The traveling storytelling series, which visits NYC each month, focuses on science yarns that are definitely more interesting than yours (that one time you dissected a frog in biology class, we know). Take the “Ouch”-themed tale, for instance, in which a labia-pierced neuroscience student recounted entering an MRI machine (the magnet of which is known to violently pull metal objects from one’s body).
See it live: “Mental Health” at Littlefield, 622 DeGraw St between Third and Fourth Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn (littlefieldnyc.com). Wed 12 at 8pm; $10.
Download it: storycollider.org
Policy wonks, professors and journalists butt heads over controversial issues like the trade-offs of government spying, the efficacy of Obamacare and the ethics of eating cuddly animals. Even if you miss the talk, dig up the postmortem online and think about how satisfying it’ll be to whip out a crowd-tested argument during your next barstool debate.
See it live: “Russia Is a Marginal Power” at Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center, 129 W 67th St between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave (intelligencesquaredus.org). Wed 12 at 6:45pm; $40.
Download it: npr.org/iq
Where better to share a story you once swore you’d never tell anyone than a public forum that’s later archived as a podcast? The actors, comedians and writers wrangled for Kevin Allison’s monthly show are all too eager to share embarrassing anecdotes about quasi-public defecation and Star Trek–inspired S&M.
See it live: “Freedom” at Peoples Improv Theater, 123 E 24th St between Park Ave South and Lexington Ave (thepit-nyc.com). Mar 27 at 9:30pm; $10.
Stream shows from these venues
After an earlier incarnation on W. 77th Street closed due to condo construction, Vai Restaurant is back on the Upper West Side, continuing its eight-year tenure serving contemporary Mediterranean food to carb-eschewing yuppies. Owner/Chef Vincent Chirico of “Knife Fight” fame got his bona fides working in the kitchens of Jean-Georges Restaurant, Aquavit, Daniel and Union Pacific. The intimate new space is clean and unadorned, with 14 tables and a half-dozen bar stools around the semi-circle bar. It’s planted on a brick wall mid-restaurant, with a large mirror reflecting fishbowl sconces on chains, featuring flickering votives. The food is similarly solid and unfussy, if a bit on the higher end, with many off-menu, seasonal additions available. During a recent visit, we enjoyed the featured cocktails, the Blackberry Paloma ($14) blending tequila, grapefruit and blackberry, and the simple Elijah’s Maple Sour ($15), a mix of Elijah Craig Bourbon and Hudson Valley Maple syrup. The hostess brought an amuse-bouche of savory eggplant mousseline and soft bread to dip it in. Chirico is known for his crudo, so we sampled a layered Hamachi-Yellowfin Tuna Duo ($17) with two generous lobes of yellowfin over a tartare of pink tuna and fresh avocado. A tang of ginger and cilantro enlivened the whole affair. We paired this with the charred octopus ($16.5) a tender tentacle of grilled ‘pus over roasted fingerling potatoes and a bright green jalapeno pesto, with slivers of dry-roasted garli
Venue says: “Join us for Happy Hour Sun-Fri 2pm-4pm and 9pm-close. Glass of sparkling wine and 3 complimentary oysters and $8 beers, wine and cocktails.”