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Nocturnal Intellectual Marathons Across the US

This winter, five United States cities––Washington D.C., Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York (Brooklyn)––will host installments of A Night of Philosophy & Ideas/Night of Ideas programming for the global La Nuit des idées 2019, a series of intellectual marathon events coordinated worldwide (65 cities in 2019) by the Institut français

Free and open to the public, the events will gather philosophers, intellectuals, researchers and artists, to explore, in a nightly profusion of simultaneous conversations, performances, screenings, VR and 360° experiences, the overarching theme “Facing the Present” and the most pressing issues our contemporary societies.  

Watch A Night of Philsophy & Ideas live from Brooklyn


In honor of the Paris Climate Accord and the leadership of the French government in addressing climate change, the Houston Night of Philosophy & Ideas event (presented from 7pm to 1am January 26 at Rice University’s Moody Center for the Arts) will focus on ecology, with discussions foregrounding environmental concerns happening amongst experts in Buddhism, literature, psychology, history, and more. Timothy Morton—an object-oriented philosophy and ecological studies scholar deemed “our most popular guide to the new epoch” by The Guardian—and legendary multidisciplinary artist Laurie Anderson will give keynote presentations. Open Dance Project will perform, and the event will feature art exhibits from Natasha Bowdoin, a Houston-based artist known for her collage work, and Michel Blazy, a Paris-based artist known for working with live and mutating materials in projects that bring attention to the natural transformation of matter over time.

Date: January 26 
Time: 7pm-1am
Location: Rice University’s Moody Center for the Arts, 6100 Main Street, MS-480, Houston, TX 77005
Website | Facebook Event 

Washington, D.C.

Renowned author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (AmericanahWe Should All Be Feminists) will deliver the keynote address forthe Washington, D.C. Night of Ideas event (January 31, 6:30pm-midnight at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden). The event brings together over 50 participants, and will also feature discussions by art critic and curator Bernard Marcadé, philosopher Judith Revel, and more. Performances from the Marching Band Baltimore Project—founded by French visual artist Frédéric Nauczyciel and legendary American voguing performer Marquis Revlon—will open and close the event, which will also feature live music, DJ sets, spoken word, interactive poetry, and dance performances.

Date: January 31
Time: 6:30pm-12am
Location: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Ave SW &, 7th St SW, Washington, DC 20560

Los Angeles 

For the Los Angeles Night of Ideas event—February 1 from 6pm to 12am—the Museum of Natural History will activate its galleries, diorama halls, theater and public spaces throughout the museum, inside and out. In conjunction with L.A.’s vegan fashion week, Frenchlab will present a Vegan Fashion Show. 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner Robert Lempert will be featured at the event, whose full slate of performers and participants will be announced in January 2019. 

Date: February 1
Time: 6pm-12am
Location: Museum of Natural History, 900 W Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007

New York

In New York, the Brooklyn Public Library will host the premiere event, the only institution to remain open all night with a sundown to sunrise marathon from 7 p.m. February 2 to 7 a.m. February 3. The event will feature over 50 speakers, including Dr. Todd May, the philosophy consultant for popular NBC show, The Good Place; and philosophers Emanuele Coccia and Raphaël Liogier; sociologist Eva Illouz; politician Anastasia Colosimo; and economist Felwine Sarr.

The Library will once again host the wildly popular Dilemma Series—in which philosophers will lead discussions about modern day concerns from gentrification to sexual harassment—with lead questions developed by Professor George Yancy, a regular contributor the New York Times philosophy forum, The Stone, and author of “Dear White America”. WNYC’s 10 Things That Scare Me podcast will invite participants to share their own fears in a special program. In addition, participants will be treated to a live performance titled Manufacturing Mischief. The play, which had its New York debut in the spring of 2018, features wood puppets in the characters of Noam Chomsky, Karl Marx and Elon Musk. Brooklyn-based D.R.E.A.M (Dance Rules Everything Around Me) Ring will transform the Grand Lobby and leave the audience breathless.  

Watch A Night of Philsophy & Ideas live from Brooklyn

Date: February 2 
Time: 7pm-7am
Location: Brooklyn Public Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Website Facebook Event

San Francisco 

Mayor London Breed, French artist JR, French Ambassador of the United States Gérard Araud, and many more will join together in the SF’s first ever Night of Ideas event, at the San Francisco Public Library (February 2, 7pm-2am). The program will celebrate a diversity of ideas in an evening that interprets the theme through the particular lens of San Francisco as the “City of the Future.” Several stages throughout the library will host various means of expression, with keynote speeches, panel discussions, and intimate dialogues interspersed with music, performance, dance, and yoga.

Date: February 2
Time: 7pm-2am
Location: San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, 100 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102