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

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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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 Wednesday April 1 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 Sunday April 5 2015 Free

Fuerza Bruta: Wayra

Critics' pick

Fuerza Bruta: Wayra. Daryl Roth Theatre (see Off Broadway). Conceived and directed by Diqui James. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 20mins. No intermission. Wayra: In brief 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. Wayra: Theater review by David Cote When the sensory-wraparound rave known as De La Guarda swung into town 16 years ago, it was the only show of its kind. Even in 2007, when environmental-kinesthetic mastermind Diqui James unveiled a sequel, Fuerza Bruta, there was no Sleep No More, Then She Fell or Queen of the Night. So has James tried to reinvent the wheel and beat the competition—say, by introducing narrative or literary allusions? Not a chance. Fuerza Bruta: Wayra is of a piece with its predecessors, still offering unique thrills for a remarkably young and diverse audience that, I’m guessing, doesn’t get to Playwrights Horizons very much. And there’s nothing wrong with that. As a palate cleanser for theatergoers tired of living rooms and family secrets, Wayra is a bona fide thrill ride. Immersive theater may be more common now, but no one blasts through boundaries like these guys. As usual, James’s nonverbal episodic spectacle (with an eclectic score by Gaby Kerpel that glides from techno and drum ’n’ bass to world) is a direct challenge to we poor critics’

Read more
Daryl Roth Theatre Until Thursday December 31 2015

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.

Read more
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Saturday March 7 2015 - Sunday June 7 2015

Free events in April 2015

Secret Meeting

Critics' pick

Each week, Eli Yudin (SNL "Weekend Update" contributor) and Nick Mullen (Thought Catalog) host this stand-up showcase followed by karaoke.

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Pine Box Rock Shop Thursday January 29 2015 - Thursday October 8 2015 Free

Cocktails, Comics and Cartoons!

Join fellow nerds every Wednesday at Videology to watch cartoon screenings like X-Men: The Animated Series and The Venture Bros. You’ll also get a look at new and classic comics via Bushwick’s Vinyl Fantasy. There’s a special cartoon happy hour (4–7pm) and snacks from El Gato Nacho till 11pm.

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Videology Wednesday January 28 2015 - Thursday December 31 2015 Free

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. His Untitled (Thermochromic bench), for example, changes color due to heat generated by sitters or the intensity of sunlight. A maze has been painted with multicolored layers of powder-coated aluminum; one side has protective UV coating while the other doesn’t, so that the piece will partially fade from exposure. But as it does, another layer of paint will eventually emerge and regenerate the original color. A set of teeter-totters feature geometric forms that collect rainwater, thus changing the distribution of weight. A giant wind chime is too big for an ordinary breeze to move it, so visitors do the job instead by pushing the chimes around. A more solitary experience is provided by a pair of white, aluminum shelters with tiny entrances and stained-glass skylights. The ambience within each of these “light rooms,” as the artist calls them, will change with the weather. Playful and thought-provoking, these laboratories of fun seek to engage the curious child inside all of us.—Paul Laster

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

Bad Drag Queen

Critics' pick

The hilarious Bob the Drag Queen glams up audience members for this aggressively amateur weekly contest.

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Industry Bar Until Tuesday June 30 2015 Free

Music 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 Wednesday April 1 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.

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Terminal 5 Saturday April 11 2015

At the Gates + Converge + Vallenfyre

Critics' pick

Extreme-metal bible Decibel is known for putting together great package tours, and it's unveiling another doozy this time around. Headlining are Swedish death-metal vets At the Gates, gigging on the heels of its long-awaited comeback disc, At War with Reality. And setting the stage are Massachusetts metalcore titans Converge, whose 2012 set, All We Love We Leave Behind, frankly blew our puny little minds, and the U.K.'s Vallenfyre, which features ATG drummer Adrian Erlandsson and players associated with renowned Brit crews Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride.

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Webster Hall Sunday April 12 2015

They Might Be Giants

Critics' pick

The quirk-rock masters come off last year's expectedly weird-but-charming Nanobots to play a special series of NYC dates: one MHOW gig per month for five months, starting with a sold-out show in January. Each of the following concerts is devoted to one of the band's classic releases: They Might Be Giants, Lincoln, Dial-A-Song and Flood, respectively.

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Music Hall of Williamsburg Sunday February 22 2015 - Sunday May 31 2015

Arts events in April 2015

"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. Even more ironic is the work's depiction of life during the country's explosively modern Jazz Age, though the painting was created at the onset of the Great Depression. Nevertheless, it is a classic of the mural form, and one of Benton's masterpieces. For years, the work was installed in the lobby of the old Equitable Building on Seventh Avenue; it was just recently donated to the Met by the AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. It makes its debut here in its new, and presumably permanent, home.

Read more
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Until Sunday April 19 2015

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. His Untitled (Thermochromic bench), for example, changes color due to heat generated by sitters or the intensity of sunlight. A maze has been painted with multicolored layers of powder-coated aluminum; one side has protective UV coating while the other doesn’t, so that the piece will partially fade from exposure. But as it does, another layer of paint will eventually emerge and regenerate the original color. A set of teeter-totters feature geometric forms that collect rainwater, thus changing the distribution of weight. A giant wind chime is too big for an ordinary breeze to move it, so visitors do the job instead by pushing the chimes around. A more solitary experience is provided by a pair of white, aluminum shelters with tiny entrances and stained-glass skylights. The ambience within each of these “light rooms,” as the artist calls them, will change with the weather. Playful and thought-provoking, these laboratories of fun seek to engage the curious child inside all of us.—Paul Laster

Read more
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.

Read more
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Saturday March 7 2015 - Sunday June 7 2015

"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. However, as this Guggenheim retrospective demonstrates, he’s undertaken other projects as well, some involving postcards or maps. But all share the same deep commitment to concretely taking the measure of time and place. The survey is the first full presentation of his work ever undertaken.

Read more
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Friday February 6 2015 - Monday May 4 2015

Fuerza Bruta: Wayra

Critics' pick

Fuerza Bruta: Wayra. Daryl Roth Theatre (see Off Broadway). Conceived and directed by Diqui James. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 20mins. No intermission. Wayra: In brief 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. Wayra: Theater review by David Cote When the sensory-wraparound rave known as De La Guarda swung into town 16 years ago, it was the only show of its kind. Even in 2007, when environmental-kinesthetic mastermind Diqui James unveiled a sequel, Fuerza Bruta, there was no Sleep No More, Then She Fell or Queen of the Night. So has James tried to reinvent the wheel and beat the competition—say, by introducing narrative or literary allusions? Not a chance. Fuerza Bruta: Wayra is of a piece with its predecessors, still offering unique thrills for a remarkably young and diverse audience that, I’m guessing, doesn’t get to Playwrights Horizons very much. And there’s nothing wrong with that. As a palate cleanser for theatergoers tired of living rooms and family secrets, Wayra is a bona fide thrill ride. Immersive theater may be more common now, but no one blasts through boundaries like these guys. As usual, James’s nonverbal episodic spectacle (with an eclectic score by Gaby Kerpel that glides from techno and drum ’n’ bass to world) is a direct challenge to we poor critics’

Read more
Daryl Roth Theatre Until Thursday December 31 2015

More events in April 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 Sunday April 5 2015 Free

"The All-Knowing Buddha: A Secret Guide"

Behold 54 intricate 18th-century paintings from China designed in the style of autumn leaves. Created for meditation practice honoring ancient Tibetan Buddhist Sarvavid Vairochana, this is their first presentation in the U.S. Head over on Friday for free entry from 6 to 10pm. Through Apr 13.

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The Rubin Museum of Art Wednesday January 28 2015 - Monday April 13 2015

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 January 28 2015 - Thursday December 31 2015

Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion

Critics' pick

This exhibit investigates the elaborate backstory of trade and immigration between China and the United States starting from the late 18th century to present. "Exclusion/Inclusion" delves into Chinese-American history from all over the country and will include less-publicized narratives like the Exclusion Act of 1882, which blocked many Chinese people from entering the U.S. for many years.

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The New-York Historical Society Until Sunday April 19 2015

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