1. Watch The Americans
The second season of Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields’s espionage drama shifts the show’s focus away from “marriage” and toward “family,” to examine the emotional impact of the KGB’s and the FBI’s violence and deception. The premiere is a doozy, showcasing one of those choreographed scenes of subterfuge erupting into mayhem that The Americans owns at this point. Also: wig joke. —Matt Zoller Seitz
FX, February 26, 10 p.m.
2. Hear Hospitality
Don’t be put off by the cute.
Brooklyn’s Hospitality is one of those indie-pop bands that are easy to embrace—or dismiss—as adorable. But beneath the twee surface—winsome singsong melodies and cutesy vocals from singer Amber Papini—are sharper edges and darker depths: sly, melancholy songs about romance in the city and the romance of the city. —Jody Rosen
Music Hall of Williamsburg, March 1.
3. See Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
Once I saw Elaine Stritch talk to a bunch of acting students—young people working their hearts out. When an exhausted girl in the back row stifled a yawn, Stritch’s focus was laserlike: “Am I boring you?” That’s the prima donna you’re dealing with in Chiemi Karasawa’s doc Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, in which the 89-year-old struggles to remember lyrics for a cabaret act and reshapes every encounter so that it’s about her. Yet, after all is said, you love the old broad. —David Edelstein
In theaters now.
4. Read Redeployment
It’s even tougher than you think.
“Bob, I quickly learned, had an existential view of the Iraq war. We were fighting in Iraq because we were fighting in Iraq.” So writes Phil Klay, a Marine Corps Iraq veteran and author of an excellent, upsetting debut collection of short stories. Klay’s own view is everywhere, existential and practical, at home and abroad, distributed with wonderful clarity of voice and harrowing specificity of experience among Army chaplains, enlisted men, Foreign Service officers, members of Mortuary Affair, and more. —Kathryn Schulz
Penguin Press; author appearance at Barnes & Noble 86th Street, March 6, 7 p.m.
5. Watch Submissions Only
Thanks for coming.
It took long enough, but the third season of the best (funniest, smartest, warmest) series ever made about show folk—those who cast, those who get cast, and those who don’t—returns with eight new episodes over 16 weeks. —Jesse Green
On broadwayworld.com, starting March 3.
6. See Sculpture
A group show at Matthew Marks.
Six never-seen-before sculptures by six excellent artists exploring realism, verisimilitude, abstraction, and sheer weirdness. German Katharina Fritsch’s turquoise-colored polyester St. Michael has the presence of a gorgeous gargoyle or ghost; Ellsworth Kelly’s white-painted aluminum curve is a perfect combination of fact and fiction; Robert Gober’s untitled apparition of what looks like an enlarged stick of butter and regular-size apples in a baby’s crib with a thick wood floor left me speechless. —Jerry Saltz
523 West 24th Street, through April 19.
7. See The Lego Movie
It all clicks together.
During the first couple of weeks, you may have written this film off as strictly for children, but it is entirely appropriate for (certain open-minded and un-snooty) adults. If you have small children, it’s time to head out for a second or third viewing. Either way: That “Everything Is Awesome!” song isn’t getting out of your head anytime soon.
In theaters now.
8. & 9. Hear and See Wozzeck
Alban Berg’s elusive opera about a hapless soldier driven to murder makes a pair of appearances: The Vienna State Opera performs it in concert, with Evelyn Herlitzius and Matthias Goerne, a week before Mark Lamos’s production returns to the Met, with James Levine conducting Deborah Voigt and Thomas Hampson. —Justin Davidson
Carnegie Hall, February 28, and the Metropolitan Opera, opening March 6.
10. Hear Rick Ross
Against the odds, and in defiance of his own complicated backstory, Rick Ross has become rap’s standard-bearer for the values purists love to love: big beats and bigger boasts, delivered with wit that justifies the bombast. Ross’s sixth album, Mastermind, features the usual roll call of A-list producers and guests (Jay Z, Kanye, Jeezy, Lil Wayne); his rhymes can stand up to all of them, and his voice is a thing that cannot be moved. —J.R.
Def Jam, March 4.
11. Hear Maude Maggart
It’s transporting when Maude Maggart sings—her plush, tremulous alto sounds beamed in from a 1920s gramophone. Her new show, “The Door Opened,” showcases her taste for the Great American Songbook (Irving Berlin, Dorothy Fields) in a rightly sophisticated setting.
Café Carlyle, February 25 through March 1.
12. See Pop-Ups From Prague
The good kind of paper cut.
Infiltrate this usually members-only literary townhouse for an exhibit of Czech paper engineer and graphic artist Vojtech Kubasta’s pop-up books. A children’s-literature pioneer, Kubasta made pages that are like miniature theaters, populated by characters who wouldn’t look out of place in a Maurice Sendak tale.
Grolier Club, through March 15.
13. Hear Leonidas Kavakos
Volcanic violinist plays Beethoven.
If Beethoven had written only nine symphonies, or six piano concertos, or 16 string quartets, or 32 piano sonatas, his reputation would still be Olympian. But he wrote all of the above—plus ten violin sonatas that transformed that genre, too. (And a lot of other music, besides.) Kavakos, a violinist of scalding intensity, plays all of them in three concerts with pianist Enrico Pace. —J.D.
Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, March 2 through 4.
14. See Three Films by Patrice Chéreau
Take the train.
Chéreau was among our greatest living directors when he died last year at 67, and Lincoln Center’s “Patrice Chéreau: The Love That Dares” festival goes some way toward showing you why. Don’t miss Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train, in which friends and relatives of a bisexual Parisian painter (Jean-Louis Trintignant) gather at his funeral to gripe and reminisce; Queen Margot, a Dumas adaptation with Isabelle Adjani; and his only English-language film, Intimacy, a febrile, tantalizing Last Tango–ish portrait with wordless sexual encounters and Mark Rylance in the altogether. —D.E.
Film Society of Lincoln Center, February 28 through March 5.
15. Read Edward St. Aubyn’s Melrose Stories
Aglow from a dark place.
Ever since Philip Seymour Hoffman died, the Melrose novels have been hanging out at the edge of my mind. To say that they do not glorify addiction is to put it mildly, but these five short novellas—best read as one—are glorious. The second, and most concerned with addiction, contains a terrific set piece that I think of as Fugue for 400 Voices Inside a Smack Addict’s Head. You’ll finish it and marvel that the next book is called Some Hope. —K.S.
16. See The Red Road
Culture wars in rural New York.
It’s set in a small town upstate that’s riven by culture clashes between the dominant whites (represented by Martin Henderson’s sheriff) and a marginalized Native American tribe. Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa’s young Paul Newman–like performance as a member of the second group—a local criminal who has good call to be distrustful—is the best reason to watch. The John Sayles–ish atmosphere is another. —M.Z.S.
Sundance Channel, February 27, 9 p.m.
17. Read Young Money
Entry-level life on Wall Street.
New York’s Kevin Roose spent more than three years embedded among the future one percent, in downtown barrooms and junior one-bedrooms, doing the kind of immersive close looking that’s tough to pull off. The result is vigorous and vivid—and when you consider that these men and women are going to end up with your 401(k), you should probably get to know them.
Grand Central Publishing.
18. Hear Helen Oyeyemi and Maud Newton
The author of Boy, Snow, Bird—a resetting of “Snow White” amid the simmering racial climate of 1950s Massachusetts—chats with the best book blogger going.
Community Bookstore, 143 Seventh Avenue, Park Slope; March 7.
19. See k.d. lang in After Midnight
Grab your coat and get your hat.
Fantasia was more soignée, but k.d. lang is surprisingly game. And the chance to hear her sing anything these days—especially such standards as “Stormy Weather” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street”—makes a return visit to the best revue on Broadway mandatory. —J.G.
Brooks Atkinson Theatre, through March 9.
20. Hear Stile Antico
Ancient England anew.
Globalization has not undone the English choir, with its distinctive mix of pale-voiced boys, featherweight tenors, and lush Tudor harmonies. This 12-person British vocal ensemble makes a great tradition fresh again with expressive singing, a sense of modern theater, and the practice of performing in a standing circle. —J.D. Church of St. Mary the Virgin, 145 West 46th Street; March 8.
21. See Hannibal
The second season of Bryan Fuller’s arted-up thriller kicks off with an audacious and ultimately baffling flash-forward and gets more impressive from there. The overhead tableaux of food being cooked and served are gorgeous, especially if you don’t let yourself wonder about the ingredients. A great TV show, any way you dice it. —M.Z.S.
NBC, February 28, 10 p.m.
22. See Mike Myers Argue
With smart people.
WNYC’s “Soundcheck” periodically hosts its Smackdown, a forum where cultural figures argue the pressing questions of our time: dogs vs. cats, thumbs-up or -down on Steely Dan, etc. For the Beatles-vs.-Stones segment, Myers will be joined by his brother Paul Myers, the singer-songwriter Bill Janovitz, and comedian Ophira Eisenberg. Advance word: Mike is pro–Fab Four.
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 111 Amsterdam Avenue; February 27.
23. See Jeremy Shamos in Dinner With Friends
Understating the obvious.
Donald Margulies’s 1998 play about the effects of infidelity on a group of old friends provides four chewy roles for four fine actors. But in the Roundabout’s beautifully balanced revival, Jeremy Shamos, always showing less than he knows, nevertheless slays you most. —J.G.
Laura Pels Theater, through April 13.
24. Hear Orli Shaham
Playing Steve Mackey and John Adams.
Until recently, the pianist was known primarily for premium performances of fine old works. But then Steve Mackey wrote her Stumble to Grace and turned her into a champion of American music. She’ll play highlights from the concerto, joined by Mackey on electric guitar, and with Jon Kimura Parker at the adjoining piano for John Adams’s Hallelujah Junction.
SubCulture, March 3.
25. Meet Hearty White
New York’s last great FM weirdo.
The kindly WFMU sage’s free-associative weekly show mixes absurdist stand-up comedy with completely earnest motivational-seminar bits. What’s even odder than that? That the shtick never gets old. He’ll make a rare appearance here, offering “southern inspirational dada.”
HiFi, 169 Avenue A; March 8, 6 p.m.