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

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New decade, new year, new month. There is plenty to celebrate as we start 2020. And, with this handy guide courtesy of SIXTY’s resident culture writer in hand, you’ll have plenty of things to do. Herewith, your guide to January.

NEW YORK CITY: New York City in January can be a cold, brutal experience, but Winter Jazzfest is back to heat things up. The annual concert series functions as the hippest music festival in the universe, as jazz bars and dance halls across Manhattan open up to the very best jazz, hip-hop, and soul sound providers. UK producer and DJ Gilles Peterson kicks off the two-week festival with back-to-back nights at Nublu and Le Poisson Rouge, while polyglot drummer Mark Giuliana will make multiple appearances both sitting in and headlining his own gigs. Throw in Brazilian folk guitar legend Seu Jorge and a DJ night from Talib Kweli and you’ll be making the most of the long, dark winter nights. Festival runs January 8-20th; Showtimes vary // Venues vary // Ticket info here

NEW YORK CITY: It might be 3,000 miles away from Hollywood, but New York City is the best place to see a movie, end of discussion. This month, ahead of awards season, the IFC Center is screening the entire Oscars short list of documentary films, letting locals and visitors in NYC the rare opportunity to movies rarely available anywhere in theaters (yes, even in Hollywood). Both short- and feature-length docs will be screened over the special weeklong series, with the marquee changing each night and plenty of matinees for anyone who finds themself with a free afternoon. Features like American Factory, Knock Down the House, and One Child Nation will all be can’t-miss titles, but lesser-known shorts like Stay Close, Ghosts of Sugar Land, and After Maria should be on watchlists as well. Films screen January 3-9th; Showtimes here // IFC Center, 323 6th Avenue, Manhattan // Tickets $16

NEW YORK CITY: If you danced at a house party in the last ten years, chance are you’re already a YACHT fan. The Portland-made electronic duo is largely responsible for the synth revival that first took over indie music, then conquered the mainstream over the course of 2010s. YACHT will be cruising into Rough Trade this month with support from Milwaukee rapper Juiceboxxx. Their seven-minute epic “Utopia/Dystopia” remains one of the most infectious songs-you-know-you’ve-heard-but-can’t-recall-where, and their lives shows are known for being vibrant parties complete with on-stage theatrics. On the setlist will surely be tracks from their latest record, Chain Tripping, which was written partially with the use of an artificial intelligence program (we’re not kidding). Saturday, January 18th, 8 p.m. // Rough Trade NYC, 64 N 9th Street, Brooklyn // Tickets $17-20

LOS ANGELES: From LACMA to the Getty to the La Brea Tar Pits, Southern California is home to arguably the best museum scene in the world, and for one special day this month every one of them will be opening for free. It’s called Free-For-All Day, and over 40 art and history institutions are participating across the Los Angeles area. Heavy-hitters like the Broad and Academy Museum of Motion Pictures are on the list, but so is the Los Angeles County Fire Museum, Forest Lawn Museum, and the International Printing Museum are all open to the public as well, meaning no matter where your interests lie (or where you are in L.A.), it’ll be easy to drop in to a gallery or two. Saturday, January 25th // Participating museums here // Free

LOS ANGELES: Fans of the minimalist sensibilities of Japanese design will want to set aside the day on January 5th to visit Hollywood Heights’s Japan House, where expert instructors will lead courses in Yosegi Zaiku, a process of pattern and mosaic-making that was developed during Japans’ Edo period in Kanagawa. The workshops will be led by Japan 47 Artisans’ Yuta Shimizu, and will let participants create personal works that draw from small pieces of natural wood. Pieces supplied for workshop-goers will reflect the boreal diversity of Kanagawa itself, making your Yosegi Zaiku a work truly of and from another place and time. While you’re at Japan House, you’ll be able to purchase unique wares from Japan 47 makers and check out special exhibitions of contemporary Japanese art on display. January 5, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. // Japan House Gallery Level 2, 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles // Admission $10

LOS ANGELES: Each month, the best dance night in Los Angeles comes together at The Echo, where a roster of top-fight DJs put on Funky Sole, spinning rare soul 45s into the early morning. Now, to kick off 2020, The Echo is flipping the script and unveiling the Funk Fest DJ Summit, a night boasting the best funk from any era, from old vinyl to ’80s cassettes to the latest Soundcloud uploads. The bill is packed with talent, including Zackey Force Funk, DJ Loser, XL Middleton, Seano, Jansport J, Hotthobo, 5-D & Kenny Lucas, and Vinyl Honey + Boogie, meaning the vibe is sure to be eclectic, keeping you on your toes (or heels, however you like to get down). Friday, January 17th, 9 p.m. // The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles // Tickets $10

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Blum



Curated by the SIXTY Collective, our unconventional dossier of what is happening in arts and entertainment, dining and nightlife, literature and pop culture, music and video, as well as travel and other leisurely pursuits.