Things to do in New York today

The day's best things to do in New York—including free and cheap activities, concerts, screenings, shows, parties and more. It's your social emergency savior.

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Free things to do today

Ratking + Show Me the Body + Yung Gutted + '86

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Buzzy Harlem hip-hop trio Ratking, which released its debut album, So It Goes, earlier this year, matches wonky rhymes with spacey, jolting beats.

  1. Brooklyn Night Bazaar 165 Banker St, at Norman Ave, 11222
  2. Fri Dec 19
More info

Escort Service present Civic Duty

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Escort Service present Civic Duty is a biweekly party promising dark club music and drink specials—at no charge. For this session, come indulge in your Friday dose of live techno, acid and electro-funk bass music as Alexander Trust and 2n3904 take on the decks.

  1. Bossa Nova Civic Club 1271 Myrtle Ave, at Hart St, 11221
  2. Fri Dec 19
More info

Live from Outer Space

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The endearingly histrionic John F. O'Donnell joins understated absurdists Ben Kronberg and Erik Bergstrom to host this weekly night of stand-up.

  1. The Cobra Club 6 Wyckoff Ave, between Jefferson and Troutman Sts, 11237
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Fri Dec 25
More info
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Today's free and cheap concerts

The FlipBooKit Show

  • Free

Here at the FlipBooKit Show, the press of a button triggers a loop of charming and surreal animation—each painstakingly designed by more than 40 artists. Oh, and every book is available for purchase at Grumpy Bert’s shop and gallery.  

  1. Grumpy Bert 82 Bond St, between Atlantic Ave and State St
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Dec 28
More info

Ratking + Show Me the Body + Yung Gutted + '86

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Buzzy Harlem hip-hop trio Ratking, which released its debut album, So It Goes, earlier this year, matches wonky rhymes with spacey, jolting beats.

  1. Brooklyn Night Bazaar 165 Banker St, at Norman Ave, 11222
  2. Fri Dec 19
More info

Shilpa Ray + Wild Bore + Young Runner + Stuyedeyed

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Enthralling local punk-cabaret chanteuse Shilpa Ray, who garnered a dream cosign last year when she toured with Nick Cave, presents her goth-gone-black-comedy dirges, as heard on 2013's It's All Self Fellatio EP.

  1. Cake Shop 152 Ludlow St, between Rivington and Stanton Sts
  2. Fri Dec 19
More info
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Today's best arts and culture

Holiday Under the Stars

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Take a break from Christmas shopping and check out Time Warner Center’s state-of-the-art holiday light display. The spectacle features a dozen 14-foot LED stars that do a colorful “dance,” flashing more than 16.7 million color mixes in time to classic yuletide tunes. You’ll be so moved, you won’t even care that you maxed out your MasterCard getting Aunt Judy that back massager she’s been wanting.

  1. Time Warner Center 10 Columbus Circle, at Broadway
  2. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Jan 4
More info

Barneys New York holiday windows

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Walk by Barneys New York for a holiday view of fluffy woodland creatures and fantastical snow owls from the creative mind of writer and director Baz Luhrmann and his wife, costume designer Catherine Martin.

  1. Barneys New York 660 Madison Ave, at 61st St
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Wed Dec 31
More info

Henri Bendel holiday windows

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Henri Bendel window displays are inspired by vintage landscaping this year. In one window you'll find Louise the Elephant, a plush green fellow made of shrubbery and covered in oversize silver ornaments. Other windows will feature fountains, cobblestones, scattered camellias and all-around holiday whimsy.

  1. Henri Bendel 712 Fifth Ave, at 56th St
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Thu Jan 1
More info
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Tonight's best comedy show

Me, My Mouth and I

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Me, My Mouth & I. Cherry Lane Theatre (see Off Broadway). By Joy Behar. With Behar. Running time: 1hr 40mins. No intermission. Me, My Mouth & I: In brief Comedian, actor, talk-show host and The View stalwart Joy Behar is widely and justly beloved for her good-natured, plain-talking style. Now she hits the stage with a solo account of her life and times thus far. Me, My Mouth & I: Theater review by Raven Snook Talk about punch-lining to the converted: Joy Behar’s new autobiographical solo comedy is attracting the Medicare crowd, but her insightful stories are hilarious enough to make disaffected hipsters plotz. More than a glorified stand-up routine, the show traces the septuagenarian’s entertainment aspirations from the Italian tenements of Williamsburg to ABC’s The View, with a few detours to Long Island and Hollywood. Though at times Behar strays from her theme and indulges in easy if satisfying trash talk (suck it, Elisabeth Hasselbeck), the focus is clear and the funny consistent. In addition to crack timing and smartly skewed viewpoints, Behar paints sidesplitting verbal pictures (wait until you hear about the little person on an end table) and shares fantastic behind-the-scenes tales (note: do not piss off Barbara Walters). Though Behar may not win new fans with Me, My Mouth & I—if you always thought she was a loudmouth, liberal rhymes-with-witch, she still is—acolytes should experience rapture, and hopefully won’t rupture anything from belly laughs.—Theater review by R

  1. 38 Commerce St, at Seventh Ave South
  2. $50–$60
  3. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Dec 21
More info
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Tonight's best nightlife

Nutcracker Rouge

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

[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 Christmas staple and given it a NSFW spin. Nutcracker Rouge is the perfect hot date: a rated-R riff on the tale of Clara and an enchanted appliance—which may require batteries. Our wide-eyed heroine is now an adult named Marie Claire (Laura Careless, agog and breathing heavily), and the world she discovers is a wintry realm of half-naked dancers and acrobats, gyrating and performing physical stunts that send her into ecstasies of arousal. They get the audience riled up, too. Decked out in Zane Pihlstrom’s eye-po

  1. 428 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. $65–$175
  3. Fri Dec 19 - Sat Jan 31
Buy tickets

The Slipper Room Show

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Burlesque and variety headquarters the Slipper Room provides plenty of entertainment on the weekends, attracting the cream of the city's scene for plenty of bump-and-grind fun. Shows are at 10pm and midnight; check the club's website for the (generally awesome) lineup.

  1. Slipper Room 167 Orchard St, at Stanton St
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Sat Dec 27
More info

Thievery Corporation

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Consisting of musical multitalents Eric Hilton and Rob Garza, the D.C. duo Thievery Corporation produces lush musical soundscapes culled from an expansive list of worldly influences: from Brazilian bossa nova to Jamaican dub reggae to psychedelic space-rock. The broad stylistic pallette is further sharpened by an incisive radical political bent, sounding a multilingual protest of, you know, "the system, man!" which is more timely now than even before their late '90s heyday. Onstage, the lineup grows to a full band of instrumentalists and vocalists for a spectacular live show.

  1. Webster Hall 125 E 11th St, between Third and Fourth Aves
  2. Fri Dec 19
More info
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Users say

3 comments
Kerry A
Kerry A

I have a complaint: I'm an avid reader of the "Undateable" section in Time Out, where Time Out sets up two strangers on a date. Well, last week's article featured a boy who wrote extremely cruel things about his date. I understand you want people to be honest, but I can hardly support someone ripping their date to shreds publicly.

Melodie D
Melodie D

Calle 13 is doing a signing today at 6pm at El Barrio Music Center in Harlem!

Arlene
Arlene

So many different kinds of events. Not your usual touristy stuff , and free. Love this site.

Make a restaurant reservation

Cookshop

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 156 Tenth Ave, at 20th St
Make reservation

Hecho en Dumbo

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 354 Bowery, between Great Jones and E 4th Sts
Make reservation

L'Apicio

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 13 E 1st St, between Bowery and Second Ave, 10003
Make reservation

Char No. 4

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. 196 Smith St, between Baltic and Warren Sts
Make reservation