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25 excellent things to do this weekend

Written by
Will Sabel Courtney

Dec 11

¡PRESENTE! The Young Lords in New York El Museo del Barrio; 11am; free
From the late ’60s through the ’70s, Spanish Harlem was watched over by the Young Lords Organization, a collective of Puerto Rican community members who assembled to improve the lives of their neighbors. Learn about the group’s cultural legacy at this visually striking exhibit which includes photos of the Young Lords in action and archived issues from their weekly newspaper, Palante.  

Peter & the Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Dec 11–13, times vary; $35
In what might be the finest narrator Prokofiev's tale has found since David Bowie recorded it, fashion designer and general dandy Isaac Mizrahi reads Peter and the Wolf, abetted by the excellent Ensemble Signal and John Heginbotham's choreography.

Glow-in-the-dark Chanukah Dinner 92nd Street Y; 6pm; $30
Grab a flashlight and a yarmulke for this celebration of the Jewish Festival of Lights. Latkes and other traditional Hanukkah dishes are served by the light of the menorah and glow sticks. The night’s festivities also include live music and singing. 

Henry IV St. Ann's Warehouse, Brooklyn; Dec 11–13, times vary; $50–$70
It's your final weekend to see this groundbreaking production (where Shakespeare's play is actually a show-within-the-show, set inside a women's prison) at the new-and-improved DUMBO performance space. If you've been meaning to check it out, do it now.

Z100's Jingle Ball 2015 Madison Square Garden; 7:30pm; $51–$351
It's a Christmas concert with so many big names, it takes the world's most famous arena to hold them all. Put on by NYC's biggest pop music radio station, this holiday bash features performances from mega-stars like The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, 5 Seconds of Summer, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas and Calvin Harris.

Fool for Love Samuel J. Friedman Theatre; Dec 11–13, times vary; $70–$150
This is your last chance to catch Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda in Sam Shepherd's existential-screwball vamp with a stomach-churning turn. As always, the author is sorting through the ruins of the West, trying to piece it back together as his main characters try to reconnect their busted selves.

Hamilton Leithauser Baby's All Right, Brooklyn; 8pm; $20
The Walkmen frontman Leithauser has teamed up with guitarist Paul Maroon for his new album Dear God, and judging by the album, you can expect some body-moving uplift at this show (we can't help but think of Graceland) mixed in with Leithauser's patented charismatic crooning.

Kweendom The Unicorn; 8pm; $5
Gay columnist Bobby Hankinson presents a monthly storytelling show starring a rotating roster of LGBT comedians and writers. Net proceeds go to benefit Streetwise and Safe, a local organization for LGBT youth of color.

Thievery Corporation Terminal 5; 8pm; $40
Consisting of multitalents Eric Hilton and Rob Garza, the D.C. duo Thievery Corporation produces lush musical soundscapes culled from an expansive list of worldly influences: Brazilian bossa nova, Jamaican dub reggae, psychedelic space-rock. Onstage, the lineup grows to a full band of instrumentalists and vocalists for a spectacular live show.

Joanna Newsom Apollo Theater; 8pm; $39.50–$59.50
With her latest opus, Divers, onetime "freak-folk" icon Joanna Newsom reaffirms her singular place in music, indie or otherwise. The densely packed collection showcases Newsom's artfully swooping vocals, deft harp skills, world-building lyrics and meticulous, knotty arrangements.

Moisty the Snowman Saves Christmas Slipper Room; Dec 11–12, 8pm; $25
A flamboyant New York snowman puts his money where his coal is in this risqué holiday musical by Bradford Scobie, directed by Scott Faris and Paul Leschen. The cast includes Amber Martin and Patrick Johnson.

The Rape of Lucretia 501 Union, Brooklyn; Dec 11–12, 8pm; $30
LoftOpera, one of the city’s young companies dedicated to freeing opera from the concert hall, brings Britten’s 1946 tale of sexual violence during wartime in the Roman Empire to Gowanus for a seven-night run.

Rock Lottery The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn; 8:30pm; $20
In the annual Rock Lottery, members of excellent local bands pick names out of a hat at the start of the day, get assembled into impromptu new bands and spend the day writing songs to perform that evening. This year, members of Guided By Voices, the Rapture, Swans, the Hold Steady and They Might Be Giants, to name a few, are lining up to take part.

Sublimate & Ruse Labs 2 Year Anniversary: Mike Servito + Sevron + Volvox Location TBA; 11pm; $15
Sublimate teams up with Ruse Laboratories for yet another intimate underground party, promising “proper vibes, solid sound and a cheap bar.” Celebrating its two-year anniversary, the underground all-night extravaganza welcomes the Bunker's Mike Servito as well as Chicago's vinyl wizard Sevron. RSVP for specific location by emailing

Dec 12

Trans-Siberian Orchestra The Prudential Center, Newark; 3pm, 8pm; $43–$71.50
If nothing gets you in the holiday spirit quite like thick metal riffs, fireworks and seizure-inducing light shows, you're in luck. Our favorite shamelessly bombastic prog-pop-metal-classical spectacular visits town for two sets at the Prudential Center.

Unsilent Night Washington Square Park; 7pm; free
Boom-box–toting participants gather under the Washington Square arch, where they are given a cassette or CD of one of four different atmospheric Christmas tracks; you can also download the Unsilent Night app and sync up via smartphone. Everyone then presses play at the same time and marches through the streets of New York together. Cool. 

Menorah Horah The Hall at MP, Brooklyn; 7:30pm; $20–$60
Sherry Vine hosts this off-kilter holiday event, welcoming everyone from honorary Jews to “bacon-loving heebs.” Expect a crowd that’s almost as rowdy and diverse as the performers: The Schlep Sisters (Minnie Tonka and Darlinda Just Darlinda), Little Brooklyn, The Great Dubini, Corvette Le Face, Dangrrr Doll, The Maine Attraction, Fancy Feast and Varla Velour.

Sleater-Kinney Locations vary; Dec 12–16, 8pm; $25–$37.50
In January, the riot grrrl torchbearers and indie-rock luminaries released their eighth LP, No Cities to Love, their first LP in 10 years and an admirably toothsome, no-fuss comeback, and are playing a slew of big-venue performances.

Horse Meat Disco Output, Brooklyn; 10pm; $35, at the door $40
The disco daddies of Horse Meat Disco come to us all the way from London for their semiregular night of NYC revelry. Tonight features DJ Lina plus Honey Soundsystem in the Panther Room.

Dec 13

Santa Suit 5K Prospect Park, Brooklyn; 11am; $50
If SantaCon sounds like a cool idea but you wish it involved more jogging, this is the holiday event for you. Throw on your best St. Nick suit (or some red-and-white running apparel) and hit the streets for 3.1 miles of running, walking, or at the very least shuffling alongside fellow Kringleophiles, with dancing and eating afterwards.

Brooklyn Cookie Takedown The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, Brooklyn; noon; $20
Sample incredibly inventive sweet treats at the Brooklyn Cookie Takedown, where amateur bakers compete to create delicious desserts. A simple sugar cookie won’t do; you might be "forced" to try confections with oddball flavors like blue cheese and bacon.

Morbid Anatomy Flea Market The Bell House, Brooklyn; noon; $1
Collect rare books and antiques, eerily cute taxidermy and repurposed skulls at this bustling fair full of morbid curiosities. The Morbid Anatomy Museum has culled together some of its favorite artists to bring you jewelry and decor from beyond the grave. Be on the look out for Krampus cards and bizarre ornaments.

Pussy Faggot: Homo for the Holidaze The Delancey; 7:30pm; $10
Puss out proud, and puss out strong with Earl Dax and Dusty Childers at the latest edition of their queer art party. Glenn Marla hosts the first set of performances at 8pm. Legendary scene queen and recording artist Kevin Aviance is slated to turn this Pussy out in the second set at 10pm, hosted by the godmother of dowtown performance art, Penny Arcade.

Dave Harrington & Friends Holiday Spectacular Le Poisson Rouge; 8pm; $12, day of show $15
Darkside’s Dave Harrington gathers two dozen (that’s two for every day of Christmas) vocalists and musicians from other bands—including Pete Silberman (the Atlanters), Anand Wilder (Yeasayers), Jon Natchez (War on Drugs)—to create an epic collaboration. Not only will they be sure to produce good vibes, they’re also playing for a good cause: proceeds go to Harlem School of the Arts.

Road to the White House Peoples Improv Theater; 9:30pm; $5
Master impersonator David Carl made a name for himself with renditions of over-the-top personalities like Gary Busey. But now Carl’s taking on his most bonkers challenge yet: the 2016 presidential candidates. Carl plays all the parts in the debates, including the moderators, politicians and hard-hitting journalists like...Miss Piggy?

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