Expert Picks

Here’s What Our Culture Experts Are Doing in December—And You Should, Too!

End 2019 on a high with French films, lasagna feasts, and a fiery adaptation of your favorite ’90s album.

Photo by Evan Sung/Courtesy of Chefs Club

December may already be booked with gingerbread nibbling, Christmas caroling, and about 29 other festive ways to celebrate the month. But if you need a reprieve from the holiday spirit, we have 12 events to make your social calendar bright.

Film

Enclosure at the Park Avenue Armory on the Upper East Side, begins December 9

The latest enigmatic video world of Rachel Rose will be on display on a massive holographic screen inside the cavernous Wade Thompson Drill Hall. Her commissioned film is meant to dizzy the mind and eyes as she leads you through an epic 17th-century tale. Molly Surno, art expert 

Agnès Varda Retrospective at Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side, begins December 20

Varda’s free-spirited approach to cinema charmed audiences until her death this year at the age of 90. Film at Lincoln Center honors the French New Wave auteur with a career-spanning retrospective, from her 1955 debut (La Pointe Courte) to her final feature this year, Varda by Agnes. Molly Surno, art expert 

Photo courtesy of Film at Lincoln Center/Facebook

Eating + Drinking

Katie Button at Chefs Club New York in Nolita, begins December 4

You know you can trust somebody’s tapas when her previous experience includes working with the likes of Ferran Adrià and José Andrés. The Asheville, North Carolina, chef brings her expertise up north for a two-month residency at Chefs Club. —Jess Bender, dining and drinking expert

Photo courtesy of Chefs Club
Questlove x Kimbal Musk at the Food & Finance High School in Hell’s Kitchen, December 5

What does a South African philanthropist and music’s busiest figure have in common? Similar ideas on how to change the food industry! Join them for a discussion in Hell’s Kitchen, where all of the night’s proceeds go toward the Food Education Fund. —Jess Bender, dining and drinking expert

Lasagna Supper Sundays at Rooftop Reds in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, through December 15

Make like Garfield and head way above the Brooklyn Navy Yard for Rooftop Reds’s Sunday Supper. Catered by the nearby modern Italian tavern LaRina, you’ll be yearning to cozy up in a warm, weighted blanket for the rest of the night after this feast. —Jess Bender, dining and drinking expert

Photo courtesy of Rooftop Reds/Facebook

Nightlife

Bondax, Goonroom, and Full Flex at Good Room in Greenpoint, December 4

More Wednesdays should end with all-night dance ragers. When you have an electric lineup that includes English garage duo Bondax, local vinyl spinners Goonroom, and Brooklyn party collective Full Flex, how could you resist? —Sayaka Ueno, photo editor

Photo by Sayaka Ueno
Soul Summit at Nowadays in Ridgewood, December 29

Praise the city’s most joyful dance party for ridding you of the Sunday scaries! The DJ collective will be bringing all of the vibes (along with its extensive collection of old-school disco, R&B, and soul records) to the Ridgewood party spot for a six-hour stint. —Sayaka Ueno, photo editor

Photo courtesy of Soul Summit/Facebook

Performance

Jagged Little Pill at the Broadhurst Theatre in Midtown, opens December 5

Alanis Morissette’s hit 1995 record forms the sonic backbone of this new musical about a dysfunctional suburban family rocked by addictions: to Internet porn, pills, and rage. Diane Paulus (Waitress) directs, and the scene with “You Oughta Know” brings the audience to its feet. —David Cote, theater expert

Judgment Day at the Park Avenue Armory on the Upper East Side, December 5–January 10

The 20th-century German playwright Ödön von Horváth had a brief but fascinating career as a writer of genre-defying works that were both mysterious and political. In this one, adapted by Christopher Shinn and directed by Richard Jones, a train station master is distracted for a moment, resulting in a tragic crash. The venue is going to be very resonant: the vast Wade Thompson Drill Hall, reminiscent of Europe’s grand train stations (where the performance times will not overlap with screenings of Rachel Rose’s Enclosure, above). —David Cote, theater expert

Photo courtesy of Park Avenue Armory/Facebook
The 10th Annual Yule Ball at Bell House in Gowanus, December 14

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire comes to full life in this themed concert experience. HP-themed bands take the stage as you gyrate in robes and swig butter beer. Ross Tipograph, performance expert

Photo courtesy of Potter Puppet Pals/Facebook

Art

Luminaries at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City, December 4–January 3

The Instagram-friendly illuminated lantern installation returns to the Winter Garden atrium at Brookfield Place for another holiday season. At the top of every hour, the suspended lanterns dazzle with a light show to songs by Michael Bublé, Tony Bennett, and Pentatonix. Forget that it’s held in a shopping mall and just be delighted! —Patty Onderko, executive editor

“Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019” at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District, through January 2021

A fascinating and visually rich look at how fine artists have embraced crafts—from weaving and beading to pottery and mosaic—over the past six decades. See a video of the exhibition here. —Patty Onderko, executive editor

Photo courtesy of Alexandra FitzGerald/Facebook

Be in the know every month! Sign up for our most excellent newsletter.