1. Watch Nathan for You
He’s just here to help. At least he might be.
An odd, intoxicating mix of cringe comedy and flat-out strangeness: The deadpan, nerdy host, Nathan Fielder, “helps” people run struggling businesses, usually in bizarre ways that end up annoying more customers than they draw in.
Comedy Central, Thursdays, 10:30 p.m.
2. Hear Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell With the Richard Thompson Electric Trio
Making the Connection.
The silver-haired darling of both mainstream country music and the alt-country world—who arguably created the latter—turns 66 this week. For just one night in the big Yankee city, she’ll be shooting out the lights with both Thompson and the legendary songwriter Rodney Crowell.
Beacon Theatre, March 27.
3. Rewatch “The Marge vs. the Monorail” Episode of The Simpsons
Aw, it’s not for you. It’s more of a Shelbyville idea.
Last week, Vulture’s bracketologists scientifically declared The Simpsons the greatest sitcom ever. Why, then, are we singling out “Monorail”? Because a couple of our editors insist, unscientifically, that it’s the best episode, period. Let the next round of arguments begin!
The Simpsons—The Complete Fourth Season (1992), $34.64 on Amazon.
4. Listen to Victim of Love
Charles Bradley knows about the bad times.
One of those stories that give artists hope: Bradley’s first album came out two years ago, after 60-plus years lived hand to mouth. Now he’s touring the world, with a new record and a documentary, Charles Bradley: Soul of America, right behind it.
Dunham/Daptone, April 2.
5. See Painted on 21st Street: Helen Frankenthaler From 1950 to 1959
It’s bigger and better than a lot of museum shows.
This show at the International Museum of Larry Gagosian should disabuse those who think that Helen Frankenthaler didn’t help invent fire. Here, we see her when she burned brightest and hottest, when no one else was conducting such an all-out assault on beauty, flatness, and color. In her twenties, no less. —Jerry Saltz
Gagosian Gallery, 522 W. 21st St., through April 13.
6. See Gimme the Loot
And listen closely, too.
When you see Adam Leon’s debut feature, about teenage graffiti artists intent on tagging the Mets’ “Home Run” outfield apple, don’t overlook its secret star: the score. Mostly original tracks by Nicholas Britell that slyly deploy filters and talented guest voices, it mimics period funk, jazz, and rap to eerily natural effect.
At the IFC Center.
7. See Saul Steinberg: Works From the 50’s–80’s
One New Yorker’s view of the world.
Yes, Steinberg—arguably the best visual artist ever to come out of The New Yorker—has had his share of museum retrospectives. But who doesn’t like to revisit those strange, scratchy fantasias of New York life?
Adam Baumgold Gallery, through April 20.
8. Read Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life
Her again, here again.
Life After Life is a literary Groundhog Day: the tale of a young woman who keeps dying and finding herself reborn right into the same body, personality, place, time, and family. It’s also an exercise in narrative gutsiness; a meditation on history, contingency, and free will; and the best new novel I’ve read this year. —Kathryn Schulz
Reagan Arthur Books, April 2.
9. Read Jill McCorkle’s Life After Life
That’s no typo: same title, different book.
If you want to make that Groundhog Day–esque experience more meta, you can also read the other Life After Life. This one, by Jill McCorkle, also addresses issues of time and memory—here, through the interconnected lives of characters in and around a retirement home. —K.S.
Shannon Ravenel Books, March 26.
10. Watch The Neighbors
Season finale No. 1 (with aliens).
Decried as one of the stupidest, weirdest new sitcoms of the season, this show about a gated community aswarm with secret extraterrestrials already has a cult following, maybe because of that weird stupidity. Try it and you may agree: The Neighbors is the second coming of early-eighties Steve Martin films. —Matt Zoller Seitz
ABC, March 27, 8:30 p.m.
11. See The Flick
From (imagined) screen to (real) stage.
As good as Annie Baker’s play is, it would be excruciating if the actors weren’t skilled enough to create and suspend complete characterizations across its wide expanses. Ironically, a play set in a beat-up movie house makes a compelling argument for the continued necessity, and profound uniqueness, of live theater. —Jesse Green
Playwrights Horizons, through April 7.
12. Hear Sandra Day O’Connor Converse With Madeleine Albright
FWOTSC speaks with FWSOS.
Two women who (it’s fair to say) not only leaned in, Sandberg style, but demolished whatever it was they were leaning over the top of. Likely to be a good, sparky bipartisan evening.
At the New York Public Library, March 28.
13. Laugh at The Delocated Witness Protection Program Variety Show
Shh. You’re not supposed to know he’s there.
Jon Glaser—a former Conan O’Brien writer, creator of Adult Swim’s Delocated, and recent Hannah Horvath bad boy—will emerge from hiding with his comedy-variety show, with guests Janeane Garofalo and Eugene Mirman.
Music Hall of Williamsburg, March 29, 8 p.m.
14. Hear Afraid of Heights
Wavves’ first album in three years.
Wavves front man Nathan Williams has been through a lot—a public breakdown, booze and drugs, a revolving door of bandmates—but through it all has put out increasingly excellent albums of noisy surf-inflected rock, and even made a cameo on a Big Boi song last year.
Mom + Pop/Warner Bros., March 26.
15. See Room 237
All work and no play? Hardly.
The public rarely sees the nuttier realms of cinephilia (though you read about them last week in New York), but that’s changed with Room 237, in which Rodney Ascher profiles people who spend their free time reading myriad things into Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining—some surprisingly discerning, others delusional. —David Edelstein
At the IFC Center.
16. Read Grand Central
The subtitle is How a Train Station Transformed America, and Times reporter Sam Roberts makes a nice case for the reach and power of Grand Central Terminal, whose elegance conceals a vast amount of 1913-style high tech. Plus the Oyster Bar! Consume it in one gulp.
Grand Central Publishing/Hachette.
17. See Ginger & Rosa
Especially for Elle Fanning.
Sally Potter’s film centers on a teen whose Cold War dread gets all tangled up with shock at the affair of her gal pal (Alice Englert) and dad (Alessandro Nivola). The framing is claustrophobic, but Elle Fanning is vivid. With her porcelain skin and soft eyes, she’s a transfixing portrait of girlish alienation. —D.E.
At Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and the Angelika Film Center.
18. Watch Doctor Who
He’s coming back. Don’t step on his scarf.
Grab your sonic screwdriver: The (50-year-old!) British sci-fi series returns for the second half of this run’s “seventh-and-a-half” season, with brand-new companion Jenna Louise-Coleman joining the eleventh doctor (Matt Smith).
BBC America, March 30.
19. Cringe at Heaven’s Gate
Or maybe—just maybe—reconsider it.
There are intelligent people who regard Michael Cimino’s studio-shattering revisionist Western as an anti-capitalist masterpiece. I think it’s shambolic and excruciating—but you have a few days left to see the 216-minute director’s cut at Film Forum and sort out your responses. —D.E.
At Film Forum, through March 28.
20. See Photography and the American Civil War
Battlefield America, vivid in monochrome.
Encountering the first well-photographed war is no less powerful 150 years on: Too-young corpses are just as moving in blue and gray wool as in camo.
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, starting April 2.
21. Hear The Gospel According to the Other Mary
John Adams on the Scriptures.
Adams has spent much of his composing career working with Peter Sellars to retell big stories—the atom bomb, Nixon’s meeting with Mao—slightly aslant. Here, he turns to the New Testament’s peripheral characters: Mary Magdalene, Martha, and Lazarus. —Justin Davidson
Avery Fisher Hall, March 27, 7:30 p.m.
22. Watch The Walking Dead
Season finale No. 2 (with zombies).
The Walking Dead is … getting better, sort of. But we know what the real draw is here: RrrhhaaaaHHHHH!!! BLAM! Sput! GoooooSHHHHHH! Etc. And we know who the real star is: special-effects and makeup designer Greg Nicotero, whose rotting flesh and spewing squibs satisfy even when the storytelling frustrates. —M.Z.S.
AMC, March 31, 9 p.m.
23. Show Off at Geek Love
Use all that junk in the back of your brain.
Comp-lit majors: Use your words! Emma Straub (Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures) and Teddy Wayne (The Love Song of Jonny Valentine) host an evening of drinking and book-related trivia.
powerHouse Arena, April 1.
24. Hear The Bach Variations
The eighteenth century has a promising future.
This festival is the New York Philharmonic’s way of informing the early-music movement that it, too, owns the Baroque. At the heart of the argument—and anchoring the final week—is the pianist András Schiff, who looks a bit like the organ master of Leipzig, and filters his playing (and conducting) through a refined Central Europeanness. —J.D.
Avery Fisher Hall, through April 6.
25. Contemplate Nicholas Alan Cope’s Whitewash
New photographs, new book, new show.
Stark yet warm photos of Los Angeles buildings, highlighted against the cloudless SoCal sky. The show’s up through April 13.
Mondo Cane, 174 Duane St., opens March 28, 6 p.m.