1. Hear Of Montreal
Athens, Georgia, alt-popsters in Brooklyn.
Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes may be an eccentric genius; he may be a dilettante. In any case, he’s always interesting. Over the years, his band has tried everything from chirrupy Beatlesque pop to salacious funk; their latest album, Lousy With Sylvianbriar, swerves toward the pastoral hippie folk rock of Donovan and the Grateful Dead. In concert, Barnes is manic and charismatic—whatever you think of the music, there’s no gainsaying the showman. —Jody Rosen
Music Hall of Williamsburg, October 27 and 28.
2. See Marie Antoinette
Let them eat rewrite.
From Valley Girl comedy (“the linzer tarts omigod”) to mad-scene finale, Marin Ireland nails the Queen of France in David Adjmi’s marvelous, disturbing, revisionist take. Also featuring Steven Rattazzi as a sweetly pathetic Louis XVI and David Greenspan as, why not, a sheep. —Jesse Green
Soho Rep, through November 24.
3. See À Nos Amours
With a French star you ought to know.
The spiky actress Sandrine Bonnaire has been the focus of the Alliance’s CinémaTuesdays series “Bonjour Bonnaire!,” the final film of which is her first and best: Maurice Pialat’s 1983 masterpiece À Nos Amours, in which she plays a teenager whose burgeoning sexuality drives men—and her family (the patriarch is played by Pialat)—to near insanity. It’s one of the most coruscating family films ever made. —David Edelstein
French Institute Alliance Française, October 29.
4. See Mike Kelley at MoMA PS1
All hats off to MoMA PS1 for its building-filling Kelley survey. One of the most influential American artists of the past three decades shines in installations involving cast-off stuffed dolls, homemade colonic devices, a ceramic-covered John Glenn statue, and videos of Kelley’s amazing performances and incredible body language. It’s hard to think of a working artist who doesn’t owe something to him. —Jerry Saltz
Through February 2.
5. Watch CSI’s 300th Episode
Haven’t seen it in a while? Time to revisit.
Marg Helgenberger’s Catherine Willows returns for the 300th episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the show whose massive success instantly rebranded CBS prime time as crime time. The milestone revolves around an unsolved mystery from fourteen years earlier; Jason Priestley guest stars as casino mogul Jack Witten, a former party animal who’s become a Howard Hughes–like recluse. —Matt Zoller Seitz
CBS, October 23, 10 p.m.
6. See Drake, Miguel, and Future
Gloom and glitter.
Call it triumphal miserablism—or is it miserable triumphalism? In any case, there will be plenty of it when Drake, who remade hip-hop in his own sad-sack image, brings the year’s biggest hip-hop road show to Brooklyn. The night’s opening act, Future, has given Drake’s deep-feelings shtick his own spin, adding a mix of Dada and sci-fi. In between comes the evening’s ringer, the R&B star Miguel, a great performer and an old-fashioned seducer, not a moper. —J.R.
Barclays Center, October 28.
7. See Seduced and Abandoned
A one-week theatrical run, before it’s on HBO.
James Toback relishes pushing people’s buttons and has a devilish radar for psychodrama—all of which comes into play in his riotous Seduced and Abandoned, an on-the-fly depiction of pitching a project with Alec Baldwin. Coppola, Polanski, and Scorsese weigh in: They’ve been there. —D.E.
IFC Center, October 18 through 25.
8. Watch Scrubbing In
The subgenre of reality shows about thankless jobs gets an intriguing new entry with Scrubbing In, about a group of nurses relocated from their home city of Pittsburgh to work at an Orange County, California, hospital for twelve weeks. —M.Z.S.
MTV, October 24, 10 p.m.
9. See Donna Tartt
In Park Slope.
Whether or not you’ve read Donna Tartt’s wonderful new novel The Goldfinch, you should go hear her read from it and then join critic Maud Newton for a conversation. —Kathryn Schulz
Congregation Beth Elohim, 274 Garfield Place, October 29, 7:30 p.m.
10. Hear and See Up-Close
Strings and bits at the White Light festival.
Even among new-music connoisseurs, the name Michel van der Aa didn’t ring many bells when the young composer won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award last year. But Lincoln Center noticed: His high-voltage cello-and-video work is getting its U.S. premiere. —Justin Davidson
Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom, October 28.
11. See Norman Bel Geddes: I Have Seen the Future
Our life, as seen from 1939.
For the “Futurama” exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the visionary Norman Bel Geddes imagined elevated highways speeding seamlessly shapely motorcars right through America’s cities. Preposterous, right? —J.D.
Museum of the City of New York, through February 10.
12. Read The Gorgeous Nothings
Sharp shards of Emily Dickinson.
Emily Dickinson famously wrote a “letter to the world.” Less famously, but just as interestingly, she also wrote envelopes: 52 of them, each adorned with a scrap of condensed, gleam-of-light-under-the-door writing. For the first time, those scraps are available in book form, with an introduction by the poet Susan Howe. —K.S.
New Directions, October 29.
13. Listen to Toad the Wet Sprocket’s New Constellation
The anti–Blurred Lines.
In the glory days of nineties college rock, this Santa Barbara quartet built a fan base on Glen Phillips’s silvery tenor and poetically introspective lyrics. That earnestness feels surprisingly fresh on Toad’s first studio album since 1997, a tightly built collection of harmonically lush guitar pop.
14. See Dada & Surrealist Objects
Though most of the original Dada artworks—the urinal, the bike wheel, the snow shovel—are lost, a few of them survive, and many were reproduced later on, once the staggering impact of this antic art movement was realized. There’s a great array of those copies here, as well as original artwork, like Joseph Cornell’s exquisite boxes.
Blain/Di Donna, in the Carlyle Hotel, 981 Madison Avenue, October 24 through December 13.
15. See Sky High & the Logic of Luxury
Looking up and ahead.
If you’ve had your eye on the skyline and wondered about the coming crop of stalky towers on 57th Street, this show is your explainer. —J.D.
The Skyscraper Museum, through April 19.
16. See An Evening With Bedroom Community
Friends of Nico.
The record label formed by producer Valgeir Sigurðsson and composers Nico Muhly and Ben Frost is a place where artists meet on the borders of classical and pop. At this show, Sigurðsson will play with composer Daniel Bjarnason and violist Nadia Sirota, a fierce Muhly muse who makes a great argument for her maligned instrument.
(Le) Poisson Rouge, October 28.
17. Hear Hugh Laurie
Yes, that Hugh Laurie, and yes, he sings. Pretty well! Backed by a horn-heavy group called the Copper Bottom Band. It’s a tour in support of his second studio album, Didn’t It Rain.
Town Hall, October 25.
18. Read An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
Major Tom speaks.
If you were one of the 1.2 million earthlings who followed along as Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield took to space—and then took space back to us, via every imaginable social-media platform and unprecedented creativity, humor, scientific chops, and patience with his audience—you’ll be glad to hear that he has published An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. Better than Gravity, and less likely to make you duck. —K.S.
19. And Then Read The Astronaut Wives Club
Women of Earth.
The Original Seven astronaut Scott Carpenter’s death in early October reminded us to catch up with Lily Koppel’s book about the women who once stood by their men, performing braveness on TV despite inner turmoil. A great pairing with Commander Hadfield’s story.
Grand Central Publishing.
20. Get a Guitar Lesson From Lee Ranaldo
Because you can!
Yes: The man from Sonic Youth is doing a one-day in-store guitar clinic. Score one for bricks and mortar: You can’t do that on iTunes!
Other Music, October 28.
21. See Rod Penner
These are not photographs.
This Texan photorealist paints what he sees, purely and unadorned: the plastic signage, dusty parking lots, and junked-up landscapes of small-town Texas. Real Americana, idealized not one whit. Superb.
Ameringer McEnery Yohe, through November 23.
22. Read The Beatles: All These Years, Vol. 1: Tune In
Aye aye, the Liverpool shuffle.
You’d think there had been enough Beatles biographies by now (the best one so far is Peter Brown and Steven Gaines’s The Love You Make). But the game changer is Mark Lewisohn’s three-volume earthwork, whose first third—covering only through 1962!—arrives this week. It’s embargoed till the 29th, so we can’t say definitively, but maybe we’re amazed.
Crown, October 29.
23. Watch Henry V
On October 25.
Why this day? Any excuse will do, because the Kenneth Branagh version is a great movie, so here’s one: It’s the 598th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, scene of the “We band of brothers” speech.
24. Start The Luminaries
Because you’re already behind.
Eleanor Catton’s immense novel! Won the Booker on the day of publication! It may take you the rest of the month, and then some, to finish its 848 pages. Clear your nightstand.
25. See Pari Dukovic’s Hurricane Sandy
As he photographed it for New York.
Our anniversary exhibit of the powerful pictures that Dukovic made in those terrible days. Kings County Distillery, Brooklyn Navy Yard (enter through Sands Street Gate), Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m., through November 2.