The Best Things To Do In NYC This Week, From Subway Swing To Hip-Hop Nutcracker
Story Collider: The Ocean Around Us @ Knockdown Center
Sail the high seas with Story Collider, purveyors of true and personal tales about science. At The Ocean Around Us, hear from spoken-word artist Prof Ound, underwater photographer Keith Ellenbogen, molecular biologist Latasha Wright, and event producer Skylar Bayer, who wrote her dissertation on the secret sex lives of scallops. Augmenting the stories will be 360-degree video footage and soundscapes, transporting the entire audience to the bottom of the sea.
Tuesday, December 10th, 7 p.m. // Knockdown Center, 52-19 Flushing Ave., Queens // Tickets: $50
The Dharma of Star Wars @ Rubin Museum
To get your galactic fix before The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters, head to the Rubin Museum for The Dharma of Star Wars (also a book). The gallery tour will parse the thematic connections between Himalayan art and the world’s favorite sci-fi franchise, looking at mystical and historical examples. Plus you’ll get answers to crucial questions like whether the Buddha can use the Force and which are the Skywalkers in the museum’s collection.
Wednesday, December 11th, 6 p.m. // Rubin Museum, 150 West 17th St., Manhattan // Free with museum admission ($14-$19)
Boogie into the past at the Transit Museum’s annual Subway Swing. Don your best vintage duds to swing-dance the night away to live jazz bands, all set up after-hours amid the fleet of decommissioned subway cars that adorn the 1936 subway station the museum calls home. Each ticket includes one drink. (Get inspired by these photos from a previous Swing!)
Have a listen to a nearly forgotten subculture at New York Festival of Song’s T’aint Nobody’s Business If I Do, which revives extremely rare queer classics from 1920s Harlem. Among the tunes you’ll hear: Ma Rainey’s song of lesbian self-affirmation “Prove It On Me,” George Hannah’s “Boy in the Boat,” and songs by Gladys Bentley that haven’t been performed for 90 years because the records were only rediscovered by blues scholar Elliott Hurwitt last month. Performers include mezzo Lucia Bradford, tenor Joshua Blue, baritone Justin Austin, and soprano Bryonha Marie.
Thursday, December 12th, 8 p.m. // Merkin Hall, 129 West 67th St., Manhattan // Tickets: $20–$65
Wondershow @ Sultan Room
Have your mind blown at the latest iteration of Wondershow, a variety extravaganza like you’ve never seen. The program features mentalist Vinny DePonto, circus legend Keith “Bindlestiff” Nelson, and dancers Jenny Rocha and the Painted Ladies. Headlining the evening is sleight-of-hand card magician Mahdi Gilbert, who was born without hands or feet and created his own techniques to perform illusions (see above video).
Friday, December 13th, 7 p.m. // Sultan Room, 234 Starr St., Brooklyn // Tickets: $29
Kwanzaa Celebration @ Weeksville Heritage Center
Commemorate Pan-African heritage with a daylong, jam-packed Kwanzaa Celebration. Presented in partnership with Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation, the festivities include a slate of performances, arts & crafts, guided tours, live music, and more. There will be workshops on waist-bead making, djembe drumming, calypso dance, capoeira, and steel pan; performers include Esota, Asase Yaa Youth Ensemble and Sharon Gordon, Kojo and Antoine Roney, and Nubian Messengers.
Saturday, December 14th, 12 p.m. // Weeksville Heritage Center, 158 Buffalo Ave., Brooklyn // Suggested donation: $10
Navidad: A Mexican American Christmas @ Queens Theater
The Calpulli Mexican Dance Company presents Navidad: A Mexican American Christmas, sharing holiday traditions from both sides of the Rio Grande. The production, which debuted last year with three sold-out weekends at Sunnyside’s Thalia Hispanic Theater, is filled with cultural mashups like Aztec-inspired dances performed to Christmas carols, and Mariachi music intermixed with “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
Saturday, December 14th, and Sunday, December 15th // Queens Theater, 14 United Nations Ave., Queens // Tickets: $30
A Cathedral Christmas @ Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Sing along to the season’s classic carols at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine’s annual Cathedral Christmas. This year, the combined Cathedral Choirs and Orchestra will perform music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, George Frideric Handel, and Giovanni Gabrieli. Raymond Nagem will be the organ soloist, and it’s all directed by Kent Tritle and Bryan Zaros. (And please do take in the church’s apocalyptic facade while there.)
Saturday, December 14th, 7 p.m. // Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave., Manhattan // Tickets: $50–$75
Hanukkah on the Roof @ On Stage at Kingsborough
Gear up for the Festival of Lights at Hanukkah on the Roof. The “ultimate Shtetl experience” brings Hanukkah into the world of Fiddler on the Roof with songs in Yiddish, English, and Russian. Hosted by MusicTalk’s Elad Kabilio, the concert includes performances by Israeli ensemble 12th Night Klezmer, Yiddish theatre star Daniella Rabbani, and special guest vocalist Michael Einav of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish.
Sunday, December 15th, 3 p.m. // On Stage at Kingsborough, 2001 Oriental Blvd., Brooklyn // Tickets: $34
Hip-Hop Nutcracker @ Kings Theater
Enjoy a twist on the best-known Christmas ballet at Hip-Hop Nutcracker, which has spent the season touring from California to Texas. Choreographed by Jennifer Weber, the remixed, reimagined production features a dozen dancers, a violinist, a DJ, and special guest MC Kurtis Blow, plus high-tech digital scenery. Get a taste in the above video.
Sunday, December 15th, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. // Kings Theater, 1027 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn // Tickets: $29.50