1. See Bad Jews
Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews is back, promoted to the larger Laura Pels Theatre. Is it good for the Jews? I’ll say this: Missing Tracee Chimo’s dangerously funny turn as a suddenly super-religious relative from hell is an unpardonable sin. —Scott Brown
Laura Pels Theatre.
2. Hear Savages
A shattering good time.
Savages offer value for money: post-punk songs as sharp and shiny as a switchblade, delivered with precision that does not detract from their brute force. Visiting last July, the London quartet showed it could whip up an almighty noise, and singer Jehnny Beth had a feral intensity worthy of the band’s name. They’re more road-tested now and should hit even harder. Tickets start at $23—a bargain. —Jody Rosen
Terminal 5, October 16.
3.–4. Watch Knife Fight and Brew Dogs
First look at the Esquire Network.
Yes, the Esquire Network seems to be a better brand extension than it is an actual good idea, but two shows from the launch lineup pass the smell test. Knife Fight, a sort of real-world, non-studio cooking competition, and Brew Dogs, which has two Scottish brewmasters touring the U.S. looking for alternative ways to create craft beer, are fun, spirited lifestyle TV.
Tuesdays, 9 and 10 p.m.
5. Read Humans of New York
We have met the subjects, and they are us.
Humans of New York, go read Humans of New York, Brandon Stanton’s lovely collection of photos and essays about—well, guess. Stanton takes the pictures; the “essays” are often more like scraps of dialogue or inner monologue, largely contributed by his subjects. The images are gorgeous, and the effect is like walking through a version of our city where startlingly honest thought bubbles appear over everyone’s heads. —Kathryn Schulz
St. Martin’s Press, October 15.
6. See Burying the Lede
Our top story: the Bushwick scene.
In this all-over-the-place media moment, a group show of news as art makes perfect sense. Liz Magic Laser restages newspaper front pages as video; William Pope.L eats a front page of The Wall Street Journal; and the whole thing makes you revel in our times, love these artists, and know in your bones that something wonderful is developing in Bushwick. Go East! —Jerry Saltz
Momenta Art, 56 Bogart St., Bushwick, through October 27.
7. Look at The Big Picture: America in Panorama
CinemaScope before CinemaScope.
This new collection (assembled by AMC president and photo collector Josh Sapan, with a foreword by Luc Sante) revisits a time when you literally almost never saw a photo larger than a few inches wide, and these rare giant images had enormous impact. It’s one lost world after another: fish-eye scenes of coal-dusted towns, lineups of bathing beauties, and lots and lots of banqueting guys and wool-clad baseball teams. The book’s available now; the authors will be at the New York Public Library on October 23, too.
Princeton Architectural Press.
8. Read Smarter Than You Think
Google makes your brain work better! No, really.
Wired columnist (and New York alumnus) Clive Thompson’s argument boils down to this: You’re good at human things, Google is good at machine things, and the combination is leading to not a dumbing-down but a smartening-up, one in which we’re all freed from the deadweight of rote memorization to make great creative leaps. Thompson’s fertile, hyperconnective thought processes may be his best proof.
9. Hear Tony Bennett
Can’t go wrong ’cause he’s in right.
At 87, Bennett is America’s walking, talking musical unconscious: When he sings “It Had to Be You” or “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” he brings back a whole musical tradition, a whole lost world. Bennett doesn’t have the godly bel canto pipes that he once did. But his voice is still a technical marvel, and no one else on Earth can make a lyric written eight decades ago sound as natural as a conversation at a coffee shop.
Radio City Music Hall, October 11.
10. Take Advantage of New York Archives Week
At the Waldorf-Astoria and beyond.
Yes, there is indeed an Archives Week, when various historical collections around the state throw open their doors (carefully and nondestructively) and show off their holdings. The Waldorf will be displaying old uniforms, menus, and the like in its South Lobby; full list of related events at nycarchivists.org/archivesweek.
301 Park Ave., October 11, 3 to 7 p.m.
11. See The Glass Menagerie
A production for the ages.
There are no weak links in John Tiffany’s spare, twilit revival of The Glass Menagerie, featuring Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto—but the show’s delicate ether is maintained by the ghostly, glorious Celia Keenan-Bolger as Laura. —S.B.
Booth Theatre, through January 5.
12. See Jean-Luc Godard—The Spirit of the Forms
You’ll be left breathless.
No one who cares about film can afford to ignore the Godard retrospective that runs alongside and beyond this year’s New York Film Festival. Angry, restless, penetrating, self-indulgent, his films should be seen in a theater—and you might start with the sci-fi gumshoe masterwork Alphaville. —David Edelstein
Film Society of Lincoln Center, starts October 9; full schedule at filmlinc.com.
13. Revisit The Simpsons
Someone’s about to go.
Argue all you want over whether the show is still any good (it is), but here’s some news: Showrunner Al Jean has revealed that in the new, 25th season, the writers are going to kill off a character, the first since Maud Flanders’s saddily sad departure. Will it be Grampa? Krusty? Apu?
Fox, Sundays, 8 p.m.
14.–15. Read Guests on Earth and Fair and Tender Ladies
Lee Smith times two.
Regular readers of these pages know how I feel about The Great Gatsby. I was equally underwhelmed by this spring’s (large) crop of novels about Zelda Fitzgerald, which latched themselves onto Baz Luhrmann’s film and reminded me of nothing so much as Gertrude Stein’s riff in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. (“I had often said that I would write, The wives of geniuses I have sat with. I have sat with so many. I have sat with wives who were not wives, of geniuses who were real geniuses. I have sat with real wives of geniuses who were not real geniuses.” It goes on.) Now there’s a latecomer addition to the micro-genre: Lee Smith’s Guests on Earth. It’s better than the rest—but the best thing it did was remind me about Smith’s wonderful 1988 epistolary novel Fair and Tender Ladies. Skip the Fitz fest and go read that. —K.S.
Shannon Ravenel Books, October 15; Berkley Trade.
16. See Up Late With Alec Baldwin
Because everyone you know will have an opinion.
Will we get the articulate Baldwin of WNYC’s “Here’s the Thing,” or the pugnacious Baldwin the New York Post is fond of provoking? Well, here’s the actual thing: Baldwin’s radio show has proved him a great interviewer—that Billy Joel episode!—and, despite his overreactions, he’s mostly right about the paparazzi. Friday nights on MSNBC may finally get out of prison.
MSNBC, Fridays starting October 11, 10 p.m.
17. Watch Fargo
“Things have changed … circumstances, Jerry.”
Somehow it wasn’t available to stream on Netflix till now. About time, you betcha.
18. Hear Roomful of Teeth
Pulitzer winner’s new work, sans instruments.
This a cappella ensemble got a sudden spritz of fame last spring when one of its members, Caroline Shaw, won a Pulitzer for music. On Tuesday, the group performs the piece that got her the prize, Partita for 8 Voices, at the Brookfield Place (formerly World Financial Center) Winter Garden. The concert will air on WNYC as part of New Sounds Live. —Justin Davidson
Brookfield Place Winter Garden, October 15.
19. Watch American Horror Story: Coven
Season three arrives.
Having totally messed with two horror subgenres—the haunted-house flick and the asylum potboiler—AHS dives deep into witchery in its third season, titled Coven. Continuing Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s Mercury Theatre–style casting, the mini-series brings back many regulars in new parts, including the acclaimed showboater Jessica Lange as Fiona Goode, a witch who promises, “The only thing you have to be afraid of is me.” Way ahead of you, sister. —Matt Zoller Seitz
FX, October 9, 10 p.m.
20. See the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts
Cheap tickets, expensive talent.
There’s no bargain better than the Peoples’ Symphony Concerts, which offers $14 tickets (or $39 subscriptions) to hear first-rank musicians in a no-frills setting. This week, pianist Lise de la Salle will play a ferociously virtuosic program of Schumann, Bach, and Debussy. —J.D.
Washington Irving High School, October 12.
21. See the San Francisco Ballet
It’s easy for New Yorkers to get myopic about great dance companies, but Helgi Tómasson’s West Coast outfit is a real force. Its transcendent dancers (look for any cast with Yuan Yuan Tan) are returning for the New York premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella, along with repertoire by Edwaard Liang, Wayne McGregor, and Tómasson himself. —Rebecca Milzoff
David H. Koch Theater, October 16 through 27.
22. See The Walking Dead
Choose your weapon.
America’s favorite brain-splattering zombie drama picks up where season three left off: with Rick Grimes and the gang fortifying the prison they worked so hard to lock down. They’re growing vegetables now and experimenting with a more democratic system of governance. But they don’t have enough people to defend the prison and … what’s that sound? Hold on, let me check … Agghhh … AIEEEEEEE!!!!—M.Z.S.
AMC, October 13, 9 p.m.
23. Revisit The Classic Italian Cookbook
Marcella Hazan, who taught us that Italian food was not all red, and that culinary ultraorthodoxy has its upside, died last week at 89. The best way to commemorate her influence is to pick up two bunches of Greenmarket basil—in its final weeks of availability—and make her Genovese pesto. It’s on page 132 of the Ballantine edition; we know this because our own copy is spine-cracked at that very spot.
24. Meet SimCity’s Developers
The city planners come to Comic Con.
Since its launch last spring, SimCity has struggled to deal with the pace of change in actual cities. On October 10, the game’s developers come to Comic Con for a panel on “Designing for the Future,” which addresses that old Philip Roth adage that the imagination can’t possibly keep up with the extravagance of reality. —J.D.
Javits Center, October 10.
25. Hear The Israeli Chamber Project
The binational ensemble of crackerjack players, based in Israel and in New York, starts its season with a bright palette of music: the Ibert harp trio, Bartók’s Contrasts, and a new work by the Israeli composer Mordecai Seter. —J.D.
Merkin Concert Hall, October 15.