Featured NYC events in November 2018
For its the 92nd year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will usher in the holiday season with familiar sights like giant balloons, high-kicking Rockettes and Santa’s sleigh, plus celebrity appearances.
Thanksgiving in NYC is tough. It’s even tougher when you’re ill-prepared. If you’re staying in New York, there are plenty of ways to celebrate not being stuck in traffic or sitting on a runway. Gather some friends for dinner with a variety of Thanksgiving pies, make a reservation at restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner or head to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. With everyone visiting relatives or in a tryptophan coma, the city is yours to enjoy.
Out of all the yuletide razzle-dazzle NYC has to offer, the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights 2018 display is by far the most spectacular. (Sorry, Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree). Each year, over 100,000 people flock to the Brooklyn nabe to witness some of the most over-the-top Christmas lights we’ve ever seen—think huge inflatable Santas and snowmen, and houses that blast Christmas carols from loundspeakers. There is a lot of ground to cover, as many houses in the area participate over multiple blocks and avenues. (We’re talking tens of thousands of lights).
Are you excited for the Renegade Craft Fair? Once the cold weather sweeps in, Gotham transforms into a shopping bonanza where you can find great holiday markets chock-full of unique goods and delicious grub. New Yorkers should get psyched for the mother lode of craft fairs—Renegade Craft Fair—as it enters Manhattan in November. Only the most serious artists, tchotchke-making fiends and creative types are invited to gather and display their hand-made or bespoke goods at the Metropolitan Pavilion this season. And this bazaar is undoubtedly one of the most exciting NYC events in November, not to mention the best place to get your hands on the kitschiest and downright coolest garb, artwork and accessories just in time for the holidays. (It’s truly a “best in show” ordeal.) Check out loot from more than 200 vendors as well as live entertainment from DJs, DIY opportunities and perhaps some delicious summer drinks at this free and highly-anticipated event.
More than 40,000 marathoners hotfoot it (or puff, pant and stagger) through all five boroughs over a 26.2-mile course. Stake out a lively spot—we recommend along Fourth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn; First Avenue between 60th and 96th Streets in Manhattan; or Central Park South near the finish line—to cheer on the passing throngs.
Comedy Central is shutting it down this year with a slate of household names in comedy performing and speaking throughout the city. See stand-up from killer acts. NYC comedy fans are serious, so don’t wait to reserve your seats.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular 2018 literally kicks off the holiday season in NYC. Since 1933, the tap dancers, flying Santa and of course the Rockettes have put on one of the city’s most classic Christmas spectacles. If The Nutcracker from New York City Ballet is too stuffy and doesn’t have enough camels onstage for you, this show is the one to see.
Nightlife dream-makers Dances of Vice embark on a thrilling monthly residency at Veil, at which top acts from the worlds of cabaret, circus, fetish and beyond go all-out on stage. Look sharp and prepare for the amazing at this monthly variety show inspired by French turn-of-the-century follies.
Company XIV returns with its ribald spin on Tchaikovsky, a dazzling spectacle featuring a top-tier cast of opera singers, aerialists, circus performers and burlesque artists. Keep an eye out for whoever (and whatever) comes crawling out from under Mother Ginger’s dress.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from living in New York it’s that people will do yoga just about anywhere—even in the middle of Times Square in honor of the Summer Solstice. From rooftops to some of NYC’s best parks, Gothamites love to downward dog in unique places outside of their normal, go-to yoga studios. One of the current and coolest places you can perfect your warrior pose is at the Brooklyn Museum. On select dates every month, head to the art museum for an hour yoga session followed by mindfulness meditation. The class itself is only $10 (yoga mats provided), and that includes museum admission. Afterward, you can stick around and enjoy a self-guided tour of the galleries. The next class is this Saturday, August 11 from 9am to 11am. Find your Ohm and then get inspired by the art? Sounds like the perfect way to kick off the weekend to us.
Selling Fast in November 2018
Tom and Betsy Salamon’s unique adventure—part interactive theater, part scavenger hunt, part walking tour—draws participants into an amusing web of puzzles and intrigue. You can choose between the three-hour New York tour, which takes participants through various neighborhoods of lower Manhattan, or the two-hour Village tour, which travels through quirky Greenwich Village on Saturdays. Groups of as many as 11 are booked every half hour.
Sit back in the Hayden Planetarium and let rock-star astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s voice lull you into a tranquil state of wonder as cosmic mysteries of the universe unfold above and around you. Learn about dark matter, dark energy and more, as moons, galaxies and supernovas flash by from the beginning of the universe to present time.
Talented singers from the Broadway and cabaret worlds sing side by side in this tribute to the master of musical theater that has often featured former cast members of Sondheim shows. Guests at the September episode include Annie Golden, Sarah Rice, Hunter Ryan Herlicka, Seth Sikes and the Marquee Five.
Want to run off the damage the day after Thanksgiving dinner? This 15K run or 5K walk on Roosevelt Island offers beautiful views of Manhattan and sweet cinnamon rolls at the finish line. A kids’ dash is also available for young trotters, and walking adults can push strollers. Good news for Queens-bound folks: You can do a 5K turkey trot on Thanksgiving Day in preparation for all that pumpkin pie.
Part cabaret, part piano bar and part social set, Cast Party offers a chance to hear rising and established talents step up to the microphone (backed by the slap and tickle of Steve Doyle on bass and Billy Stritch at the ivories, plus the bang of Daniel Glass on drums). The waggish Caruso presides as host.
Two piano men battle it out to prove who is truly the master of all 88 keys, with a playlist decided entirely by the audience. Whether you’re in the mood for Billy Joel, Christina Aguilera or current chart toppers, these pianists are up for the challenge. But they expect you to do your part by singing along. And for New Year's Eve, count on a wild throwdown at Gran Morsi's Cellar, featuring a four-hour open bar.
This magical 1954 production, set to Tchaikovsky's incredible score, includes the full New York City Ballet company and two casts of School of American Ballet students, as well as an onstage blizzard and a Christmas tree that grows from 12 to 40 feet. In the end, however, Balanchine's choreography is what holds it all together. It's enchanting.
Austin McCormick and his risqué neo-Baroque dance-theater group Company XIV present a lavish erotic reimagining of the classic holiday tale, complete with circus performers, operatic singers and partial nudity. The word nutcracker has customarily conjured innocent wonder; now be ready to add glitter pasties, stripper poles and comically large stuffed penises to the toys in wonderland. Definitely leave the kids at home.
Alt-cabaret siren Cion explores inner and outer spaces in a reprise her tribute to shape-shifting rock icon David Bowie.
Since his gorgeous 2010 debut Gemini, Jack Tatum has mined '80s sounds as Wild Nothing to create airy, nostalgic indie pop. He hits Brooklyn Steel behind his ambitious latest, Indigo. Get ready to daydream.
Theater events in November 2018
Hamilton: Theater review by David Cote What is left to say? After Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s prodigious quill scratched out 12 volumes of nation-building fiscal and military policy; after Lin-Manuel Miranda turned that titanic achievement (via Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography) into the greatest American musical in decades; after every critic in town (including me) praised the Public Theater world premiere to high heaven; and after seeing this language-drunk, rhyme-crazy dynamo a second time, I can only marvel: We've used up all the damn words. Wait, here are three stragglers, straight from the heart: I love Hamilton. I love it like I love New York, or Broadway when it gets it right. And this is so right. A sublime conjunction of radio-ready hip-hop (as well as R&B, Britpop and trad showstoppers), under-dramatized American history and Miranda’s uniquely personal focus as a first-generation Puerto Rican and inexhaustible wordsmith, Hamilton hits multilevel culture buttons, hard. No wonder the show was anointed a sensation before even opening. Assuming you don’t know the basics, Hamilton is a (mostly) rapped-through biomusical about an orphan immigrant from the Caribbean who came to New York, served as secretary to General Washington, fought against the redcoats, authored most of the Federalist Papers defending the Constitution, founded the Treasury and the New York Post and even made time for an extramarital affair that he damage-controlled in a scandal-stanching pamp
In this captivating original musical, Hello, Dolly! scene-stealer Taylor Trensch now plays the title role of a high school student thrust into social relevance after a classmate's suicide. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's score combines well-crafted lyrics with an exciting pop sound, and Steven Levenson’s book gives all the characters shaded motives. Read the full review.
If theater is your religion and the Broadway musical your sect, you've been woefully faith-challenged of late. Venturesome, boundary-pushing works such as Spring Awakening, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Next to Normal closed too soon. American Idiot was shamefully ignored at the Tonys and will be gone in three weeks. Meanwhile, that airborne infection Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark dominates headlines and rakes in millions, without even opening. Celebrities and corporate brands sell poor material, innovation gets shown the door, and crap floats to the top. It's enough to turn you heretic, to sing along with The Book of Mormon's Ugandan villagers: "Fuck you God in the ass, mouth and cunt-a, fuck you in the eye." Such deeply penetrating lyrics offer a smidgen of the manifold scato-theological joys to be had at this viciously hilarious treat crafted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, of South Park fame, and composer-lyricist Robert Lopez, who cowrote Avenue Q. As you laugh your head off at perky Latter-day Saints tap-dancing while fiercely repressing gay tendencies deep in the African bush, you will be transported back ten years, when The Producers and Urinetown resurrected American musical comedy, imbuing time-tested conventions with metatheatrical irreverence and a healthy dose of bad-taste humor. Brimming with cheerful obscenity, sharp satire and catchy tunes, The Book of Mormon is a sick mystic revelation, the most exuberantly entertaining Broadway musical in years. The high
Theater review by Adam Feldman Page 73’s production of Mia Chung’s Catch as Catch Can is so smoothly virtuosic that it takes a while to realize how good it really is. The play depicts six members of two closely intertwined working-class families in New England, and three of New York’s most indispensable actors—Jeff Biehl, Michael Esper and Jeanine Serralles—play two roles each: one character of roughly their own age, and that same character’s parent of the opposite gender. In the opening scene, the upper-middle-aged Theresa (Esper) and Roberta (Biehl) share a chat, over tea, about the British royal family and their own unsettled children, whom we meet shortly afterward: Theresa’s highly educated son, Tim (Esper)—newly engaged but returned home to visit his widowed mother—and Roberta’s offspring, Daniela (Serralles) and Robbie (Biehl). The actors don’t change costumes, but they are exceptionally clear in delineating their shifts between characters, which become progressively faster and more furious. What seems at first like a family comedy, gently well-observed and rich in sidelong detail, takes a sharp turn with the introduction of a terrifying mental illness that seems to rip apart not only the person who suffers from it, but the fabric of the play itself. Right at intermission, Catch as Catch Can has a psychotic break, and what follows is scary, sad and often disorienting. Chung and director Ken Rus Schmoll—who, working with designer Arnulfo Maldonado, frames the product
Theater review by Adam Feldman [NOTE: A new block of tickets for performances for the summer of 2019 goes on sale at 11am on November 29, 2018. Join the Virtual Waiting Room between 10:30am and 11am for a crack at the best seats.] The world of Harry Potter has arrived on Broadway, Hogwarts and all, and it is a triumph of theatrical magic. Set two decades after the final chapters of J.K. Rowling’s world-shaking kid-lit heptalogy, the two-part epic Harry Potter and the Cursed Child combines grand storytelling with stagecraft on a scale heretofore unimagined. Richly elaborated by director John Tiffany, the show looks like a million bucks (or, in this case, a reported $68 million); the Lyric Theatre has been transfigured from top to bottom to immerse us in the narrative. It works: The experience is transporting. Jack Thorne’s play, based on a story he wrote with Rowling and Tiffany, extends the Potter narrative while remaining true to its core concerns. Love and friendship and kindness are its central values, but they don’t come easily: They are bound up in guilt, loneliness and fear. Harry (Jamie Parker) is weighted with trauma dating back to his childhood, which hinders his ability to communicate with his troubled middle son, Albus (Sam Clemmett); it doesn’t help that Albus’s only friend is the bookish outcast Scorpius Malfoy (the exceptional Anthony Boyle), son of Harry’s erstwhile enemy, Draco (Alex Price). Despite the best intentions of Harry’s solid wife, Ginny (Poppy
Theater review by Adam Feldman “I'm no hero, that’s understood,” sings Bruce Springsteen in “Thunder Road,” self-effacingly but also with the knowledge that a cardinal rule of heroism is denying it. He's got the dirty hood, sure, but it’s a hoodwink of a kind, and in the extraordinary concert show Springsteen on Broadway he is candid about that: Rock stardom, he says, is partly “a magic trick.” He's the young man without a driver’s license writing songs about the road; the artist costumed in the “factory clothes” of his emotionally withholding father; the working man who is also always the Boss. For more than four decades, Springsteen has maintained a sturdy performance of authenticity. He writes unforgettable character songs and sings them, essentially, as an actor; between them, he recites eloquently plain-spoken monologues—full of lists that touch on joy and sex and pain—that he writes for the character of Bruce. So Springsteen on Broadway is less of a contradiction in terms than it may seem. Dressed in simple black with no band (though his wife, Patti Scialfa, joins him for two duets), he performs what amounts to a two-hour solo musical about himself, a rock-star cabaret act. The hits are here, including “Born to Run” and “Dancing in the Dark,” but stripped down and edged with wistfulness; “Born in the U.S.A.” is pared into a skeletal, nearly a cappella blues. It’s an intimate show and a generous one, not just to past friends and collaborators but also to the audience,
Theater review by Adam Feldman Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman is a tremendously noisy play about silence and its price. Rob Howell’s expertly detailed set, festooned with memorabilia and kids’ drawings, depicts a farmhouse in Northern Ireland in 1981. More than 20 actors stream on and off the stage, including many children of various ages, plus a live baby and a goose; there is music, both traditional and contemporary, and a celebratory dance. The whole thrilling production seems alive, as few Broadway shows do, with the clutter and scope of reality. It is harvest day, and for Quinn Carney (Paddy Considine) it starts with a sweet early-morning flirtation with Caitlin (Laura Donnelly). They seem a happy couple, but we soon piece together that she is not Quinn’s wife and the mother of his seven children—that would be the sickly Mary (Genevieve O’Reilly)—but the presumed widow of his long-missing brother, Seamus. As we have learned in the play’s prologue, Seamus’s corpse has just been discovered in a local bog, and the quietly menacing local Irish Republican Army warlord, Muldoon (Stuart Graham), is intent on ensuring that no one talk too much about how the dead man got that way. Although it is more than three hours long, The Ferryman never drags, in part because Butterworth continually shifts and expands the play’s focus to what had seemed like side characters, such as the sometimes-lucid madwoman Aunt Maggie Far Away (Fionnula Flanagan), the slow-witted Tom Kettle (Justi
[Note: The review below is for a 2014 version of this show, which was then titled The Imbible. A revised version now plays at New World Stages. A different, brunch-theater edition, titled Day Drinking, plays on weekend matinees.] Remember Bill Nye the Science Guy? Great! Now imagine him as a bartender who is deeply interested in the history of ethanol alcohol, really likes wigs and costumes, and just joined a coed barbershop quartet. That description of Anthony Caporale’s The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking may sound far-out, but the show is both educational and entertaining. (It's also a fine showcase for a cappella classics arranged by Josh Ehrlich and performed by a gifted ensemble that includes the show's director, soprano Nicole DiMattei.) Mixing whimsy and information, Caporale makes the story of our relationship with alcohol remarkably compelling. And the show's lessons—on subjects like the drinks served at Prohibition-era speakeasies, the origin of the gin and tonic, and the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink—can be washed down with complimentary, thematically appropriate beverages. As Caporale says, “Trust me, I get funnier with every sip.” That makes the show a must-see for anyone who enjoys free booze, which is probably nearly everyone.—Amelia Bienstock
Theater review by Helen Shaw When you walk into Say Something Bunny!, you enter another time. You might not notice that at first, because the brick office space where it takes place is so determinedly ordinary-looking. The small audience sits around a doughnut-shaped conference table, and as Alison S.M. Kobayashi begins her multimedia docuplay, some spectators are already paging through the scripts that have been placed in front of each chair. The text turns out to be the full transcript of a real, unlabeled 65-year-old recording that Kobayashi found hidden in an antique wire recorder: the audio relic of a teenage boy in Woodmere, Queens, enthusiastically taping two dozen family members and neighbors. Kobayashi has listened to the recording hundreds of times and has a seemingly boundless interest in the people whose voices it preserves, including amateur recordist David, mother Juliette and neighbor Bunny. She conducts us through a pair of after-dinner conversations, the first in 1952—she deduced the date from song lyrics mentioned on the wire—and the second in 1954. Aided by coauthor Christopher Allen, she pursues hints and half-heard jokes to determine who these people were and what befell them; she shows us the census records she used to find their old houses. The play unspools unhurriedly, leaving space for Kobayashi to make jokes, play short films and highlight points of historical interest. It takes a while for it to sink in that—of course—many of these vibrant people
This musical prequel to The Wizard of Oz addresses surprisingly complex themes, such as standards of beauty, morality and, believe it or not, fighting fascism. Thanks to Winnie Holzman’s witty book and Stephen Schwartz’s pop-inflected score, Wicked soars. The current cast includes Jackie Burns as Elphaba and Amanda Jane Cooper as Glinda.
Music events in November 2018
The Oakland, CA, band’s shimmy-friendly, girl-group-gone-garage fare mixes all the sweet innocence of rockabilly with a sense of psychedelic weirdness and DIY punk ethos and energy. Here the crew visits Brooklyn behind its latest LP, Onion. (Be sure to check out singer Shannon Shaw's solo effort from last year, Shannon in Nashville, as well.)
Fucked Up has a remarkable knack for inciting indie-rock types to care about hardcore, probably because the Toronto outfit brings an operatic complexity to an often monochrome genre. The band returns to town to celebrate its latest ambitious album, Dose Your Dreams.
This local producer melds house and hip-hop elements into a distinctive mix that's indisputably alluring—her singles "Drink I'm Sippin On" and "Raingurl" have upwards of two-million plays at this point. However, the singer is not one to hoard the spotlight. Previous shows have featured her collaborating with a Korean restaurant to make curry for the crowds, in attempt to recreate the familial, communal atmosphere of gathering for a home-cooked meal. This should also feel like a family affair, as the show is bill as an intimate "in the round."
Ron Gallo performs track off his new rockin' and quite insightful album, Stardust Birthday Party, which explores the artist's awakening via self-destruction. Check him out a Rough Trade on November 12. You won't regret it.
This recent teamup proves supergroups aren't dead. Baker, Bridgers and Dacus, who recently released a collaborative EP, boygenius, each make uniquely heartbreaking styles of folksy singer-songwriter fare: Dacus plies rugged, rootsy guitar with robust vocals; Bridgers follows in the tradition of Elliot Smith and Bright Eyes (the latter gave her an early-career cosign) with delicately spun explorations of relationships; and Baker lyrically mines death and tragedy over twinkling guitar loops and cathartic climaxes. Capitalizing on those individual talents, the trio is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Don't miss out as they descend on the cavernous halls of Brooklyn Steel, where they're sure to take the stage jointly for the EP's three songs alongside their solo sets.
Saxophonist, bandleader and Kendrick Lamar collaborator Washington reinvigorated contemporary jazz and garnered heaps of mainstream critical acclaim with his ambitious three-hour 2015 debut, The Epic. He takes the stage behind a new album, Heaven and Earth.
Jim James, leader of Louisville psych-roots-pop juggernaut My Morning Jacket, steps out for a solo gig at Town Hall to play his latest album Uniform Clarity—an acoustic version of his third proper solo LP Uniform Distortion. He is joined by special guests Alynda Segarra and Hurray For The Riff Raff.
Since his gorgeous 2010 debut Gemini, Jack Tatum has mined '80s sounds as Wild Nothing to create airy, nostalgic indie pop. He hits Brooklyn Steel behind his ambitious latest, Indigo. Get ready to daydream.
Dave Longstreth spent the past few years writing hooks and harmonies for Kanye West and Solange in Los Angeles before releasing last year's self-titled Dirty Projectors, an avant-pop affair filled with polyrhythmics, jarring turns and heartbroken lyrics. This year's new Lamp Lit Prose again finds the band continuing last year's transformation into Longstreth's solo project of-sorts. The project is a bit of a lonelier, more solemn beast than before, but sparks fly on the new record nonetheless.
The polymathic piano great and his trusty triomates (bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits) show off their slyly engaging, historically-minded modernism during a week in the Village.