Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

To Do: January 13–January 27, 2016

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


Pop
1. See Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Taking it to The River.
Bruce Springsteen’s 1980 epic The River was a kind of artistic purging — a tuneful, transitional torrent of material he had to get out of his system before he could achieve the forlorn purity of Nebraska and the pop craftsmanship of Born in the USA. Now he’s embarking on a tour featuring a full performance of the 20-track album in sequence. For most artists, playing straight through a nearly 90-minute record would be a full show; for a marathon performer like Bruce, it’s just the warm-up. —Lindsay Zoladz
Madison Square Garden, January 24 and 27.

Books
2. Read The Confidence Game
Don’t trust your gut.
Melding pop social science and potted history, science writer Maria Konnikova transcends the Gladwell genre by drilling down into situations where our instincts lead us horribly astray — and into the arms of swindlers. Her examples (from Bernie Madoff to Lance Armstrong) are extreme, but the impulses to manipulate and believe are perfectly natural and all too human. —Boris Kachka
Viking.

Theater
3. See Fiddler on the Roof
Strangers in a strange new place.
It’s beautifully acted (especially by Danny Bur­stein and Jessica Hecht as Tevye and Golde) and smart in its rethinking of the Jerome Robbins dances (choreographer Hofesh Shechter has the Jews of Anatevka both stamping down and reaching up, as if about to be torn). But what makes this revival so essential is director Bartlett Sher’s subtle refocusing on the perennial drama of refugees and the conditions that force them to leave what they love. —Jesse Green
Broadway Theatre.

Movies
4. & 5. Watch Selma and King: A Filmed Record …From Montgomery to Memphis
The great persuader on display.
There are many reasons to watch or rewatch Ava DuVernay’s 2014 film Selma and the documentary King: A Filmed Record … From Montgomery to Memphis. There’s MLK’s birthday, of course. And it’s also an election year fraught with racial tension and potentially explosive battles centering on police misconduct. The bruising Selma dramatizes the idea that King wasn’t just a preacher but also a player who fought long-term injustice with short-term politics. Watch it for his canniness. And watch the documentary (on DVD in its uncut, three-hour form) to savor not just King’s rhetoric but his showmanship. —David Edelstein
Streaming and on DVD.

Art
6. See Dicks of Death
Judith Bernstein sticks it to the men.
For some great painterly in-your-face feminism, look no further than this longtime packer of big visual punches and her gigantic, intimidating, thrilling, corkscrewing phallic images: gaudy erections as tools of war. Bernstein slaps masculinism around and makes great art in the process. Happy New Year, art-man-bitches! —Jerry Saltz
Mary Boone Gallery, through February 27.

Opera/New Music
7. See Regina
Bringing it back, in the Bronx.
Marc Blitzstein’s 1948 opera, based on Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, springs from a time when writing an American opera about an American topic — here, a venal and virulent southern family — seemed a matter of political urgency. It’s been rarely performed in New York — mostly, though not lately (it was 15 years ago), by the Bronx Opera, which revives it again. —Justin Davidson
Lovinger Theatre, January 16 and 17, and Kaye Playhouse, January 23 and 24.

TV
8. Watch Whitney Cummings: I’m Your Girlfriend
Yes, she is, whether you like it or not.
Cummings’s first HBO special is a smorgasbord of hot-button subjects, including Obamacare, feminism, misogyny, the side effects of IUDs (“Migraines, abdominal pain, and depression … I might as well have a kid!”), and the pointlessness of macho posturing. The show might be a run-up for Cummings’s recently announced HBO series, but it stands on its own as a statement by a singular and arresting comic voice. —Matt Zoller Seitz
HBO January 23 at 10 p.m.

Movies
9. Dip Into the Criterion Collection
And honor its founder.
This month, the New York Film Critics Circle honors the late William Becker, who acquired Janus Films in the ’60s and guided the company into the DVD era with the Criterion Collection. With January a slow month for new films, it’s a good time to try the badly needed remaster of David Cronenberg’s little-seen horror masterpiece, The Brood; the beautiful boxed set of Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy; or the delicious, Tarantino-approved Japanese vengeance classic Lady Snowblood and its colorful sequels. —D.E.
Criterion.com.

New Music
10. See Hand Eye
Anything but “classical.”
Carnegie Hall’s version of a dirty dozen is a sextet of wildly virtuosic musicians (Eighth Blackbird) and an all-male gang of six composers known as Sleeping Giant. Put them together and you have a suite of new pieces, each inspired by a different contemporary artwork. —J.D.
Carnegie Hall, January 18.

Theater
11. See King Charles III
The end of his reign.
The annual January kill-off will close 11 Broadway shows this month, among them the delicious if rascally King Charles III, which gives Americans a hit of monarch porn (the current Prince Charles faces a constitutional crisis after his mother’s death in the nearish-future) while also reshaping our notion of what’s Shakespearean. Tim Pigott-Smith is more unforgettable as Charles than Charles himself. —J.D.
Music Box Theatre, through January 31.

Art
12. See Milena Milena
Sharon Lockhart’s girl, uninterrupted.
Artist-documentarian-photographer Sharon Lockhart zeroes in on a now-16-year-old she met while producing a film in Poland in 2009. Here, we see Milena running in the woods, reenacting a scene from Truffaut’s iconic 400 Blows, always lost in depths of selfhood and looking. We look back riveted. —J.S.
Gladstone Gallery, through January 23.

Pop
13. Go to Silent Barn
Good tunes for a good cause.
2015 was a rough year for one of Brooklyn’s last great DIY music venues (in September, a fire broke out on its third floor), but misfortune didn’t keep the Bushwick art space down for long. On the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it hosts a concert to benefit Planned Parenthood, featuring an intimate solo set from Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and a performance from the pummeling Philadelphia duo Trophy Wife. —L.Z.
January 22.

Dance
14. See American Dance Platform
A grab bag of movement.
Consider this new showcase — each program features two to three groups — a tasting menu of the greatness that routinely comes through the Joyce, ranging from the better known (Martha Graham Dance Company) to the less so (NW Dance Project). —Rebecca Milzoff
Joyce Theater, through January 17.

Movies
15. Watch Jennifer Jason Leigh
In Anomalisa and The Hateful Eight.
Jennifer Jason Leigh’s had an up-and-down career: gutsy early performances, a wobbly middle period with some painfully self-conscious work, a slow but increasingly marvelous reemergence. In The Hateful Eight, she’s a cackling demon, handcuffed but scarily powerful, using her battered face as a badge of honor. And in the bleak, solipsistic animated drama Anomalisa, she puts her tremulous heart into every line. Her voice floats out of the screen on gossamer wings. —D.E.
In theaters.

Pop
16. See Chairlift
The best of two worlds.
Brooklyn duo Chairlift straddle pop and the avant-garde; Beyoncé invited them to work on her 2013 self-titled set, where they lent a little weirdness to “No Angel.” These dueling sensibilities blend on their kinetic new album, Moth, and National Sawdust will provide a perfect backdrop to their artful live show. —L.Z.
National Sawdust, January 26.

Theater
17.-19. See the New Lola, King, and Young Alison
Big shoes to fill.
If a leading role in a musical is hard to cast, it’ll be even harder to recast. The fabulous drag tornado-slash-footwear-designer Lola in Kinky Boots would seem to have been sewn onto its original star, Billy Porter, but comedian Wayne Brady looks likely to extend the hit. At The King and I, Hoon Lee has taken over as the first half of the title couple and is apparently hitting a happy medium between his predecessors Ken Watanabe and Jose Llana. Over at Fun Home, an even more difficult transition has taken place: Gabriella Pizzolo now plays Young Alison, the 9-year-old proto-lesbian at the center of the action (taking over for Sydney Lucas, who spent a quarter of her life in the role). See the replacements before they get replaced. —J.G.
Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Vivian Beaumont Theater, and Circle in the Square Theatre.

Opera
20. See Tosca
The genuine article.
The slow, painful job of digging New York City Opera out of its grave has taken place mostly in the courts. Now NYCO Renaissance, the entity that hopes to be the company’s Dr. Frankenstein, is actually putting on a show — by re-creating the Tosca production that opened in Rome in 1900. —J.D.
Rose Theater, January 20 through 24.

Movies
21. See The Forest
Not-so-friendly ghosts await.
Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer is luminescent in a dual role as twins, one who seems to have her life together and the other, supposedly more damaged, who disappears during a trek through Japan’s Aokigahara forest. Spooky scares aside, what will haunt you is the story’s suggestion that staying on “the path” is a dangerous form of denial.
In theaters.

TV
22. Watch War and Peace
Taking the mini-series epic.
It’s Gillian Anderson month on TV: Besides The X-Files, she’s in this massive BBC adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel. She plays scheming high-society hostess Anna Pavlovna Scherer, one of a dozen major characters in this saga about Russia during the Napoleonic invasion. There are also sex scenes (Tolstoy somehow forgot to include those). —M.Z.S.
A&E, Lifetime, and History, January 18 at 9 p.m.

Pop
23. & 24. Listen to The New Toronto and Chixtape 3
Dope doubleheader from Tory Lanez.
The Canadian rapper recently dropped two free mixtapes showcasing his varied talents: The New Toronto, full of spaced-out Future-istic bangers, and Chixtape 3, exploring smooth bedroom R&B with samples from Ed Sheeran, Usher, and Destiny’s Child; bookmark it for Valentine’s Day.
Thenewtoronto.com.

Opera
25. See The Last Hotel
Not the one in California.
The new chamber opera by the Irish team of composer Donnacha Dennehy and playwright Enda Walsh may be morbid in subject matter (the hotel’s guests check in to check out), but Dennehy is not one to let his music brood gloomily. The work had its world premiere at the Edinburgh festival last summer, and, according to The Guardian, the score “thrums with a savage, unstoppable groove.” —J.D.
St. Ann’s Warehouse, through January 17.