What to do this week(end): Nov. 20 – Nov. 26


The new Powerhouse Books in Industry City opened today, with an expanded kids’ area and dedicated Spanish language section. Go before everything shuts down again! Photo: POWERHOUSE @ IC

Another week, another rash of unsettling news about Covid spread and one major political party’s continued attempts to propagate a fascist coup. Sure, sure, I like a joke about Giuliani’s dripping hair dye as much as the next gal who is old enough to remember his unglued mayoral crusades against ferret owners and postmodern art, but at a certain point should we stop cracking wise and start marching in the virus-riddled streets? This sobering account of the similarities between what is happening right now and the recent coup in Sri Lanka makes a pretty good case that we should be. Instead, though, many of us are scrambling to adjust to the idea of spending Thanksgiving the same way we spend every other day now: staring into a Zoom screen wondering how we collectively let things get this bad. If you are still on the fence about whether to gather for an indoor turkey dinner with friends or family on Thursday, please take a minute (ok, 8 minutes) to listen to this wise counsel from Rachel Maddow, informed by her own harrowing experience with Covid. 

Like everything else this year, Thanksgiving is going to be different, and if you’re missing the old days when traveling for the holidays was fodder for entertainment you might benefit from an outdoor screening of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles at Parklife on Sunday. Or, you could change things up by signing up for Monday night’s Reclamation Feast, an online cooking demo that will teach you how to a three-course meal featuring heirloom ingredients and recipes that celebrate Indigenous American culture and heritage. Failing that, now is a great time to think about ways to help people who need it right now, and this list of donation and volunteer opportunities is a good place to start. I also ordered a bunch of these liquor-filled chocolate advent calendars and had them shipped to some of my nearest and dearest because. . . well, it seemed like the right thing to do. 

If it wasn’t evident from the tone of this post so far, I’m struggling (again) this week, feeling simultaneously buried in an unending pile of work and also vacillating between extreme ennui and dread about what is on the horizon for the next few months. Chief among the “I never in a million years thought I’d be bored of this thing but then 2020 happened” items for me is food, which is why Tajal Rao’s article about home cooking burnout struck a chord, and why I’m strongly considering throwing in the towel and ordering Chinese takeout on Thursday. (If you want a fancier feast prepared for you, order from these caterers by this weekend). On the topic of burnout, this 20-minute WNYC segment is a good listen if you’re spinning your wheels more than usual this week, and so is my old favorite podcast, The Best Show, which is back after a long hiatus with an episode in which callers try to convince the host, Tom Scharpling, that Steely Dan is a good band. 

Powerhouse Books’ new outpost at Industry City opens today, so if you’re looking to buy Obama’s latest memoir or the much-buzzed-about Booker Prize winner Shuggie Bain, it might be a good place to visit this weekend. Last year, I scooped up a bunch of killer stocking stuffers at Japan Village’s Sunrise Mart, and might try to do the same again if the coast is relatively clear. Meanwhile, across town, Greenlight Bookstore’s Secret Snowflake Holiday Book Drive, which allows you to purchase a book for a child in need at 30% off, is underway. 

In other culture news, Pioneer Works’ annual Ragas Live Festival, a 24-hour immersive celebration of Indian Classical music, is back in a new virtual format beginning on Saturday at 7pm, and the television adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ best-selling Between the World and Me premieres on the same night at 8pm. Alternatively, you can explore the grounds of Green-Wood Cemetery on a special after-hours walking tour and finish off the evening with a Paloma and some tacos at Chilo’s, which has a vast and confidence-inspiring outdoor dining area across the street.  

It’s not all doom and gloom, though, and it’s important to keep in mind that even though numbers are rising, NYC still has a relatively low infection rate due in large part to the continued commitment on most of our parts to be safe and look out for one another. It’s dull and it’s increasingly difficult, but it’s definitely worth it and, thanks to encouraging updates on the vaccine front, there is finally a light at the end of an admittedly long tunnel. We just have to get there! This week, I’m deeply grateful for all the good, kind people whose ongoing sacrifices have ensured that this terrible situation wasn’t made even worse. Best wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving, no matter what it looks like for you and your family this time around.

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