaborative, and fun interviewer. The show is further elevated by the sheer breadth of his interests, spanning discussions about art and social media to inquiries about the opioid crisis and China’s economic relationship with the U.S.       

6. Listen to Negro Swan
Doing the most.
London-born studio whiz Dev Hynes is a delicate singer and an astute songwriter who has contributed lyrics and production to a wide range of performers including Solange Knowles. His solo project, Blood Orange, returns with its fourth album, Negro Swan, which Hynes calls a meditation on the joy and pain of the black queer experience, comprising lush soul, rap, and jazz mind-melds like “Jewelry” and “Hope.” —Craig Jenkins
Domino, August 24.

7. See I Was Most Alive With You
Fortune’s fool.
Performed at once in English and ASL by two casts, Craig Lucas’s new play tells the story of Ash, a man living with addiction and a deaf child, who is grateful for every moment of his life. Like a modern-day Job, he loses everything at once and must struggle to find hope amid his trials. —S.H.
Playwrights Horizons, August 31 to October 14.

8. Watch Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan
Starring a buff John Krasinski.
This TV spinoff of Tom Clancy’s novels has an impeccable pedigree: the executive producers include Michael Bay, Lost’s Carlton Cuse, and star John Krasinski, an unlikely action star (and blockbuster filmmaker) who might be the ideal Jack Ryan, an analyst who keeps ending up in fights and dodging explosions. Moral ambiguity always comes into play in CIA stories, and Ryan doesn’t stint on that. This is a curiously sensitive, self-lacerating tough-guy fantasy. —Matt Zoller Seitz
Amazon Prime, August 31.

9. Read Cherry
Possibly the first great opioid-epidemic novel.
Writing from prison, where the ex–Iraq War medic was sent for stealing to feed his drug habit, Nico Walker complements the work of reporters with a ground-level sense of how life can seem to fall apart by accident via his fiction. One of the story’s many heartbreaks is the sense that the narrator, like Walker, was a man of potential whose weaknesses overwhelmed him as institutions enabled or even accelerated his decline. —Boris Kachka

10. See Pick of the Litter
Dogs and their people are welcome.
Here’s some brilliant programming to lift spirits during the dog days: Rooftop Films (or Rooof-top?) presents Pick of the Litter, an exuberant, family-friendly doc about competition among dogs to lead the blind. Start time is 8:30 p.m.; there’s a Q&A with filmmakers Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, if your pooches have the attention span. —D.E.
Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, August 23.

11. See Charting the Divine Plan
A stellar show.
Against all odds, the American Folk Art Museum seems to mount some of the best shows in the country. Don’t miss the diaphanous charts, diagrams, and lovingly crafted drawings of Orra White Hitchcock, one of the country’s first female scientific illustrators. In the early-19th century, concurrent with Darwin, Hitchcock depicted the Earth’s geological layers in sensuous images that reveal formations and movements over millions of years. Her touch has the sense of life itself. —J.S.
American Folk Art Museum, through October 14.

12. Watch Younger Season Finale
Fräulein Liza in Frankfurt.
The fifth season of one of the most purely pleasurable TV shows began with the head of Empirical Press, Charles (the tall drink of delicious water that is Peter Hermann), finding out employee Liza (Sutton Foster, who’s pretty refreshing, too) has been faking her status as a millennial this whole time. Now that they’ve gotten this and consummated their romance, how will it end? We’ll find out, possibly while wearing a statement necklace in tribute to Liza’s boss Diana Trout (Miriam Shor). —J.C.
TV Land, August 28.

13. See The Gospel at Colonus
Amazing Grace in ancient Greece.
A limited-run revival of Lee Breuer and Bob Telson’s groundbreaking 1983 musical adaptation of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus, set in the exuberant context of a black Pentecostal service. With a thunderous gospel and blues score, and a cast featuring the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Original Soul Stirrers, this Obie winner brings roaring new life to the 2,400-year-old redemption myth. —S.H.
The Public at the Delacorte Theater, September 4 to 9.

14. & 15. See Interpol and Listen to Marauder
Reaching new levels.
Downtown art rockers Interpol sound revitalized on their new album Marauder; the trio follow last year’s 15th-anniversary celebration of their breakthrough debut, Turn On the Bright Lights, by teaming with frequent Flaming Lips collaborator Dave Fridmann to imbue their driving post-punk with the brightest, most immediate hooks they’ve pitched in years. Head to House of Vans the day the album drops to hear them live. —C.J.
House of Vans, 25 Franklin Street, Greenpoint, August 24; Matador, August 24.

16. & 17. Consider Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby
Or don’t.
Here’s a moral test: How do we treat two flat-out masterpieces by a confessed child rapist who fled retribution? If you can separate the man from the artist, reexperience Roman Polanski’s peerlessly cynical noir Chinatown in a 4K restoration at Film Forum through August 23 and the most claustrophobically harrowing of all birth stories, Rosemary’s Baby (50 years after its release), at the IFC Center. Truly a date with the devil. —D.E.
Film Forum, through August 23; IFC Center, August 24 to 30.

18. Go to Aubrey & the Three Migos Tour
Six nights of Drake and Migos.
North and South collide as Toronto pop-rap heavyweight Drake and the Lawrenceville trio the Migos unite in a late-summer tour. Party live to Drake’s chest-beating, life-affirming anthems and the Migos’ bass-heavy beats and slapstick rhymes. —C.J.
MSG, August 24, 25, and 27; Barclays Center, Downtown Brooklyn, August 30 to September 1.

19. & 20. Read Ohio and Hear Stephen Markley
A second summer opioid story.
Stephen Markley’s debut novel takes a broader and more conventional look at the lost post-9/11 generation, constructing a fragmentary sort of reunion story around a depressed Ohio town. The day after the book’s release, find Markley in conversation with A Place for Us author Fatima Farheen Mirza at Greenlight in Brooklyn. —B.K.
Simon & Schuster, August 21; Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street, Fort Greene, August 22.

21. & 22. Go to Say It Loud, then See Soul of a Nation
Revisiting the age of Black Power.
BAMcinématek’s galvanic “Say It Loud: Cinema in the Age of Black Power, 1966–1981” continues with still-abrasive works from that first mass outpouring of rage. Along with classics like Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep, see rare gems like David Weiss’s No Vietnameste Ever Called Me N—, which documents a ’67 march on the U.N., and Larry Clark’s Passing Through, about an ex-con saxophonist in the corrosive L.A. jazz scene. The series is presented in collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum’s forthcoming exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” which New York’s Jerry Saltz says is “sure to be one of the most exciting shows to see this fall.” —D.E.
BAM, through August 30; Brooklyn Museum, opens September 14.

23. Read After the Eclipse
In paperback September 4.
Sarah Perry was just 12 when her single mother was murdered at their home in rural Maine — while Sarah was awake and terrified in the next room. As an adult, she goes back to her hometown to examine the police case files and talk to everyone she can find who knew her mother. New York’s Carolyn Murnick, a fellow true-crime writer (The Hot One, also in paperback), says, “After the Eclipse radiates with world-weary women’s voices and lays bare the forces that give rise to poverty and gendered violence.”
Mariner Books.

24. See The Happytime Murders
Lewd puppets.
Earlier this summer, Melissa McCarthy’s very R-rated, very suggestive film had some legal drama thanks to its tagline “No Sesame, All Street.” Now, with the case finished (Sesame lost), this not-suitable-for-children film is free to chip away at puppet wholesomeness in ways even Off Broadway’s Avenue Q couldn’t imagine.
In theaters August 24.

25. Go to Afropunk
Erykah Badu and Janelle Monáe, and still more.
Tickets may be sold out for the two-day multicultural extravaganza with acts including Janelle Monáe, Twin Shadow, and Erykah Badu, but you can still catch the corresponding Afropunk Solution Sessions, a two-part discussion and live-podcast event Saturday at BAM tackling real-world questions of diversity with filmmaker Ava DuVernay, activist Alicia Garza, director Terence Nance, and more.
Commodore Barry Park, Fort Greene, August 25 and 26; BAM, August 25.

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