Arts + Culture

13 Coolest Things to Do This Month

Our winter culture calendar is in full swing. On our hit list this month: A trippy James Turrell exhibition in LA, London’s newest culinary stop and a blowout New Year's party in Lake Tahoe.

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Photo by Didier Leroi

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Art

Los Angeles: Light-and-space master James Turrell opens a solo exhibition, “Elliptical Wide Glass,” on November 8 at Kayne Griffin Corcoran. Look for large-scale, orb-shaped sensory works fashioned from elliptical glass with LED-light displays that rotate through thousands of shades on the color spectrum. Also on view: a series of prints from the Arizona artist's 2013 show at New York's Guggenheim Museum.

London: At the Tate Modern, "Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture" is the largest exhibition of the modern artist's work in the U.K. On display are 100 pieces including Calder's famous motorized mobiles, wire sculptures and 1948's Black Widow (shown for the first time outside its home in Brazil).

Art Basel: Miami's yearly art bacchanal returns December 2nd and is bigger than ever. The must-hit fairs? Scope and its photography showcase, Feature, will make a splash again in South Beach, with a party headlining Mack Wilds and Lil' Dicky on Dec. 4 at Nikki Beach; Design Miami, where Parisian illustrator Pierre Le-Tan's Magic City-inspired sketches will be on display; and Art Basel, the place to hear Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of London's Serpentine gallery, speak in the Conversation and Salon series. Look out for the weeklong events and exhibitions at the buzzy new arrival Faena Hotel (we'll be hanging at the interactive roller disco installation).

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Music

Snowglobe (Dec. 29-31): If you’re heading to the slopes this New Year's, why not throw in a killer music festival to fill your aprés ski schedule? Lake Tahoe's end of year bash checks all the boxes: 4,800 acres of adrenaline-filled terrain, graffiti art exhibitions and nightly shows on three stages featuring big-name DJs (Kaskade, Eric Prydz).

Réveillon (Dec. 31-Jan. 1): The beach inclined should head to Rio de Janeiro's wild New Year's celebration, which draws more revelers than Carnival. On the menu: dance parties at Ipanema, fireworks and live international bands on Copacabana beach and all-night club shows. And don't miss a night out at Fosfobox. The underground dance den in Copacabana keeps its high energy with an edgy mix of alt rock and tech house acts.

Stereosonic (Dec. 5-7): One of the largest EDM festivals down under, Stereosonic hops around the country's major cities like a traveling DJ carnival (Adelaide, Brisbane, and Melbourne commence this month). The usual A-list DJs will be on hand, such as Armin van Buuren, Major Lazer and Diplo, and the popular Q&A series returns.

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Hotels

Playa del Carmen: In the past decade, this once sleepy beach town has been reborn thanks to an influx of nightclubs, restaurants and hotels. The new Niz + Chauvet-designed Thompson Hotel, opening this month, is the latest entry. Fans of the brand's urban style of boutique cool will feel at home in the 92 rooms, which are done up with midcentury furniture, beach scene photographs and en-suite craft cocktail bars. Also on-site: an outpost of New York's celeb hangout, Catch, a 30,000-square-foot rooftop pool deck and high-end shops like Michael Kors.

Nautilus, Miami: Steps from the beach on Collins Avenue, Jason Pomeranc's Sixty Hotels continues to expand in Miami with the debut of Nautilus. Housed in a 1950's Baroque building designed by Morris Lapidus, its 250 rooms are decorated with cream-colored leather wingback chairs, vintage steamer trunk minibars and works by fashion photographer Sante D'Orazio. Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, of New York's Butter, runs the kitchen at the Driftwood Room, a Mediterranean-inspired spot that celebrates Florida-sourced ingredients like cobia crudo and heirloom carrot fries with yogurt.

Old Clare Hotel, Sydney: Sydneysiders are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Old Clare Hotel, the centerpiece of a $2 billion complex in the on-the-rise Chippendale district, where art galleries sit cheek-by-jowl with artisanal gourmet shops and cafes. The design pays homage to the 20th-century building's industrial roots with spotted gum floors, distressed concrete walls and tin-pressed ceilings. But it's the three restaurants that steal the show: Silvereye, where former Noma chef Sam Miller employs pickling, fermenting, and curing techniques; Automata, with a new seasonal tasting menu concept by chef Clayton Wells; and Kensington St. Social, renowned English chef Jason Atherton's newest gastropub.

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Photo by David Griffen

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Restaurants + Bars

London: It’s only been open a few weeks, but Mayfair’s Sexy Fish is already London's hottest table.The Martin Brudnizki-designed interiors are done up in Iranian Esmeralda onyx and red lava stone; the space is also a showcase for gallery-worthy works, including three bronze mermaids by Damien Hirst and a crocodile sculpture by Frank Gehry. Order the Isle of Man scallops with ponzu and yuzu snow and tuna belly tartare with soy cured egg yolk and lotus chips. Bonus: the bar carries one of the largest collections of Japanese whiskey in the world. Yes, that's Kate Moss in the corner.

Chicago: If you're chef Grant Achatz, how do you follow up your two Chicago tasting menu temples, Alinea and Next? Go casual. The first sign of Roister's laid back approach is the music ⎯ Achatz and partner Nick Kokonas are sourcing the soundtrack through Spotify submissions. As for the food, expect an open-fire American menu served a la carte, a radical departure from the 20-course degustations that put Achatz's other spots on the map.

San Francisco: The team behind the beloved rum den Smuggler's Cove, in St. Lucia, looked to England for inspiration for their newest project. The gin-focused Whitechapel has more than 350 varieties of vintage and rare gin labels from the 1930s. The Victorian aesthetic is a play on a London Underground station: green acanthus tiles, walls lined with wire harnesses, and a booth with station timetables from 1898. The 100-deep cocktail menu runs the gamut from gin and seltzer highballs to punch bowls.