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



Who: Rana Abdelhamid, Susana Cook, Margo Jefferson, Elizabeth A. Sackler, Adrienne Truscott, Lenora M. Lapidus, Catharine R. Stimpson
What: A Discussion on Women’s Lives After the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
Where: New York Live Arts, 219 West 19th St., 212-924-0077
When: Monday, December 5, $5, 7:00
Why: Much has been made about statistics that show forty-two percent of women voted for Donald Trump for president, choosing an accused sexist, misogynist, and worse over Hillary Clinton, a woman who has fought for the rights of women and children for decades. On December 5 at New York Live Arts, a group of women will take part in “An Open Spectrum: Critical Dialogues Forum,” addressing the topic “What Will Be Different? A Discussion on Women’s Lives After the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.” Curated by Brian Tate and Janet Wong, the event will feature WISE founding president Rana Abdelhamid, performance artist Susana Cook, Pulitzer Prize–winning critc Margo Jefferson, arts activist Elizabeth A. Sackler, PhD, and multidisciplinary choreographer, writer, and performer Adrienne Truscott; feminist scholar Catharine R. Stimpson will serve as moderator, and ACLU Women's Rights Project director Lenora M. Lapidus will deliver special remarks. Held in conjunction with MAPP International, the talk will focus on how women’s lives and gender equality might be affected during Trump’s presidency and what can be done about it; a wine reception will follow.



National Theatre of Scotland’s THE STRANGE UNDOING OF PRUDENCIA HART is now playing at the McKittrick Hotel

The McKittrick Hotel
542 West 27th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
Through January 29, $65-$125

For five years, Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More has been taking audiences all around the mysterious McKittrick Hotel, five floors of immersive theatrics inspired by Macbeth. Now the National Theatre of Scotland is coming to the Chelsea building, where it will present The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart in the Heath, the hotel’s bar and music venue, which has been transformed into a Scottish pub. Previews have started, with the opening set for December 13, but December tickets, which range from $65 to $125, are going fast; the show, which has elements of the supernatural amid academia, is scheduled to run through January 29. Strange Undoing was written by David Greig, who appropriately enough wrote Dunsinane, a sequel to Macbeth; he also penned the book for the musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is due on Broadway next spring. The director is Wils Wilson (Wind Resistance, Praxis Makes Perfect), with set design by Georgia McGuinness (Midsummer, Arabian Nights) and music (inspired by Border Ballads) performed live by composer Alasdair Macrae and Annie Grace; the cast features Melody Grove, Peter Hannah, and Paul McCole.


take measure of their lives in THE SQUID AND THE WHALE

Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) and Lili (Anna Paquin) take measure of their lives in THE SQUID AND THE WHALE

THE SQUID AND THE WHALE (Noah Baumbach, 2005)
7 Ludlow St. between Canal & Hester Sts.
Monday, December 5, $15, 7:00

After an eight-year break from directing, Noah Baumbach returned with the exceptional, unexpected drama The Squid and the Whale. You’ll think you’ll know just where this semiautobiographical 2005 Sundance Film Festival award winner (for writing and directing) and New York Film Festival hit is going — yet another painfully realistic look into the dissolution of a New York City family — but lo and behold, The Squid and the Whale will surprise you over and over again. And even when it does head toward the cliché route, it adds just the right twist to keep things fresh. Bernard (Jeff Daniels) and Joan Berkman (Laura Linney) are reaching the end of their marriage, and their two sons, Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) and Frank (Owen Kline), aren’t handling it very well; Walt is taking credit for having written Pink Floyd’s “Hey You,” and Frank has developed the curious habit of pleasuring himself and then – well, you’ll have to see it to believe it. And while Joan hits the dating scene and has begun writing, Bernard is becoming a woolly has-been author who just might be getting the hots for one of his sexy students (Anna Paquin). Set in 1986 Park Slope (there are scenes shot in Prospect Park, the Santa Fe Grill, and other familiar Brooklyn locations) and at the American Museum of Natural History, The Squid and the Whale features sharp dialogue, well-developed characters, and outstanding acting from a terrific ensemble that includes several rising stars. The soundtrack includes Lou Reed’s great “Street Hassle” and a score, composed by Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (of Luna), that borrows liberally from Risky Business, of all things. The Squid and the Whale is screening December 5 at 7:00 at Metrograph, with Baumbach (Frances Ha, Greenberg) on hand for a Q&A. As a bonus, the first 150 ticket holders will receive a Criterion tote bag and a copy of the director-approved Criterion Blu-Ray 4K digital transfer of the film, a package that includes new interviews with Baumbach, Daniels, Eisenberg, Kline, Linney, Wareham, and Phillips, a behind-the-scenes documentary, audition footage, a booklet essay by Kent Jones, and Jonathan Lethem’s 2005 interview of Baumbach. (A 9:15, $15 screening has been added as well, without the Q&A or goodie bag.)


Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch switch roles in National Theatre production of FRANKENSTEIN (photo by Catherine Ashmore)

Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch switch roles in National Theatre production of FRANKENSTEIN (photo by Catherine Ashmore)

IFC Center
323 Sixth Ave. at West Third St.
Sunday, December 4, $25, 11:00 am (version B)
Monday, December 5, $25, 7:00 (version A)

In early 2011, Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) staged Nick Dear’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the National Theatre, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch alternating in the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature. If you couldn’t make it to London to see the show, you can now catch it as part of the National Theatre Live series, which screens theatrical productions in movie theaters across the country. Both versions of Frankenstein will be shown at IFC Center, with Miller (Elemental, The Flying Scotsman) playing the Creature on December 4 at 11:00 am and Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Imitation Game) as Frankenstein’s monster on December 5 at 7:00. The Daily Mail called Frankenstein “a memorable production and will doubtless be spoken of for years to come,” while the Guardian declared it “a humane, intelligent retelling of the original story in which much of the focus is on the plight of the obsessive scientist’s sad creation, who becomes his alter ego and his nemesis: it’s rather like seeing The Tempest rewritten from Caliban’s point of view.” The two-hour show, which earned both Miller and Cumberbatch the Olivier Award as Best Actor, also features Naomie Harris, Karl Johnson, Ella Smith, George Harris, and Andreea Paduraru, with music by Underworld, set design by Mark Tildesley (28 Days Later, 24-Hour Party People), and costumes by Suttirat Larlarb (Slumdog Millionaire, Sunshine).



Bushwick Community Darkroom
110 Troutman St.
Saturday, December 10, $20, 2:00 - 8:00

Looking for just the right place to take your holiday photo? The Bushwick Community Darkroom is opening up its studio on Troutman St. on December 10 for a holiday pop-up photobooth where twenty bucks buys you a twenty-minute professional photo shoot with one of the community photographers. The pictures will be taken on film and developed and scanned for you right there. You will be able to select from among various backdrops, props, costumes, and cameras, or you can bring your own. In addition, there will be free snacks until there isn’t. You can either book online in advance or take your chances when you come by.



Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) and Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) have little time for each other in Ernst Lubitsch’s THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER

THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940)
Museum of the Moving Image
35th Ave. at 36th St., Astoria
Friday, December 2, $12, 7:00, and Saturday, December 3, $12, 2:00
Series runs through December 24

Jimmy Stewart’s most famous Christmas movie might be It’s a Wonderful Life, but that doesn’t mean it’s his best. That distinction belongs to the 1940 Ernst Lubitsch black-and-white romantic comedy The Shop Around the Corner, which is screening December 2 and 3 in the Museum of the Moving Image series “See It Big! Holiday Films.” (It’s a Wonderful Life is also being shown December 3.) Stewart stars as Alfred Kralik, a serious-minded longtime clerk at the Budapest gift shop Matuschek & Co., serving as the right-hand man to owner Hugo Matuschek (The Wizard of Oz’s Frank Morgan), who relies on his star employee’s honesty and expertise. Also working at the store is Pirovitch (Felix Bressart), a timid family man who hides every time Mr. Matuschek asks for an opinion; the shy Flora Kaczek (Sara Haden); the brash, ambitious delivery boy Pepi Katona (William Tracy); and the self-involved would-be bon vivant Ferencz Vadas (Joseph Schildkraut). When Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) shows up looking for a job, Kralik tries to quickly dismiss her, but she ends up charming Mr. Matuschek and getting hired. She and Kralik, her direct superior, bicker constantly, each one hoping that a romantic pen pal will make their dreary lives much brighter, especially as Christmas approaches. But little do they know the love letters that they are so carefully crafting are actually to each other, their secretive literary relationship a far cry from their actual daily one.


Mr. Matuschek (Frank Morgan) and Pirovitch (Felix Bressart) prepare for Christmas in THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER

The Shop Around the Corner is based on Miklós László’s 1937 play, Parfumerie, and it very much has a claustrophobic feel, as events occur primarily in the small store. Stewart and Sullavan channel some of that Cary Grant / Irene Dunne magic as they go about their private and professional business, even if they don’t even make attempts at Hungarian accents. (Neither does Morgan, who gives one of his finest performances.) “There might be a lot we don’t know about each other. You know, people seldom go to the trouble of scratching the surface of things to find the inner truth,” Mr. Kralik says to Miss Novak, who replies, “Well, I really wouldn’t care to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik, because I know exactly what I’d find. Instead of a heart, a handbag. Instead of a soul, a suitcase. And instead of an intellect, a cigarette lighter . . . which doesn’t work.” The central object in the shop is a cigarette box that plays the Eastern European folk song “Ochi Tchornya” every time it is opened; while Mr. Kralik thinks that smokers will tire of hearing the same tune over and over, Miss Novak convinces a customer that it is a candy box and that the repetition of the song will turn her away from opening the box again and again to eat more; meanwhile, Mr. Matuschek just wants to sell the darn things, delineating the three characters’ approach to life in general. Written by Samson Raphaelson, who adapted other plays and novels for Lubitsch, including The Smiling Lieutenant, Trouble in Paradise, and Heaven Can Wait, The Shop Around the Corner is a sweetly innocent film with just the right amount of edginess, a fun frolic through human nature and love, a fanciful confection set in the rococo interior of a shop selling little luxuries in a now-lost Hungary between the world wars. The story was also turned into the 1949 musical In the Good Old Summertime with Van Johnson and Judy Garland (Johnson also appeared in a 1945 radio version with Phyllis Thaxter) and Nora Ephron’s popular 1998 romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, the latter playing a woman who runs a New York City bookstore called the Shop Around the Corner. “See It Big! Holiday Films” continues through Christmas Eve with such other seasonal flicks as Arnaud Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale, Charles Poekel’s Christmas, Again, and Vincente Minnelli’s Meet Me in St. Louis.


Marilyn Minter,  Blue Poles, enamel on metal, 2007 (private collection, Switzerland)

Marilyn Minter, “Blue Poles,” enamel on metal, 2007 (private collection, Switzerland)

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, December 3, free, 5:00 - 11:00

The Brooklyn Museum honors World AIDS Day with its free First Saturday programming on December 3. There will be live performances by MC and producer SCIENZE, the Brooklyn Ballet (The Brooklyn Nutcracker), and DJ Sabine Blaizin; a curator tour of “Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty,” led by assistant curator Carmen Hermo; a Community Resource Fair focusing on political advocacy; a hands-on sketching workshop with live clothed models; pop-art talks of “Infinite Blue” led by teen museum apprentices; a Day With(out) Art / Visual AIDS screening of the video compilation Compulsive Practice, followed by a discussion with Juanita Mohammed of the Women’s AIDS Video Enterprise, feminist writer and Brooklyn College film department chair Alexandra Juhasz, and HIV and gay civil rights activist Justin B. Terry-Smith; and a screening of David Kornfield’s The Red Umbrella Diaries, followed by a talkback with documentary subjects Dale Corvino and Essence. In addition, you can check out such exhibits as “Iggy Pop Life Class by Jeremy Deller,” “Beverly Buchanan — Ruins and Rituals,” “The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago,” “Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas,” “Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty,” and “Infinite Blue”; admission to “Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present” requires a discounted admission fee of $10.