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Cultural Calendar

My Ideal Bookshelf: Book Exhibition, through December 7, powerHouse Arena

Ever wondered what your favorite writer’s bookshelf looks like? Then pick up a copy of My Ideal Bookshelf, a new book that portrays today’s most prominent cultural leaders through illustrations of their bookshelves. Enjoy the interviews with the figures that feature next to the illustrations. If this seems like your thing, head out to the powerHouse Arena in Dumbo for an exhibition of the prints from the book. The exhibition space is also a bookstore, and with 24 foot high ceilings and glass walls, the space is sure to be as inspirational as the book itself.

The Twenty-Seventh Man, through December 9, The Public Theater

Nathan Englander, whose recent work includes a translation of The New American Haggadah, has now adapted his short story The Twenty-Seventh Man for stage. The play, set in 1952 Soviet Russia, follows 26 Yiddish writers who have been arrested because of their work. When the 27th man, an unpublished and amateur writer, enters, the scene changes drastically. Given forth by a troupe that seems to bodily inhabit the sadness of an era at a close, this play carries with it all the majesty and heartbreak of the Yiddish language.

The Leevees, December 15at 9pm, Brooklyn Bowl

In 2005, Adam Gardner, singer and guitarist for Guster, diagnosed a severe problem: the utter dearth of good Chanukah music. To that end, he set out with his friend Dave Schneider of the Zambonis to write a good and proper Chanukah rock record. So they did, and how sweet it was, with instantly classic tracks like “Goyim Friends,” “Latke Clan,” and “How Do You Spell Chanukah?” Come see them rock out in the spirit of our holiday at the Brooklyn Bowl, this coming Festival of Lights.

The Brooklyn Night Bazaar, through December 22, 45 N. 5th Street

This outdoor market is an annual showcase of artistic and musical talent. With vendors selling everything from food to art, and featuring large pieces of installation art, a beer and wine garden, and performances from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, amongst others, this bazaar is a bustling collection of culture and fun. Head out to a warehouse in Williamsburg to join thousands of others on Friday or Saturday nights in December for buying, reveling, and appreciating the art that Brooklyn has to offer.

Les Miserables, opens December 25, New York area theaters

Starring Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, the film version of the classic theater production looks to be a faithful adaptation, but with its own unique flair. “It’s going to be different, for sure. This is the first time anyone’s ever tried it like this,” commented Hathaway, who stars as Fantine. Instead of miming along to their recorded voices, these actors sing live. Now you can hear the classic songs like “I’ve Dreamed a Dream” and “Bring Him Home” for a much cheaper price. A tale of revolution and salvation, first written by Victor Hugo, before being adapted for the stage, this film arrives in theaters on Christmas.

Charles Dickens: The Key to Character, through January 27, NYPL

The exhibit at the New York Public Library, features illustrations from 30 illustrators and items as obscure as a dress by Prabal Gurung, inspired by Mrs. Havisham. Exploring the character of Dickens himself, as well as the characters he created in his novels, the exhibit showcases items like Dickens’s diary, where he wrote down the code he used to communicate with his mistress Ellen Ternan, and the memoranda book he used to brainstorm names for characters. The characters Dickens created live on beyond his novels, and continue to be recreated by artists and writers today.

Conventional Weapons, December 18, January 8, and February 5

Between The Black Parade and Danger Days, My Chemical Romance recorded music during what Frank Lero called “the best of times [and] the worst of times.” Lero explains that “depression crept its way in.” With their goals as a band accomplished, the band had little inspiration left. Yet they got together, and recorded songs that they were too disappointed in to release at the time. That was 2008. In 2012, post Danger Days, the band has decided to release ten songs from this time as a new album, Conventional Weapons. Four songs have already been released (and we recommend a listen to “Boy Division”); six will follow. Tune in if you’ve ever felt rejected, alone, anxious; listen for a taste of past angst and anger.

GO Brooklyn, through February 24, Brooklyn Museum

We featured GO Brooklyn earlier this year for the studio weekend, when the community had the opportunity of visiting artists’ studios all across Brooklyn. Then, the community voted for their top favorite artists. See the art of Gabrielle Watson, Adrian Coleman, Yeon Ji Yoo, Oliver Jeffers, and Naomi Safran-Hon. From Prospect Heights to Red Hook, from painting to mixed media, these recently discovered artists provide a lively show curated by the community.

Mountains on the Moon, a Novel. Written by I. J. Kay, Out Now

Come take one of the most unsettling journeys into the heart of familial and societal darkness to come forth in recent years. This book follows Louise, which is assuredly not her real name, through several narrative strands in her life, beginning in the council estates housing projects of England, and seemingly culminating on parole after time served. In between lies one of the most harrowing tales of abuse and struggle committed to page in recent years, told in one of the strangest and sharpest voices we’ve yet seen.