Free This Week


by staff, 01/27/2015

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

January 28–February 3

Wednesday January 28
African Americans in '60s Hollywood: Nothing But a Man
Where: Central Library, Dweck Center
When: 7–9pm
A milestone in indie moviemaking, 1964's Nothing But a Man features an almost all-black cast and tells the story of a railroad worker (Duff) who leaves his son behind to relocate to the South for work in the early '60s. He falls in love with the preacher's prim and proper daughter and, despite her father's protests, they marry. Following an attempt to unionize the workforce, Duff loses his job and has no way of supporting his new wife and his child—but still fights to persevere through social and racial obstacles during the era of segregation.

Thursday January 29
John Waters: Beverly Hills John
Where: Marianne Boesky Gallery
When: 10am–6pm
For his third solo exhibition at the Chelsea gallery, the Hairspray and Female Trouble director will be presenting photographs, sculptures and a sure-to-be-talked-about new video. That film, titled Kiddie Flamingos, shows young children reading an expurgated, family-friendly version of his masterpiece of filth, Pink Flamingos. We're certain it will be just as strange and wonderful as it sounds—and probably needs to be seen to be believed. The cult filmmaker's previous shows have drawn on his history in the film industry, making in-jokes and filtering movie culture through his eccentric brand of campy humor. 

Friday, January 30
Helmut Lang
Where: Sperone West Gallery
When: 10am–6pm
For Lang's first NYC gallery show, the fashion designer turned artist will present a collection of sculptural works that reflect on the passage of time. Lang combines fabric and shredded textiles with pigments and resin to create 10-to-12-foot-tall sculptures. The exhibition also features shiny cardboard boxes covered in pigment and resin.

Saturday, January 31
"My Business is to Sing": Emily Dickinson, Musician and Poet 
Where: The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
When: 2:30pm
One of the most prolific poets in history, Emily Dickinson's work is known for its unconventional punctuation and syntax, as well as themes like death, religion and philosophy. But Dickinson, who remained a recluse for much of her life, also enjoyed playing piano, attending concerts and collecting sheet music. Through a collection of her poems and letters, as well as the library's own collection of her work, learn about Dickinson's encounters with music, and how it influenced her writing and character.

Sunday, February 1
Ensign Oscar W. Holmes 
Where: Floyd Bennett Field 
When: 11am–Noon
Celebrate Black History Month at this event down in Brooklyn's section of the Gateway National Recreation Area. Park rangers will discuss Oscar W. Holmes, the US Navy's first African-American aviator, who worked his way from being the Civil Aeronautics Administration's first black air-traffic controller in 1941 to becoming a lieutenant and a full-fledged pilot.

Monday, February 2
Groundhog Day 
Where: Staten Island Zoo
When: 7am
Groundhog Day is when New Yorkers and other winter-weary folks wait with bated breath to learn if spring will come early or if cold weather will continue to plague them for another six weeks. The world's most famous groundhog is no doubt Punxsutawney Phil—immortalized in the 1993 Bill Murray movie bearing the holiday's name—but New York City has its very own predictor extraordinaire in Staten Island Chuck, who, in fact, has a greater accuracy rate than his Pennsylvania pal. According to reports (including our own), Phil has correctly predicted spring's arrival less than 40% of the time, while our groundhog's success rate is closer to 80%. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, NYC is the superior Groundhog Day destination. 

Tuesday, February 3
Say It to My Face 3: Say It Harder with Taylor Coates, Jolie Kerr and more
Where: Housing Works, Bookstore Cafe

When: 7:30pm

Those writing for an Internet audience have come to expect comments and responses that can be, shall we say, blunt, argumentative and denigrating; after all, the commenters can hide behind their own computers while lobbing broadsides. In this event some of New York City's most sarcastic web writers, including Emma Carmichael (editor in chief of Jezebel) and Deadspin columnist Jolie Kerr, turn the tables by showing up to recall, in entertaining fashion, some of the harsher comments published about them. 

related venues/(7)

  1. 1
    Central Library, Dweck Center
    10 Grand Army Plaza
    Brooklyn – Prospect Heights
  2. 2
    Marianne Boesky Gallery
    118 E. 64th St.
    Multiple Locations
    NY 10065
  3. 3
    Sperone Westwater
    257 Bowery
    Manhattan – Lower East Side
    NY 10002
  1. 4
    New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
    111 Amsterdam Ave
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
  2. 5
    Floyd Bennett Field
    50 Aviation Road
    NY 11234
  3. 6
    Staten Island Zoo
    614 Broadway
    Staten Island
    NY 10310
  1. 7
    Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
    126 Crosby St.
    Manhattan – SoHo
    NY 10012

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