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New York arts events to inspire you this winter

Fill up on cultural experiences this winter with our list of New York arts events

Photograph: Paul Kolnik
Fiona Brennan and Jonathan Alexander as the Little Prince and Princess (in Sleigh) The Nutcracker New York City Ballet

Warm up those frostbitten toes and broaden your mind at a gallery, museum, ballet or literary festival. From exploring the new Queens Museum to taking in a performance-art piece, Time Out's got you covered, with New York arts events to keep you toasty until spring.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the winter in NYC

Celebrate 15 years of rejected literature at Best of McSweeney's

Dave Eggers’s literary journal has survived and even thrived in an era generally considered hostile to the printed word. Although it has featured such notable authors as Michael Chabon and Joyce Carol Oates, McSweeney’s still sticks to its original premise of publishing only works that have been rejected elsewhere, and has never lost the sense of playful outsiderdom that has defined it since its inception. At this 15th-anniversary event, contributors including Jonathan Ames and Sheila Heti will participate in readings and discussions.

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12 Dec 2013

See the gold standard of Nutcrackers...

Since 1954, the New York City Ballet has transported audiences to a world of frost fairies, toy soldiers and towering mice. Tchaikovsky’s score may be hummably familiar, but the choreography still feels magically fresh. Schedule varies; visit nycballet.com for details.

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Through Sat Jan 4

...and the new Nutcracker on the block

American Ballet Theatre returns to BAM with Alexei Ratmansky's inventive version of The Nutcracker, in which Clara and the Nutcracker Prince grow up before our eyes—braving an ominous snowstorm—and a little mouse nearly steals the show. It's tender, witty and wise, just like Ratmansky.

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Fri Dec 13 - Sun Dec 22

Experience NYC's scrappy 1970s performance art scene

New York in the 1970s was a dismal place with high crime and abandoned real estate. Yet it was there that performance art was born with artists claiming space in lofts and outside major institutions. The Whitney Museum tries to recapture that period for this fascinating exhibit; the title, “Rituals of Rented Island,” comes from performance artist Jack Smith's nickname for Manhattan, which he used in his 1976 play, The Secret of Rented Island.

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Through Sun Feb 2

Open 2014 on a literary note at the new Year's Day Marathon Benefit Reading

What better way to banish that New Year’s Eve hangover than with verse and good food? On the first afternoon of the year, 140 of the city’s best poets, artists and performers gather at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery and, one after another, recite their work to a hall full of listeners. Among the many podium-takers this year are composer Philip Glass, storyteller Edgar Oliver, Bowery Poetry founder Bob Holman, and poets Eileen Myles and Anne Waldman. Local joints catering the 11-hour event include Grandaisy Bakery, Porto Rico Importing Co. and more.

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Wed Jan 1 - Thu Jan 2

Check in with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

The troupe explores a diversified repertory for its City Center season. Highlights include a new work by Aszure Barton, the Ailey premiere of Wayne McGregor's Chroma, Bill T. Jones's D-Man in the Waters (Part I) and Ronald K. Brown's Four Corners. The run—which celebrates Matthew Rushing tenure with the company—also includes restagings of Alvin Ailey's Duke Ellington–inspired pieces The River and Pas de Duke.

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Through Sun Jan 5

Hear a stellar lineup read the work of Pulitzer-winning scribe Alice Munro

The Selected Shorts reading event pays homage to the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, a supremely talented Canadian scribe whom the committee described as “a master of the short story.” Fellow fiction-writing giant Margaret Atwood will be on hand to discuss her longtime friend, and a to-be-announced roster of performers and actors will read selections from Munro’s staggering body of work, drawing from her upbringing in rural Ontario.

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22 Jan 2014

Pick up tips from an overachiever at LIVE from the NYPL

The NYPL kicks off its latest series of talks with none other than 2013 National Book Award for fiction winner, James McBride. The Good Lord Bird author is also an accomplished musician (some people!) and will have his jazz-gospel quintet, the Good Lord Bird Band, in tow for a special performance.

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24 Jan 2014

Get weird at BAM stage show <em>Green Porno</em>

If you’ve been keeping up with the Sundance Channel’s series, you know that Isabella Rossellini acting out the strange sexual behaviors of insects, arachnids and sea creatures is possibly the greatest thing that ever happened in the history of time. Now, she (along with director Muriel Mayette and cowriter Jean-Claude Carrière) is bringing her intricate spandex-and-paper wildlife costumes to BAM, to school us on the birds and the bees live onstage in her soothing Italian purr. (And seriously, those bees have some fucked-up sex lives.)

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Thu Jan 16 - Sat Jan 25

See Ryan from <em>The Office</em> in person

The former Office writer-director B.J. Novak—and portrayer of Dunder Mifflin’s resident cad, Ryan Howard—has hung up his fake hipster glasses for good. But much like Ryan, he's already onto the next thing: short fiction. To toast the debut of his first book, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, the comedian will read from the tome at this Selected Shorts event. His tales take on subjects as diverse as a kid who wins a fortune from a cereal box, an angry rabbit plotting revenge and John Grisham’s inner monologue.

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05 Feb 2014