This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


christmas carol marathon

Housing Works Bookstore Café
126 Crosby St. between Prince & East Houston Sts.
Saturday, December 20, free, 12 noon

In the preface to his 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens wrote, “I have endeavoured in the Ghostly little book to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.” For the fifth consecutive year, the story will pleasantly haunt the Housing Works Bookstore Café for the annual “What the Dickens?” marathon reading of the holiday classic, which has been turned into many a film and stage production. The festivities begin at 12 noon on December 20 with members of the New York City Master Chorale singing Christmas carols, followed at 1:00 by more than two dozen writers reading the Dickens classic until 4:30, with hot glögg available throughout. Among the participants are Adam Gopnik, Jami Attenberg, Ashley Ford, Lev Grossman, Aryn Kyle, Bennett Madison, Eileen Myles, Elissa Schappell, Peter Straub, J. Courtney Sullivan, and Adelle Waldman. Dickens purists will also want to make their way over to the Morgan Library, which is displaying the original manuscript of A Christmas Carol through January 11.


Christian Louboutin, “Printz,” Spring/Summer 2013 (courtesy of Christian Louboutin; photograph by Jay Zukerkorn)

Christian Louboutin, “Printz,” Spring/Summer 2013 (courtesy of Christian Louboutin; photograph by Jay Zukerkorn)

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, December 6, free, 5:00 - 11:00

The Brooklyn Museum has fun with its new exhibit, “Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe,” in the December edition of its free First Saturdays program. “Brooklyn Fashion” will feature live performances by the Hot Sardines and TK Wonder; a shoe-making art workshop; a talk with Manufacture New York CEO Bob Bland; screenings of Julie Benasra’s 2011 documentary, God Save My Shoes, and Tom Kalin’s Alternate Endings, short films made in collaboration with artists Rhys Ernst, Glen Fogel, Lyle Ashton Harris, Derek Jackson, My Barbarian, and Julie Tolentino in honor of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Visual AIDS’ Day With(out) Art; a talk with “Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe” curator Lisa Small; an interactive story hour with Aunt Helen’s Closet; a “Killer Heels” photo booth; and a social club with that includes pop-up shops, a Dapper Academy, and a fashion show. In addition, you can check out such exhibitions as “Revolution! Works from the Black Arts Movement,” “Judith Scott — Bound and Unbound,” and “Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond.”


The Sigafoos’ Christmas tree pulls into Rock Center earlier this month (photo courtesy TODAY show)

The Sigafoos’ Norwegian spruce pulls into Rock Center earlier this month from Pennsylvania (photo courtesy TODAY show)

Over the next few weeks, Christmas trees and menorahs will be lit all over the city, accompanied by live performances, seasonal treats, special guests, and family-friendly activities, all free. Below are only some of the many highlights as the Big Apple prepares for the holidays.

Park Slope Holiday Tree Lighting
Fifth Ave. at Third St.
Saturday, November 29, 6:30
Live music by Amy Miles, carols by Opera on Tap, crafts, puppet shows, cookies, marshmallows, hot chocolate, popcorn, children's activities, Santa and Frosty the Snowman

winters eve

Fifteenth Annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square
Dante Park, Broadway between 63rd & 64th Sts., Time Warner Center, David Rubenstein Atrium
Monday, December 1, 5:30 - 9:00
Emcee Billy Porter, ice sculpting, live performances by Arlo Guthrie and family, Alice Farley Dance Theater, Golem, Spuyten Duyvil, Batala NYC, the Lucky Chops Brass Band, M.A.K.U. SoundSystem, the N’Harmonics, Uptown Vocal, the Cafe Wha? House Band, the Jazzmeia Horn Quartet, Bach Vespers, Annika, Hungry March Band, Raya Brass Band, Shinbone Alley Stilt Band, Dylan Meek, Elena Ayodele Pinderhughes, the Hot Sardines, Yaz Band, Mariachi Real De Mexico, the Suzi Shelton Band, the Big Apple Circus, Chinese Lion Dancers, Kinky Boots, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, dance groups, WNET characters, a screening of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, food tastings ($1-$4), Sesame Street’s Digital Playground & Walkaround Abby Cadabby

The South Street Seaport’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
Fulton St. at Front St.
Tuesday, December 2, 5:45
Live music, family-friendly activities, more

Winter Village Tree Lighting
Bryant Park
40th - 42nd Sts. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Tuesday, December 2, 6:00
Details to be announced

Eighty-Second Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th and West 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues
Wednesday, December 3, 7:00 - 9:00
Musical guests to be announced; tree will remain lit through January 7

Central Park Conservancy’s Eighteenth Annual Dana Holiday Lighting
Charles A. Dana Discovery Center inside the park at 110th St. & Malcolm X Blvd.
Thursday, December 4, 5:30 - 6:30
Flotilla of more than twenty illuminated trees on Harlem Meer, live ice carving, photos with Santa and his elves, Christmas carols, and hot cocoa and cookies

Christmas in Richmond Town: Traditional Tree Lighting
Historic Richmond Town, Staten Island
441 Clarke Ave.
Sunday, December 7, 5:00
Festivities begin at 11:00 am ($2 per person, six and under free) with shopping village, carolers, storytelling, Santa Claus, tours, Bell Choir, horse & carriage rides ($2, two and under free), free Christmas tree lighting at 5:00

Carl Schurz Park Holiday Tree Lighting
East 86th St. at East End Ave.
Sunday, December 7, 5:00
Christmas carols, Cantori choir, Orbital Brass, candlelight, candy canes, and hot chocolate

The Park Avenue Tree Lighting
Outside Brick Presbyterian Church, Park Ave. at 91st St.
Sunday, December 7, 6:30
Annual lighting of trees along Park Ave. Malls between 54th & 97th Sts., starting with tree outside Brick Presbyterian Church

Mad. Sq. Holiday 2014
Madison Square Park
23rd - 26th Sts. between Madison & Fifth Aves.
Tuesday, December 9, 3:30
Live performances by Audra Rox and cast members of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, horticultural workshop with a red twig dogwood planting led by Gardener Steph, Reading Rangers storytelling, Gingerbread Boulevard, seasonal treats from Hill Country Chicken, SD26, and Frittering Away, tree lighting at 5:00

Washington Square Park tree will be lit on December 10 (photo courtesy )

Washington Square Park tree will be lit on December 10 (photo courtesy Washington Square Park Blog)

The Washington Square Park Tree Lighting
Washington Square Park Arch at Fifth Ave.
Wednesday, December 10, 6:00
Live music by the Rob Susman Brass Quartet, songbooks for caroling, Santa Claus

Holiday on the Hudson
West Harlem Piers Park, West 125th & Marginal Sts.
Saturday, December 13, 5:00
Live music by the All-City High School Chorus, holiday decorations workshop, more

Zuccotti Park Holiday Lighting
Broadway & Liberty St.
Saturday, December 13, 5:30
Live music by the Manhattan Dolls and Metropolitan Klezmer, sweet treats, more

World’s Largest Menorah will be lit nightly in Grand Army Plaza (photo courtesy Chabad Park Slope)

World’s Largest Menorah will be lit nightly during Hanukkah in Grand Army Plaza (photo courtesy Chabad Park Slope)

World’s Largest Menorah
Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
December 16-23, 6:00
Live music, hot latkes, gifts for kids

World’s Largest Hanukkah Menorah
Grand Army Plaza, Manhattan
Fifth Ave. between 58th & 59th Sts.
December 16-23, 6:00


This is not your bubby’s Jewish Museum. On November 20, the latest edition of the Upper East Side institution’s “The Wind Up” features Mykki Blanco, the cross-gender rapper, poet, and performance artist also known as Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. As Quattlebaum, he has written From the Silence of Duchamp to the Noise of Boys, a compilation of twenty-three poems including “The Intimacy of Being,” “Freak Jerk,” “Black Boys Are Flowers Too,” and “I Am Young Please Forgive Me,” several of which have been turned into songs by her band, Mykki Blanco & the Mutant Angels, which has released such albums as Betty Rubble: The Initiation and the three-track EP Spring/Summer 2014. In “Poem I” he writes, “I am not a man of reason / And that is exact / I am precisely not a man of logic / And that is inarguable / At some point my soul left me / It was all very casual, you know, in / that way things can sometimes be / It grew tired of my body, I suppose.” Blanco will appear in Scheuer Auditorium along with DJ P. Morris in conjunction with the Abstract Expressionist exhibition “From the Margins: Lee Krasner and Norman Lewis, 1945–1952”; the evening will also include spin art T-shirt making, a painting station, a beer and wine bar, and exhibition tours.


Karthik Subbaraj’s JIGARTHANDA opens the eleventh South Asian International Film Festival this week

Karthik Subbaraj’s JIGARTHANDA opens the eleventh South Asian International Film Festival this week

SAIFF 2014
SVA Theatre, AMC Loews 19th St., Carlton Hotel, Joe’s Pub
November 18-23, $15-$125

The eleventh edition of the South Asian International Film Festival, which was founded by Shilen Amin to present works from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal and from within the Indian Diaspora, takes place November 18-23, consisting of eight feature films, four shorts, after-parties, receptions, and live music. The opening-night selection, X., is one of several festival films dealing with the art of the movies themselves, made by eleven Indian directors sharing in telling the story of a filmmaker by exploring his sexual past. In Karthik Subbaraj’s Jigarthanda (Cold Heart), a young director tries to make a reality gangster flick (Subbaraj will participate in a Q&A following the November 21 world premiere screening at the SVA Theatre), while a Bollywood writer heads to Hollywood in the centerpiece world premiere of Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K.’s Happy Ending. Other films include Shrihari Sathe’s Ek Hazarachi Note, Kanu Behl’s Titli, and Nabeel Qureshi’s closing-night, Karachi-set Na Maloom Afraad, which will also be followed by a Q&A. Wednesday night’s after-party at Joe’s Pub will be highlighted by a live performance by Raveena Aurora, while filmgoers are invited to mingle with the filmmakers at the closing-night cocktail reception on Sunday.


Bob Odenkirk will be at McNally Jackson for a reading and signing, followed by a New York Comedy Festival performance at the Gramercy

Bob Odenkirk will be at McNally Jackson for a reading and signing on Sunday, followed by a New York Comedy Festival performance at the Gramercy

McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince St. between Lafayette & Mulberry Sts.
Sunday, November 9, free, 1:00

“How does one begin a book?” Bob Odenkirk asks at the start of his new tome, A Load of Hooey (McSweeney’s, October 2014, $20), which is part of the Odenkirk Memorial Library. “A letter, a word, soon a sentence, then another, and suddenly, a paragraph is begotten — a two-sentence paragraph. Dickens, Melville, Odenkirk, all have faced the same question, and only one has failed. Melville. ‘Call me Ishmael.’ Talk about giving up.” The Illinois-born, Emmy-winning, very-much-alive Odenkirk, who partnered with David Cross on the TV cult classic Mr. Show and played legal eagle Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad — a role he is reprising in the upcoming spinoff Better Call Saul — will be at McNally Jackson on November 9 at 1:00, reading from and signing copies of Hooey, which includes such “new short humor fiction” as “One Should Never Read a Book on the Toilet,” “My Education, or, the Education of a Me, or, I Not Dumb,” “Hitler Dinner Party: A Play,” and “Martin Luther King Jr.’s Worst Speech Ever.” Later on, Odenkirk will be heading over to the Gramercy Theatre for a book release show that is part of the New York Comedy Festival; tickets for the 7:00 performance are $40 and include a copy of the book, the cover of which boasts, “Inside is funny things.”


Writers Patrick McGrath (photo by Basso Cannarsa) and Zadie Smith (photo by Steve Bisgrove) will discuss literature and film at the Morgan

Writers Patrick McGrath (photo by Basso Cannarsa) and Zadie Smith (photo by Steve Bisgrove) will discuss literature and film at the Morgan

Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Ave. at 36th St.
Thursday, November 6, $20, 7:00

Started in Capri in 2006 by founding artistic director Antonio Monda and Davide Azzolini, Italy’s Le Conversazioni literary festival returns to the Morgan Library on November 6 with a program examining the relationship between film and literature. Critic, director, journalist, producer, writer, and NYU professor Monda will moderate a discussion with a pair of British novelists, Patrick McGrath, author of such books as The Grotesque, Spider, Asylum, and Constance, and Zadie Smith, who has written such books as White Teeth, The Autograph Man, and The Embassy of Cambodia. They will focus on the influence specific films have had on their life and career. Previous Le Conversazioni presentations at the Morgan have brought together Julie Taymor and Jeffrey Eugenides, Isabella Rossellini and Salman Rushdie, Marina Abramovic and Daniel Libeskind, Martin Amis and Isa Buruma, and Jonathan Franzen and Paul Schrader.