Pop Music: The Pistol Annies Modernize Country
Nov. 2; itunes.apple.com.
There’s plenty of nostalgia in country music, but one area where artists are pushing to modernize is the genre’s gender gap. Conventional country radio wisdom dictates that listeners prefer men’s voices; one radio consultant recently suggested to Elle that the greater appeal of male country singers was actually biological.
The Pistol Annies, a trio of women country singers that includes arguably the genre’s biggest female star, Miranda Lambert, would beg to differ — as would the legions of fans. On Friday, Nov. 2, the same day as a sold-out, upcoming show at Town Hall in Manhattan, the group releases its third album, “Interstate Gospel,” a timeless, harmony-laden album that coincides neatly with a new push for women in country to get a bigger share of the radio airplay pie. (Both the Annies and Carrie Underwood, who is promoting her own new album with an all-woman touring roster, recently performed for an all-woman edition of the CMT Awards.)
The Annies’ consistently frank songwriting provides a more personal form of solidarity. As Lambert put it in a recent interview with The Tennessean, “We want women to hear us and know they’re not alone in whatever they’re doing.” NATALIE WEINER
TV: Robin Wright Takes Over ‘House of Cards’
Nov 2; netflix.com.
Frank Underwood, the disgraced 46th President of the United States, is dead and buried in “House of Cards.” But his ghost is haunting the administration of his widow, Claire, who’d overtaken the Oval Office at the end of last season, even before Kevin Spacey, who played Frank, was fired from the series after sexual assault allegations surfaced.
Now it’s Robin Wright’s icy-veined Claire who is breaking the fourth wall as she corrals the usual suspects — not least Frank’s former henchman, Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), held hostage under psychiatric observation, and Secretary of State Catherine Durant (Jayne Atkinson), still inconveniently alive after that shove down the stairs. But they’re the least of Claire’s worries: The Koch-like industrialists Bill Shepherd (Greg Kinnear) and his sister, Annette (Diane Lane) — Claire’s erstwhile confidant turned near-mortal enemy — are trying to fashion her into their puppet.
Alas, Claire has a plan in this sixth and final season, arriving on Friday, Nov. 2, on Netflix — and it’s a doozy that’s revealed in Episode 5 (the last episode provided for review). Because 2018 is the year of the woman, and hell hath no fury like Claire Underwood scorned. KATHRYN SHATTUCK
Art: Black Models Beyond ‘Olympia’
Through July 14, 2019; wallach.columbia.edu.
Libraries have been written about the black maid who stands behind the naked white subject of Manet’s “Olympia.” But she’s only the most famous example of the vexing, complicated, and ultimately critical role black figures and models have played in the evolution of modern art. That’s the argument of “Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today” at Columbia University’s recently renovated and expanded Wallach Art Gallery.
Curated by Denise Murrell and co-organized with Paris’s Musée d’Orsay, the exhibition gathers more than 100 diverse art works from more than 40 lenders, including Manet’s “La négresse (Portrait of Laure)” (1862-3), Romare Bearden “Patchwork Quilt” (1970) and Mickalene Thomas’s “Din, une très belle négresse #1” (2012). (To see the “Olympia” itself, you’ll have to wait till the show moves to the Musée d’Orsay.) WILL HEINRICH
Classical: Charles Wuorinen’s Latest
Oct. 29; guggenheim.org.
Charles Wuorinen’s 1968 String Trio is a classic work of the composer’s early period. Written by a young vanguardist who had already garnered a reputation for lashing out against the musical establishment, the work is dense, harsh and relentlessly atonal. And though Wuorinen’s tendency toward lacerating public pronouncements has changed little in the half-century since, his language has broadened and deepened.
When the Belgium-based Goeyvaerts String Trio commissioned a new piece from Wuorinen in celebration of his 80th birthday, the composer made a rare gaze towards the past. The Second String Trio, which will have its premiere on Monday at the Guggenheim’s Works & Process series, uses a transposed version of the same hexachord that shaped Wuorinen’s original Trio. Whether such an arcane form of nostalgia will be audible to listeners is not clear, but those curious to hear both Wuorinen works would be wise to attend the Goeyvarts performance. WILLIAM ROBIN
Film: ‘Searching for Ingmar Bergman’
Nov. 2; quadcinema.com.
When an interviewer asked him to define his art, Ingmar Bergman — that angsty dissector of the human condition — let out a deep sigh. “Well, one director said that a film director is someone who has so many problems to deal with that he never has time to think,” he said.
Bergman would have turned 100 on July 14, and the documentary “Searching for Ingmar Bergman” is the German director Margarethe von Trotta’s valentine to this enigmatic Swedish master, whose “The Seventh Seal” — particularly its scene of Max von Sydow’s knight playing chess with Death on a craggy beach — inspired her own career.
It’s a fascinating, occasionally rocky journey, featuring some of Bergman’s favorite actresses, including Liv Ullmann and Gunnel Lindblom; his sons Daniel and Ingmar Jr.; and admiring directors like Olivier Assayas and Ruben Ostlund. Still, curious viewers might long for a deeper dive into Bergman’s own perplexing problems — say, the interfamilial dynamics (Bergman had nine children with five wives as well as Ullman) that prompted Daniel to proclaim that he did not miss his deceased father at all.
“Searching for Ingmar Bergman” opens on Friday, Nov. 2, at the Quad Cinema in New York and on Nov. 9 in the Los Angeles area before a wider rollout. KATHRYN SHATTUCK
Theater: A Tantalizing Lineup for ‘24 Hour Musicals’
Oct. 29; 24hourplays.com.
The loopy, up-all-night energy is one of the most intoxicating things about the shows the 24 Hour Company puts on. No years of play development, no excruciating out-of-town tinkering with script and score. Just a clock that starts counting down at 9 p.m. the day before the curtain goes up. Writing begins after that, with rehearsal in the morning.
No pressure, then, for the tantalizing lineup of writers and composers for Monday’s incarnation of “The 24 Hour Musicals,” among them the singer-songwriter Aimee Mann, the comedian Ashley Nicole Black (“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”) and the musical theater veterans Kirsten Childs, Jonathan Marc Sherman and Rona Siddiqui. The four 15- to 20-minute musicals that make up the evening — a benefit for the Lilly Awards Foundation, which promotes gender parity in the theater — will be directed by Carolyn Cantor, Kathleen Marshall, Robert O’Hara and Kate Whoriskey.
Performers are slated to include Lea DeLaria, Savion Glover, Carol Kane, Patti Murin, Bebe Neuwirth and Molly Ringwald. And the spectators? They’ll be in their seats at the American Airlines Theater at 8 p.m. So, tick tock. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES
Dance: Akram Khan’s Swan Song
Oct. 31-Nov. 1; lincolncenter.org.
Over the past two decades, Akram Khan has made a name for himself as both an inventive choreographer and an exceptional dancer by putting contemporary twists on the classical Indian dance form Kathak. His solo productions are among his most celebrated works, but a dancer can only weather the job’s physical demands for so long. At 44, he has embarked on his final evening-length solo, “Xenos,” which will have its United States premiere at Lincoln Center’s annual White Light Festival.
In this dramatic work of storytelling, Khan, who is British with Bangladeshi roots, explores the history of Indian soldiers recruited by the British during World War I. He embodies one such colonial fighter, whose harrowing journey the title alludes to: “Xenos” is Greek for stranger or foreigner. Yet that word may also refer to this threshold in his career. As he has said, “I will truly feel alone when my body retires.” SIOBHAN BURKE