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Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

15 fantastic things to do in NYC this weekend

Jennifer P

Fri 2

Bank of America Winter Village Tree Lighting at Bryant Park; 6pm; free
Expect to see a theatrical ice-skating show, starring Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje from the No. 1 world-ranked ice-dancing team in Canada as well as Javier Fernández (two-time reigning World Champion and four-time European Champion) and Kimmie Meissner (former Olympian). The legendary Johnny Weir will also hit the ice as he is the Winter Village Skating Ambassador this year. 

Winter Wonderland Blunderland Variety Show House of Yes; 7pm; $15
Themed holiday bashes are usually kind of square (yes, even your ugly Christmas sweater soiree). Luckily, House of Yes is here to keep it weird during a variety night featuring burlesque, circus, cabaret and queer performers in a psychedelic take on your run-of-the-mill eggnog cheer fests. Expect some fun raunch, too, with envelope-pushing performers like Trixie Little, the Love Show, Samantha Sterman, Cheeky Lane and Poison Eve.

Karaoke Tremendous Union Hall; midnight; free
Lord Easy joins Sir Jarlsberg to reincarnate the high-energy karaoke dance party, 'Karaoke Killed the Cat.' Enter a no-judgment-zone where anyone can sing and dance their heart out.

Lauren Graham at Barnes & Noble Union Square; 7pm; free
Just days after her official return to Stars Hollow, the actress launches her collection of essays Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between).

The Great Gatsby Party Capitale; 9pm; $95, VIP $165
Serve West Egg realness without leaving Manhattan at one of the year's most decadent bashes, replete with champagne, top hats, and burlesque performances that would make the Ziegfeld Follies blush. Wear your sharpest tux or flapper gown and your comfiest dancing shoes: you're going to be lindy-hopping like it's Baz Luhrmann's birthday. And if you're ready to go all out, opt in for the VIP ticket, which includes exclusive speakeasy access and a Parisian buffet; or the Jay Gatsby table, which includes several bottles of champagne and velvet-roped seats for the whole night of debauchery. 

Northern Pole Territory: A Santastical Big of Holiday Nonsense Northern Territory; 6pm; Free admission, rooftop access $5
Ah, the holidays. They're perfect for ice-skating, drunk Santas and getting tipsy on rooftops! That's why Greenpoint's Northern Territory is turning its three-floor bar and rooftop into a twisted holiday wonderland. Non-traditional Santas will be onhand for some lap-sitting photo shoots, including hunky Santa, Sexy Mrs. Claus, the Jewish Santa Hanukklaus, and Elvis Santa. On the roof, there will be plush snowball fights, a mistletoe grotto (come with or without someone to kiss) and a Christmas tree forest where the Krampus lurks. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in NYC this weekend

Sat 3

Reggae Retro 1t Saturdays Party Littlefield; 11pm; $15–$20
Since 2002, Reggae Retro has delivered authentic, crowd-pleasing reggae jams to Brooklyn’s die-hard fans. Head to Littlefield to hear classics by Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, Dennis Brown and more. DJs Jace and Silence keep the beats rolling late into the night. 

Bulletin Holiday Market; 1pm; free
This recently opened alfresco bazaar was cool for the summer, but now that it’s actually cold outside, it’s moving indoors for a fully decorated holiday bonanza. Before you hunt for handcrafted goodies from a variety of local designers, get toasty with spiked hot cocoa. And once you’ve nabbed unique items for the whole fam, celebrate by taking a whirl on the dance floor and grooving to a DJ brought to you by party organizers Supply New York.  

Party Like It’s 1999: All I want for Christmas is Mariah Edition The Bell House; 10pm; free
Before Ariana Grande released Christmas & Chill and the girl from Love Actually immortalized “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey was claiming her throne as the queen of the season. Celebrate the diva’s 1994 album, Merry Christmas, at this rager, along with the catchiest pop, hip-hop and R&B songs of the ’90s as spun by DJ Steve. Better warm up your vocal cords if you want to keep up with Mimi.

Treetops: Let Them Eat Cake! House of Yes; 10pm; $30–$45
There's no way to describe this one without sounding like Stefon from SNL. This is an 18th century Versaille-themed music and dance event, featuring an instrument called a fire organ, and also, cake. Featured musical artists include: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Dimitri From Paris, Duane Harriott, Teddy Roosevelt, Pony, Ben Cormier, and Joel Dubin. Buy tickets early before they sell out.

Hot 97 Hot for the Holidays Prudential Center; 8pm; $59–$395
Will there actually be any holiday music at Hot 97’s hip-hop fest? It’s impossible to predict, but with big-name and rising artists including Usher, T.I., Lil Yachty, Travis Scott, Young Thug, Joey Bada$$, Jidenna and Kehlani, this New Jersey fete makes a great early Christmas gift for the hop (and pop) head in your life. And who knows? Maybe T.I. has a great Atlanta rap-scene take on “Deck the Halls.”

A Prairie Home Companion The Town Hall; 5:45pm; $58–$64
The public radio show favorite, A Prairie Home Companion, has entered a new chapter with a new host, Chris Thile, filling the shoes of Garrison Keillor. This episode of the 30-week season will be broadcast live from New York, where audience members can also catch performances by Corinne Bailey Rae and Marcus Mumford. For die-hard fans of Garrison Keillor and his smooth-as-butter voice, Garrison himself said in an interview that selecting Thile as host was “the best idea I’ve had since Powdermilk Biscuits.”

Sun 4 

The Poetry Brothel House of Yes; 8pm; $30–$75
The House of Yes transforms into a literary bordello at this sultry event featuring live jazz, burlesque, vaudeville, aerial performances, fortune-tellers and more. Poets offer up their verses throughout the evening, and for a small fee you can sneak away for a private reading with any of the night's bards.

The Freedom Party Presents: Masta Ace 50th Birthday Bash Le Poisson Rouge; 6pm; $20, at the door $25
NYC’s longest-running Friday-night dance party celebrates the 50th birthday of iconic rapper Masta Ace featuring dope throwback sounds from rising DJs around the world. Get wild to house jams from DJ Herbert Holler, classic rap from Ace’s “The Symphony” collaborator Marley Marl, and hip-hop from Mister Cee and DJ Cosi.

The Sweet Spot NYC: Red Light Special The Hall at MP; 6pm; $25
Witness erotic poetry, stupendous burlesque, risqué stand-up and fetish stage games at this "pop-up erotica" show that features both male and female performers of color.


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