Craveable - The Culture Craver Blog

Friday 22nd of April 2016
Lauren Fitzgerald, the director of marketing and communications at The New Victory Theater, has consulted with the team at Culture Craver to create our new Culture Craver Kids app, which we're releasing today. The New Victory, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary season, brings kids to the arts and the arts to kids. It presents theater, dance, circus, opera, and music from around the world. It also serves 40,000 children from more than 200 NYC schools each year. Not surprisingly, Lauren knows a lot about great culture for NYC kids and adults. Culture Craver's co-founder, Julia Levy, chatted with Lauren to learn some of her NYC culture secrets. 

Julia: What was one of the first shows you saw as a child? What were your impressions?

Lauren: I think that the first show I saw was probably "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" at a local church. It was awesome. I loved that it told a story that I knew well, but didn't feel close to, in a way that made me connect. When the character of Imogen Herdman got up in the church and yelled, "Hey! Unto you a child is born!" I was hooked. 

Julia: What inspired you to work in the culture sphere and at The New Victory specifically?

Lauren: Working in a cultural field is more rewarding than any other work I can think of. Almost any day of the week, I can walk into one of our theater spaces and witness kids seeing theater for the very first time. Their expressions of joy and disbelief and wonder and every other emotion you can imagine are so cool to see. One of our teaching artists talks about how when kids watch theater, if you look closely, you can observe their eyes changing. I believe that the change that she's talking about is empathy growing inside of them. It's awesome. 

Julia: What was one of the most recent shows you saw?

Lauren: I just saw The Crucible, and I was thinking about how awesome it must be for young people to see something that they learn in school done so well and also so creepily. I love how it didn't shy away from being weird. Speaking of weird, I also really enjoyed The Robber Bridegroom. I love how Alex Timbers fully embraced the ridiculousness of the story and pushed it even further. 

Julia: What are you craving this spring and summer?

Lauren: Judas Kiss at BAM, the Mo Willems exhibit at the New York Historical Society, and Everywhere We Go at NYC Ballet. It's a modern ballet set to a new Sufjan Stevens score.

Julia: What advice do you have for New Yorkers who can't figure out what to do on the weekends with their families?

Lauren: OMGoodness there's so much to do. Obviously, Culture Craver can help you sift through it and find the best stuff. My other advice is once you find favorite places (of course, including The New Victory), become members. The perks of membership are plenty, including getting to know the venue and staff, so these places can feel like a real culture home.

Julia: Going to theater or other culture can be intimidating. How can people start to explore, experience, and broaden their horizons?

Lauren: Like anything, just start. The more you go, the more it will become second nature. Believe me, cultural organizations want you to be part of their community. 

Julia: Are there any rules of theater-going that kids know (that grown ups sometimes need to be reminded of)?

Lauren: In my experience at The New Victory, the grown ups need the rules much, much more than kids do. Kids know that the performers on the stage can hear and see them, so that keeping conversations to a minimum and turning your cell phone all the way off is respectful to the performers as well as to the people around you.  

Friday 22nd of April 2016

It's an exciting week of culture for NYC kids, and we have put together a list of our favorites happening this week. Happy craving, Culture Craver Kids! 

The 6th Annual Big Green Theater Festival is this weekend at the Bushwick Starr. Elementary school playwrights wrote the shows, which will be performed by professional actors, starting Friday and running through Sunday.

See art created by NYC public school children at the Guggenheim in this year’s A Year with Children exhibition. It begins on Friday, April 22 and runs through mid-July.

Friday is Earth Day. Get inspiration about how to celebrate from our list of events honoring the Planet Friday and through the weekend.

From Saturday, April 23 through the 28th, visit the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens for daily screenings of The Peanuts Movie in 3-D. Each day the screening is followed by Mixed-Up Comics workshops at 2:30 PM (good for kids aged 5 – 10).

Saturday is the DUMBO Family Festival. Kids can scale the new DUMBO Boulders, learn about the environment, dance, and paint.

Friday 22nd of April 2016

It's an exciting week of culture in New York City — from events honoring Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death to a "Streetcar" revival at St. Ann's Warehouse to the amazing Michelle Dorrance at the Joyce. These are our editors' favorite openings. CRAVE what excites you and rate events once you've seen them. 

Friday is Earth Day. Get inspiration about how to celebrate from our list of events honoring the Planet Friday and through the weekend.

This weekend will be 400 years since Shakespeare’s death, and it also marks his 452nd birthday (he is said to have had the same first and last day). Join in a birthday and jazz funeral march at Bryant Park on Friday. On Friday, there’s also a Sonnet Slam in Shakespeare’s honor in Central Park. Here’s our list of ways to celebrate the Bard.  

See one of this weekend’s new movies. Options include Elvis & Nixon (with Michael Shanon as Elvis and Kevin Spacey as Nixon), A Hologram for the King (Tom Hanks is in Saudi Arabia trying to close a business deal), The Meddler (Susan Sarandon follows her daughter to LA to find a new life), and Tale of Tales (a fairytale inspired story starring Salma Hayek).

The Boss is coming to Brooklyn. See Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Barclays Center on Saturday, April 23 and Monday, April 25.

Tuesday 19th of April 2016

Friday, April 22 is Earth Day, when we celebrate the environment and Planet Earth. There are some great opportunities for New Yorkers to celebrate the Earth — from a scavenger hunt at the Museum of the City of New York to Arbor Fest at the Queens Botanical Garden. 

Friday 15th of April 2016

Craving art? There's a lot to see at the moment in NYC, and Meredith Rosen, the art dynamo behind Sargent's Daughters, has recommended five must-see gallery exhibitions right now to help you find more you'll love.


Tim Hawkinson: Counterclockwise at Pace Gallery on W. 24th Street through April 23

Thursday 14th of April 2016

From enormous bunnies to ballet to a new circus act, this is an exciting week of culture in NYC. These are our editors' favorite culture openings in the week ahead. CRAVE what excites you and RATE events once you've seen them. 

The latest iteration of the Whitney’s Open Plan series opens Friday, April 15, featuring work by pioneering free jazz pianist Cecil Taylor in the enormous open space on the 5th floor of the new museum.

The American Ballet Theatre Studio Company is performing at the Joyce this weekend from Friday through Sunday. The company’s members are elite young dancers — aged 16 to 20.

The New Cookers band was formed in homage to the jazz sound of Brooklyn. They perform at BAM on Friday, April 15.

Bello Nock is back in New York City, bringing his signature sway pole and comic antics to the New Victory. The first performance of Bello Mania is April 15. It runs through May 1.

Paramour on Broadway by Cirque du Soleil is bringing its blend of acrobatics, music, dance, and costumes to Broadway. Previews begin on April 16.   

Tuesday 12th of April 2016


It was pouring in Midtown today when press, artists, and Public Art Fund officials gathered to present Van Gogh’s Ear, an ear-shaped garden pool that is totally normal down to its polished stainless steel ladder — except for the fact that it’s sitting on Fifth Avenue and standing upright with its lobe pointing skyward.

Created by the Berlin-based art duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, Van Gogh’s Ear is the newest installation by The Public Art Fund. The artists said they sought to create something “dysfunctional” in imagining and crafting it.

“We have actually worked with the pool theme forever. Our very first sculpture was a diving board that penetrated the window of a museum, so you couldn't actually use it,” Dragset said. “It was an example of something dysfunctional, like this piece.”

Elmgreen explains that when viewers cannot actually interact with artwork, they’re forced to consider its meaning: “That makes you think more about the object and also the question, ‘What is a public sculpture?’”

Friday 8th of April 2016

From a new exhibition on the birth of Punk at the Queens Museum to the Miami City Ballet at Lincoln Center to a giant new ear-shaped swimming pool at Rockefeller Center, this is quite a week in the NYC culture sphere. Our editors have picked the openings they're really craving. CRAVE what's most exciting to you to keep track and spread the word. RATE events once you've seen them. 

The School for Scandal, written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, is the 18th Century version of TMZ. See this famous “comedy of manners” as part of Red Bull Theater’s Revelation Reading series starting Friday, April 8.

The New York Pops is celebrating the career of John Williams, who has composed some of the most recognizable film scores in history — from Jaws to Star Wars to Indiana Jones to ET to Harry Potter.

Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe winner Christine Lahti has taken to writing and telling stories about her own life. She’s telling true stories at Joe’s Pub on Friday, April 8 at 7 PM.  

Saturday, April 9 is the Latin Dance Fiesta at Queens Theatre. Travel from Cuba to Mexico, Bolivia to Columbia at this lively show featuring four renowned dance companies showcasing traditional dance. One of the companies performing is Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, which we just featured on our blog this week.

Wednesday 6th of April 2016


Gabrielle Hamilton might be the only daughter of Irish and Italian immigrants who became an expert in repatriation and cultural identity, was adotped by the Blackfoot Confederacy, and was given an official Blackfoot name (which translates into "Goodhearted Woman"). 

Today, Gabrielle leads the public and education programs at Flushing Town Hall, where she aims to give visitors a "world of tradition in one visit."

"I think one of the most educational experiences kids can have is to surround themselves with people who think differently whose arts are different whose cultural background is different," she said. "In Queens, that’s easily done." How? Just get on the 7 Train, she recommended, and get off at diffferent neighborhoods to explore new places — from the Voelker Orth Museum (a landmark Victorian garden and bird sanctuary) to the Lewis H. Latimer House (the home of the African-American inventor who worked with Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell). 

Gabrielle said she aims to bring "tradition bearers," representing the cultural diversity of Queens, to Flushing Town Hall as master teaching artists. These tradition bearers work with school children and other members of the community to share artistic traditions — from Mexican paper art to Afro-Brazilian Dance to Indian Classical Dance to Taiwanese poetry.

"It’s really amazing to see the responses from students," she said. "They find the similiarties in what they’re learning from what their background is."

Gabrielle shared a few recent photos of the teaching artists at Flushing Town Hall: 

Flushing Town Hall Teaching Artist Abha Roy, master of Kathak Indian dance