Fall Forward

New Yorkers are creatures of judgment. We love some music; we hate some art; we crave our favorite culture fixes like candy—and in a city all but synonymous with cultural diversity, there’s plenty to fight about (even after the Republicans have packed up and gone their merry way).

This fall should provide much in the way of passionate disputation. On TV, there’s our cover model—beloved Jersey moll Drea de Matteo, late of The Sopranos—testing out her new sitcom chops in Hollywood. Mary-Louise Parker is headed in the opposite direction: back to Broadway to revisit the work of her favorite playwright, Craig Lucas, in Reckless. And at the Met, The Lion King’s Julie Taymor is getting ready to reimagine Mozart with a splashy new production of The Magic Flute.

Some of the biggest reinventions are in midtown, where MoMA relaunches in a glorious new building (complete with fancy-pants restaurant by Danny Meyer)—and Jacob the Jeweler expands into a splashy loft. Downtown, you’ll find feminist rockers Le Tigre, avant-garde diva Meredith Monk, and a hot Soho chocolate-maker. But everywhere, artists are popping up in surprising new venues: Salman Rushdie at New York City Opera, Johnny Cash at Sotheby’s, and Jenny Holzer and Toland Grinnell remaking, of all places, the old TWA terminal at JFK.

Debaters, start your engines. Get ready to discover some fresh horror, or some fresh wonder, to argue about. And once in a while, like an artist unafraid to start from scratch, prepare to be taken by surprise.

Nichols gets Closer … Giamatti goes Sideways … Topher Grace loses his innocence to Dylan Kidd … Sarsgaard’s kinky Kinsey role … The biopic boom … Renée Zellweger’s Bridget, take two

Mary-Louise Parker and Craig Lucas together again … Two playwrights wrestle with God … Sam Shepard, reticent interviewee … Phylicia Rashad does August Wilson … Neil LaBute defends a bully … Peter Dinklage as Richard III … Edie Falco’s dark side … Matthew Broderick gets his post-Producers theater fix

Artists at the airport … MoMA remade … Benjamin Edwards off the grid … Gilbert Stuart paints America’s dad … Isamu Noguchi’s centenary … Chicks with cameras … Old iconography in hip-hop regalia

Cynthia Ozick revisits the Bronx … Saving chick-lit from itself … August Kleinzahler’s Old Jersey … Political novels: left, right, and center … Philip Roth gets counterfactual … Jonathan Lethem and Craig Thompson picture fiction’s future

Drea de Matteo forsakes Christopher for Joey … Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewife … J. J. Abrams deserts his cast … Law & Order and CSI shoot it out

Nas gets in touch with his roots … Rupee, crown prince of soca … The Clash, a quarter-century later … Le Tigre scratches at the mainstream … Johnny Cash’s last stand at Sotheby’s … Pop gets grown-up

Classical & Dance
Julie Taymor remakes The Magic Flute … Salman Rushdie gets operatic … Kronos plays music from outer space … World Music Institute at twenty

Gray Kunz gets a kitchen of his own … Jacques Torres builds a Wonkaland … BLT Steak’s fishy brother … Three new pizzerias are anything but cheesy

Pucci paints Fifth Avenue red (and orange, and purple) … Peter Elliot works blue … Alessandro Dell’Acqua sets Madison Avenue a-shimmer … Jewelers a-poppin’

Fall Forward