Sun

4/22

Mon

4/23

Tue

4/24

Wed

4/25

Thu

4/26

Fri

4/27

Sat

4/28

Today

Sun

4/22

Music

The Residents

Photo:

Masked and anonymous art-rock weirdos the Residents have been producing cryptic electronic sounds since the early Seventies, when they invited listeners to Meet the Residents. Nearly four dozen albums later (their entire catalog is currently being reissued by London’s Cherry Red label in remastered and expanded editions), the former quartet is down to a single original member. That guy, now sporting a cow costume onstage, still fronts one of pop music’s great dystopian concerns. For their In Between Dreams tour, the Residents crank up nocturnal reveries from across their catalog. Also expect material from their latest album, The Ghost of Hope (a meditation on train wrecks); a preview of an upcoming project dedicated to the blues; and video monologues involving Mother Teresa, John Wayne, and Richard Nixon.

Richard Gehr

Film

This Is Our Land

I know very little French, but I’m guessing the direct translation of Chez Nous, the title of Lucas Belvaux’s latest film, would be closer to “Our Home” than “Our Land.” In English, at least, the difference is subtle yet telling: “land” suggests ownership, “home” suggests inclusion. You fight over land; you fight inside a home. Inspired by recent and very real phenomena in French politics, Belvaux’s fictional movie presents the tale of a small-town nurse who joins a far-right, anti-immigrant party and becomes its mayoral candidate. And while it is certainly about different groups claiming ownership over a land, the film truly comes to life when it tackles the way these divisions can tear up a home — and a society.

Bilge Ebiri

Theater

Pygmalion

“You were born in Delhi, but lived in Lisson Grove,” the priggish phonetician Henry Higgins says, diagnosing the accent of the spitfire flower girl Eliza Doolittle. His presumptuousness raises her hackles. He also pricks up our ears: What’s this Delhi business? George Bernard Shaw didn’t write that. No, he didn’t, but this small textual edit is an easy way into Eric Tucker’s potent and persuasive staging of Pygmalion (Bedlam), which gives us an Indian Eliza. Smashingly played by Vaishnavi Sharma, this Eliza wants to lift herself out of poverty in a society where the strikes against her are markers not only of class but also of race and origin. This is a Pygmalion that may make you feel for her as you have never felt before.

Laura CollinsHughes

Theater

The Edge of Our Bodies

For those New York theatergoers who saw more than one Adam Rapp drama during the Aughts — there were sometimes two or more productions of a Rapp play in any given year of that decade — The Edge of Our Bodies, which is currently playing at 59E59 Theaters, might come as something of a surprise. This is basically a one-woman show about a sixteen-year-old girl named Bernadette (Carolyn Molloy), who reads to the audience from a journal she’s keeping, on the set of a school production of Jean Genet’s The Maids in which she is performing. Intelligent and curious, Bernadette is a fully realized female heroine who sounds like a Rapp character only incidentally.

Dan Callahan

Talks

America, Real and Imagined

This year, the PEN World Voices Festival seeks to take a closer look at American society. In this spirit, it will host writers Joy Harjo, Francisco Cantú, Sarah Gerard, and Lesley Nneka Arimah to discuss what it means to be American. Indigenous poet Harjo, of the Muscogee Nation, has dedicated her practice to exploring her background and resisting narratives of American imperialism. Writer Cantú spent 2008–2012 as a U.S. Border Patrol agent, and has written a book about his experiences, entitled The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches From the Border. Gerard is a Hazlitt contributor whose 2017 book Sunshine State explores Florida as a microcosm of America. Arimah will round out the panel as a U.K.-born writer who drew from her experiences living in the States and Nigeria for her 2017 debut collection of short stories, What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky. In the face of the homogenous national identities often invoked in political rhetoric, these writers will draw on their personal and professional experiences to celebrate the nuances of America and its people. Click here to peruse the complete PEN schedule.

—Alana Mohamed

Film

Solaris

A genuine star trek with no star wars, Solaris (1972) was Russian mystic Andrei Tarkovsky’s first brush with the science-fiction mode, but not his last. (Later in the same decade, Stalker, from 1979, conveyed his vision of an earthly dystopia.) Here, a psychologist is sent skyward to untangle the mysterious goings-on at a remote space station. It’s a space-horror premise rendered as a monograph, or a poem from antiquity. The good doctor soon learns that the cause of the station’s inexplicable happenings — the planet they’re orbiting exerts a hallucinatory influence over anyone who comes near — are probably terrible but certainly irresistible. Tarkovsky’s glacial patience suggests he would side with the gyrating heavens, yet his knack for spooky doings arguably makes Solaris the best entry for newcomers. In features subsequent to Solaris, Tarkovsky would leave behind the ’Scope frame and scale back the fleshy Eastman-color; here, they’re both employed to peak capacity.

Jaime NChristley

Film

Sorcerer

Considering how Sorcerer (1977) was originally wiped off the face of the earth by a movie (Star Wars) that’s come to be regarded as an apex of intellectual-property behemoths, it’s interesting to think now of the ways in which William Friedkin’s remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1953 The Wages of Fear parlays several strategies recently favored by writers and producers to revitalize intellectual-property empires of their own. It contains no fewer than four origin stories, exhibits a kind of gritty realism, and adopts sensory overload as its rule of law. Yet these features are almost circumstantial, employed by Friedkin (from a script by Walon Green) with almost no obligation whatsoever to the kind of commercial expediency sewn into the fabric of a post-Lucas cultural landscape. The recent subject of extensive critical reclamation, Sorcerer thrums with terrible excitement, perhaps not improving on Clouzot’s classic but making its mark as a magnificent, all-powerful engine of stress and despair.

Jaime NChristley

Mon

4/23

Film

Odd Obsession

Photo: Photofest

A deranged group of affairs unfolds in Kon Ichikawa’s Odd Obsession (1959), about an aging antiques dealer (Ganjirô Nakamura) who, worried about his loss of virility, arranges for his wife (Machiko Kyô) to become infatuated with his young, handsome doctor (Tatsuya Nakadai) — who also happens to be engaged to their daughter (Junko Kanô). Occasionally disorienting us temporally and always disorienting us morally, Ichikawa’s film never really seems on the level: Characters tolerate all sorts of bizarre behavior in one another, without quite letting on what they truly think. And sure enough, the further we delve into the curious relationships at the heart of this kinky morality play, the more we understand just how fallen these people are.

Bilge Ebiri

Film

To Live and Die in L.A.

When he made To Live and Die in L.A., William Friedkin was fourteen years removed from The French Connection, his Best Picture–winning 1971 hit. To Live and Die in L.A. returned Friedkin to the crime drama, but his approach was different. As he notes in his excellent memoir, The Friedkin Connection, he “would abandon the gritty macho look” of The French Connection for “something more in the unisex style of Los Angeles in the 1980s.” The result is so of its time that you can only be captivated by it.

Bilge Ebiri

Tue

4/24

Theater

Feeding the Dragon

Photo: JAMES LEYNSE

In her autobiographical solo piece Feeding the Dragon (Primary Stages), Sharon Washington tells us that, when her mother became pregnant at 42, the doctors warned her that, at her age, the baby would be “either very intelligent or Mongoloid.” I am happy to report that the first alternative turned out to be true: As Feeding the Dragon shows us, Sharon Washington is very, very intelligent. In addition to which, she’s a delightful person to be around for ninety minutes, with a fine actor’s capacity for transformation and a born storyteller’s knack for casting a magical haze over even the most everyday events.

Michael Feingold

Film

Weekend

Jean-Luc Godard, who could no more turn his back on the movies than John Barrymore could fire Walter Connolly in Twentieth Century, said goodbye to the cinema for the first (and, arguably, the loudest) time with this 1967 horror comedy, in which the complacent French middle class is both beast and quarry. Part geologically dense essay on colonizing nations reaping what they’ve sown, part Hope-and-Crosby road comedy in hell, Weekend is best experienced with a rapt audience, as gasps and giggles are mixed with wild abandon. Loyal fans of the New Wave sphinx-auteur pore over movies like Weekend like Talmudic scholars — and there’s plenty to tuck into, to be sure. But as descent-into-the-inferno sagas go, Weekend seems to owe a debt to writer-director Pierre Étaix, whose style of clockwork comic set pieces, grounded in barely-tolerable minutiae, are what gives Godard’s dumpster fire & brimstone spectacle its sense of proportion.

Jaime NChristley

Wed

4/25

TV

The Handmaid’s Tale

Photo: George Kraychyk/Hulu

The second season of Hulu’s Margaret Atwood adaptation The Handmaid’s Tale — which earned the streaming service its first-ever Emmy award, for best drama, in its first — faces the dual challenges of living up to the outsized hype of season one, and extending the narrative further beyond the scope of the 1985 book. Hopefully guest stars Cherry Jones, Marisa Tomei, Clea DuVall, and Bradley Whitford are up to the challenge.

Lara Zarum

Film

Irezumi

This short, prickly, unabashedly sexualized 1966 revenge thriller (a/k/a The Spider Tattoo) is one of the better films I’ve seen by the brilliantly prolific Yasuzô Masumura, in which a woman (Ayako Wakao, who made many films with the director) embarks on a program of bloody vengeance after enduring several rounds of exploitation and abuse. Masumura’s approach to the material is strange — everything feels dirty, but he doesn’t seem interested in punching up moments of sadism or prurience. The summary effect is a weird egalitarianism, even in the face of pulpy horrors. Masumura’s frenetic work tempo (averaging four pictures a year at his peak) might explain this casual attitude: no time to hold the audience’s hand. Just the same, the film’s relatively slow burn, painstakingly establishing narrative layers around a rather pro forma revenge plot, points to a more cosmic fetish: the death drive, emblemized midway through with a painting of haunting eroticism, that of a killer queen.

Jaime NChristley

TV

My House

Vice is bringing back the Nineties with this insider’s guide to New York City’s hypercompetitive underground queer ballroom scene, and I’m billing it as an excellent companion to Drag Race. The reality show will feature Tati 007, Alex Mugler, Jelani Mizrahi, Lolita Balenciaga, Relish Milan, and finally, and most importantly, Precious Ebony, who will guide us through the scene, the art, and, of course, the voguing.

Laura Beck

Thu

4/26

Theater

Symphonie Fantastique

Photo: Richard Termine

Two decades ago, when puppeteer Basil Twist and his team made the first iteration of Symphonie Fantastique, large flat-screen televisions were only just becoming a common fixture in the American visual landscape. Twist, then 28, was experimenting in a 500-gallon aquarium with the notion of “abstract puppetry,” to a recording of Hector Berlioz’s florid 1830 composition. Twist’s canvas has since grown into a 1,000-gallon tank — here gussied up with steampunk-like projections of theatrical curtains and positioned above a grand Steinway at which a vicar-like Christopher O’Riley plays Franz Liszt’s piano arrangement of the Berlioz orchestral score. In 2018, Symphonie takes on a new challenge: to make viewers understand that we are not, as we might surmise, watching an animated film on a large screen. The dazzling show is a 55-minute live performance, engineered by wet-suited puppeteers who sprawl on a platform above the tank and dangle their arms into it to create a panoply of special effects, using feathers and silk and other materials. When it’s over, they invite you backstage to observe how it all works.

Elizabeth Zimmer

Fri

4/27

Film

Taxi Driver

Photo: Photofest

Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver hovers somewhere between realism and expressionism. It’s a vision of Hell — announced right there in its opening, as the cab emerges from the steam like some kind of automotive demon — that had the good fortune of being shot in a town actually turning hellish. Scorsese lets actors improvise, and his camera run, but the increasingly fractured editing structure fragments the story, at times even doubling back on itself. Bernard Herrmann’s score is both jazzy and operatic, with sax solos doing battle with thundering, brassy crescendos; it evokes both classic Hollywood and nerve-jangling horror.

Bilge Ebiri

Music

Tigue

While Tigue’s website boasts that “we hit things with other types of things,” that’s only about half the Brooklyn percussion trio’s equation. Like light itself, Tigue’s music is a combination of waves and particles, of percussive strikes and distended drones adding up to either abstractly challenging pop or accessible contemporary classical music, depending on your point of view. Ohioans Matt Evans, Amy Garapic, and Carson Moody have been playing together since 2012. Their 2015 debut, Peaks, featured bongos, frying pan, droning Shruti box, melodica, tin can, and electronic keyboards over a diverse array of tracks. Tigue’s new Strange Paradise, however, distills their sound down to three constantly evolving longer tracks inviting habitation, contemplation, and a groovy sort of meditation the band characterizes as “ecstatic complexity.”

Richard Gehr

Music

A World in Trance

Spell-binding music from Afghanistan, India, and Iran are on tap during international-music impresario Robert Browning’s fifth annual A World in Trance festival. The three-night séance opens Friday with Homayoun Sakhi, the innovative Afghan virtuoso of the lute-like rubâb. Expect Indian ragas and Afghan folk music performed with unorthodox syncopation and sympathetic strings. Saturday, Indian sitarist Ustad Shavid Parvez Khan will dive even deeper into the Hindustani classical tradition. Accompanied, like Sakhi, by the great tablist Nitin Mitta, Parvez Khan shines particularly bright during the unaccompanied meterless alap section that introduces a raga. On Sunday, Iranian-born ney (bamboo flute) improviser Hossein Omoumi will be joined by the vocalist Jessika Kenney, Amir Koushkani (lutes), and Hamin Honari (percussion), and will concentrate on the Persian songs of Rumi and Attar.

Richard Gehr

Sat

4/28

Music

Astrid Hadad

Photo: Octavio Nava./SECRETARIA DE CULTURA

Not unlike the 110 eighteenth-century baroque works hanging in the Met’s current “Pinxit Mexici” show, Mexican performance artist Astrid Hadad was also “painted in Mexico.” Known for colorfully outrageous architectural costumes she changes for nearly every song, Hadad has been Frankenstein-ing her culture into satirical and politically incisive cabaret commentaries since mounting a tribute to groundbreaking ranchera singer Lucha Reyes in the early Nineties. Her influences include Mexican street theater, the cabaret-centric “golden age” of Mexican cinema, and Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s political theater. Mary Magdalene, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Mexico’s complex relationship to tequila have inspired her thematic performances. Hadad’s targets range from the crass commercialism of Frida Kahlo to Mexican macho in both its local and globalist permutations. Consider her a force to be reckoned with.

Richard Gehr

Music

A World in Trance

Spell-binding music from Afghanistan, India, and Iran are on tap during international-music impresario Robert Browning’s fifth annual A World in Trance festival. The three-night séance opens Friday with Homayoun Sakhi, the innovative Afghan virtuoso of the lute-like rubâb. Expect Indian ragas and Afghan folk music performed with unorthodox syncopation and sympathetic strings. Saturday, Indian sitarist Ustad Shavid Parvez Khan will dive even deeper into the Hindustani classical tradition. Accompanied, like Sakhi, by the great tablist Nitin Mitta, Parvez Khan shines particularly bright during the unaccompanied meterless alap section that introduces a raga. On Sunday, Iranian-born ney (bamboo flute) improviser Hossein Omoumi will be joined by the vocalist Jessika Kenney, Amir Koushkani (lutes), and Hamin Honari (percussion), and will concentrate on the Persian songs of Rumi and Attar.

Richard Gehr

Film

Taxi Driver

Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver hovers somewhere between realism and expressionism. It’s a vision of Hell — announced right there in its opening, as the cab emerges from the steam like some kind of automotive demon — that had the good fortune of being shot in a town actually turning hellish. Scorsese lets actors improvise, and his camera run, but the increasingly fractured editing structure fragments the story, at times even doubling back on itself. Bernard Herrmann’s score is both jazzy and operatic, with sax solos doing battle with thundering, brassy crescendos; it evokes both classic Hollywood and nerve-jangling horror.

Bilge Ebiri