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


Paul Dooley gives a talk about Buter Keaton at Retroformat Los Angeles (photo courtesy Retroformat)

Paul Dooley gives a talk about Buter Keaton at Retroformat Los Angeles (photo courtesy Retroformat)

Who: Paul Dooley, Cliff Retallic
What: Livestreamed classic silent movies with special guests
Where: Retroformat Facebook page
When: Monday nights at 10:30, free with RSVP
Why: Retroformat in Los Angeles has teamed with Flicker Alley LLC, Lobster Films, and Blackhawk Films to present #SilentMovieMondays, livestreamed screenings of silent classics on Facebook, with live musical accompaniment by Retroformat musical director Cliff Retallick, special guest lecturers, and Q&As. On May 4, they showed Max Linder’s 1921 Seven Years Bad Luck and had a talk with self-described “cinevore” Serge Bromberg. On May 11, the great Paul Dooley, the ninety-two-year-old star of stage and screen, including such films as A Wedding, Breaking Away, Popeye, Cars, and Sixteen Candles, will be on hand to talk about Buster Keaton, who will be featured in one of his all-time best, One Week, about a pair of newlyweds and their new home, as well as Cops, in which he gets in trouble with the LAPD. Dooley, who refers to himself as “a household face” and was the cocreator of the long-running children’s show The Electric Company, considers Keaton his hero; he played a Keystone cop in one of Keaton’s 1964-65 Ford Econoline commercials. Retroformat, whose “sole mission is to educate and inspire enthusiasm for the art and history of silent film,” will continue the series during the pandemic shutdown with future titles and guests to be announced.


Pamela Adlon and Mario Cantone will talk about Better Things on May 5 online

Pamela Adlon and Mario Cantone will talk about Better Things on May 5 online

Who: Pamela Adlon, Mario Cantone
What: Live online conversation and Q&A about Better Things
Where: 92nd St. Y Facebook page
When: Tuesday, May 5, free, 5:00
Why: During this pandemic, many of us have been catching up on shows we’ve missed over the years. For me, I’ve become obsessed with the Peabody-winning Better Things, the FX show on Hulu about a single mother and actress (Pamela Adlon) navigating through her career, raising three daughters, trying to find love (maybe), and taking care of her cheeky mom who lives across the street. The semiautobiographical show, which just completed its fourth season, was created by Emmy winners Adlon and Louis C.K.; Adlon played C.K.’s wife on the 2006 HBO comedy Lucky Louie and his best friend on the FX sitcom Louie. Adlon, who voiced Bobby Hill on King of the Hill and has starred in such other series as Californication, Bob’s Burgers, Rugrats, and The Facts of Life, created the show with C.K., and they wrote much of the first two seasons together (and often directed), but FX dropped C.K. once he was hit with a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations that he admitted to. Adlon is a force as Sam Fox, who mothers her kids, Max (Mikey Madison), Frankie (Hannah Alligood), and Duke (Olivia Edward), in tough, unique ways that might not win her any Mother of the Year awards but is touching nonetheless without ever being maudlin, while Celia Imrie is a hoot as her doddering British mom. On May 5 at 5:00, Adlon will be live on the 92nd St. Y’s Facebook page talking about Better Things with Tony-nominated comedian and former children’s television show host Mario Cantone (Sex and the City, Steampipe Alley), followed by a live Q&A. Admission is free.



Since May 2001, twi-ny has been recommending cool things to do throughout the five boroughs, popular and under-the-radar events that draw people out of their homes to experience film, theater, dance, art, literature, music, food, comedy, and more as part of a live audience in the most vibrant community on Earth.

With the spread of Covid-19 and the closing of all cultural institutions, sports venues, bars, and restaurants (for dining in), we feel it is our duty to prioritize the health and well-being of our loyal readers. So, for the next several weeks at least, we won’t be covering any public events in which men, women, and children must congregate in groups, a more unlikely scenario day by day anyway.

That said, as George Bernard Shaw once noted, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”

Some parks are still open, great places to breathe in fresh air, feel the sunshine, and watch the changing of winter into spring. We will occasionally be pointing out various statues, sculptures, and installations, but check them out only if you are already going outside and will happen to be nearby.

You don’t have to shut yourself away completely for the next weeks and months — for now, you can still go grocery shopping and pick up takeout — but do think of others as you go about your daily life, which is going to be very different for a while. We want each and every one of you to take care of yourselves and your families, follow the guidelines for social distancing, and consider the health and well-being of those around you.

We look forward to seeing you indoors and at festivals and major outdoor events as soon as possible, once New York, America, and the rest of the planet are ready to get back to business. Until then, you can find us every so often under the sun, moon, clouds, and stars, finding respite in this amazing city now in crisis.



Who: Emily Flake, Kat Burdick, Amanda Duarte, Jean Grae, Porochista Khakpour, Kembra Pfahler
What: Live podcast taping of Nightmares: Good People, Bad Dreams
Where: The Red Room at KGB, 85 East Fourth St.
When: Sunday, December 15, free (two-drink minimum), 7:00
Why: Cartoonist-writer-performer-teacher-illustrator Emily Flake’s podcast Nightmares: Good People, Bad Dreams invites “the funniest and most interesting people around” to talk “about what messed up things go through their heads at night.” On December 15 at 7:00, the show will be taped live at the Red Room at KGB as Flake and her guest cohost, comedian Kat Burdick, are joined by writer-performer Amanda Duarte, hip-hop artist and polymath genius Jean Grae, writer-teacher-lecturer Porochista Khakpour, and performance artist, filmmaker, and the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black lead singer Kembra Pfahler for what should be a wildly unpredictable evening of laughs and scares.


Xu Bing, Square Word Calligraphy: Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, Walt Whitman, ink on paper, 2018

Xu Bing, Square Word Calligraphy: Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, Walt Whitman, ink on paper, 2018 (photo courtesy of the artist)

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, November 2, free (some events require advance tickets), 5:00 - 11:00

The Brooklyn Museum parties with Asian pride in the November edition of its free First Saturday program. There will be live performances by the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra (playing works by Mastora Goya and Chen Yihan, featuring such instruments as the koto, erhu, guzheng, and pipa), Hong Kong-born, Brooklyn raised singer-songwriter Reonda, the Metropolitan Opera (previewing Philip Glass’s Akhnaten with countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Gandini Juggling, and the Philip Glass Institute at the New School’s College of Performing Arts), Collective BUBBLE_T (with DJ sets by Tito Vida and Stevie Huynh, Clara Lu performing “The Butterfly Lovers” on guzheng, and Walang Hiya NYC), Miho Hatori’s New Optimism, and comics Fumi Abe, Karen Chee, Saurin Choksi, Aidan Park, and Irene Tu; a screening of Mountains That Take Wing (C. A. Griffith & H. L. T. Quan, 2009), followed by a talk with community organizer Akemi Kochiyama, granddaughter of one of the film’s subjects; poetry readings by Diannely Antigua, Mark Doty, and Jessica Greenbaum, hosted by Jason Koo, celebrating Walt Whitman, the inspiration behind the exhibition “One: Xu Bing”; teen pop-up talks in the Arts of Japan galleries; a curator tour of the Arts of China galleries and “One: Xu Bing” with Susan L. Beningson; a hands-on art workshop in which participants can make works on paper with brushpens inspired by the calligraphy in Arts of Asia galleries; and a community talk with the W.O.W. Project about the future of Chinatown. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “Garry Winogrand: Color,” “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall,” “JR: Chronicles,” “Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion,” “Infinite Blue,” and more.



Who: Jon Lovett, Stacey Abrams, Desus and Mero, Wyatt Cenac, Dulcé Sloan, Alyssa Mastromonaco
What: Live broadcast of Lovett or Leave It
Where: Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave. at Fiftieth St.
When: Friday, September 13, $39-$79, 8:00
Why: Every Friday night, producer and former speechwriter Jon Lovett hosts Lovett or Leave It, a political podcast about the week in review recorded live in Los Angeles; recent episodes include “Dunaway or the Highway,” “Gays Against Equinox,” “Hot Inslee Summer,” “Big Not So Little Lies,” and “Send Him Back,” with such guests as Larry Wilmore, Jay Inslee, Matt Walsh, Julian Castro, and Andy Richter. On September 13, Lovett, the cofounder (with Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor) of Crooked Media, which produces such other podcasts as Keep It, Pod Save America, and Hysteria, brings his show to the East Coast, hosting the program at Radio City Music Hall with former Georgia House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, Showtime’s Desus and Mero, Problem Areas’ Wyatt Cenac, The Daily Show’s Dulcé Sloan, and former White House deputy and bestselling author Alyssa Mastromonaco, looking at the events of the past seven days, which keep getting crazier and crazier. There will also be related games and quizzes.


Randy Rainbow plays the Beacon on November 10 as part of the New York Comedy Festival

Randy Rainbow plays the Beacon on November 9 as part of the New York Comedy Festival

Multiple venues
November 4-10

Late-night television hosts take center stage at the sixteenth annual New York Comedy Festival, running November 4-10. Tickets are now on sale for the first batch of events, and you can expect several to sell out fairly quickly. Many more shows will be announced, but the battle right now is between Trevor Noah at Madison Square Garden, Stephen Colbert at Carnegie Hall, Bill Maher at the Hulu Theater, and Norm Macdonald at Carolines. Also on the bill so far are Jenny Slate at Town Hall, No Such Thing as a Fish at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Kathleen Madigan’s Hot Dogs and Angels Tour at Town Hall, Tom Segura’s Take It Down Tour at the Beacon Theatre, Nicole Byer at BMCC, Vir Das at Town Hall, Demetri Martin’s Wandering Mind Tour at the Beacon, Benito Skinner’s Overcompensating at BMCC, U Up? Live at Town Hall, Comedy Bang! Bang! Live! Starring Scott Aukerman w/Guests at the Beacon, Nate Bargatze’s Good Problem to Have Tour at Town Hall, Randy Rainbow Live at the Beacon, and the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Roadshow at BMCC. Below are the biggies as of August 21.

Thursday, November 7
Behind the Laughter: An Evening with Stephen Colbert and Producers of The Late Show, Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, $44.50 to $81.50, 8:00

Thursday, November 7
Sunday, November 10

Norm Macdonald, Carolines on Broadway, $57.25 - $141.75

Friday, November 8
Trevor Noah: Loud & Clear Tour 2019, Madison Square Garden, $41-$356, 8:00

Saturday, November 9
An Evening with Bill Maher, Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, $41-$456, 8:00