1. Appreciate Mutual Appreciation, which opens today—another deceptively sleepy slacker opus from Andrew Bujalski, the auteur behind Funny Ha Ha.
2. Celebrate Labor Day weekend with a bang (literally) as Temporary Residence Records throws a tenth-anniversary bash, bringing indie instrumental band Explosions in the Sky, along with Eluvium and Lazarus, to the Bowery Ballroom.
3. Head to Jones Beach for a lazy Sunday of sunning yourself at a concert from improbable-comeback-diva extraordinaire Mariah Carey.
4. In College, a nerd wants to be a jock so he can woo a pretty coed. A lost Patrick Dempsey film? No—part of the must-see Buster Keaton series playing at Film Forum.
5. Happy 25th birthday, Beyoncé! (Actually, it was yesterday.) Happy album release, Beyoncé! (That’s today—her latest, appropriately titled B’Day.)
6. Encore! Encore! Blind Tuscan tenor Andrea Bocelli performs at the New York Philharmonic.
7. The work of Lola Alvarez Bravo, billed as Mexico’s first woman photographer, goes on display at the Aperture Gallery.
8. Her hips don’t lie: Shakira shakes up Madison Square Garden. Or, go see the acclaimed (and excellent) Man Push Cart, a film about the days and nights of a Pakistani street vendor.
9. Fashion Week enraptures Manhattan. Swarm Bryant Park.
10. Fame Becomes Him: Martin Short hosts this year’s “Broadway on Broadway” showcase smack in the middle of of Times Square.
11. Five years later, Joel Meyerowitz, who claims to be the only photographer granted full access to recovery efforts at ground zero, shares his stories and images at the New York Public Library. Call in advance to get tickets to a sneak preview of Beyond the 11th, a documentary about two 9/11 widows who travel to Afghanistan to meet Afghan widows from the war, at the Tribeca Cinemas.
12. Admit it: Wardrobe malfunctions and Britney-dating aside, Justin Timberlake cranks out catchy pop that has you bopping along at the gym. So enjoy his latest, FutureSex/LoveSounds, without shame.
13. Learn how to talk dirty: Homage to Lenny Bruce and Free Speech at the 92nd Street Y.
14. Sausage. Cannoli. Zeppole. Repeat. The annual San Gennaro festival kicks off tonight.
15. Stepping out: Star dancers from City Ballet and ABT’s Studio Company star in new works choreographed by fellow dancers Tom Gold, Edwaard Liang, and Brian Reeder at the Miller Theatre.
16. Marty Markowitz, the you-gotta-love-him (sort of) Brooklyn borough president hosts various Jonathans (Safran Foer, Lethem) and other local literary lions (Lahiri) at the Brooklyn Book Fest.
17. Do you enjoy comic books but wish they were set to music? How about the tale of Oedipus? If so, rush to the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Tonight, a superhero fan turned superhero rids the world of evil in Emerald Man, and Oedipus for Kids! goes on with songs like “My Lover Is My Husband Is My Son.”
18. Absinthe is a circus that’s like vaudeville or cabaret, if you were seeing them on psychedelic drugs. It’s playing at the wandering circus-theater Spiegeltent at the South Street Seaport.
19. The beat of two very different drums: Indigo Girls’ Despite Our Differences and Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor will both be released today.
20. Arielle Dombasle, the French torch singer, spouse of Bernard-Henri Lévy, and super-vamp, plays Broadway for the first time at the Supper Club.
21. Will Meredith run off with Derek or the hunkified Chris O’Donnell? Is Izzie really leaving Seattle Grace? Grey’s Anatomy premieres tonight, sandwiched between Ugly Betty and Six Degrees. Make some popcorn and unplug the phone.
22. If it’s Oscar season, then that sound you hear must be Sean Penn screaming: Sure enough, he stars as corrupt, back-room-dealing Louisiana governor Willie Stark in the political drama All the Kings’s Men; also, Eternal Sunshine director Michel Gondry returns with a whimsical movie about dreams, Science of Sleep. Speaking of dreamy: It stars Gael García Bernal.
23. The fall’s can’t-miss show at the Met: New Orleans After the Flood: Photographs by Robert Polidori.
24. Al Gore has his Inconvenient Truth, and now ICP has Ecotopia, a chilling photography exhibit about Mother Earth.
25. It’s a good night to love indie rock: Jack White’s all-star indie band, the Raconteurs, plays at Roseland, and the Flaming Lips play the Hammerstein.
26. Ludacris gives us Release Therapy, a new album that shows off his softer and more serious sides with songs about child abuse and politics. Meanwhile, the slimmer Janet Jackson storms back with her newest album, 20 Y.O. (formerly known as 20 Years Old), twenty years after her 1986 hit album Control.
27. Now that Mick Jagger’s in his sixties, can we call him a sextuagenarian? The Rolling Stones play Giants Stadium, along with producer-cum-rapper Kanye West, while ...
28. ... another kind of music legend, Eric Clapton, rolls into the Garden.
29. A world without cute, bright-eyed, helpless little babies? That’s the future envisioned by Alfonso Cuarón in his new sci-fi film, Children of Men, about what happens when women can no longer conceive, starring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore.
30. Rear Window, the Hitchcock film only a New Yorker living in an apartment with a back-of-the-building view can fully appreciate, plays at bam tonight, as part of its Hitchcock–Jimmy Stewart retrospective.