1. Watch True Blood
Can’t shake the disease.
The people of Bon Temps can’t fight off the Hep-V plague forever—but with the beloved Viking vamp Eric Northman among the stricken, can a cure be found? In this episode (titled “Karma”), it turns out an unlikely savior has had it inside herself all along.
HBO, July 27.
2. & 3. See Another Look at Detroit: Parts 1 and 2
Double show, singular city.
The curator Todd Levin excels at complex group shows with multilayered juxtapositions: He loves furniture, curios, posters, and mixing old and new and has a knack for pulling off extraordinary loans from great institutions. All of that is on display in this outstanding pair of exhibitions that includes artists Mike Kelley, Diego Rivera, Anna Sui, Dana Schutz, and many others who all have connections to Levin’s hometown. This homage to the past and present greatness of Detroit gets to the core of why its tremendous art museum must be saved. Just like the city, and that museum, this show is a keeper. —Jerry Saltz
Marianne Boesky Gallery and Marlborough Chelsea, through August 8.
4. Read Knish
Laura Silver’s friendly little history of what she calls “the Jewish soul food” is a savory slice of New York life: lightly spiced, evocative of your grandparents, and just filling enough.
Brandeis University Press.
5. Hear Sila: The Breath of the World
A cloud of composition descends on West 65th.
John Luther Adams, new New Yorker, composer of nature, and ambivalent refugee from the hush and roar of rural Alaska, has composed a piece for an outdoor environment he’s still discovering: the city, with all its variety of noises. Eighty musicians will take up positions across Lincoln Center for the world premiere of a work with no conductor, no fixed tempo, and no clear end. Audiences may come, go, and move around, which means that each listener has a fundamentally different experience. —Justin Davidson
Lincoln Center, July 25 and 26.
6. Read Outlander
Advance reading, part I.
Don’t just take our word for it—here’s Taystee’s recommendation from an Orange Is the New Black episode: “Lady travels back in time to Scotland, hooks up with this big sexy outlaw type, and they be gettin’ it day in and day out. Yo, it’s hot!” Read all eight of the Diana Gabaldon books before the Starz series starts August 9.
7. Read Guardians of the Galaxy
Advance reading, part II.
The sixties Guardians of the Galaxy comics—the movie adaptation’s out on August 1—can be baffling, in part because some characters are actual raccoons and trees. So where do you start figuring this out? With the past five years’ comics, because they’re the ones in which the team from the movie appears. Start with Annihilation: Conquest (books one and two), Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume One—Legacy, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume One—Cosmic Avengers.
8. See Bolshoi Ballet
For the first time since 2005, the grandest of companies is returning, with the kind of appropriately opulent story ballets the Russians embrace: Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and Spartacus. It’s also our first chance to see David Hallberg, who is both an ABT star and a member of the Bolshoi, perform in New York alongside his Russian fellows—an experience that has only enhanced the nobility of his dancing. —Rebecca Milzoff
David H. Koch Theater, through July 27.
9. Listen to “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Mandatory Fun
Don’t fear the polka.
And don’t roll your eyes: You know more of his songs than you care to admit, and he’s an extremely skilled producer, able to knock off anything from Quincy Jones to Pharrell.
10. Hear Mostly Mozart
Wolfgang is back.
The venerable festival keeps shaking off cobwebs with new music, late-night recitals, counterintuitive programs, and dance collaborations—so much so that “mostly” is a matter of interpretation. Still, the festivities start with a rich helping of Mozart three ways, and hearing Richard Goode play the A-major Piano Concerto is an experience that heals many forms of hurt.
Avery Fisher Hall, July 29 and 30.
11. See Times Square, 1984
The New Times Square’s baby pictures.
Thirty years ago, Times Square was poised between its seamy past and its gaudy future and was really up for grabs. The Skyscraper Museum exhibition gathers some of the proposals—utopian, deluded, demoralizing, and beautiful. Today, those pictures have a fanciful, almost sci-fi alternate-reality look (thank goodness, in the case of Johnson and Burgee’s phalanx of fat leaden towers). But that stew of ideas helped shape the square we know today. —J.D.
The Skyscraper Museum, through January 18.
12. See Snowpiercer
With special effects.
Viewing note about this action film from the South Korean director Bong Joon-ho: See it at the Angelika, because it’s set on a postapocalyptic train, and those infamous rumbles from the Lexington Avenue line will only add to the experience.
Angelika Film Center.
13. See Romeo n Juliet
“Our whole city is much bound to him.”
Classical Theatre of Harlem’s production continues in the great tradition of African-American reinterpretations of Shakespeare; it’s set in, as well as being staged in, the Harlem of today.
Richard Rodgers Amphitheatre, Marcus Garvey Park, through July 27.
14. Read Megan Abbott’s The Fever
If you’re in your weekend rental upstate, read at your own risk.
The writer of stylish mysteries returns to the teen-noir milieu of her last novel, Dare Me, with a story loosely based on a recent case of mass hysterical illness in upstate New York. The new novel subtly evokes the creepy atmospherics of Twin Peaks or the more recent (and apropos) Top of the Lake. —Boris Kachka
15. Listen to Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
It would have been enough to record for history Audra McDonald’s profane, repellent, hilarious, heartbreaking (and Tony-winning) inhabitation of Billie Holiday in Lanie Robertson’s flawed bioplay. But this 85-minute, two-disc live rendition of the event—from preshow cocktail music to closing ovations—in many ways improves on the stage experience, as everything extraneous to the central performance melts into audience hum. In a great season for cast recordings, this is surely the greatest. —Jesse Green
16. Watch Face Off
Face Off is to special-effects makeup what Top Chef is to cooking—but minus all the infighting and bitchiness. The contestants are talented, the judges sage and entertaining, and the skill sets covered in each episode are almost completely foreign to ordinary viewers. Enjoy true human drama while learning the ins and outs of silicone molding!
Syfy, July 22.
17. See Land Ho!
Road trip! To Iceland!
The price of gas notwithstanding, we’ll never lose our yen for road movies. In Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens’s Land Ho!, you can see Iceland in the company of two elderly ex-brothers-in-law. Earl Lynn Nelson is the leering American M.D., Paul Eenhoorn the Aussie widower who’s quietly appalled. The juxtaposition of mundane silliness and those primordial, mythic landscapes proves unexpectedly magical. —David Edelstein
In theaters now.
18. See Two Mary Rodgers Musicals Onscreen
A genuine princess is exceedingly rare.
Mary Rodgers wrote the music for one of the best-known American musicals and also one of the least. The former is Once Upon a Mattress, first broadcast on TV in 1964, with much of the original 1959 cast, including Carol Burnett, Jane White, and Jack Gilford. The latter is Feathertop, a 1961 adaptation of a Hawthorne tale of a scarecrow brought to life. Both will be shown (with a panel discussion in between) as part of a Rodgers celebration that, with her death on June 26, has become an impromptu memorial. —J.G.
Paley Center for Media, July 19, 2 p.m.
19. Read Adam
Another Dyke to Watch Out For.
The lesbian graphic memoirist Ariel Schrag, a successor to Alison Bechdel, breaks out with a novel somewhat conventional in form—California boy crashes with sister in Bushwick, comes of age, falls in love—but completely radical in capturing the gender blur of postmillennial gay New York. Adam, you see, is repeatedly mistaken for trans and decides to play along in pursuit of his supposed soul mate, a gay woman. —B.K.
20. Sample NewFest
LGBT film is everywhere. But especially here.
A time traveler from 26 (or even six) years ago wouldn’t believe the mainstream drawing power of the 26th annual NewFest, New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender film festival. The U.S., the Netherlands, Brazil, Slovenia, Mexico: The whole world’s gone gay! It opens with Karim Aïnouz’s Futuro Beach, in which a Brazilian lifeguard fails to save a swimmer from drowning and then tumbles for the victim’s German biker friend. Closing night is Bruce LaBruce’s Gerontophilia, about a handsome teen who “refuses to feel shame about his unquenchable appetite for older men.” Even Isaiah Washington—infamous for gay slurs—joins the party for Blackbird, as the dad (married to Mo’Nique) of a gay teen in a Southern Baptist town. —D.E.
Lincoln Center, July 24–29; lineup at filmlinc.com.
21. Listen to Stick Against Stone
A very analog album.
A 1980s Brooklyn-via-Pittsburgh band that blended jazz, ska, and funk into wildly danceable tunes, Stick Against Stone has just released The Oregon Bootleg Tapes, a 30-year-old live performance at a crunchy food market that’s been exhumed and remastered from a VHS cassette.
22.–24. See a Planet of the Apes Triple Feature
One new, two old.
The postapocalyptic world of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes notwithstanding, this terrific new film is actually among the warmest of the whole orangutan saga. You want something a little more harsh? Try the series’ first sequel, 1970’s Beneath the Planet of the Apes, in which nearly everyone dies horribly and the fade-out is as bleak as anything in mainstream film. Or Escape From the Planet of the Apes, which has a cheerier tone but ends in dvastating tragedy. —D.E.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is in theaters now; Beneath and Escape, on Amazon and iTunes.
25. Read Fourth of July Creek
A family with Big Sky–size problems.
The debut novelist Smith Henderson comes bearing a blurb from Philipp Meyer, author of the best-selling Old Texas epic The Son, and the connection is easy to see. Here, too, is a family story written in muscular, laconic prose. But in Henderson’s novel, the malady is contemporary—the rot of rural poverty, shot through with drugs, survivalism, and bastardized Christianity—and the story told through the eyes of Pete Snow, a Montana social worker trying to head off a Waco-size standoff. —B.K.