In New York City, the holiday lights are aglow—a charming sight before the city battens down its hatches and settles in for winter. In Miami and Los Angeles, it’s a whole different program, where breezy days and balmy nights set the stage for some of the most exciting events on the season’s cultural calendar. We’ve got legendary art fairs, ’90s rock icons, and much more. Herewith, your guide for December happenings in each of SIXTY’s ports.
NEW YORK CITY: Winter in New York City can be a cold, dark experience, which makes Phosphorescent the perfect pick-me-up. Fresh off the release of his earthy and contemplative new record C’est la Vie, the Nashville-based songwriter occupies a beautiful midpoint between the maximalist indie rock of Bon Iver and the bare-bones indie rock of Iron & Wine. Phosphorescent’s shows are akin to an old-style tent revival complete with booming drums and a phalanx of vintage guitars, but frontman Matthew Houck’s lyrics avoid the nostalgia trap of other, less-savvy folk acts. Moments of driving classic rock, bright ’70s pop, and ’60s country will all get their moment under the bright stage lights of Brooklyn Steel when Phosphorescent comes to town, with support from Liz Cooper & The Stampede. Buy a ticket, down a whiskey or two, and prepare to feel it all. Thursday, December 13th, 8 p.m. // Brooklyn Steel, 319 Frost St, Brooklyn // Tickets $27.50
NEW YORK CITY: Sure there’s tradition, family, and the thrill of giving gifts, but the highlight of Hanukkah is unquestionably the food. If you find yourself away from your usual menorah, NYC’s 10th annual Latke Festival can make you feel right at home, with dozens of different potato cakes to sample ranging from classic recipes to bold experimental creations. As always, the festival is hosted at the beautiful Brooklyn Museum in Prospect Heights, meaning you can (and should) stroll the galleries taking in world-class artwork before satisfying your appetite. There’ll of course be drinks, a live DJ, celebrity judges crowning the latke king of New York, and a crowd favorite voting category. If your Hanukkah isn’t going to be eight crazy nights, at least make one of them delicious. Monday, December 3rd, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. // Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn // Tickets $75 and up
LOS ANGELES: It’s sure to be a tough ticket, but Thom Yorke’s solo show at The Orpheum Theater could prove to be a late-breaking contender for L.A. show of the year. With a set bolstered by his new critically-acclaimed soundtrack to the rebooted 1970s cult horror film Suspiria, the Radiohead frontman will be putting on a darker and more electronic set than what his usual band has on offer. With a title track that’s been called his strongest work in years, Suspiria is a thing of nocturnal beauty, full of gliding pianos and tiny drum machine clicks that appear in the least expected places. Toss all that in with heavy-beat classics like “Black Swan,” and “Harrowdown Hill” and your night at the Orpheum is guaranteed to be transportive. Wednesday, December 19th, 9 p.m. // The Orpheum Theater, 842 South Broadway Los Angeles // Tickets $55.50 and up
LOS ANGELES: The holidays in L.A. are short on snow-covered pines, but that doesn’t stop locals from bringing out the lights. From December 1 until Christmas, Grand Park will host its first-ever Winter Glow, a nighttime interactive experience of art, lights, and art lights. Across the 12-acre park, projections and light displays will encourage visitors to interact directly with the pieces on display, whether it be walking under, crawling over, or passing directly through. Aphidoidea’s “A Spark of Light” will allow visitors to change the piece’s colors through touch sensors, and H+ Creative’s “The Net (Neon Network)” will cover crowds in a spectral tunnel of neon. This takes the concept of “Christmas lights” to an entirely new level. Show runs evenings December 1-25th // Grand Park, 200 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles // Free
MIAMI: December in Miami can only mean one thing: Art Basel. The enormous international event will bring together thousands of artists, curators, collectors critics, fans, DJs, chefs, and anyone with more than 10,000 Instagram followers (it’s mandated by law). The festival can be overwhelming, but thankfully the Art Basel site has an easy breakdown of show locations, party schedules, and numerous artist features that will make it easy for you to find what suits your personal tastes. If you’re a Basel veteran, you probably already have a list of galleries in mind and maybe even a friend or two putting on a performance piece of sculpture show. But if you’re a first-timer… good luck. Just dive in. Don’t overthink it. You’ve made it to Miami when the world is watching. That’s more than half the battle. Thursday through Sunday, December 6-9th; Showtimes vary // Locations vary across Miami // Admission info here
MIAMI: Bar food in Miami is a little different. Beer nuts? No way. Popcorn? You deserve better This month, you’re drinking and downing croquetas. M.I.A. craft brewery is bringing back their winter Croquetas y Cerveza event, mixing top-notch beers with delicious fried dumplings. Containing all kinds of delicious surprises ranging from vegetables to fish to beef to gooey cheese, croquetas are a staple of Latin American and Spanish snacking, and after a couple of IPAs they’ll set you just right. Local restaurants Dos Croquetas and Masa Craft 305 will both be handling the cooking, and a surprise “holiday theme” is reportedly in the works. All at a price that’s easy on the wallet, this fritter fest is an incredible deal.
Header photo courtesy of Alex Perez, @a2eorigins