things to do in nyc under the radar theater festival

See As Far As My Fingertips Take Me as part of The Public Theater's 15th annual Under the Radar Festival.

Nada Zgank

It’s the first weekend of 2019, the L train shutdown has been averted, and there’s no snow to trudge through — so get out there! We've got 21 ideas for things to do in NYC this weekend, from a citywide jazz festival to last-chance exhibits, laughing in the New Year and spending a night getting to know Melania Trump.

Play an interactive magic show

David Kwong builds crossword puzzles for the New York Times by day, but by night he’s actually better known as a magician, who has consulted on projects from Now You See Me and NBC’s Blindspot. Now he’s appearing as The Enigmatist at the High Line Hotel, inside a mysterious room called the Riverbank Estate for a night of illusions, cracking riddles and solving puzzles. Fridays and Saturdays, Jan. 4-26, 180 10th Ave., $85, enigmatistshow.com

Get into the groove

If you want to know what’s trending in the dance world, the American Realness dance festival is where you’ll find subversive artists taking center stage. The week-long festival brings together 59 performances of 16 productions over the course of 10 days, most of them new works as well as encores by popular demand. The shows are paired with talkbacks, parties and art installations. Jan. 4-13, multiple venues and times, $5-$100, americanrealness.com

The best of theater comes to NYC

Each January, the Public Theater pulls all the best performance art from around the world that premiered in the past year and collects it under one roof for its annual Under the Radar Festival. This year’s festival spans 11 days and several venues chosen to suit each production, which range from plays and concerts to musicals and genres we haven’t invented words for yet and often feature unconventional seating arrangements and staging. Jan. 3-13, $25 and up, publictheater.org

 

Step out of your cinematic comfort zone

The Metrograph knows the late hours are for getting a little weird, a little introspective, a little lost in a world very different from our own. So each week from now through March 2, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights it’s screening “some of the best and most bizarre” movies ever starting at 11 p.m. Stop by for drinks and a special late night menu at its on-site restaurant The Commissary before or after the show. $15, 7 Ludlow St., metrograph.com

Lay out the roadmap to 2019

The new year is always a chance to start fresh, and for the first time in a long time many people feel real hope for change. Art, Humanity & Action: We're Back gathers some of the city’s best storytellers like seven-time Moth StorySLAM champion Sandi Marx and Nelson Lugo from the Story Collider podcast for a night of stories about comebacks and defiance. Activists will also be on hand to draw a roadmap for the 2020 political season. Jan. 4, 6:30 p.m., 21 A Clinton St., $25-$50, caveat.nyc

Laugh your way into 2019

There’s got to be some superstition that says you’ll have a better year if it starts in laughter; and if not, you’ll still be happier for at least one night. Back for its 13th year, 50 First Jokes is an annual tradition at the Bell House where 50 stand-up comedians present “the first new joke they've written since The Ball has dropped.” Jan. 4, doors at 7 p.m., The Bell House, 149 Seventh St., Brooklyn, $15, thebellhouseny.com

Jam to Winter Jazzfest

For nine nights, New York’s venues will ring with the sounds of saxophones and trumpets during Winter Jazzfest, the year’s largest survey of the jazz scene with over 100 acts playing from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn, with its famous marathon sessions taking place both this Saturday and all next weekend. Jan. 4-12, $15-$105, winterjazzfest.com

things to do in nyc stanlet kubrick museum of the city of new york

Meet the Rebel Women who changed history

Women have always had to fight for their rights in unconventional ways. Meet the "nasty women" of the Victorian era at the Museum of the City of New York before it ends this Sunday like “the witch of Wall Street,” Elizabeth Jennings Graham who staged her own sit-in on a city trolley and many more. Also closing at MCNY this weekend: Through a Different Lens, the photographs of Stanley Kubrick before he became a visionary director. 1220 Fifth Ave., $18, mcny.org

Thank you for partying

House of Yes is celebrating three years of alternative artistry and sparkly dance parties in Bushwick with a two-night marathon of glitter and good vibes called Thank You For Everything. The revelry include the aerial acts and all the live entertainment you’ve come to expect from the venue, plus five different DJs each night. Celebratory dress is required. There will, of course, also be cake! Jan. 4-5, 10 p.m.-4 a.m., House of Yes, 2 Wyckoff Ave., Brooklyn, Free-$20, houseofyes.org

Brunch with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan

The romantic comedy had something of a renaissance in 2018, from To All the Boy I’ve Loved Before to the guiltiest pleasure watching that was The Christmas Switch. Start your new year with a solid classic over brunch at Nitehawk Cinema with a trip to the top of the Empire State Building courtesy of Sleepless in Seattle, and tip your hat to the hard work Meg Ryan puts in to get her man. Jan. 5, 11:30 a.m., 136 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg, $13, nitehawkcinema.com

Watch a makeover happen live

With a new group of Queer Eye boys back in action, five queer Brooklyn comedians thought they’d give it a shot, too. Watch the self-proclaimed Fag 5 give a Queer EyeRL makeover onstage at the Bell House in a night of hilarious and not necessarily helpful advice. Jan. 5, doors at 7 p.m., 149 Seventh St., Brooklyn, $10-$15, thebellhouseny.com

Melania Trump needs a break

“Who IS Melania Trump? Why IS she really here? Why do YOU really care?” The first lady is here to answer these questions and more by escaping her normal life for a day to step on the cabaret stage at Duplex. Ali Levin sings, dances and recites poetry to bare her “bizarre yet heartfelt interior world.” Jan. 5, 9:30 p.m., $10 advance, $20 door plus a two-drink minimum, theduplex.com

Hear what’s next in music

Everyone wants to be the first to discover new music, and your first chance of the year comes with globalFEST. Artists from around the world perform on three stages to introduce themselves to an American audience in a giant jam session stretching into the night. Hear Indian funk infused with New Orleans brass from Cha Wa, Calypso king Mighty Sparrow and Afrofuturist beats by Gato Preto. Jan. 6, 6 p.m.-2:30 a.m., The Copacabana, 268 W. 47th St., $50, globalfest-ny.com

Who will be the new hot things in Hollywood?

Award season begins with the Golden Globes this Sunday, hosted by Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg. With a duo like that you’d be well served to tune in (or head to a watch party) — you wouldn’t want to miss Black Panther win Best Picture, would you? Jan. 6, 8 p.m., NBC

Thing to Do in NYC: Ongoing

things to do in nyc lantern festival

Don’t miss the lanterns

Modeled on the 2,000-year-old tradition of Chinese lantern festivals, New York’s first-ever Lantern Festival is a truly dazzling affair, filling seven acres of Snug Harbor in Staten Island with giant glowing light sculptures, LED tunnels, fun inflatable photo ops like a giant shark and much more. It’s totally unique and totally fun. Through Jan. 6, 2019, nyclanternfestival.com

Hang like Spider-Man

The new movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is all about the many different people who have donned the spidey suit to save their cities, and you can be one of them at Sony Square NYC. The interactive exhibit includes an immersive haptic installation that lets you feel movements happening in a clip from the movie — plus the chance to crawl up a building a la Spidey and tons more Insta-made photo ops. Through Jan. 27, 2019, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., 25 Madison Ave., sony.com/square-nyc.html

Celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday

Did you know Mickey got his big break in New York? After getting his start at the Broadway Theatre in 1928, Walt Disney’s most famous creation is back, this time in the Meatpacking District. The pop-up gallery — what else? — is called Mickey: The True Original and reveals relics from the Disney Vault among original artworks by modern artists both internationally known and local stars. Plenty of Insta-worthy moments, an ice cream booth by Ample Hills and other surprises await. Nov. 8-Feb. 10, 2019, Tues-Sun from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., 60 10th Ave., $38, showclix.com

Beyond the Campbell’s Soup cans

Who is Andy Warhol? The Whitney Museum goes on a vast journey to find out in its major winter exhibit Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again, opening Nov. 12. The show peels back his carefully crafted persona, the show looks at how Warhol changed the role of artists in society, including new materials discovered after his death in 1987. Nov. 12-March 31, 2019, 99 Gansevoort St., included with admission: $25 adults, free for kids 18 and under; whitney.org

The Big Apple Circus swings again

New look, new acts, new food — everything is new at the Big Apple Circus, which is under new management for its 41st season. A major makeover aimed to attract millennials has brought a glamorous spiegeltent to the grounds, serving cocktails by Pamela Wiznitzer and pre-show entertainment, while the ring now has some world-famous acts like Desire of Flight in addition to longtime favorites. It’s worth a trip even if you’ve been before. Oct. 27-Jan. 27, 2019, Damrosch Park, 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, $29-$80, bigapplecircus.com

Get colorful

One of our favorite Instagram pop-ups of the year, Color Factory, just extended its SoHo run through Feb. 28. If you’ve got visitors in town, it’s a great bonding experience instead of just taking photos of each other. And who doesn’t love a ball pit? 251 Spring St., $38, colorfactory.co

The sexy side of punk rock

Punk culture protested pretty much everything about what it saw as the mass-produced, repressed lives we were leading, often by using sexuality to transgress and defy expectations. New York’s lusty playground the Museum of Sex just opened a new exhibit Punk Lust: Raw Provocation 1971-1985, an immersive gallery with over 300 artifacts spanning various archives and private collections. Though their clothing and songs, punks helped women shed the societal expectations they had been held to and picked up where glam rock left off to allow men to explore a more fluid side of their sexuality. Through Nov. 30, 2019, 233 Fifth Ave., $19.50, museumofsex.com

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