1. Hear Sigur Rós
Reykjavik’s other great weird musical export.
Yes, the Icelandic trio that performs principally in a made-up, semi-wordless, completely unintelligible language called Vonlenska is now big enough to fill an 18,000-seat arena. Ja!
Madison Square Garden, March 25.
2. See Passion
Stephen Sondheim’s 1994 musical returns.
John Doyle’s intimate, de-opera-fied chamber production—starring Ryan Silverman, Melissa Errico, and Judy Kuhn as repellent, magnetic Fosca—makes the “controversy” surrounding the Tony-winning original seem dumber than ever. Is it really so shocking to show ugly, pushy people in love? Isn’t that, like, most of us? —Scott Brown
Classic Stage Company, through April 14.
3. Read Aleksandar Hemon’s The Book of My Lives
It starts intense, then stays that way.
The Book of My Lives opens with Hemon’s memory of nearly murdering his infant sister and does not subsequently slacken‚ although larger murderous forces sometimes claim the page in the Bosnian-American writer’s memoir, built as a set of linked essays. —Kathryn Schulz
Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
4. Hear Planetarium
New music of the spheres.
The cooler-than-thou triumvirate of Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and Sufjan Stevens goes cosmic in this two-part evening. The first half features instrumental compositions by all three; in the second, Stevens expands his compositional horizons from Michigan and The BQE to a tour of the whole solar system. —Justin Davidson
BAM, March 21 through 24.
5. See Return to Oz
This Baum didn’t deserve to bomb.
With the small, muddled Oz the Great and Powerful doing boffo business, it’s time for another look at Disney’s last try at L. Frank Baum. The 1985 flop Return to Oz, directed by Walter Murch, begins with Aunt Em taking little Dorothy (still insisting she had an adventure with a talking scarecrow, etc.) for electroshock therapy—I know, sick. But what follows isn’t bad. —David Edelstein
6. Revisit The Good Wife
If you’ve stepped away, you might try again.
Maybe we’ve just been starved for glimpses of genuine chemistry this season with all the bus sex (ew) and food play we’ve had to endure, but that non-kiss-seduction moment between Cary and Kalinda in the bar was just about the sexiest thing this show has given us in more than a year.
CBS, Sundays, 9 p.m.
7. See Ann on Broadway
Texas’s beloved governor rides back into town for her bio-play moment.
There’s not much play here, but it’s worth your time if you want to see the Grand Old Broad again, or just how a really good actress like Holland Taylor makes an impersonation into a character. —Jesse Green
At the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.
8. Hear Jonathan Lethem and Jessica Hagedorn
He’s back in Brooklyn; she never left town.
Lethem’s a West Coaster now, but the guy whose science-fiction-inflected novels helped retire the term “outer boroughs” is in Kings County for the night. He’ll chat with the excellent Jessica Hagedorn, author of the novel Toxicology.
At Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton St., Ft. Greene; March 20, 7:30 p.m.
9. Rewatch Season Sixteen of Saturday Night Live
“You’re great!” “No, you’re great.”
Why 1990–91?! Because you get to see the first (and funnier) appearance of the Five-Timers’ Club, into which Justin Timberlake was just inducted by his A-list elders. Also, a few other beloved recurring characters—like Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley and Chris Rock’s Nat X—debuted that year. R.E.M. did, too.
On Netflix and Hulu Plus.
10. Hear The Shostakovich String Quartets
The Jerusalem Quartet comes to Alice Tully Hall.
No twentieth-century composer packed more of his ragged soul into a tighter space than Dmitri Shostakovich did in these little pieces, and the Jerusalem Quartet is playing all fifteen in a cycle of concerts that concludes this week. —J.D.
March 22, 7:30 p.m., and March 24, 5 p.m.
11. Watch Phil Spector
Al Pacino, be our baby.
Pacino’s hooded stare and sheepdog-Garfunkel wig hold this film together, even when it goes full-on bonkers. David Mamet directed and wrote the script, which posits that Spector was basically duped by a gold digger even sicker and needier than himself. (Yes, it’s Mamet’s latest “WTF?” curveball.) Impassioned, sometimes laughable, fascinating docudrama. —Matt Zoller Seitz
HBO, March 24, 9 p.m.
12. Download Dave Brubeck’s Unsquare Dance
Who dances in 7/4 time? Jennifer Lawrence.
An irresistibly bouncy tune that the Dave Brubeck Quartet recorded in 1961, “Unsquare Dance” came roaring back into public view via Silver Linings Playbook’s soundtrack. Download for two minutes of treadmill fodder, or have a look at the early-sixties TV version, with two cute dancers, that’s on YouTube.
On Time Further Out; video at youtube.com.
13. Hear Marnie Stern’s The Chronicles of Marnia
Finger tapping run amok.
Super-quick guitar finger work, with all the finesse of heavy metal without the comical bombast. Stern’s shimmery voice tops it all off, occupying the exact stylistic midpoint between Yoko Ono and Belinda Carlisle.
Kill Rock Stars records.
14. Celebrate The Woolworth Building @ 100
Birthday party for the Cathedral of Commerce.
It’s astonishing to think that just a few weeks after Grand Central Terminal opened, the Woolworth Building switched on its lights: 80,000 bulbs reflected in the glazed white terra-cotta façade. This is one of the smart, detailed exhibitions that the tiny Skyscraper Museum does so well. —J.D.
The Skyscraper Museum, through July 14.
15. See Walter Robinson at Dorian Grey Gallery
Art you’ll want to consume.
Walter Robinson, art-world treasure and editor of the deceased Artnet online magazine, has gone back to painting forbidden worlds of food, drink, and sex. As you nibble your way through images of White Castle burgers and salacious nudes, feast your eyes on the best sticky-bun painting ever made. Maybe the only one. —Jerry Saltz
437 E. 9th St.; through March 31.
16. Read Marcel Duchamp: The Afternoon Interviews
In 1964, Calvin Tomkins—who later wrote the best Marcel Duchamp biography—sat down with Duchamp in New York. Nearly five decades later, here are the (edited) transcripts, twinned with the artist Paul Chan’s interviews with Tomkins himself. Let a thousand Duchamp quotes bloom. —J.S.
17. See Talley’s Folley
Lanford Wilson, revived by the Roundabout.
Who knew? Wilson holds up. As sweet a night of theater as you’ll get without its being syrupy, courtesy of the always exquisite Sarah Paulson and an unusually sensitive Danny Burstein.
Laura Pels Theatre, through May 12.
18. Watch 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School
Some kids left behind.
A down-and-dirty doc in the spirit of Steve James’s Hoop Dreams, this epic follows one academic year in the life of a D.C. school as a young principal preps for a standardized test whose scores may get teachers fired. Director Jacquie Jones avoids treacle, always erring on the side of tough love. —M.Z.S.
PBS, March 25 and 26, 9 p.m.
19. Dip Into New Directors/New Films
Start with these two movies.
This year’s ripped-from-the-headlines lineup kicks off with Alexandre Moors’s Blue Caprice, which follows two snipers as they take out people at random from the trunk of the title car. Closing night is the found-footage doc Our Nixon, a collage of Super 8 reels shot by Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Dwight Chapin—plus White House audio. A Tricky Dick orgy! —D.E.
At MoMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, full schedule at newdirectors.org.
20. See Beyond the Hills
As dark as a dark drama gets. Cristian Mungiu’s exorcism drama doesn’t have the buzz of his 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, but it might be even scarier as a metaphor for what happens to women’s bodies in a backward patriarchy—in this case an Orthodox convent, the last place you want to be a rejected lesbian. —D.E.
IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.
21. See James Nare’s Street
Nare shot New York streetscapes with the kind of high-speed, high-definition camera used to capture hummingbirds’ wing beats. The hyperslow result, accompanied by Thurston Moore’s oddly tuned acoustic raga, is like seeing photographs ooze into haunted life.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, through May 27.
22. See and Hear Nick Cave’s Heard.NY
Creative Time hooks up with the MTA.
Thirty brightly colored horses—performers in costume, that is—will graze in Vanderbilt Hall, periodically jumping up to dance, accompanied by live harp and percussion music. We suspect this is going to inspire a lot of only–in–New York, only–in–Grand Central double takes.
Grand Central Terminal, March 25 through 31.
23. Hear David Cross Chat With Michael Cera
Always funny, never nude.
Just in time for Arrested Development’s return in May, a little Bluth-on-Funke action. Wear blue.
92nd Street Y, March 20, 8 p.m.
24. Listen to Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier’s SModcasts #245 and #246
Let the man talk.
Kevin Smith: uneven director, fantastic dialogue-spinner. This podcast plays to his strengths, and in this two-part episode, he chats with Lisa Kudrow, enthusiastically and hilariously.
25. Listen to We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Foxygen: Playing just like a young band should.
Foxygen’s members are so deep into their vinyl collections that they’re practically a Rolling Stones cover band, but we’re not complaining. Best song: “On Blue Mountain,” which combines the verse from “Under My Thumb” with the chorus from Elvis’s “Suspicious Minds.”