The early weeks of January can often seem like a quiet time as far as NYC activities are concerned. Most of the holiday-themed bars have closed up shop, and many musicians are gearing up for tours later in the year rather than hitting the road now. And yet, there’s a lot more happening if you know where to look, from sporting events to repertory screenings of cult films. Here’s a look at 13 things to make this weekend more interesting for you, whether you want to brush up on modern art, have a seasonal cocktail or start out 2024 on a serene note.
Friday, January 5
Most contemporary art does not involve the audience getting to eat Thai food. But in the case of Rirkrit Tiravanija’s untitled 1992-1995 (free/still), that’s precisely what’s in store as part of the artist’s retrospective A LOT OF PEOPLE. Visitors will have the option to choose between two different versions of the same dish made using wildly disparate ingredients. On Friday and Saturday, the performances will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will end when the museum is out of food. It’s free with admission to MoMA PS1, which is $10 for adults and free for MoMA members and New York City residents.
It’s a rough time to be a basketball fan in New York City these days, as neither the Knicks nor the Nets are exactly setting the league on fire this season. That said, the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder are, as of this writing, second in the West — and the Nets may be looking to even things up after losing 124-108 in Oklahoma City the last time the teams met. Tickets start at $70.
We’ve written about the bar and restaurant Borrachito following its 2020 transformation from secret speakeasy to standalone establishment. Its holiday-themed pop-up bar will remain open through the middle of the month — and if the idea of an epazote-fueled Hot Toddy or cocoa spiked with mezcal, Oaxaca rum and corn liqueur sounds appealing, this East Village destination awaits.
Tracey Emin’s critically-lauded art draws from her life in a variety of ways, some of them wholly unexpected. A recent Wall Street Journal review of her Exorcism of the Last Painting I Ever Made, which is appearing for the first time since 1996 at Brooklyn’s Faurschou, calls it “groundbreaking.” Admission is free.
Over the course of his long career, Ennio Morricone wrote memorable soundtracks for a host of world-class films. A retrospective at MoMA running through January 8 helps demonstrate just how wide-ranging those films were, including a Friday evening screening of Brian DePalma’s The Untouchables and a Sunday afternoon showing of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Tickets are $14 for non-members.
Saturday, January 6
Artist Adriana Gallo knows a thing or two about dough — including using it to create bread sculptures for a 2021 show. For this event at Ace Hotel Brooklyn’s demo kitchen, Gallo takes a more food-forward approach, leading participants through a showcase of different approaches to pasta, including some collective dough-making. Tickets are $60, including a meal.
Cut Worms’s self-titled album was one of InsideHook’s favorites of 2023. Now, Max Clarke brings his distinctive spin on pop music to Brooklyn’s Union Pool following a residency there in July 2023. Also on the bill for this one are Air Waves and Milly Pail. Admission is $26.27.
This year’s Polar Bear Plunge may have come and gone, but there’s no shortage of outdoor activities left to do in New York in January. Among those is a guided trip through the grounds of Wave Hill for some mid-winter forest bathing. If a relaxing way to spend a Saturday is your goal, this sounds like an ideal way to do it. $30, including admission to Wave Hill.
Decades after he first began making music, we’re still living in the world Egyptian Lover helped shape. Pitchfork’s review of a 2016 compilation of Egyptian Lover’s 1980s work noted it “laid the foundation for everything from g-funk to techno to Miami bass that followed.” He’ll be at Paragon in Brooklyn (not to be confused with the sporting goods store near Union Square) on Saturday night. “Early bird” tickets start at $12.50.
For a few years in the 2010s, the Morbid Anatomy Museum held the position of New York City’s most eclectic museum. That space has since shuttered, but the organization’s mission endures with a library and collection dedicated to — as per their website — “art and medicine, death and culture.” And that space will be open for tours on Saturday beginning at noon. Admission is free.
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Sunday, January 7
What makes for a disaster movie can be highly subjective. This 1968 satire envisions a world where happiness becomes contagious — with deeply unsettling results. As PopMatters pointed out in their review of the film, it can be viewed as a forerunner to everything from cult films like Little Murders and The Out-of-Towners to an ingenious riff on 1960s counterculture. It’ll cost you $15 to attend this screening just across the river in Jersey City’s Monty Hall.
It’s probably worth stating from the outset that this doesn’t mean “underground” in the artistic sense. Instead, this tour focuses on the subterranean sights of New York City, with an emphasis on the subway system — something that’s home to plenty of secrets and history. Tickets are $43.87.
This off-Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’s 1961 play has garnered plenty of attention since it opened last month. It is, by my math, the first New York production of the play since 1996 — and if this review is any indication, it’s staged in a way that breaks from some of the cliches that often surround productions of Williams’s work. Tickets begin at $87.50.