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Free Things to Do in Manhattan This Weekend - December 8-December 10

December 4, 2017 - by CG Directory Editor
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Free Things to Do in Manhattan This Weekend Photo: John St John/Flickr 

There's no denying that Manhattan is the sparkle in New York City's eye, but that doesn't mean you have to dump out your wallet to hang out there. City Guide's compiled all the best free things to do in Manhattan this weekend, and for those wanting to explore the city's most famous borough on the cheap, this is your go-to guide.

Movies that Matter: Film Screenings for Schools - The Jewish Museum
December 08, 2017 - Upper East Side

Students explore themes of identity, culture, and tolerance inspired by the Jewish Museum's collection and screenings of award-winning documentary films. Engaging, guided conversations follow each screening. Free; includes pizza lunch To register, email or call 212.423.3254. Limit: 40 tickets per school. Movies That Matter is made possible through the generosity of the Nissan Foundation, the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., the Moses L. Parshelsky Foundation, and Deborah and Michael Rothman. Additional support is provided through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council and Council Member Peter Koo.

Turn It On Film Series: Petition - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
December 08, 2017 - New York

This long-form documentary in three acts begins in 1996 and ends with the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The first act depicts the difficulties facing petitioners at the Beijing South Railway Station Petition Office and the contradictory nature of the petition system; the second act focuses on a mother and daughter as they undertake the petition process from 1996 to 2008, illustrating how the system brings suffering and tragedy to their lives; and the third act follows petitioners living near the Beijing South Railway Station as they face forced eviction and the demolition of their homes to ensure smooth operations of the Olympic Games.

A Christmas Carol - The Morgan Library & Museum
December 08, 2017 - New York

Director: Brian Desmond Hurst ? (1951, 86 minutes) This classic adaption of Charles Dickens's beloved novel follows the stingy businessman Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) as he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future in Victorian London. Scrooge is given one last chance to change his ways and learn the meaning of Christmas to save himself from the grim fate that befell his unfortunate business partner Jacob Marley (Michael Hordern).

Italian, Dutch, and Flemish Drawings in the Thaw Collection - The Morgan Library & Museum
December 08, 2017 - New York

Ilona van Tuinen, Annette and Oscar de la Renta Assistant Curator, Drawings and Prints & Marco Simone Bolzoni, Moore Curatorial Fellow, Drawings and Print

TEXT & CON/TEXT - Dixon Place
December 08, 2017 - New York City

PANK magazine is teaming up to present a monthly poetry reading series in the lounge at Dixon Place. Each month, two poets will read. Join us for 40 minutes of new lit and a drink after work!

Charles Dickens and the Spirit of Christmas - The Morgan Library & Museum
December 08, 2017 - New York

Declan Kiely, Director of Exhibitions, The New York Public Library, and exhibition curator

Bowery Comedy - Bowery Electric
December 09, 2017 - New York

"Every second Saturday of the month, Carolyn Busa and Chelsea Taylor host a lineup of the funniest stand up comics in New York City as well as special out of town guests. Past performers have appeared on Comedy Central, Conan, and MTV. This show has featured New York City favorites such as Blair Socci, Subhah Agarwal, Jon Laster, Ayanna Dookie, and Mark Normand. Comedians who regularly perform at legendary comedy clubs in Manhattan often drop in to do a set. Carolyn Busa is known as the creator of Brooklyn's very own Side Ponytail, which Chelsea also co-produces and hosts. They keep the show going with high energy banter and jokes in between guest performers. Bowery Comedy is always free and in the map room every second Saturday of the month. For ticket information visit or call (212) 228-0228."

Free Saturdays - The Jewish Museum
December 09, 2017 - Upper East Side

Admission to the Jewish Museum is free on Saturdays. Learn more here. Made possible by the Neubauer Family Foundation. During a Saturday visit to the Museum, you will be able to view our current exhibitions. Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum is now open on Saturdays for prepaid and prix fixe Kosher brunch. Advance reservations required. Shop locations are closed.

Turn It On Film Series: Jiabiangou Elegy: Life and Death of the Rightists - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
December 09, 2017 - New York

Jiabiangou Elegy recounts the persecution of inmates at the Jiabiangou labor camp in Jiuquan, Gansu province, and examines the way the victims' final affairs were handled. During the Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957–59, over three thousand people were sent to Jiabiangou for re-education through labor. These people were labeled rightists, counterrevolutionaries, and anti-party dissidents. Over a three-year period, more than two thousand died from abuse and hunger; only a few hundred were rescued in the end. The film includes interviews with the few remaining Jiabiangou survivors and their children, and presents the conflict between the preservation and destruction of memory.

Sketching in the Gallery - The Morgan Library & Museum
December 09, 2017 - New York

Susan Stillman, Artist and Parsons The New School for Design faculty member Spend two hours sketching, drawing inspiration from works in the Morgan's current exhibitions. Professional artists and educators will be available to assist you. Open to artists of all levels. This program is limited to 12 people on a first come, first served basis. Stools, boards, a selection of pencils, and drawing paper will be provided. While personal sketchbooks are allowed, ink, paint, markers, charcoal, chalk, pastels, folding stools, and easels are not permitted in the galleries.

AMY ALLISON - Dixon Place
December 09, 2017 - New York City

Singer-songwriter Amy Allison sings mostly original songs & some standards.

DraftWork: Jasmine Hearn / Angie Pittman - Danspace Project
December 09, 2017 - New York

Curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones, the DraftWork series hosts informal, free Saturday afternoon performances that offer choreographers an opportunity to show their work in various stages of development. Performances are followed by discussion and a reception with the artists and curator.

Closer-Look Tour - American Folk Art Museum
Through December 09, 2017 - Lincoln Center

A tour of War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics, led by museum gallery guides. Meet in the museum atrium

Dig Drop-In - The Jewish Museum
December 10, 2017 - Upper East Side

Kids discover a passion for ancient artifacts in the Museum's simulated archaeological dig, open on the second Sunday of each month. Free with Museum Admission and RSVP Sign up for email updates on upcoming Family programs.

Hanukkah Family Day - The Jewish Museum
December 10, 2017 - Upper East Side

Celebrate the festival of lights as a family at the Jewish Museum! Build a sculptural Hanukkah lamp with funky found objects — a Jewish Museum tradition. Dance to the pop-rock tunes of Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights, sketch Hanukkah lamps from around the globe on a gallery tour, watch a unique Hanukkah story come to life through a drawing performance by Jeff Hopkins, and collaborate on a giant light collage.

RUNHealthy: Yoga - New York Road Runners
December 10, 2017 - New York

RUNHealthy is a series of holistic exercise sessions aimed at helping to reduce injury and keep you running healthy. Free yoga and stretching sessions are each offered on a monthly basis. Join us on the second Sunday of each month for Yoga for Runners, led by instructors from Pure Yoga. Please bring your own yoga mat.

Milstein Science Series: Celebrating Cephalopods - American Museum of Natural History
December 10, 2017 - New York

Cephalopods like octopuses and squids have fascinated humans for millennia. In the last two decades, marine biologists have discovered many new species and documented intriguing and unexpected behaviors and adaptions within this diverse group of animals. Learn more about these marine marvels through performances, presentations, and live animal encounters at this family-friendly festival. The Milstein Science Series is proudly sponsored by the Irma and Paul Milstein Family.

Jazz for Kids - Jazz Standard
December 10, 2017 - New York

The Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra is a performance driven program that gives talented and dedicated young jazz musicians the opportunity to perform regularly in one of New York City's leading jazz clubs often with guest artists from the New York scene. The visiting guests give a workshop to the band members in addition to providing the experience of playing with the top musicians on the scene. On Sundays during the school year, the students rehearse and workshop in the room before opening the doors at 1:00pm and giving a concert that is free and open to the public at 2:00pm.

Arlenes Flea - Arlene's Grocery
December 10, 2017 - New York

Open Studio for Families - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
December 10, 2017 - New York

For families with children ages 3 and up. Explore the themes and materials seen in the works on view at our drop-in studio art-making program.

World Music Ensemble (Afro-Cuban, Bluegrass, Arab) - Symphony Space
December 10, 2017 - New York

7 pm: Afro-Cuban 8 pm: Bluegrass 9 pm: Arab All events are sponsored by Columbia University's Music Performance Program and are free and open to the public.

Grand Holiday Bazaar - Grand Bazaar NYC
December 10, 2017 - New York

Explore the over 100 vendors of Grand Bazaar NYC's weekly market. Entrance is free. Discover + Shop + Eat & Be Social! Grand Bazaar NYC is the city’s largest curated weekly market. Open every Sunday, indoors and outdoors, with over 100 amazing vendors offering the finest and most distinctive goods (e.g., antiques, vintage collectibles, art, jewelry, artisanal foods). Grand Bazaar NYC donates all proceeds to four neighborhood public schools, benefiting over 4,000 children.

La MaMa Exhibit: A Poster History of La MaMa's Downtown Community - Astor Place
Through December 10, 2017 - New York

La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club is excited to announce 'A Poster History of La MaMa's Downtown Community' -- an upcoming exhibit that explores the history of the off-off-Broadway theatre movement through a selection of original posters from La MaMa's Archives. This exhibit documents the history of downtown theater, the changing aesthetic vernaculars of theatrical posters, and the transformation of print technologies over the past 55 years. It includes posters from every decade since La MaMa's founding in 1961, including the hand­-painted boards that announced La MaMa's inaugural season (1961­-1962) and the digital print created for the theater's 50th anniversary in 2011. Many of these materials are featured in Cindy Rosenthal's forthcoming book, Ellen Stewart Presents: Fifty Years of La Mama Experimental Theatre (University of Michigan Press, 2017). In conjunction with the exhibit, La MaMa will host a series of public programs, all of which are free and open to the public.

Morgan Explorers: Family Drop-In Museum Experience - The Morgan Library & Museum
December 10, 2017 - New York

On the second Sunday of each month, families can enjoy a drop-in experience in Mr. Morgan's 1906 library. Discover art activities, handle touch objects, and get your questions answered by a Morgan educator. Learn more about the myths and stories on the famous ceilings, roll a sample cylinder seal, and get up close and personal with medieval bookmaking materials!

What's Wrong with Rights? - New Museum
Through December 14, 2017 - Lower East Side

As Contentious Debates Surrounding Political Correctness, Freedom of Expression, and Identity Politics Have Come to Dominate National Discourse—Conversations Foregrounded by Extreme Acts of Violence and Hate Speech—Negotiating the Paradoxical Perils of Rights Comes with New Urgency. in Conjunction with "Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon," the New Museum Will Host a Panel Discussion with the Exhibition's Advisory Group: Lia Gangitano, Ariel Goldberg, Jack Halberstam, Fred Moten, and Eric A. Stanley. Participants Consider the Current State and Stakes of Expression and Freedom as They Intersect with Power Structures Tied to Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality, and Disability. Conversations Will Range from Trigger Warnings and Safe Spaces on College Campuses to the Pitfalls of Neoliberal Campaigns for Legal Reforms Around Marginalized Communities.

All the Queens Houses - The Architectural League of New York
Through December 15, 2017 - New York

John Minihan: Beckett and His World - Irish Arts Center
Through December 15, 2017 - New York

Walter Asmus directed Waiting for Godot and worked with Samuel Beckett in Berlin in the 1970s, author Edna O'Brien and publisher John Calder made up his circle in London, and actor Lisa Dwan gave life to Not I as never before. These are some of the luminaries who made up a world of Beckett, both during his life, and after his passing. John Minihan captures their essence in black and white portraiture, including his iconic images of Beckett himself. In his artist talk "Beckett and the Wake," John remembers spending time with a playwright who was often a reluctant subject and rarely posed. John Minihan photographed volumes I and II of IAC's cultural exhibition To Love Two Countries, a celebration of the men and women who immigrated to the United States in the early half of the twentieth century. Culture Night is an annual public event in Ireland that celebrates culture, creativity and the arts. On Culture Night, arts and cultural organizations and venues of all shapes and sizes extend their opening hours to allow for increased access to the public. This year we join by opening our gallery doors for a daytime opportunity to view Beckett and His World.

Jazz+Wednesdays - American Folk Art Museum
Through December 27, 2017 - Lincoln Center

Each Wednesday, from 2 to 3 pm, the Bill Wurtzel Trio play standards from the American Songbook. Limited seating. Info: Read the Q&A with Bill Wurtzel in the New York Times.

Nayland Blake: Crossing Object (Inside Gnomen) - New Museum
Through January 13, 2018 - Lower East Side

Gnomen, a Hybrid Bear-Bison That Can Change Sex and Gender, Is the "Fursona" of Artist Nayland Blake. a Fursona Is an Avatar in the Furry Community, Where Personal Expression Is Bound up with Nonhuman Identities and Fantasies. in the Performance Series Crossing Object (Inside Gnomen) (2017–18), Presented as a Part of "Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon," Blake Will Inhabit a Life-Size Suit of Gnomen and Make Themselves Available for Encounters with Museum Visitors. with the Title, Blake Refers to W.D. Winnicott's Notion of the Transitional Object: a Stuffed Toy or Blanket That Children Use to Construct a Sense of Selfhood Independent of Their Parents. Gnomen Serves as an Objectification of Blake's Hybrid Identity, and Their Presence in the Museum's Café and Lobby Will Allow Visitors to Make Their Own Performances of Intimacy and Distance, Whether Through Taking Selfies, Cuddling, or Adding Ribbons and Bows to Gnomen's Costume. in This, the Piece Echoes Blake's Earlier Performances, in Which the Passivity of Their Costumed Presence Foregrounds the Audience's Role in Acts of Sadism, Exhibitionism, or Nurturing. in These Intimate Situations, the Close Proximity to Gnomen Will Be T... (read more)

Charles Dickens and the Spirit of Christmas - The Morgan Library & Museum
Through January 14, 2018 - New York

Highlight Tours of the Morgan's permanent collection run Tuesday through Sunday at 12:30 pm. Tours of select exhibitions are listed below. All schedules are subject to change. All gallery tours are free with museum admission; no tickets or reservations are necessary. Tours last approximately one hour and meet at the Benefactor's Wall across from the coat check area.

San Marco Quartet - 5 Manhattan West
Through February 21, 2018 - New York

Video Installation by David Rokeby; San Marco Quartet layers all the actions of people and pigeons on Piazza San Marco in Venice into a pair of evolving images showing two views. The images are lit by movement; things that are not moving are invisible. Walking pigeons leave worm-like traces. Gathered people disappear through their shifting motions. Tour groups flow across the image like a river. The left side combines the activities into a very long exposed image that develops over several minutes. In the projection on the right, the past fades more quickly. The moving images are presented as two video projections mirrored at their point of meeting. They use the same material and with differences in how time is portrayed. They present a record of the temporary social architecture that is shaped by the permanent physical architecture of the piazza. Curated by Pari Nadimi. ABOUT DAVID ROKEBY David Rokeby is an installation artist based in Toronto, Canada. He has been creating and exhibiting since 1982. For the first part of his career he focused on interactive pieces that directly engage the human body, or that involve artificial perception systems. In the last deca... (read more)

Rediscovery, Restoration and Renewal: the Eldridge Street Synagogue in Photographs - Museum at Eldridge Street
Through March 01, 2018 - New York

The exhibition opening for Rediscovery, Restoration and Renewal: The Eldridge Street Synagogue in Photographs will take place on Thursday, September 14 from 6 to 8 pm. The exhibition will be on view through March 1, 2018. Ten years ago, the Museum completed the restoration of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. In celebration of this milestone, this photography exhibition provides a visual record of that painstaking process. These haunting photographs capture the rediscovery of the synagogue during its most precarious years. In color and stark black and white, they recall the building's undeniable poignancy and power even as it was a "rainstorm away from collapse." Images of the restoration document the synagogue's dramatic transformation and the artisans who brought the building back to life. Drawings and photographs also capture the building's 21st-century renewal and the installation of a new stained glass window designed by artist Kiki Smith and architect Deborah Gans. Rediscovery, Restoration and Renewal: The Eldridge Street Synagogue in Photographs will be on view through March 1, 2018.

Obdurate Space: Architecture of Donald Judd - Astor Place
Through March 05, 2018 - New York

Obdurate Space: Architecture of Donald Judd is the first exhibition to solely focus on built and unrealized architectural projects by Judd, one of the most recognized artists of the 20th Century. The exhibition reveals how drawing and building cultures impacted his art and suggests how his work has influenced contemporary architecture. Obdurate Space: Architecture of Donald Judd details five selected built projects and proposals, both published and unpublished, for architecture designed between 1984 and 1994 within a threefold thematic framework, providing a window into Judd's body of architectural work. The exhibition will include new representations of projects through both drawing and models, as well as photos of archival material, including drawings and models originally made by the curators, Claude Armstrong and Donna Cohen, while assistants to Judd. Exhibits are open 9am-8pm Monday-Friday and 11am-5pm on Saturdays. Exhibits are FREE of charge.

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