Legendary magazine “The New Yorker”, renowned for its weekly collection of essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry, to name a few, is also the producer of an amazing weekend-long event occurring once a year in New York City. The New Yorker Festival, running Friday, October 4th through Sunday, October 6th, celebrates, like the magazine, the cultural life of New York City, Americana, popular culture, and social issues. The festival provides event ticket-holders the opportunity to see an array of guest speakers, including Academy Award-winning performers, political power players, subatomic physicists and the world’s slickest pickpocket. The majority of events are held in panel/interview form, but there are also some film screenings, book signings, and even a whiskey tasting. Are you intrigued yet??
Now in it’s 14th year, this annual festival is a three-day celebration that cultivates an inspired array of distinguished writers, thinkers, artists, and other luminaries from many fields, including film, music, politics, television, fashion, food and literature. The audience has reached an astonishing number of almost twenty thousand people, who come to hear the thoughts of some of the world’s greatest minds.
Most panels and conversations are led by “New Yorker” writers and contributors. Kicking off the weekend is “A New Yorker Night with the Moth,” a panel starring numerous New Yorker staff, there to discuss their experiences behind-the-scenes at one of the world’s most famous and respected magazines.
Some events this year not to be missed:
- “Buried Alive”, an advance screening of the new Aziz Ansari comedy special, which premieres on Netflex in November. The screening will be followed by a discussion between Ansari and comedian, best-selling author, and New Yorker contributor Andy Borowitz.
- “Television and Politics”, a panel moderated by television critic Emily Nussbaum, featuring Shonda Rhimes, the executive producer of ABC’s “Scandal”; Armando Iannucci, creator of the Emmy-winning HBO series “Veep”; Robert and Michelle King, executive producers of CBS’s “The Good Wife”; and W. Kamau Bell, the star of FXX’s “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell’.
- A conversation between Jon Lee Anderson, Dexter Filkinswill and their editor, Nick Trautwein, about reporting from conflict and disaster zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba, Syria, and Mali.
- “Is Technology Good for Culture?”, an exchange of ideas about media criticism and the digital age featuring technology writer and teacher Clay Shirky and novelist Jonathan Franzen, and moderated by Henry Finder, Editorial Director of The New Yorker.
- “Without a Script”, an improv panel including Rachel Dratch, formerly of “Saturday Night Live”; Christopher Guest, the co-writer, director, and star of “Waiting for Guffman,” “Best in Show,” and “For Your Consideration”; Aubrey Plaza of “Parks and Recreation”; and Horatio Sanz, a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade and former cast member of “Saturday Night Live”.
- A panel, “One Year After Sandy,” will feature Heidi Cullen, the chief climatologist at Climate Central, a nonprofit science-journalism organization; Klaus Jacob,a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, at Columbia University; Piet Dircke,an expert on global water management, climate adaptation, and delta cities; and Jerrold Nadler, a United States congressman representing New York’s Tenth Congressional District.
- Noah Baumbach,who wrote and directed the films “Kicking and Screaming,” “Margot at the Wedding,” “Greenberg,” and “The Squid and the Whale,” will converse with Greta Gerwig, the star of “Frances Ha,” which she co-wrote with Baumbach. The duo are also married.
And these events are just the tip of the iceberg. Other people being interviewed during this incredible festival include Jill Abramson, the executive editor of the “New York Times”; actors Michelle Williams, Christoph Waltz, Ethan Hawke, Toni Collette, and Gael García Bernal; Apollo Robbins, a theatrical pickpocket and sleight-of-hand artist; musicians Paul Simon, Brad Paisley, and Kim Gordon; performance artist Marina Abramovic; gay-rights pioneer Edith Windsor; Bernie Sanders, the junior United States Senator from Vermont and longest-serving independent member of Congress in American history; Tavi Gevinson, the founder of “Rookie”, an online magazine written largely by and for teenage girls; and fiction writers George Saunders, Sam Lipsyte, Junot Díaz, Karen Russell, and Jennifer Egan.
There are several “About Town” events, including:
- A workshop featuring Momofuku’s iterations of traditional fermented foods, such as pickled vegetables and kimchi, with the chef David Chang, who will talk about his food empire over a three-course meal and Milk Bar desserts
- A tasting of rare whiskies, including one not yet available in America, with Simon Coughlin and Jim McEwan, of the Scottish distillery Bruichladdich, who will discuss their craft
- A lunch at Bergdorf Goodman’s BG Restaurant, where Betty Halbreich will talk with Lena Dunham and fashion writer Judith Thurman about her decades-long career as a personal shopper
- A tasting walk from Greenwich Village to Chinatown with humorist and food writer Calvin Trillin
The New Yorker festival will leave you informed, inspired, and smarter than when you were the day before. Some events are already close to being sold out, but a small percentage of tickets for all events will be sold in-person on Friday, October 4th. Plus, for almost all of the events, there will also be a handful of tickets available at the door an hour before start time.
And check out these photos from past years: