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20 incredible things to do in NYC this week

Jennifer P

Mon 5  

Drunken Shakespeare Bar Nine; 8pm; free
The Night Shift, which describes itself as a “working class theater” group, hosts this inebriated reading of Shakespearean monologues. Want to see if you can recite Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” after a few brews? Step up to the mike, or just sit back and soak in the iambs.

Tori Scott: Vodka Is the Reason for the Season Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; 9:30pm; $20, plus $12 minimum
Singer-actor Tori Scott mixes classic musical-comedy warmth with a killer range. Armed with smart, saucy patter, she comes off as the best wild friend that a frazzled gay city boy could hope to find. Her annual holiday show features tunes that range from Ella Fitzgerald to Florence and the Machine. 

Megan Hilty: A Merry Little Christmas Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; 7pm; $40–$45, plus $12 minimum
Broadway bombshell Hilty decks the halls of Joe's Pub with holiday songs from her new album, A Merry Little Christmas. Combining warmth, good humor and sterling technique, the Smash survivor knows how to put on a great nightclub show. Let her be your star! 

Bastille Bowery Ballroom; 8pm; $40
Fast-rising Brit quartet Bastille manages to mesh an ’80s postpunk moodiness with perky, dramatic beats—not a million miles from what Ed Sheeran would sound like singing with the Pet Shop Boys. Its sophomore album, Wild World, continues its epic pop theatrics in full form.

Bon Iver Pioneer Works; 8pm; $55–$400
From recording the debut Bon Iver album alone in a Wisconsin cabin to meeting up with Kanye West in Hawaii to collaborate on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Justin Vernon’s ascension might just be the quintessential indie-rock success story. The band’s new album, 22, A Million, sees the ex-folkster driving for full-throttle sonic maximalism while retaining his unmistakable ear for intimate, heartfelt lyricism. In other words, Yeezus seems to have left quite a mark on Vernon. This ten-show run takes the group from the intimate Red Hook venue Pioneer Works to bigger rooms like Kings Theatre before closing at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Tue 6

Taste of Home Gingerbread Boulevard Madison Square Park; 1pm; free
Here’s proof that life-size gingerbread houses exist outside of fairytales. Wander in Madison Square Park to ogle—no, salivate—over the candy-covered crib built with ginger “bricks," which is topped with a “frosting-covered” roof and adorned with peppermint sticks, gum drops and more. Better yet, you can actually go inside this house to check out virtual and interactive elements such as a marshmallow snowman and decorate a Christmas tree. 

Death Café with Funeral Director Amy Cunningham Morbid Anatomy Museum; 6pm; free
Head to this relaxed salon, grab a cocktail or coffee and enjoy conversations on life, death and what happens after with other curious Brooklynites. Green Wood cemetery funeral director Amy Cunningham will be on hand to share stories of burial and beyond. 

Ryan, We’re Jewish: The Christmas Spectacular Feinstein’s/54 Below; 7pm; $30–$40, plus $20 minimum
There’s no Christmas like a gay Jewish Christmas, and comedian Ryan Rafferty (beloved for his one-man shows about Anna Wintour and Andy Cohen) is here to help you celebrate with very special holiday parodies and tales of childhood anxiety from a half-Jewish, half-Irish Catholic home.  

On Christopher Street: Transgender Portraits 231 Projects; 11am; free
Seminal Rolling Stone photographer Mark Seliger shares images of New Yorkers from his new book of photography On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories, co-written by Janet Mock. View mesmerizing images of trans, genderqueer and drag New Yorkers featuring their own testimonies at this stunning exhibition. 

A Well-Strung Christmas Feinstein’s/54 Below; 9:30pm; $35–$75, plus $25 minimum
This extremely charming and cheekily named singing string quartet has been honing its craft all over the world for years. Tonight, the boys take their bows to holiday favorites, including "Silent Night," "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and George Michael's "This Christmas."

Wed 7

New Literature from Europe at various locations; 6:30pm; R.S.V.P. at
Brush up on world literature at this two-day festival that brings in writers from across Europe, like Elena Alexieva, Colin Barrett and Susan Bernofsky. Readings and events take place at Poets House, Goeth Institut, Center for Fiction, Nuyorican Poets Cafe and Scandinavia House.  

Women of Letters Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater; 7pm; $20, two drink or $12 minimum
The Australian literary salon returns stateside, inviting notable women writers and performers to air their dirty laundry in the form of personal letters crafted just for the occasion. The October edition features Amber Tamblyn, Orange Is the New Black's Laura Gomez, Clinton media advisor Zerlina Maxwell, and other notable writers. 

The Show Show with Jean Grae Union Hall; 8pm; $8, at the door $10
Hip-hop performer, stand-up comic and force of nature Jean Grae blends her love of music and comedy with this live talk show. This month, she welcomes How to be Black author Baratunde Thurston and the Broad City queen Ilana Glazer. 

The Ugly Christmas Sweater Soiree Feinstein’s/54 Below; 7pm; $25-$35, plus $25 minimum
Watch some of your favorite musical performers don their ugliest sweaters at this showcase, with a portion of benefits going to SuperYouFUNdation. Enjoy holiday songs from Alicia Krakauer, Amanda Flynn, Angelo McDonough and more. 

Butt Sex Basics The Pleasure Chest; 8pm; free
Pleasure Chest sex specialist Greer teaches you how to open up and enjoy anal sex at this free course, where you'll learn about lube, positions, warm up, cleanliness and emotional intimacy. And yes: there will be many toys. 

So What Happened Was Freddy’s Bar; 7pm; free
Take a respite from your own wacky adventures and have a laugh at this monthly storytelling event, where comedians share tales from the week. Get there early to register for the two open mic spots. 

Thu 8 

Movie Messes: Santa with Muscles Syndicated; 7pm; $5
Relive the holiday horror of Hulk Hogan's bizarre 1996 action comedy with the vicious commentary of host Stephen Kendall. 

A Very Kacey Christmas Tour The Town Hall; 8pm; $37.50–$57.50
Great country music has the magical ability to make the cheesiest sentiment—and holiday jingles are all about cheesy sentiments—tolerable and even moving. (Just listen to Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper” for proof.) And who better than the wildly lovable critical darling Kacey Musgraves to make holiday standards such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Let It Snow” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” sound cool again?

Beer and Cheese Pairing for the Holidays Museum of Food and Drink; 6:30pm; $32
Ditch the wine and embrace the scrumptious pairing of two of the world's greatest fermented goodies, beer and cheese. Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver and Foster Sundry's Aaron Foster introduce you to the scientific similarities of beer and cheese and let you try some pairings that will lead some of your best food comas of the year. 

Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance; 8pm; $25
Now in its 13th year, Charles Rice-González's holiday play—which subverts The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol—imagines a queer Latino couple caught in a journey through time one trippy Christmas eve. Expect ’80s flashbacks, Martha Stewart dinner parties and plenty of angelic divas to light the way. 


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