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To Do: September 7–21, 2016

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

1. See A 24-Decade History of Popular Music
Taylor Mac. 
A majorly buzzy event from a majorly buzzy playwright-performer: Taylor Mac — who gender-fluidly prefers neither “he” nor “she” but “judy” as pronoun — proceeds through 240 years of American music, an hour per decade, three hours per night, eight nights running. On October 8, judy’ll do the whole thing, in a single epic 24-hour show for theatergoers with good kidneys and a willingness to commit.
St. Ann’s Warehouse; starts September 15; marathon performance October 8.

2. & 3. See Kanye West and Beyoncé
Mr. Kardashian vs. Mrs. Carter.
Kanye West’s “Saint Pablo” tour just kicked off, with new music care of Mr. West’s volatile, Christ-conscious The Life of Pablo and a stage setup described by early attendees as something out of a big robot sci-fi film. His two September Garden dates sold out instantly, but it’s worth whatever blood price resellers are charging to grab a seat. He’ll strike the set less than 24 hours before Beyoncé goes on in Jersey: She knows few peers onstage, and her “Formation” tour in support of this spring’s vibrant Lemonade has earned high marks and breathless adulation from those lucky enough to attend. The tour’s second leg brings Queen Bey to MetLife Stadium for another night of bright lights and soulful sounds: Don’t miss your blessing. —Craig Jenkins
Madison Square Garden, September 5 and 6; MetLife Stadium, September 7.

4. See Artek and the Aaltos: Creating a Modern World
Finnish lines. 
Seeing 200 works by the radically gifted designer Alvar Aalto and his wife, Aino Marsio-Aalto, will leave you wanting to own almost everything here. From curvaceous blond-wood furniture, vases, and door handles to an assortment of drawings, photographs, and paintings, behold the aesthetic estuary where Bauhaus, minimalism, and visionary design combine into a sumptuous river of wanting, comfort, imagination, and art. When something as simple as a stool brings you to your knees, you know you’re in the presence of genius. —Jerry Saltz
Bard Graduate Center Gallery, 18 West 86th Street; through September 25.

Classical Music
5. Hear the loser
A winner.
David Lang stretches his imagination, adapting Thomas Bernhard’s novel, to explore the fascinating possibilities of failure. Even musicians accustomed to triumph — pianist Conrad Tao, baritone Rod Gilfry, conductor Karina Cannelakis — know disappointment; together they dramatize the life of a piano student who understands with visceral pain how far he is from a genius. —Justin Davidson
BAM, September 7 through 11.

6. See Bridget Jones’s Baby
Life with fewer alcohol units. 
The third Bridget Jones film comes 15 years after the winsome Bridget Jones’s Diary and 12 years after the terrible first sequel. Bad or good, it may end up remembered for an uproar after a Variety critic snarked about Renée Zellweger’s face after seeing a trailer, and much of the world (including the voluble actress Rose McGowan) spoke up to call him an entitled creep. Colin Firth is back as the updated Mr. Darcy, but Hugh Grant (who also made ungentlemanly fun of Zellweger) has stepped aside in favor of Patrick Dempsey as another rival for Bridget’s dainty digits. —David Edelstein
Opens September 16.

7. Watch The 68th Primetime Emmy Awards
It’s the best.
Will Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory add another dozen trophies to their respective warehouses? Will Sarah Paulson of The People vs. O.J. Simpson win for playing Marcia Clark and start her ascent into the pantheon? Will The Americans finally get some love after three years of shameful neglect? These and other matters of urgent importance to TV watchers will be decided tonight; Jimmy Kimmel hosts. —Matt Zoller Seitz
ABC; September 18, 8 p.m.

Country Music
8. See Willie Nelson
An actual honest-to-God national treasure.
Touring his new record, For the Good Times, the 83-year-old Nelson makes a toast to Western swinger Ray Price, with whom he cut his teeth in the honky-tonks of the ’50s and ’60s. 
Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk, September 13.

9. See The Birds
Pecking order.
Daphne du Maurier’s 1952 short story The Birds, set in Cornwall, was the basis for Hitchcock’s great 1963 film, reset in Northern California and almost completely replotted. In 2009, the Irish playwright Conor McPherson went back to the original and completely replotted it again. His even-more-psychological take, set in New England, now gets its New York premiere. Fly! —Jesse Green
59E59 Theaters, September 9 through October 2.

10. Read Carousel Court
Bad marriage, good novel.
The story of broken California dreams is alive and well in Joe McGinniss Jr.’s second novel — more than you could say for the dreams themselves in this valley-dry tale of a marriage and a house-flipping scheme gone awry. —Boris Kachka
Simon & Schuster, August 2.

11. See Disguise: Masks and Global African Art
We had faces then.
It doesn’t even matter that African masks were one of the taproots that mushroomed into Cubism and almost all subsequent modernisms. Seeing 26 contemporary artists from all over the world working with masks lets us know this is an Ür-form, an archetype that connects cultures, reveals identities, uncovers forces. Add a number of tremendous historical examples on display and sparks fly. —J.S.
Brooklyn Museum; through September 18.

12. & 13. See Aleko and Pagliacci
Two from City Opera.
New York City Opera continues its slow resurrection by opening its season with an unusual double bill. Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci is almost always seen with a companion Italian melodrama, Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. This time, it’s paired with a different blood-spattered folk tale (Gypsies, vengeance), composed by Rachmaninoff and performed in Russian. —J.D.
Rose Theater, September 8 through 13.

14. Watch South Park
In a couple of years, it’ll be old enough to drink.
With this episode, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s cartoon ties with Law & Order and Gunsmoke in TV’s durability sweepstakes. The key to its longevity isn’t that it has been an “equal-opportunity offender” but that it created memorable personalities that you actually cared about, many of them so funny that you couldn’t even think about them for too long without spitting milk through your nose like a kid. —M.Z.S.
Comedy Central; September 14, 10 p.m.

Pop Music
15. See The Specials
Punks who age well.
Back after the death of longtime drummer John Bradbury, the seminal ’80s band now has Gary Powell (from the Libertines) holding down their signature mix of Jamaican and English rhythm.
Terminal 5, September 9.

Pop Music
16. Hear The Divine Feminine
Mac reboots.
The Pittsburgh rapper-producer Mac Miller starts a new chapter with his album The Divine Feminine, a collection of upbeat and soulful jams examining matters of the heart with the same wit and charm he used on the introspective life-in-recovery opus GO:OD AM last year. Guests include Kendrick Lamar, Ty Dolla $ign, Njomza, and Ariana Grande.     —C.J.
Warner Bros. Records, September 16.

17. Read The Cauliflower
Divinity, fudged.
Fictionalizing the life of the bizarre 19th-century Calcutta mystic Sri Ramakrishna, Nicola Barker takes historical fiction’s greatest flaws — research-flaunting, anachronism — and purposely magnifies them. The more mundane trials of Ramakrishna’s nephew and minder, Hriday, tasked with tempering his uncle’s mad fancies, leaven the author’s crazier notions. —B.K.
Henry Holt, August 9.

Theater Music
18. Hear Girls, Girls, Girls
A cockeyed feminist.
The live recording of Norbert Leo Butz’s impassioned 54 Below show Girls, Girls, Girls includes country, folk, and rock standards linked by storytelling that illustrates the treatment of women in classical myth and contemporary society. The result, with almost no musical theater songs at all, is one of the most original musical-theatrical events on record. —J.G.
Broadway Records, September 9.

19. See The Black Crook
The Broadway sensation of 1866.
Often referred to as the first American musical, The Black Crook was actually just a pileup of Faustian melodrama, Civil War–era songs, and exotic ballet. For its 150th birthday, the director Joshua William Gelb restages the story with an  added angle: a meta-story, like Shuffle Along’s, about the original and its artists. A chance to see how it all began, a short ride from where it did. —J.G.
Abrons Arts Center, September 17 through October 7.

20. See Hamlet
Get thee to a recreation center.
The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit this year presents a nine-person Hamlet starring the always exciting actors Chukwudi Iwuji and Kristolyn Lloyd. Unless you’re an inmate, you can’t catch it at the prisons, but several of the other tour performances are open to the public, as is the entire Lafayette Street run.
Various locations, through October 9.

21. Read Silent Beaches, Untold Stories
On our waterfront.
In 2009, a story in New York about all the stuff on the bottom of New York Harbor inspired the creation of an online arts journal called Underwater New York. Since then, the group has flourished and grown; it in turn inspired this book by Elizabeth Albert, with additional material chosen by the journal’s editors.

22. See Fiorello!
Back in flower.
The mayoral musical is a flawed show, but several irresistible songs turned it into a monster hit in 1959, and (somehow) it’s never gotten a full-scale revival in New York till now. This one comes via the Berkshire Theater Group.
East 13th Street Theater; in previews September 4 for a September 9 opening.

Pop Music
23. Hear Shape Shift With Me
New album by Against Me!
The Florida punk rockers Against Me!’s nearly two-decade trek from scabrous political ire to clarion introspection hit its stride with 2014’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues. This band never stays in one place for long, and the new album promises yet another new direction, if the Kiss homage of the “Crash” video is any guide. —C.J.
Total Treble, September 16.

Classical Music
24. Hear The Art of the Score
Phil pops.
For its preseason warm-up, the New York Philharmonic performs the music from West Side Story and Woody Allen’s Manhattan (the one that opens with Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue). These popular concerts invert the relationship between scene and soundtrack, making the film seem like an accompaniment to the Technicolor score. —J.D.
David Geffen Hall, September 13 through 17.

25. See Fun Home
Before the last days.
Yes, the Small Alisons have cycled over, but Michael Cerveris and Beth Malone have stayed till the end, which comes on September 10. It hasn’t lost any of its ability to leave you sobbing, either.
Circle in the Square.