1. See Charlie Victor Romeo
Trouble in the air.
Hoopla notwithstanding, 3-D isn’t the be-all-end-all when it comes to realism, but it does offer tantalizing possibilities for filmed dance, opera, and theater. Charlie Victor Romeo is based on a theater piece adapted from six actual black-box recordings of imperiled flights (birds flying into the engines, failed hydraulics, etc.). It’s pulse-quickening You Are There stuff, and its 3-D is perfect for rendering the claustrophobic quarters. —David Edelstein
In theaters now.
2. Watch How I Met Your Mother
Closing in on the “I met your mother” part.
As the durable sitcom heads into its final leg, viewers are getting closure on the show’s framing device. Last week, we learned the names of the kids to whom this epic story has been told; this week’s 200th episode will show the first meeting of Ted (Josh Radnor) and his future wife (Cristin Milioti). —Matt Zoller Seitz
CBS, January 27, 8 p.m.
3. Hear Keith Urban, Little Big Town, and Dustin Lynch
Country hitmakers take over the big room at MSG, and it’s a good bill, too, beginning with Dustin Lynch, a young quasi-traditionalist (the baritone, the cowboy hat). Then comes Little Big Town, whose tuneful close harmonizing marks them as the thinking man’s Lady Antebellum—or, better, the twangful Fleetwood Mac. The headliner is Keith Urban—he of the awful frosted-tipped hairdo and the godlike guitar chops—whose latest album is his feistiest ever. —Jody Rosen
January 29 at Madison Square Garden.
4. See Lori Ellison
Her god is in her details.
One of the harder things to do in small-scale painting and drawing is to make meticulousness sing. Lori Ellison’s swirling-and-vibrating patterns, in gouache on wood and ink on paper, turn into complete, vibrating worlds with microscopic secrets and optical titillation. At the opening, I watched artists snap up these inexpensive gems to take home as personal talismans. You may be tempted. I was. —Jerry Saltz
McKenzie Fine Art, 55 Orchard Street; through February 16.
5. Meet Carla Kaplan and Hilton Als
An author whose book I really loved last year but failed to publicly champion is giving me a second chance. At this event, Carla Kaplan will be discussing her excellent Miss Anne in Harlem with Hilton Als, author of the also-excellent 2013 essay collection White Girls. There was no “Miss Anne”; the name was a collective noun, of sorts, for white women who involved themselves in the Harlem Renaissance. Kaplan’s exploration of that mostly overlooked bit of history combines wonderful research with a thoughtful inquiry into the nature of race and identity and America—then and, implicitly, now. —Kathryn Schulz
New York Public Library Schwartzman Building, February 3, 7 p.m.
6. See Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom
Never mind The Wolf of Wall Street: Here’s some vice.
Leonardo DiCaprio snorts cocaine out of a hooker’s ass-crack and people are up in arms about the depravity—it’s that guilty Catholic boy Martin Scorsese’s way of saying, “Then I’ll go to hell!” But you want sick orgies? Rent Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975) by Pier Paolo Pasolini. It has everything: torture, sadism, graphic murder, poop-eating. Scorsese’s a piker. —D.E.
On Netflix DVD.
7. But Download The Wolf of Wall Street’s Soundtrack
What the bros like.
Scorsese could have gone for a wall-to-wall eighties and nineties soundtrack, but instead spread its selections over decades (Bo Diddley to 7Horse), styles (blues to hip-hop), and even languages.
8. See Machinal
Get yourself whirring.
The superb Roundabout revival of Sophie Treadwell’s 1928 play begins, fittingly, with a machine—a packed subway car—that turns out to be part of a huge, revolving mazelike box that the actors filter through. It’s like Sleep No More’s McKittrick Hotel, only the rooms filled with the voyeurable doings come to you. —Jesse Green
American Airlines Theatre; through March 2.
9. Listen to Broken Bells’ After the Disco
Indie-rock “disco” projects are a dime a dozen, but the second album by Broken Bells, a.k.a. Danger Mouse and the Shins’ James Mercer, holds way more promise than most. Danger Mouse is a master of clever, fond pastiches, and Mercer’s high croon, the essence of sensitive indie-boy troubadour on the Shins records, turns more Barry Gibb when prodded by a buoyant bass line. This should be fun, in other words. —J.R.
Columbia, February 4.
10. Watch Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials
And see why 2014 won’t be like “2014.”
You could look at this perennial rundown of famous Super Bowl ads as the ultimate example of commercial television’s creative bankruptcy: a show about ads, interrupted by ads. But really: Who doesn’t get a kick out of a highlight reel? In addition to the touchstones—like Ridley Scott’s 1984 Apple ad, the Citizen Kane of TV spots—you get to trip along through your memories of bad hair and hip music turned square. —M.Z.S.
CBS, January 29, 8 p.m.
11. Hear The Ecstatic Music Festival
It’s a big new-music world out there.
If you’re having trouble keeping track of the astonishingly fertile and ever-evolving new-music scene, the annual festival doesn’t really help narrow the options. It’s a deliberately overwhelming cornucopia, doled out in eleven concerts over eight weeks. —Justin Davidson
Various venues; opens January 31; schedule at kaufmanmusiccenter.org.
12. See The Manuscript of The Little Prince
From Asteroid B-612 to Murray Hill.
The most Frenchly existential children’s classic was written in—New York? It’s true, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry left the original artwork with a friend here when he went off to fight in the Resistance, never to return. The Morgan Library’s exhibition shows 25 of the manuscript pages and all 43 of the drawings, complete with coffee stains and cigarette burns, naturellement.
Morgan Library & Museum, through April 27.
13. Read What’s Your Favorite Animal?
Eric “Very Hungry Caterpillar” Carle and thirteen author-artist friends—from Lucy Cousins to Mo Willems—deliver friendly, warm, brief essays about their creatures of choice, with great illustrations. Irresistible.
14. See Liam Scarlett’s New Ballet
By then, it may even have a name.
Not yet 30, this choreographer is artist-in-residence at the Royal Ballet and getting major commissions, like this first piece for City Ballet. Set to Poulenc, it features three very different top ballerinas: Rebecca Krohn, Sara Mearns, and Ashley Bouder. At intermission, step out for a look at the promenade and theater façade, newly swathed in giant, ghostly figures of dancers by the artist JR. —Rebecca Milzoff
David H. Koch Theater, January 31, 8 p.m.
15. See Jackie Nickerson: Terrain
Nickerson’s photos, taken all over Africa, show the basic task of gathering food. Where they diverge from ethnology, though, is in the poses: Bodies support giant sacks, masses of vegetables or leaves, a Terry Gilliam tangle of vines. We simultaneously see people as people, as beasts of burden, and as sculpture.
Jack Shainman Gallery, through February 15.
16. Hear Radu Lupu Play Bartók
Lupu may be the Hagrid of classical music—a piano wizard with a gruff demeanor and a dense beard—but his touch is pixie-light. He joins the Philadelphia Orchestra for Bartók’s incendiary and poetic Third Piano Concerto, plus works by Smetana and Dvorák. —J.D.
Carnegie Hall, February 3.
17. See Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema
There’s just no end to the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s vital retrospectives, and this series lives up to its grandiose title. You get fresh prints of such familiar jewels as Andrzej Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds, Aleksander Ford’s medieval war epic Black Cross, and several works by the undersung Krzysztof Zanussi, including my favorite, Camouflage, a subtle and deeply resonant generation-gap comedy in which a young linguist squares off against a member of the Old Guard. —D.E.
February 5 through 16; schedule at filmlinc.com.
18. See Lawrence Brownlee
Spirituals with a Central Park view.
The velvet-voiced tenor is better known for his finesse in the bel canto repertoire than for raising the roof with spirituals, but it’s the latter he’ll sing, joined by jazz pianist Damien Sneed, for this “American Songbook” evening.
The Allen Room, January 29, 8:30 p.m.
19. Read Smart Cities
Silicon in the alleys.
Anthony M. Townsend’s manifesto is about the good side of Big Data: the ways in which immense amounts of information about mass transit, resource consumption, and human interaction can be used to make life better. Since its publication in October, it’s become the book of the season among people who care about the wonky details of city life.
20. Hear Steven Schick
Solo percussion music may be only 60 years old (in the West, anyway), but it makes for a minor epic, and the staggering Schick covers virtually all of it in a formidable pair of concerts that perhaps only he could pull off. —J.D.
Miller Theatre, January 30 and February 1.
21. See Frank Langella in King Lear
Flawed production, great center.
The production sags when he’s offstage, but Langella finds the libertine in Lear: the old fascinator whose poetry and posing barely disguise an erotic delight in power, even if it’s thwarted. No one calls down the rain or curses an ingrate better. —J.G.
BAM Harvey Theater, through February 9.
22. Read Self-Portrait As Your Traitor
Debbie Millman’s inner life.
Trained as a graphic artist, Millman has become one of the most prominent branding experts there is. But she continues to create for herself, and the essays and poems in this new collection are presented in eccentric, beautiful ways. It’s also—no surprise—a gorgeously designed book.
23. See 2wice: Dancing From Page to Stage to Screen
Put dancing on a great iPad app, and the performers leap into your lap. The latest iteration of dance-world fairy godmother Patsy Tarr’s 2wice app, “Dot Dot Dot,” follows Tom Gold in a buoyant Chaplinesque solo; Gold and Tarr will discuss the app (joined by Pentagram partner Abbott Miller and videographer Ben Nicholas) at the Guggenheim’s intimate “Works and Process” series. —R.M.
Guggenheim Museum, January 27, 7:30 p.m.
24. Gape at Malls Across America
Everything but the smell of soft pretzels.
Starting in 1989, Michael Galinsky set out to document the texture of life in the American mall in all its acid-washed, muscle-teed weirdness. These photographs will leave you agape (even if you grew up in these places).
25. See The Stettheimer Dollhouse
My wife and I recently made our annual pilgrimage to Carrie Stettheimer’s visionary twelve-room dollhouse, made between 1916 and 1935 and on permanent view at MCNY and furnished with tiny artworks made by the Stettheimer family’s friends: Duchamp, Lachaise, more. It reminds wintered indoor minds how much creative magic is always afoot around us. —J.S.
Museum of the City of New York, second floor.