What To Do This Month in New York City and L.A.

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We’re wrapping up 2019 on a cultural high note. There’s much to do this December, and the list extends well beyond the realm of “holiday.” SIXTY’s resident culture finder/writer selects some of the best things happening this month, from a showcase of this year’s most noteworthy films to a performance from an indie darling. Herewith, your guide to December’s must-sees in New York City and Los Angeles.

NEW YORK CITY: The representation and centering of black perspectives in dance has made deep progress, and yet still has so far to go. This tension of creating black work in a white community is exemplified in Colored, an ornate and powerful new dance production from Bessie Award-winning choreographer Kyle Marshall. The piece, which will be performed at BAM this month as part of the institution’s New Wave Festival, features Marshall dancing alongside Oluwadamilare Ayorinde and Myssi Robinson. Also on the bill is A.D., Marshall’s latest work. The world premiere performance comments on Christianity’s impact and control over human bodies. Wednesday-Saturday, December 4-7th; Showtimes vary // BAM Fisher, 321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn // Tickets $25

NEW YORK CITY: If your only concept of holiday food is sugary cookies and candy canes, expand your horizons at the 11th annual NYC Latke Festival. In a sprawling display of potato power, the fest will take over the Brooklyn Museum as vendors serve an extensive variety of latkes prepared both savory and sweet. The night features extensive drink options, a live DJ, crowd voting for the best latke, and a panel of celebrity judges. Best of all, the Latke Festival’s proceeds benefit the Sylvia Center, which teaches cooking skills to underserved communities, striving to get children and teenagers more engaged with food growing, harvesting, preparation, and cooking. Monday, December 16, 6-8:30 p.m. // The Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn // Tickets $60 and up

NEW YORK CITY: The Museum of Modern Art’s brilliant, forward-thinking film program remains one of NYC’s best-kept culture secrets. Constantly shifting from art repertory pieces to world premiere shorts, docs, and more, the works shown are so consistent that every trip to the Midtown museum should include catching a movie. This month, MoMA will screen The Contenders, a curated run of 12 new(ish) films deemed especially significant and destined to become legends. The list includes familiar big releases like Joker, Parasite, and JoJo Rabbit, as well as lesser-known arthouse pieces such as Lucio Castro’s End of the Century and Karim Ainouz’s Invisible Life. MoMA will change the films daily throughout the 37-day run, so check the listings closely (or just head in and take a chance on something new). Screening series runs through January 6th; Showtimes vary // MoMA, 11 W 53rd Street, Manhattan // Tickets $14 and up

LOS ANGELES: Fresh off the release of her universally-acclaimed album All Mirrors, rock songwriter Angel Olsen is embarking on an extended tour, which features a December date at the Palace Theater in Downtown L.A. Olsen found indie fame with her sparse guitar compositions and quivering vocals, but on All Mirrors she incorporates a 12-piece orchestra to achieve a more expansive—and beautiful—sound. In a glowing review, Pitchfork wrote that Olsen’s new material “suggests that nihilism and optimism are closer than you think, that what feels like knowing yourself is almost always revealed as delusion.” At the Palace show, you can see (and feel) it all for yourself. Thursday, December 5th, // Palace Theater, 630 S Broadway, Los Angeles // Tickets $39.50 and up

LOS ANGELES: For the adventurous foodies with an open day in their travel plans, Wild Foodie Tours organizes weekly food tours of Tijuana that offer visitors to southern California a chance to eat their way through incredible local Mexican eats. Street food is the focus here, with five stops at vendors along the way, drinks and dessert included. While you’re there, guides will take you to visit the open-air Mercado Hidalgo and a Mexican bakery replete with take-away options. It’s all an easy drive or train ride south from L.A., and well worth it for anyone with adventurous appetites. Every Saturday through December 31, 12 p.m. // San Ysidro Transit Center // Tickets $69

LOS ANGELES: The permanent collection at MOCA warrants a visit in its own right, but for the rest of 2019 and through spring of 2020, a mesmerizing exhibit on American patterning and decoration. Sourced from the vibrant post-modern period of 1972-1985, the MOCA show features pieces from over 50 American artists. Much of the works features appropriation and collage, showing how decorative creators took cues from the worlds of commerce, politics, and gallery art only to make their own new multi-layered works. Designers, art directors, and anyone who practices a craft will find much to love. Exhibit runs through May 2020 // MOCA, 250 S Grand Avenue, Los Angeles // Admission $15

Photo courtesy of Jack Cohen

Scott Heins

Scott Heins

Scott Heins is a writer and photographer living in New York City. Born in Minnesota, he currently works in Brooklyn as a journalist and portrait artist. He's fascinated by anything in the world that's strange, futuristic, or forgotten.