Events to check out this Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, January 17 to 21.
1. Give your liver a break …
Listen, we’re not saying go all-in for dry January (in fact, we’ve said quite the opposite), we’re just saying your liver could always use a rest. Why not check out some of the delicious non-alcoholic options in this town? The new Reception Bar offers a list of booze-free beverages that highlight Korean ingredients, like the Aphrodite’s Milk, with black sesame, rice orgeat, shimeji mushroom shrub, and egg white, which is designed to boost fertility hormones and increase libido, if you’re into that sort of thing. Mother of Pearl has not only gone fully vegan, they have a whole menu for restrained lovers of tiki, with delicious-sounding drinks like the Pepper Keenan, with pineapple, pomegranate molasses, lime, bell pepper, and jalapeño. The cocktails at Dave Arnold’s Existing Conditions are top-notch, and the cocktails sans booze, like the Serendipity, with tomato, passionfruit and a grapefruit twist, are even better. And Mondays in January, the booze-free pop-up Listen Bar sets up shop at Von on Bleecker Street, with an MLK Jr. party this Sunday with Saada Ahmed from Everyday People parties.
2. … or booze it up on Broadway.
If you make it to the Great White Way this weekend — perhaps, to finally catch the stunning Come From Away, which in mid-February celebrates its second anniversary; or maybe Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, a fun musical romp through the singer’s life, which last weekend turned five; or, Choir Boy, the mellifluous new play by Moonlight’s Tarell Alvin McCraney — there are two very worthy new bars for your pre-theater rendezvous consideration. At Valerie, a gorgeous bi-level gastropub on 45th, you’ll find beef cheek steamed buns and creative flatbreads alongside cocktails, wine, and a full gin and tonic menu with no less than 16 gins to choose from. The sky-high Dear Irving on Hudson, occupying two floors of the Aliz Hotel on 40th Street, offers sleek drinks with expansive midtown views.
3. Find some collectibles to love.
Opening tonight is The Winter Show (formerly the Winter Antiques Show) at the Park Avenue Armory, the annual benefit for the East Side Settlement showcasing ancient works, medieval sculptures, modern décor, and more. The show runs through the 27th. And if you’re a fan of the self-taught artist, this Friday through Sunday is the Outsider Art Fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion, with VIP Early Access tonight and one name in particular on display you might recognize: Jim Carrey, who’s been dabbling in anti-Trump drawings lately and is exhibiting with the gallery Maccarone.
4. See New York in miniature.
Children and ferroequinologists, get in gear. If you haven’t yet made it to the New York Botanical Garden’s enchanting Holiday Train Show, this is your last weekend to do it. With 175 New York landmarks created from natural materials like bark and leaves, this year’s focus is on Lower Manhattan, with new additions including One World Trade Center and the historic Battery Maritime Building.
5. See Matthew Broderick talk about his new film.
This Sunday’s installment of Reel Pieces, with host and Columbia University professor Annette Insdorf, features a screening of the film To Dust, which won the Audience Award for Narrative Film at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, as well as Best New Narrative Director for Shawn Snyder, directing his first feature. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Matthew Broderick, his co-star Géza Röhrig, and director Shawn Snyder.
6. Laugh it up with Lil Rel and more.
Lil Rel Howery’s fame is skyrocketing, so it’s nice of the Get Out and Rel star to make time for us. Catch him at Carolines from Friday through Sunday. And twice on Sunday at Union Hall you’ll find Late Show With Stephen Colbert writer Emmy Blotnick recording her new album, with openers Matt Koff and Gary Gulman. (Those shows are sold out, but there’s usually a standby line.) And on Monday is the excellent weekly show Butterboy at Littlefield, hosted by Jo Firestone, Aparna Nancherla, and Maeve Higgins.
7. Geek out about comics.
This Friday and Saturday, the Black Comic Book Festival is back at the Schomburg Center, celebrating the rich tradition of black comix and connecting creators, illustrators, writers, and independent publishers with the blerds who love them. Panel discussions like “Black Villains Matter,” seminars like “How to Launch Your Comic Kickstarter,” a Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse screening with talkback (show up early for that one), a vendor marketplace, signings, and more, are all free with registration. Cosplay encouraged.
8. See Martin Luther King Jr. honored through song and dance.
He’s the reason for Monday’s holiday, and this Friday the powerhouse gospel tribute featuring 12-time Grammy-winner CeCe Winans, songwriter and arranger Anthony Brown of group therAPy, and songwriter and choir director JJ Hairston of Youthful Praise, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Sunday, see the multicultural Dance Theater of Harlem, currently in its 50th season, take center stage in Dr. King’s honor at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts in Queens, and Monday, the Harlem Gospel Choir does a special MLK. Jr. Day matinee at Sony Hall.
9. Discuss Dr. King’s Legacy.
On Sunday, WNYC partners with the Apollo for an installment of their Uptown Hall series, titled “Unsung Champions of Civil Rights from MLK to Today.” Hosted by Brian Lehrer and Jami Floyd, discussions will touch on Dr. King’s impact on modern social justice movements, and focus on the lesser-known names of the civil rights movement of the ’60s and the social justice movement of now. It’s free, but ticketed, with a standby line. And if you’re out of luck with both of those, the event will also be livestreamed.
10. Then spend Monday at an all-day tribute.
Line up early for BAM’s free annual Martin Luther King Jr. tribute, this year with keynote speaker Tarana Burke, founder of the Me Too movement; a performance by rapper and producer Oddissee; a screening of Dolores, about race and labor justice activist Dolores Huerta; and more. Lobby doors open at 8 a.m., with events beginning at 10:30.