New York Thought: Smart Things to Do in NYC This Week

Events around MLK Day, astrophysics and poetry, and digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s advocacy for Team Human highlight our picks for the best smart things to do in NYC this week.

Monday, January 21

Activists, intellectuals, and civic leaders come together with musicians and other performers to pay tribute toMartin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and keep his message alive. A full day of free events includes a movie screening and an art exhibition at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).

Caveat will mark MLK Day with a Flying University evening entitled That Ain’t a Black Film? Racquel Gates, author of Double Negative: The Black Image and Popular Culture, will look at the two-movies-in-one bred by black and white perspectives in Coming to America while advocating for a broader definition of what constitutes “a black film.”

Tuesday, January 22

Find digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff in conversation on the night of the release of his new book, which brings together research on human evolution, biology, and psychology in a call to arms for social revolution. As the book cover puts it, “Our technologies, markets, and cultural institutions—once forces for human connection and expression—now isolate and repress us. It’s time to remake society together, not as individual players but as the team we actually are: Team Human.” McNally Jackson.

Image: Courtesy Höweler + Yoon Architecture LLP

From Confederate memorials to NYC’s belated recognition of its sculptural gender biases, there’s a growing awareness of public memory. A panel of art and design experts addresses the question, “How can historians, architects, and designers make visible and physically memorialize lost histories?” The Cooper Union.

In 2014, Jason Rezaian, Tehran bureau chief for the Washington Post, was detained in his parking garage. It turned into an ordeal of nearly two years in a high-security jail before international pressure helped free him. He shares his experience with New Yorker editor-in-chief David Remnick at the New York Public Library–Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

Wednesday, January 23

2019 is “The Year of Thurber,” in honor of the humorist’s 125th birthday, and Selected Shorts at Symphony Space is celebrating. Keith Olbermann hosts an evening of stories and art with guests that include Roz Chast, Michael McKean, and Miriam Shor.

In the Gaslighting America of today, our grasp on what’s real seems ever more tenuous. Author Victoria Loustalot’s new book dives into a year of personal and national trauma through the medium of mysticism. Find her in conversation at powerHouse Arena on Future Perfect: A Skeptic’s Search for an Honest Mystic, which questions why we may need psychics, astrologers, and shamans even if we don’t believe in them. Mini-readings by psychic Catherine River-Rain follow the conversation.

Historian Stephen F. Cohen speaks on War with Russia? From Putin and Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate, in which he argues that we’re in a new Cold War even more perilous than the last. He’ll talk about whether Putin is really intent on destabilizing the West, in conversation with Dan Rather and The Nation’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel92nd Street Y.

The Academy of American Poets Conversation Series at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe continues as award-winning poet Kimiko Hahn (The Brain FeverToxic Flora) sits down with astrophysicist Janna Levin (Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space) to explore “the intersections of science and poetry.”

Thursday, January 24

Geochemist, volcanologist, and Columbia earth science professor Dr. Terry Ann Plank is the ringer at the next convening of Drunk Science. Learn the ins and outs of magma over a drink or two. Littlefield.

Photo by Linda Haglund/ASFInternationally acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Siegel celebrates the tenth season of his ever-popular Keyboard Conversations® series at Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America. Commentary and performance will highlight musical miniatures of Wilhelm Stenhammar (Sweden), Jean Sibelius (Finland), Carl Nielsen (Denmark), Dag Wirén (Sweden), Christian Sinding (Norway) and Johannes Brahms (Northern Germany).

Fold some art making into your day at this session on origami and how it can be transformed into beautiful pieces of jewelry. Japan Society.


Find our picks for the weekend here.

When a Nobel Laureate speaks, who listens? Sign up for Thought Gallery’s weekly Curriculum and get the best of smart NYC delivered right to your inbox.