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Table of Contents

December 2, 2013 Issue

Cover Story

The Gift Finder 2013

Our annual guide once again aims to take the agonizing indecision out of holiday shopping with twelve can’t-fail guidelines (and some helpful suggestions) for finding the perfect present. A handful of chefs and a mixology master put together four sumptuous food baskets. Stockings will runneth over with these 30 tidbits. Notable friends—and couples, and colleagues, and families—on what they want to find from each other under the tree. And an experience is worth a thousand poorly wrapped Christmas sweaters, whether it’s a twerk lesson or olive-oil tasting.
On the Cover: Clockwise from left, Broadway’s four Matildas: Milly Shapiro, Bailey Ryon, Oona Laurence, and Sophia Gennusa. Photograph by Martin Schoeller for New York Magazine. Prop styling by Bednark Studio.

Features

Free Nikki Finke

Although Nikki Finke made her name as the ball-busting scourge of the Hollywood Establishment, her boss, automotive heir Jay Penske, still might have expected his to be spared. He can’t say she didn’t warn him. By Benjamin Wallace

The Opt-Outers

Constant testing of kids from age 4 up has become standard, and the latest curriculum revision, Common Core, is one that many decry as unreasonably hard, causing two thirds of kids to fail. This is leading more and more New York parents to make a radical decision: not to have their children take the test at all. By Robert Kolker

The Wolf of Wall Street Can’t Sleep

Jordan Belfort lived a life of grotesque excess, made millions of dollars illegally, cooperated for a soft sentence, wrote a best-selling book, is being portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, and has reinvented himself as a motivational speaker at peace with his life in California. So why can’t he get a good night’s rest? By Geoffrey Gray

Intelligencer

Betting on the Novel

The National Book Awards’ quest for relevance.

The Celebrity Next Door

The annoyances of having a famous neighbor aren’t limited to the scrum of paparazzi peeking over your hedges.

129 Minutes With Bridget Everett

Playing catch with nouveau cabaret’s leading diva.

Strategist

The Restaurant Review

Toro breathes new life into an old dining trend.

In Season

Pomegranate makes a festive, sweet-tart addition to this seasonal fennel salad.

Culture

Mrs. Parker and the Butterfly Effect

Three weeks before Nabokov's Lolita, there was Dorothy Parker's. Coincidence?

Stop Walking and Pay Attention

Eight masterpieces that shouldn’t be overlooked in MoMA’s interstitial places.

Wizard in Residence

Middle-earth expat Ian McKellen does double duty on Broadway.

An Arm and Eight Legs

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark drops the curtain for good on January 4 (then splits for Las Vegas), leaving behind the biggest bill in Broadway history.

The Art Review

How Michael Williams’s paintings left my retinas quivering.

The Architecture Review

A lot of thought goes into making a great place for play.

The Theater Review

Jefferson Mays is eight entertainingly dead people in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.

To Do: November 27–December 4, 2013

25 things to see, hear, watch, and read.

Departments

Comments: Week of December 2, 2013

Readers sound off on Taylor Swift, conspiracy theories, and more.

The Approval Matrix: Week of December 2, 2013

Our deliberately oversimplified guide to who falls where on our taste hierarchies.

No Ties, Please!

The four stars of Broadway’s Matilda on what gifts they’re hoping for, why Christmas morning can be hit-or-miss, and the enduring appeal of Dick Van Dyke.

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