Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

To Do: December 27, 2017–January 10, 2018

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

1. See Star Wars: The Last Jedi
But don’t skip the backlist. 
Oh, see the damn Star Wars picture, if you haven’t already: It’s livelier than any of them since The Empire Strikes Back — 37 years ago! And if you like the work of writer-director Rian Johnson, check out his overpraised but entertaining first films: the straight-faced parody Brick and the time-travel thriller Looper, which wants you to believe that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis are the same guy at different ages. —David Edelstein
In theaters now.

2. Watch Black Mirror
Between light and shadow.
Paranoia, surrealism, and fear of technology reign supreme in season four of Netflix’s Black Mirror, probably the closest thing to a classically styled anthology series since Rod Serling departed the mortal plane that he used to narrate so wryly. The new batch of episodes spotlights a veritable murderers’ row of gifted filmmakers, including Jodie Foster and David Slade (TV’s Hannibal). —Matt Zoller Seitz
Netflix, December 29.

3. See The Killers
New Year, new you. 
The Vegas dance-rock vets follow their rousing comeback album Wonderful Wonderful with a show that promises to deliver a volley of hits. Shake off the January doldrums by screaming along to “Somebody Told Me” and “Mr. Brightside” with the giddy masses. —Craig Jenkins
Barclays Center, January 9.

4. See Et Tu, Art Brute?
Come one, come all. 
This space bridges the gap between insider-outsider and self-taught and pro as effortlessly as White Columns and Salon 94. Here, the gallery blows down the gates with a multitude of works gathered in an actual “open call.” Sift through the dross to reach scintillation, inspiration, and glimmers of genius that testify that these walls have to be removed for good. —Jerry Saltz
Andrew Edlin Gallery, 212 Bowery, through January 28.

5. See Until the Flood
Voices from Ferguson.   
Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith returns to Rattlestick with a new play responding to the death of Michael Brown. Also the sole performer, Orlandersmith conducted dozens of interviews with St. Louis residents, crafting what she heard into a searching collage of voices, faces, and viewpoints. —Sara Holdren
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, opens January 18.

6. Hear Contact!
Keep it going. 
The New York Philharmonic, which just turned 175 and is under new management, uses its off-site new-music series to point out what the classical Establishment has only just begun to acknowledge: Women write music, too — good music, and lots of it. It’s fine to devote one specialty program to the music of Sarah Kirkland Snider, Ashley Fure, Du Yun, Fernanda Aoki Navarro, and Anna Thorvaldsottir, but let’s hope the Philharmonic considers that a start rather than mission accomplished. —Justin Davidson
National Sawdust, January 8.

7. See Traces
It’s a national treasure.   
This gallery deserves a medal for its service to under-the-radar talent. Here, four highly inspired individualists provide shelter from the storm of generic art. Sharon Horvath’s mystical, painterly maps, Sermin Kardestuncer’s intense commemorations of everyday life, Annie Vought’s palimpsests of memory, and Darina Karpov’s layered mats of meaning make this a ferocious show. —J.S.
Pierogi Gallery, 155 Suffolk Street, through January 7.

8. Read The Last Black Unicorn
Your loss, Golden Globes. 
Girls Trip
breakout star Tiffany Haddish has had quite a year. Her new memoir tackles heavy topics like her tumultuous upbringing in the foster-care system, her time of homelessness, and her commitment to laughing through hardship.
Gallery Books.

9. Go to NHL Winter Classic
Rangers take it outside.
For its tenth anniversary, the NHL’s annual New Year’s Day outdoor game comes to New York City for the first time, when the Rangers and Buffalo Sabres don vintage-inspired uniforms and face off in front of bundled-up fans in Queens.
Citi Field, January 1.

10. Hear Hermione Hoby
The English author launches her debut novel Neon in Daylight, a millennial New York City coming-of-age story that Ann Patchett likened to The Great Gatsby, in conversation with writer Elif Batuman.      
McNally Jackson, January 9.

11. Watch The 75th Golden Globe Awards
A cringeworthy must-see. 
Thanks to one of the weirder lineups of Golden Globe nominees in recent times (how did they manage to nominate no women film directors?), not to mention the looming presence of sexual-misconduct scandals that cratered the careers of so many past winners, this promises to be a very, very, very awkward broadcast. —M.Z.S.
January 7, NBC.

12. See Happy End
Family values! 
Love or loathe him, the Austrian-born Michael Haneke is a punk provocateur, even when he makes an elegant, carefully composed film like this one. Isabelle Huppert and Mathieu Kassovitz are the frigid siblings of a real-estate-developer family whose fortune is built (natch) on the bodies of the working class. —D.E.
In theaters now.

13. See Acquanetta
Going to extremes.
Michael Gordon’s loving gloss on Hollywood horror flicks from the 1940s kicks off Prototype, a concentrated festival of mini-operas scattered around town. Gordon’s new work, with a libretto by Deborah Artman, recounts the life of the B-movie starlet who fled her own career, with all the deliberate weirdness and emotional peaks and valleys that Gordon’s intense music suggests. —J.D.
Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center, opens January 9.

14. Go to Max Ophüls x 7
All that glitters.
Some of us regard Max Ophüls’s romantic melodrama The Earrings of Madame de … as one of the most perfect fusions of form and content in all cinema. You can see for yourself in the Metrograph’s all-35-mm. (no digital!) Ophüls retrospective, which includes his good American classics Letters From an Unknown Woman and The Reckless Moment, as well as his ambitious, wildly overrated swan song, Lola Montès. —D.E.
Metrograph, opens January 5.

15. See Parable of the Sower
An epic odyssey. 
The Afrofuturist and science-fiction author Octavia E. Butler’s groundbreaking dystopian novel is the basis for this musical dig into African-American spiritualism, race, gender, greed, and injustice. The show looks to be a highlight of the Public’s 2018 Under the Radar Festival. —S.H.
The Public Theater, January 8 through 15.

16. See RJD2
New Year, fresh beats.
The genre-shifting electronic musician, perhaps best known for scoring the theme to Mad Men, kicks off 2018 with a Brooklyn appearance in support of his soul-inflected recent album, Dame Fortune.
Brooklyn Bowl, January 3.

17. Read Her Mother’s Mother’s Mother & Her Daughters
A gripping generational saga. 
Maria José Silveira weaves 500 years of Brazilian history through a family of women in this novel, newly translated into English by Eric M.B. Becker. Based on Silveira’s own ancestors, these women are vibrant and complex — at turns disappointing and heartless and then loving and fierce.
Open Letter.

18. See In the Land of Pomegranates
Reaching for resolution.
Academy Award–nominated filmmaker Hava Kohav Beller’s beautifully shot documentary gives an urgent and very modern new face to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, following a group of young people from the opposing territories who travel to Germany to participate in a retreat called “Vacation From War.” Complications, as they say, ensue.  
Lincoln Plaza Cinema, opens January 5.

19. See Electric Lucifer
Adventures in religiosity.
Jim Findlay’s electronic-rock opera, making its world premiere, is based on the work of the late Canadian cult figure and electronic-music pioneer Bruce Haack. Expect appearances by a psychedelic-looking Jesus, Archangel Gabriel, and a band of demonic “Silverheads.”
The Kitchen, January 9 through 13.

20. See Tosca
No slouches here.
Puccini’s opera ends badly for the main characters, and David McVicar’s new production has shed its principals, too. The original Tosca, Cavaradossi, Scarpia, and conductor have all dropped out, and James Levine was bounced for alleged sexual misconduct. Still, the revamped cast consists of solid players Sonya Yoncheva and Zeljko Lucic, with Emmanuel Vuillaume in the pit. —J.D.
Metropolitan Opera, opens December 31.

21. See Spider Baby
Don’t go in the basement.
Nitehawk’s celebrating the films of 1968 — arguably the dawning of the modern filmmaking era, just as the old studio system burned up for good — and opens the series with this black-and-white horror classic about a clandestine family of cannibals and the relatives from out of town who get dangerously close to learning the truth.
Nitehawk, January 5 and 6.

22. See Mankind
One small step for man.
Playwright and director Robert O’Hara brings a new story of man’s (yes, specifically man’s) “capacity to eff everything up” to town. In a future where women have died out after centuries of mistreatment, Mark and Jason deal with a very unexpected bump in the road of their casual relationship: Jason gets pregnant. —S.H.
Playwrights Horizons, through January 28.

23. See The Chi
The creator of the series visits the First City from the Second.
Emmy Award–winning writer and actress Lena Waithe was one of the bright spots on this season’s Master of None. She now has her own Showtime series, set on Chicago’s South Side, which she’ll screen and discuss with radio host Charlamagne Tha God.
Kaufmann Concert Hall, 92nd Street Y, January 9.

24. See Hiroshi Sugimoto: Gates of Paradise
See it before it goes.
In the 16th century, when Japan was almost completely isolated from the West, four Tensho missionary boys made a pilgrimage to the Catholic devotional sites of Italy. For this series, the Japanese photographic legend Hiroshi Sugimoto retraced their steps, giving us a look at Renaissance Western civ through an Eastern viewfinder. Gorgeous.
Japan Society, through January 7.

25. See A Matter of Life and Death
Quite the revival. 
Among the least-heralded treasures of the Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger collaboration is this 1946 fantasy, in which RAF flyboy David Niven crashes into the Channel but remains in limbo while the soul collector tries to find him in that pesky English fog. —D.E.
Film Forum, December 29 through January 4.