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To Do: September 23–October 7, 2015

Twenty-five things to see, hear, watch, and read.


Fall for Dance Festival, Tame Impala in concert, and more New York events.   

Movies
1. See Pawn Sacrifice
Checkmate.
You may find Tobey Maguire mannered and robotic as the demented chess genius Bobby Fischer in this dramatization of the build-up to Fischer’s 1972 world-championship match against Soviet titleholder Boris Spassky (a low-key Liev Schreiber). But clips of Fischer reveal the same mannered, robotic quality. Ed Zwick’s film is not as edifying as it might be, yet he captures the absurdity of a nation pinning its hopes on a madly unattractive loon. —David Edelstein
In theaters.

Books
2. Read Elena Ferrante’s The Story of the Lost Child
Bring on the ending.
Ferrante’s Neapolitan sseries, of which this is the dark, clamorous finale, is really just one four-­volume novel, but its piecemeal translation has allowed the pseudonymous author’s American cult to swell to Knausgaardian proportions. In part four, intellectual Elena and her cohort age from their turbulent 30s to their 60s, raise and struggle with children, andeek solace in the vibrant, violent Italy of their birth. —Boris Kachka
Europa Editions.

Pop
3. See Tame Impala
Getting wilder.
On their excellent third album, Currents, the Aussie psych-rockers all but transformed themselves into a dance band — albeit one that still appreciates a good proggy guitar riff. Spacey new songs like “The Moment” and “Let It Happen” should sound downright transcendent live. —Lindsay Zoladz
Radio City Music Hall, October 6.

TV
4. Watch The Daily Show With Trevor Noah
And good luck to him.
Noah has giant shoes to fill, but it will be fun to watch him try to reinvent The Daily Show. He’ll have to: Between the pop-culture cachet of The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore and the weekly brilliance of John Oliver on HBO, he’s surrounded by Daily Show alums who’ve broken off pieces of the flagship’s concept and made something fresh. —Matt Zoller Seitz
Comedy Central, September 28 at 11 p.m.

Theater
5. Listen to Hamilton
History has its eyes on you.
With its super-dense web of referentiality and its mile-a-minute lyrics, Hamilton is the kind of musical that rewards repeat viewing (if you could ever get in). The original cast album (out digitally September 25 and on CD October 16) makes an excellent stopgap, gradually unpeeling Lin-­Manuel ­Miranda’s achievement for megafans and casual listeners alike. —Jesse Green
Atlantic Records.

Opera
6. See Anna Bolena
And hail a new soprano queen.
Back in the ’70s, when Beverly Sills sang all of Donizetti’s Tudor queens (Anne Boleyn, Mary Stuart, and Elizabeth I), she turned three disparate operas into a de facto trilogy. Sondra Radvanovsky now revisits those indomitable characters, starting with Anna Bolena. Thanks to Wolf Hall, the sumptuously ruthless characters are more familiar now, but Donizetti’s vocal writing demands a whole other order of swagger. —Justin Davidson
Metropolitan Opera, opens September 26.

Pop
7. Listen to the Weeknd
Fully emerged from the underground.
That dark lothario Abel Tesfaye makes a break for straight-up pop stardom on his epic new album Beauty Behind the Madness, featuring worthy song-of-summer finalist “Can’t Feel My Face” and Christian Grey’s official theme song, “Earned It.” Inevitable next single? The shimmery, fleet-footed “Billie Jean” homage “In the Night.” —L.Z.
Republic Records/XO.

Art
8. See Nari Ward’s ‘Breathing Directions’
From suffocation, sculptural release.
For more than two decades, Ward has impressed with sculptures assembled from the salvaged materials of city lives. His new show combines abject materials, traditional Congolese cosmographical diagrams, and drilled holes like those used by escaping slaves hiding under floorboards; here, they sing, sigh, and fill us with pathos. —Jerry Saltz
Lehmann Maupin, through November 1.

Pop
9. Listen to Ben Folds’s So There
The more elegant side of a piano man.
Going back to “Brick,” many of Ben Folds’s most affecting songs have had the intimate feel of chamber pieces. His new collaboration, with genre-busting sextet yMusic, embraces that spirit again, setting his frank lyrics, piano melodies, and still-plaintive tenor over lush arrangements.
New West Records.

Movies
10. See Stonewall
From an unlikely student of history.
The director Roland Emmerich has steered clear of gay themes in his (clunky) blockbuster disaster pics, but his new, lower-budget film tells the story of the 1969 riot inspired by brutal arrests at the now-landmarked Village bar. The film (starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ron Perlman, and Joey King) has already taken flak for its trailer (which focuses on a comely white boy), but the script is by star playwright Jon Robin Baitz — so who knows? It should be quite the opening-night scene. —D.E.
In theaters.

New Music
11. Go to National Sawdust
Not the same old grind.
New music has a new home in Williamsburg: a small, high-tech hall floating in its sound-insulated womb within an old sawdust factory. The first-ever set features a royal flush of composer-performers, including Nico Muhly, Theo Bleckmann, Bryce Dessner, and Jeffrey Zeigler; the second brings back the reborn ’90s band Cibo Matto. —J.D.
Opening night October 1.

Design
12. See ‘Ettore Sottsass’
Geometric progression.
In the late ’50s, Sottsass, an Italian architect, artist, and designer, helped introduce the idea that industrial design could be playful and sexy. He went on to found the collaborative Memphis group in 1981, ushering in postmodernism with boldly colored, cartoony furniture; this show takes in his work leading up to Memphis, with ceramics, furniture, and art. —Wendy Goodman
Friedman Benda Gallery, through October 17.

Pop
13. See Ariana Grande
She might not even need a mic.
The petite pop princess with the arena-size voice brings her Honeymoon Tour to Brooklyn. Doughnut jokes aside, she hasn’t been dubbed Mini Mariah for nothing. —L.Z.
Barclays Center, September 26 and 27.

Art
14. See Liz Glynn
A new kind of 3-D selfie.
This super-talented sculptor shone previously with huge reconstructions of ancient cities that she then sacked and destroyed. She shines brighter in “Pathos (The Blind Exercises),” a series of clay masks based on ancient-Greek theater images, each made by pressing clay on her face. The results stun with the power of civilizations now dead. —J.S.
Paula Cooper Gallery, through October 10.

Dance
15. See Fall for Dance Festival
Beautiful bodies on parade.
The annual dance extravaganza always brings rarely–seen–in–New York companies to town (Miami City Ballet, L.A. Dance Project), but this time around, look out for two high-profile duets: Fang-Yi Sheu and Herman Cornejo in Sheu’s Pheromones, and Tiler Peck with clowning master Bill Irwin. —Rebecca Milzoff
New York City Center, September 30 through October 11.

Pop
16. Listen to OVO Sound Radio
What the cool kids are listening to.
Much like predecessors Bad Boy, Roc-A-Fella, and G-Unit, Drake’s October’s Very Own collective is the party everyone wants an invite to, and the recently launched OVO radio show on Beats 1 gives at least a hint as to why: It’s an eclectic mix of what you should be listening to right now, with a sprinkling of exclusive drops like Drake’s Meek Mill disses and a remix of the Weeknd’s “Tell Your Friends.”
Beats 1 and Soundcloud.

Classical Music
17. Hear the Philharmonic Play L.A. Variations
A taste of what’s to come?
The season starts in the Phil’s just-renamed, soon-to-be-gutted home with a hint of the future: Alan Gilbert conducts L.A. Variations, by the superb composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, who is better known as a conductor and one oft-mentioned candidate to succeed Gilbert as music director. —J.D.
David Geffen Hall, September 25 and 26.

TV
18. Watch Narcos
Great mustaches, greater acting.
Netflix’s Pablo Escobar bio-drama is basically Good­Fellas — but that’s not a knock. Narcos is a compelling, tightly produced series that puts a savvy spin on the surreal (and yet true) rise of the most notorious drug lord in history. —Margaret Lyons
Netflix.

Books
19. Read Margo Jefferson’s Negroland
Coming to terms in Chicago.
In a moment caught between Obama’s hope and Ferguson’s despair, a critic’s memoir of growing up among Chicago’s black upper class feels well timed. Jefferson mines the personal for the political, her eye clinical, her voice direct but restrained. —B.K.
Pantheon.

Theater/New Music
20. Listen to Liaisons
Passion of the art.
Piano adventurer Anthony De Mare asked composers from varying genres (Jason Robert Brown, Steve Reich, Duncan Sheik, Wynton Marsalis) to respond to Sondheim songs of their choice. The result: an astonishing three-CD recording that explores, distorts, and honors classic numbers from Forum, Passion, and others. De Mare debuts the series live in three concerts, the first at Birdland. —J.G.
ECM Records, September 25; Birdland, September 24.

Classical Music
21. See David Fray
Swoon-worthy.
With his Romantic locks and dimpled chin, the French pianist could be the cover model for a Harlequin novel about Schubert’s love life. Instead, he’ll play three of Schubert’s sonatas, their lush and tender intimacy complementing the cozy grandeur of the Armory’s Board of Officers room. —J.D.
Park Avenue Armory, October 6 and 9.

Theater
22. See BOSSS
Highly Instagrammable.
Non-theater theater pioneer En Garde Arts offers a showcase of its everywhere aesthetic with its 12-show, all-free Big Outdoor Site Specific Stuff festival. Look for an auto-generated spam musical; talking statues; and an appearance by Bina48, the “sentient robot” created by Martine Rothblatt. —J.G.
Hudson River Park between 22nd and 29th Streets, October 2 through 4.

TV
23. Watch The Last Man on Earth
Second season, not so alone.
Within a couple of episodes, it became clear that this series about the supposedly isolated title character (Will Forte) was not quite as advertised. But even as it adds new characters and sometimes seems to forget that it’s set in a postapocalyptic wasteland, Last Man keeps coming up with comically rich scenarios, never losing touch with its unusually wistful and dark personality. —M.Z.S.
Fox, September 27 at 9:30 p.m.

Movies
24. See These Picks at the New York Film Festival
Sort through the slate.
Among this year’s irresistible mix of international-­fest hits and big-ticket Oscar-season premieres: Steven Spielberg’s Tom Hanks drama Bridge of Spies; Todd Haynes’s period romance Carol; and Portuguese director Miguel Gomes’s three-part, six-hour modern-day Arabian Nights. —Bilge Ebiri
See filmlinc.org for venues, September 25 through October 11.

Pop
25. Listen to Darlene Love
Back in action.
Thank Little Steven Van Zandt for taking up the cause of Darlene Love, the voice of ’60s girl-group classics whose rediscovery got an extra boost from 20 Feet From Stardom. On Introducing Darlene Love, she’s a new woman at 74, bringing her signature joyous sound to both covers and newer tunes by the likes of Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen.
Columbia Records.


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