Free in NYC


by Erin O'Hara, 05/09/2012

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There's always something exciting to do and see around the five boroughs that doesn't cost a dime. See our weekly picks below, and visit our calendar and special offers section for more free events.

May 9–15

Wednesday, May 9
Arts in Mind Conversation Series: Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome with Comedian Maria Bamford
You might not immediately recognize her name, but over the past few years, Maria Bamford has gained national renown as the hilariously hyperactive mom in Target's holiday commercials. She's also a stand-up comedian with two solo Comedy Central specials under her belt. On May 9 at 8pm, Bamford sits down as part of the Arts in Mind Conversation Series at The New School, where she will discuss her struggles with mental illness. If her stand-up is any indication, she's sure to bring her wacky sense of humor to the serious subject matter.

Thursday, May 10
A Cut Above
Papercut artwork (made from cut-up paper) has been making a serious comeback. Twelve artists from all over the world showcase their works in A Cut Above, an exhibition at Christopher Henry Gallery through June 24. Using knives and scissors instead of pencils and paintbrushes, they've created intricately detailed scenes that are both visually stunning and technically mind-blowing. The opening reception takes place on May 10 from 6 to 9pm.

Friday, May 11
The Taming of the Shrew
Can't wait for Shakespeare in the Park? Get your fill on May 11 at Juilliard. Third-year drama students from the elite performing-arts school present The Taming of the Shrew, the oft-adapted (e.g., 10 Things I Hate About You) Shakespearean comedy. The show begins at 8pm at Juilliard's Stephanie P. McClelland Drama Theater, but arrive early, as tickets are standby only. (Additional performances are on May 12, 16, 18 and 19.)

Saturday, May 12
Handmade Crafternoon
Join hosts Maura Madden (author of the book Crafternoon) and librarian Jessica Pigza on May 12 at 2pm at the New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building for an afternoon of free crafting fun. At this month's event, make a festive summer garland, perfect for decorating backyard barbecues or roof parties. Special guest Jennifer Paganelli, designer of Sis Boom fabrics and author of Girls World and Happy Home, will lead the way. Registration is recommended—email and arrive by 1:50pm.

Sunday, May 13
Summer on the Hudson: Tai Chi
Tai chi, the slow-moving Chinese martial art that is simultaneously soothing and energizing, continues to gain popularity. The practice's proponents tout its ability to relieve stress and prevent conditions like arthritis, heart disease and Parkinson's. And since the exercise is low impact, it's ideal for all ages and ability levels. Instructor Silvana Pizzuti will guide this "meditation in motion" at the Sailors and Soldiers Monument in Riverside Park every Sunday at 8am all summer long.

Monday, May 14
Toni Morrison: Home
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Toni Morrison, who wrote modern classics like The Bluest Eye and Beloved, reads from her newest novel at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square. Home tells the tale of a Korean War veteran's return to America—where he struggles with racism and finds himself in a familiar but unwelcoming place. The event starts at 7pm, but you can arrive as early as 5pm to secure your place, as there's sure to be a large turnout.

Tuesday, May 15
Comic Book Club – Live!
Comic Book Club Live is a talk show about comic books recorded live in New York City and broadcast online on the acclaimed Nerdist Channel on YouTube. Recently praised in Time Out New York, the show has hosted such guests as Saturday Night Live's Bill Hader and 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander. This week's episode, at Pianos at 7:30pm, features H. Jon Benjamin—known for his voiceover work on popular animated shows like Home Movies, Archer and Bob's Burgers, plus his (lamentably canceled) Comedy Central show Jon Benjamin Has a Van.

related venues/(4)

  1. 1
    The New School
    65 W 11th St, room 263
    Manhattan – Greenwich Village
  2. 2
    Christopher Henry Gallery
    127 Elizabeth St
    Manhattan – SoHo
  3. 3
    Riverside Park
    Riverside Drive to Hudson River
    72nd St. to St Clair Pl.
    New York – Upper West Side
    NY 10115
  1. 4
    158 Ludlow St
    Manhattan – Lower East Side
    NY 10002

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