1. The Performance
In Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, Max von Sydow gave arguably the greatest father performance of all time. Forty years later, in Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, he meets his own gold standard with a second harrowing portrait of paternal grief—as an aging, apartment-bound father who must confront his son’s sudden paralysis. Now in movie theaters.
2. The Joyous Scramble
You’ve had nineteen long days of Broadway darkness to consider which show to see once the stagehands hit the lights—leave the musicals to the tourists for now, and rush to get tickets for Tom Stoppard’s Rock ’n’ Roll, with its fiery cast—Rufus Sewall, Sinéad Cusack, Brian Cox—and the best script in town. At the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
3. The Worthy Blockbuster
Wu-Tang Clan alum—and Staten Island boy made good—Ghostface Killah finally drops The Big Doe Rehab, hotly anticipated and heavily merchandised, with a Ghostface book, tour, and … promotional doll. But in this case, at least, the buzz is on target: Don’t miss the single “We Celebrate,” a sampling of the feel-good classic by Rare Earth that slyly catalogues the fruits of hip-hop moguldom. Album out December 4.
4. The One-Night Engagement
It’s been 31 years since Philip Glass premiered his mesmeric opera Einstein on the Beach, and 15 since he and his ensemble last gave any sort of live performance of it. December 6 at Carnegie Hall.
5. The Sentence
“No-one of any kind or shape or species can begin to imagine what it’s like for me being swirled and twisted around all manner of filthy objects.” Nadine Gordimer, from Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black and Other Stories.
6. The see-for-yourself controversy
Narnia-esque blockbuster on the horizon; author’s atheism surfaces; enter the Catholic League … The Golden Compass opens December 7.
7. The image
Go and stare at Tom McGrath’s stunning aerial-view landscapes— depopulated and chill—of gridlike suburbia, in California and elsewhere. Through January 5 at Zach Feuer Gallery.