Dear reader, if the idea of rest and relaxation sounds, at this depressing moment in 2018, like a charming myth from your youth, you’re not alone. If you can make the time to attend one of this weekend’s marches in support of reuniting families separated at the border, you’ll be doing a mitzvah. Ditto if you can chip in to help in another way. But take some time for mental health as well, and check out some of the best weekend events in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as the best new books, movies and TV shows.
Emma Garman recently started a column for The Paris Review called “Feminize Your Canon,” in which she explores the works of underappreciated women writers. Her first pick, Olivia Manning, spent some years living in Jerusalem; her novel “School for Love” is set there, and is worth picking up. If you’re interested in the particular set of difficulties involved in being a woman writer, look to Michelle Dean’s “Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion,” which Carrie Rickey recently reviewed for the Forward. And if you’re interested in another very complex feature of womanhood, Sheila Heti’s recent autobiographical novel “Motherhood” should do the trick. Read Yevgeniya Traps’ review for the Forward, here.
The new Israeli narrative feature “The Cakemaker” has won quite a bit of buzz. Before buying a ticket, read Michael Kaminer’s Q & A with director Ofir Raul Graizer. Perhaps even buzzier is the alarming documentary “Three Identical Strangers,” which pursues the story of identical Jewish triplets who were separated at birth, then accidentally found one another and realized their relationship later in life. And if you just want to have fun — really, why not? — season two of Netflix’s “GLOW,” created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, is supposed to be wonderful.
3) New York City
Thursday night, head to the New York Academy of Medicine for a talk by Rachel Hutter Epstein, author of the new book “Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything.” Also on Thursday is a one-night-only performance of Lyndsey Bourne’s play “I Was Unbecoming Then,” directed by Ilana Khanin, at Ars Nova’s ANT Fest 2018. Catch one of the few performances of Jason Robert Brown’s “Songs for a New World,” running only this weekend at Encores! Off Center.
4) Washington D.C.
The Olney Theatre Center is hosting a run of Leonard Bernstein’s early musical “On the Town,” which is always a pleasure to see. And this is the last weekend for two other plays the Forward has previously recommended: “The Vagrant Trilogy” at Mosaic Theater Company and “The Scottsboro Boys” at Signature Theatre.
A new show of John Singer Sargent’s portraits opens at the Art Institute of Chicago on Sunday; Sargent, whose painting “Mrs. Carl Meyer and Her Children” was exhibited at the Jewish Museum in 2016, is one of the masters of the form. On Sunday, Joe DiPietro’s play “F**king Men” (censorship ours), directed by David Zak, opens at the Pride Arts Center. The play is based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1920 play “La Ronde.” To be swept away, don’t miss the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s performances of “Star Wars: A New Hope” in concert.
6) Los Angeles
If you’re anxious about the state of the world, find a satiric confirmation of your fears with Bertolt Brecht’s “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,” now on at City Garage Theatre. For something slightly less close to home choose Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” at the Lonny Chapman Theatre. Also worth dropping by is a show of the work of the late Jack Goldstein at 1301PE gallery.