Dance: Spike Jonze, Merce Cunningham, Marcel Marceau
July 20-24, filmlinc.org.
Dance doesn’t just happen on stages, it thrives onscreen, too. For the 46th installment of the Dance on Camera Festival, featuring 16 programs over five days at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, films from 17 countries promise to deliver a glorious bonanza of movement.
Along with documentaries exploring the work and lives of remarkable choreographers like Jerome Robbins and Merce Cunningham — “If the Dancer Dances” chronicles passing on Cunningham’s “RainForest” to members of the Stephen Petronio Company — the festival hosts Mark Wilkinson’s exploration of “American Tap.”
And there are some surprises: “The Mime Marcel Marceau,” directed by the admirable Dominique Delouche, features unseen footage from 1964. But the highlight is surely “Spike Jonze Is a Dancer,” an evening looking at the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s collaborations with music and dance artists. Several of his works will be presented, along with a dance-themed montage that he created just for the program. GIA KOURLAS
TV: Robin Williams Documentary on HBO
July 16; hbo.com.
David Letterman’s first impression of Robin Williams was that he could fly. Whizzing across the comedy-club stage, he had such frenetic energy that both his body and brain appeared to be moving at a speed many times that of mere mortals. “All I could really do was hang onto the microphone for dear life, and here was a guy who could levitate,” Mr. Letterman said.
In “Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind,” airing Monday, July 16, on HBO, the director Marina Zenovich captures that quicksilver genius through archival clips and interviews of Mr. Williams and reminiscences by Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Bobcat Goldthwait, Pam Dawber and Elayne Boosler, as well as his older son, Zak. Skipping from strength to strength — his Juilliard studies, skyrocket to fame in “Mork & Mindy,” milestone performance at the Met Opera and Oscar win for “Good Will Hunting” — the documentary also digs into Mr. Williams’s substance abuse and mental health. And while his suicide on Aug. 11, 2014, is given swift attention — Mr. Williams had received a misdiagnosis of Parkinson’s; an autopsy revealed Lewy body dementia instead — Ms. Zenovich still proves her point: Mr. Williams was happiest when he made the world laugh. KATHRYN SHATTUCK
Art: David Wojnarowicz at the Whitney
Through Sept. 30; whitney.org.
David Wojnarowicz, who died at 37 in 1992, is remembered as an artist and an activist. But what he excelled at was wearing both hats at once, as in his extraordinary 1990 photostat “Untitled (One day this kid …).” A block of text, surrounding a grainy photo of the artist as a smiling child, enumerates the societal threats to health and safety that apply to any boy with the innocent desire to “place his naked body on the body of another boy.”
By stringing together a sequence of worst-case scenarios, from execution to electroshock, and directing them all at the smiling photo, Wojnarowicz makes it impossible for any literate viewer not to participate in the fear that was a part of his own gay experience — and without even mentioning the AIDS crisis explicitly. His largest retrospective to date runs through September at the Whitney. WILL HEINRICH
Film: Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot’
In 1972, when he was 21, John Callahan decided he was too drunk to drive after a night of bar hopping and handed his Volkswagen keys to a man he barely knew, who drove into a utility pole at 90 miles an hour and left Mr. Callahan a quadriplegic. He was already an alcoholic, and then he became a cartoonist, producing scratchy images that blistered both those with disabilities and the people who pitied them.
Six years later, he joined Alcoholics Anonymous, which is where Gus Van Sant’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” (the title comes from Mr. Callahan’s 1990 memoir) picks up. Joaquin Phoenix portrays Mr. Callahan with irreverent vulnerability, vacillating between fury and acceptance as he ticks off the 12 steps to sobriety with the help of his sponsor, Donnie, a blond, Jesus-like, trust-fund kid played by an against-type Jonah Hill.
From 1983 until his death in 2010, Mr. Callahan’s cartoons appeared in the Willamette Week, based in Portland, Ore., at once amusing and outraging readers. The credits of “Don’t Worry,” opening on Friday, July 13, carry an acknowledgment to Robin Williams, who brought the project to Mr. Van Sant’s attention after their collaboration on “Good Will Hunting,” with the hope of producing and starring. KATHRYN SHATTUCK
Classical Music: Sonic Arts Union, Reunited
July 20 and 21; issueprojectroom.org.
In 1966, four composers — David Behrman, Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma and Robert Ashley — banded together and proclaimed themselves the Sonic Arts Union. Mavericks who had taught themselves how to wire circuitry and forge their own homemade electronic music setups, the group collaborated for a decade on concerts that included such epochal experimental works as Ashley’s “The Wolfman” and Mr. Lucier’s “I Am Sitting in a Room.” Although Ashley passed away in 2014, his three colleagues are still active, and they will reunite at Brooklyn’s Issue Project Room on Friday and Saturday for a two-night series celebrating the legacy of the Union. The concerts include new and old works by members of the original collective, a historical presentation about the Union by Mumma and music by several of the quartet’s artistic inheritors, offering a rare glimpse into the legacy of a groundbreaking organization. WILLIAM ROBIN
Theater: Ivo van Hove’s ‘The Damned’
July 17-28; armoryonpark.org.
Vincent Canby meant it as a compliment when he described Luchino Visconti’s “The Damned” as “a movie of great perversity.” Reviewing it as a new release in 1969, he deemed the drama — about an aristocratic family of German industrialists in the early years of Hitler’s rule — “mind-blinding as a spectacle of fabulous corruption.”
The director Ivo van Hove and the designer Jan Versweyveld know a little something about mind-blinding stage pictures: Think of their stunning collaboration on “A View from the Bridge,” on Broadway a few seasons back, or their mesmerizing, storm-tossed adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona.”
Their latest New York foray, starting performances on Tuesday, July 17, is a stage version of “The Damned” at the Park Avenue Armory, where artists make luxuriously adventurous use of the cavernous drill hall. Basing his Comédie-Française production on the screenplay, not the film, Mr. van Hove has video shot live during the performance, the images projected on enormous screens. If you want to compare and contrast, the Film Society of Lincoln Center is screening Visconti’s original on Thursday, July 19. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES
Pop: Lori McKenna’s New Album
July 20; itunes.apple.com.
Country music’s knack for pushing emotional buttons sometimes veers into unsubtle sentimentality — see Scotty McCreery’s current hit, “Five More Minutes,” through which you’ll roll your eyes while dabbing away a tear or two.
While the singer-songwriter Lori McKenna has a similarly unforgiving approach to her listeners’ heartstrings, her song craft is precise enough that she can stay far away from the cliché and instead focus on finding new material in subjects and forms that can seem too picked-over to still bear fruit. Her skill as a writer has earned her credits with some of country’s biggest names, including Keith Urban, Faith Hill, and Reba McEntire; she penned the two of the last three winners of the Grammy for Best Country Song, Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” and Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind.”
In her own work, like her latest album “The Tree,” Ms. McKenna’s pleasantly rough-around-the-edges voice fits better into the world of folk than glossy commercial country — but the songs are as sharp as those she sells to the heavy hitters. Her primary topic is quotidian family life, elevated as she trains a poetic eye on unglamorous inevitabilities. On “People Get Old,” the release’s first single, she keeps the daggers straightforward and to the point: “You live long enough/The people you love get old.” NATALIE WEINER