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The Schmooze

Sacha Baron Cohen, Keith Gessen And More To Read, Watch And Do This Weekend

We at the Forward’s culture desk are not known for being particularly athletic-minded, but nonetheless, even we think it’s a thrilling time for sports. The World Cup! Wimbledon! Donald Trump agilely avoiding the enormous balloon depicting him as a baby that will soon hover above him in London! Remarkable what the human body can do.

If you don’t share our newfound sports enthusiasm, never fear. Read on for the best weekend events in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles, as well as the best new books, movies and television.

1) Read

Two new novels beckon this week: Keith Gessen’s “A Terrible Country” and the 101-year-old A.E. Hotchner’s “The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom.” For a sobering nonfiction read, turn to Jonathan Santloffer’s “The Widower’s Notebook.”

2) Watch

A top pick for the weekend is the new Joaquin Phoenix vehicle “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot,” which co-stars Jonah Hill. On Sunday, Sacha Baron Cohen’s new series “Who is America?” debuts on Showtime, promising hilarious and possibly headache-inducing shenanigans. And if you want to seem some really extreme athleticism in completely unlikely circumstances, the new Netflix apocalypse thriller “How it Ends” is for you.

3) New York City

If you prefer your feats of physical stamina more along the lines of, say, escaping a tank of water with your legs chained in stocks, get ye to the New York Historical Society for Houdini Weekend, a fun-filled celebration of the 20th century’s most legendary illusionist. Also notable this weekend is Antoinette Nwandu’s “Pass Over” at Lincoln Center Theater, “Reza Abdoh” at MoMA PS1 and the Batsheva Young Ensemble at the Joyce.

4) Washington D.C.

Capital Fringe offers a plethora of options; one that looks promising, at least for the socialist-minded — greetings, Forward readers through history! — is “A People’s History of the United States” author Howard Zinn’s “Marx in Soho.” If your idea of fun sounds more like a musical about Albert Einstein, you’re also in luck. Head to the Hub Theatre for the dramatically-titled “The Secrets of the Universe (And Other Songs).”

5) Chicago

A hot theatrical ticket this weekend is Jen Silverman’s “The Roommate” at the Steppenwolf. Ditto for “Neverwhere” at Lifeline Theatre, which we’ve recommended before; if you’re in need of a rip-roaring tale that acknowledges the fundamental wretchedness of human beings this is just what you’re looking for. Also worth attending this weekend is a Sunday afternoon gallery talk at the Spertus Institute featuring Leslie Baum, Iris Bernblum and Jesse Malmed.

6) Los Angeles

Friday night, choose between a reading by Evgenia Citkowitz at Book Soup and PEN America’s screening of “A Filmmaker on Trial: Oleg Sentsov.” (For background on Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker, dissident and political prisoner currently on hunger strike, read this June New Yorker article by Masha Gessen.) Sunday, catch artist Barbara Bloom in conversation with Rebecca Matalon at MOCA.

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