If all you want for the holidays is a merry time with friends and family, our experts have got you covered. Their December picks will have you dancing with Charles Dickens, sipping eggnog with scientists, and running in reindeer antlers. The best gifts, after all, can’t be wrapped.
Paddy Johnson, WSWD art expert
As the founder and editorial director of Art F City, a highly regarded art criticism and commentary site, this longtime art writer and curator knows what she’s talking about. She has written for New York magazine, The New York Times, The Economist, and more.
“The Weird Wiles of Reprehensible’s Pensibles,” through January 7
Alex Hamilton presents a new series of postapocalyptic urban environments at Pablo’s Birthday Gallery. The cities depicted in his work are dominated by concrete and appear marred by rain and wind. Text appears sporadically and in fragments, as if it is as damaged as the city itself, which is entirely devoid of people or signs of life. The pieces have a narrative, but there’s no moral—just a vacant place of permanent damage. 57 Orchard Street (between Hester and Grand Streets), Lower East Side
As programming manager of the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, this arts enthusiast has her ears tuned to the eclectic sounds of the city.
Bria Skonberg, December 14
I first heard Bria Skonberg in the hot jazz festival scene and most recently as part of a Louis Armstrong tribute at The Lincoln Center Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Bria is a phenomenal trumpet player and now singer who plays the early ’30s–’50s jazz tunes with spark and sass. She has a rich, old-school tone on the trumpet and a soulful New Orleans sound that will make you feel like you’re sipping a Sazerac in the Vieux Carré. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, 10 Columbus Circle (Broadway and 60th Street, 5th Floor), Upper West Side
Acclaimed author, fitness guru, and seasoned yogi.
Broadway Bust a Move, December 8
If you have a secret fantasy of dancing in a Broadway musical, then this is the event for you. Stage veteran Paul McGill, who has performed in shows including A Chorus Line and Memphis and has worked as a movement coach with stars Laverne Cox, Taye Diggs, and Darren Criss, will lead you through a fun, no-judgment dance workout in a Broadway rehearsal studio. Learn routines from your favorite shows and groove to your favorite show tunes—can we call something this fun a workout? Ripley Grier Studios, 520 Eighth Avenue (between West 36th and 37th Streets), Midtown
NYRR Jingle Bell Jog, December 2
Got the holiday urge to hit the streets of the city dressed as Santa? You could participate in SantaCon, the reviled annual bar crawl featuring wandering hordes of puking New Yorkers and tourists alike. (This year it’s on December 9—a good day to be out of town.) Or you could do the Jingle Jog, New York Road Runners’ annual holiday race. Admission to this 5K includes a holiday souvenir, post-race hot chocolate, and the good cheer you’ll feel running for a worthy cause. Proceeds will help fund youth running programs in local schools next year. Also: No hangover. So, you know, your choice. Prospect Park
One of the most seasoned voices in the NYC theater scene, this member of the New York Drama Critics Circle has previously appeared in the pages of The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Time Out New York.
Home, December 6–10
Performer Geoff Sobelle is a theatrical wizard. In The Object Lesson (2014 Next Wave Festival), the dryly humorous clown wandered around a theater filled top to bottom with an array of boxes, pieces of furniture, card-catalog drawers, and other knickknacks to tell a story about the mountains of stuff (and memories) we accumulate in life. Sobelle is back with another virtuoso installation to meditate on how and why we dwell in places. He leads an ensemble of dancers and designers as they construct, inhabit, and deconstruct an actual house onstage before our eyes. It’s sure to be domestic bliss…of an unusual sort. BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Fort Greene
Along with appearing inside the pages of The Fader and Time Out New York, this vibrant culture guru created the one-of-a-kind immersive theatrical experience 8Players.
A Bit of a Party, December 11
Celebrate Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol in a whole new way. A Bit of a Party is an understatement; this event combines immersive theater, free-for-all desserts, and a wild afterparty with live holiday music. Theater troupe No. 11 presents a choose-your-own-adventure live staging of Dickens’s classic; indulge before and after in the goodies and the tunes. South Oxford Space, 138 South Oxford Street, Fort Greene
An early music blogger whose website received millions of visits, John has gone on to run his own boutique live-performance PR and marketing company, supporting many of NYC’s biggest and best-known venues and festivals. To keep up with what’s going on in the field, our music expert attends at least 200 live shows a year.
Adhoc Presents Gabriel Garzón-Montano, December 8
Multihyphenate Brooklyn producer-composer-instrumentalist-vocalist Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s debut full-length album, Jardín, is one of my favorites of 2017. The son of a Philip Glass Ensemble player, Garzón-Montano dances between experimental sound, trip-hop, cumbia, ’70s soul, and contemporary alt-R&B; he also happens to play a great one-man-band live show with the help of a piano, a sampler, and portable percussion. The entertainer and creator cannily dropped an instrumental version of his album shortly after the official release and has already started a collaborative project with hot UK rapper Little Simz. Catch him on the way up at Warsaw in Brooklyn. Warsaw, 261 Driggs Avenue, Greenpoint
With stints writing and editing at Seamless and Zagat under her belt, this up-and-coming food writer spends her days and nights exploring NYC’s underground and off-the-beaten-path dining destinations. Read all about her eating exploits in her monthly column, Off the Eaten Path.
120th Egg Nog Party, December 14
We thought it was just cream, eggs, sugar, and rum, but, hey, what do we know. Chemists, apparently, know the secret to the lip-smacking-est eggnog, and they’re letting us nonscientists have a taste at their annual holiday party. The Chemists’ Club has been hosting this ode to the ’nog for more than a century now, so its secret recipe must be one for the record books (or at least a cookbook). New York Academy of Science, 250 Greenwich Street (between Vesey and Barclay Streets), Tribeca
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