Gōng xǐ fā cái! New York City is ready to celebrate the Year of the Rooster, or, more specifically, the Fire Rooster, this month with special events all over town. People born in the Year of the Rooster are trustworthy, responsible at work, talkative, loyal, thoughtful, and popular. Below are some of the highlights happening here in the five boroughs during the next several weeks of Chinese New Year.
Saturday, January 28
New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival, Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Grand Street at Chrystie St., free, 11:00 am – 3:30 pm
Chinese New Year Temple Bazaar, with live performances, martial arts, food, arts & crafts, and more, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., $3-$5, 11:00 am and 2:00 pm
Sunday, January 29
Lunar New Year Celebration: Madison St. to Madison Ave., with the New York Eastern Chamber Orchestra conducted by Fei Fang, FJ Music, juggler Lina Liu, Chinese marionette puppet show, martial arts performance by American Tai Chi and Health Qigong Center, face painting, calligraphy, themed photo booth, and more, beginning at Harman store at 527 Madison Ave., free, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Lunar New Year Celebration, with live performance and brush and ink painting workshop sponsored by the New York Chinese Cultural Center, Staten Island Children’s Museum, 1000 Richmond Terr., $8, 2:00 – 4:00
Tuesday, January 31
Chinese New Year Celebration, with the New York Philharmonic performing works by Li Huanzhi, Adam, Saint-Saëns, Chen Qigang, Huang Zi (arranged by Bao Yuankai), Puccini, Li Qingzhu, and Ravel, David Geffen Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, $35-$110, 7:30
Friday, February 3
Pauline Benton and the Red Gate Exhibition Opening Reception, Flushing Town Hall, $5 suggested donation, 5:00
Saturday, February 4
Lunar New Year Celebration, with family-friendly arts and crafts, Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., free, 1:00
Chinese New Year Celebration, with family workshops, dumpling making, storytelling, lion dance, live music, more, workshops $5-$20, party and performance $10-$20, China Institute, 40 Rector St., 1:00 – 7:00
Sunday, February 5
Eighteenth annual New York City Lunar New Year Parade & Festival, with cultural booths in the park and a parade with floats, antique cars, live performances, and much more from China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and other nations, Chinatown, Sara D. Roosevelt Park, and Columbus Park, free, 1:00
Rooster Shadow Puppet Workshop, Flushing Town Hall, $8-$10 (free for teens with ID), 1:00
Lunar New Year Festival: Year of the Rooster, with live performances by Sesame Street puppeteers, Chinese opera by Qian Yi, lion parade, Balinese music by Gamelan Dharma Swara, the China Youth Orchestra, traditional music by Mingmei Yip, Vietnamese drums, drawing, paper folding, button making, tea gatherings, comics workshop, hand-pulled noodle demonstration with Chef Zhang, storytelling, collection chats, and more, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St., free with suggested museum admission, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday, February 11
Lunar New Year Family Festival, with folk arts, live dance, food sampling, storytelling, a gallery hunt, a Nian monster mash-up, and more, Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre St., $12, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Lunar New Year 4715: Year of the Rooster Celebration, with costume contest, riddles, martial arts, live music and dance, rice balls contest, paper lantern arts and crafts, games, more, P.S.310, 942 62nd St., free, 11:00 am - 2:30
Year of the Rooster Celebration, with lion dancers, lion parade, live music and dance, martial arts demonstrations, theatrical players, and more, New York Chinese Cultural Center at Arts Brookfield, 230 Vesey St., free, 1:30 – 3:30
Saturday, February 11, and Sunday, February 12
Lunar New Year: Year of the Rooster, with puppet shows, scavenger hunt, calligraphy workshop, fortune cookies, and more, Prospect Park Zoo, 450 Flatbush Ave., $6-$8, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Friday, February 17
Lunar New Year Shadow Puppet Slam, hosted by Kuang-Yu Fong and Stephen Kaplin, adults only, Flushing Town Hall, $13, 7:00
JCC in Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Ave. at 76th St.
Sunday, December 25, 12 noon – 6:00, $7 per film, $18 for all three
Six years ago, comic legend Gene Wilder was at the JCC in Manhattan, being interviewed by his wife, Karen Boyer, about his latest book, What Is This Thing Called Love? The star of stage and screen passed away on August 29 of this year, at the age of eighty-three, and the JCC is paying tribute to the man born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee with a Christmas Day marathon featuring three of his best films. The celebration begins at 12 noon with Mel Stuart’s 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the beloved classic based on Roald Dahl’s beloved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Wilder plays candy baron Willy Wonka, who has decided to retire and give his company to a child who passes all the necessary tests during a fantastical visit to his factory. That will be followed at 2:00 by one of the funniest movies ever made, Mel Brooks’s Blazing Saddles, in which Wilder portrays the washed-up Waco Kid, an alcoholic gunslinger who is brought back to life when a new sheriff (Cleavon Little) comes to the racist town of Rock Ridge; the all-star cast also includes Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, Alex Karras, Slim Pickens, Dom DeLuise, John Hillerman, David Huddleston, and Rodney Allen Rippy. At 4:00, the festival continues with another comic Western, Robert Aldrich’s underseen, underrated 1979 charmer, The Frisco Kid, with Wilder starring as Avram Belinski, a Jewish immigrant from Poland who partners up with bank robber Tommy Lillard (Harrison Ford) on his way from Philly to San Francisco to serve as a rabbi. The afternoon concludes at 6:00 with a Hanukkah candle lighting and sufganiyot, special jelly donuts that are a Hanukkah treat.
12 Franklin St. at Meserole St., Brooklyn
Thursday - Sunday, December 1-23, free admission ($15 Santa photos, $5 rooftop access), 6:00 - 10:00 pm
“There is no price tag on being able to say, ‘Hey I did something really strange today,’” immersive-theater impresario Timothy Haskell says, and he knows something about strange. Haskell is the mastermind behind such seasonal productions as Nightmare Haunted House and Full Bunny Contact, and now his Northern Pole Territory: A Santastical Bit of Holiday Nonsense is back for its second year. The demented adventure is presented by Psycho Clan, which consists of Haskell, production designer Paul Smithyman, props designer Faye Armon, Charles Dunham, and Nathaniel Nowak. From Thursday to Sunday evening December 1-23, Australian-American restaurant and rooftop bar Northern Territory, which is located in an old Greenpoint factory building, will host three floors of holiday mischief. On the ground floor, for fifteen dollars you can get your photo taken with the kind of Santas not usually found in department stores — Hunky Santa, Sexy Mrs. Claus, the Jewish Santa Hanukklaus, and Elvis Santa. Five bucks gains you entry to the rooftop bar, where you can engage in snowball fights, share a kiss in the mistletoe grotto, pretend ice-skate, hang out amid tacky lawn decorations and colored lights, and try to avoid the evil Krampus in the Christmas tree forest. A fifteen-dollar advance ticket gets you a photo with Santa and rooftop access. The nights are for adults only, but there will be a family brunch on Sundays from 12 noon to 3:00, when Santa photos are only ten bucks but the roof will be closed. Sunday, December 11, is Gay Afternoon/Night from 4:00 to 8:00, with a SCRUFF DJ spinning tunes. Of course, you can also have dinner at the restaurant, which serves such dishes as fish in foil, Aussie beef burger, grilled halloumi, lamb lollies, Aussie meat pie, mushy peas, and fish and chips in addition to half a dozen craft beers on tap and unique cocktails.
For many people, the coming of Thanksgiving signals that Christmas is not too far off. For others, like us, it means that Alvin Ailey’s annual season at City Center is right around the corner. From November 30 to December 31, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will be at the West Fifty-Sixth Street institution, presenting three world premieres, one company premiere, four new productions, and sixteen returning favorites. Mauro Bigonzetti follows up his 2008 Ailey piece, Festa Barocca, with Deep, set to music by French-Cuban twin sisters Ibeyi. Kyle Abraham’s three-part Untitled America, the first two parts of which debuted in December 2015 and this past June, will now be seen in its entirety for the first time. Longtime Ailey dancer Hope Boykin has choreographed r-Evolution, Dream., a large ensemble work inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with music by Ali Jackson and writings recorded by Hamilton Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. Johan Inger reimagines Ravel’s Bolero with Walking Mad, with additional music by Arvo Pärt.
AAADT artistic director Robert Battle’s The Hunt is getting a makeover, as are Alvin Ailey’s Masekela Langage, Ulysses Dove’s Vespers, and Billy Wilson’s The Winter in Lisbon, which pays tribute to Dizzy Gillespie. The season also includes pieces by Christopher Wheeldon, Rennie Harris, Judith Jamison, Matthew Rushing, Paul Taylor, Talley Beatty, and Ronald K. Brown, who will be celebrated on December 14 with performances of Open Door, Ife / My Heart, Four Corners, and Grace. There are still tickets left for the opening-night gala ($70-$90), “An Evening of Ailey and Jazz,” with Battle’s Ella, excerpts from John Butler’s Portrait of Billie, Beatty’s The Road of the Phoebe Show, Wilson’s The Winter in Lisbon, Ailey’s For Bird – With Love and Pas de Duke, and live music and a gospel choir joining in on Revelations. On December 17 and 20, “Bold Visions” consists of r-Evolution, Dream., Vespers, The Hunt, and Revelations, while several “All Ailey” programs consist of a mix of repertory classics. Saturday matinees are followed by a Q&A with the dancers, while the always greatly anticipated season finale takes place on New Year’s Eve.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
900 Washington Ave.
Saturday, October 1, $15-$20 (children under twelve free), 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
The weather might be cooling a bit, but it’s going to remain hot, hot, hot this weekend at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s twenty-fourth annual Chile Pepper Festival. On Saturday, October 1, the BBG will celebrate all things spicy with a full slate of activities, highlighted by tastings from more than five dozen food purveyors divided into Hot Sauce Sorcery (Bacchanal Sauce, Beast Feast Maine, Black Irish Hot Sauce, Guyank Sweet-Hot Pepper Sauce, Poor Devil Pepper Co., Queen Majesty Hot Sauce, more), Chile-Chocolate Debauchery (Hernán Mexican Mole, Little Bird Chocolates, Lululosophy Artisan Chocolates, MarieBelle, Raaka Chocolate, Whimsy & Spice, others), Combustible Condiments (Anarchy in a Jar, Calcutta Kitchens, Elvio’s Chimichurri, Josephine’s Feast, Mama Margarita’s Salsa, Nafi’s Hot Pepper Condiments, Pierre’s Spicy, etc.), Hi-Scoville Sweets (Brooklyn Soda Works, Bushwick Kitchen, Culture: An American Yogurt Company, La Newyorkina, Mike’s Hot Honey, OddFellows Ice Cream Co,. Spoonable), and Piquant Pickles & Such (Divine Brine, Holy Schmitt’s Homemade Horseradish, Mama O’s Premium Kimchi, Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi, North Brooklyn Farms, Pure Mountain Olive Oil, Rick’s Picks, Zia Green Chile Company). The live-music lineup begins at 10:00 with Pilette’s Ghost and continues with Dahka Band (10:45), Élage Diouf (12:15), Hazmat Modine (1:45), Aurelio (3:15), and the Lost Bayou Ramblers (4:45). Robbins & Ringold, consisting of Todd Robbins and Stephen Ringold, will serve as masters of ceremonies. There will also be a Chile Chat with Gregory Seaton at 10:30, a Hot Chiles for Cool Kids workshop in which kids can take a pepper plant home, Sahadi’s Souk, and a booth featuring Archestratus Books + Foods.