A Night of Philosophy and Ideas is a thinker’s lollapalooza. The free, 12-hour weekend lyceum at the Brooklyn Public Library includes spirited debate, live music, theater, performance art pieces, and film screenings. At any given hour, five or six different events will be taking place simultaneously. Visitors are encouraged to come and go as the spirit moves them.
With more than 75 participating artists and scholars, merely listing the lineup would take you half the day. Here are a few high points:
- New York Times–acclaimed jazz harpist Brandee Younger will kick the night off with a concert in the library’s Grand Lobby at 7 p.m.
- Starting at 8 p.m. and continuing throughout the night, artist Sherrill Roland will share his experience from within the American prison system as part of the Jumpsuit Project.
- French circus collective Compagnie XY will begin performing a series of “mini happenings” and acrobatic stunts at 8:30 p.m., continuing intermittently throughout the night.
- Director Claude Lanzmann’s nearly nine-and-a-half-hour documentary on the Holocaust, Shoah, is considered to be one of the greatest pieces of art to deal with one of modern history’s darkest moments. Understandably, the film is usually shown over multiple sittings, but for those intrepid souls willing to tackle it, a continuous and complete screening begins at 9 p.m.
- The breadth of vocalist Theo Bleckmann’s range and expression is equaled only by his versatility. Bleckmann has worked with Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass, recorded a set of cabaret classics, and orchestrated a full show of Kate Bush covers. He’ll be kicking off the National Sawdust Music Salon in the Dweck Auditorium at 10 p.m.
- Author Jack Halberstam is one of the country’s leading academics in the field of transgender literature and cultural studies. At 10:30 p.m., Halberstam will present a lecture on trans representation that engages the potential and possibility for an ungendered future.
- Journalist and Princeton University scholar Robert Wright, in conjunction with The New York Times philosophy and opinion imprint The Stone, will give a talk on “Better Living Through Buddhism” at 11 p.m.
- At midnight, the stars of the NYC Women’s March, the 60-plus-member Resistance Revival Chorus, will sing songs of protest and pride.
Festivities and lectures will continue into Sunday until 7 a.m.; check the online schedule for more details on the early morning programming. Food and drinks will be available for purchase on-site but, if you can hold out until 5 a.m., Colson Patisserie will offer a complimentary breakfast of much-needed brain food.
Why You Should Go: This free, half-day-long symposium presents fresh ideas for curiosity seekers of all ages and doubles as a great opportunity to meet interesting, similar-minded people.
A Night of Philosophy and Ideas
Brooklyn Public Library
10 Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Heights
Saturday, January 27–Sunday, January 28
7 p.m.–7 a.m.
Let our experience advisers help you with some proper pregaming before a night of philosophical thinking.