5 Things to Do This Thanksgiving Weekend

The making of Shaun Leonardo’s latest public artwork — “Between Four Freedoms,” the exhibition of which has been extended to Tuesday at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island — is predicated on the notion that the four freedoms cited in Roosevelt’s 1941 speech don’t apply to everyone equally. How would our most vulnerable citizens interpret them? In a series of workshops leading up to the installation, Leonardo attempted to answer that question. For one, he pointed to the freedom from fear: How can it be considered attainable when children continue to be incarcerated? How can people declare it when for them fear persists in the shadows?

The culmination of these exercises is represented in a series of large vinyl murals of hand gestures (which sometimes speak louder than words) that Leonardo applied to the granite walls at the entrance to the park. Words haven’t been completely ignored, though. QR codes surrounding the works link to audio recordings of workshop participants discussing what freedom — or its lack — means to them.


Mimicking a light-filled 80-degree rainforest, this 1,200-square-foot vivarium provides close encounters with as many as 500 creatures, such as monarch, viceroy, blue morpho and emerald swallowtail butterflies, and atlas and luna moths. (Timed entry is required, and visitors must buy tickets that include special-exhibition access.) For curious children, the thrills of wandering among the show’s blossoms and greenery include seeing these free-flying international travelers alight on an outstretched hand or emerge from a chrysalis.

Small visitors who prefer to keep insects at a distance can enjoy several exhibits outside the conservatory’s doors. Among them are a short film about metamorphosis and displays on butterfly habitats and adaptations. Owl butterflies, for instance, have large spots that resemble owl eyes — a way to fool predators — while monarchs contain foul-tasting toxins. Those bright orange wings are nature’s own caution sign.

Film Series

Before Paul Verhoeven’s latest provocation, the 17th-century lesbian-nun drama “Benedetta,” opens on Dec. 3, IFC Center invites viewers to revisit his scandals of yore. While his early Dutch outrages aren’t much represented (other than “Spetters,” one of the most phallocentric movies ever made, screening on Saturday), you couldn’t ask for a more ice-pick-sharp Friday-night selection than “Basic Instinct” (also showing Sunday through Tuesday), the subject of protests — even during filming — for its depiction of Sharon Stone’s bisexual murder suspect. It stands, along with Verhoeven’s return to Holland, the gripping World War II drama “Black Book” (on Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday), as the high point of his mastery of the erotic thriller.

Perhaps less seen, but relevant to “Benedetta,” is “Flesh + Blood,” screening on 35-millimeter film on Sunday. Rutger Hauer’s character leads a group of mercenaries who claim a divine mandate, but the encroaching plague proves impervious to superstition. “Benedetta” will close the series on Dec. 2.

They say the Thanksgiving table is no place for certain subjects, but those are just the kind of scraps D.L. Hughley can turn into a feast.

The comedian, who hosts a nationally syndicated afternoon radio show with a companion series on Pluto TV’s LOL! Network, has been making waves since the late 1990s, when he starred in his own sitcom on ABC and toured as one of “The Original Kings of Comedy” alongside Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and Bernie Mac, who died in 2008.

Hughley had the political savvy to host his own CNN show and the mainstream appeal to compete on “Dancing With the Stars.” In 2012, he created and starred in “D.L. Hughley: The Endangered List,” a mockumentary for Comedy Central that won a Peabody Award. This year, he published his fifth book, “How to Survive America.” He’ll certainly have plenty to talk about when he performs at Carolines on Broadway on Friday and Saturday at 7 and 9:45 p.m. Tickets start at $60, with a two-drink minimum.


Wycliffe Gordon, a trombonist and composer who also dabbles (virtuosically) on the trumpet, tuba and more, has described his childhood this way: “Classical music at home, gospel music at church and country music on the radio.” On trombone, he can fit himself so snugly into the music he’s playing that it’s tempting to pin him down right there: “Aha, he’s a hard-bop player.” “Oh, that’s the sound of a New Orleans traditionalist.” Actually, what you’re hearing is his range, and the coolness of his stride.

A onetime member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and a former professor at Juilliard next door, Gordon is no stranger to the stage at Dizzy’s Club. He returns for his annual run of Thanksgiving-week shows there, with sets at 7:30 and 9:30 each night through Sunday, except Thursday, when he will give a special holiday performance at 7 p.m.

His quintet, the International All-Stars, features the Australian saxophonist and multi-reedist Adrian Cunningham, the Israeli-born pianist Ehud Asherie, the Japanese bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and the drummer Alvin Atkinson — like Gordon, a native of the American South. Tickets to the Thanksgiving performance are $178, and include a three-course meal. The shows on Friday and Saturday cost $55; on Sunday, $40.