A guide to 2018 NYC holiday concerts and events
December is in full swing, and New York City is in the holiday spirit, as you surely know if you've been outside at all. If you're looking for something festive to do, NYC never has any shortage of holiday events, be it musical, comedy or movies. Here's a roundup of merry and bright stuff that's going on this month:
Yo La Tengo are in the midst of their annual Hanukkah run, with tons of guests expected to appear. The remaining nights at Bowery Ballroom are sold out but they do sometimes release tickets at the last minute.
Siblings Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright will be throwing their "Noel Nights" Christmas show at Town Hall on December 16, featuring performances from their father Loudon Wainwright III, along with other family and friends including Sufjan Stevens, Emmylou Harris, Sloan Wainwright, Teddy Thompson, Jenni Muldaur, Joan as Police Woman, and Lucy Wainwright Roche, along with several other surprise "special guests." Tickets are still on sale, with proceeds from the show going towards Stand Up to Cancer.
The 2018 edition of Cyndi Lauper's annual "Home for the Holidays" concert takes place at Beacon Theatre on December 8, and features a pretty awesome lineup, including Amanda Palmer, Angie Stone, A$AP Rocky, Natalie Merchant, Regina Spektor, Robert Glasper, Shea Diamond, and more. Tickets are still on sale.
Brooklyn's Flatbush Zombies recently announced a hometown holiday benefit show at Elsewhere on December 12, titled "Boxes Over Baghdad." Initially you had to participate in a toy drive to get tickets, but the drive is over and they've released tickets for sale -- all proceeds go to CAMBA.
Rising Philly rapper Armani White will embark on a brief "Home For The Holidays" tour across the northeastern US, which hits Baby's All Right on December 21 (tickets).
If you're looking for something on the groovy side, there's "The Funk Before Christmas" at Joe's Pub on December 14, with performances from Divinity Roxx, R&B/electronic duo Black Stereo Faith, and DJ Bill Coleman (tickets).
Genre-defying singer-songwriter Toshi Reagon is hosting her "GOODFolk Soul Resolution" show at Joe's Pub on December 15, with additional performances from Jacqueline Woodson, Joan As Policewoman, and more TBA (tickets).
The Front Bottoms will hold the 2018 edition of their annual Champagne Jam holiday party at Asbury Park, NJ's Convention Hall on December 16, with a lineup featuring Manchester Orchestra (who The Front Bottoms are now touring with), SWMRS, Remo Drive, Beach Bunny, Shannen Moser, The Moms, and Mandancing. Tickets are still on sale.
Ingrid Michaelson's "Holiday Hop" show is moving to a new NYC location this year, taking place at Beacon Theatre on December 17. Tickets are still on sale.
Kanine Records will be hosting a holiday party at Baby's All Right on December 17, with a lineup featuring The Natvral (aka Kip from Pains of Being Pure at Heart), Honey Cutt, Eternal Summers' Nicole Yun, and Tallies. (BV staffmember Bill Pearis is among the night's DJs.) There's a hosted open bar from 8-9 PM and the show is completely FREE (with RSVP).
The Glove will hold the Shea Holiday Party on December 20, with performances from Alexander Orange Drink (who's celebrating the release of his new LP Babel On), THICK, Baglady, and Emmerson & Her Clammy Hands. Head here for more info.
Marky Ramone will be hosting his "Holiday Blitzkrieg" show at Gramercy Theatre on December 21, where he'll be joined by Bad Religion and Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson. Marky is set to play tons of Ramones classics, along with a hosting a screening of the Ramones-featuring film Rock 'n' Roll High School. Tickets are still on sale.
Eliot Glazer (fictional and real-life brother of Broad City's Ilana Glazer) will once again host his "Holiday Haunting Renditions" show at Littlefield on December 9, with special guests including SNL's Chris Redd and NYC comic Larry Owens (tickets).
John Waters' annual Christmas show happens at City Winery on Sunday, December 9. It's sold out but you can sign up for the wait list.
Cabaret legend Justin Vivian Bond will play a run of shows at Joe's Pub from December 13 to December 22, titled "Justin Vivian Bond is Refrigerated." Tickets are on sale now.
Comedian actress and singer Sandra Bernhard will bring 2018 to a close with a run at Joe's Pub from December 26 to December 31, bringing a "mélange of musings, music and whimsy." Tickets are on sale now.
Connor Ratliff (The Chris Gethard Show, Search Party, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and punk vet Mikey Erg are presenting "The Spirit Of Ratliff Secular XMAS Spectacular" at UCB Theater on December 12 (tickets).
At Littlefield on December 16 is Courtney Maginnis and Chris Calogero's "Not Quite Midnight Christmas Spectacular" comedy show, with appearances from Kate Willett, Josh Gondelman, Casey James Salengo, Emily Winter, and several others (tickets).
Breakout NYC comedian Ikechukwu Ufomadu will do his annual holiday-themed show "Ike for the Holidays" at Joe's Pub on December 11 (tickets).
The unique live comedy show Comedy Monsoon, which blends elements of live stand-up and improv with colorful animation, will be hosting a special "A Carton Monsoon Family Christmas: show at Union Hall on December 11 (tickets).
The Gregory Brothers, who are known for their viral "Auto-Tune The News" YouTube series (and "Double Rainbow"), will host a special Christmas show with NYC-based songwriter Melanie Penn at Le Poisson Rouge on December 16. Tickets are on sale now.
A bunch of great NYC comedians will band together for a special live rendition of The Muppet Christmas Carol at Union Hall on December 13. Aside from a live reading of the script, the show will feature "sing-alongs, dances, act-outs, snacks and more," with appearances from Jo Firestone, Casey James Salengo, Shalewa Sharpe, Carmen Lagala, Sam Evans, Nasser Khan, and others. Tickets are now on sale.
Speaking of movies, there are tons of screenings happening around NYC: at Alamo Drafthouse, they'll be showing light-hearted films like Love Actually and Elf, along with the not-so-light-hearted Satan Claus is Coming to Town. Over at Nitehawk Cinema, they'll be hosting screenings of a variety of holiday and holiday-adjacent films like Eyes Wide Shut, Scrooged, It's A Wonderful Life, Female Trouble, Fargo, Die Hard, Hook, Love Actually, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Little Women, and Black Christmas.
And speaking of Muppets, Jim Henson's great 1977 special Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas, which just got its also-great Paul Williams soundtrack released for the first time ever, will be screened in theaters around the country on December 10 and December 17 -- head here to find a theater near you (there are a few in NYC) and we can't help but post this amazing Emmet Otter blooper reel:
More comedy: The recurring "Cheap Date" comedy show, hosted by Sharron Paul and Calvin Cole, will be holding a "Holiday Extravaganza" at Union Hall on December 22, with special guest comedians Jon Laster, Shane Torres, Liz Miele, Elsa Waithe, and Kat Burdick. Tickets are still on sale.
City Winery is hosting the 5th-annual "Christmas Eve For The Jews" comedy show, featuring headliner Mark Schiff, alongside host Joel Chasnoff and house musician Brian Gelfand. Tickets are on sale now.
Brooklyn comedian Zach Zimmerman often performs under his "Christian magician" persona Luke Babylon (perhaps inspired by Gob Bluth), and he'll be doing a "Christian Miracle Extravaganza" show at Union Hall on December 28, alongside UCB comic Ashley England (tickets).
If you're itching to show off that ugly holiday sweater you recently bought, there will be an Ugly Sweater Christmas Party at Littlefield on December 22, with music from DJ Shad P and DJ Von Chase (tickets).
If unwrapping is your favorite part of the holidays, you might be interested in the Wasabassco's House of Deveraux holiday burlesque show which happens at Le Poisson Rouge on December 21 (tickets). Wasabassco is also hosting burlesque at City Winery on December 15 (tickets).
If you still have presents to buy, there's the BUST Holiday Craftacular on Saturday, December 8 at 72 Noble St in Greenpoint. Jonathan Toubin will be DJing an array of holiday 7"s, and there's also food, drinks, music, and more. 11 AM - 7 PM, free.
Then there's the annual Renegade Craft Fair which this year happens at the Brooklyn Expo Center on December 22 & 23 from 11 AM - 5 PM each day.
There's also the annual ARChive of Contemporary Music's Holiday Sale with thousands of LPs and CDs. That runs every day from December 8-23 from 11 AM to 6 PM.
If you've never seen the Christmas lights in Dyker Heights, you should really go, and there are also NYC standards like the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with Rockettes, and the NYC Ballet's presentation of The Nutcracker.
We've also been rounding up new holiday songs on a weekly basis for those who need to hear something besides "All I Want for Christmas is You."
What else? You can check out all upcoming shows at BV’s NYC shows calendar.