George Condo: The conceptual portrait artist.

The cover art for Kanye West's new album is the work of Condo, a New York contemporary of Julian Schnabel and Keith Haring and a favorite of designer Adam Kimmel. His New Museum show, "George Condo: Mental States," gathers nearly 30 years' worth of creepy yet comic figure paintings that depict grotesque, impossible anatomies.

Now showing through May 8.

The Way Back: An awe-inspiring survival film.

Acclaimed director Peter Weir tells the true story of a group of political prisoners (played by Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, and others) who escaped from a Stalinist Gulag during World War II only to face an 11-month trek through Siberia, Mongolia, China, and Tibet before reaching freedom in India. Think about that the next time you complain about your morning commute.

Now playing.

The Last Great Magician in the World: How Houdini was upstaged by a rival

In his new book, illusionist and magic historian Jim Steinmeyer celebrates Houdini's now-forgotten rival Howard Thurston, who dueled the legendary escape artist in an epic battle of theatrical one-upmanship (much like the fictional magicians in The Prestige) and acquitted himself as the greatest showman of his time.

Out February 3 from Tarcher/Penguin ($27).

The Book of Mormon: South Park satirists take Broadway.

Comic provocateurs Trey Parker and Matt Stone stick their thumbs in the eye of organized religion with their first stage musical: The story, developed with Avenue Q cocreator Robert Lopez, follows two neophyte Mormon missionaries on a voyage to Uganda. Guaranteed to be bawdier than Big Love.

Previews begin February 24 at New York's Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

Parks and Recreation: The show with the funniest (and most offensive) artwork.

What network series features babies sold for cash and Jews caged in zoos? It's the sleeper hit Parks and Recreation, which offers one of television's best running gags: murals illustrating wildly inappropriate moments in the history of Pawnee, Indiana, the show's fictional midwestern setting.

Now airing on NBC.

The Onion on TV: America's original fake-news source hits the airwaves.

In January, the rapidly evolving satirical newspaper launched programs on two networks: Onion SportsDome on Comedy Central and Onion News Network on IFC. Both are biting, hilarious, and only slightly more absurd than the stories Brian Williams will be reporting tonight.

Now airing on Comedy Central and IFC.

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