Sure, buzz for much of 2018’s biggest cultural moments is still strong — particularly in the TV and film world, with awards season ramping up — but the anticipation for this year’s arts and culture offerings is already brewing. There’s the forthcoming second season of “Big Little Lies,” there’s Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, new albums from Adele and Lana Del Ray — and who isn’t already excited to see how Met Gala attendees will interpret this year’s Costume Institute theme, “Camp.” Here, a look at some of the buzziest happenings through the spring.
While the Academy Awards are still pending, the next film cycle is already in full swing, with the Sundance Film Festival kicking things off in late January. Acclaimed contemporary fine artist Rashid Johnson will unveil his directorial debut “Native Son,” adapted from a Richard Wright novel and starring Ashton Sanders, Nick Robinson, Margaret Qualley and KiKi Layne. With buzzy indie distributor A24 already signed on, its potential is looking bright. Also premiering at the festival is the Shia LaBeouf-written “Honey Boy,” which is loosely based on his own childhood. LaBeouf will star alongside Lucas Hedges and FKA Twigs.
Indie film darling Jim Marusch’s latest film, “The Dead Don’t Die,” is — what else? —a zombie comedy. It stars many of his past collaborators — Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Bill Murray — as well as Selena Gomez, Chloe Sevigny and Caleb Landry Jones; the premiere date is still pending. Another director in the experimental realm, Richard Linklater, will release “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” in March, starring Cate Blanchett.
Jordan Peele’s cinematic follow up to “Get Out” is another Blumhouse horror-thriller — so get ready for another dose of gore mixed with social commentary in March. “Us” stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elisabeth Moss.
In the big-budget superhero category, “Captain Marvel” out March 8 is one to watch thanks to its lead: Brie Larson, officially Marvel’s first female leading lady. The following month, she’ll pop up again with the next installment in the “Avengers” franchise, “Avengers: Endgame.” Straddling the superhero and thriller-horror genres is “Glass,” M. Night Shyamalan’s sequel to two of his previous films, including 2016’s “Split.”
May will bring a new music biopic to dissect: “Rocketman,” starring Taron Egerton as Elton John and Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin. And film fans will have plenty to eye during the normally-quiet doldrums of summertime: Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt is set for a late July release. — Kristen Tauer
The first half of 2019 will see the end of many beloved series — most notably, “Game of Thrones.” Season 8 will premiere on HBO in April, but until then, fans will continue to dissect theories on how the epic series will conclude. Others drawing to a close this spring include “Broad City,” which premieres Jan. 24 followed by “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” on Jan. 25, and “Homeland” in June. “Mr. Robot,” the show that launched Rami Malek into stardom, will also conclude with the release of its fourth season this year. And finally, with May’s finale of “The Big Bang Theory” — which has occupied the top strata of the primetime ratings chart since its premiere 12 years ago — comes a new question: what will take its reign?
Luckily, there will plenty of new shows and limited series to sink into. First up: “Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club” will make its debut on MTV on Jan. 8. If you can’t warm up to that reality spectacle, maybe the Patty Jenkins-directed miniseries “I Am the Night” starring Chris Pine, out Jan. 28 on TNT, will do the trick. On Feb. 12, you can see Harry Potter —sorry, Daniel Radcliffe — in the Lorne Michaels-produced comedy series “Miracle Workers” on TBS; Steve Buscemi costars in the role of God. (Intrigued yet?) And up in the period-piece category, the six-part miniseries “Les Misérables” starring Lily Collins and Dominic West premieres Stateside in April and later this year Foy will pass the role of Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown” to Olivia Coleman. On FX, 2019 will also see Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell costarring in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s dance bioseries “Fosse/Verdon.” For Showtime, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have paired up again, this time as executive producers for early Nineties Boston crime-drama “City on a Hill.”
On the streaming side, many premiere dates might not be set, but there’s plenty to tune in to. Over on Hulu, “Catch-22” takes cues from the classic novel, led by Christopher Abbott, Kyle Chandler and George Clooney; upcoming comedy series “Shrill” also has literary origins, adapted from Lindy West’s memoir. Produced by Lorne Michaels, the show stars SNL cast member Aidy Bryant.
Netflix also draws from real life for its January 18 documentary “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” revisiting the stranded-on-an-island chaos of the Fyre Festival. Ava DuVernay’s “Central Park 5” miniseries will also debut on the platform, and will likely be one to keep an eye on as an early awards contender.
Speaking of awards, blockbuster series “Big Little Lies” will return this spring for season two — and with Meryl Streep added to the cast, the female alliance only grows stronger. Reese Witherspoon serves as an executive producer and costar for Apple’s entry into the streaming category, “Top of the Morning.” Viewers (and competitors) are eagerly awaiting what the service will look like, exactly; Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell will costar in the scripted series.
Over on Amazon, New York Times memoir-love column “Modern Love” gets a series adaptation, while Miles Teller leads crime drama “Too Old to Die Young,” directed by and cowritten by Nicolas Winding Refn.
Riding the wave of his “Get Out” nominations, Jordan Peele will mark his return to the drama-horror genre with series “Lovecraft Country” on HBO. And, sometime this year, Peele will make his voice heard as narrator for the revival of “The Twilight Zone” on CBS All Access. And with that, what more could you ask for? — Kristen Tauer
Although this year marked the release of some truly exemplary music (“Dirty Computer” by Janelle Monae and Kacey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour” among them), the unfortunate truth is 2018 will be remembered as the year of beef. Drake was outed as having a son out of wedlock, Nicki Minaj and Cardi B scrapped during fashion week and Kanye West came after pretty much anyone and everyone on Twitter. We’re hoping 2019 will bring tidings of peace and love and a newfound focus on the tunes. Given the list of releases slated, things are looking up: Toro Y Moi will release his new album, “Outer Peace,” on Jan. 8, while Migos is on track to put out “Culture III,” sometime in the New Year — exact release date unspecified. Industry vets like Lana Del Rey and Adele will make a return (Del Rey’s album, “Norman F–king Rockwell,” comes out March 29,) while newcomer Maggie Rogers will release her record “Heard It in a Past Life” on Jan. 18. Tame Impala has new work coming in 2019, too. The Backstreet Boys are making a comeback with an album and tour: “DNA” comes out Jan. 25 and the world tour of the same name will span the summer. Other artists on tour next year include Ariana Grande, who embarks on “Sweetener” starting in March. “Elton John: Farewell Yellow Brick Road” marks the final tour before the iconic artist’s retirement — for real this time. Travis Scott has “Astroworld: Wish You Were Here Tour 2” on the books. Bad Bunny, lauded by music critics for his new record “X 100 Pre,” will set out to hit Madison Square Garden, the Tacoma Dome in Washington and Coliseo de Puerto Rico in his hometown of San Juan. This year, Coachella aims to pack an equally hard punch as its 2018 “Beychella” show with a lineup that includes headliners Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande. Running on the back-to-back weekends of April 13 and 20, the megaconcert will also feature acts The 1975, Anderson Paak and The Free Nationals, Billie Eilish and Solange. Many of the performers at Coachella — H.E.R., Janelle Monae and Childish Gambino among them — are also up for Grammy Awards. The Grammys will air on Feb. 10. — Maxine Wally
The can’t-miss Broadway plays for 2019 all examine the American experience from different lenses and time periods. “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the classic book-turned-film-now-play, was adapted for the stage by Aaron Sorkin — of “The West Wing” and “Newsroom” fame. He enlisted “Newsroom” alumnus Jeff Daniels to play the part of Atticus Finch for the Broadway version of “Mockingbird.” Sorkin’s interpretation of the work focuses on the father, lawyer Finch, rather than his daughter, Scout. Just weeks into its opening, the play has been subject to lawsuits by Harper Lee’s estate, on grounds that it strayed too far from the original text. Despite the legal issues, audiences have been coming to see “Mockingbird” in droves. Tickets for the show at the Shubert Theatre in New York are available through July 7.
Zoom forward to the Eighties — that’s when the late playwright Sam Shepard released his Pulitzer Prize-nominated “True West.” The latest iteration of this sibling rivalry stars Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano as two disaffected brothers, Austin and Lee, who find themselves together for the first time in five years at their mother’s house outside of Hollywood. The brothers’ roles have, in the past, been filled by the likes of John Malkovich and Philip Seymour Hoffman — but Dano and Hawke have a chemistry all their own, as they examine their positions within the family and the American Dream. “True West” is in previews and officially opens Jan. 24 at the American Airlines Theatre.
The classic Nineties Beverly Hills tale of Valley girls and Azzedine Alaïa dresses, “Clueless,” is now on stage as a musical. Dove Cameron, who plays Cher Horowitz, makes her debut on Broadway in the play. The New Group production bowed at the Pershing Square Signature Center in December to mixed reviews, but loyal fans of the cult classic have still sung its praises. Performances have been scheduled through Jan. 12.
Finally, taking place in the present day, there is “American Son,” a story about the struggles between African-Americans and law enforcement officials — and what happens when they meet. Starring Kerry Washington, the mother of a biracial young man who suddenly goes missing, the play takes place in its entirety inside of a police precinct. Get your tickets quickly – curtains close on the show Jan. 27. — Maxine Wally
In February, the quiet of holiday season officially ceases and the lively events calendar returns to high gear. First up: the amfAR Gala in New York on Feb. 6, which serves as the unofficial kick-off to New York Fashion Week. Held annually at Cipriani Wall Street, this year’s party will feature cocktail hour, a seated dinner, auction and musical performances. A special guest — TBA — will receive the coveted 2019 honor. The subsequent week of NYFW will fulfill anyone’s thirst for a good after party (Jeremy Scott, we’re looking at you to provide). The Grammy Awards returns to Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 10, and the Academy Awards will take place two weeks later, on Sunday, Feb. 24. Finally, at the crest of events season on May 6 — The Met Gala. This year’s theme is “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” a purposefully broad motif that’ll surely be interpreted in a number of amusing ways. We personally cannot wait to see how Rihanna handles this one. — Maxine Wally
FEAST FOR THE EYE
The first addition to the New York dining scene in January is La Central, a new Latin American concept from Franklin Becker, formerly of The Little Beet. The restaurant will open Jan. 10 at Hotel Americano. Meanwhile, in Greenwich Village, the minds behind three-year-old bistro Mimi are set to unlock the doors on a new spot around the corner. Babs, on MacDougal and Houston Streets, is a steakhouse and raw bar helmed by the inventive chef Efrén Hernández. Just six blocks away in the West Village comes Llama San, the second Nikkei — that’s Japanese-Peruvian cuisine — restaurant from chef-owner Erik Ramirez and his partner Juan Correa. Following the success of his first eatery, Llama Inn, Ramirez will forge ahead with the tasty genre of Nikkei, serving at Llama San such delicacies as sashimi tuna ceviche and causa, a potato dish, instead of sushi rice. The former executive chef of NoMad, James Kent, will open his Financial District restaurant some time this year — the exact date hasn’t been set. But construction has begun on the site of the historic building located at 70 Pine Street. There, Kent and business partner Jeff Katz of Del Posto will open restaurants on five different floors of the Art Deco tower. Also debuting this spring is the Hudson Yards dining collection, a cluster of concepts on the West Side of Manhattan. The grouping, which is slated to open in March, will include offerings from Thomas Keller, José Andrés, David Chang, and Dan Doherty. — Maxine Wally and Kristen Tauer
While the Guggenheim will keep its hit retrospective of Hilma af Klint’s work on display through April 23, there are more reasons to visit the New York art institution this spring. On Jan. 25, the museum will unveil “Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now,” part one of a yearlong exhibition of the late artist’s work. The Guggenheim will also present a solo exhibition of 2018 Hugo Boss Prize winner Simone Leigh’s work starting April 19.
Nearby, the Met Breuer will present the first major U.S. retrospective of Iranian-American artist and activist Siah Armajani’s work. In April, The Jewish Museum will present “Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything,” a group exhibition of work inspired by the late creative. The Upper East Side also recently welcomed a new gallery to its ranks — Galerie Gmurzynska opened its first U.S. outpost. Downtown, the Whitney Biennial 2019 presented by Tiffany & Co. will kick off its survey of contemporary American art on May 17.
And who could forget about camp? Starting May 9, The Met’s Costume Institute will present “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” exploring the influence of camp on fashion and culture. Later this year, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will open in Los Angeles. The cinematic museum has revealed several of its opening exhibitions, including “Where Dreams Are Made: A Journey Inside the Movies” and a retrospective of Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s work. — Kristen Tauer
New and noteworthy titles to add to your reading list this spring:
“You Know You Want This” by Kristen Roupenian, January 2019
“Merchants of Truth” by Jill Abramson, February 2019
“The Source of Self-Regard” by Toni Morrison, February 2019
“Era of Ignition” by Amber Tamblyn, March 2019
“The Moment of Lift” by Melinda Gates, April 2019
“City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert, June 2019
“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong, June 2019