Expert Picks

Here’s How Our Culture Experts Are Kicking Off 2019—And You Should, Too!

From a steampunk orchestra to culinary activism, these are the 14 best happenings in New York this month. Oh, and did we mention the best pizza that’s not pizza?!

Zlatne Uste Golden Festival / Photo courtesy of Danny Flam

Join a shouting chorus, marathon with F. Scott Fitzgerald, and go full-on Balkan in Brooklyn this month.

Live Music

Jimmy Heath Big Band at Blue NoteJanuary 10-13
The middle son of the fabled jazz family that is the Heath Brothers, saxophonist and composer Jimmy Heath is still going strong as a bandleader at the age of 92. For this run at the downtown jazz mecca Blue Note, Heath leads an accomplished 18-person combo playing an assortment of classic songs that date back to his beginnings alongside Miles Davis and Chet Baker, plus new music from Heath and his sidemen. John Seroff, music expert

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society at the Jazz GalleryJanuary 11 and 12
The Brooklyn-based composer’s 18-person ensemble is a like a steampunk orchestra: a mad scientist’s euphonious creation.Meera Dugal, music expert

new york in january
Photo by James Matthew Daniel / Courtesy of Darcy James Argue

Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, January 18 and 19
Hands down one of the best events that happens in NYC all year, this two-day festival is a Balkan music takeover of the dream-fulfilling Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn.Meera Dugal, music expert

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Photo by Margaret Loomis

Theater + Immersive Experiences

The Exponential FestivalJanuary 4–February 3
For emerging experimental theater artists in Brooklyn, Exponential is the place to be. A wild lineup of messy, crazy, homegrown theater fills the month of January at various cool venues (the Brick, JACK, Bushwick Starr, and more). David Cote, theater expert

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Americana Psychobabble by Alexandra Tatarsky / Photo by Lydia Kincaid/Courtesy of the Exponential Festival

…They Stood Shaking While Others Began to ShoutJanuary 7–12
African-American “shout traditions” become theater in this Danspace Project show based on research of praise songs. Lose your voice as you join a chorus and a ritual that is so unexpectedly strong. Ross Tipograph, performance expert 

GatzJanuary 23–February 3
The remarkable downtown troupe Elevator Repair Service makes a marathon performance out of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby—by reading every single word. Yes, they recite the text verbatim for eight hours (with a dinner break) at NYU Skirball. I’ve seen it twice and will go a third time. Life-changing theater. David Cote, theater expert

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Photo by Mark Barton / Courtesy of Elevator Repair Service 

Art + Museums

Judy Glantzman: “1979–Today,” through January 13
The painter’s show at Betty Cunningham Gallery is all worn bodies. Glantzman’s tireless mark making and worked sculptures of hands tell untold stories of lives lived and lessons learned. In truth, she’s only telling one story—her own—and the renderings are a form of self-portraiture. —Paddy Johnson, art expert

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Photo courtesy of Betty Cunningham Gallery

Klara Liden: “Grounding,” through January 13
Liden likes to turn spaces, but especially Reena Spaulings’s, inside out and upside down. A decade ago, she transformed the gallery into a pigeon coop. A few years later, she changed it into a graveyard for “used” Christmas trees. This time around, Liden’s disruption happens via a video screen—but is just as humorous and heartbreaking as her physical works. —Secret Culinary Insider

Paula Wilson: “The Light Becomes You,” through January 27
Sex, technology, nature, culture—it’s all part of Wilson’s mashup approach to art making, which includes video, print, painting, and textiles. For this show at the Denny Dimin Gallery, she reimagines historical art tropes and uses the window as means of bisecting space. There’s no one message Wilson sends out, which is part of the point. —Paddy Johnson, art expert

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Photo courtesy of Denny Dimin Gallery

Dining + Drinking

Modern KentuckyJanuary 23
And you thought the Bluegrass State was only about bourbon and barbecue. A new wave of Kentucky-born chefs are changing the area’s culinary game and bringing their visionary Southern comforts to the Big Apple for one night only, courtesy of the James Beard Foundation. —Jess Bender, eating and drinking expert 

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Photo by Fortunato M. Ramin / Courtesy of the James Beard Foundation

Body of Work/Body as Work: A Conversation With Womxn About Food, Art, and Activism as LaborJanuary 31
What you eat and cook can tell a lot about you, and Boston-based food zine Grlsquach is ready to explore that part of your psyche at the Museum of Food and Drink. The night starts with a roundtable discussion (including visual artist Danie Drankwalter, chef Jenny Dorsey, and chef Ysanet Batista) about women in the food and activism scenes, and then culminates with an artist pop-up market and nibbles courtesy of Yooeating. —Jess Bender, eating and drinking expert 

Superiority Focaccia Fridays
Heralded as possibly the best pizza in New York City (yes, we know that’s saying something), Superiority Burger’s newest offering isn’t even pizza—it’s focaccia. Chef Brooks Headley has been getting his focaccia method just right for the better part of a year—but not because there is any money in it (his small kitchen can’t accommodate baking, well, in any form). He just couldn’t resist the idea of a bubbly, doughy bread with a cracker-crisp bottom and nearly burnt top. He finally got it right and is serving a small batch of the focaccia with a variety of vegetarian toppings every Friday night. —Secret Culinary Insider

new york in january
Photo by Mike C/Yelp

Wellness

Oh No, Ross & Carrie, January 12
A Q&A is in order at this live podcast about spirituality, fringe science, the paranormal, religions, spiritual events, and alternative treatments. The hosts explore these activities on their own time, and tonight at the Bell House they’ll answer your questions about it all—with a comedic edge. Ross Tipograph, performance expert 

Shamanic Reiki Circle at Sky Ting Yoga, January 12
If you’re looking for something stronger than a dry January to reboot, this should do the trick. The blend of two healing forms is like a (nonviolent) punch to the body’s alignment—the deep relaxation exercises, hands-on Reiki, shamanic journey, sageing, not to mention the well-designed vibes of Sky Ting’s new Williamsburg studio, will make you feel like new (or at least a little more like GP). —Secret Culinary Insider

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Photo courtesy of Sky Ting Yoga

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