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April 2015 events calendar for New York City

Plan your month with our events calendar of the very best activities, the Tribeca Film Festival and our picks from theater, the arts and music

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Let spring sweep you up in its lovely embrace. Celebrate Easter in New York by donning your favorite hat for the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival or enjoying a meal at one of NYC's best brunch spots. There's even something for hay-fever sufferers, who can make a beeline for the cool, dark confines of theaters for the Tribeca Film Festival.

RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2015

Featured events in April 2015

Twin Shadow

Critics' pick

Since George Lewis Jr. introduced himself to the public as north Brooklyn's one-man laptop act Twin Shadow, he's added a live band to the fray and made for some kind of indie-Prince, slick-dance-ballad endeavor—which is to say that it's awesome. There's a new full-length in the works, so be on the lookout for sparkly new jams.

Read more
Music Hall of Williamsburg 01 Apr 2015

NYC Pillow Fight 2015

Critics' pick

Forget all your stress and adult worries as you (softly) pummel strangers. At New York’s 10th annual International Pillow Fight Day, the flash mob—which last year attracted 5,000 participants—turns Washington Square Park into the city’s bedroom, and the only rules to this favorite slumber-party activity are to not hit hard, avoid smashing cameras and leave weapons of the feather variety at home (down pillows create a mess). After the fun is over, you can choose to deposit your cushion in a donation truck where it will go to a person in need.

Read more
Washington Square Park 04 Apr 2015 Free

Easter in New York

Easter Sunday: The day of pastels, egg rolling and rabbity propaganda doesn't seem very "cool New York" at first blush, but as with all holidays in the city, it's as entertaining as you make it. You can gawk at the Easter Parade, seek out the city's tastiest egg dishes, or use it as an excuse for some leisurely day drinking.

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By: Tazi Phillips

Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

Critics' pick

Sunday best gets new meaning during this annual procession, wherein participants show off elaborately constructed hats—we’re talking noggin-toppers shaped like the NYC skyline or the Coney Island Cyclone, not just a boring old fedora. The tradition started in the mid-1800s, when high-society ladies would promenade in their Easter finery after church, and has since evolved into a showcase for chapeau artistry. Fifth Ave from 49th to 57th Sts.

Read more
Manhattan 05 Apr 2015 Free

Full Bunny Contact

Critics' pick

If bonnets and pastels aren’t your thing, take an alternate approach to Easter with this bizarre four-day carnival by the creator of Nightmare Haunted House. Games like “Chicken Scratch” (where you must beat a giant chicken at tic-tac-toe) and “The Keister Bunny” (which involves pulling candy from an Easter bunny’s backside) lead up to the main event, an egg-hunt cage match where participants must battle rabbit-costumed challengers in a 16-by-20-foot steel cage. There will also be food trucks and an on-site bar if you prefer to simply observe the guaranteed pandemonium.

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Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center Until Sun Apr 5

Sufjan Stevens

Critics' pick

Having filled his last five years with collaborations, ambitious conceptual projects and even a Christmas album, folk-pop visionary Sufjan Stevens takes a more direct, singer-songwriter–oriented approach on his new LP, Carrie & Lowell.

Read more
Beacon Theatre 11 Apr 2015

Tribeca Film Festival

Critics' pick

The star-studded festival that helped make Tribeca cool is back! Robert De Niro's downtown fest draws roughly 400,000 film fans each year, to view more than 1,000 films, from high-profile premieres to breakout indies. The movie lineup hasn't been announced, but we know that the opener is Live from New York!, the much-anticipated Saturday Night Live documentary—with unprecedented access granted by Lorne Michaels. Visit the website for the full schedule of screenings, panels, talks and other events. Locations vary.

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Tribeca Cinemas Wed Apr 15 - Sun Apr 26

Bacon and Beer Classic

Critics' pick

Breweries (Coney Island, Harlem Brewing) and restaurants (Bareburger, Swine) from all five boroughs come together for this patty fest, where you can sip more than 120 suds and nosh on unlimited bacon bites like chocolate-and-bacon-covered pretzels and beer pancakes with maple-sriracha syrup. Work off your gluttony with rounds of whiffle ball, inflatable bungee run and life-size Jenga on the stadium concourse, or learn home-brewing basics and butchering techniques at complementary demonstrations.

Read more
Citi Field 25 Apr 2015

Sakura Matsuri

Critics' pick

Despite our apocalyptic, Hoth-like winter, the cherry blossoms did finally turn up, albeit a week or so late. That should still put them on schedule to bloom for this year’s Sakura Matsuri. The annual fest is about much more than flowers, though: The celebration of Japanese culture past and present includes taiko drumming, a kimono fashion show, samurai sword demonstrations, folk-dancing performances, and sets by J-pop singer Hitomi Himekawa and eight-person Okinawan pop ensemble Ryukyu Chimdon Band.

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden Sunday April 26 2015

Cherry Blossom Season at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Critics' pick

You don’t have to take a 15-hour flight to Japan to experience the wonder of cherry-blossom trees in bloom; hop the train to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to stroll through the most majestic springtime beauty New York City has to offer. Check out the "Plants in Bloom" report on the garden’s website to plan your visit like a pro.

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden Sunday April 26 2015
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Free events in April 2015

NYC Pillow Fight 2015

Critics' pick

Forget all your stress and adult worries as you (softly) pummel strangers. At New York’s 10th annual International Pillow Fight Day, the flash mob—which last year attracted 5,000 participants—turns Washington Square Park into the city’s bedroom, and the only rules to this favorite slumber-party activity are to not hit hard, avoid smashing cameras and leave weapons of the feather variety at home (down pillows create a mess). After the fun is over, you can choose to deposit your cushion in a donation truck where it will go to a person in need.

Read more
Washington Square Park 04 Apr 2015 Free

Macy's Flower Show

Critics' pick

Escape to a not-so-secret garden at this two-week floral display, this year titled "Art in Bloom." The ground level of Macy's Herald Square turns into something from Alice in Wonderland, all covered in ceiling-to-floor greenery—and then you get to the clothes! Go social.macys.com/flowershow for information on free workshops, including terrarium making and floral design.

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Macy's Herald Square Sun Mar 22 - Sat Apr 4 Free

Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

Critics' pick

Sunday best gets new meaning during this annual procession, wherein participants show off elaborately constructed hats—we’re talking noggin-toppers shaped like the NYC skyline or the Coney Island Cyclone, not just a boring old fedora. The tradition started in the mid-1800s, when high-society ladies would promenade in their Easter finery after church, and has since evolved into a showcase for chapeau artistry. Fifth Ave from 49th to 57th Sts.

Read more
Manhattan 05 Apr 2015 Free

Alex Da Corte, "Die Hexe"

Critics' pick

Hailing from Philadelphia, Alex Da Corte brings his largest solo exhibition yet, "Die Hexe" (or “The Witch” in German), to Upper East Side art gallery Luxembourg & Dayan. The installation unfolds the artificiality of commerce and advertising, movie-style, with a series of vignettes as you proceed from each gallery space to different floors.

Read more
Luxembourg & Dayan Until Sat Apr 11 Free

Keith Haring, “Heaven and Hell”

Critics' pick

There’s more evidence of hell than heaven in this selection of Haring’s paintings, which show him at his apocalyptic best. Images of demons, flying saucers and mushroom clouds mesh in a polymorphous, perverse matrix of squiggly lines against cartoonishly hued backdrops. It’s Dante’s Inferno as coloring book.

Read more
Skarstedt Gallery Until Sat Apr 18 Free

Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair

Critics' pick

Nestled between tried-and-true fare like snacks and face painting are some ultracool activity stations, including Chess NYC speed tournaments and soapy wands from Gazillion Bubble Garden. Storytellers, puppeteers, and cast members from Broadway and Off Broadway shows perform on the festival’s main stage throughout the day.

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Various locations 25 Apr 2015 Free

Freaks and Geeks Bingo

Critics' pick

Wow, Freaks and Geeks lasted for only 18 episodes. The nerdy cult classic was surely gone too soon, but it packed enough pop references (Bionic Woman costume, anyone?) and inside jokes for a weekly night of bingo.

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Videology Wed Feb 25 - Wed Apr 29 Free

Brooklyn Flea-Fort Greene

Critics' pick

Arguably the granddaddy of the borough’s slate of bazaars, the Brooklyn Flea has its spring awakening the first weekend of April. The Fort Greene location will be jam-packed with more than 150 vendors shilling everything from retro jewelry to tchotchkes that you don’t need (but want anyway). We’re also super excited that clothing from the ’20s through the ’90s from Mirth Vintage ($22–$78) and antique housewares by Ampersand will be on the (folding) tables.

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Brooklyn Flea Saturday May 2 2015 - Saturday November 21 2015 Free

Shwick Market

Critics' pick

This part indoor, part alfresco market hosts more than 100 vendors at its Bushwick location—and judging by the list of "makers," it’s worth the trek if you’re coming from across the bridge. Shop products from local artists, like photography from The BQE and hip wares by Funk and Grace, as well as artisanal foods like MixedMade’s spicy honey. This part of Brooklyn is known as New York’s most maker-y ’hood, so you know the spread is gonna be impressive.

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Shwick Market Until Sunday December 27 2015 Free

Comedy at the Knitting Factory

Critics' pick

This wildly popular weekly show—originally created by the delightfully understated Hannibal Buress (Broad City's Lincoln)—is hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones and Kenny DeForest, and features the funniest pros and up-and-comers. Past guests include Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Bridget Everett and Method Man.

Read more
Knitting Factory Until Sunday December 27 2015 Free

Music events in April 2015

Bargemusic

Critics' pick

The floating concert hall's various series continue during weekends this spring. The hall's "Here and Now" series resumes on Apr 3 with the Delray String Quartet playing a series of works by Kenneth Fuchs. A Bargemusic trio plays pieces by Haydn, Bach, Schubert and Dvorak on Apr 4 and Apr 5, followed by an intriguing set from clarinetist Ken Peplowski and pianist Ted Rosenthal on Apr 10. Their set list includes works by Poulenc and Berg—as well as improvisations flowing from the music of both composers. Bargemusic's "Masterworks" series continues on Apr 11 and Apr 12, with the Martinu Quartet.

Read more
Bargemusic Until Sunday May 3 2015

Björk

Critics' pick

Björk's not one for small gestures, so it makes sense that the Icelandic art-pop empress is headlining a little room called Carnegie Hall—kicking off a six-show local stint—the same day her surefire-blockbuster MoMA retrospective opens. This would all be big news under any circumstances, but considering that Björk unveiled her latest LP, Vulnicura—an emotive, arresting collaboration with vanguard producers Arca and the Haxan Cloak—back in January, each of these gigs seems destined for show-of-the-year status.

Read more
Carnegie Hall Sat Mar 7 - Wed Apr 1

Twin Shadow

Critics' pick

Since George Lewis Jr. introduced himself to the public as north Brooklyn's one-man laptop act Twin Shadow, he's added a live band to the fray and made for some kind of indie-Prince, slick-dance-ballad endeavor—which is to say that it's awesome. There's a new full-length in the works, so be on the lookout for sparkly new jams.

Read more
Music Hall of Williamsburg 01 Apr 2015

Alvvays

Critics' pick

We're thrilled that these Toronto indie-pop upstarts, who made our hearts flutter last year with the dreamily delicious single, "Archie, Marry Me," as well as the rest of their stellar self-titled debut, are getting a taste of the big time this spring via an opening slot on the Decemberists' tour. Even better news: Alvvays is making time in its busy schedule for an LES headlining gig.

Read more
Bowery Ballroom 02 Apr 2015

Nude Beach

Critics' pick

Jangly, swaggering local Nude Beach stands way out from the garage-pop pack, thanks to a heavy dose of effortless retro cool and serious songwriting smarts. The Time Out New York fave supports its brilliant 2014 double LP, 77.

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The Bell House 03 Apr 2015

The Decemberists + Alvvays

Critics' pick

Portland, OR's Decemberists attract a nerdily passionate following thanks to their knowing (and, to some, pretentious) indie antiquarianism. The band hits the road again after three years, supporting its latest album, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World—and we have to say, the ornate Beacon Theatre is the perfect venue for the show. Opening is the excellent Toronto indie-pop crew Alvvays, whose self-titled debut album is one of 2014's best.

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Beacon Theatre 06 Apr 2015

The Sonics + Barrence Whitfield and the Savages

Critics' pick

Garage-rock pioneers the Sonics haven't lost the gnarly bite that made their ’60s sides so much fun. Here, the Tacoma, WA, group turns up in support of a new comeback disc, This Is the Sonics, with support from veteran R&B crew Barrence Whitfield and the Savages.

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Irving Plaza 08 Apr 2015

Waxahatchee + Girlpool + The Goodbye Party

Critics' pick

Waxahatchee, the vulnerable indie-pop project of singer-songsmith Katie Crutchfield, turned heads (ours included) with 2013's Cerulean Salt. This year, Crutchfield's ready to do it again with her latest, Ivy Tripp. As you hear on uplifting and atmospheric first single "Air," Waxahatchee promises indie-folk gold.

Read more
Music Hall of Williamsburg 09 Apr 2015

OK Go

Critics' pick

The quirky Chicago alt-rock band—more famous for its music videos than for its actual music—has a new album, Hungry Ghosts, and, yes, a trippy, optical-illusion–laden video for the single “The Writing’s on the Wall.” But are people actually into the band? This big T5 gig suggests so.

Read more
Terminal 5 11 Apr 2015

Sufjan Stevens

Critics' pick

Having filled his last five years with collaborations, ambitious conceptual projects and even a Christmas album, folk-pop visionary Sufjan Stevens takes a more direct, singer-songwriter–oriented approach on his new LP, Carrie & Lowell.

Read more
Beacon Theatre 11 Apr 2015
Show more

Arts events in April 2015

Alex Da Corte, "Die Hexe"

Critics' pick

Hailing from Philadelphia, Alex Da Corte brings his largest solo exhibition yet, "Die Hexe" (or “The Witch” in German), to Upper East Side art gallery Luxembourg & Dayan. The installation unfolds the artificiality of commerce and advertising, movie-style, with a series of vignettes as you proceed from each gallery space to different floors.

Read more
Luxembourg & Dayan Until Sat Apr 11 Free

Hamlet with Peter Sarsgaard

Critics' pick

Shakespeare’s dark classic returns with a star who’s done turns both on the Great White Way and the silver screen, Peter Sarsgaard. See his answer to the question for the ages—“To be or not to be?”—in his third production with Classic Stage Company.

Read more
Classic Stage Company Thursday April 30 2015 - Saturday May 9 2015

Keith Haring, “Heaven and Hell”

Critics' pick

There’s more evidence of hell than heaven in this selection of Haring’s paintings, which show him at his apocalyptic best. Images of demons, flying saucers and mushroom clouds mesh in a polymorphous, perverse matrix of squiggly lines against cartoonishly hued backdrops. It’s Dante’s Inferno as coloring book.

Read more
Skarstedt Gallery Until Sat Apr 18 Free

"Thomas Hart Benton's America Today Mural Rediscovered"

Critics' pick

Benton is generally known for being the crusty anti-Modernist teacher of Jackson Pollock, so it's somewhat ironic that his epic 10-panel mural, America Today, was commissioned in 1930 by New York’s New School for Social Research for the boardroom of its International Style building on West 12th Street.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art Until Sun Apr 19

"On Kawara—Silence"

Critics' pick

Over the 40 year span of his career, On Kawara has been best known for his “Today” series of paintings, one created each day in a single day and bearing, simply, the date of its making. Starting in 1966, he’s maintained this daily practice even while traveling, marking the location of each place a painting was created by covering the back of the canvas with the front page of the local newspaper from the same day.

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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Fri Feb 6 - Mon May 4

Sam Falls, "Light Over Time"

Critics' pick

A process-oriented Los Angeles artist who works in a variety of media, Sam Falls has transformed Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Commons into a playground for his interactive art. Exploring the passage of time through light and color, Falls displays several sculptural works that are activated by the viewer and will physically alter over time.

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Public Art Fund at MetroTech Center Commons Until Friday May 29 2015 Free

Björk

Critics' pick

MoMA celebrates the multi-faceted career of the Icelandic alt diva with a retrospective encompassing the many mediums she’s worked in: Music of course, but also art, costume design and video, among others. The installation includes an immersive “experience” in sound and film created especially for the show.

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Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Until Sunday June 7 2015

Fish in the Dark

Critics' pick

Fish in the Dark: Theater review by David Cote Checking out Larry David’s debut as a Broadway playwright and performer, I did not expect to be thinking of ancient Greek tragedy. Comedy, sure, but I figured past influences would stretch back to Allen, not Aeschylus. And yet here’s kvetchy urinal salesman Norman Drexel (David), bolting onstage after seeing his mother unconscious and naked in her bedroom, performing mute spasms of oedipal horror—face a gaping mask of shock; arms sawing the air in crazy, rigid patterns.

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Cort Theatre Until Saturday July 18 2015

"Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks"

Critics' pick

This show presents some 160 pages culled from the artist’s notebooks—mostly sketches but also original poetry and other writings—along with related paintings and works on paper.

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Brooklyn Museum Until Sunday August 23 2015

Fuerza Bruta: Wayra

Critics' pick

Fuerza Bruta returns in the third installment of the De La Guarda trilogy. If it's anything like the first two, you can expect a visually impressive dance-rave thrill ride that merges striking imagery with techno music and aerial showboating.

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Daryl Roth Theatre Until Thursday December 31 2015

More events in April 2015

"Matthew Weiner's Mad Men"

Critics' pick

Enter the world of the ever-dapper Don Draper for the first time ever. The behind-the-scenes exhibit displays the actual sets of the infamous ad man's retromodern office and Pasadena-inspired kitchen, plus his iconic tuxedo and the box containing evidence of his true identity. There’s also an installation dedicated to Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, featuring script pages from his early screenplay The Horseshoe—where early Draper first developed. And don’t miss the 10 movies chosen by Weiner himself, including The Apartment and Les Bonnes Femmes, screening through Apr 26. Fun fact: Weiner will be in attendance on Mar 20, right before the final season begins airing April 5.

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Museum of the Moving Image Until Sunday June 14 2015

Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival

Critics' pick

Sunday best gets new meaning during this annual procession, wherein participants show off elaborately constructed hats—we’re talking noggin-toppers shaped like the NYC skyline or the Coney Island Cyclone, not just a boring old fedora. The tradition started in the mid-1800s, when high-society ladies would promenade in their Easter finery after church, and has since evolved into a showcase for chapeau artistry. Fifth Ave from 49th to 57th Sts.

Read more
Manhattan 05 Apr 2015 Free

Comedy at the Knitting Factory

Critics' pick

This wildly popular weekly show—originally created by the delightfully understated Hannibal Buress (Broad City's Lincoln)—is hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones and Kenny DeForest, and features the funniest pros and up-and-comers. Past guests include Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Bridget Everett and Method Man.

Read more
Knitting Factory Until Sunday December 27 2015 Free

The Moth StorySLAM

Critics' pick

Ten stories. Three teams of judges. One winner. The outrageously (and deservedly) popular storytelling series pits local yarn spinners against one another, challenging them to deliver an impressive tale based on a specific theme. Get in line early, as spots for raconteurs and spectators alike go quickly.

Read more
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe 14 Apr 2015

Bacon and Beer Classic

Critics' pick

Breweries (Coney Island, Harlem Brewing) and restaurants (Bareburger, Swine) from all five boroughs come together for this patty fest, where you can sip more than 120 suds and nosh on unlimited bacon bites like chocolate-and-bacon-covered pretzels and beer pancakes with maple-sriracha syrup. Work off your gluttony with rounds of whiffle ball, inflatable bungee run and life-size Jenga on the stadium concourse, or learn home-brewing basics and butchering techniques at complementary demonstrations.

Read more
Citi Field 25 Apr 2015

NYC Hot Sauce Expo

Feel the burn at the second edition of this heat-seeking fest, featuring more than 45 hot-sauce vendors from around the country. The weekend happenings include the Bloody Mary Mix Down Championship, where bartenders compete to see who has the best hangover-drink recipe, and a spicy-food-eating contests (featuring pizza, chicken wings and knish). Champs of sauce will be announced at the Screaming Mi Mi Awards, in categories like Louisiana Style, Chipotle and Best Hot Sauce Label Artwork.

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Brooklyn Expo Center Sat Apr 25 - Sun Apr 26

Drunk Shakespeare

An actor drinks heavily (in the vein of Comedy Central's Drunk History) and then tries to corral others into enacting a story by the Bard. Bibulous excess is encouraged.

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Roy Arias Stages Wednesday April 29 2015 - Thursday December 31 2015

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