1. Watch Gigolos
Hunks and the women who (maybe) hire them.
Five Vegas guys, paid to supply the “boyfriend experience” (sometimes sex, sometimes chat) to women, make up the cast of this loosely-attached-to-reality show, one of those semiscripted things like The Hills. Curiously, their female “dates” give their names; the guys’ agency sets off our gaydar, too. But even if it’s all acting, their characters are engrossing: Nick the bad boy, Brace the aging bleached blond who acts like Patrick Swayze in Point Break, Vin the self-described feminist, etc.
Showtime; Season four premieres April 18.
2. Hear Clinic
Not doctors, but they play them onstage.
What if Can and the Ventures jammed together? What if Sgt. Pepper had been a medic? Not that anyone asked, but for the past sixteen years this Krautrocking Liverpudlian surf-punk quartet (which performs wearing surgical masks and, sometimes, British military uniforms) has been providing answers that are way better than you might expect.
Glasslands, April 19; (Le) Poisson Rouge, April 20.
3. See Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay
Close-up, the greatest living sleight-of-hand man.
He gives off little warmth, but Ricky Jay plays with a full deck and then some. The documentary Deceptive Practice, by Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein (no relation), is full of happy surprises. Between card tricks that leave his audiences speechless, Jay extols forgotten men—Slydini, Roy Benson, his grandfather—whose magic liberated him from a childhood that still seems to curdle his soul. You’ll be haunted by the image of him sitting alone with his 52 cards for hours and hours (and hours). —David Edelstein
Film Forum, through April 30.
4. Attend Live Ideas: The Worlds of Oliver Sacks
Brains … brains …
You know you’ve made it as a writer when an entire festival is devoted to the goings-on in your head. And quite a head it is: Sacks’s last book, Hallucinations, is nominally a drug memoir but really a look at what really is your brain on drugs.
April 17 through 21; details at newyorklivearts.org.
5. See Garfunkel and Oates
No second banana here.
Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci make funny, silly songs with titles like “Pregnant Women Are Smug,” often on ukulele and guitar. (Individually, they do steady work on TV, too; you may have spotted Micucci on Raising Hope, where she plays Sabrina’s cousin and babysitter.) It’s comedy-nerd manna; expect an audience that spent its teen years in the School of Weird Al.
Gramercy Theatre; April 22.
6. Hear The New York Philharmonic’s All-American Program
USA! USA! USA!
The Phil has American music in its blood—something about the references, the populism, and the rhythmic energy fits the orchestra’s personality. This week, it plays three very different works that share a lot of DNA, starting with Christopher Rouse’s brand-new Prospero’s Rooms and Leonard Bernstein’s rhapsodic Serenade (with Joshua Bell), and following it up with Charles Ives’s delirious Symphony No. 4. —Justin Davidson
Avery Fisher Hall, April 17 through 20.
7. See Mary Grigoriadis at Accola Griefen Gallery
Pattern-on-pattern, texture-on-texture paintings.
Captivating shamanistic diagrams, symbolic icons, and images that exist between demon-being and beautiful mystical drawings. Strange shapes, patterns, and symmetries make faces appear, waves, landscapes, and other things to delight the imagination. —Jerry Saltz
547 West 27th Street, No. 634; through May 18.
8. See New York City Opera at City Center
Delving into its own history.
City Opera is returning to its ancestral midtown home for a two-week mini-season of works that haven’t been seen here in eons. Rossini’s Moses in Egypt, his take on the large-scale biblical epic, runs through April 20, followed immediately by Offenbach’s sort-of-Spanish-y romp La Périchole from April 21 through 27. —J.D.
Through April 27.
9. See Steven Parrino, Blair Thurman, and Justin Adian
At Half Gallery’s new home.
Recently moved from the Lower East Side to two floors of maybe the sweetest little townhouse ever to house an art space, Half Gallery promises great things. This excellent three-hander includes early shaped canvases by the late Steven Parrino and compelling works by newcomer Blair Thurman, whose strange configurations suggest this is an artist to watch. Any artist who enters will imagine doing something great here. —J.S.
43 East 78th Street; through April 30.
10. Dive Into the MATA Festival
A series without headliners.
At fifteen, Music at the Anthology is practically venerable but still fresh. After a kickoff (with drinks) at Paula Cooper Gallery on April 17, it’ll move to Roulette in Brooklyn for three nights of music you’ve never heard by composers you don’t know, played by two crackerjack ensembles. Discovery is the whole point. —J.D.
April 18 through 20; details at matafestival.org.
11. See Big Boi and Killer Mike
Shake it, here.
Despite what they keep saying, OutKast will probably never reunite, so you might as well grab any opportunity to see Big Boi share a bill with an eccentric. Although Killer Mike is no André 3000, he did make last year’s best, weirdest rap album, R.A.P. Music. Tickets for this tiny show are mostly gone, so get ready to pay through the nose on Craigslist.
Brooklyn Bowl, April 24.
12. See Magnificent Obsession: Douglas Sirk & Rock Hudson
Camp out at BAM for this three-day mini-fest and bathe in the light of Douglas Sirk–Rock Hudson collaborations on a big wide screen—and be agog at how much subversive subtext can be housed in such seemingly square (albeit expressionistically colorful) melodramas: Tarnished Angels (1957), All That Heaven Allows (1955), Written on the Wind (1956), and, of course, Magnificent Obsession (1954). —D.E.
Brooklyn Academy of Music, April 19 through 21.
13. See Trashed
After the Douglas Sirk romances, come back down to Earth, hard.
And hoo boy—BAM celebrates Earth Day with a screening of Candida Brady’s help-we’re-drowning-in-our-own-excretions doc Trashed, narrated by Jeremy Irons. He’ll supposedly be there, too, dodging questions about that other threat to the global economy, gay marriage. —D.E.
Brooklyn Academy of Music, April 21, 7 p.m.
14.–16. Don’t Forget These Off Broadway Shows
Come Tony season, when big musicals get all the coverage, the Lesser White Way can be overlooked.
While Broadway endures its annual beat-the-Tonys gold rush, don’t forget some gems Off Broadway. Old Hats at the Signature has a few more weeks left in its run, the RSC’s set-in-Africa Julius Caesar is settling in at BAM, and Tanya Barfield’s The Call, about a white couple adopting a baby from Africa, will get started this week at Playwrights Horizons. —Jesse Green
Old Hats: Signature Theatre Company, through June 9. Julius Caesar: Brooklyn Academy of Music, through April 28. The Call: Playwrights Horizons, through May 19.
17. Listen to Rodgers & Hammerstein at the Movies
The sound of their music.
If you played your vinyl cast albums until every note was etched into your brain, now you can hear these definitive songs completely new, in their glam film orchestrations, on this CD from British theater-music historian John Wilson and his Golden Age–size orchestra. —J.G.
18. Listen to Above
A one-album band’s boxed set arrives.
Get your nineties on: Mad Season was a one-shot mid-decade collaboration between Layne Staley (Alice in Chains), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees), and John Baker Saunders (the Walkabouts). The seventies-style supergroup lasted for exactly one recording before escalating stardom and drug problems pulled it apart. (Staley and Saunders died a few years later.) Above, first released in ’95, returns fortified with bonus tracks and a live performance on DVD.
19. Read The Way of the Knife
How we turned war over to the robots.
Times reporter Mark Mazzetti’s deep dive into the CIA’s drone policies shows us the ways in which both the military and our spy agencies have changed for the new century—and how much easier it can be to attack a country when the soldiers are at consoles in Virginia.
20. Read What Maisie Knew
In advance of the movie.
I suppose I should encourage you to (re)read The Great Gatsby before the film comes out. But the heck with that. Instead, go for What Maisie Knew, Henry James’s ugly, prescient, excellent little novel about divorce, as seen through the eyes of a bright little girl. Like Gatsby, it’s being made into a movie (with Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgard); also like Gatsby, it’s about love, sex, happiness, and money—or, more precisely, about how despicably adults sometimes behave in their name. —Kathryn Schulz
Free for download at Amazon.com or from Google Books; Wordsworth Classics paperback, $4.49.
21. Read Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls
David Sedaris still talks pretty.
Alternatively, you could go read this, the new book by David Sedaris, who bears zero literary resemblance to Henry James. Or to anyone else, except possibly the neurotic, gay love child of Oscar Wilde and Bruce Chatwin. That composite creature might—might—yield something faintly like Sedaris’s new essay collection.—K.S.
Little, Brown & Co.; April 23.
22. See Spectacle: The Music Video at the Museum of the Moving Image
Exactly how did video kill the radio star?
According to the MMI, this is the first museum show devoted to the history of the music video—amazing, given that we’re three decades and a lot of cultural lineage from “Beat It.”
Through June 16.
23. Read The Village: 400 Years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues
John Strausbaugh on Bleecker Street.
You can’t get Greenwich Village into one book. But Strausbaugh, a Times contributor and New York Press editor (in its great years), has done his historical legwork, and just barely corralled it all into 600 cleanly written pages. The mid-twentieth-century chapters, when nightlife and jazz reign, are the best and richest part.
24. See Portrait of Jason
Just listen to that guy talk.
For all sorts of reasons, you should submit to NYC vérité pioneer Shirley Clarke’s 1967 Portrait of Jason, a transfixing, exasperating, amusing, and devastating interview with a black gay hustler, from a time when such a persona had never been onscreen. Dennis Doros and Amy Heller of Milestone Films raised money for the restoration via Kickstarter, and it’s easy to understand their dedication. Clarke let her camera run long enough for us to see through Jason’s queeny burlesque to the battered man beneath, in search of the larger tragedy. —D.E.
At the IFC Center starting April 19.
25. Listen to Joshua Ferris and Rachel Kushner
In a bookstore chat.
The ever-wonderful McNally Jackson is hosting a conversation between Ferris (author of Then We Came to the End and The Unnamed) and Kushner, whose new novel, The Flame Throwers, is justly causing the likes of James Wood and me to freak out. Free and open to the public—though if it were up to me, I’d give first priority to audience members in leather. (Read the book.) —K.S.
April 24, 7 p.m.