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


nyc podfest

Abrons Arts Center
466 Grand St. at Pitt St.
April 6-8, $10-$35

The sixth annual NYC PodFest takes place this weekend at Abrons Arts Center, with two dozen podcasts recording live in front of an audience, adding a visual element to what is usually just an aural experience. Among the special guests are Michael Ian Black, Judy Gold, Jordan Klepper, Wheatus, Kevin McDonald, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Touré, Matthew Broderick, Martha Plimpton, and Zach Braff. Below are only some of the highlights.

Friday, April 6
Pod Save the People, hosted by DeRay Mckesson, with guest Touré, $30-$40, 7:00

If I Were You with Jake Hurwitz & Amir Blumenfeld, $25-$45, 9:15

Saturday, April 7
Kill Me Now with Judy Gold, $10, 2:45

Employee of the Month, hosted by Catie Lazarus, with guests Masha Gessen, Martha Plimpton, and Anthony Atamanuik and musical guest Lucy Wainwright Roche and the Employee of the Month house band, $20, 3:00

Kevin McDonald’s Kevin McDonald Show, with guests Michael Ian Black and Jordan Klepper and musical guest Wheatus, $15-$25, 9:15

Sunday, April 8
A Discussion with Zach Braff and Gimlet Founder Alex Blumberg, plus an advance screening of Alex, Inc., free with advance RSVP, 7:15

Touré Show, hosted by Touré, $15, 1:00

Little Known Facts, hosted by Ilana Levine, with guest Matthew Broderick, $10, 6:30


Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks is back for a return engagement of his one-man show at the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center

Who: Mel Brooks
What: Film clips and reminiscences by a comedy legend
Where: Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center, One East 65th St. at Fifth Ave., 212-507-9580
When: Wednesday, May 9, $99, 7:00
Why: “Look, I really don’t want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you’re alive, you got to flap your arms and legs, you got to jump around a lot, you got to make a lot of noise, because life is the very opposite of death. And therefore, as I see it, if you’re quiet, you’re not living. . . . You’ve got to be noisy, or at least your thoughts should be noisy and colorful and lively.” So says the noisy and colorful and lively Brooklyn-born Melvin Kaminsky, better known as comedy legend Mel Brooks. The ninety-one-year-old Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony winner, the genius behind such films as Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, The Producers, and Silent Movie, is returning to the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center with his one-man show, an evening of anecdotes, film clips, stand-up, and personal stories from his life and career. The $150 reserved seats are sold out, but there are still $99 general admission tickets for this rare chance to see and hear Brooks in person, in a unique venue that directly relates to one of his most-memed quotes: “I may be angry at God or at the world, and I’m sure that a lot of my comedy is based on anger and hostility. It comes from a feeling that as a Jew and as a person, I don’t fit into the mainstream of American society. Feeling different, feeling alienated, feeling persecuted, feeling that the only way you can deal with the world is to laugh — because if you don’t laugh, you’re going to cry and never stop crying — that’s probably what’s responsible for the Jews’ having developed such a great sense of humor. The people who had the greatest reason to weep learned more than anyone else how to laugh.”


Lewis Black

Lewis Black is back for a one-night-only performance at City Winery

Who: Lewis Black
What: The Joke’s on Us tour
Where: City Winery, 155 Varick St., 212-608-0555
When: Thursday, March 15, $135 - $225, 8:00 (tickets on sale March 7 at 3:00)
Why: Angry comic Lewis Black has a lot to be angry about these days, perhaps more than ever, so he’s on the road with his latest tour, “The Joke’s on Us,” which makes its only New York stop March 15 at City Winery. Tickets go on sale March 7 at 3:00 to the general public, but the prices are fairly steep to see the DC-born standup comic, actor, author, and Daily Show contributor: It will cost you $135 for a stool, $175 for a reserved seat, $200 for premier seating, and $225 for the VIP treatment. Of course, Black, who is now based in New York City and North Carolina, is always worth the price of admission; we saw him once in conversation at the Rubin with anger-management specialist Dr. Robert Allan as part of the museum’s Brainwave Festival and it was a riot.


apologies from men

Who: Lauren Maul
What: Apologies from Men multimedia performance
Where: The People’s Improv Theater, PIT Striker Mainstage, 123 East 24th St. between Park & Lexington Aves., 212-563-7488
When: Friday, March 9, $10, 9:30
Why: In 2016, creator and composer Lauren Maul and director and choreographer Wendy Seyb made the web series Amazon Reviews: The Musical!, which took reviews written on Amazon for books, movies, toys, and other items and turned them into music videos. The Nebraska-raised, Chicago-trained, Brooklyn-based Maul is now getting a whole lot more serious — and perhaps even funnier — with Apologies from Men: The Concert, in which she takes the verbatim apologies offered by prominent male sexual harassers and predators and puts them to music, accompanied by fabulously silly, low-budget, right-on-target animated videos. Among her subjects are Louis CK, Matt Lauer, Mario Batali, Russell Simmons, Dustin Hoffman, Charlie Rose, and, of course, Harvey Weinstein. The Kevin Spacey remix video is particularly creepy, and just wait till you see who’s included in “The Men Who Have Not Apologized.” Maul will be at the PIT on March 9 for a one-time-only live performance with guitar and piano of Apologies from Men, which will also be released as an album the same day.


jen kirkman

Who: Jen Kirkman
What: I Seem Fun: The Diary of Jen Kirkman live podcast
Where: The Bell House, 149 Seventh St., Brooklyn, 718-643-6510
When: Friday, March 2, $25, 8:00
Why: New York Times bestselling writer and comedian Jen Kirkman will be at the Bell House on Friday night, March 2, for a special live taping of her weekly podcast, promising her voice will be at full tilt following a bit of necessary rest. In I Seem Fun: The Diary of Jen Kirkman, the Massachusetts-born author of I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life without Kids and I Know What I’m Doing — Other Lies I Tell Myself: Dispatches from a Life Under Construction and the star of a pair of Netflix specials, Just Keep Livin’? and I’m Gonna Die Alone (and I Feel Fine), shares her thoughts on things both public and private. Among her recent podcasts are “My Own Private I Dunno,” “Einstein Hated Haters,” and “Keep Your Cord Outta My Port.” Tickets are $25, but you can save five bucks by using the code ISEEMBK.


Comedian Ronny Chieng will discuss his life and career at Museum of Chinese in America on January 17

Comedian Ronny Chieng will discuss his life and career at Museum of Chinese in America on January 17

Who: Ronny Chieng, Nancy Yao Maasbach
What: “Mission Possible” conversation with comedian Ronny Chieng and MOCA president Nancy Yao Maasbach
Where: Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre St., 855-955-MOCA
When: Wednesday, January 17, $30 (includes museum admission and one drink), 6:00
Why: The Daily Show correspondent Ronny Chieng was born in Malaysia, raised in New Hampshire and Singapore, graduated from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and now is based in New York City. On Trevor Noah’s show, in his stand-up routines, and on his own series, Ronny Chieng: International Student, Chieng takes on stereotypes with straight-ahead humor and a touch of silliness, but always with a serious point. On January 17, the Chinese comedian will be at the Museum of Chinese in America to sit down with MOCA president Nancy Yao Maasbach to talk about comedy, his childhood, and Asian Americans in the arts. There will be an open mic with special guests at 6:00, followed by the discussion at 8:00. Tickets are $30 and include museum admission (and one drink), so get there early to check out the exhibitions “With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America” and “FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures.” The program is part of MOCAFest 2018, a wide-ranging series of events welcoming in the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Dog. “Mission Possible” continues January 24 with Gish Jen and January 31 with Betty Wong Ortiz.


I Am Not Your Negro

Brooklyn Museum screening of I Am Not Your Negro will be followed by discussion of activism with James Baldwin’s niece

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

The Brooklyn Museum looks to 2018 with its January First Saturday program, “New Year, New Futures.” There will be live music by Sinkane, BEARCAT, Zaven of Resonator Collective (an in-gallery soundscape for the terrific exhibition “Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo”), and New Kingston; a curator tour of “Rodin at the Brooklyn Museum: The Body in Bronze” with Lisa Small; a hands-on art workshop in which participants can make zines inspired by “Proof”; a community talk with Murad Awawdeh, the vice president of advocacy at the New York Immigration Coalition; a screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary about James Baldwin, I Am Not your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2017), followed by a discussion with activists Jessica Green and Aisha Karefa-Smart (Baldwin’s niece); a Feminist Book Club event focusing on the 1970 book Sisterhood Is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement, edited by Robin Morgan, hosted by Glory Edim of Well-Read Black Girl based on selections by Judy Chicago; pop-up gallery talks on “Roots of ‘The Dinner Party’: History in the Making”; a Brooklyn Dance Festival movement workshop and live performances; pop-up poetry with DéLana R. A. Dameron (Weary Kingdom) and Rickey Laurentiis (Boy with Thorn), followed by a signing; and a NYLaughs comedy showcase with Negin Farsad, Nimesh Patel, and Jordan Carlos, hosted by Ophira Eisenberg and followed by a discussion on humor, activism, and crisis. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “Roots of ‘The Dinner Party’: History in the Making,” “Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt,” “Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo,” “Arts of Asia and the Middle East,” “Infinite Blue,” “Ahmed Mater: Mecca Journeys,” “Rodin at the Brooklyn Museum: The Body in Bronze,” “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” and more.