Summer Selects

Written by Our Town Downtown on . Posted in News Our Town, News Our Town Downtown, News West Side Spirit, Our Town, Our Town Downtown, West Side Spirit.


Choice cuts for the dog days of summer
MUSIC


Kicking off its first year, the Catalpa Festival offers yet another chance to see top-tier musical acts playing outdoors within the city limits. The fest will feature more than 40 performers, including blues rock superstars The Black Keys and Snoop Dogg rocking his seminal album Doggystyle in its entirety. Other highlights include NYC faves TV on the Radio, Girl Talk and hip-hop instrumental wizard AraabMUZIK. There will also be a reggae stage sponsored by High Times magazine, a “sculpture” that belches fireballs in the air and various other novelties (inflatable “sham marriage” church?) included to distract from the fact that music lineup is mostly weak, aside from the headliners.
July 28-29; $140–$180 for the weekend. Randall’s Island Park, www.catalpanyc.com.

THEATER


Even at 16 years old, this annual marathon of offbeat, cutting-edge theater—which birthed Rent, among other memorable shows—is devoted to the new and the strange. This year’s performances will include From Busk Till Dawn: The Life of an NYC Street Performer, Love Death Brains (A Zombie Musical), Occupy the Constellations: A Collaborative Revolutionary Puppet Tale and, all the way from California, a show called What I Learned From Porn. Not everything you’ll see at the Fringe is great, but it’s always done with humor and spirit, making it more interesting—if not quite as professional—than most other festivals.
Aug. 10-26. fringenyc.org.


Featuring live music, workshops and full productions of brand-new musicals, the NYMTF has been giving New York audiences a chance to experience exciting musical theater without Broadway price tags (or tourists) since 1994. This year’s lineup is particularly strong, with 30 musicals including A Letter To Harvey Milk, about a butcher sending a letter to Milk; Baby Case, Michael Ogborn’s take on the Lindbergh baby’s disappearance; and Prison Dancer.
July 9-29. Various locations, nymf.org.

CULTURAL EVENTS

 
If you secretly wanted to protest at Zuccotti Park but didn’t want to deal with the lack of showers and that whole sleeping outside thing, Bastille Day on 60th Street is for you—it’s like the sanitized, more fun version of protesting. After all, it was the poor French who decided they weren’t going to take it anymore from that bossy monarchy. The good news is no one is going to be guillotined at this Bastille Day. Instead, visitors can play pétanque, sip on kir royales and eat some smelly cheese.
July 15, 12-5 p.m. 60th St. betw. 5th and Lexington Aves., www.bastilledayny.com.

 
Celebrated to commemorate Indian independence from Britain, there is usually a Bollywood star or two in attendance at this glittery parade to which Indians from all over the tristate area come to party like it’s 1999. There’s food and goodies sprinkled along the parade route, so you can chow down on your favorite goodies like samosas and kebabs.
Aug. 19; 12 p.m. Madison Ave., from 38th to 28th St., fianynjct.org.

MUSEUM EXHIBITS

Bird is the word at the New Museum’s Studio 231 space as Swedish artist Nathalie Djurberg, known for her nightmarish animations, and videographer Hans Berg show off five trippy animations and an unnerving menagerie of more than 80 free-standing bird sculptures. These hybrid, sometimes monstrous forms speak to the artist’s interest in physical and psychological transformation, as well as pageantry and perversion.
Through Aug. 26, The New Museum, 235 Bowery, newmuseum.org.


What better way to spend your summer than hanging out in a library, especially if you’re going to see the Morgan Library & Museum’s Josef Albers exhibit? Albers, the iconic 20th-century artist who died in 1976, is best known for his painting series Homage to the Square, in which he explored color relationships in concentric squares.
July 20 – Oct. 14, The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave., themorgan.org.

FILM

As usual, Bryant Park’s summer film schedule features a slate of timeless classics. But let’s face it: That lawn is too damn crowded. Fortunately, for those who’d prefer not to trip over a dude in a bowler hat and miss the climax as we search for our blanket whenever we use the Port-a-Potty, there are a number of other city parks with outdoor films. Most notable is Pier 1 in Riverside Park, which follows up its invasion film-themed 2011 with an eclectic mix that includes Cinema Paradiso (July 11), Amélie (Aug. 1) and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure(Aug. 8). Chairs await you, and you won’t need to arrive four hours early to snatch one.
Wednesday evenings, July 11-Aug. 15, 8:30 p.m.; free. Pier 1, Riverside Park South, 70th St. at the Hudson River, riversidepark.org.

Central Park Film Festival
Now in its 10th year, this festival is known for pairing themed movies—past favorites have included Coal Miner’s Daughter and Dreamgirls—with live DJs for a week every August. The gates around Rumsey Playfield open at 6:30 and visitors are free to relax and frolic—no glass bottles!—until the screenings begin. The roster for this year’s fest has yet to be announced, but there’s rarely a bad pick in the bunch; with a whole summer guide’s worth of things to do, who knows how much time you’ll even have left in your schedule.
Aug. 21-25; films start at 8. Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, enter at E. 69th St. & 5th Ave., centralparknyc.org.

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