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Best of 2014

Your essential guide to the best of 2014, plus the year's best books, comedy shows and more

So how was it for you? This year in New York has been packed to the gills with truly amazing events, running the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous and every shade in between. So, let's take a deep breath and we'll review all the tremendous things that happened in Gotham this year. In other words: It's time to take a delicious bite of the pie that was 2014 in NYC. And if that gets you super excited about 2015, get warmed up with our pick of the best parties in NYC, and the greatest free things to do in NYC.

Things to do

New York 2014: The year in pictures

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Music

The 20 best albums of 2014

The Time Out North America music staff united and voted on the best albums of 2014, from FKA to Schoolboy Q. Here are the results 2014 is a year that will be remembered as tumultuous, in everything from weather to politics. Polar vortices, Ferguson, Crimea, midterm elections, Ebola, NFL misconduct, drought, et al. Eek. Yet the most purchased, played and streamed songs of the year were "Happy," "Let It Go" and "Shake It Off." This is probably not a coincidence.  Even the Billboard charts saw radical change. As of December 3, the Billboard 200 album chart now counts 1,500 song streams as equal to one album sale. Selling 10 digital tracks from a record (even just one single selling 10 times) also equates to one album sale. The album is finally irrelevent.  And yet we still turn to the LP, and not merely for escape. For the first time, all of Time Out North America collaborated on this best albums of 2014 list. While there was not much consensus (outside of Todd Terje), our favorite records reflected our mercurial tastes and moods, ranging from the romantic to the political. If there's a common thread amid this mish-mash of hip-hop, brokenhearted folk, dance club jams and nostalgic pop, it's that each feels deeply personal.  What did you think were the best albums of 2014? Tell us in the comments below. RECOMMENDED: Best of 2014 The best albums of 2014 Alvvays - 'Alvvays' In the vein of such jangle-pop virtuosos as Camera Obscura, Toronto's Alvvays delivered a terrifically roman

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Music

The 20 best songs of 2014

The Time Out North America music staff united and voted on the best songs of 2014, from Sia to Tay Tay. Here are the results. The end of the year always seems like a blur, with holidays and work mounting for one final push before the calendar turns over. But when better to reflect on the year in music than when you're elbow deep in Christmas cookies or looking for motivation to finish that last project?It's our prediction that these tunes, by both up-and-comers and vets, are the ones that won't be easily forgotten once the ball drops on 2014. While there is some overlap with our Best Albums of 2014 list, these picks reflect the high points that came in shorter bursts. For all the benefits of the album, we live in a world of singles now: These tunes are the ones that made a difference to us, with an earworm-y melody or well-placed lyric or for some reason we can't really explain (but try to anyway). We hope you like them too.What did you think were the best songs of 2014? Tell us in the comments below.RECOMMENDED: Best of 2014 Listen to the best songs of 2014 "Word Crimes" by Weird Al Yankovic Let's forget the skeevy sexism of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" for a second and the fact that Thicke more or less admitted that he and Pharrell Williams stole the song from Marvin Gaye. Controversy aside, it was a deeply silly, grating single, and we're overjoyed that in 2014 we not only saw its ubiquity fade but were treated to this spot-on Weird Al parody. The resurgent pop sa

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Movies

The 20 best movies of 2014

From Hollywood’s riskiest dares to the indie, foreign and documentary fringes, the year in cinema was a killer ride First, a brief remembrance before we get into the year's best movies: The film world said its heartbroken goodbyes to Mike Nichols in November, an occasion for returning to the director’s seismic The Graduate, along with four decades of subsequent work, much of it brilliant. Within that career, you can see echoes of this year’s knockouts: euphoric comedies of awkward maturation (Lukas Moodysson’s We Are the Best!), vicious marital showdowns (David Fincher’s darkly funny Gone Girl) and the quiet anxieties of New Yorkers (Ira Sachs’s Love Is Strange), a subset Nichols knew well. It was a year in which top-flight American filmmakers dug deeper, as did Britain’s Jonathan Glazer, extending his utterly uncompromising trajectory with the aching alien drama Under the Skin. There were real-world documentary triumphs (Particle Fever) and fantastic visions of a dark future (Snowpiercer). All in all, 2014 gave us much to love—and much to argue about. Just as it should be.RECOMMENDED: Best of 2014 Latest Time Out film features The 50 films we can’t wait to see in 2015 Oscars 2015: 15 films that could win big 50 terrifying movie moments The 50 best David Lynch characters Best films now showing Still Alice The year's most grueling tearjerker is also its most rewarding: Julianne Moore, as a professor diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, has never been better. Concer

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Movies

The 20 best movie scenes of 2014

Action, romance, horror, drama and ScarJo as an alien: It’s all in our list of the best movie moments of 2014 You might also like The 20 best movies of 2014 We pick our 20 favorite movies from the eye-opening, unpredictable cinematic smorgasbord that was 2014. Latest Time Out film features The 20 best movies of 2014 The best new movies on Netflix The 50 films we can’t wait to see in 2015 Oscars 2015: 15 films that could win big The 50 best David Lynch characters Best films now showing Mr. Turner Mike Leigh delivers a naturalistic, stunningly shot biopic about the working life of J.M.W. Turner. Timothy Spall plays the legendary painter with brave and captivating restraint. The Interview In the unlikely event that this subversive Seth Rogen comedy proves to be Sony’s downfall, at least they'll go out with a bang—the jokes are wonderfully lowbrow. Winter Sleep This year’s winner of the Palme d’Or is a nearly four-hour drama about a curmudgeon who lives in Turkey's remote mountains. Despite that, it’s pretty great. If you don’t have time to catch up with all the best movies of 2014, simply fast-forward to these key scenes and get all your cinematic sustenance in handy, bite-sized chunks. From boozy apes to dudes in capes, these were our favorite movie moments in 2014.RECOMMENDED: Best of 2014 Tweets by Time Out NY Tweets about "@timeoutnewyork"

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Movies

The 30 best movie posters of 2014

Sure, we saw the movies—and loved a bunch of them—but sometimes the posters were enough You might also like The 20 best movies of 2014 15 dazzling vintage movie posters Latest Time Out film features The 50 best Christmas movies Chris Rock interview The 20 best movies of 2014 The best new movies on Netflix The 50 films we can’t wait to see in 2015 Best films now showing Mr. Turner Mike Leigh delivers a naturalistic, stunningly shot biopic about the working life of J.M.W. Turner. Timothy Spall plays the legendary painter with brave and captivating restraint. The Interview In the unlikely event that this subversive Seth Rogen comedy proves to be Sony’s downfall, at least they'll go out with a bang—the jokes are wonderfully lowbrow. Winter Sleep This year’s winner of the Palme d’Or is a nearly four-hour drama about a curmudgeon who lives in Turkey's remote mountains. Despite that, it’s pretty great. Some of the best movies of 2014 weren't easy sells. For every “a boy grows up right before your eyes over 12 richly detailed years!” (Boyhood) there was a “Yet another Coppola is making movies, and she's into teenagers too!” (thanks, Palo Alto). As it turned out, we were impressed by some of the sensitive work that went into the year's best posters, delivering more than just their respective movies, but a full-on mood.RECOMMENDED: Best of 2014 Tweets by Time Out NY Tweets about "@timeoutnewyork"

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Theater

The 20 best Broadway and Off-Broadway shows of 2014

Great revivals on Broadway and daring experiments Off Broadway—there was terrific New York theater everywhere you looked Most popular theater events this week Radio City Christmas Spectacular You'll get a kick out of this holiday stalwart, which—after more than eight decades—still features Santa, wooden soldiers and the leggy, spunky Rockettes. In recent years, new music, more eye-catching costumes, and advanced technology were introduced to bring audience members closer to the performance. Nutcracker Rouge [Note: The review below is from a previous run of Nutcracker Rouge. The revived production is at XIV, Company XIV's new home in the East Village, and the current cast does not include Marisol Cabrera and Jeff Takacs.) Nutcracker Rouge. Minetta Lane Theatre (see Off Broadway). Directed and choreographed by Austin McCormick. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 50mins. One intermission. Nutcracker Rouge: In brief Austin McCormick and his risqué neobaroque dance theater Company XIV present a lavish erotic reimagining of a classic holiday tale (adapted by Jeff Takacs), complete with circus performers, operatic singers and partial nudity. Nutcracker Rouge: Theater review by David Cote Around this time of year, the word nutcracker conjures so much innocent wonder: Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, the dance of the sugarplum fairy, glitter pasties, stripper poles, comically large stuffed penises.… Oh, did I lose you there? Director-choreographer Austin McCormick has taken the Chri

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Art

The 10 best art shows of 2014

The absolute best of New York’s art shows and exhibits from 2014 With so many museums and galleries in one town, it's hard for New York's art world to have a bad year, but 2014 was marked by especially fine exhibits, providing something for everyone. MoMA had the lion's share with surveys of Matisse, Sigmar Polke and Lygia Clark, but even small institutions liked the American Folk Art Museum surprised with its show of Dutch outsider artist, Willem Van Genk. All in all, 2014 offered more than enough events to satisfy even the pickiest art lovers. Most popular Art events this week "Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs" The explanatory text on the wall at the beginning of MoMA’s blockbuster of around one hundred of Henri Matisse’s cut-outs notes that these well-known works attempted to resolve the “eternal conflict of drawing and color.” Epic though that reconciliation may have been, it feels faraway and quaint these days. Despite his immense popularity, Matisse’s emphasis on formal innovation and aesthetic pleasure may make him the modern master most alien to the dry, over-intellectualized “conceptual” maneuvers that fill so many New York galleries. Thus, this rather glorious exhibition feels tonic. Matisse first took scissors to paper in the 1930s to work out figural compositions for murals and theater curtains, representing dancers with schematic forms alternately sinuous and angular, and counterintuitively achieving a remarkable feeling of movement and gravity with ostensibly unwiel

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Things to do

The 10 best books of 2014

From feminist essays to a fictional apocalyptic pandemic, these are our favorite books of the year Forget all the fearmongering about the state of publishing and literature: 2014 has been a brilliant year of debut novels, genre-bending experimentation, thought-provoking nonfiction and superb NYC-inspired fiction. As a testament to the fervor and devotion of readers, St. Mark’s Bookshop found and opened a new East Village home, and dreamy French bookstore Albertine began business on the Upper East Side. And we’ve spent the year reading, and re-reading, just to cull down the books of 2014 to one list of the best, essential reads. From poetry and fairy tales to essays and speculative stories, these are the recent publications that caught our attention and still linger with us. Most popular Book events The Moth StorySLAM! 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. The How I Learned Series Blaise Allysen Kearsley stuffs this hip, energetic evening of readings with writers, comics and bloggers, each of whom recounts a story tied to a specific lesson. Women’s Fiction Panel A dream assembly of storytellers and novelists, including Taiye Selasi, Tiphanie Yanique and Elliott Holt, share their recent work and talk about the intr

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Comedy

The 10 best comedy shows of 2014

The absolute best of New York’s stand-up, improv and sketch shows from 2014 2014 was a hell of a year for comedy in NYC. The New York Comedy Festival came to wreak havoc on our rib cages; Time Out New York's very own Women of Comedy 2014 show saw the funniest women in the country take over the city; and every night of the week, hundreds of comics worked their guts out trying to make New York audiences laugh their asses inside out. From a year of awesome comedy, we picked the 10 shows that, even in such a talented and crowded field, stood head and shoulders above the rest. Popular comedy events this week Comedy at the Knitting Factory The smooth and delightfully understated Hannibal Buress introduces fellow stand-ups.   Whiplash This wildly popular show, started by Leo Allen and adopted by Aparna Nancherla, has run for more than five years and been home to the best up-and-comers and biggest names in comedy. Wicked Frozen! Toby Singer and Zoe Farmingdale have never seen Wicked or Frozen, but that didn't stop them from guessing each story line and creating an entirely new mash-up show. Live from Outer Space The endearingly histrionic John F. O'Donnell joins understated absurdists Ben Kronberg and Erik Bergstrom to host this weekly night of stand-up. Frantic! The Stand's free weekly show, hosted by Michael Kosta, presents a rotating lineup of the club's regulars each Monday. Ted Greenberg's The Complete Performer Emmy-winning former Late Show writer Ted Greenberg performs an hour

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What to look forward to in 2014

Comedy

Best comedy shows in New York 2014

Book early as Amy Schumer, David Koechner and Sinbad make the year’s comedy show calendar look very promising. Popular comedy events this week The Moth StorySLAM! 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. Celebrity Autobiography Major comedic actors prick the bubble of celeb autobiographical puffery by performing droll, verbatim readings from stars' memoirs in Eugene Pack’s popular series. The cast on Jan 13 includes Matthew Broderick, Debbie Harry, Sherri Shepherd, Rachel Dratch, Mario Cantone and Alan Zweibel; the Jan 17 edition includes Dratch, Zweibel, Ralph Macchio, Richard Kind, Jackie Hoffman and Countess LuAnn de Lesseps. Jeffery & Cole: Older and Wiser Jeffery Self and Cole Escola, the boys behind the late, beloved Jeffery & Cole Casserole, are back together for just five nights in the Village. Whitney Houston Jukebox Musical: A Hastily Written Masterpiece Starring the Audience If this title, which says almost everything you need to know about the show, made you do a double take or outright say "hell yes," this is for you. Show up ready to perform or at least sing along with Houston's biggest hits. Mitigating the train-wreck factor are funny minds Josh Sharp, Aaron Jackson and Jo Firestone. Stand-Up Showcas

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