12/08/16 8:48am
Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim is highbrow children's theater at its best. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim is highbrow children’s theater at its best. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Part of living in NYC means navigating the holidays precariously toeing the line between time honored traditions and tourist traps. You won’t find many true New Yorkers braving the cold and the crowds at the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. March up Fifth Avenue on a weekend looking for New Yorkers, and you will never find one. (They know to wait for the out-of-towners to go to sleep before they make the pilgrimage.) Any New Yorkers lining up for The Christmas Spectacular? Nope. Tea with Eloise at the Plaza? No way. Where are they all? Over the weekend, my 7-year-old son and I found them…they’re watching Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim.

Isaac Mizrahi is a National Treasure. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Isaac Mizrahi is a national treasure. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

For the past 10 years, Isaac Mizrahi, fashion designer, TV presenter, Project Runway judge, author and a master of quips has been narrating and (since 2013) directing, a production of the beloved fable. The Peter B. Lewis Theater at the Guggenheim is an intimate setting of light and ivory, like being encased in an oyster shell. Instead of the polished pearl of a show you might expect on Broadway, this has a bit more edge. The musicians stroll in slowly, and start warming up their instruments seemingly haphazardly while the audience finds their seats. We sat next to the string section behind the conductor. As new instruments started playing, my son and I swerved our heads around the room for an aural version of “I Spy.” On stage, a giant garbage can, chainlink fence, enormous tree and NYC skyline represented Central Park. An actress playing the bird perched in the tree, and then the wolf took a seat on the park bench to read the newspaper before the show started. (more…)

02/05/16 10:50am
This weekly family dance party gives you a chance to rock out with your children.

Debbie Attias has taken her popular adult class, Dancorcism, and scaled it down for the youngest dancers. This weekly family dance party gives you a chance to rock out with your children.

Have you ever just gotten to a point where you fantasized about throwing the homework in the trash, skipping karate lessons, lighting the dinner on fire and just taking your kids out clubbing? In this fantasy, you’d dance until the break of dawn like you used to in college, screaming “THERE’S MORE TO LIFE THAN GOOD GRADES AND POPULARITY CONTESTS!!!” Your kids would finally think you were cool and you would connect on a deeper level on the dancefloor. Then Bianca Jagger would come riding in on a white horse, and after convincing your kids that it wasn’t one of those Central Park horses, they would think it was magical. You’d all be laughing and dancing, and most importantly having fun like a family should!

Chances are your kids would be too tired to enjoy the adventure. You’d be paranoid about one of the kids accidentally eating some molly, or worse still, slipping through a wormhole to Burning Man. But what if I told you there was a way to have just as much fun dancing with a rockstar, with none of the night life risk? Because Debbie Attias, founder of the (now defunct) electroclash band, Avenue D, has started a Family Dancorcism dance party on Thursday afternoons from 4-5pm in a church in Greenpoint. (She’ll host one over winter break if she gets enough interest–email her if you can make it.) (more…)

06/12/15 9:00am

Ah, summer–that beautiful time of year when winter is a distant memory and we all start to wonder just why we live in a humid swamp with 100-degree heatwaves matched by 100-year-old houses where “central air” is an unknown concept. With the weather getting particularly sticky for the first time this week, we figured it was a good moment to start looking at some upcoming chances to get out of Dodge. Fortunately, there are a ton of NYC-area weekend festivals coming up this season–here are three that seem tailor-made for Brooklynites, all easily reached by MetroNorth or bus. (more…)

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03/26/15 9:00am
Reggie Roc

Brooklyn choreographer Reggie Gray is hoping his new Park Avenue Armory show, FLEXN, will introduce a new audience to street dancing and serve as a platform for social reform. Photos: Maria J. Hackett

When you think of street dance, Park Avenue is not usually the street that comes to mind. But choreographer Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray and director Peter Sellars are making the posh Upper East Side artery the place to see one of the city’s most exciting displays of physical expression with their new show, FLEXN, which opened at the Park Avenue Armory yesterday. For the next 10 days they will attempt to add a different type of cred to a street style phenomenon that up to now has had to rely on venues like subway cars and the steps of Union Square Park in order to attract an audience.

FLEXN centers around a street dance form called “flexing”—or “flexin” or “flexN”—a style pioneered by Gray that combines rhythmic movement and contortion. The form emerged from Jamaican dance halls and Brooklyn reggae clubs that were popular in the ’90s. Evolving over time, flexing hit the streets and began to gain traction around 2005, finding a home in dance circles all over the world.

“Our hope is to put street dance in a different lane,” says Gray. “To get street dance some different respect because the Armory has such a great reputation for displaying beautiful pieces of work. Flexing will be looked at in a different language and in a different artistic perspective.” (more…)

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12/18/14 12:00pm

Image-1It’s not just the holiday season in New York, with all those lights, elaborate window displays and ill-advised third (or fourth or fifth) servings of mulled wine, it’s also something of a peak to the cultural season. Lots of plays and art exhibits open in early fall, with runs that last through early January, while Hollywood hoards all non-summer blockbuster films until November and December, so a slew of movies for Oscar consideration come out this time of year. The end result being that there’s suddenly a glut of great stuff watch, see and do, with the added pressure that many of these shows will soon close. Here’s how to treat yourself to a cultural holiday in New York City over the next few weeks, with a few especially-for-the-season picks thrown in. And, for an extensive selection of live concerts, check out our year-end live music round-up. (more…)

11/26/13 4:00pm
Fri November 29, 2013
The Salonukah Menorah by Ian Trask

The Salonukah Menorah by Ian Trask

For the first time in over a century, Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah happen to fall on the same day–an occurrence that isn’t predicted to repeat itself for another 70,000-80,000 years give or take. This makes Thanksgivukkuah, as Nov. 28 has come to be known, kind of like the Halley’s Comet of holiday traditions. While Thanksgiving might be one and done, Hanukkah continues on until Dec. 5, and to celebrate the Festival of Lights this year, local artists are throwing an art party set to last eight crazy nights. Salonukah starts Nov. 29 at Recession Art in Cobble Hill. Expect a week’s worth of multimedia, interdisciplinary art programming and parties, featuring everything from fashion and jewelry exhibits to film screenings and literary discussions, as well as lighting a Menorah made of trash by artist Ian Trask and plenty of He’Brews from Schmaltz Brewing Co.

10/15/13 10:00am
Sat October 19, 2013
Go see Come, and Back Again before it takes its final bow as part of BAM's Next Wave Festival on Oct. 19. Photo: Adam Campos

Go see “Come, and Back Again” before it takes its final bow as part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival on Oct. 19. Photo: Adam Campos

Autumn is always a busy time in New York City in general, especially in the worlds of art and culture, but the final performance of Come, and Back Again, happening at BAM on Saturday, Oct. 19, is worth clearing room for in your schedule. It’s a gritty dance piece inspired by the volatile life of Benjamin Smoke, a ’90s indie rocker and LGBT activist who used to collaborate with Patti Smith–Smoke was also the subject of the lauded documentary of the same name directed by Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen in 2000. For BAM’s Next Wave Festival, choreographer David Dorfman creates a fluid look at the messiness of daily life accompanied by a live performance of Smoke’s own songs. The show starts at 7:30pm and tickets start at $20.

UPDATE: We now have 4 pairs of tickets to give away for the 7:30 performance on Friday. The first people to email us your name will snag them, so get in touch!

09/24/13 6:24am
Sat September 28, 2013
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Over the summer, Brooklyn venues 501 Union and The Green Building began hosting more than just weddings. They have branched into the arts with a dance performance series that continues Saturday night with the most interesting installment yet at 501. Called Brooklyn Looks East, the evening will bring together dancers, musicians and visual artists whose interpretations of traditional art forms like Raga music and classical Indian dance will showcase their ties to India. Produced by Delhi Dance Theater, the festival is sure to become an annual one, and you can purchase the $20 tickets in advance and at the door.

09/11/13 11:45am

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Living in Brooklyn gives you an automatic leg up when it comes to spotting the next big thing. The name of the new band is on everyone’s lips. The season’s must-read is right across the subway car on your morning commute. An out-there new gallery around the corner is always putting up a show. The annual BAM Next Wave Festival though? That’s like having friends all over the world curate a list of the best emerging choreographers, directors, composers and playwrights, and then arrange to have them perform their newest works in Brooklyn each fall. It’s all the next big things.

Now in its 31st season, this fall’s Next Wave line-up is a headily diverse mix of dance, music, opera, film and theater, with 34 productions from 13 countries going up at BAM from Sept. 17-Dec.22. Brooklyn-based artists are heavily represented, including choreographer Reggie Wilson’s Moses(es), Jem Cohen’s We Have An Anchor, Fred Ho’s The Sweet Science Suite, Ain Gordon’s Not What Happened, Kate Weare Company, Dance Heginbotham, as well as artists performing in Electronium and 21c Liederabend, op. 3.

It’s hard to overstate just how weird and wonderful Next Wave is. This is a program that features an opera based on the life and times of Anna Nicole Smith, a new dance piece from the ever transcendent Bill T. Jones, and a Polish theater group breathing new life into Nosferatu. On Oct. 25 and 26, Questlove returns to BAM for Electroniuman all-star mash-up that celebrates pioneering works of electronic music. Electronic composer Dan Deacon, DJ-composer Jeremy Ellis, R&B singer-producer Tom Krell, avant-R&B outfit Sonnymoon, and conductor Andrew Cyr & Metropolis Ensemble will join to sample and deconstruct seminal recordings by everyone from Robert Moog and Raymond Scott to Stevie Wonder and George Clinton into a feverishly modern new playlist.

The art may be out there, but Next Wave ticket prices are totally accessible, with seats as low as $20 or $25 for every event. You’ll also save if you go all in and become a season ticket holder–buy tickets to four or more productions and save 20% on your order, 30% if you order seven or more tickets.

We have two tickets to give away to the New York premiere of Not What Happened, a new play written by Ain Gordon at BAM Fisher. Just email us with your preferred date: Sept. 25-28 at 7:30pm, or Sept. 29 at 3pm.

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08/27/13 9:05am
Mon September 2, 2013
Photo courtesy of David Berkowitz via Flickr

Come dance to the rhythm of the steel drum bands at Carnival in Crown Heights on Labor Day. Photo: David Berkowitz

Labor Day is here again, which means that the West Indian Carnival Day Parade is back to delight millions of spectators (seriously, the event draws between one and three million revelers from all over the world) with its colorful, feathered costumes, elaborate floats, thumping beats and delicious Caribbean cuisine. As anyone who has ever been will tell you, the event, now in its 46th year, is not exactly easy to move around in, due to the massive crowd that lines up along the Eastern Parkway parade route and a perennially heavy police presence monitoring the crossings. Nonetheless, it is a spectacular cultural celebration and one that you really shouldn’t miss if you are sticking around this weekend–even if it means arriving early to secure a good spot to take it all in. If you really can’t handle so many people converging on one street, consider checking out one of the other events in the five-day lead-up to the parade, like Caribbean Woodstock on Thursday or the Steel-Band Competition on Saturday. You’ll have to buy tickets for those, but the parade itself is free (aside from whatever cash you’ll inevitably spend at one of the many food stalls).