The holidays are creeping in on us. And you know what else is? A freakish Christmas elf! Catch a screening of the 1989 B-movie Elves at Spectacle Theater. But before that let’s figure out what films are actually doing to our brains at ArtLab’s Film and the Unconscious.
[Talk] Think about your favorite movies. Do Scarface, The Notebook, or The Exorcist come to mind? Whatever your go-to films are, the feelings they conjure up may say more about your psyche than you might be aware of. Tonight at ArtLab: Film and the Unconscious, neuroscientist Dr. Heather Berlin and filmmaker Alexandra Stergiou discuss what happens in our brains as we watch our favorite films, the neuroscience behind some of filmmaking’s oldest tricks, and how filmmakers can appeal to the unconscious to strike a mood or evoke emotion.
At 7:30 p.m., The West, Brooklyn, free.
[Talk] The Secret Science Club welcomes astrophysicist Ray Jayawardhana to discuss his new book, Neutrino Hunters: The Thrilling Chase for a Ghostly Particle to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe. But don’t think tonight will be one big lecture: Dance to subatomic tunes and down a couple of quantum cocktails before and after the talk and Q&A.
At 7:30 p.m., The Bell House, Brooklyn, free.
[Comedy] Attention broke dudes: You don’t need a ton of cash to take out your crush. Tonight’s Cheap Comedy Date, the last one of the year, will save your social life (plus, free snacks). Catch sets by Jermain Fowler, Giulia Rozzi, Doug Smith, and Jonathan Morvay.
At 8 p.m., Union Hall, Brooklyn, $5.
[Film] Poor, young, innocent Kristen unintentionally let out pure evil this holiday season simply by cutting her hand at a late night Wiccan ceremony honoring the “Virgin of Anti-Christmas.” And now, with her blood all over the place, an evil elf is on the loose! Elves, screening tonight, features neo-Nazi occultists, castration, explosions, perms, nudity, and a kitten drowned in a toilet. Happy holidays!
At 9:30 p.m., Spectacle Theater, $5.
[Art] Timescapes: A Multimedia Portrait of New York, an engrossing 22-minute multimedia experience, traces the growth of New York City from a settlement of a few hundred Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans to its present status as one of the world’s great cities. Created by Jake Barton of Local Projects and James Sanders, co-writer of the PBS series New York: A Documentary History, and narrated by actor Stanley Tucci, the film features animated maps and archival photographs, prints, and paintings from the Museum’s collections.
At 10:15 a.m., Museum of the City of New York, $10.
[Lit] Brooklyn Brewery presents a very special evening with Warby Parker and McSweeney’s as they host the release of Crabtree, a children’s book by artist Tucker Nichols and his brother, Jon Nichols. Also joining will be Angela Petrella presenting her kids book, Recipe, co-written by her sister, Michaelanne Petrella. After the reading there will be a screening of a 3-minute mini-movie created by Aaron Farley that was inspired by the book. Alcoholic drinks will be served.
At 6:30 p.m., Brooklyn Brewery, free.
[Lit] Perhaps you remember the YouTube parody “Hipster Olympics,” which went viral for its hilarious depiction of young Williamsburg residents competing to be the ultimate slacker. Now, the duo behind the skit, Ryan Hunter and Taige Jensen, both comedy writers and directors (MTV, College Humor), have a new project: Coloring for Grown-Ups Holiday Fun Book, an adult activity book that will “help even the most cynical celebrator make it through the holiday season in good cheer.” Its activities include Construct Your Own Non-Offensive Holiday Card, New Year’s Day Walk-of-Shame Maze, and many more, because the holidays should be fun for adults, too.
At 7 p.m., PowerHouse Arena, DUMBO, free.
[Recreation] Doesn’t this wintery weather give you the urge to do a bit of ice skating? If you’re in Brooklyn, you can enjoy the brand-new McCarren Rink installed over “the beach” plaza at the center of the McCarren Park Pool, and it’s pretty cool. The 60-by-120-foot rink accommodates more than 300 skaters. Have fun!
At 10 a.m., McCarren Park Pool, $8 (does not include skate rental).
[Art] It seems like everyone is an amateur photographer these days especially with the array of photo apps. Let’s see how your photo skills measure up next to the artists featured in tonight’s opening of Social Photography III, an exhibition of photographs taken only with cell phone cameras. This third installation includes work by professionals and non-artists who submitted images from their phones and emailed them to Carriage Trade. The images will be printed on 5-by-7-inch paper and installed in a grid in the gallery.
At 6 p.m., Carriage Trade, free.
[Comedy] The ladies of Fonda are taking on the holidays this week. You know: awkward family fights, the evil Krampus elf, sing-a-longs, the usual. The improv group consists of Anna Callegari, Alex Fiber, Danielle Gibson, Lauren Ireland, Sue Smith, and Caralyn Stone, with the direction by Molly Lloyd. Their work has been featured on Glamour, Refinery 29, Above Average, College Humor, Brokelyn, and VH1’s Best Week Ever.
At 8 p.m., People’s Improv Theater, $10.