New Year’s Eve is so obvious. The noise. The funny hats. That freaking ball. And, in fact, as any New Yorker will tell you, the year really begins eight months later, just after Labor Day weekend, when our stomachs begin to flutter with anticipation, expectation, even longing for culture’s reawakening. It’s like the first day of school without the agita—or maybe with the agita, given the resulting scheduling nightmare: how to cram in all the delectable treats on display? Like tortured, shirtless Daniel Radcliffe in the revival of Equus, or tortured, pirouetting Billy Elliot in Elton John’s musical. Perhaps you’re a traditionalist, in which case you’re blessed with revivals on Broadway (The Seagull with Peter Sarsgaard) and Off (The Tempest with Mandy Patinkin). There are breakouts on the big screen: Rachel Weisz in The Brothers Bloom (she’s funny!); Benicio Del Toro’s tour de force as Che; Josh Brolin’s uncanny presidential turn in W. And breakthroughs on the small screen—as in other psychic dimensions on the new J. J. Abrams drama, Fringe. Big literary guns Toni Morrison, Philip Roth, and John Updike drop new tomes. Superstar painter Marlene Dumas finally gets her New York show. And bratty Brit popsters Oasis live to fight again. Are you really still reading this? Begin clicking and start planning.