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20 fabulous things to do in NYC this week

Written by
Jennifer Picht

30th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House; Mon 18; 10:30an; free
Acclaimed cultural critic and author of April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Death and How It Changed America Michael Eric Dyson is the keynote speaker at BAM’s yearly celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Following the speech are performances by the The Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir and The Voice finalist Kimberly Nichole, as well as the community art exhibition “Picture the Dream” by NYCHA Atlantic Terminal Community Center students. 

Living History Days: MLK Weekend New York Historical Society; Mon 18; 11am; free
Meet die-hard reenactors of the 26th United States Colored Troops, a platoon of NY-based African American Civil War soldiers. The troops will be on hand to show off their weaponry and share tales of wartime heroism in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. 

Harlem Gospel Choir B.B. King Blues Club & Grill; Mon 18; 12:30pm; $22, $26 day of show
Formed in 1986, the Harlem Gospel Choir has an impressive crossover résumé, having worked with U2 (on Rattle and Hum), Diana Ross and Jimmy Cliff. The group’s performances are exuberant, to say the least, as you'd expect from its slogan: "Get your dose of the Holy Ghost."

Martin Luther Kind Jr. Day in Historic Harlem Walking Tour Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Mon 18; 11am and 1pm, $20
Learn about New York’s links to the civil-rights movement on a special edition of Big Onion’s Historic Harlem Walking Tour. Notable stops along the two-hour trek include the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; the NYC headquarters of the NAACP; and the Harlem Hospital Center, where the reverend was treated in 1958 after being stabbed with a letter opener in a bookstore. Meet at the northwest corner of 135th St and Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave).

Avenue Q New World Stages; Mon 18, Wed 20, Thu 21; 8pm; $75.50-126.50
After many years, the sassy and clever puppet musical doesn’t show its age. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s deft Sesame Street–esque novelty tunes about porn and racism still earn their laughs. Avenue Q remains a sly and winning piece of metamusical tomfoolery.

PopAction Streb; Mon 18; 6pm; $15, $125 10-Class Package
Elizabeth Streb and her company—the STREB Extreme Action Company—are the daredevils of the dance world, and the MacArthur-winning choreographer has made her own aesthetic out on the edge of what the human body can do. Her technique—an aggressive mixture of circus skills, modern dance, body awareness and something like boxing—teaches participants how to manifest her same power-packed grace; in her Williamsburg facility, her dancers teach you “low-flying” skills, fall without fear, and generally become your best superhero self.

"Greater New York” MoMA PS1; Mon 18, Thu 21; noon; free
Like the Whitney Biennial and the New Museum Triennial, MoMA PS1’s quinquennial “Greater New York” aims to capture that lightning in a bottle called the zeitgeist. That’s the hope anyway, since surveys of this type tend to be noisy affairs signaling—well, not nothing, exactly, but nothing terribly exciting, either, as the spirit of our age has been dispiriting for awhile now. Like the rest of their 0.01 percent cohort, collectors have been busily sucking up the world’s wealth, effectively reversing the revolution in culture, economics and politics that culminated in modernism.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company Theatre 80; Mon 18, Tue 19, Wed 20; 7pm; $32.50
This hugely popular Chicago show, created by Blaine Swen, plays ruff with Elizabethan methods by improvising a brand-new bit of Bardolatry on the spot. The actors speak in faux British accents and play up any number of Shakespearean tropes, yet the result is anything but gimmicky. Good improv rises above.

A$AP Rocky Terminal 5; Mon 18; 8pm; $45
Thrillingly inventive New York rapper A$AP Rocky takes the stage alongside an impressive lineup of rap talent, including Brooklyn trio Flatbush Zombies and golden-era-hip-hop-harkening Joey Bada$$, to pay homage to longtime collaborator A$AP Yams, who passed at the start of last year.

New York Jewish Film Festival Walter Reade Theater; Mon 18-Jan 26; noon; $14
Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Jewish Museum have teamed up for the 25th edition of this enormous festival event, which features screenings of noteworthy new pics like Natalie Portman's writing/directing debut A Tale of Love And Darkness and Joey Kuhn's intimate romance Those People, along with retrospectives of classics like Welcome to the Dollhouse, featuring director Todd Solondz and more. With up to five screening per day, this jam-packed fest makes it worth it to play hooky and skip out to the movies.

Buddies Nowhere; Tue 19; 8pm; free
DJ Damian spins an eclectic set of underground dance, funk, punk, ’80s tunes and rock at this casual weeknight get-together of bears, beers and beards.

Awaken Your Inner Force Workout New York Sports Clubs; Tue 19; 5:30pm; free
When it comes to working on your fitness, Yoda has the right mindset: "Do or do not, there is no try." Take a hint from the Jedi master (a.k.a. instructor Amira Lam) and sign up for New York Sports Club's Star Wars-themed workout. The 45-minute choreographed, strength-based routine includes martial arts moves, cardiovascular and strength exercises using a light saber. The best part? The workout is free to members and nonmembers alike. Just show up early at the Soho and Chelsea locations to sign up before the class begins. 

Tat it Up Grumpy Bert; Tue 19-Jan 30; noon; free
Some of Brooklyn's finest tattoo and street artists let loose with their wildest designs on canvas and kits provided by Boundless Brooklyn. See some stunning designs and get some inspiration for your next tattoo. 

Night Train with Wyatt Cenac Littlefield; Wed 20; 7pm and 10pm; $5, $8 at the door
If you told us a few years back that Gowanus would be home to one of the best-curated stand-up showcases, we’d think you’d accidentally ingested some polluted canal water. Yet host Wyatt Cenac, who oozes both Brooklyn cool and genuine thoughtfulness, has made Littlefield a premier Monday night destination for both local up-and-comers and established greats like Eugene Mirman, Jen Kirkman and David Cross. 

2 Dope Queens Union Hall; Wed 20; 8pm; $10-$12
Blogger and comic Phoebe Robinson brings her online alter ego Blaria to the stage alongside The Daily Show's Jessica Williams in this fun stand-up show that features sardonic storytelling and special guests.

8Players various locations; Wed 20; 8pm; $75
Camp classics like Death Becomes Her and sensually charged high school horror films mash up with old-school murder mystery games at this impeccable night of bedazzling DIY theatre. Register to participate in an experience like "Girls Boarding School" or "’80s Erotic Thriller," show up in your pre-assigned character costume, and prepare to engage in a frightful showdown with seven strangers who will soon become chillingly familiar. As the lights dim and the eerie score reaches a crescendo, you may discover a witch, ghoul or evil mastermind lurking within, and you’ll finally have the chance to indulge in the ultimate escapism experience. You're certain to surprise and even frighten yourself (and your fellow participants) as the custom-made night unfolds. 

Jizz Metropolitan; Thu 21; 10pm; free
You'll ejaculate, "Joy!" when you join DJs Josh Sparber and Anthony DiCapua and showgirl Charlene for their third-Thursdays shindig at this hipster homo haven.

Drunk Science Presents: Pandemics Littlefield; Thu 21; 8pm; $5
Join your hosts Joanna Rothkopf (Jezebel staff writer), Shannon Odell (neuroscience PhD student) and Jordan Mendoza (took some science classes) as they proceed to get wasted and compete to present their very best scientific treatise to a panel of comedians and science buffs. This week's guests include comedians Aparna Nancherla, Aaron Jackson and Lane Moore. The more you drink, the more their dissertations will make sense.  

“Splendor in the Grass: Kinesthetic Camping Ground” Museum of Sex; Ongoing; 10am; $17.50
Enter an oasis of vivid sights, sounds and sensations as the campground becomes a nexus of adult discovery and play. Wander past campfires, live park rangers, a moving sky and other surreal activities in this immersive actualization of the phases of sexual stimulation. You’ll never think about camping the same way again.

Shabbat Dinner: A Jewish Comedy Show Q.E.D.; Thu 21; 7:30pm; $6 In advance, $8 at the door
You won't get a meal at this eccentric Friday night comedy show, but you'll be treated to heaps of hilarious stories and standup from spectacularly anxious comedians hosted by certified kosher PIT comedian Eitan Levine and Empire Biscuit Comedy Festival founder Tovah Silbermann. 



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