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15 fantastic things to do in NYC this weekend

Written by
Jennifer Picht

Fri 29

The Freedom Party Irving Plaza; 11pm; $10–$20
The Freedom Party has been delivering its try-not-to-dance-to-this tunes to packed dance floors for over 14 years, which is no easy feat in New York City. Suffice to say, they're doing something right. For this edition, DJ Herbert Holler serves up the party's signature mix of hip-hop, R&B, reggae, house, rock and pop hits from the ’70s until now to an enthusiastic crowd at Irving Plaza.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Drinking Game Videology; midnight; $12
Grab a gin and tonic and watch one of the most inventive love stories in recent movie history, directed by Shaun of the Dead’s Edgar Wright. Whether you’re a hammer-wielding Ramona Flowers cosplay artist or you’ve never seen this loony video-game–inspired romance, you’re certain to be charmed by Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ellen Wong as they battle with the power of love (and self-respect!).

Nothing Important Friends and Lovers; 8pm; free
One and One hosts this local talent showcase every Friday, with Phil Stamato, Daniel Raderstrong and Fume Abe wrangling acts from across town to headline the bill. Past guests have included Myq Kaplan, Shane Torres and Aparna Nancherla. After the show, performers get the weekend started by joining the audience for a lively afterparty. This week features Brooklyn fan-favorites Alingon Mitra, Anna Drezen, Sonia Denis and Nick Vatterott.

Sat 30

Tainted Love: ’80s Dance Party with DJ Jane Elizabeth The Bell House; 9pm; free
Fans of Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys and Siouxsie and the Banshees show up in droves to dance to synth-pop, new wave, glam rock, old-school hip-hop and more at this monthly party helmed by DJ Jane Elizabeth. Tease out your hair and let loose on the dance floor to massive hits and lesser-known jams of the era.

The Roller Wave House of Yes; 6pm; $10–$20
The popular roller-disco party returns to House of Yes, where DJs keep things moving (as do your skates). A $20 presale ticket covers admission and skate rental, or you can nab a $10 ticket if you bring your own wheels. Disco attire and Olivia Newton-John–inspired glam makeup is recommended and rental skates are first-come, first-served, so don’t roll in late.

Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night Apollo Theater; 2pm, 7:30pm; $20–$35
The Apollo Theater's annual Kwanzaa celebration returns for its eleventh year, once again hosting Abdel Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre for two Saturday shows. The dance company combines modern dance, traditional West African dance and martial arts to explore the principles of Kwanzaa—family, community and culture—in a vibrant and uplifting performance held in one of the bastions of the city’s Black culture.

Discotechnique: Silver & Gold House of Yes; 10pm; free
Put on your shiniest attire and start celebrating the New Year early at this edition of House of Yes’s disco-worshipping dance party, which offers a glitter beauty parlor, flash tats and a shimmering ball drop. Even better, the bash features an all-night set of delicious disco tunes from New York stalwart Eli Escobar.

Whitney + Real Estate + Woods Brooklyn Steel; 8pm; $20
Headed by guitarist Max Kakacek and singer-drummer Julien Ehrlich—of Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, respectively—this Chicago indie-rock outfit has been filling bigger and bigger spaces with each NYC visit. No wonder: Its 2016 debut, Light Upon the Lake, is a deeply satisfying album steeped in ’70s country and soft rock and buoyed by Ehrlich's honeyed falsetto vocals. The band joins here with lo-fi indie-poppers, Real Estate, whose music is permeated by an unshakeable repose and penchant for the quotidian: After seeing the world via an international tour, singer-guitarist Martin Courtney still prefers to sing about old municipalities and floating on inner tubes.

Sun 31

Purple Rain Dance Party Syndicated; 10pm; $25
The Artist Formerly Known as Prince may have left the physical plane behind, but his music and influence will live on in 2018 and beyond. Throw on your three-eyed glasses and velour trenchcoat and get ready to dance the night away at this tribute, which will project 1984's Purple Rain on the wall while you get down to classics like "Raspberry Beret" and "Cream."

NYE LIVE Comedy Countdown iPic Theaters at Fulton Market; 5pm; $150
Looking to end 2017 with lots of laughs? iPic Theaters is throwing a NYE Live Comedy bash hosted by comedian Allan Finn. Complete with a star-studded comedy line-up, live DJ, cocktail tasting, lite gourmet bites, and a midnight toast. With two show times - 7pm, for those of us who have a midnight bedtime, and 9:30pm with after party - your night is sure to be a blast. Tickets range from $65-$150.

The Awesome Aughts New Year’s Eve Party Union Hall; 10pm; $5
The man behind Party Like It's 1999, DJ Steve Reynolds, hosts this throwback soiree at Union Hall where nostalgia-loving revelers get loose to retro hits like “Bye Bye Bye,” “Oops I Did It Again” and “It Wasn’t Me.” It may be the eve of a new year, but nothing gets a crowd going like an old favorite.

New Year’s with the Smiths Littlefield; 9pm; $20–$25
Ring in the new year dancing with fellow Smiths devotees to tribute band the Sons & Heirs—an outfit so respected that Morrissey’s long-time drummer Spencer Cobrin and the Smiths member Andy Rourke have both performed with it in the past—and sets by DJs Tesco Jane and Ceremony. You'll be hard-pressed to find another NYE celebration that's as deliciously morose.

BackFat Variety 61 Local; 7:30pm, 9:45pm; $10
Ring in New Years with two back-to-back editions of Brooklyn's most adorably bonkers show. For this special "Year in Review," join hosts Emily Winter, Larry Mancini and Christopher Calogero as they welcome Julia Shiplett, Kenice Mobley, Sarah Kennedy, Drew Anderson, Elise Valderrama, Carmen Lagala, Maria Wojciechowski, Kale Bogdanovs and Frank Nelson to share sets and count down to midnight.

New Year’s Eve Love Bomb Good Room; 9pm; $45
Shake off 2017 with two dance parties at Good Room. In the main space, the venerable DJ duo Soul Clap will be bringing their high-energy funk, while Justin Strauss and Billy Caldwell take over the smaller Bad Room with their popular resident party Love Tempo. When the clock strikes midnight enjoy a complimentary champagne toast and watch the balloons drop. Want to keep those feet moving way until the sun rises? Refuel at the bagel breakfast—this party goes until 8am.

Brooklyn Bridge Walk into the New Year at various locations; 10:30pm; $50, $25 children
Guides trained by historian and tour leader Dr. Phil (not that one) organize multiple groups to take in the New Year from the iconic landmark. After tidbits about the bridge are revealed, all the tours will pause to scan the skyline for midnight fireworks. To book tickets visit the website. Multiple tours in different languages depart at 10:30pm. The tour meets at 160 Broadway and concluded on the Brooklyn Bridge.

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