Dynamite things to do
Pop-Up Magazine Town Hall Theatre; Mar 2 at 7:30pm; tickets start at $35
Think of this live magazine as a combination of a variety show and podcast, featuring Oscar-winning filmmakers, New York Times bestselling authors, popular radio hosts and emerging artists. After the show, performers and audience members all gather around a bar to mingle. Grab tickets to the New York City stop of Pop-Up Magazine’s 2017 tour for a chance to see the phenomenon for yourself.
The NoSleep Podcast Highline Ballroom; Mar 2 at 9pm; tickets start at $51
Warning: This live podcast recording isn’t for the faint of heart. Based off the r/nosleep Reddit channel, the NoSleep Podcast tells some of the scariest stories on the internet. Only attend this show if you’re ready to be scared out of your wits, and maybe bring a friend along for moral support.
Saturday Evenings at the Met The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Mar 4; $50
Art and architectural historian Thomas Beachdel offers up insights into the museum's permanent collection and sneak peeks of new exhibitions in these monthly evening tours. Registration is required at least 24 hours in advance and details of the tour are emailed to attendees the day before the event.
Holi in the City Stage 48; Mar 11 and Mar 18; $20, VIP $35
Wear white and brace yourself for four stories of rainbow delight as Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, hits NYC. Dance in kaleidoscopic ecstasy with hundreds of strangers while you get covered in tinted powders, and enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and live music. There’s no more cheerful way to usher in springtime.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade at various locations; Mar 17; free
No St. Patrick's Day in NYC would be complete without staking out a spot at this parade, which makes another glorious march up Fifth Avenue. (The event is even older than the United States; it was started by a group of homesick Irish conscripts from the British army in 1762.) More than 2 million onlookers are expected to show up for the annual spectacle. Fifth Ave from 44th St to 79th St.
New York Antiquarian Book Fair Park Avenue Armory; Mar 9–Mar 12; $25, run of show $40
If you’ve got a thing for musty old books, this is your fair, with literary works from approximately 200 vendors displayed inside one of NYC’s grandest halls. Look out for tomes dating back to the 14th century, including illuminated books of hours and other hidden gems.
Hilarious comedy shows
Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey into Motherhood Peoples Improv Theater; Mar 3, Mar 10, Mar 31; $7
Actress Jamie Aderski brings her solo show about the absurdity, mysteries and miseries of motherhood to the PIT. She faces the grim truths about maternity that nobody wants to talk about with joyous aplomb and plenty of laughs along the way.
Unfaced Hudson Guild Theatre; Mar 3, Mar 5; $23
In this one-person showcase, intrepid actress Maria DeCotis plays a bizarre host of characters worthy of an episode of Portlandia. Watch her interpret her absurd experiences traveling the world in this surreal plane-set journey.
Pop Punk High The Pit Loft; Mar 3; $7
Written by Anderson Cook and Ben Lapidus, whom you may know from The Disembodied Hand That Fisted Everyone to Death, this tale takes place in 2006 and follows Derek, a high schooler who is painfully uncool, until he discovers a magical lamp containing the ghost of Avril Lavigne (the death of whom was covered up by her record company). Pull on those skinny jeans, smudge that eyeliner and go along for the ride.
Big Brown Comedy Hour’s “Still Laughing Until Trump Deports Us” Show Comic Strip Live; Mar 5; $15
The city's best Arab, Indian, Iranian, Muslim and Pakistani comics come together for a riotous evening of stand-up. This edition features Dean Obeidallah, Maysoon Zayid, Eman Morgan, Negin Farsad, Atheer Yacoub, Eman El-Husseini, Manvir Singh, Suzie Afridi and Feraz Shere. It won't just be their jokes making you feel good: proceeds from the show go to two charities that aid refugees, the International Rescue Committee and Smile.
Celebrity Autobiography The Triad; Mar 6; $40–$60, plus two-drink minimum
Name one thing better than reading a celebrity's innermost thoughts: having a comedian read them to you. Major comedic actors prick the bubble of autobiographical puffery by performing droll, verbatim readings from stars' memoirs in Eugene Pack’s acclaimed series. Guests for this installment include Tate Donovan, Janeane Garafalo, Eugene Pack, Dayle Reyfel, Will Shortz, Jennifer Tilly, Michael Urie and Alan Zweibel.
Punderdome 3000 Littlefield; Mar 7; $8–$10
Jo Firestone and her Rodney Dangerfield impersonator father, Fred, host this beloved competition, in which the first 18 individuals or duos to sign up at the door attempt to pun-up each other's spontaneously produced word-play. Winners are determined by the "Human Clap-O-Meter" and go home with a "Mystery Box" prize.
TJ & Dave The Town Hall; Mar 10; $22–$29
Never heard of them? Well, they’re pretty much royalty on the improv scene. (You may also recognize TJ from those Sonic commercials.) Hailing from Chicago, longtime stage partners TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi come to town once a year to put on an hour-long drama with multiple characters, emotional climaxes and even B-plots—and it’s all made up on the spot. Sure, it’s not Shakespeare, but it’s brilliant, highbrow art that might finally shut up improv naysayers.
Can’t-miss LGBT events
Judy: Rock ‘n Roll Dance Party for Queers & Co. Brooklyn Bazaar; ongoing; free
Hosts Jessica Louise Dye and Jamie McCarty welcome you to toss on your baddest leather jacket and Mary Janes and dance to the Pretenders, Peaches and other riotous musical revolutionaries at this weekly bash.
Kink Thursdays The Eagle; ongoing; free
Bears, wolves, and otters, oh my! This multi-room bar and club has every caniform you can cruise your way into. You’re guaranteed to find a furry partner at this bondage party, where your wildest fantasies and fetishes come to life. A strict dress code of leather, rubber, belts, and jocks is enforced on the second floor, but the rest of the club is open to any piece of clothing (or lack there of).
Between Two Queens Gold Sounds; ongoing; free
If you're tired of reading Facebook rants on culture and politics from your aunt Beth, try hearing them from the beglittered lips of some of the city's sharpest drag queens. This weekly get down, hosted by Thee Suburbia and Hannah Lou, welcomes drag entertainers to share their best and worst Facebook posts, then destroy the stage with performances. After the show, Lou takes over as DJ for a late night of sickening beats.
Drag Brunch Hard Rock Café; ongoing; free to attend
After jumping ship from the now-defunct Senor Frogs, this weekly celebration of Times Square tackiness takes over the Hard Rock Cafe for outrageous performances (with bellinis!) from the likes of Sugga Pie Koko, Epiphany, Bootsie LeFaris and more and guest shows by drag stars like Alyssa Edwards and Chi Chi Devayne.
Tacky Tuesdays Boots and Saddles; ongoing; free
A drag show that starts during the last hour of happy hour sounds like a great idea for a Tuesday. Come for the alcohol, stay for the fantastic performances by Ari Kiki.
Major movie premieres
Director Danny Boyle returns to the crime scene of his 1996 breakthrough: an indie bubbling with humor, attitude and pounding techno (it now feels like a classic). We’d be worried about this one, but the whole original cast has come along for the ride, including Ewan McGregor, Kelly Macdonald and the savage Robert Carlyle. Don’t kick the habit just yet. T2 Trainspotting opens Mar 3
Kong: Skull Island
Tom Hiddleston versus a massive ape? Where do we line up? Pitched as a King Kong origin story, this tale of mysterious islands and giant primates takes place in the 1970s, as a team of U.S. Marines fresh from Vietnam join a band of explorers. The terrific cast includes Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, and John Goodman. Kong: Skull Island opens Mar 10.
Kristen Stewart has long left the teenage-vampire stuff in the rearview mirror: These days, she’s a respected, award-winning actor with impressive taste in indies. Her latest, made with revered French director Olivier Assayas, has her haunted by text messages from the dead. Is there an emoji for “sign us up”? Personal Shopper opens Mar 10.
A horror movie that unnerved audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival—ambulances were actually called to the theater to tend to nauseous viewers—director Julia Ducournau’s vicious, unmissable breakthrough is about a young veterinarian-in-training (Garance Marillier) who becomes a cannibal. Raw opens Mar 10.
Beauty and the Beast
Emma Watson has gotten more column inches for feminism than acting in the past couple of years, launching her HeForShe gender-equality movement and starting a feminist book club. So don’t go expecting her Belle in Disney’s live action remake of Beauty and the Beast to be a mere damsel in distress. Beauty and the Beast opens Mar 17.
Ghost in the Shell
This live-action remake of the stunning 1995 Japanese anime has been accused of whitewashing after it cast Scarlett Johansson as its protagonist. Will audiences give Ghost in the Shell the benefit of the doubt? Possibly, if it sticks close to the original animation’s dizzying blend of big ideas and hyper-speed action. Ghost in the Shell opens Mar 31.
Amazing concerts and shows
David Duchovny Gramercy Theatre; Mar 1 at 7pm; tickets start at $57
Acting wasn’t enough for David Duchovny. In the last few years, he’s branched out to writing (he authored two books, Holy Cow and Bucky F*cking Dent) and music (his album Hell or Highwater came out in 2015). Catch him on tour to hear the X-Files star’s take on folk rock.
Noname at Le Poisson Rouge; Mar 2; $15
Critically acclaimed rapper Noname, who topped our list of the Best New Artists of 2016, stops by LPR's intimately sized digs. Her debut album, Telefone—a release four years in the making—delivers on all its promise with world-weary lyrics buoyed by bouncy, youthful, xylophone-laden instrumentals.
Thundercat at Irving Plaza; Mar 3; $25
This virtuosic fusion bassist is nothing less than prolific: alumnus of Suicidal Tendencies, protégé of Flying Lotus, collaborator with Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, Vic Mensa… Phew! Even if you're familiar with the impressive resume, though, nothing can prepare you for his fury-fingered shredding live—a sight to behold, to say the least.
The Radio Dept at Bowery Ballroom; Mar 8; $20. Music Hall of Williamsburg; Mar 9; $20.
These Swedish indie rockers haven't made a New York appearance since 2011. Thankfully, the band is returning to tour this year behind a newbie, Running Out of Love. Grab tickets swiftly before you have to wait another half-decade to hear the band's heart-achingly yearning lo-fi.
Deafheaven at Warsaw; Mar 14; $20.
These blast-beat extremists are not your typical black metal band. Think Burzum instrumentation with the blissful textures of starry instrumental rock dramatists Explosions in the Sky. The celestial sounds are fittingly accompanied by cinematic post-rockers This Will Destroy You.
Green Day at Barclays Center; Mar 15; $45.
The trio of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool continue to make classically grungy teen-angst pop-punk despite the band having now crested 30 years together. Hear the band's latest from last year's Revolution Radio. More importantly, show up early for power-frontwoman Laura Jane Grace's always insurrectionary punk troupe Against Me!
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert Radio City Music Hall; Mar 31–April 1; tickets start at $72
Potterheads won’t want to miss this live performance of John Williams’ incredible score from the Harry Potter films. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will perform the iconic “Hedwig’s Theme” and the rest of the score while the first movie airs on a 40-foot HD screen. It’s a totally new way to experience Harry’s story and it’s sure to delight Gryffindors and Slytherins alike.
Delicious food and drink events
Whisky Live Chelsea Piers; Mar 1; $139, VIP $199
Three-and-a-half hours of tasting 300 kinds of the strong stuff? Take a deep breath; you can do this. Get into really good spirits by sampling Scotch, bourbon and whiskey from around the world at this international festival. Make a night of it by chowing down at a full dinner buffet and shaking it to live bands. However, we can’t guarantee that after a night of slugs, you’ll remember what tunes you were tapping your foot to.
NY Drinks NY Grand Tasting Altman Building; Mar 7; $55
Increase the ABV fun with a sampling of 200 wines from 40 New York wineries at this six-years-and-running vino tasting. Along with bottles hailing from the far reaches of New York (the Finger Lakes, the Niagara Escarpment), the two-hour event also features local artisans dishing out hors d’oeuvres like cheese and charcuterie that’ll pad your stomach so you don’t get too wine-sloshed.
NYC Cocktail Expo Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden; Mar 12; $55, VIP $75
Now we’re getting warmer. Slurp your way through this craft-cocktail fest with drink tastings stirred by mixologists from, primarily, Queens bars like Sweet Afton and the Bonnie. Witness a cocktail throwdown to determine the best drinks of the night while you nibble SoCal-inspired bites from Pinks. Tip: VIP guests can try two samples from each vendor.
Coffee & Tea Festival NYC Brooklyn Expo Center; March 18 and 19; $25, VIP $35
The buzz you’ll get at this 12th annual sip fest is strictly of the caffeinated variety, but oh, what a buzz it’ll be. Savor perky pours from more than 60 nationwide vendors including Wandering Bear Coffee, Birds & Beans and Brooklyn’s Tea Dealers. Beyond downing copious samples, take part in seminars on topics ranging from coffee decaffeination, Chemex brewing and oolong comparative tasting, and head home with the childlike thrill of being utterly sober.
BrunchCon Grand Prospect Hall; Mar 26; $55, $60
New York already has Comic Con and Flame Con—now it can add a BrunchCon to its ranks. The brunch-focused food festival, held at Brooklyn's Grand Prospect Hall from 11am to 3pm on March 26th, will feature late-morning grub from 50 participating restaurants, including Chalk Point Kitchen, Butter & Scotch and Manousheh. Beyond bites, you can gulp down bubbly at an open mimosa bar, lay down in a dimly-lit hangover lounge or shop brunch-related products at a BrunchCon market. And for those that aren’t too hungover to socialize, there’s even speed dating.
Dessert Goals Fest Dobbin St; Mar 25-26; $10
Sometimes, when you are experiencing deep heartbreak and anxiety about the future of the human race, you gotta turn to a bag of M&M's for comfort. Fortunately, you can really indulge in dessert-based healing on March 25–26, when the blockbuster festival Dessert Goals returns to Brooklyn.
Spectacular dance performances
Wendy Whelan and Brian Brooks: Some of a Thousand Words at the Joyce Theater; Feb 28–Mar 5; $56–$81
After retiring from New York City Ballet in 2014, Whelan has embarked on a new career in contemporary dance. Now the wondrous ballerina collaborates with choreographer and dancer Brooks on a suite of works including First Fall, an acclaimed duet that the two premiered in 2013.
Malpaso Dance Company: Dreaming of Lions at BAM Harvey Theater; Mar 1–4; $20–$65
The Cuban ensemble performs a new work by resident choreographer Osnel Delgado, inspired by Ernest Hemingway's nautical novella The Old Man and the Sea. The piece mixes ballet and contemporary movement with traditional Cuban dance.
Live Ideas 2017: Mx'd Messages at New York Live Arts; Mar 8–19; $10–$30
The 2017 Live Ideas festival, curated by downtown superstar and trans trailblazer Justin Vivian Bond, is devoted to the dissolution of binaries. In the first week, Richard Move/MoveOpolis! refracts the gender spectrum in XXYY and celebrates two decades of Move's channeling of Martha Graham.
Paul Taylor American Modern Dance at the David H. Koch Theater; Mar 8–26; $10–$175
Perhaps the last living modern-dance legend of the 20th century, Taylor is still going strong at 86. In this engagement, his company performs 16 pieces from the Taylor repertoire, ranging from Book of Beasts (1971) though The Open Door (2016) and the world-premiere Ports of Call. Three works are featured in each performance, in assorted configurations.
Flamenco Festival New York City Center MainStage; Mar 9-12; tickets start at $76
Celebrate the art of the dance at the annual Flamenco Festival this March. One of the year’s biggest dance events, the festival includes performances by Gypsy dancer Juana Amaya, Olga Pericet, Jesus Carmona and Patricia Guerrero. Ole!
Yackez: Give It to You Stage at New York Live Arts; Mar 29–Apr 1; $15–$25
Wacky postmodernists Larissa and Jon Velez-Jackson document their ongoing downtown-artist struggles in a dance musical that incorporates a wrestling ensemble, a green mascot and older members of a New York dance-fitness class.
Marvelous theater experiences
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Barrow Street Theatre; ongoing
Stephen Sondheim’s bloody brilliant musical returns to NYC, this time Off Broadway and in a pop-up pie shop!
Significant Other Booth Theatre; through July 2
Have you been to too many friends’ weddings and fear you’ll never be bride–or groom? This social comedy is for you.
Joan of Arc: Into the Fire Public Theater; through Apr 16
Rock icon David Byrne unveils his second musical (after Here Lies Love), about the 14th-century female French warrior.
The Glass Menagerie Belasco Theatre; through July 2
It’s an American drama classic, and they got a classic star—Sally Field—to play the domineering mother, Amanda Wingfield.
Excellent art-peeping opportunities
The Armory Show Piers 92 & 94; Mar 2–Mar 5; various prices
The Armory Show is one of the art world’s biggest international art fairs, rivaled only by Frieze New York and the anchor for the city’s Armory Arts Week, during which some seven different art fairs set up shop in New York.