MY NAME IS ALBERt AYLER The prophetic free-jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler, viewed today as one of the most important innovators in jazz, was fiercely committed to his music and convinced that it would eventually be understood. If people dont like it now, he predicted, they will. In 1962, he recorded his first album in Sweden and eight years later, at 34, he was found dead in the East River. This new documentary, which took seven years to make, follows Aylers trail from Cleveland by way of Sweden to New York, meeting family, friends and close colleagues. Featuring astonishing footage of Ayler with his band, the movie returns for a second run due to popular demand. April 18-22. $8 adults, $6 students/seniors. Anthology Film Archives. 32 Second Ave. 212-505-5181, anthologyfilmarchives.org.
SHE AND HIM In 2006, renowned one-man-band M. Ward recorded a duet with Zooey Deschanel, best known for her very funny roles in movies like Elf and Failure to Launch. They went on to record a debut record as a love letter to the musicians they grew up listening to: Les Paul and Mary Ford, The Ronettes, Nina Simone, Chet Atkins, and about a hundred others. Deschanel wrote most of the music and the album includes collaborations with a number of extraordinary musicians, who bring drums, bass, strings, and pedal steel to the beautifully simply songs. April 21 and 22 at 7 p.m. $20. Hiro Ballroom. 363 W. 16th St. 212-242-4300, hiroballroom.com. sheandhim.com.
M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel
SCAPINO BALLET Calling to mind poet Emily Dickinsons directive to tell the truth but tell it slant, the resident modern dance company of Rotterdam, The Netherlands returns to New York with four works of arresting originality. Choreographed by Ed Wubbe, The Green features seven men performing on a stage blanketed with Astroturf, and De Bruiden (The Brides) is a striking dance of nine women. The repertoires other half, comprised of Der Rest Ist Schweigen and Äffi, is by noteworthy young choreographer Marco Goecke, who possesses a style entirely his own. April 22-27. $38. The Joyce. 175 Eighth Ave. 212-242-0800, joyce.org.
GLASSY ESSENCE Combining movement, photography and video, Glassy Essence bridges the gap between dancer and audience by merging the two in the most literal sense. Audience members stand throughout the show and are invited to move freely within the same space in which the dancers are performing. By participating as artists themselves, spectators inform how this environment will alter the total experience for everyone. Serving as a road map for the event are whimsical, provocative, and fantastic photos by Francois Rousseau that depict ethereal portraits of the 16 dancers in various costumes and poses. April 24-26 and May 1-3. Twice nightly at 8 and 9 p.m. $10. Cedar Lake Dance. 547 W. 26th St. 212-868-4444, glassyessence.com.
LITERARY UPSTART A reading disguised as a party, Literary Upstart offers burgeoning writers a chance to read their work in front of a panel of literary big-wigs. The American Idol-style event provides a platform for writers to compete against each other in a contest for short fiction supremacy. The three semi-finalists will advance to the final reading and all three will be published in L Magazines annual summer fiction issue, which has previously featured Darin Strauss and Jonathan Ames (pictured above). The competition is emceed by Jonny Diamond, Ls editor-in-chief, and judged by the New Yorkers Ben Greenman, Simon & Schuster editor Ursula Cary, and literary agent Katherine Fausset. April 24, May 22, June 19, and July 11 at 7 p.m. Free. The Slipper Room. 167 Orchard St. thelmagazine.com.