WORD SMITH: It’s been a banner year for punk poet Patti Smith, what with netting a National Book Award for Just Kids. So the atmosphere should be even more jubilant than usual at her end-of-year three-nighter at Bowery Ballroom, a tradition that’s been going since 1998. It’s sold out, but Craigslist should hook you up. 9PM.
CULT FAVORITE: Every modern filmmaker from David Lynch to Martin Scorcese via the Coen Brothers and Spike Lee has named Night of the Hunter in their pantheon of cinematic influences—this iconic 1955 thriller about a preacher-cum-serial killer (that’d be Robert Mitchum, with those “Love” and “Hate” tattoos on his knuckles) was the only film Charles Laughton ever directed, and a commercial flop at the time. See it on the big screen presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center at the Walter Reade, 8:30PM.
MOUTHTRAP: The fearless Sandra Bernhard returns to Joe’s Pub for the first installment of a four-night run (including New Year’s Eve) in her annual comedy-and-song NYE week gig at Joe’s Pub. She gets less and less shy every year, bless her heart. 7:30, 9:30PM.