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News / City Life

20 excellent things to do in NYC this week

Manhattan Skyline
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Chris Ford

Mon 16

Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Usher in BAM’s 31st celebration with one of the founders of #BlackLivesMatter as well as racial justice and immigrant rights activist Opal Tometi, who will deliver what is bound to be a tearful and uplifting keynote speech. The memorial continues with show-stopping musical performances by gospel legends of the Institution Radio Choir and the bluesy Sacred Steel band the Campbell Brothers. 

Harlem Gospel Choir MLK Day Matinee
This soulful group of ladies and gents have an impressive vocal range, which garnered attention from music legends such as Bono, Diana Ross and Jimmy Cliff. Watch the world-famous choir take you to church during their mellifluous and exuberant homage to Martin Luther King Jr., and get ready for a religious experience that will surely bring you to your knees. 

Swing Stroll and Dance Class
Dance through the birthplace of swing at this tour experience that requires some fancy footwork. Visit iconic Harlem dance institutions such as the Savoy, Alhambra Ballroom and Lenox Lounge, learn about the influence of Lindy Hop legend Frankie Manning and try your twirl at a dance class after the tour. Make sure your fox trot is on point!

Bridget Everett and the Tender Moments
The astonishing, totally fearless Everett has been playing more comedy shows these past few years, including opening for Amy Schumer, and she never fails to shake up a room with hits like "Boob Song." The towering sex goddess's triumphant set finds her belting and oversharing as only she can. Not to be missed.

Improv wizard Timothy Dunn welcomes veteran and newbie performers to take the stage at this bonkers variety show, which aims to create a safe space for LGBT acts. Witness musical comedy, stand-up, improv and drag, and, if you're inspired, join Dunn onstage for a wild time of your own. 

Plan B: A Benefit for Planned Parenthood
Emily Panic and Yasi Salek host this juggernaut stand-up show in support of Planned Parenthood, featuring Phoebe Robinson, Michelle Wolf, Jo Firestone, Julio Torres, Matteo Lane and Janelle James. DJ Sadie Dupuis will spin upbeat jams to keep you on a roll all night, and you can donate by purchasing T-shirts and raffle tickets. 

Tue 17

The Prose Bowl
Ready to read your writing to someone other than your roommate? Bring some flash fiction—up to 1,000 words—to this writer’s arena, where you get less than five minutes to share your work with a panel of local comedians and writers. You get a critique, and the final two writers face off in a tweet-length lightning round. The night’s winner receives a free drink and bragging rights.

Disney Movie Trivia
Can you feel the love tonight? Your opponents won't when you mop the floor with them at this Disney movie trivia event. Grab your animated-film-loving friends and register your team for a night of heroes, villains and spontaneous bursts of song.

Harry Potter (Movie Trivia)
Die-hard fans of the Harry Potter movies gather for five magical rounds of trivia. Study up on your Quidditch rules, Order of the Phoenix membership rosters and charms if you want to be ready to duel with the city's fiercest Potterheads. Muggles welcome.

Jill Kargman: Stairway to Cabaret
On her Bravo sitcom, Odd Mom Out, writer-performer Kargman plays a woman navigating the shallow and turbulent waters of the Upper East Side society. Now she extends the joke by putting a cabaret spin on heavy-metal songs at one of the neighborhood's swankiest landmarks, accompanied by Marco Paguia on piano and directed by Trip Cullman. 

Wed 18

Humans Against Music Karaoke
With no teleprompter to nervously fix your eyes on, you’ll have to really bring it at this monthly low-tech karaoke showdown. Freddy’s has more than 1,000 tracks to choose from and plenty of paper printouts of the lyrics for you to cling to.

Visual Art and Humor: A Discussion
Join former New York Times art critic Ken Johnson and the New Yorker's cartoon editor Bob Mankoff for a discussion on what makes humor cartoons and comics work. 

Molly Pope in A Star is Born
Pope's viscerally thrilling alto is a rich gusher of sound that emerges like a full-on blast from the past. In her latest venture, the downtown darling boldly essays the score from the 1954 Judy Garland version of A Star Is Born, including "The Man That Got Away," "Swanee" and "You Took Advantage of Me." The wizardly Brian Nash mans the piano.

Keeping My Kidneys
TV writer hyper-prolific NYC comedian Mindy Raf stars in her acclaimed manic romantic comedy solo show, which throws her into queer three-ways, uncomfortable medical exams and beyond. 

Comedians You Should Know
This weekly showcase began in downtown Chicago in 2008 and has since branched out to West Hollywood and NYC. The theme: local names who are about to make it big. Past guests have included The Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. and Comedy Central regular Liza Treyger. Catch these rising stars in an intimate venue, while you still can.

Thu 19

Fluent City: Y Tu Mamá También
The new-user-friendly second language learning company Fluent City hits Videology every month for a screening of beloved international films, with giveaways of $100 gift cards to start a language class. This month, watch Maribel Verdú, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal take a smoking hot, totally bonkers road trip in Alfonso Cuaron's Y Tu Mamá También. 

Bottling the Zeitgeist: Classic Perfumes that Defined their Eras
Art historian Jessica Murphy leads you on an olfactory tour of some of the defining perfumes of the 20th century between 1950 and 2000. As you sniff the rich scents, you'll discuss how they defined the class and circumstances of the wearer, and their connection to the trends, politics and culture of the time. 

She Makes Me Laugh
The hilarious ladies of improv group Darling Satan throw this ongoing femme fest highlighting fellow female storytellers, improvisers and stand-up comics. 

Purity Ring (DJ Set)
This duo's buzz peaked around 2012, during the golden years before majestic girl-boy synth-pop combos became the indie sphere's favorite trending cliché. Regardless, this band's eerie content (sample lyric: “Cut open my sternum and pull my little ribs around you”) contributes to a light-dark tension that makes the group a standout in its ever-widening niche even all these years later. Tonight the Montreal duo takes over the stellar sound system at Output for a late night dance party.

Off Top: A Hip-Hop Improv Mixer
Sharp-tongued hip-hop improvers Ray Morency, Richie Alfson and Fat Doctor bring rookies onstage to try their hands at improvised scenes with a hip-hop edge. If you feel ready to spit rhymes, the pros will be in the scene to help you keep with the beat (and keep it funny).