Help Create NYC’s Cultural Plan

When: Tuesday, December 20, 6–8pm
Where: Harlem Stage (150 Convent Avenue, Upper Manhattan)

Under the leadership of the Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City is in the process of creating a comprehensive cultural plan. The project began in August with research and discovery and has since moved into public engagement, aka a period when New Yorkers can offer their input and ideas. Tonight’s workshop invites Manhattan residents to discuss cultural issues around the borough and features a performance by poet and sound artist LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs. —JS

 Dance Animal

When: Tuesday, December 20, 6:30pm
Where: ISCP (1040 Metropolitan Avenue, East Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

In 1968, the artist and dancer Simone Forti spent many days at Rome’s zoo, closely examining the movements of its caged animals in preparation for her solo performance “Sleep Walkers/Zoo Mantras.” Now, as the piece’s 50th anniversary nears, Forti will reprise her animalistic dance in conjunction with ISCP’s current exhibition The Animal Mirror. Her choreography invokes the pacing and playing of zoo animals in their enclosures, while emphasizing and extenuating humans’ tendency to identify with them. —BS

 A Winter Solstice Performance Looks to the Sun

When: Wednesday, December 21, 5:307:30am ($10)
Where: Whitney Museum of American Art (99 Gansevoort Street, Meatpacking District, Manhattan)

On December 21 we will experience the longest evening of the year. It marks the winter solstice, which, on the upside, also signals the longer days to come thereafter. “12 Shouts: Ten Forgotten Heavens: Winter Solstice” by the American playwright, director, and performer Sibyl Kempson, will commemorate this shift toward the light in a performance that takes over various floors of the Whitney Museum. The event is Kempson’s fourth at the museum in a series of 12 that began with the March 2016 equinox and will terminate with the December 2018 solstice. Visitors to the Wednesday performance are asked to bring their families, “either biological or chosen,” and participate in a ceremony where bells ring upon sunrise. —EWA

 Make Music Winter

When: Wednesday, December 21
Where: Various locations throughout NYC

This winter solstice, Make Music Winter is once again hosting a series of free participatory sound events, from Appalachian flat foot dancing on Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue to Puerto Rican parranda carolling in the Bronx. In the East Village, artist Tom Peyton will hand out 72 color-coded bells to create a percussive soundscape, while in Lower Manhattan composer J.C. King will organize a parade of kalimba players, whose sounds will reverberate off of buildings. Bicyclists can join Pat Spadine and Sam Sowyrda’s “concert-in-transit,” and singers can carry a lantern with conductor Malcolm J. Merriweather in an early music procession to Cathedral St. John the Divine. For the listener rather than performer, “The Gaits” sound-walk app on the High Line offers a meditative winter stroll. —AM

 A Tea Gathering at the Guggenheim

When: Wednesday, December 21, 1:30–5:45pm (free with admission)
Where: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

The Chinese artist collective Yangjiang Group has, since 2002, been hosting gatherings in its hometown where people come to play soccer, eat dinner, practice calligraphy, and drink tea. As part of the group’s commission for the exhibition Tales of Our Time, it’s re-creating those gatherings at the Guggenheim, with a focus on calligraphy and tea. Although the event description speaks of the “the purported relaxing effects of a tea gathering” (emphasis mine), taking time out to drink freshly brewed tea and gaze at a Chinese bamboo garden sounds like a welcome respite from the wearying world. —JS

 Multimedia Solstice Sublimity

When: Wednesday, December 21, 6pm ($15)
Where: Roulette (509 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn)

Every year, to mark the longest day of all 365, artist Phill Niblock presents a winter solstice concert. Unfolding at Roulette’s two-story-high space, the six-hour experience is calming and immersive; it surrounds you with a variety of video footage, unfolding on large screens and set to grand, droning music. Six hours may sound daunting, but don’t worry — you’re allowed to leave and come back if you wish. But once you really settle into it, the sights and sounds worm their way into your mind, and the passage of time becomes of little thought as you just sit and perceive. —CV


When: Opens Wednesday, December 21, 6–9pm
Where: David & Schweitzer Contemporary (56 Bogart Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn)

One of my favorite protest chants to emerge over the past few months is “pussy grabs back!,” in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s recorded comments about sexually assaulting women. The exhibition #PUSSYPOWER, opening at David & Schweitzer Contemporary this week, is sort of the art version of that chant — a reclamation of language and imagery by over 40 women artists, intended as “a large group statement of resistance and feminism.” Opening night will include a silent auction to encourage sales, as a portion of all proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood. —JS

 Christmas with Carol

When: Saturday, December 24, 2:15, 4:45, 7:30pm ($15)
Where: Metrograph (7 Ludlow Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

While working as a Christmas shopgirl at Frankenberg’s department store, Therese (played by Rooney Mara) meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), an older woman looking for a gift for her daughter. What follows is a slow seduction, played out primarily through stolen glances, subtle caresses, and pregnant conversation. Carol is a slow-moving, character-driven film, that (mostly) dispenses with standard plot devices. Beautifully shot and marvelously acted, it’s a must-see. Watch this instead of doing your last-minute Christmas shopping. —TM

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With contributions by Elisa Wouk Almino, Allison Meier, Tiernan Morgan, Benjamin Sutton, and Claire Voon

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