Somewhere, in the exciting discussion of TNY design that I engaged in at Emdashes (that somewhere along the line became a discussion of movie reviews and capsules), Emily wondered if TNY had ever given stars for actual theater or film recommendations. Interesting question.
Me, I don't see the stars idea working, at least for the films. The film capsules (more or less) seem, to me, to work through reference and analogy (maybe a legacy of Kael, maybe not) - a film is like this or that movement or style or director or sensory experience. If that's your thing, you go, if not, then not. Or maybe they just work that way for me, since I'm skeptical about their evaluations to begin with.
No, honestly. I think they don't and won't (for awhile) have stars - not even one - because you're supposed to know. The listings are supposed to be informative (with a bit of evaluation built into what's listed and what's not) and you're supposed to have the frame of reference (perhaps to recent issues of TNY) to know what you'd like. It's part of the snob appeal. Like a cookbook.
That said, the film capsule (above, and that's the whole capsule) that has inspired me low these many years is quite evaluative. As in, "I give it 3 sticks of chalk scraping across a blackboard!"
And I do think Goings On About Town appeals, maybe even primarily, to out-of-towners. I've always been one and I've always read Goings On and only recently has it occurred to me that I could use it as an actual (and not virtual) guide.