Mark Your Calendar

We narrowed your choices down to the very best of the season so you're not overwhelmed

Film

'A History of Violence'
Opens September 23
A tense, disconcerting meta-thriller about a Midwestern family under siege, David Cronenberg's latest masterwork confirms its maker as the greatest director working in the English language today. A History of Violence more than fulfills the philosophical dimensions of its title, and as a film that questions how we respond to being terrorized and what it means to live with blood on our hands, its political subtext is unmistakable. Lim

Japanese Cinema
Early Autumn, September 14–January 2006, Museum of Modern Art, 11 W 53rd, 212-708-9480
"The Beauty of the Everyday: Japan's Shochiku Company at 110," September 24–October 20, Walter Reade Theater, 165 W 65th, 212-875-5600 Mikio Naruse, October 21-November 17, Film Forum, 209 W Houston, 212-727-8110Kenji Mizoguchi, October 31-November 22, BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Ave, Bklyn, 718-636-4100
The city's repertory houses collectively attempt a history of Japanese cinema this fall. A five-month-long series at MOMA presents Kurosawa, Oshima, and Ozu classics alongside overlooked directors like Heinosuke Gosho and Hiroshi Shimizu. The New York Film Festival devotes an extensive sidebar to the Shochiku Company on the occasion of the pioneering film studio's 110th anniversary. And two seriously under-retro'd Japanese masters—Kenji Mizoguchi and Mikio Naruse—finally get their due. Lim

Glam it up: Peter Hujar's 1973 Fayette from his first American retrospective
photo: Matthew Marks Gallery
Glam it up: Peter Hujar's 1973 Fayette from his first American retrospective

'The New World'
Opens December 25
Terrence Malick, Hollywood's most enigmatic auteur, emerges from hibernation to take on the story of John Smith and Pocahontas, reportedly staying close to the historical record. If Malick's fourth feature is even half as impressive as his first, second, or third, it should be the best American movie of the year. Lim


Theater

'A Soldier's Play'
Previews begin September 20, opens October 17
Second Stage Theatre, 307 W 43rd, 212-246-4422
Originally premiered by the tragically now defunct Negro Ensemble Company in 1981, Charles Fuller's deep, troubling play is a whodunit that contemplates racism in the U.S. military—both the outward and the internalized, self-hating kinds. Built to supply stunning performance opportunities, the script's first major revival, directed by Jo Bonney, comes with a potentially awesome cast, including Taye Diggs, Teagle F. Bougere, Anthony Mackie, and as the mean-mouthed sergeant every private loves to hate, James McDaniel. Feingold

'Hamlet'
November 2 through December 11
Classic Stage Company, 136 E 13th, 212-677-3210
Shakespeare's tale of the Danish prince with a problem who kills his uncle is still the world's most popular play, and with reason: The text is so rich with meaning that Prince Hamlet can be almost anything you want to see him as. Given an actor with the power to command, like Michael Cumpsty, and a director, like CSC artistic director Brian Kulick, who enjoys nothing better than a daring, outrageous risk, the world's most quoted work of dramatic literature might even cough up some new meanings. Feingold

'Seascape'
Previews begin October 28, opens November 21
Booth Theatre, Bway & 45th, 212-239-6200
Sci-fi, Edward Albee–style: What happens when articulate, upwardly evolved lizards invade the upscale seaside house where a long-standing marriage is already on the rocks? If you think lizards haven't got problems too, you weren't around in 1974, when Albee's startling play first slithered across the public mind. Lincoln Center Theater's production, staged by Mark Lamos, features senior eminences George Grizzard and Frances Sternhagen in the human roles, with blazing young talents Elizabeth Marvel and Frederick Weller as the not-so-inhuman serpentine duo. Feingold


Dance

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Dream Come True: Donald Byrd directs Julia Wilkins and David Alewine in "The Sleeping Beauty Notebook."
photo: Chris Bennion
Donald Byrd/Spectrum Dance Theater
November 2 through 12
Dance Theater Workshop, 219 W 19th,
212-924-0077
Through all sorts of financial difficulty (his last big hit, Harlem Nutcracker, sank his New York troupe) and geographic mobility, Byrd has kept alive his interest in a cross-cultural examination of concepts of beauty. Now the director of Seattle's Spectrum Dance Theater, he's developed The Sleeping Beauty Notebook, an exploration of beauty, evil, gender, and social order set to Tchaikovsky's familiar score and which deconstructs the original 19th-century classic, subtracting some scenes while expanding others using his hard-edged contemporary and ballet technique, burlesque, and pantomime. Zimmer

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
November 8 through 13
Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Ave, 212-242-0800, joyce.org
Belgium's austere dance doyenne, whose troupe replaced Mark Morris in 1992 as the resident troupe at Brussels' Royal Opera De Munt/La Monnaie, has brought audiences to their feet with ensemble works to composers like Steve Reich. She returns to New York with her two-year-old solo Once, set to the entire classic LP Joan Baez in Concert, Part 2, which she's loved since she was a small child. Zimmer

Savion Glover
December 20 through January 15
Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave,
212-242-0800, joyce.org
The 21st century's first true tap sensation, Tony- and Bessie-award-winning Glover has performed on Broadway and in Hollywood. He graces Chelsea with a four-week holiday run, including several special matinees; he'll be working up material for a new touring show, joined by his terrific jazz band, the Otherz. Expect many surprises. Zimmer


Books

Melanie Rehak
September 26
Coliseum Books, 11 W 42nd,
212-803-5890
Few people born in 1930 could have graced a 1978 Playboy cover—but Nancy Drew did. Her adventures have sold over 80 million books. Rehak's Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her argues that the real mystery exists in her creators' lives and "the long-buried secret behind the identity of Carolyn Keene." Pascoe

'Readings With Fence Magazine'
October 18
The Kitchen, 512 W 19th,
212-255-5793
About eight lines into the bogus Lyn Hejinian intro to Geraldine Kim's Povel (for "poem-novel"), we were throwing back our head and cackling maniacally—the unabridged title is four full pages long. The main event is a relentless series of memory-soaked chunklets, but laughter—or just sheer spazziness—is thankfully never far. Joining Kim are fellow poets published by the laudable literary journal Fence: Aaron Kunin, author of Folding Ruler Star (a "values-neutral Paradise Lost"), and Laura Sims (Practice, Restraint). Park

Geoff Dyer
October 25
New School Library, 66 W 12th,
212-229-5488
The English author's latest is a perceptive, albeit rambling, attempt to understand the nature of photography. Filled with photos "by" and "about" Walker Evans, Alfred Stieglitz, and Diane Arbus (among others), The Ongoing Moment shifts fluidly throughout the last century of photography's history as Dyer explores different ways of seeing and being seen. Shalita

Paul Collins
November 9 ,
Housing Works Used Book Café 126 Crosby,
212-334-3324
Voice essayist Collins is a connoisseur of the offbeat, a literary sleuth who can translate foxed-paged eurekas into brilliant comic prose. In The Trouble With Tom, his fourth book, the chase is on, as Collins hunts for the whereabouts of Thomas Paine's bones—common sense dictates, of course, that the quest begin at a gay bar on Grove Street. Rich with details (such as the fact that Paine's portraitist charged an extra $20 to include the sitter's hands), Trouble is almost criminally diverting. Park

Jeff Byles
November 22
Center for Architecture,
536 La Guardia Pl,
212-968-1961
Readers of these pages may recognize the Bylesian byline. His forthcoming debut, Rubble, is a cultural history of unbuilding—from Haussmann's Parisian overhaul to the collapse of the twin towers—that will make him a writer to watch. "As devastating civic trauma, beguiling counterarchitecture, rousing urban spectacle, and sheer scuttling of place," he writes, "demolition may well be the black art of our time." Byles illuminates how we are what we destroy. Park


Art

'Safe: Design Takes On Risk'
October 16 through January 2
MOMA, 11 W 53rd,
212-708-9400
Oh, how my building super laughed when I had to think about the best place for him to install the now mandatory carbon dioxide detector. OK, he didn't laugh; he was pretty pissed that I'd take time to think about where the little disk looked best. If it had been well designed I might not have had to think so hard. Enter the 300-plus objects on view in "Safe: Design Takes on Risk." Form on one hand, function on the other—these days, I'm not taking any chances, aesthetic or otherwise. Snow

'Robert Rauschenberg: Combines'
December 20 through April 2
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave,
212-535-7710
Rauschenberg's best-known work—the "combines"—created a new form of collage that is oft credited with turning the piecing of materials into a truly American art. Obviously lauded as influential (almost to a fault), the work will surely benefit from its first comprehensive presentation (or celebration, depending on how you look at it). Snow


Photo

'The New City: Sub/Urbia in Recent Photography'
September 30 through January 15
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Ave,
800-WHITNEY
Sub/Urbia" promises to examine the areas just outside of our fair city (and outside of our fair cities all over America) and is sure to present the suburban ideal (and not so ideal) that defines our relationship to such space. We knew that Gregory Crewdson would be invited to this block party, but we look forward to pieces from Zoe Leonard's Analog and Tim Davis's Retail,and to work from Amir Zaki, Catherine Opie, and Walead Beshty too. Snow

Peter Hujar
October 23 through January 16
P.S.1, 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Qns,
718-784-2084
Peter Hujar captured, in black-and-white and clear as day, a New York that was seedy and sultry in the best of all possible ways. His lens and framing classicized images that were anything but—his portraits and street photography documented, in a manner that recalled the bygone era of Brassai and Weegee, his often gritty world in the late '70s and early '80s. Here, 70 photographs, most never exhibited, make up the first American retrospective of Hujar's work. Snow


Music

The White Stripes
September 24 & 25
Keyspan Park, 1904 Surf Ave, Bklyn,
718-449-TIXS
The Stripes were born to bash out their red, white, and blues 'neath the candy-colored lights of Coney Island, where the pleasures are simple and archaic. Jack's songwriting reaches a timeless peak on their latest album, Get Behind Me Satan, and live, he channels Zorro via Cole Porter and latter-day Dylan. Meg is a blissful, childish silent-movie star. And their onstage chemistry continues to light fires out of thin air. Phillips

Lyrics Born+Perceptionists
October 8
Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey,
212-533-2111
With Jay-Z out of the game, Tokyo-born LB commands the surest flow in hip-hop. Though his shtick gets a little hands-in-the-air, his voice never fails him. For Perceptionists Mr. Lif and Akrobatik, politics begins with sharing the talent, rhythmic and verbal both. Nobody rocks a more conscious party. Christgau

Franz Ferdinand
October 17 & 18
Madison Square Garden, Seventh Ave & 32nd,
212-465-MSG1
If you caught a gig or three by these well-clad Scots during last year's touring marathon, you already know that FF's musical abilities have sharpened way beyond their fine debut disc. The evidence is all over its successor, and although the progression from last year's packed clubs to MSG has been a speedy one, you also know it's well deserved. Walters

Youssou N'Dour
October 23 through 27
Zankel Hall at Carnegie, 881 Seventh Ave,
212-247-7800
Rather than mount an international tour behind his 2004 Cairo-mbalax fusion album Egypt, a model so irresistible that Thione Seck has one out now, the world's greatest pop star waited till he was confident he could do the music right—in a historic and unlikely-to-be-repeated engagement designed to prove how cosmopolitan, fraternal, and self-sufficient Islam can be. Christgau

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Gwen hollas back at Madison Square Garden November 11.
photo: Lorenzo Agius
Gwen Stefani+Black Eyed Peas
November 11
Madison Square Garden, Seventh Ave & 32nd,
212-465-MSG1
In her beautiful new video for "Cool" Stefani does a great late Madonna: brown hair, flowing dress, pseudo-European je ne sais quoi. At the Garden expect something less subtle and more showy from the No Doubt frontwoman; after all, she didn't hire those fired-up bleacher stompers in "Hollaback Girl" for nothing. With the baldly crowd-pleasing Peas, who've lately made their own rewarding journey from mild to wild. Wood
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