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

It’s a weekend of strong female voices as the PEN America World Voices Festival and the Radical Vision series head up the best smart things to do in NYC this weekend.

Friday, April 20

Function on your own at this morning talk on artificial intelligence and the role of humans in an increasingly machine-dominated world. Penn Club of New York.

Photo by Marion Ettlinger

Writers, thinkers, and journalists join a panel on the current crises that democratic institutions are experiencing in the face of populist movements; the guests include author Siri Hustvedt. PEN America World Voices Festival at Deutsches Haus at NYU.

On the National Day of Action to Prevent Gun Violence in Schools (and the 19th anniversary of Columbine), New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney will introduce a night of activism. Featured guests are Missouri’s former Secretary of State Jason Kander, “the Millennial Oprah” Cleo Wade (above), and former Bernie Sanders press secretary Symone Sanders. 92nd Street Y.

Also part of the PEN America World Voices Festival is an appearance by feminist thinker Roxane Gay, who’ll be in conversation with BuzzFeed News’ Twitter morning show, Isaac Fitzgerald. The Cooper Union.

It’s 4/20, so of course Caveat‘s Pregame Your Brain will be looking at “Higher Education.” Learn the neuroscience behind the brain and THC and the future of NYC’s weed-related policies, with a visual DJ providing live collage projections as backdrop. (For more on the city’s approach to marijuana and the broader history of drug criminalization, check out The Strand and Think Olio’s Friday night session on Pot and Punishment: Dissecting Marijuana Policy, Mass-Incarceration, and Mental Health.)

Saturday, April 21

Boston wasn’t the only colonial town to host a tea party; learn about New York’s version from New York City Tour Guide Fred Cookinham, who’ll bring the city’s 1774 waterfront to life. Fraunces Tavern Museum.

Catch an event from the Radical Vision series at New York Live Arts, focused on Big Tech and its influence over our lives; a panel ponders, “What is the way forward for democracy in the Digital Age?

The Radical Vision series at New York Live Arts continues with Roger Berkowitz, co-curator and director of the Hannah Arendt Center, who leads a session asking By the People? and looking at Sortition and Lottocracy as democratic innovations that might actually work.

Fave New York City literary salon #YeahYouWrite heads out to the end of Long Island for a special April gathering. Four East End authors will be featured, joined by special guest Téa Obreht (The Tiger’s Wife). The authors will read while you enjoy Chef Frank Fuschetto’s delicious cuisine; there will be literary cocktails, readings, a Q&A, and an open mic as well. South Edison in Montauk.

Sunday, April 22

The Radical Vision series at New York Live Arts continues on Sunday with the deeply disturbing question How Do We Prepare for Trump’s Second Term? Artist/activists will respond.

Pregame for the return of Westworld Sunday night with a Brainwave session featuring the show’s neuroscientific advisor, David Eagleman, and machine learning specialist Pedro Domingos (The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World). After a discussion of our self-programmable-machine future, catch a Westworld-themed tour of the Rubin designed to “leave you questioning how much you really understand about your own mind.”

Be “with her” as Hillary Rodham Clinton discusses free speech at the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture, which will be followed by a conversation between Clinton and Nigerian-born writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The Cooper Union.

Beyond things to do in NYC this weekend, keep up with all kinds of talks, lectures and activities in the big city. Sign up for Thought Gallery’s weekly Curriculum, the best of smart New York delivered right to your inbox.