1. Watch Oddities
A reality show that’ll make your skin crawl—but not because you hate yourself for watching it.
The buyers and sellers from Obscura Antiques and Oddities—the East Village shop specializing in extremely strange artifacts like shrunken heads, scary old medical gear, and weird taxidermy—have made it to their fourth season. There’s nothing on TV like watching them get cheery and enthusiastic over, say, a heap of vintage embalming equipment.
The Science Channel, Saturdays, 9 p.m.
2. See Life of Pi in 3-D
Home theater is fine, but this one deserves the glasses.
Did Ang Lee deserve an Oscar for his transcendental mismatched-buddy picture? To answer that question with any degree of authority, you need to see the film on the big screen and in 3-D—now, fast, before it leaves every last theater. (Its Blu-ray release is March 12.) The lifeboat setting is a wondrous toy box—too heightened to be real, too tactile to be not-real. Sit close and enter into its world. —David Edelstein
At the Regal Union Square Stadium, AMC Loews Kips Bay 15, and Regal Battery Park Stadium 11.
3. Watch Real Husbands of Hollywood
The season finale arrives.
If you’re not a regular, you may not realize that this series isn’t part of Bravo’s Real Housewives march to the end of civilization. It’s a spoof thereof, and a good one: Keep an eye on Kevin Hart, the improv comic at its center, because this is not the last you’ll see of him.
BET, Tuesday, March 19, 10 p.m.
4. See Monet’s Luncheon on the Grass
At “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity.”
First time ever, probably never to be repeated in our lifetimes: On loan from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris is Claude Monet’s tremendous two-panel, early-Impressionist 1865–66 masterpiece, Luncheon on the Grass. It’s in pieces because the broke young artist left it with his landlord, in a basement where it was water-damaged and then cut up. Much of the painting was lost. No matter: It ravishes with bravura brushwork, smashing summer color, and pictorial boldness. Everything else in this show looks almost equally great. Wait in lines if you have to. —Jerry Saltz
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, through May 27.
5. Re-view Family Guy, Season One
Is Seth MacFarlane a boob?
Remember all the arguments about Family Guy when it first appeared? It’s vulgar! No, it’s funny! It’s dumb! No, it’s subversive! Try it now, in light of MacFarlanegate, and see if you still agree with whatever it was that you thought back then.
6. Discover Phoebe Strole in The Madrid
An above-the-title talent.
Edie Falco is the name-draw here, and she’s wonderful in Liz Flahive’s moody, witty dramedy, playing a kindergarten teacher who suddenly up and vanishes. But The Madrid rests mostly on the shoulders of skillful Phoebe Strole as her befuddled daughter, a recent college grad who finds herself picking up where Mom left off. —Scott Brown
Manhattan Theatre Club’s Stage I at City Center, through April 21.
7. Reconnect With The Last Five Years
Eleven years later.
When Jason Robert Brown’s breakout musical opened in New York in 2002, this love story told in reverse was praised to the skies and made Broadway headliners out of its principal players, Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott. Highlight to watch for: the song “Shiksa Goddess,” with its hilarious, heartfelt lyrics and a fantastically propulsive piano undercurrent.
Second Stage Theatre, in previews starting March 7 for an April 2 opening.
8. Read Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
At least the book isn’t bad for you.
It’s completely satisfying: serious reporting by Pulitzer winner Michael Moss about exactly how the Western world got addicted—and we do mean addicted—to Frankenfood.
9. Drop in on Timberlake Week on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Every time you think you’re sick of Justin Timberlake, he goes and makes the perfect career move: “Dick in a Box,” say, or a genuinely surprising and funny walk-on. For five days, he’ll be on Fallon nightly. Expect to be won over, again.
NBC, March 11 through 15, 12:35 a.m.
10. See Much Ado About Nothing
Mostly solid, pretty simple, plenty delightful.
Sons of Anarchy’s Maggie Siff and Brideshead Revisited’s Jonathan Cake poke delightedly at each other in this gently cheering Much Ado. Siff follows up (but doesn’t repeat) her take-no-shit Kate from last year’s Taming of the Shrew—and meets her goofball Prince Charming in Benedick, whom Cake interprets as a kind of gracefully aging proto-hipster, the kind of guy who’s taking improv classes at 40 to keep up with his quick-witted ladylove. —S.B.
The Duke on 42nd, through April 6.
11. Watch The Mindy Project
It’s found its groove.
A life steeped in rom-coms is paying off for Mindy Kaling: Lately, her show has subtly shifted Danny and Mindy’s relationship to a very sweet, only occasionally insulting, bantering friendship. Did he just call her “Min”? Yes, he did.
Fox, Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m.
12. Stream Neverwhere
Not the book—the BBC radio adaptation.
Neil Gaiman’s early novel, about a fantastical, dangerous London that lives alongside the actual city, has been transformed into a radio play stocked with cherry-picked actors from smart TV (Benedict Cumberbatch of Sherlock, David Harewood of Homeland, Anthony Head from Buffy, Romola Garai from The Hour), as well as some fancy big-screen performers (James McAvoy, Sir Christopher Lee, Sophie Okonedo).
On BBC iPlayer, starts March 16.
13. See Liza and Alan
Minnelli and Cumming, at Town Hall.
Self-explanatory, and newly expanded to two nights. Possibly the gayest evenings in the history of evenings.
March 13 and 14, 8 p.m.
14. Try Out The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Sacrilege
The first cut from their forthcoming Mosquito.
It slipped out quietly the day after the Oscars: The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were on the BBC’s “Zane Lowe” show debuting this single. It is called “Sacrilege,” it has a gospel choir, and nobody has asked them “Who are you wearing?” Excellent.
Downloadable at smarturl.it/Mosquito.
15. Read The Writer Who Stayed
William Zinsser, still omitting needless words.
Zinsser—who, with On Writing Well, taught a whole lot of us how to set down a clean English sentence—last year won a National Magazine Award for his Friday web columns in The American Scholar. They’re now in a collection that’s completely charming, impeccably polished, and Strunk-and-White-ishly brief. He’s the youngest 90-year-old you’ll read this week.
Paul Dry Books.
16. Sample The New York International Children’s Film Festival 2013
One film series that won’t require a babysitter.
The most seriously juvenile party in town is the three-week NYICFF, which offers heaps of features (live-action and animated) and short programs—including one with films only from girls’ POV. There’s a new Miyazaki! (He wrote it; his son directed.) And Michel Ocelot’s latest fabulous fable farrago, Kirikou and the Men and the Women—in 3-D! So much more. You and your kids will feel like world travelers. —D.E.
Through March 24, full schedule at gkids.tv.
17. Hear Sondheim Without Sondheim
A night of rewrites from “The Liaisons Project.”
The Liaisons Project is pianist Anthony de Mare’s mission to corral 36 composers into reworking the great one’s tunes. Probably your only chance to hear what (among other folks) Steve Reich would’ve done with “Finishing the Hat” and a couple of pianos. —Justin Davidson
Symphony Space, March 9.
18. Hear The Music of Prince at Carnegie Hall
Elvis Costello, Talib Kweli, Booker T. Jones, D’Angelo, and a whole lot more, with the Roots as house band, all playing the Minnesota master’s stuff. (Even Maya Rudolph, with her cover band Princess, will be there for laughs.) It’s a benefit for New York City schoolkids’ music education, too.
March 7, 8 p.m.
19. See The Book Lovers
An exhibition … of fiction … by visual artists.
If you’re feeling multidisciplinary, go see “The Book Lovers,” a display of about 140 novels written by artists, from Salvador Dalí to Sophie Calle to Tom McCarthy. You’ll get two art forms (and more: The exhibit includes a range of multimedia work) for the price of one—and the price is free. —Kathryn Schulz
The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts’s Project Space, through March 9, details at efanyc.org.
21. See Gut Renovation
The condo-ization of Williamsburg.
Su Friedrich’s sardonic, scathing portrait reveals a thriving enclave of industry and artists, overrun by 173 (and counting) new constructions and conversions. The knee-jerk anti-yuppie (and -dog!) bias is annoying, but the magnitude and insensitivity of the transformation are stunning. Highlight: a six-minute tour de force (scored to Vivaldi) in which construction workers attempt—over weeks—to move a boulder that heroically resists displacement. —D.E.
Film Forum, March 6 through 12.
22. Read Far From the Tree
Extraordinary (and now prize-winning) book about extraordinary children.
If you missed Far From the Tree last year, you’ve got an excuse to go read it: Andrew Solomon’s thoughtful, sobering, deeply humane account of parenting unconventional kids just took home a much-deserved National Book Critics Circle nonfiction prize. —K.S.
23. See Rutherford Chang: We Buy White Albums
Happiness is 701 copies of a Beatles record.
Just what the name says: Chang buys first pressings of The Beatles, the 1968 double album whose crisp-white cover bore no printing save for a serial number. The tidy show (albums are, of course, filed in order) reveals what happens to that immaculate square jacket over the years: Every copy becomes individual, with dings, stains, and scribbles all its own.
Recess Art Space, through March 9.
24. & 25. Read Fever and Nothing Gold Can Stay
Subjects to watch out for.
Physically, you don’t want a fever with a rash. Literarily, you do: Mary Beth Keane’s new novel Fever, a fictional account of the life of Typhoid Mary, and Ron Rash’s Nothing Gold Can Stay, a collection of short stories about Appalachia that are actually more like diamonds: cold, glittering, valuable. —K.S.