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The Big Ten

The Grimaces (Les Grimaces), from the series Recueil de grimaces (Collection of Grimaces), by Louis Léopold Boilly, lithographed by Delpech, 1823-28

1. MUSEUM
INSULT ARTISTS

Typically, caricature is something done outside of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, by the wry street painters plying their trade for tourists. That changes this month, when the usually sober institution goes for acerbic laughs with “Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine,” an exhibit featuring examples of the fine art of mockery dating all the way back to the 15th century. OPENS SEPTEMBER 13

2. TV
PILOT EPISODES

Like Mad Men but with less whiskey, more uniforms and a dash of espionage, ABC’s new series Pan Am takes place during the Jet Age of the ’60s, when air travel became the pinnacle of luxury. The show follows the flirtations, entanglements and glamorous escapades of the pilots and flight attendants of Pan Am airlines, including a rebellious bohemian, Maggie (Christina Ricci), who buttons up for her new career. SEPTEMBER 25

3. PRINT
THUMBS UP

In the mid-’80s, critic Roger Ebert became a household name as cohost of pioneering weekly show Siskel & Ebert & The Movies. Caustic and always wearing a slightly-too-tight tweed blazer, Ebert wielded his thumb with authority. Now, after surviving thyroid cancer, Ebert releases Life Itself, a fascinating memoir that’s equal parts remembrance and critique. SEPTEMBER 13

4. MUSIC
CLASSIC(AL) ROCK

Tori Amos makes her debut on the legendary classical label Deutsche Grammophon with Night of Hunters, a record that examines the hunter/hunted dichotomy present in everyone and derives its musical inspiration from classical pieces spanning four centuries. SEPTEMBER 28

5. FILM
A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME

Moneyball is a (true) baseball story for our times: Armed with computer-generated analyses, Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) challenges the system and puts together an above-average ball club with a below-average budget. Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright also star. SEPTEMBER 23

6. FILM
LOVE LOST

Gus Van Sant, the filmmaker known equally for accessible crowd-pleasers like Good Will Hunting and difficult art films like Last Days, splits the difference with his latest, Restless. Annabel (Mia Wasikowska), a terminally ill teen, falls in love with Enoch (Henry Hopper, the son of the late Dennis Hopper), a morbid misanthrope. But the concept of doomed romance is handled beautifully by the director and his young stars, and the effect is that of an indie Harold and Maude: poignant, sad and ultimately life-affirming. SEPTEMBER 16

7. MUSIC
BOY KING

Elvis Presley’s 1956 recordings (think “Heartbreak Hotel”) forever changed the trajectory of popular music. A hefty new box set, “Young Man with the Big Beat,” commemorates ’56 with five discs’ worth of original recordings, previously unreleased live performances, outtakes and rare interviews, along with an 80-page book featuring a meticulous hour-by-hour chronology of Elvis’ big year. SEPTEMBER 27

8. ARCHITECTURE
CENTER STAGE

The dramatic and highly anticipated Moshe Safdie–designed Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, which will serve as the new home of Kansas City’s ballet, symphony and lyric opera, opens this month. The $366 million, 285,000-square-foot facility includes two stand-alone halls in an overarching shell with a glass roof and glass walls anchored by high-tension steel cables reminiscent of a string instrument. Bravo! OPENS SEPTEMBER 16

9. PRINT
UNINVITED GUEST

We’ve all been to dinner parties so dull that, were it not for decorum, a hard run for the door after the soup course might have been warranted. In British novelist Ali Smith’s playful, satirical novel There but for the, a suburban dinner guest locks himself in a spare room upstairs and refuses to come out. Naturally, consternation ensues. SEPTEMBER 13

10. TV
LAND OF THE WHO?

The concept of Fox’s Terra Nova is standard sci-fi schlock — a dystopian future sends colonists back to prehistoric Earth for a second chance, only for them to find that the past is more dangerous than they had anticipated — but with Steven Spielberg executive-producing, the storytelling and production values might just make this the major-network answer to Battlestar Galactica. SEPTEMBER 26

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