… BE THE MUSIC
Five Points’ Variety Hour at Silk Road Mocha Café
30 Mott St., nr. Pell St.; 212-566-3738
The Five Points, a performance-art collective, takes over Silk Road Mocha’s cozy backroom every Friday night. Talent ranges from soulful singers to coarse comedy and the occasional Chinese rapper. Starts at 8 p.m.
45 Mott St., nr. Bayard St., lower level 212-693-1888
Don’t be intimidated by the dark, underground location and karaoke diehards there to sing high-pitched Chinese pop. This is a chance for a true Lost in Translation experience, minus the jet lag. To avoid long waits at peak hours (around midnight), reserve one of Galaxy’s glowing karaoke rooms. Room charge: $50 an hour Fridays and Saturdays nights.
…SURVEY CHINESE HISTORY
Museum of Chinese in the Americas
70 Mulberry St., at Bayard St., second fl. 212-619-4785
A 2,000-square-foot Maya Lin–designed exhibition space at 211–215 Centre Street won’t open until the end of this year; until then, here is where you’ll see moca’s tiny but substantive exhibition, which includes dramatic Chinese opera costumes and a bevy of local relics.
…JOIN THE ART SCENE
Asian American Arts Centre
26 Bowery, nr. Bayard St., third fl. 212-233-2154
The Asian American Arts Centre, which ordinarily displays contemporary work, adopts a more traditional curatorial approach around the New Year. Beijing artist and architect Chen Xiao-Rui’s installation of full-scale traditional Chinese palace interiors is on through mid-March. In April, Bovey Lee will have an exhibit of her beautifully intricate, somewhat surreal rice-paper cutouts.
Art In General
79 Walker St., nr. Lafayette St., sixth fl. 212-217-0473
Here’s the neighborhood’s avant-garde outpost. During the elevator ride to the sixth-floor gallery you will hear Stephanie Diamond’s sound piece on New York’s “elevator culture.” Currently in the gallery: Alejandro Almanza Pereda’s sublimely Dan Flavin–esque installation of towering, crisscrossed fluorescent lights, through March 31.