Here are a few fun things to do this summer.
Kicking off its first year, the Catalpa Festival offers yet another chance to see top-tier musical acts playing outdoors within 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.
This is for those who dance. A lot. It’s three days; an all-night(s) blitz of modern dance music from the likes of David Guetta, A-Trak and more. If you appreciate the contemporary offshoots of what we used to call techno, this fest will be something of great joy. A zoo—of dancing people.
Aug. 31-Sept. 2; $299 for all three days. Randall’s Island Park, electriczoofestival.com.
Washington Square Music Festival
Consisting of four Friday night concerts in July, the Washington Square Music Festival is now in its 54th year of entertaining New Yorkers in one of our most beautiful parks. This year, the festival will include a night of music and poetry, a night of Viennese chamber music, a night of music for strings and wings and one of the West African sounds of the Deep Sahara Band. Seating is first-come, first-served, so get there early to enjoy a night of music beneath the stars—and the park’s famous arch—or at St. Joseph’s Church, where the first two concerts will take place.
July 10, 17, 24 & 31, 8 p.m.; free. St. Joseph’s Church, 371 6th Ave. at Waverly Place and Washington Square Park, 5th Ave at Waverly Place, washingtonsquaremusicfestival.org.
Shakespeare in the Parking Lot
Tired of waiting in the stifling heat for Shakespeare in the Park to no avail? Fear not; there’s another free outdoor option to view the Bard’s work. The Drilling Company’s LES staple, taking place in the municipal parking lot at the corner of Broome and Ludlow streets, will present The Merry Wives of Windsor in July, followed by Coriolanus in August. Keep in mind that these productions are prone to interruption; the action occurs around parked cars whose drivers sometimes return and drive away mid-performance. Now that’s something performers never needed to concern themselves with during the Elizabethan era!
Thursdays-Saturdays, July 12-28 & Aug. 2-18, 8 p.m.; free. Broome St. at Ludlow St., shakespeareintheparkinglot.com.
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.
New York Musical Theatre Festival
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, a show based on the Filipino prisoners who became a worldwide sensation thanks to their YouTube performances.
July 9-29. Various locations, nymf.org.
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.
Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival
Celebrate the blues with old and new artists at the second annual Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival at the World Financial Center Plaza. Buddy Guy, ranked in the top 30 of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, will headline the show on July 11, and Grammy-nominated singer Neko Case will perform July 12. Other performers include Charles Bradley and John Mayall.
July 11-12, 6-9:30 p.m. World Financial Center, 220 Vesey St., betw. North End Ave. & West St., artsbrookfield.com.
India Day Parade
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.
August (date TBA). Madison Ave., from 38th to 28th St., fianynjct.org.
The Parade: Nathalie Djurberg with Music by Hans Berg
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. This exhibit displays the less well-known studies and sketches for these paintings. The materials in this exhibit were never shown during Albers’ life and are rarely displayed since his death; The Morgan is the only U.S. stop for this exhibition before it heads back to Europe.
July 20 – Oct. 14, The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave., themorgan.org.
Under the Stars in Riverside Park
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.
Rooftop Film Festival
The Rooftop Film Festival kicked off its 16th year of “Underground Movies Outdoors” on May 11 with a collection of the best new short films from around the world. Be the first of your friends to see one of the many independent films that are being premiered at the festival. Venues include the Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn, Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens and Solar One, a solar-powered arts center in Kips Bay. Movies are preceded by live music and followed by a Q & A with directors and an after-party.
Through Aug. 18; $12. rooftopfilms.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.
50 Years of the New York Film Festival
One of the world’s premier film festivals, the NYFF is leaping into its 50th year with a series of screenings showcasing the most important movies from years past, from memorable mainstream successes like 1993’s The Piano to lesser-known gems such as the 1994 flick Lamerica, about Italian con men in Albania. The 50th edition of the fest kicks off in late September, but there’s no better way to prepare yourself than with these screenings—and perhaps some afternoon sunbathing on Lincoln Center’s divine Illumination Lawn.
Ongoing, locations and times vary; $13. filmlinc.com
Tags: A-Trak, bastille day, Bryant Park, Central Park, David Guetta, Deep Sahara Band, Girl Talk, Hans Berg, High Times, Josef Albers, Lincoln Center, Morgan Library, Nathalie Djurberg, NYFF, NYMTF, Riverside Park, Snoop Dogg, the black keys, The Drilling Company, The New Museum, The Piano, TV on the Radio, Washington Square Park, World Financial Center
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