52 epic things to do in NYC in April
THINGS TO DO
New York Yankees Opening Day; Yankee Stadium; Apr 3 at 4:05pm; tickets start at $81
The cherry blossoms and warm weather might be lagging this year, but there’s at least one marker of spring that we can count on to be right on time: baseball season. America’s pastime returns to the Bronx this month when the Yankees take on the Tampa Bay Rays in the home opener. Even if you don’t know much about the game, you’ll at least be able to indulge in some top-notch stadium grub.
Resurrecting the Woolly Mammoth; Brooklyn Brainery; Apr 4 at 6pm; $10
More than 10,000 years have passed since the last woolly mammoth walked the earth, but scientists now think they have the tools they need to bring back the extinct giant. Find out about the cutting-edge technologies that could make it possible to create a real-life Jurassic Park in this fascinating lecture.
Feminists in Fashion With Norma and Christene; Museum of the City of New York; Apr 5 at 6:30pm; $25
Christene Barberich, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Refinery29, and Norma Kamali, the renowned athleisure designer, team up for a candid conversation of the role of feminism in fashion. Expect the pair to tackle difficult questions about empowerment and equality in the industry.
“The Moon is a Planet, Darling” THNK1994 Museum; Apr 6-8; noon; free
This exhibit at pop culture–worshipping museum THNK1994 takes its name from the thoroughly stunning QVC clip of Isaac Mizrahi and Shawn Killinger and features artwork inspired by leading lunar ladies like Stevie Nicks and Naomi Campbell. Don’t miss the opening night on March 23—and the portrait of Cher and a white tiger lounging in front of the Moon.
NYC PodFest Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement; Apr 6-8; free–$20
Some of our favorite podcasts get to shine at this annual fan convention, which features live recordings of Kill Me Now with Judy Gold, Inside the Closet and many more.
The Photography Show Pier 94; Apr 5-8; $30, run of show $60
More than 120 exhibitors descend on Pier 94 for the 38th edition of this photo expo. Peruse pieces from the 19th century through present day, check out talks like “Future Gender” and “Refraction: New Photography of the African Diaspora” with industry luminaries and pick up some stunning images for your home.
Brooklyn Folk Festival St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church; Apr 6-8; $25 or $40; three-day pass $85
Transport yourself to a land of fiddles and banjos with three days of performances from bands with names like R. Crumb with The East River String Band, John Cohen with the Down Hill Strugglers and plenty o’ jugs. If you feel like jamming out yourself, take a workshop to learn how to play your first few chords on the strings, or show your strength during the Banjo Toss contest.
MoCCA Arts Festival Metropolitan West; Apr 7, Apr 8; $7/day
This excellent comics and cartooning festival welcomes more than 300 publishers—major and minor—to display their wares. Hear a lineup of expert cartoonists, illustrators and creators.
Beer Mansion Weylin; Apr 13, Apr 14; $55–$65
Hops lovers can sample more than 30 local pours at this epic fest—including varieties from Fifth Hammer Brewing, Transmitter Brewing and Brooklyn Brewery—while a lineup of bands curated by Captured Tracks rocks out. Stay sober with bites from local faves like the Meatball Shop and Pig Beach and, depending on how many pints you have, try your hand at the on-site augmented-reality or cornhole games.
420: The Musical Unruly Collective; Apr 20; $20, at the door $25
John Kehoe and Co. return with their annual performance of pot-fueled hilarity, which follows Jerry, the uptight stoner, as he visits the Land of 420 to learn some important life lessons. Sit back and toke—ahem, take a trip into a fantastical realm where the laughs are plentiful and the munchies are free (really, complimentary snacks are provided).
No Limits Tattoo Expo Resorts World Casino New York City ; Apr 20-22; various times; day pass $25, weekend pass $55
Get inked at this gathering of more than 250 artists from across the globe. On top of checking out all the insane work, you can also drop in on seminars like “From Cartoons to Tattoos” and shop hardcore accessories from vendors such as Rock My Lips and Altered Ego Clothing. This could be your last chance to get body art from legends including Shanghai Kate and Jay Freestyle.
NYC Hot Sauce Expo Brooklyn Expo Center; Apr 21, Apr 22; $10–$100
Feel the burn at this two-do celebration of all things spicy. You can sample dozens of vendors’ wares and take part in tongue-searing challenges, like the Guiness Book of Records Reaper Eating Contest. A general admission ticket includes free tastings for all the vendors and access to the lineup of events. Splurge for the Texas Some BBQ ticket: you get three beers, a bottle of High River Sauces, a barbecue lunch box and a limited edition poster.
The West Wing Weekly; Town Hall Theatre; Apr 23 at 8pm; tickets start at $85
Find yourself wishing that President Jed Bartlet was really in the White House? Indulge your nostalgia for The West Wing at a live taping of The West Wing Weekly, a podcast that takes a deep dive into every episode of the beloved NBC series. Joshua Malina—who fans know as Will Bailey from the show—hosts this episode with collaborator Hrishikesh Hirway and special guest Aaron Sorkin.
Lessons on Love and Heartbreak from ‘80s and ‘90s TV; Brooklyn Brainery; Apr 26 at 8:15pm; $10
Between the juicy love triangle on Dawson’s Creek, Ross and Rachel’s much debated “break” on Friends and Corey and Topanga’s long love story on Boy Meets World, television gave us so many iconic teen love stories in the ‘90s. Relive all the drama and heartbreak in this pop culture talk at Brooklyn Brainery.
Daffodil Celebrate and Wine Weekend New York Botanical Garden; Apr 28, Apr 29; noon; $43; includes a tasting glass ($15) and all-garden pass ($28)
We all know spring is the season for garden parties, and it’s hard to think of a lush green space more perfect for a booze-filled afternoon than the New York Botanical Garden. Take in the fairy-tale–like scenery of 300,000 freshly planted daffodil bulbs while sipping glasses of New York and out-of-state wine from your souvenir chalice and listening to live music. And don’t stop there: Your ticket grants entry to all of the NYBG’s 250 acres, including the Perennial Garden, with its colorful tulips and pansies, as well as the Native Plant Garden, which is filled with wildflowers and ferns.
Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Apr 28, Apr 29; $30
Your feed is going to blow up with photos of this weekend bash celebrating Japanese culture and the beauty of nature. To honor the end of Hanami (read: the season of Japanese flower porn), Brooklyn Botanic Garden unveils cherry blossoms at its picturesque peak for two glorious days. But that’s only part of the draw. There’s also a Japanese tea room, an art gallery and a mini flea market hawking loot such as mouthwatering Raaka chocolates, wall scrolls and silk wraps. Get ready for a jam-packed schedule of entertainment, which includes Taiko drummers, cosplay actors, samurai sword masters, J-rock bands, stand-up comics and dance parties. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the cherry blossom trees will be in full bloom.
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Ten Viewing Party at Museum of Sex, Thursdays at 7pm; $5
MCs Ruby Fox and Justin Angel invite you to join their wild crew of club kids and drag divas for the best Drag Race screening in town. After the lip-syncs on TV, get down to sickening performances IRL, along with dope music from DJ Soda Pop. And, needless to say, you better get in line early.
NÜ WAVE The Deep End, Saturday April 7 at 10pm; free
NYC’s wildest Club Kids descend upon Bushwick every month for this cinematic rager, with each month’s theme honoring beloved cult and underground films. This time, host Pissy Pussy honors Georges Franju’s 1960 thriller Eyes Without a Face with a resplendent masquerade. Show up in a gorgeous mask for free shots at the bar, or cover your face with a custom look designed by Pussy at the pop-up mask shop.
Tonight’s Special with Shane Shane The Duplex, Sunday April 8 at 9:30pm; $10, at the door $15, plus two-drink minimum
This bizarre improv-variety show puts you in complete control over hard-working one-man act Shane. At the start of the night, audience members are given a “menu” of jokes, songs, video clips and shticks for Shane to perform in the order and style of their choosing. This edition features the guest talents of fireball performer Tessa Skara.
Battle of the Divas Union Hall, Monday April 9 at 8pm; $8, at the door $10
Katy Perry vs. Taylor Swift. Whitney Houston vs. Mariah Carey. Backstreet Boys vs. *NSYNC. Lives have been lost over smaller beefs, so NYC is fortunate to have two deranged mavens of pop culture—Christi Chiello and Matteo Lane—to settle the scores for good. Every month, they welcome stand-ups and drag queens to represent their favorite pop idols with comedy, power points and more. This time, it’s sister vs. sister, friend vs. friend, with best buddies Mo Fry Pasic and Greta Titelman representing Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, respectively. Resident drag diva Shuga Cain honors the questionable queens with performances.
THICCC The Cock, April 11 and April 25 at 11pm; Before 11pm free, after $5
Men of color show full-bodied, full-bootied pride with this twice-monthly night of sublime sleaziness at the Cock. Host Francesco de Macho recruits some hot go-go boys of color, along with DJs like Dust Blaze and Bobby Duron to keep this diverse range of dudes going all night. Remember: What happens on the basement’s dance floor stays on the basement’s dance floor.
Girls With Brown Hair Present The 1947 Thanksgiving Special Union Hall, Friday April 6 at 8pm; $5, at the door $10
Join fur-clad class acts Betty Blanche and Crystal Rogers Sr. (known in modern times as dynamite sketch duo Sam Reece and Becky Chicoine) at this warped musical variety show straight out of black-and-white TV fever dream. Along with comedic multihyphenates Hannah Solow, Tessa Hersh, Ned Risley and Larry Owens, they’ll sing gibberish Thanksgiving “classics” that will make you long for a brand of Americana that never existed.
Dead Darlings Judson Memorial Church, Wednesday April 11 at 8pm; free
As NYC slouches further towards a state of cultural bleakness, who can the city’s most subversive artists turn to for relief? All worship Amanda Duarte, who hosts writers, artists and performers at her monthly forum for scrapped projects and unrealized pieces.
It’s Christi, B*tch! Ars Nova, Saturday April 14 at 8pm; $16
She’s your naughtiest buddy on a night out, the devil in your ear, the voice on your next favorite cartoon show and the sweetest comic in town. Stand-up supreme and Battle of the Divas host Christi Chiello will soon be our potty-mouthed overlord, but until then, catch her at this solo journey through faith, sex, nannying and some truly sordid auditions.
Helltrap Nightmare Baby’s All Right, Friday April 20 at 6:30pm; $10
New Yorkers may think of themselves as immune to blood, skin and viscera onstage, but Chicago‘s most deranged comedy collective has come to challenge our stability. Join the fabulously satanic comedy crew of Helltrap Nightmare—Sarah Sherman, Shrimp Boys, and Scott Egleston, and NYC’s own Ruby McCollister—for a night of gooney, gorey delights.
Louisa, Requested The Duplex, Thursday April 26 at 9:30pm; $10, at the door $15 plus two-drink minimum
Since 2014, brilliant stage sweetheart and total multihyphenate Lulu Krause has donned the guise of Louisa, a faded Broadway siren who still rules the Duplex stage. Along with pianist Frank Spitznagel, Louisa belts out classic numbers from her repertoire—all of which happen to be completely improvised off of audience suggestion. Witness the ageless marvel as she goes off-book and off the rails once again.
This one’s a battle-of-the-generations romp in which three parents discover their daughters’ pacts to lose their virginity on prom night and vow to stop it. (The script’s original title had a synonym for roosterbefore Blockers.) It’s a comedy, although it may not feel like it to fortysomethings on date nights. Apr 6
Adding to a short list of onscreen Kennedy-themed excellence that includes 2016’s Jackie, John Curran’s concentrated look at the fatal midnight incident that would bring down rising star Edward Kennedy (Jason Clarke) is laced with squirmy disappointment. Apr 6
A Quiet Place
In their isolated rural farmhouse, a family cowers in absolute silence for fear of upsetting…what exactly? It’s not clear. Still, given the fine cast (Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Wonderstruck’s Millicent Simmonds) and the film’s buzz pre-SXSW, we may be in store for another It Comes at Night. Apr 6
Where Is Kyra?
One may as well ask: Where was Michelle Pfeiffer? The actor bounces back like she hasn’t in years in this superb, downbeat drama about a divorced Brooklyn woman slipping through the economic cracks. Apr 6
Charlize Theron stars in another Diablo Cody-scripted comedy directed by Jason Reitman. On a creative par with the trio’s Young Adult, this incredibly sharp mommy drama stars Theron as an exhausted mother of three who thrills to the almost supernatural intuitions of her night nurse (Mackenzie Davis, who should be a big star by now). Apr 20
Avengers: Infinity War
Featuring more stars than Hollywood Boulevard, Marvel corrals all of its superheroes—including Black Panther’s supercool Chadwick Boseman—into its biggest-ever blockbuster (at least in terms of actor salaries). This time, the Avengers face down evil intergalactic jawline Thanos (Josh Brolin). April 27
The Confession of Lily Dare at Theater for the New City; Apr 4–29; $25
First lady of the downtown camp stage Charles Busch (Vampire Lesbians of Sodom) stars is his own new melocomedy, an homage to tearjerkers of pre-Code Hollywood. Busch plays the title character, who goes from convent girl to nightclub singer to madam.
King Lear at the BAM Harvey Theater; Apr 7–29; $35–$135
The Royal Shakespeare Company visits NYC with the latest version of the Bard’s great tragedy of nothingness and being, starring RSC pillar Antony Sher in what he says will be his final Shakespearean role.
The Metromaniacs at the Duke on 42nd Street; Apr 10–May 26; $75–$95
The dazzlingly witty David Ives offers a “translaptation” of Alexis Piron’s 1738 farce La Métromanie, a tale of Paris aristocrats swept up in a mania for poetry. Michael Kahn directs for the lively classical-theater company Red Bull.
Light Shining in Buckinghamshire at New York Theatre Workshop; Apr 18–May 27; $45–$65
The groundbreaking, form-twisting Caryl Churchill is one of the world’s great living playwrights. Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812) directs a revival of her 1976 epic, which takes place amid the 17th-century chaos of the English Civil War.
The Boys in the Band at the Booth Theatre; Apr 30–Aug 11; $69–$169
Bitterness and bitchery are among the hors d’oeuvres in Mart Crowley’s closet-smashing 1968 play, set at an unhappy homosexual’s birthday party. The Broadway revival boasts a glittering cast of openly gay actors, including Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells and Matt Bomer.
Dada Masilo/The Dance Factory: Giselle at the Joyce Theater; Apr 3–8; $41–$56
South Africa’s Masilo infuses African ritual and ceremony into her 12-dancer account of the tragic ballet Giselle, in which a dead peasant girl saves her deceitful lover from a vengeful band of virgin ghosts.
Jack Ferver: Everything Is Imaginable at New York Live Arts; Apr 4–7; $15–$25
Playful postmodernist Ferver premieres a work that explores being in a community that lives the outrageous queer dream. Joining him are James Whiteside, Lloyd Knight, Garen Scribner and Reid Bartelme.
Ballet Hispánico at the Joyce Theater; Apr 10–15; $26–$66
The Latino dance company offers a program that includes two world premieres inspired by poet and Spanish Civil War martyr Federico Garciá Lorca, along with a reprise of the flamenco-based Línea Recta.
Martha Graham Dance Company: Sacred/Profane at New York City Center; Apr 11–14; $35–$95
The Graham company keeps the modern dance master’s legacy alive with three programs. Featured works include The Rite of Spring, Embattled Garden, Panorama and a reconstruction of the lost solo Ekstasis.
Lil Buck & Jon Boogz: Love Heals All Wounds at the Skirball Center; Apr 14; $40
The remarkable Lil Buck and Jon Boogz practice share an approach to urban-dance choreography and performance that is alternately loose and uncannily precise. This piece explores issues including diversity, violence and police brutality.
Lar Lubovitch Dance Company at the Joyce Theater; Apr 17–22; $26–$66
Lubovitch marks the 50th anniversary of his company with the premiere of the trio Something About Night, set to choral music by Franz Schubert, as well as favorites from the choreographer’s career.
James Bay Brooklyn Steel; Apr 3; $35–$55
Guitar-toting, hat-loving troubadour Bay writes and sings rousing, folk-edged pop numbers that situate him somewhere between Damien Rice and James Blunt. As you’d imagine, this has made him a hot prospect: He’s a three-time Grammy Award-nominated and BRIT Award-winning artist.
Yo La Tengo Brooklyn Steel; Apr 6; $35
As beloved an indie-rock institution as Hoboken has ever spat out, Yo La Tengo is known for employing its compendious knowledge of covers in its live shows (and also on 2015’s Stuff Like That There), so it’s possible you’ll hear anything from Hank Williams to Sun Ra at this outing.
Broken Social Scene The Paramount; Apr 7; $31
Following their sold out fall North American tour, the indie-pop Canucks head to The Paramount in Huntington, Long Island. The crew’s latest Hug of Thunder continues where 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record left off: keen freeform songs that trade straightforward hooks for slow builds to soaring climaxes. Despite losing high-profile members Leslie Feist and Emily Haines (Metric) to other projects in recent years, Broken Social Scene remains just as comfortable and compatible as ever.
The War on Drugs Brooklyn Steel; Apr 8; $46
Adam Granduciel’s ability to channel the holy trinity of Dylan, Petty and Springsteen means his music often begs to be played on a road trip or on a sunny back patio. But we suppose a springtime evening under the cavernous ceilings of Brooklyn Steel will do, too. Expect some tunes from the band’s recent album, A Deeper Understanding.
The Feelies Rough Trade NYC; Apr 13, Apr 14; $25
North Jersey indie-rock legends the Feelies drew on the Velvet Underground long before the influence became de rigueur, creating wired, bookish rock at a time when the Vampire Weekend kids were but twinkles in their parents’ eyes. The band hit Rough Trade for a string of shows last year, too—we can only hope this becomes an annual tradition.
Hurray for the Riff Raff + Waxahatchee + Bedouine; multiple venues; Apr 13, Apr 14; $23, at the door $25
Dwelling comfortably within the framework of a bygone era, singer-songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra, who performs as Hurray for the Riff Raff, doesn’t directly reimagine roots music—she sings with a worn-denim beauty that evokes Gillian Welch and Lucinda Williams. But the radical women-to-the-front ethos of the riot-grrrl shows Segarra used to attend on the Lower East Side is also embedded in the songs. It’s a spirit shared by opener Katie Crutchfield, whose DIY punk scene roots wield a clear presence in her confessional solo project, Waxahatchee.
Ty Segall Brooklyn Steel; Apr 13; $25
San Francisco songwriter Ty Segall typically follows a timeworn formula, in which welcoming pop melodies come layered in antisocial fuzz. Thankfully, his new, ninth studio album, Freedom’s Goblin, doesn’t stray from those tendencies. Turn up here to see the prolific glam-psych mastermind at work.
Nap Eyes + She Devils Elsewhere; 8pm; $10–$12
Nova Scotia four piece Nap Eyes makes warm, handcrafted indie rock that evokes a feeling of nostalgia without feeling dated. It’s no surprise, really, as lead singer Nigel Chapman’s Lou Reed–esque drawl carries a comforting familiarity and his existential ponderings are, of course, timeless. The band’s got a new album, I’m Bad Now, due out this spring. You’ll hear from it at this outing.
Kevin Morby + Hand Habits Bowery Ballroom; Apr 21; $20
The former Woods member and Babies frontman is a songwriter par excellence, as evidenced by last year’s stunning City Music. The Los Angeles songman brings his man-on-the-road mysticism to the stage with support from singer-songwriter—and formidable guitarist—Meg Duffy, a.k.a. Hand Habits.