1. Watch Labyrinth
Not the Jim Henson one.
And no David Bowie either: It’s an original mini-series based on the Kate Mosse best seller about two young women searching for the Holy Grail, one in the 13th century, the other in the present. Of course their two stories are knitted together, and not just by the Grail. —Matt Zoller Seitz
The CW, May 22 and 23, 8 p.m.
2. Hear Barry Gibb
You should be dancing.
You can’t argue with the songbook: “To Love Somebody,” “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” “Nights on Broadway,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever,” “Tragedy”—shall I go on? Barry Gibb, 67, is one of the great pop songwriters alive. Time may have shaved a little off the top of his falsetto, and his Bee Gee brothers are dead. But this is no nostalgia trip: It’s an evening in pop-music High Church. —Jody Rosen
Jones Beach, May 23.
3. See God’s Pocket
Mad man’s movie.
It’s divided critics and audiences, but John Slattery’s directorial debut is the best-ever adaptation of Pete Dexter’s worst-case-scenario worldview, with a heartbreakingly good performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman as a trucker whose attempts to mend his relationship with his wife (Christina Hendricks, miscast) by finding out who killed her son lead to voluminous bloodshed. Richard Jenkins is delightful as a perpetually stewed newspaper columnist, John Turturro even better as a low-level gangster with a penchant for wearing yellow. —David Edelstein
In theaters now.
4. Read Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace
Offices, says Nikil Saval, are anything but open.
How did America become honeycombed with fabric walls, its ambitions carved up by cubicles like little petri dishes of resentment?
5. Watch The Premiere of I Wanna Marry “Harry”
This is a real thing? This is a real thing.
A Joe Millionaire–style show in which a dozen American ladies compete, shriekily, for the hand of someone they believe to be Prince Henry of Wales, fourth in line to the British throne. (In case we need to clarify: It isn’t him.) Has the potential to achieve garbagey greatness.
Fox, May 27, 8 p.m.
6. Hear Le1f
This rising internet rap favorite is gay, and it is a small but noteworthy measure that his sexuality is merely a detail: The real story is his slippery rhyme flow and his spacey, spacious beats. Not that sex isn’t important. Le1f raps a lot about it, in songs that are equal parts tongue-wagging and tongue-in-cheek. He’s also a trained dancer: He has stage presence. —J.R.
Music Hall of Williamsburg, May 29.
7. Hear Me. I Am Mariah … The Elusive Chanteuse
Best album title ever? Very possibly.
Def Jam Recordings, May 27.
8. Watch Game of Thrones
The deaths won’t stop coming.
The deaths won’t stop coming. With Tyrion’s trial by law a bust (what, no plea bargaining?), he’ll be trying his hand at trial by combat.
HBO, Sundays at 9 p.m.
9. Listen to If/Then
Always starting over.
There’s so much to do while watching the musical If/Then that you can forget to listen to the music. The new cast album gives you a chance to relax into songs (by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey) that are busy and exciting and commentative in the manner of Company. —Jesse Green
Masterworks Broadway, June 3.
10. See Dawoud Bey
On our mind.
This authoritative Chicago photographer is best known for his 1970s work in Harlem and his vigorous portraiture. Here, he’s showing “The Birmingham Project,” sets of diptychs for which he paired civil-rights-era oldsters with boys and girls who are just about the age of the children killed in the notorious 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing and its aftermath.
Mary Boone Gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue, through June 28.
11. Hear The Glass House Project
Saved from near oblivion.
Among the things that the Holocaust almost wiped out was Hungarian Jewish folk music—and not just the klezmer that migrated to the U.S. and mingled with American jazz. But a distinctive and varied repertoire was preserved in archives and in the memories of musicians who survived—Jewish, Hungarian, and Roma. The Glass House Ensemble, matching New York players with Hungarian counterparts, rescues those songs from oblivion. —Justin Davidson
Drom, May 23; Museum of Jewish Heritage, May 27.
12. See Reed Birney in Drag
The lady in question.
As Charlotte in Casa Valentina, Reed Birney takes Harvey Fierstein’s description of the character as “not your favorite aunt” and runs with it (possibly to a Tony). —J.G.
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre through June 15.
13. Take Part in Making It Here
Tour your grandparents’ workplace, remade.
In 1950, New York was a world capital of making things, and the story of the city’s industry is getting a surprising sequel. Long-empty factories now incubate small-scale, high-tech manufacturers that need to be in a city, not near a highway interchange. Open House New York walks you behind the scenes. —J.D.
June 6, Brooklyn Navy Yard; details at ohny.org.
14. See The Double
Notes from Eisenberg.
It ain’t Dostoevsky, but TV actor Richard Ayoade’s flamboyant new update of Fyodor’s novel The Double is an amusing effort, a sort of expressionist version of Office Space. A mousy, luckless employee (Jesse Eisenberg) suddenly finds his position threatened by the arrival of a charismatic hotshot (also Eisenberg). The ever-enchanting Mia Wasikowska is the woman he loves, Wallace Shawn the boss who endlessly effuses over the newcomer. —D.E.
In theaters now.
15. Hear NY Phil Biennial
The first installment of a new tradition.
Music director Alan Gilbert has been gradually maneuvering the Philharmonic into its rightful position as a new-music powerhouse, both by performing fresh blockbusters and by organizing much tinier chamber concerts. The first 11-day Biennial turbocharges the artisanal approach with the orchestra’s global clout, blanketing the city with 50 concerts of all sounds and sizes, including lots of work by composers who are virtually unknown here. —J.D.
May 28 through June 7, various venues.
16. See Five Proposals for the Future of the Atlantic Yards
Another chance to fix this thing.
Yes, the arena’s done, but Atlantic Yards is by no means a settled plan, and the community is fortifying itself for one more salvo on the flawed master plan for the neighborhood. Can this Brooklyn be saved?
Warehouse623 Gallery, 623 Bergen Street, June 5 through 22.
17. See The Immigrant
It’s not great storytelling, but James Gray’s film has period atmosphere all its own and a typically radiant performance from Marion Cotillard as a fresh-off-the-boat woman who’ll do anything to spring her sister from Ellis Island—including work for a mysterious Jewish pimp played by the brilliant, emotionally incoherent (that’s a compliment) Joaquin Phoenix. —D.E.
In theaters now.
18. See Greg Smith: Breakdown Lane
Challenging expectations at every turn.
Mind-boggling levels of handmade, tinkered-with contraptions, cameras made from dismantled iPhones, and a semi-working real car, complete with filled bathtub, that travels backward down the shoulder of a road. Greg Smith’s unromantic, rigorously absurd video vision, sculptural constellations, and mad diagrams present a road trip in the real world via hell. —Jerry Saltz
Susan Inglett Gallery, through June 7.
19. See Fassbinder: Romantic Anarchist
Time to revisit.
Each generation of cinephiles must come to terms with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, preferably in a theater alongside other curious souls. This spring’s first half of the retrospective (part two is in November) screens almost all of RWF’s work up to 1974, along with “films he starred in, films that influenced him, and films that were influenced by his work (e.g., Far From Heaven).” For cultists: Fassbinder’s never-distributed Whity. —D.E.
Through June 1; details at filmlinc.org.
20. Watch The Normal Heart
It beats still.
In adapting Larry Kramer’s definitive howl about the early years of AIDS, Ryan Murphy tones down his anything-goes attitude to create a resonant period piece with empathy to spare. Amid a starry cast—Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Jonathan Groff—Jim Parsons’s performance as Tommy Boatwright, a self-described “southern bitch” of a hospital administrator, is the movie’s most dazzling breakout. —M.Z.S.
HBO, May 25, 9 p.m.
21. & 22. See Josie and the Pussycats and Desperately Seeking Susan
Kitten ears and rubber O-ring bracelets.
Two girls-who-rock films in one week: first the surprisingly-not-bad 2001 girl-power film—it has Rosario Dawson!—and then, two nights later, the 1985 Susan Seidelman movie that helped vault young Madonna out of the East Village and into your consciousness forever.
BAM, May 29 and June 1.
23. Read The People’s Platform
Net without neutrality.
People talk a lot about how the web has revolutionized culture, but that revolution looks an awful lot like corporate conquest to Astra Taylor. A cri de coeur that is also a not-quite-plausible how-to plan to rebuild the internet.
24. Listen to the Black Keys’ Turn Blue
Back in form.
The Black Keys have been off the scene for a bit, but—inspired by lead singer Dan Auerbach’s divorce—their new Turn Blue finds the garage-blues-rock duo in a moody mood, with Danger Mouse’s production boosting their classic guitar-drum combo with Batcave reverb, ghostlike backing vocals, and organs that Vincent Price would dig.
A rock-’n’-roll band at the height of its powers.
25. See Hurt Locker: The Musical
“It’s better in Farsi.”
The only reason Hedwig and the Angry Inch is on Broadway now is that the previous (fictional) inhabitant of the Belasco Theater—Hurt Locker: The Musical—shuttered in the midst of its opening night. All that remains of that disaster is its postapocalyptic set and brilliant (fake) Playbill, distributed to Hedwig patrons, which is funnier even than the “internationally ignored song stylist.” It’s the best nonshow of the year! —J.G.
Well, you can’t, actually.