1 “Trance” is not a simple smash-and-grab yarn about a stolen Goya painting but an abstract psychological thriller. British director Danny Boyle (“28 Days Later,” “Slumdog Millionaire”) is telling us a story of a perfect crime gone awry. But like his protagonist, he’s shifty about it. An artful experiment in refined sadism and mind control, it brings off whiplash shifts of perspective and chronology with breathtaking skill and visual vitality.
2 Slavery in Minnesota was a reality that is often ignored, but not in Walt Bachman’s excellent new history, “Northern Slave, Black Dakota.” A former Hennepin County prosecutor, he spent more than six years researching his tautly written biography of Joseph Godfrey, whose mother was a slave in Minnesota before statehood. Bachman traces Godfrey from obscurity to infamy, as he was arrested for his role in slaying white settlers at the outset of the 1862 Dakota conflict. Godfrey avoided execution only when President Abraham Lincoln commuted his sentence.
3 Remember that first year or so, when 89.3 the Current truly was an anything-goes radio outlet? That spirit lives on in local hip-hop star P.O.S.’ new show for the station, “P.O.S. Is Ruining the Current,” airing Saturdays at 11 p.m. He crams in everything from noise-rock blasts by Song of Zarathustra and Kill Sadie to classic Spoon and Pixies to tracks from underground hip-hop innovators Danny Brown and Black Milk to cool deep cuts by Jay-Z and OutKast. P.O.S. summed up the format on air: “I don’t care if you like it. It’s my show.” Perfect.
4 “In the Time of the Butterflies” is a richly alive and atmospheric tale of four sisters who resisted oppression in the Dominican Republic in the 1940s and ’50s. In his bilingual production at Mixed Blood, director José Zayas finds the perfect, dreamy sensibility in playwright Caridad Svich’s adaptation of a historical novel. The sisters were from a prominent upper-class family, and one of them caught the romantic attention of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. Despite the heavy turns in the plot, “Butterflies” is lyrical and easy to like. www.mixedblood.com
5 While we wait for Alabama Shakes, last year’s most exciting new band, to produce a follow-up album, at least we can shake along to “I Wonder,” the new duet by frontwoman Brittany Howard with Nashville singer Ruby Amanfu. Featuring boogie-woogie gusto by one of Jack White’s touring bands, the semi-paranoid single was written by “Searching for Sugar Man” documentary star Rodriguez back in the 1970s and issued by White’s Third Man Records.