Free arts and culture this week in New York City

Think you have to be a swell to soak up cultural life in the big city? Our weekly rundown of free arts events in NYC proves otherwise.

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1

"Grand Central Centennial Quilts"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Last spring, American Patchwork & Quilting magazine teamed up with local store the City Quilter to host a national contest for blankets inspired by the 100-year-old terminal. The grand prize, first- and second- place winners, and 27 finalists in this display draw from the building’s design

  1. New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex Grand Central Terminal, E 42nd St, between Lexington and Vanderbilt Aves
  2. Thu Apr 24 - Sun Jul 6
More info
2

Books at Noon

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The NYPL's latest series invites bibliophiles and casual librarygoers alike to hear from local names and distinguished out-of-towners about their new titles.

  1. New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Fifth Ave, at 42nd St, 10036
  2. Wed Apr 30 - Wed May 7
More info
3

"Stroke: From Under the Mattress to the Museum Walls"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Leslie-Lohman presents a sure-to-be-steamy exhibit of illustrations featured in gay male magazines, from early beefcake "fitness" periodicals in the 1940s to the more blatantly porny titles of the 1990s. Artist Robert W. Richards curates the show, which includes works by Tom of Finland, George

  1. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art 26 Wooster St, between Canal and Grand Sts
  2. Thu Apr 24 - Sun May 25
More info
4

Brooklyn Zine Fest

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Some say print media is dying a slow, ignominious death (we respectfully disagree), but the self-publishing scene is undeniably thriving. Whether out of nostalgia, vanity or boredom, folks are printing pamphlet-size periodicals by the ream (remember those?). As one of the form’s strongest

  1. Brooklyn Historical Society 128 Pierrepont St, at Clinton St
  2. Sat Apr 26 - Sun Apr 27
More info
5

Linda Simpson, "Pages"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Shutterbug and nightlife veteran Linda Simpson presents a gallery show inspired by her book of the same name, featuring portraits of her friend and fellow downtown scene-maker Page.

  1. ClampArt 521–531 W 25th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10001
  2. Thu Apr 24 - Sat May 17
More info
6

Pete's Reading Series

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Every other Thursday, Mira Jacob and Alison Hart host this intimate reading series in the narrow railcar at the back of Pete's Candy Store.

  1. Pete's Candy Store 709 Lorimer St, between Frost and Richardson Sts, 11211
  2. Thu May 1 - Thu May 29
More info
7

Sideshow Goshko

  • Free

Manhattan Monologue Slam champion Leslie Goshko puts together an evening of stranger-than-fiction stories, complete with live accordion, a trivia game and a wine giveaway.

  1. KGB Bar 85 E 4th St , between Bowery and Second Ave, 10003
  2. Thu Apr 24
More info
8

Gonzalo Orquin, "Si, quiero"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Rome-based artist Gonzalo Orquin photographed same-sex couples kissing in baroque Italian churches for "Si, quiero" (translation: "I do"), which was scheduled to go on view in a private gallery in his home city until the Vatican put a stop to it, citing Italian laws which "safeguard an individual's

  1. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art 26 Wooster St, between Canal and Grand Sts
  2. Wed Apr 30 - Tue Jun 24
More info
9

Sunday Salon

  • Free

Nita Noveno began this reading series—which has also taken place in Chicago and Nairobi, Kenya—in 2002.

  1. Jimmy’s No. 43 43 E 7th St, between Second and Third Aves
  2. Sun Apr 27
More info
10

Phil Klay: Redeployment

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This Iraq War vet, whose first story was published in the summer 2011 issue of Granta, copes with battle and its aftermath in his new collection. In spare (and unsparing) prose, Klay relates disturbing moments of overseas service and the conflicting emotions that result.

  1. New York University, Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House 58 W 10th St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves
  2. Sat Apr 26
More info
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