News & Politics

How to Spend Spring in New York City


Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing
March 26–June 28
Hancock’s self-portrait — a demonic figure with giant tube-shaped breasts — is decidedly unflattering, but it captures the essence of an artist immersed in the perversely humorous world of underground comics. This extensive survey features his long-running mythological story about evil Vegans battling creatures called Mounds, as well as more personal work, including panels involving Torpedo Boy, a childhood alter ego. In one remarkable sequence that both acknowledges and rebukes an artistic influence, the costumed African-American kid encounters Philip Guston’s infamous Klansmen. Studio Museum in Harlem, 144 West 125th Street, — Robert Shuster

When the Curtain Never Comes Down
March 26–July 5
This fresh collection of outsider art explores ritual, self-promotion, and performance in the creative acts of the self-taught. The efforts are wonderfully odd. In homage to a sea goddess, Raimundo Borges Falcão roller-skates in elaborate outfits assembled from trash. Spiritually guided, Bill Anhang lights up paintings, sculpture, and garments with complex arrangements of LEDs. Here, too, you can listen to painter Hans Krüsi’s distorted recordings of insects and music, and marvel at the winged machines of Gustav Mesmer, a schizophrenic obsessed with human-powered flight. American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square, — Shuster

Wine Riot
March 27–28
Can you — or anyone — taste 250 wines in four hours? Probably not, but you can try your best at the spring Wine Riot event. A $60 ticket lets you grab a glass and create your own tour of new wines from all over the world. Use a companion mobile app to mark your favorite glasses and find out where to pick up a bottle later. If you’re feeling lost (or drunk), pros are on hand to answer questions and add a connoisseur’s expertise. If all that wine goes to your head, put down the glass and hit the non-alcoholic activities, including a photo booth and temporary-tattoo stand. 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue, — Julianne Pepitone

Orchid Evenings
March 28, April 4, 11, 17–19
By day, the New York Botanical Garden’s “Orchid Show” features poetry readings and plant-care instructions amid a showcase of chandelier-like hanging orchid designs and walkways packed with colorful blooms. By night (on select spring weekends), the show includes a special Orchid Evenings component. Wander through the walkways and greenhouses to admire the orchids by moonlight, stop for a lipstick touchup courtesy of a Guerlain makeup artist, or drop by the Pine Tree Café to enjoy dinner and live music. The $35 tickets ($25 for NYBG members) include one specialty cocktail, beer, or glass of wine. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, — Pepitone

NYC Craft Distillers Festival
March 28
The second annual NYC Craft Distillers Festival turns the gorgeous Bowery Hotel into Prohibition-era New York, when the moonshine flowed and flapper dresses were plentiful. Don your Gatsby-inspired attire and sample more than 60 premium spirits — rye, gin, bourbon, applejack, moonshine, and more — from 20 specially selected craft distilleries. As you sip the spirits, a Twenties jazz band will play at each of the two sessions (tickets are $95 for the 1–4 p.m. section and $100 for the 7–10 p.m. bash), adding to the speakeasy feel. The Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery, — Pepitone

Flower Arranging Workshop
March 29
Stems Brooklyn operates out of Ditmas Park’s Sycamore, the borough’s only combination flower shop and bar. Enjoy both parts of this offbeat yet delightful pairing at a flower-arranging class, where you’ll sip two botanic-inspired cocktails as you learn the 101 of the craft. The laidback folks at Stems will share tips for choosing and preparing flowers, as well as ensuring balance in your arrangement. As an added bonus, you’ll also learn DIY home flower arranging — perfect for turning those bodega stems into a lovely display that screams spring. Stems is devoted to finding a mix of unique and high-quality florals, so you’ll leave the $75 class with a variegated bouquet that’s romantic and a little bit wild. 1118 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn, — Pepitone

Liz Gerring/Michelle Dorrance
March 31–April 5
Who says female choreographers can’t get work? These two garner rave reviews and pack houses; offering beauty and brains in contemporary and tap styles, they split the week. Go twice. Gerring’s cool, elegant glacier takes its name from Michael Schumacher’s score and its austere look from designer Robert Wierzel. Dorrance, a long drink of water with a sharp mind, brings The Blues Project, with music created and performed live by Toshi Reagon and a cast of all-star dancers, including Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, who infuse tap with unusual warmth and emotion. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, Elizabeth Zimmer

Jessie Ware
April 1
Few singers today can tug heartstrings quite like Jessie Ware. Riding the success of her sophomore album, Tough Love, the British singer offers a quietly soulful voice steeped in heartbreak and longing. Crisp production and sleek, layered arrangements keep Ware in line with today’s more sophisticated pop musicians, but when the bells and whistles are stripped away, what’s left is nearly a dozen simple yet beautifully crafted love songs. Ware has a couple of dance numbers mixed into her repertoire as well, but this promises to be a cathartic outing for the recently dumped and perpetually heartsick. Terminal 5, 610 West 56th Street, — Jackson Connor

The 39 Steps
Performances begin April 1
This Tony-winning spoof of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 classic has played in New York numerous times before — prior venues include the American Airlines Theatre, the Cort Theatre, and the Helen Hayes — and was such a rousing success that a return run ought to be embraced with open arms. The conceit: A cast of just four people (led by Robert Petkoff as Richard Hannay) flexes muscles and costumes to embody the 150-plus characters that populate the story. As improbable as it may sound for Hitchcock-influenced material, the ads proclaim that “everyone from ages 9 to 99” is suited to enjoy this parody. Union Square Theatre, 100 East 17th Street, — Danny King

Overdue: James B. Harris
April 1–6
“Overdue,” a traveling series co-programmed by film critics Nick Pinkerton and Nicolas Rapold, returns to BAMcinématek with yet another genre delight: an eight-film retrospective of the work of producer, screenwriter, and director James B. Harris. While the titles on display that Harris produced for Stanley Kubrick — The Killing (1956), Paths of Glory (1957), and Lolita (1962) — are certainly formidable, the real pleasure of the series is discovering lesser-known works that Harris himself directed, including two crime collaborations with unhinged actor James Woods: Fast-Walking (1982) and Cop (1988). Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, — Danny King

Gabrielle Revlock and Nicole Bindler
April 3–5
There’s a mystical connection between these two Philadelphia choreographers, whose work has been described as “joyfully disorienting,” and this newish Brooklyn space, demonstrated by The Dance Apocalypse/Solos, the deconstruction of a duet into two solos engaging questions of “clitoral embodiment, taxidermy hats, a Kickstarter campaign, and true confessions.” Jack, 505½ Waverly Avenue, Brooklyn, — Zimmer

Pillow Fight NYC
April 4
Battle your fellow New Yorkers in the most fun way possible: an urban pillow fight! Select a feather-free pillow or teddy bear, bring your cuddly weapon to Washington Square Park, and on the organizers’ signal, start swinging. It’s a hilarious scene in the middle of the city, with some pillow-fighters donning pajamas to add to the whimsy. Once a cease-fire is called, you can either bring your war-worn pillow back home or drop it at a donation point. Last year the event’s organizers donated more than 1,500 pillows to homeless shelters in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Washington Square Park, — Pepitone

Soledad Barrio/Noche Flamenca
April 4–10
Flamenco, born in Spanish taverns, never looks better than up close, and this compact company flourishes in the narrow confines of the Joe’s Pub stage. Directed by her husband, Martin Santangelo, and joined by veteran singers, guitarists, dancers, and percussionists, Soledad Barrio transfixes audiences with her focus and her mature passion. Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, — Zimmer

Performances begin April 5
Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts, much like the playwright’s A Doll’s House, was considered shocking, licentious, and inflammatory at the time of its premiere, and this award-winning production — arriving at BAM after praise-garnering runs at the Almeida Theatre and the West End — deftly communicates its power. Lesley Manville, a stalwart member of film director Mike Leigh’s acting company (she shines particularly bright in 2010’s Another Year), stars here as a widow revealing the secrets of her past to her son, a performance that won her the 2014 Olivier Award for Best Actress. BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, — King

Stephen Petronio Company
April 7–12
Another one-choreographer troupe joins a trend: Stephen Petronio incorporates Merce Cunningham’s Warhol-designed RainForest into his 30th-anniversary season, alongside his own new Locomotor/Non Locomotor. Both feature Petronio’s virtuosic seven-member troupe and guest dancer Melissa Toogood, formerly of Cunningham’s ensemble. Rainforest, with its iconic floating silver pillows, has a score by David Tudor, played live; the Petronio premiere boasts music by Clams Casino and includes the Young People’s Chorus of New York. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, — Zimmer

Art of the Real
April 10–26
Co-programmed by Dennis Lim and Rachael Rakes, this second annual installment of “Art of the Real” promises an even more ambitious, expansive view of documentary work being made around the world. In addition to its main slate — the opening-night lineup includes U.S. and/or North American premieres of João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata’s Iec Long, Eduardo Williams’s I Forgot, and Matt Porterfield’s Take What You Can Carry — the series includes two indispensable sidebar programs: one a retrospective of the work of the French director Agnès Varda, the other a group of films dealing with the method of reenactment (including Peter Watkins’s 1974 Edvard Munch and James Benning’s 1986 Landscape Suicide). Film Society of Lincoln Center, 165 West 65th Street, — King

Tsai Ming-liang
April 10–26
Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang has been among the most profound voices in world cinema over the past quarter-century, making this overview of his work — the most comprehensive Tsai showcase in New York to date — perhaps the crucial repertory event of the season. Tsai’s mesmerizing features range from a porn-industry study peppered with musical numbers (2005’s The Wayward Cloud) to a glacial wuxia epic (2003’s Goodbye, Dragon Inn) to the recent, despairing Stray Dogs (2013). If you attend enough of these, you’ll become well acquainted with Tsai’s favorite actor, Lee Kang-sheng, who embodies both the director’s anguish and his singular humor. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Queens, — King

Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
April 10–June 28
Admired for her expressionist paintings of macabre sexual fantasy, Natalie Frank takes her taste for taboo to folktales — not Disney’s versions, but the unsettling originals popularized in the nineteenth century by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Frank’s pastel drawings, reminiscent of Chagall, freely interpret the stories with hideous fiends, carnivalesque mayhem, and carnal horror. A monstrous wolf bares both fangs and testicles for Little Red Riding Hood. A zombie-like Cinderella floats through a nightmarish landscape. Rapunzel’s birth is a freak show. Don’t bring the kids. The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, — Shuster

It Shoulda Been You
Performances begin April 14
David Hyde Pierce, who collected four Emmys as Dr. Niles Crane on Frasier, has been no less of a force on the stage, having recently won a Tony for his leading performance in the musical Curtains. This latest project is a don’t-miss affair, as it constitutes Pierce’s Broadway directing debut. With book and lyrics by Brian Hargrove (Pierce’s real-life partner), this intricate marriage comedy stars Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris (herself a memorable Frasier alum) as mothers of an engaged couple. Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 West 47th Street, — King

Tribeca Film Festival
April 15–26
The world-famous festival brings the international film community to Manhattan, and each year it’s a massive Hollywood-infused affair: The 2014 festival drew a total of 400,000 attendees celebrating 89 features and 57 short films from 40 countries. This year’s festival opens with the world premiere of the Saturday Night Live documentary Live From New York! All-access passes allowing for potential hobnobbing with industry stars are a whopping $1,200, but there are lots of more affordable tickets: $10 for matinee screenings, $35 for panel discussions, $50 for an awards day pass, and more. Various locations, — Pepitone

Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide
April 16
If the NYC Craft Distillers Festival doesn’t slake your thirst for a 1920s experience, join historian Kevin C. Fitzpatrick for a detailed and cost-free look back at the New York of yore. Fitzpatrick, who founded the Dorothy Parker Society in 1999, packed his 2009 book The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide with more than 100 photos, maps, and other rare materials. You’ll hear about hidden bars, soaring art-deco skyscrapers, and more. Most notably, you’ll learn about that famous Algonquin Round Table, where “The Vicious Circle” of famed writers and critics, including Parker, Franklin Pierce Adams, and Harpo Marx, debated the issues of the day, sharpened their skills, and became tastemakers of an elegant era now long gone. Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Avenue, — Pepitone

Prize Prints: The Queen Sonja Print Award
April 17–August 1
Celebrating Scandinavian printmaking, the gallery presents work by two recent recipients of the queen of Norway’s prize. Svend-Allan Sørensen’s roughly made images of birds and hunting convey a backwoods irreverence, as do his primitive graffiti-like woodcuts of quips and quotations. Tiina Kivinen, a stylistic opposite, produces spare, elegant mezzotints of Nordic isolation — lonely figures or semi-abstract landscapes — that often resemble paintings. The exhibit also includes moody etchings of the icy north from the prize’s founders, among them the queen herself. Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, — Shuster

Emily Johnson/Catalyst
April 19–26
One of the odder phenoms in the dance world is Bessie-winning Emily Johnson, whose Shore brings to Lenapehoking (a/k/a New York City) a multi-day performance installation of dance, story, volunteerism, and feasting that promises to blur “distinctions between performance and daily life.” Originally from Alaska and now based in Minneapolis, Johnson integrates art-making and community activism, working collaboratively with community partners from all over the region. Shows Thursday through Saturday are just part of the mix; she choreographs, Ain Gordon directs, and dozens of others participate. New York Live Arts, 219 West 19th Street,, — Zimmer

Mark Morris Dance Group
April 22–26
It’s a flying leap from Mark Morris’s headquarters to BAM’s main stage, where he offers two programs surveying his choreography since 1993. His bluff, expressive modern dancers perform every piece to live music, ranging on Program A from the sophisticated tonalities of Lou Harrison, for Pacific and Grand Duo, to Mendelssohn for a newish work, Words, and to Debussy for the world premiere Whelm. Program B includes pieces to Carl Maria von Weber, Henry Cowell, and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring arranged and performed by the Bad Plus. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, — Zimmer

A Curious Blindness
April 22–June 13
Divya Mehra’s minimalist neon sculpture A Brown Woman Drowned — a dark circle beneath a single wavy line — succinctly addresses that all-too-frequent indifference to a non-white death. Mehra is one of fifteen artists here who have focused, in various media, on race. Several pieces consider notions of identity and self-esteem, such as Paula Garcia’s Corpo Ruído, a performance that encases her body, at times violently, in scrap metal. Timothy H. Lee, too, relates the endurance of bigotry with gookeyes — trash-like pieces of paper painted with Asian eyes. The exhibit couldn’t be more relevant. Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, 1190 Amsterdam Avenue, — Shuster

Hard to Be a God
April 23–28
Considering that Hard to Be a God — the final film from celebrated Russian director Aleksei German (Khrustalyov, My Car!), who died in 2013 — received its U.S. theatrical premiere at Anthology as recently as January, this brief encore run might seem like yesterday’s news. But Hard is such a confrontational and filthy work (“one of the most consistently disgusting films ever made,” in the words of Glenn Kenny) that any sign of encore-level audience interest is worth getting excited about. Indeed, another chance to experience on the big screen German’s elaborate, outlandish construction of a planet mired in the Middle Ages is not something to be taken for granted. Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue, — King

Bruce LaBruce
April 23–May 2
It takes only a passing glance at the premise of a few Bruce LaBruce films to understand why his work is met with controversy all over the world. L.A. Zombie (2010) follows an alien, possibly schizophrenic zombie who brings people back to life through intercourse, while Skin Flick (1999) depicts the criminal behavior and dangerous sexual activity of a group of London-based neo-Nazis. LaBruce’s films often foreground elements of genre and narrative, but he’s still working within a vital tradition of queer, avant-garde, taboo-testing cinema. (John Waters and Andy Warhol comparisons abound.) This rare opportunity to see several of his most-cited films on a MoMA screen is not to be missed. Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, — King

Bacon and Beer Classic
April 25
Bacon. Beer. Do you really need to know more? Well, OK: This four-city festival makes its way to NYC in April, when local and national vendors will turn Citi Field into a smorgasbord of 50+ bacon-inspired dishes to be washed down with one of 100 craft beers. As you sip and munch, hit a pig-butchering class or bacon-cooking session to bring the experience home. This year’s participating vendors include Ommegang and Sixpoint breweries, along with local food joints Bareburger and Coolhaus. Tickets start at $59 for the general admission bacon + beer experience. Bold boozers can opt for the 12 p.m. three-hour session, or make it a Saturday night out starting at 7 p.m. Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, — Pepitone

Sakura Matsuri
April 25–26
Is there anything more lovely or spring-y than a cherry blossom? Perhaps only thousands of cherry blossoms, flowering on trees and fluttering in the breeze. “Sakura Matsuri” is a celebration of this stunning springtime display, and it’s one of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s biggest annual bashes. The garden uses the spring flowering of its sakura trees as a backdrop for a full-weekend celebration of traditional and modern Japanese culture. Check out taiko drumming, tea ceremonies, Kabuki dance, samurai sword fighting, manga drawing, kids’ workshops, and more — and feel free to dress up and carry a parasol. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, — Pepitone

NYC Hot Sauce Expo
April 25–26
Spring heats up at the third annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo, a celebration of fiery foods that isn’t for the faint of tongue. Stroll by the booths and sample the wares of artisan hot-sauce makers including Blair’s Death Sauce and Tom’s Roid-Rippin’ Hot Sauce, then cool down at Stoli’s vodka demo. Gawk at eating contests’ iron-tongued competitors, who will scarf down spicy tacos, pizzas, burritos — or even the dreaded Carolina Reaper, which holds the Guinness World Record for the hottest pepper. General admission costs just $10 per person, or opt for a $55 “beer and BBQ” ticket or $100 all-access pass. Brooklyn Expo Center, 79 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, Pepitone

NYC Taste of the Nation
April 27
Chow down for a good cause at NYC Taste of the Nation, where tickets for $350 and up go to help fund No Kid Hungry’s work to end childhood hunger in America. You can sample food and drink prepared by an impressive list of more than 60 top chefs, sommeliers, and bartenders, including Hill Country’s Charles Grund Jr. and Raines Law Room’s Meaghan Dorman. 23 Wall Street, — Pepitone

Kool A.D.
April 30
Das Racist may have broken up in 2012, but rappers Himanshu Suri (Heems) and Victor Vazquez (Kool A.D.) are still putting out their signature brand of avant-garde hip-hop. Early this month, Heems released his first solo record — snagging a Village Voice cover story along the way — to much fanfare and acclaim. But over the last three years Kool A.D. has been dropping solid mixtape after solid mixtape, continuing to spit his verbose, slightly absurdist flow over relaxed, backpack-esque beats. Heems hosted his record release show at Santos Party House on March 10; it’s nice to know he and Kool A.D. can still share a stage, even if not at the same time. Santos Party House, 96 Lafayette Street, — Connor

Toro y Moi
May 1
Chazwick Bundick, better known as chillwave pioneer Toro y Moi, is touring this spring with Vinyl Williams in support of his upcoming album, What For?, out April 7 on Carpark Records. Bundick has long brought the smooth, the melodic, and, yes, the chill to the airwaves. But if the first cuts off What For? are any indication, his new sound will be slightly more organic, forgoing the glossy soundscape of synths and drum machines for funky, guitar-driven pop rock. The album is said to be influenced by artists like Talking Heads, Big Star, Todd Rundgren, and Brazilian musician Tim Maia, which sounds just weird enough to work. Terminal 5, 610 West 56th Street, — Connor

3-D in the 21st Century
May 1–17
Given the ubiquity of 3-D over the past decade-plus, it’s somewhat surprising that this program of 3-D works from the 2000s and so-far 2010s comes off as such an unexpected, creative conception. Part of the thrill is that it compresses so many perceived planes of quality: Films from household auteurs like Jean-Luc Godard (2014’s Goodbye to Language) and Wim Wenders (2011’s Pina) collide with the likes of Jackass 3-D (2010), star-focused concert movies (2011’s Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, 2012’s Katy Perry: Part of Me), and a pair of efforts from the talented, underestimated visual stylist Paul W.S. Anderson (2011’s The Three Musketeers, 2012’s Resident Evil: Retribution). An added bonus is a selection of short works from acclaimed experimental artists (e.g., Jodie Mack’s 2013 Let Your Light Shine). Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, — King

Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television
May 1–September 20
A superlative study of cultural history reveals surprising, and forgotten, connections between early television and the avant-garde. Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone drew directly from the tenets of Surrealism, including echoes of André Breton’s manifesto in the program’s opening narration. The eye of René Magritte’s The False Mirror may have inspired the CBS logo. Ernie Kovacs invoked Dadaist humor, variety-show stages echoed Russian Constructivism, and Andy Warhol filmed, with trademark insouciance, a rather peculiar commercial for Schrafft’s ice cream sundaes. Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, — Shuster

America Is Hard to See
May 1–September 27
The largest display of the Whitney’s permanent collection could actually get trumped by the space itself: Renzo Piano’s imposing cruise ship of a building, the museum’s new riverside home. The place may be charmless, but its immense galleries, sculpture-filled terraces, twin theaters, Danny Meyer eateries, and killer views will probably wow us anyway, all of it announcing that the future of establishment art — like that of professional sports — lies in full-package entertainment. Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, — Shuster

Twin Peaks
May 2
Despite the band’s name, Twin Peaks are less an ode to David Lynch and more a callback to early-2000s Strokes — a loud, grungy four-piece from Chicago that chugs through a new beer-soaked garage rock tune every two minutes. The band’s live shows are wild and drunken, and an air of the glory days of rock ‘n’ roll pervades through the moppy haircuts and orchestrated sloppiness of it all. The group’s second studio album, Wild Onion, which came out last summer on New York’s Grand Jury record label, is one catchy sing-along slacker anthem after another. Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, — Connor

TD Five Boro Bike Tour
May 3
The TD Five Boro Bike Tour is big in all senses of the word: It’s the world’s biggest charity bike ride, with 32,000 cyclists traversing every New York City borough. All streets and bridges on the route are completely cleared of cars, making the 40-mile ride a truly unique way to explore the city. Standard registration costs $92, and the proceeds fund free bike education programs. Starts at Franklin Street and Church Street, ends on Staten Island, — Pepitone

Hop Along
May 5
There’s something intriguing — if not slightly oxymoronic — about the term “folk punk.” But Frances Quinlan and her band Hop Along do indeed bridge the two worlds expertly, blending simple open-chord progressions with raw angst on every song. Quinlan has the uncanny ability to sing sweetly and innocently at one moment and wail out in existential agony the next. The result is fresh and honest, and Hop Along’s new record, Painted Shut — due out the same day the Philadelphia-based group comes to Brooklyn — seems primed to push the band to the next level. Rough Trade, 64 North 9th Street, Brooklyn, — Connor

May 5–10
This second edition of RadioLoveFest re-teams WNYC and BAM for a six-day program to highlight the wealth of talent working in public radio. The range of approaches on display — from storytelling and music to comedy and dialogues — speaks to the various possibilities inherent to the radio form. Fresh Air host Terry Gross (May 6), NPR’s Peter Sagal and the comedian Mike Birbiglia (May 7), and Longest Shortest Time emcee Hillary Frank (May 7) are some of the vocal talent set to lead special events during the festival. Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, — King

Mark Dendy Dance Project
May 6–9
Mark Dendy digs into the history of the Public Theater’s building, originally the Astor Library, whose nightclub stage has hosted mini-dances for the past ten years. NewYorknewyork @Astor Place introduces us to a cast of time-travelers, exploring race relations, politics, economics, and tabloid journalism in old Greenwich Village. Dendy plays William B. Astor, heir to the fortune of his fur-magnate dad, John Jacob Astor; text, video, and dancing by a cast of eight fill out the tale. Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, — Zimmer

Jeff Garlin
May 7–10
As his ABC sitcom The Goldbergs nears the conclusion of a well-received second season, star Jeff Garlin makes a four-day stand-up appearance in New York. Garlin’s recent movie Dealin’ With Idiots, in which he stars as (take a guess) a famous comedian, took some critical damage, but as the actor’s work opposite Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm illustrates, he’s a reliable deliverer of jokes. Carolines, 1626 Broadway, — King

The Spoils
Performances begin May 7
Jesse Eisenberg, who also wrote this play, stars as Ben, a grad-school dropout with bullying tendencies. There has been a mean streak prevalent in a lot of Eisenberg’s film work, from his fanatical Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network (2010) to his eerily opaque environmentalist in the recent thriller Night Moves (2013). It’s fitting, then, that his writing for the stage should cover similar ground — his character even furiously pursues an ex-flame, much like The Social Network‘s Zuckerberg. Scott Elliott, a noted New Group veteran (he’s led productions as demanding as Chekhov’s Three Sisters), directs. Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street, — King

New York Boylesque Festival
May 8–9
Now in its fourth year, the annual Boylesque Festival has become a multi-city event — but the 2015 New York show promises to be the biggest yet. The flesh fest kicks off Friday night with a “teaser party” at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. Famed NYC drag queen Sweetie will host the main event on Saturday, where more than 40 male performers from all over the world will strut onstage to pull off their clothes — and pull off tricks — in a show that’s both impressive and a ton of fun. General admission tickets for the main event are $25 in advance and $30 at the door, but be sure to bring some extra singles. B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd Street, — Pepitone

Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Party
May 9–10
Skip the overpriced, lackluster prix-fixe Mother’s Day brunch and head to the New York Botanical Garden for a vintage-inspired picnic. The Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Party includes a variety of events for moms and kids of all ages: Mother’s Day card-making for the little ones, kite-flying and croquet games for older kids, and beer and wine for Mom and Dad. Families can grab a portrait taken by a vintage-style photographer, or dance on the grass to Jazz Age tunes played by Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra. Parents get in for $30 each; kids are half price. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, — Pepitone

Japan Day at Central Park
May 10
This free annual spring event, established in 2007 and held at Central Park’s Naumburg Bandshell, celebrates the local Japanese community in New York. The day starts out with the four-mile Japan Run at 8 a.m., followed by another race for kids. Post-exercise, the event draws on traditional Japanese summer festivals and offers food, activity tents, and a variety of stage performances. As with last year’s edition, Japan Day also sponsors an art contest featuring material that evokes the themes of the gathering — winners are to be announced in early April. Naumburg Bandshell, Central Park, — King

Azealia Banks
May 11
Azealia Banks has had a rough go of it lately. She’s been party to more public Twitter spats than one can count (most recently trading 140-character blows with Iggy Azalea) and forced fans to endure a Chinese Democracy–like wait for her debut album, Broke With Expensive Taste. The record, when it finally did drop in November, was met with little fanfare and mixed reactions all around. But for all the pseudo-feuds and record label drama, the Harlem-bred MC can still rap with the best of them. It’s been three years, but the strength of her boisterous, profanity-laced Lazy Jay collaboration “212” is still reason enough to go see her perform. Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, — Connor

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
May 12–24
The repertory company may be the future of American dance, and no troupe is better versed in being flexible and amenable to the work of multiple choreographers than 37-year-old Hubbard Street, which began life as a jazz ensemble and evolved to master absolutely anything. Now under the direction of Glenn Edgerton, formerly of the Joffrey Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater, its eighteen dancers perform works by Jiri Kylián, Crystal Pite, Nacho Duato, and the troupe’s resident choreographer, Alejandro Cerrudo. Joyce Theater. 175 Eighth Avenue, — Zimmer

Frieze New York
May 14–17
Each spring contemporary-art buffs flock to Randalls Island for Frieze New York, a four-day show that features work from more than 200 of the world’s top galleries. Wander through the fair’s indoor space to view and buy works from more than 1,000 of today’s artists, or jump on a public or private tour. Take a break to nosh on snacks from local vendors (this year’s slate is TBA, but the 2014 fair included Frankies Spuntino, Momofuku Milk Bar, and Roberta’s). One-day tickets start at $44, and come with a bonus: 20 percent off admission to the Museum of Modern Art. Randalls Island Park, — Pepitone

Harlem EatUp!
May 14–17
Think of Harlem EatUp! as a sort of nabe-specific Restaurant Week, with a large dose of superstar power. A slate of top Harlem eateries and chefs — including Vinateria, Sylvia’s Restaurant, Ginny’s Supper Club, and Rao’s — celebrate the area’s culinary delights with special dinners and panel discussions. Dinner tickets, which range from $85 to $125, buy a plate at parties with celebrity chefs, including Daniel Boulud, Marcus Samuelsson, Bobby Flay, and Ludo Lefebvre. “Festive and stylish attire” is suggested for this “multi-room dinner party” across the storied neighborhood; proceeds go to Citymeals-on-Wheels and community development group Harlem Park to Park. Various locations in Harlem, — Pepitone

Fleece Festival
May 16–17
This weekend event, co-presented by the Prospect Park Alliance and the Wildlife Conservation Society, begins at the Prospect Park Zoo, where a peek at the sheep is followed by wool-working demonstrations and crafts. The second half of the festival travels to the nearby Lefferts Historic House, a Flatbush farmhouse that dates back to an eighteenth-century Dutch family. Activities there include spinning yarn, paddle-brushing wool, and making a felt ball. On Sunday, Catherine Conrad, the House’s resident spinner, leads her own demonstration. Prospect Park Zoo, 450 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, — King

The Way We Get By
Performances begin April 28
Amanda Seyfried (While We’re Young, Ted 2, Pan) makes her Off-Broadway debut in this latest from prolific filmmaker and playwright Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men, The Shape of Things). The plot concerns two characters who, following a drunken hookup after a wedding reception, are forced to evaluate their relationship. Seyfried’s co-star is Thomas Sadoski, who played Reese Witherspoon’s ex-husband in Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild. The direction is from Leigh Silverman, a recent Tony nominee for her work on Violet. Second Stage Theatre, 305 West 43rd Street, — King

Performances begin May 19
James Cagney is one of the most iconic of American movie stars — a short, jabbering man who fought his way to the top of the Hollywood studio system by playing ruthless, tough-as-nails gangsters. Anyone who has developed a relationship with his screen persona — perfected in numerous gems from The Public Enemy (1931) to The Roaring Twenties (1939) to White Heat (1949) — is primed to enjoy this musical biography, which stars Broadway veteran Robert Creighton in the marquee role. But Cagney’s screen career is not the only period covered here: Also presented are the man’s Lower East Side roots and his early career in vaudeville. York Theatre, 619 Lexington Avenue, — King


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