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Cultural Calendar

The Heiress, at the Walter Kerr Theater, in Previews October 30

Old New York Glamour returns to Broadway in The Heiress. Starring Jessica Chastain (Tree of Life, The Debt, The Help), whose meteoric career’s speed of ascent can only be matched by her naturalist grace in performance. The play follows the trials and travails of the only daughter of a family of phenomenally wealthy New York Socialites. The Heiress is based on the novel Washington Square by Henry James, so expect moral turns, and thick atmosphere. Come see what was going on on this side of the Atlantic during the Downtown Abbey era. The peerless David Straithairn also stars in the play, bringing aristocratic bearing and weight as he does to any role he occupies.

Annual Village Halloween Parade, October 31, the Village

Meet up on 6th Avenue between Spring and Canal Streets this Halloween to join New York’s most creative and craziest in a march through the city. Giant puppets created by artists working year round are a highlight of the parade. This year, the famous Giant Spider will return to dangle from the clock tower of the Jefferson Market Library. Fifty bands will be in attendance, showcasing music from around the world. Dancers and artists will show off their talents. You don’t want to miss this show of the freaky and the bizarre.

 The Sword, November 14th, Webster Hall

The Sword burst onto the American metal scene back in 2006 with Age of Winters, a ferocious, doom and dusk laden trip through Norse legend and the Song of Fire and Ice series, otherwise known as Game of Thrones. They took characters and scenes from both, doused them in whisky, turned the amplifiers up to 11, and churned out some of the best, hairiest rock riffs since Led Zeppelin called it quits. Expect shirtless drummers, back-to- back guitarists, and vibes that offer a straight ride from downtown Manhattan to the Stratosphere, and points beyond. Bring earplugs.

Perks of Being a Wallflower, showing in New York area theaters

You might remember Emma Watson as Hermione from Harry Potter. Now she returns to play Sam, a funky, matter-of-fact high school senior, who along with Patrick (Ezra Miller) guides Charlie (Logan Lerman) through the difficulties of starting high school. A stunning, flamboyant performance by Ezra Miller rescues the otherwise mildly cliché movie. Yet the movie is about a lot more than the clichés of adolescence, and elegantly explores darker themes. “We are infinite,” narrates Charlie, demonstrating that despite the loss and abuse he has suffered, life does go on. Based on the 1999 Novel by Stephen Chbosky, Perks is a story anyone who has experienced the difficulties of navigating the high school social scene can relate to.

Nachtmystium, November 19th, St. Vitus Bar

Black Metal is known for a few choice characteristics. One, it’s fast, bullet train fast. Two, it’s dark, blood drenched corpse and Satanic rite dark. Three, the first two rules are iron rigid orthodoxy. Comes Nachtmysitum, a United States Black Metal or USBM band for short, to take an axe to the above. Infusing their blackened blast with Pink Floyd like synthesizer melodies, lyrics that leave the Satan doll at home and deal instead with relatable woes like addiction and depression, and by God even including a disco rhythm once or twice, Nachtmysitum bring bold new colors to the black velvet canvas. Embrace their odd darkness in Brooklyn, in the November chill.

Connor Oberst, November 21, Carnegie Hall

Conor Oberst, the lead singer of Bright Eyes, is bringing his land locked blues to Carnegie Hall. In addition to Bright Eyes, Oberst has collaborated and performed with bands such as Commander Venus, Monsters of Folk, the Mystic Valley Band, Park Ave., and Desaparecidos. The People’s Key is Bright Eyes’ latest album, released in 2011. Oberst promises to provide a good show, as he states in a mock interview in “An Attempt to Tip the Scales,” from 2000’s Fevers and Mirrors, “I like the feel of the burn of the audience's eyes on me when I'm whispering all my darkest secrets into the microphone.” Go to hear some of those dark secrets whispered in Oberst’s slow, raspy voice and accompanied by his signature indie rock sounds.

Dvorak’s Ninth, or Toward The New World, November 20-27, Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall.

The New York Philharmonic has been having a beautiful, loud, slightly offbeat season thus far, openingwith the primordial bang of The Rite of Spring, then detouring into the more romantic sounds of Brahms and the Russian complexity of Tchaikovsky. Here, Alan Gilbert brings the power and energy of Dvorak’s Ninth to the fore. Composed in the spirit of African American spirituals, and Native American folk song, this magisterial symphony has quickly become a 20th century favorite. Come see for yourself.

The Sessions, showing in New York area theaters

The Sessions is based on the true story of writer and poet Mark O’Brien, who, afflicted with polio in his youth and confined to an iron lung at age 38, is determined to experience his sexuality in his dwindling time. Played by John Hawkes, of Deadwood and Winter’s Bone fame, he hires a sex surrogate, portrayed by Helen Hunt. Though theirs is a clinical relationship, they find that beyond certain borders there is only flesh and heart. Already acclaimed as one of the best movies of the year, this journey becomes singularly affecting on screen.