July 01: Beach reading, respectable division: Bring along Karen Thompson Walker’s debut novel, The Age of Miracles (Random House), about a woman’s everyday burdens during the apocalypse, and Janet Groth’s The Receptionist: An Education at The New Yorker (Algonquin), recounting her decades of barring crazy ladies from Mr. Shawn’s office.
02: Lisa Kudrow’s insane shrink, Fiona Wallice, is back in session with the return of Showtime’s Web Therapy.
03: At the stroke of midnight, hit a screening of The Amazing Spider-Man. Then, on Tuesday evening, queue up for someone who can really swing: Norah Jones plays SummerStage at 7 p.m.
04: The patriotic Philharmonic plays an all-American Fourth of July program (Gershwin, Sousa, Bernstein) at Avery Fisher Hall.
05: The Scottish Meta-Play: In the National Theater of Scotland’s hallucinogenic Macbeth, Alan Cumming plays a mental patient inhabiting every role.
06: Imaginary intrigue! Blake Lively plays a kidnapped hippie alongside Benicio del Toro and Salma Hayek’s drug kingpins in Savages, in theaters today (bonus: Tim Riggins as a pot farmer).
07: Last weekend to see the Brooklyn Museum’s huge look at Keith Haring’s early work—sketchbooks, flyers, subway drawings, and more.
08: A good day to catch up with Annie Baker’s everyday-English treatment of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, starring the spooky-magnetic Michael Shannon, at the Soho Rep.
09: Two American views of the Middle East are newly in bookstores: In Alif the Unseen (Grove Press), debut novelist G. Willow Wilson writes of an Arab-Indian hacker forced underground. And the late Harvey Pekar’s graphic memoir, Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, recalls his Zionist family and his disillusionment with Israel.
10: Brooklyn’s own Dirty Projectors play the Prospect Park Bandshell at 7 p.m., along with the moody duo Wye Oak, whose “Civilian” set the tone for The Walking Dead last season.
11: Those New Yorkers who get DirecTV can enjoy Glenn Close’s delightfully manipulative lawyer on Damages, premiering its final season at 9 p.m. She’ll be followed by Chloë Sevigny, deploying both an Irish accent and a male appendage, in her mini-series role as a transgender assassin in Hit and Miss at 10.
12: Shakespeare under the stars, minus the twelve-hour ticket line: New York Classical Theater stages Twelfth Night in Battery Park.
13: Twee but not too twee: Eleanor Friedberger—the female Fiery Furnace—performs from her solo album at the River-to-River Festival, joined by Ex Cops, at Pier 17.
14: While Game of Thrones is on break, Peter Dinklage has hied himself up to Bard for ten performances of Molière’s The Imaginary Invalid. It’s directed by Dinklage’s wife, Erika Schmidt, who we hope refers to him as “my lion.”
15: Who’s more ruthless: the teacher turned kingpin Walter White (Bryan Cranston), or a D.C. journalist (Carla Gugino) eager to torpedo the career of the secretary of State (Sigourney Weaver)? Find out at 10 p.m., when AMC airs the first episode of Breaking Bad’s final season, which you can watch as you DVR the start of Greg Berlanti’s mini-series Political Animals on USA.
16: Wade through the throngs of hipster college girls at SummerStage to hear the scruffy-cute indie-rock boys of Young the Giant.
17: The Upright Citizens Brigade’s improv all-stars take SummerStage. No names yet, but figure on a few drop-ins from the Poehler-Fey-Hodgman crowd.
18: Throwback night in the outer boroughs: Eighties rap star Big Daddy Kane plays a free 7 p.m. show in Queensbridge Park with hip-hop super-producer Marley Marl. And the Swedish hard-core nineties band Refused joins the punk all-stars Off! for a show in Williamsburg Park at 5:30 p.m.
19: Soprano Elizabeth Futral stars in Kaija Saariaho’s multimedia opera Emilie—about an eighteenth-century physicist, mathematician, and mistress to Voltaire—in a four-night stand at Lincoln Center.
20: The Impressions, Meshell Ndegeocello, Mavis Staples, and Sinéad O’Connor all come together for “Here But I’m Gone,” a 70th-birthday tribute to the late soul legend Curtis Mayfield, at Lincoln Center.
21: Christian Bale snarls. Anne Hathaway wears a catsuit. Tom Hardy is evil. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is out, and you will hear about very little else this weekend.
22: Pina Bausch’s dances leapt off the screen in Wim Wenders’s Pina, but they’re even better performed live by the Paris Opéra Ballet, which is bringing her Orpheus and Eurydice to the Koch Theater.
23: Atmospherics! The ethereal Baltimore duo Beach House plays SummerStage the same night John Huston’s noir classic The Maltese Falcon plays Bryant Park.
24: Chicago’s definitive alt-country rockers Wilco play the Prospect Park Bandshell, joined by the Lee Ranaldo Band, at 7 p.m.
25: Zoe Kazan stars opposite her real-life boyfriend, Paul Dano, as his fictional dream girl come to life in Ruby Sparks.
26: More Uncle Vanya! This time it’s with Cate Blanchett in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production at Lincoln Center.
27: If the idea of Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill staving off an alien invasion doesn’t strike you as reason enough to see The Watch, consider this: It’s directed by Akiva Schaffer, one third of the comic team the Lonely Island, and Seth Rogen co-wrote the script.
28: In case the Muppet reboot whetted your kid’s appetite (or yours), the 1979 original will screen in Prospect Park tonight at The Muppet Movie Sing-along. Move right along!
29: Randalls Island is again repopulated by music fans, this time for the two-day Catalpa Festival. On the eclectic bill: the Black Keys, Snoop Dogg (performing Doggystyle), and TV on the Radio.
30: Happy ever after? Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods is up at Shakespeare in the Park, with Amy Adams as the Baker’s Wife, Denis O’Hare as the Baker, and Donna Murphy rapping about beans and nectarines as the Witch.
31: Alt-nineties rockers Toad the Wet Sprocket keep it damp at Brooklyn Bowl, while Sigur Røs pump out their inscrutable Icelandic pop in Prospect Park.