1 Danish director Thomas Vinterberg's first-class adaptation transforms Thomas Hardy's literary classic "Far From the Madding Crowd" to a trim, largely faithful account, as darkly poetic as the novel, but ultimately more crowd-pleasing. It's beautifully old and atmospheric without feeling dated. As Bathsheba, Carey Mulligan leads this year's Oscar race. Always impressive, she has never been finer than as this sharp, lovely ingénue, a brisk performance steps above the frisky, kittenish Julie Christie in the 1967 film.

2 Joe Minjares' lively new musical, "River Road Boogie: The Augie Garcia Story" at the History Theatre, tells the story of Minnesota's first rock star. With an amalgam of the music of his Mexican roots, R&B, jazz and rock 'n' roll, the Augie Garcia Quintet riveted audiences at its regular venue, the River Road Club in Mendota. By 1956 the group's recording of "Hi Yo Silver" was getting plenty of local airplay and the group was opening for Elvis Presley in St. Paul. And then the sizzle began to fizzle. www.historytheatre.com.

3 Doctors at the Mayo Clinic gave Tom Brokaw the bad news. He had multiple myeloma, a rare and treatable, but not curable, cancer. In his new memoir, "A Lucky Life Interrupted," the newsman, 75, writes about a year of treatment — the gratitude, the pain, the frustration, the fear. In between, he weaves in tales of some of the great stories he has covered — the fall of the Berlin Wall, interviews with the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela, 9/ 11. "I missed my old life," he writes.

4 With about 175 paintings, sculptures, drawings, films and ephemera by more than 100 artists from 20 countries, Walker Art Center's "International Pop" is a kind of kissing cousin to the American version, related but definitely different. Still media-savvy and immersed in fashion, film, music and other youth-culture obsessions, "I.P." is typically more political than American Pop and shaped by the ethos of the post-World War II cultures. From Warhol to Japan's Tetsumi Kudo, this stuff pops. www.walkerart.org

5 One of the weedy wunderkinds in the Los Angeles rap collective Odd Future, Earl Sweatshirt, 21, is two-for-two with his solo albums. The sensitive, introspective yet self-destructive and juvenile rapper follows up his dense 2013 epic "Doris" with a more cohesive and shorter but still dark and fascinating new album, "I Don't Like [Expletive], I Don't Go Outside," filled with stories of pandemonium and paranoia and slow, warped beats. "I've been trouble since I tumbled outta that stroller," Sweatshirt admits, but at least he's growing.