COOL THINGS TO DO
Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year's Day Swim; Coney Island Beach
Would you believe us if we told you a dip in the Atlantic is great for a hangover? Even if you don't buy it, cheering those brave—or crazy—enough to take the plunge will stir you from your stupor.
Jan 2, 3, 9, 10
Bar Car Nights at the Holiday Train Show; The New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden transforms into a wintry landscape for after-dark holiday train shows, live jazz performances and ice-sculpture demonstrations.
The Dork Knight; Joe's Pub at the Public Theater
Jason O'Connell is not just a fan of Batman—he's kind of obsessed. This is a show about how much the Dark Knight consumes O'Connell's life.
Mobile Mondays! 45s; The Bowery Electric
Long-running party RecordNition, now at Kinfolk, is the all-vinyl brainchild of DJ Emskee and legendary hip-hop producer Easy Mo Bee, whose list of top NYC tunes you can find here.
Silver Sound's 4th Annual Music Video Film Festival and Band Battle; Brooklyn Bowl
The winning act and director will be paired to create a music video using the company's resources.
Reggie Watts’s Audio Abramović; Public Theater
The musical comedian takes a page from artist Marina Abramović's book with a performance involving five-minute, one-on-one meetings with random people—including you, if you like.
Miranda July in Conversation with host Lena Dunham; BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
Renaissance woman Miranda July chats with GIRLS creator Lena Dunham about July's upcoming debut novel, The First Bad Man.
AWESOME THINGS TO SEE
Jan 8–Feb 21
Helmut Lang; Sperone Westwater
According to artist Helmut Lang, it's all about exploring materials "with a certain history, elements with irreplaceable presence and with scars and memories of a former purpose."
Taken 3 opens in theater
Because who doesn't love Liam Neeson flexing his "particular set of skills"? His family continues to get in trouble. Time for a new alarm system. (Posters read, "It ends here," but we seriously doubt that.)
Jan 9–Feb 14
John Waters, "Beverly Hills John"; Marianne Boesky Gallery
Waters hasn't made a movie in 10 years, but the transgressive sensibility of his films has found a home in the king-of-bad-taste's work as a visual artist. His latest show features photos characterized by his usual outré sense of irony, including self-portraits that showed what he'd look like if he'd ever subjected himself to Joan Rivers levels of plastic surgery.
Appropriate Behavior opens in theaters
A comedy about a teenage Brooklynite of Iranian descent, this scrappy indie is set to throw off the January doldrums with edgy laughs and sharp dialogue.
Jan 17–Apr 26
Philip Taaffe; Luhring Augustine Brooklyn
Taaffe's latest paintings follow a similar approach to the ones he's done over a 30-year career, creating works marked by vivid colors, dense decorative patterns (with shapes often borrowed from nature) and mixed media techniques ranging from collage to silkscreen. Emerging in the 1980s, he's become one of New York's most reliably engaging artists.
Blackhat opens in theaters
Any new film by Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Heat) would get us excited. The new one's a cyberthriller starring Chris Hemsworth.
The Duke of Burgundy opens in theaters
This weird psychosexual art film takes the form of a '70s-era lesbian soft-core movie and fills its pauses with the breakdown of a relationship that anyone can recognize. We love it.
Opens late Jan
"Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades"; MoMA PS1
Marionettes are the tool of choice for this Egyptian artist, who, since 2010, has been creating a video trilogy recounting the history of the Crusades as seen through Arab eyes. The first two installments depict events from 1096 to 1145 (the period of the first and second Crusades) as puppet pageantry, and they're joined here by the debut of the final segment, completing a saga taking a literally approach to exploring how the strings of history are pulled.
Mommy opens in theaters
Writer-director Xavier Dolan is only 25, but he's already made a handful of features. His latest, about a tricky estrangement between a mother and son, is excellent.
Through Jan 31
"The Memphis Group"; Koenig & Clinton + Joe Sheftel Gallery
This gallery was opened by former art adviser Joe Sheftel in 2012, making it the most recent addition to Orchard Street's gallery row, which already includes Lisa Cooley, On Stellar Rays, Rachel Uffner and untitled.
TASTY PLACES TO EAT
Seventh Annual Cassoulet Cookoff; Jimmy’s No. 43
Sample more than 10 dishes at this walk-around tasting where chefs vie for the best-cassoulet crown.
Edible Brooklyn’s Good Spirits 2015; Invisible Dog Gallery
Good Spirits comes to Kings County for the first time with local cocktail and food pairings at an old factory in Cobble Hill.
Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival; The Tunnel
Massive amounts of barbecue, bourbon and bluegrass tunes make this all-you-can-eat-and-drink fest feel more like a Southern summer afternoon than a brutal East Coast winter day.
Cochon555; Location TBD
Five chefs (the Cannibal's Francis Derby, Danji's Hooni Kim) take on whole hogs at this swine smackdown complete with booze from local and international wineries.
14 Wines, 7 Cheeses, 1 Night; NYC Wine Company
Sample your way through this vino and fromage blowout, featuring 14 varietals of wine and more than half a dozen cheeses.
ASTONISHING DANCE PERFORMANCE
Ivo Dimchev; Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement
Ivo Dimchev presents Fest, as part of American Realness 2015. Set at an imaginary festival in Copenhagen, with the characters the performer, the curator, the technician and the critic, the piece explores the interplay of sex and desire in professional relationships.
Nrityagram; The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy, the principal dancers of the masterful Indian Bharata Natyam troupe Nrityagram, offer site-specific performances at the Temple of Dendur in the Sackler Wing at the Met.
Royal Danish Ballet; Joyce Theater
Under the direction of artistic director Ulrik Birkkjær, principals and soloists perform works by August Bournonville, the 19th-century Royal Danish Ballet choreographer and ballet master.
The Mariinsky at BAM; BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre graces Brooklyn with performances of Swan Lake and Cinderella, as well as a mixed bill featuring choreography by Michel Fokine, Jerome Robbins and Benjamin Millepied.
New York City Ballet Winter 2015
Along with Balanchine favorites, the company unveils a world premiere by Justin Peck and brings back Alexei Ratmansky's wonderful Pictures at an Exhibition.
FANTASTIC SHOWS TO SEE
Under the Radar festival; The Public Theater
The Under the Radar festival turns the Public Theater into a buzzing avant-garde hive. Shows fly in from every corner of the globe: Iran, England, Argentina and our own backyard. Running times range crazily from five minutes to two hours.
Constellations; Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Constellations, a hit in England, opens on Broadway. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a beekeeper who gets involved with a quantum-physics theorist in this brainy romance by British playwright Nick Payne.
Let the Right One In; St. Ann's Warehouse
Remember the creepy Swedish teen-vampire movie Let the Right One In? It's been turned into a sensational stage show by the National Theatre of Scotland. It comes to St. Ann's Warehouse in Dumbo for a limited engagement.
Into the Woods; Roundabout
Maybe you caught Stephen Sondheim's beloved fairy-tale musical, Into the Woods, at the multiplex. Now you can go in the exact opposite direction and see a cleverly stripped-down version (piano only!) Off Broadway, courtesy of the Roundabout.
Honeymoon in Vegas; Nederlander Theater
Honeymoon in Vegas opens on Broadway, bringing a whole bunch of singing Elvis impersonators to the Great White Way. Tony Danza also gets to show off his song-and-dance chops.
CONCERTS TO GO CRAZY AT
Jan 8, 9
Future Islands; Terminal 5
Future Islands ascended from best-kept-secret status to near-viral ubiquitousness with a stunning Letterman performance of its single "Seasons." Fortunately, the eccentric Baltimore synth-pop crew was well prepared for its close-up: Singles, its latest LP and 4AD debut, is a front-to-back delight.
Neneh Cherry; Highline Ballroom
February's Blank Project, the first new solo work from singer-rapper Neneh Cherry in nearly two decades, is a career-reviving, stereotype-defying exercise. Catch Cherry at this show—amazingly, her first ever in the five boroughs.
Savages; Various venues
Savages first made waves with their scorching debut, Silence Yourself. The acclaim was well deserved: The band has brilliant tunes and a fiery live show. If you can get a ticket, you’ll want to catch this series of small-club dates.
Zeitgeist: Todd Terje + Free Magic; Verboten
Norwegian space wizard Todd Terje comes in from out of the cold to warm us up with his unique modern take on disco.
The Bunker presents Jeff Mills + Dasha Rush + Eric Cloutier with Big Booty Hoes; Output
Jeff Mills, the alien legend from Detroit, lands on New York shores again with a gang of DJs in the Panther Room in tow, including local Mike Servito and DJ Godfather, tonight calling themselves Big Booty Hoes. Now that's a bill!
Horse Meat Disco; Output
Four-man bear-squad Horse Meat Disco has owned MLK Day for a few years now, this year moving the festivities to Output.
Billy Idol; Beacon Theatre
The man with the iconic sneer (no, not Elvis), Billy Idol hits town with a new autobiography and his first LP in nearly a decade, Kings and Queens of the Underground.
Jack White; Madison Square Garden
Hear the former White Stripe and Third Man label head work his magic behind a recent solo LP, Lazaretto, which handily sums up White's patented roots-punk eccentricity.
INTERESTING AUTHOR EVENTS
41st Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit Reading; The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church
Star the New Year right at this legendary, daylong celebration of verse, featuring local poets and renowned creatives like Eileen Myles, Dorothea Lasky and Philip Glass.
Megan Mayhew Bergman: Almost Famous Women; BookCourt
One of our favorite short-story authors presents a new collection of tales about historical women who tiptoed along the edge of notoriety.
Franklin Park Reading Series; Franklin Park
Every month, we look forward to host Penina Roth’s impeccable reading lineup. Drop by tonight to see 2014 National Book Award winner Phil Klay and more impressive writers.
ABC Trivia; Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
Test your literary prowess when three staple NYC publications—the Huffington Post, Electric Literature and BOMB—host a night of book-nerd trivia.
Thalia Book Club: Colm Toibin; Symphony Space
One brilliant Irishman plus one brilliant Brooklynite (Siri Hustvedt) equals one incomparable night of literary talent.
COMEDY SHOWS TO CHECK OUT
Michael Che; Carolines
The Saturday Night Live"Weekend Update" co-anchor headlines three nights at Carolines. Expect awesomeness.
Mind Warriors; Union Hall
Greg Barris brings his smart, silly and psychedelic comedic stylings to this interview show where he and his guest, Andrew W.K., explore "the most cutting edge information from the edge of the universe."
Lavell Crawford; Carolines
Not familiar with the name? It’s Huell from Breaking Bad! Doing stand-up! Yeah, thought that’d get your attention.
Sara Schaefer; Union Hall
The Nikki and Sara Live costar (who we recently featured on our Women of Comedy 2014 stand-up showcase) is recording an album. Go see it now, then hear yourself laughing later.
Trevor Noah; Gotham
The charming but razor-sharp South African comic returns to NYC as part of his inevitable comedy domination of Earth.
WONDERFUL LGBT EVENTS
Murray Hill's New Year's Eve Late Show; Joe's Pub at the Public Theater
New York's nightlife king keeps the party going long after the ball drops at this late-late NYE party.
New Year's Eve First Light; BPM
The ball dropped. Now what? If you're amped enough to keep going until the sun rises (and beyond), head to this late-night/early-morning blowout featuring Tony Moran and Serving Ovahness on the main floor and Steve Sidewalk in the lounge. Don't forget your sunglasses.
Through Jan 4
"Classical Nudes and the Making of Queer History"; Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
In an ambitious exhibit that's as sexy as it is educational, Leslie-Lohman traces queer art from antiquity and the Renaissance (think sculptures of Sappho and muscleman drawings by Michelangelo) to the modern era (including work by boundary-pushing artists like Del LaGrace Volcano and Robert Mapplethorpe).
Through Jan 28
Bad With Money; The Duplex
Vividly personal monologist Ben Rimalower follows up on his hit 2012 coming-of-gay tale, Patti Issues, with an account of the dark paths that debt has led him down. Aaron Mark directs.
The Freak Show with Robag Wruhme; Warehouse location
Trans DJ Terre Thaemlitz, better known as DJ Sprinkles, returns to New York at new Greenpoint venue Good Room.
Through Jan 31
Nutcracker Rouge; XIV
Director-choreographer Austin McCormick has taken the Christmas staple and given it a NSFW spin.
ACE PLACES TO SHOP
L.K. Bennett sample sale
Stock up on sophisticated women's staples from this British brand. It's a fave of Kate Middleton's.
Moscot 100th Anniversary; Moscot
This classic NYC eyewear brand turns 100 in '15 and is celebrating in a big way. Details are being kept under wraps, but expect special events at the store and special-edition frames for sale.
Annual Winter Antiques Show
This is the 61st year for this prestigious show, featuring items from ancient Roman times through the midcentury Modern era. We can't afford much of it, but it's fun to look at.