65 Things to Do in New York City During Spring 2014

[Spring Guide 2014]

65 Things to Do in New York City During Spring 2014
Holly Andres
See Merrill Garbus perform as tUnE-yArDs on May 7 at Rough Trade.

Paul Taylor Dance Company
Through March 30
The last master of American modern dance, now in his ninth decade, Taylor celebrates his brilliant troupe’s 60th anniversary with two new pieces and 19 repertory masterworks. Fusing contemporary wildness and sturdy traditional technique, they’ll take your breath away. David H. Koch Theater, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, davidhkochtheater.com --Elizabeth Zimmer

Congo: The Epic History of a People
by David Van Reybrouck
March 25
The one thing everyone seems to know about the Congo is that it’s a gigantic war-torn mess. But Belgian renaissance man Van Reybrouck — an archeologist, reporter, playwright, and poet — has set out to catalogue in epic fashion the forces that created it. The resulting 656-page tome displays the narrative aplomb that arises from Van Reybrouck’s background as an artist as well as his post-colonial consciousness: “I decided it would only be worth doing if I were able to include as many Congolese voices as possible,” he writes. But how to create such a history in a land with an oral tradition and a life expectancy of 45? Ecco, 656 pp., $29.99. --James Hannaham

Red Velvet
Performances begin March 25
This is not a play about a cupcake, but don’t let that disappoint you. A great success in its London premiere, Lolita Chakrabarti’s biographical drama concerns Ira Aldridge, a celebrated African-American actor of the 19th century and the first black actor to play Othello. Adrian Lester, Chakrabarti’s husband and a clever, kinetic, immensely appealing performer, again plays Aldridge in this production from Tricycle artistic director Indhu Rubasingham. Will audiences love it wisely and too well? St. Ann’s Warehouse, 29 Jay Street, Brooklyn, stannswarehouse.org. --Alexis Soloski

Award-winning fabulist Kevin Brockmeier's  A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade hits bookstores April 1.
Award-winning fabulist Kevin Brockmeier's A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade hits bookstores April 1.
Nymphomaniac: Volume II premieres in movie theaters on April 4.
Magnolia Pictures
Nymphomaniac: Volume II premieres in movie theaters on April 4.

“When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South”
March 27–June 29
An extensive selection of outsider art (loosely defined) from the past 50 years looks at black life in America, with particular attention to the South. Pieces made by the self-taught, such as Joe Minter’s marvelous junkyard sculpture, mix with boundary-crossing work from insiders, including Kevin Beasley’s installation of sounds recorded at his Virginia family home and Kara Walker’s silhouetted puppets depicting slave-trade cruelty. The Studio Museum in Harlem, 144 West 125th Street, studiomuseum.org. --Robert Shuster

The Heir Apparent
Performances begin March 28
Where there’s a will, there’s a French farce just waiting to be updated by David Ives. Ives, who treated Classic Stage audiences to School for Lies, an adaptation of Molière’s The Misanthrope, returns to the theater with this version of a lesser-known Jean-François Regnard play. Directed by John Rando, it concerns an ambitious young man promised a tidy inheritance from his uncle. Trouble is, that uncle insists on staying alive. Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th Street, classicstage.org. --Soloski

Kronos Quartet 40th Anniversary Celebration
March 28
The string quartet that busted open the idea of what a string quartet could be celebrates its 40th year with this Carnegie Hall date. The rundown of composers they’ll play — Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Bryce Dessner, for starters — highlights just how Kronos has helped shaped the contemporary repertoire. Minimalist OG Terry Riley has prepared a new piece for the group to premiere, too. Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Avenue, carnegiehall.org. --Seth Colter Walls

Tortured Dust
March 28
Throughout his career in the avant-garde, Stan Brakhage transformed footage he shot at home into unsettling cinematic poetry. His celebrated 1959 short, Window Water Baby Moving, portrays the birth of his first child with jittery editing and graphic close-ups. The shadowy Wedlock House: An Intercourse (1959), ostensibly about sex, looks like a horror-flick preview. His most involved effort was the rarely screened Tortured Dust (1984), a s ilent, 90-minute sequence of memory-like fragments that record the filmmaker’s family in their rustic cabin. The length is indulgent, but Brakhage considered the deeply personal work his magnum opus.
Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue, anthologyfilmarchives.org. --Shuster

The Raid 2
March 28
In a genre that hadn’t evolved much in years, Gareth Evans’s ferocious Indonesian martial-arts ballet The Raid: Redemption redefined the action movie much as The Matrix once did for science fiction. With the bar set incredibly high, rookie cop Rama (the wholly impressive Iko Uwais) returns to kick it even higher in this bloodier, brawnier crime saga, which expands everything: the set pieces, choreography, production values, even the plot. CG effects be damned; it’s amazing no stuntmen were killed in the making. Sony Pictures Classics, in limited release, sonyclassics.com. --Aaron Hillis

Finding Vivian Maier
March 28
She was born in NYC in 1926, spent her childhood in France, and later led a quiet life as a Chicago nanny before dying a recluse in 2009. Vivian Maier was also one of the great street photographers of the 20th century, which nobody knew until more than 100,000 of her negatives were unearthed at an auction. Co-directed by lucky finder John Maloof, this incredible and haunting investigation into Maier’s life, posthumous fame, obsession, and mental illness is at its best when her images bloom for the big screen. Sundance Selects, in limited release, ifcfilms.com. --Aaron Hillis

“Tout Truffaut”
Mach 28–April 17
That poignant freeze-frame on Jean-Pierre Léaud closing The 400 Blows. Jeanne Moreau mischievously cheating in a footrace against Jules and Jim. The sly merging of comedy, tragedy, and noir that is Shoot the Piano Player. Though critic-turned-auteur François Truffaut’s body of work was cut short by his death at 52, the many miracles in the French New Wave co-founder’s inventive body of work live on in Film Forum’s comprehensive 27-film series. Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, filmforum.org. --Hillis

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