January 2013 events calendar for New York City

Plan your month with our events calendar of the very best activities, including free things to do and our picks from theater, the arts and music.

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Our events calendar for the first month of 2013 is the perfect tonic for a holiday hangover. Plan ahead by signing up for Restaurant Week Winter and bag a hot table, visit a major new addition to the Chelsea gallery scene, or free your legs from the tyranny of trousers at Improv Everywhere's No Pants Subway Ride.

RECOMMENDED: New York City events calendar for 2013

RECOMMENDED: More winter activities in NYC


Featured events in January 2013

Monster Energy Invitational

  • Critics choice

Escape the chilly weather with some Southern-style, yee-haw-worthy fun in midtown. The Professional Bull Riders organization kicks off its 2013 tour with this three-day stint at the Garden. Don a cowboy hat and cheer on 40 ace studs as they attempt to stay atop bucking bovines—which can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds—for more than eight seconds.

  1. Madison Square Garden 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave), between 31st and 33rd Sts
  2. Until Sun Jan 5
More info

50 First Jokes

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Each year in early January, John F. O'Donnell invites 50 of his favorite comics to present their first new joke of the year. It's a meet-and-greet for some of the city's best young comics and an interesting look at how jokes are born and what they're like before they're honed and polished.

  1. The Bell House 149 7th St, between Second and Third Aves
  2. Until Fri Jan 3
More info

Cassoulet Cook-Off

  • Price band: 2/4

The iconic French dish of beans and meat, slow-cooked in its eponymous earthenware crock, is perhaps the ultimate winter comfort dish. Warm your soul with tastes of multiple versions at East Village gastropub Jimmy’s No. 43, where for the fifth year running, amateur and professional cooks will compete to make the best casserole. Proceeds benefit Greenmarket’s farmers-aid programs upstate, so rest assured your eating—and judging—is for a good cause.

  1. Jimmy’s No. 43 43 E 7th St, between Second and Third Aves
  2. Sun Jan 12
More info

NY Chili Fest

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Arm yourself with plenty of antacids before digging into the fiery bowls at this January throwdown. Competitors from nearly two dozen local restaurants battle each other to deliver the perfect meat-based chili (using dry-aged, locally raised beef supplied by Dickson’s Farmstand Meats). Wash down the grub with gratis Sam Adams beers and let your stomach rest as you listen to live country music. Session times have yet to be announced.

  1. Chelsea Market 75 Ninth Ave, at 16th St
  2. Sun Jan 27
More info
Le Cirque

NYC Restaurant Week Winter 2013

Gotham’s most popular food week (which, perplexingly, can last upward of ten days—2011’s edition ran for 14 days from mid-January) continues to grow with buzzy new additions, making for one of the most delicious bargains in town. Sample more than 300 eateries’ cut-price, prix-fixe, three-course lunches and dinners—just remember to tip generously; gratuities are not included. Sign up online to be notified when reservations begin—the hottest tables fill up fast. Visit nycgo.com/restaurantweek for more information.

  1. TBA
  2. Mon Jan 14 - Fri Feb 8

Garden of Laughs

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

A varied lineup of big names holds down this benefit stand-up show whose proceeds go to the children's organization Garden of Dreams. As the performers include Brian Regan, Adam Ferrara, Darrell Hammond, Robert Klein, Ray Romano and Wanda Sykes, most of the comedy will be suitable for sensitive ears.

  1. Theater at Madison Square Garden 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave), between 31st and 33rd Sts
  2. Sat Jan 26
More info

Free events in January 2013

Freeze Tag on Wall Street

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Bundle up and tear around FiDi with Matt Levy from family-owned tour company The Levy’s Unique New York. There’s no political angle or protest intended at this eighth annual edition of schoolyard japery in the backyard of the masters of the universeÑjust the chance to play tag, Red Rover and more games you’d have to google to recall the rules. (Some just sound made up: Heard of Wolf Sheep Rock? Us neither.) Meet at Wall St at Broad St; visit levysuniqueny.com for more information.

  1. Location TBA
  2. Sun Jan 12
More info

No Pants Subway Ride

Improv Everywhere’s annual barefaced, bare-legged mission began in January 2002 with a handful of operatives in one car on the downtown 6 train, but it’s grown into the mass, well-publicized event that took over your Facebook feed last year with hundreds of cheeky pics. Admittedly, it’s not the mildly subversive, playful prank it was; instead, it’s become a chance to perform a daring feat while supported by thousands of your fellow New Yorkers. That’s something we can drop trou and stand at attention for (as long as it’s not too cold). Check improveverywhere.com from early December for announcements.

  1. TBA
  2. Sun Jan 19

Leo Villareal, "BUCKYBALL"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Nonprofit Mad. Sq. Art is on a hot streak. It follows up its summer installation of Charles Long’s Pet Sounds, brightly colored blobs that emitted noises when touched, with a pair of illuminated geodesic spheres, one inside the other. The form is based on Carbon 60 molecules, named after inventor and futurist Buckminster Fuller, who popularized geodesic domes as habitable structures. The monumental sculpture, 20 feet in diameter, is composed of multicolored LED tubes that put on a changing light show dictated by computer software. Lounge in one of the surrounding wooden zero-gravity chairs and take in the hypnotic spectacle.

  1. Madison Square Park E 23rd St to E 26th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves
  2. Thu Feb 28
More info

Richard Artschwager, blps

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Go on a leisurely walk along the High Line and see something new. In conjunction with the Whitney’s full-scale retrospective “Richard Artschwager!”, this grandee of the art world installed nine pill-shaped works along and around the elevated park. Artschwager began posting the shape in public spaces in New York in the late ’60s, intending them to draw the viewer’s attention to unnoticed spaces.

  1. The High Line Washington St, at Gansevoort St
  2. Sun Feb 3
More info

Theater events in January 2013

2013 Coil Festival

  • Price band: 2/4

The curators of P.S. 122’s eighth annual avant-garde fest aren’t afraid to take theater and dance to a weird place. January is all the richer for it, with happenings sprouting up at alt-performance venues all over the city. Highlights include Inflatable Frankenstein!, a piece inspired by Mary Shelley’s messed-up life, created by anarchic Brooklyn company Radiohole by way of English horror maven James Whale; Ruff, a new one-woman piece from Split Britches maverick Peggy Shaw; and a pair of radical Chekhov reinterpretations—Kristen Kosmas’s There There and Half Straddle’s Seagull (Thinking of you). Locations, times and prices vary; visit ps122.org for more information.

  1. 150 First Ave, (at 9th St)
More info

Under the Radar Festival

  • Price band: 2/4

April may be the cruelest month, but January is the God-awfulest. Thankfully, the Public Theater’s ninth annual program shines a big, crazy strobe light into that wintry darkness. This year’s series brings together expectation-defying theater companies from seven countries, all performing in the Public’s recently renovated digs. Check out performances by local faves Elevator Repair Service (Arguendo) and the Debate Society (Blood Play), as well as a reimagining of Hamlet from Iranian company Leev Theater Group and a culture-clash drama (Ganesh Versus the Third Reich) from Australia’s Back to Back Theatre. Dates and times vary; $20, members $15.

  1. 425 Lafayette St, (between Astor Pl and E 4th St)
More info

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

  • Price band: 4/4

Scarlett Johansson hits the Great White Way alongside costar Benjamin Walker (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) for a revival of Tennessee Williams’s feisty, booze-soaked classic. The show marks ScarJo’s return to Broadway after her fine, Tony Award–winning turn two years ago in another mid-’50s dramatic staple, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge. 877-250-2929, catonahottinroofbroadway.com. $67–$142.

  1. Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 W 46th St, (between Broadway and Eighth Ave)
  2. Opens Jan 17
More info

Music events in January 2013

2013 NYC Winter Jazzfest

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

No other festival experience in town feels quite as homey and discovery-charged as WJF, during which showgoers stroll freely between multiple close-range venues, marveling, mingling and comparing notes. The roster for this ninth installment is typically stacked, featuring elders such as Lee Konitz; newbies like Rafiq Bhatia; and a healthy number of wild cards, including a Gil Scott-Heron tribute starring Dead Prez rhymesmith M1.

  1. Various venues
  2. Fri Jan 11 - Sat Jan 12
More info

globalFEST 2013

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Practice the art of musical escapism at this border-smashing blowout, where 12 bands play across Webster Hall’s three stages. Dance away the winter blues with raucous 30-member marching band Mucca Pazza, merry Hungarian Roma crew Parno Graszt and aboriginal Canadian DJs A Tribe Called Red. For a different pace, Persian spike fiddler Kayhan Kalhor offers classic reveries with Turkish longneck-lute virtuoso Erdal Erzincan. Tickets to this genuinely impressive bill are already on sale—snap them up now and have a ready remedy to the postholiday funk.

  1. Webster Hall 125 E 11th St, between Third and Fourth Aves
  2. Until Sun Jan 13
More info

Ecstatic Music Festival

  • Price band: 2/4

Curated by New Amsterdam Records’ Judd Greenstein, this third annual two-month series showcases genre-defying collaborations between scores of artists riding the cusp of the classical, pop and indie-label scenes. Songstress Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) opens the proceedings with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus at New York Public Radio’s the Greene Space (44 Charlton St at Varick St; 646-829-4400, thegreenespace.org). The fun continues back at the fest’s home base, Merkin Concert Hall, with category-crossing acts like noise rockers Deerhoof and Chicago-based contemporary ensemble Dal Niente, who pair up with composer Marcos Balter on Feb 20. The full lineup will be announced in the last week of November. 212-501-3330, ecstaticmusicfestival.com. Dates and times vary; $25, festival pass $150.

  1. 129 W 67th St, (between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave)
More info

American Songbook

  • Price band: 4/4

The best in jazz, folk, rock, Broadway, gospel and pop will resonate in the intimate Allen Room over the 15 nights of patriotic programing that comprise the first part of Lincoln Center’s all-American musical celebration. With solo gigs by Broadway divas such as Kristin Chenoweth (Feb 15) and Lea Salonga (Jan 30), the rock- and folk-infused sung poetry of Will Oldham (Feb 7) of Bonnie “Prince” Billy fame, and powerhouse gospel legend Mavis Staples (Feb 14), this roster has roots firmly planted in the rich musical traditions of the land of the free. 212-721-6500, americansongbook.org. Dates and times vary; $30–$275.

  1. The Allen Room, 33 W 60th St, (at Broadway)
More info

Blkmarket Membership and ReSolute: Ellen Allien

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The house and techno lovers of ReSolute join forces with Blkmarket Membership’s Taimur & Fahad for an audience with Berlin's Ellen Allien, the Bpitch Control boss lady with a style that fluctuates between introspective moodiness and dance-floor ecstasy—and she definitely knows how to rock a party, so be ready for a fun night.

  1. Location TBA
  2. Fri Jan 31
More info
See more music events in January 2013

Arts events in January 2013

39th Annual New Year's Day Marathon Benefit Reading

  • Critics choice

You’ll probably be too hungover to count this high, but this is the 39th edition of Poetry Project’s event. More than 140 writers, musicians and dancers read and perform to a standing-room-only crowd at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. Proceeds from admission, and book and food stalls, fund the group’s mission to inject some classy art into the city.

  1. The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church 131 E 10th St, at Second Ave
  2. Until Thu Jan 2
More info

DJ Spooky: The Nauru Elegies

  • Critics choice

Paul D. Miller, a.k.a. DJ Spooky, continues his “Reframed” series for the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a multimedia collaboration consisting of a string-quartet performance and digital-animation projections. The piece explores the complexities of the global economy via a case study of the Republic of Nauru, an overmined South Pacific island and tax haven. Aiming to reflect colonial and postcolonial issues in contemporary digital society, Miller’s composition for strings will be performed live during this thought-provoking one-night event.

Eat, Drink and Be Literary

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

This series of civilized yet casual evenings features dinner, wine and a reading from a noteworthy writer, followed by a moderated Q&A about the author's creative process. This winter and spring, the excellent series welcomes names including Alison Bechdel, Colson Whitehead and January's first guest, Martin Amis.

  1. Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) 30 Lafayette Ave, between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St
  2. Until Wed May 28
More info

Hauser & Wirth downtown

Sometimes in art, size matters, especially for a high-end gallery looking to accommodate artists with ambitions of scale. So when Hauser & Wirth, major players in the global art market, planned to expand their New York footprint beyond their showcase on the Upper East Side, they decided to go big—really big—settling on a 24,700-square-foot space formerly occupied by the Roxy discotheque. The new gallery opens with works by Dieter Roth, the influential Swiss artist known for sculptural assemblages of rotting food and manure, and should soon prove a must-visit stop for any Chelsea gallerygoer. hauserwirth.com

  1. 511 W 18th St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Opens Jan 25

Dance Concert and Powwow

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Here’s your cheat sheet when it comes to Native American culture: Johnny Depp as Tonto is, ahem, less than authentic; but Theater for the New City’s 38th annual event is the real deal. The two-hour performance by the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers is a whirlwind tour across North America, that includes a caribou dance from the Inuit, a buffalo dance from the Hopi and a stomp dance that originated in the Southeast. The pageantry is all explained with stories and introductions by MC Louis Mofsie, and audiences can share the joy of the powwow during the friendship-themed Round Dance.

  1. Theater for the New City 155 First Ave, between 9th and 10th Sts
  2. Until Sun Feb 9
More info

John Irving

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The novelist makes his second area appearance behind new book In One Person, which chronicles 50 years in the life of Billy, a bisexual man who can't shake the title of "sexual suspect." The book addresses the AIDS crisis and other issues while carrying on with the convincing quirks that are Irving's hallmarks.



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