Tag Archives: River Flicks

Outdoor Film Screenings

Summer in NYC is a hot, sticky time full of free outdoor events. There are yoga classes, bubble wars, wandering Shakespeare, Shakespeare in a Parking Lot, countless concerts of all musical varieties and, my favorite part of the summer- outdoor film screenings! There’s something about sitting on the grass, eating picnic food and watching a movie that makes me positively glowy. I suppose it’s because I love the group experience of seeing a movie with hundreds of strangers, but I hate paying the $12.50 to do so in a theater. The outdoor film screening gives NYC back its raucous movie going adventures. The New York Parks Dept. has a pretty exhaustive list of the screenings happening this summer, but I’d like to spotlight the ones I think are particularly exciting!

The Bryant Park film series is one of the best known and therefore one of the most crowded. You need to get there when the lawn opens (5pm) and be prepared to use all your New Yorker bitchiness to get a spot. This year they’ve saved the best movie for last: Bonnie and Clyde on Monday Aug. 23rd. Watch this trailer and consider if watching in a group is worth the hassle for you.

The only really exciting film (for me at least) at Summerscreen this summer is the Labyrinth. God I love David Bowie. Sigh. Lucky for you the screening was postponed by rain and will be happening Aug. 18th, so you still have time to figure out what to wear when on hipster home turf!

On Wed. July 21st take a trip up to Van Cortland Park in the Bronx for a screening of one of the most romantic movies ever released- Casablanca. You and your significant other will be so wrapped up in the romance you’ll almost forget how long it will take you to get home.

The Summer on the Hudson film screenings on Pier 1 in Riverside Park South offer a lovely view of the water and free chairs (if you show up early enough). My two picks are Big Fish on Aug. 4th and Stranger than Fiction on Aug. 11th. Here’s the trailer for the latter; imagine watching it with the Hudson River in the background (sigh, I love summer in NYC).

The Rooftop Film Noir Screenings are new (at least to me) this summer. I find the idea of watching film noir from a rooftop in the W. Village extremely compelling. My pick is Sunset Boulevard on July 22nd.

Hudson River Park’s River Flicks provide cool breezes off the water as well as free popcorn! There’s only one film in the lineup I’d want to see this summer- Julie and Julia (Aug 4th). I’ve already seen it and I can assure you it’s nice light summery fare but be sure to bring a substantial picnic- all the cooking will make you hungry!

Also new to me this summer is the Red Hook Summer Movies festival. From their website it looks like the view behind the screen will be phenomenal- Lady Liberty is the guest star of every film! The films are mostly new to me as well so I can’t give any solid recommendations, though Splash looks ridiculous enough to be fun:

I’m not too keen on any of the movies screening at Socrates Sculpture Park in July, but the August schedule isn’t up yet so you should definitely check the site again later this month to see what comes up!

Rooftop Films, though generally not free, is one of my favorite summer institutions. The screenings take place in a variety of locations, not all on rooftops. My favorite venue by far is the Old American Can Factory, so if one of the screenings happening there appeals to you definitely go! I generally favor the programs of short films. July 21st they’re showing a program of Swedish short films, which I might skip were it not that I’ve seen one of the films (INSTEAD OF ABRACADABRA) and it was marvelous! I would also strongly recommend Animation Block Party (July 30th)- a wonderful night of animated shorts that I’ve attended 2 years running.

Last but certainly not least, my all time favorite venue for film screenings- Brooklyn Bridge Park. There is nothing more magical than sitting between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges watching a wonderful film with your friends. It is a truly New York experience. The film selection this year isn’t that great but I would say The Blues Brothers on Aug. 19th is the best of the bunch.

Happy watching!!

August 12-17 Get it while it’s HOT!

Can you believe it’s already the middle of August? If you haven’t been to your fair share of awesome summer events it’s time to get out of your apartment and get ’em while it’s HOT!

Tomorrow I will be on a plane on my way to Banff, but you will have to make the difficult choice between 2 great film screenings, an absurd musical event and a free opera performance!

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will be playing on the ball fields of McCarren Park. This is a very hipster film so this screening in the heart of Hipsterville is a prime opportunity to view it in its… hmm… natural habitat?

The other movie screening worth considering is The Sex and the City Movie showing on Pier 54. If you’re just as in love with your new Prada sandals as you are with your new summer fling this is the event for you! Here’s the trailer (in case you’ve finally gotten the theme out of your head and need a refresher):

If you want some live melodrama (instead of onscreen) head up to Central Park where the New York Grand Opera will be performing a semi-staged production of Madama Butterfly in the Naumburg Bandshell (@ 72nd St.).

If you want to see a story whose ending is yet to be determined witness history in the making at the first Music Video Film Festival and Band Battle at Public Assembly!

Music video film festival and band battle

On Thursday head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for another fabulous film screening, in this case Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Don’t forget to bring a picnic and get there early for a good spot!

Also on Thursday there will be a truly epic concert out at Coney IslandBlondie, Pat Benatar and The Donnas are playing the Seaside Summer Concert Series. Why see the imitators when you can see the originals, right?

This weekend some very (ahem) unique performers will be back in town- Puppetry of the Penis is live at the Bleecker Theater! This video doesn’t show you much but if it doesn’t terrify you this may just be the best show you’ll see all summer!

If that’s not your style, never fear, the monster of theater festivals is opening on Friday- the New York International Fringe Festival! Running through August 30th…

The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) is the largest multi-arts festival in North America, with more than 200 companies from all over the world performing for 16 days in more than 20 venues – that’s a total of more than 1300 performances! FringeNYC generates an atmosphere of extreme excitement, and our energy is contagious!

There will be something for EVERYONE.

Friday night the free lecture at the Columbia Astronomy Center is ‘Teaching Old Stars New Tricks;’ as always the star gazing at the observatory post-lecture is also free and open to the public!

This weekend at Galapagos Suspended Cirque is presenting their newest creation- Urbanopolis! This talented troupe of aerial performers will tell a fanciful tale of a young man’s urban journey; their performance will stretch over the walls and ceilings and bring the audience into the world they’ve created.


On Saturday if you haven’t made it out to P.S.1 for the Warm Up this summer then this week is the week to go! DJ Pierre, Phuture 303, House of Stank, and Growing will be heating up the courtyard; if you need to cool down check out Leandro Erlich’s Swimming Pool (j/k).

Leandro Erlich: Swimming Pool

Leandro Erlich: Swimming Pool

Last summer the Public Theater gave us bacchanalia in the form of naked hippies, this summer they’re taking it back to its roots with The Bacchae! Don’t wait until the end of the run to try to get tickets at the Delacorte; I tried to get tickets for the Twelfth Night at the end of the run and was too late at 6:30am!

Monday is your last chance to see a movie in Bryant Park this summer; Spielberg’s masterpiece Close Encounters of the Third Kind will screen at dusk. Here’s the trailer:

Next Tuesday for the singles among you there’s a free rooftop party at Tonic East in the village. The group running the event- Single and the City, aim to bring together the best of the best to help you find who you’re looking for- check it out, you never know, right?

I hope you all have a great week, follow me on Twitter to get the latest updates!

August 5-9 Summer in the city…

In August many New Yorkers flee their hometown to escape the sticky heat and herds of tourists; this August make your friends in the Catskills green with envy when you tell them about all the shenanigans you got up to in The Big Apple while they were swatting mosquitoes! This week has lots of jealousy worthy events in store!

This evening, if it doesn’t rain, The Asphalt Orchestra will be performing as part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival:

An iconoclastic 12-piece marching band conceived by Bang on a Can premieres ambitious processional music from every corner of the music world, works that coax funk from the funereal and would make a halftime show sparkle with sophistication. Choreographer Susan Marshall weds parade spectacle to new pieces by Tyondai Braxton (of Battles), Goran Bregovic, and Stew and Heidi Rodewald, and arrangements of songs by Björk, Meshuggah, Mingus, Nancarrow, and Zappa.

If it rains they’ll be performing throughout August so you’ll have more chances to experience this funky version of a marching band.

Also at the whim of the weather gods, Waltz with Bashir may be screening in Socrates Sculpture Park this evening; for an audience numbed to the violence shown on the news this animated film is somehow more real than a traditional documentary. Here’s the trailer:

On Thursday check out a special shorts screening of work by Peter Buntaine and Lorenzo Gattorna of New York(er) Shorts on a rooftop in Bushwick (15 Lawton Street, Brooklyn; films screen at sunset).

If you’re interested in seeing some better known short films outdoors spend your Thursday evening in Central Park where Ashbury Shorts will be screening at Summerstage:

New York City’s longest running exhibition of award-winning independent short films presents “An Evening of the World’s Best Short Films,” featuring live music, celebrity guests, and noteworthy, festival award-winning short films compiled over the past ten years. Films to be featured include: Super Powers – Best Short Film, 2007 Tribeca Film Festival; Yours Truly – voted best animated short film at over five international festivals; Stalker Guilt Syndrome – Live Action Comedy – Jonah Kaplan, Brooklyn; Tanghi Argentini – Audience Prize, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival; plus other classic shorts.

For the literary amongst you there’s a great reading at Solas Thursday night, courtesy of the St. Mark’s Bookshop– John Joseph will read from his autobiographical work The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon, which details his experiences in the punk scene and his struggles with homelessness, addiction and insanity. Be prepared to be horrified.

If you want more laughter and less horror in your Thursday check out The Raspberry Brothers at Comix; this time they’re exercising their wit on Karate Kid.

Pat Morita in Karate Kid

Pat Morita in Karate Kid

On Friday, if you missed seeing The Muppet Movie at BAM last week you have another chance to see it, this time on Pier 46 in Hudson River Park.

You also have a chance to see two great up-and-coming bands Friday night at Spike Hill. Ellis Ashbrook is playing alongside Mem (who I wrote about recently). Here’s a great shot from Mem’s last show:



If recent screenings of Cary Grant films have left you hungry for much much more you’re in luck- BAM is having a Cary Grant Retrospective all through the month of August; here’s a clip from Saturday’s offering The Talk of the Town:

Saturday is a big day for electronic music. First, Boys Noize is playing on Central Park’s Sumerstage. For those of you who need a full day of electronic music I bring you… The Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival! This massive event at the Old American Can Factory features performances by Juan Maclean, Young Love and Designer Drugs.


For those of you who have a favorite anime character (admit it- you have more than one), Saturday is your chance to dress the part at Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition‘s All Day Anime Event! Keep your costume legal (no naked nymphs, etc.) and mingle with other anime enthusiasts while checking out awesome new artworks!

If you think you have what it takes to complete the Pizza Tour of Brooklyn join fellow pizzaholics for a day of serious eating this Sunday.


Have you heard of silent kung fu films? No? Well, that may be because there is only one surviving from the golden age of Chinese cinema. Rooftop Films will be bringing it to you with a new original score by Devil Music Ensemble, performed live, at the Automotive High School in Brooklyn. This screening of Red Heroine also includes a martial arts demonstration and is followed by an open bar.

Finally, to add a little art to your weekend I recommend checking out the ongoing exhibit at the Yossi Milo Gallery– Sexy and the City New York Photographs:

Sexy and the City shows the alluring, romantic and sometimes scandalous side of New York’s people and places. Capturing private, intimate moments and blatant displays of sexuality, these photographs span the decades from the 1940s to the present day, taken in landmark locations like the Brooklyn Bridge and in the quiet, out-of-the-way corners of the city.

This is one photograph being displayed:

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic image of a kissing couple in Times Square on V-J Day, 1945

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic image of a kissing couple in Times Square on V-J Day, 1945

Have an excellent week(end) and stay tuned for additions!

July 22-27 (Take 1)

This weekend is chock full of excellent events. Be sure to check my previous post for fun stuff happening tonight and tomorrow. Plus, a quick addition for tonight, if you won’t be able to make it to the Excess Energy party at Hugs Thursday you can check out Brian Blackout at Fontana’s tonight; he’ll be spinning a lot of 70’s arena rock, funk, psychedelia and indie rock- sounds like a party to me!

It turns out that Mayor Bloomberg is the one who dubbed this Good Beer Month! Go out and celebrate his stroke of genius Thursday night at Pacific Standard, where they’re having an Epic New York State Beer Throwdown, featuring (according to Brooklyn Based):

beers from Keegan Ales,Captain Lawrence Brewing CompanyIthaca Brewery, and Lake Placid Brewery, as well as our very own Kelso of Brooklyn and Sixpoint Craft Ales.

Friday night Rooftop Films takes the show the the ground (the lawn of Automotive High School in Wburg) for Animation Block Party! They’re “dedicated to exhibiting the world’s best independent, professional and student animation,” and they’ve definitely followed through in the past. This is going to be a fantastic show, full of comedy and drama and animation in all sorts of styles.

If you’re looking for a classic film join kids of all ages in Hudson River Park for a screening of Ghostbusters! Check out the trailer to remind yourself of just how great it is:

On Saturday night you can go to the rave you always dreamed of attending- FIXED is coming back to the basement of the Tribeca Grand! Guest DJs RitonLemonade and Free Energy will keep you dancing all night long!

Also on Saturday Indian Idol Kailash Kher will be rocking the Prospect Park Bandshell! His music is described as “adding elements of folk, reggae and rock to Indian pop” and he definitely looks like he knows how to put on a show.


On Sunday, for a change of pace from all the beer celebrations, celebrate pork at 3rd Ward’s 2nd Annual Pig Roast and Dance Party!  Butchers from Marlow & Sons will be slicing and dicing for your culinary enjoyment (there will also be beer, don’t worry). Here’s an impressive (and kind of gross) image from last year’s event:

Pig Roast 2008

3rd Ward's Pig Roast and Dance Party 2008

Sunday night finish off your weekend with Our Lady J: Gospel for the Godless at Joe’s Pub:

Our Lady J is a New York based singer/songwriter known for her visionary gospel stylings and powerhouse pianistic skills. Along with her “Pink Champagne Orchestra” and “Train-To-Kill Gospel Choir,” she has sold out crowds at The Zipper Factory, Ars Nova, The Beechman Theatre, as well as world venues including London’s prestigious South Bank Centre and the Spiegeltent (in Manchester, UK). She has also traveled the globe as music director and arranger for Justin Bond’s recent original song cycles. This year, Out Magazine named her as one of the “Out 100,” a list of the people who helped shape LGBT culture in 2008.

On Monday MetroMetro is hosting the 3rd Board Game Olympics at Union Hall; games include Trivial Pursuit, Jenga, Uno, Battleship, Connect Four, Memory and Operation! Sign up in advance and use those skills your parents said were useless!

Stay tuned for additions and have a great weekend!

July 14-16 Hello Sunshine!

Why hello there sunshine! I believe you and I are beginning a beautiful friendship! Let’s celebrate with a week of outdoor activities!

This week the New York Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing outdoors in Central Park (tonight and Friday night), Prospect Park (Wednesday) and Van Cortland Park (Thursday). I’m planning to attend Friday’s performance. If you go be aware that the people close to the stage will expect you to be quiet and listen to the music, while those further from the stage will use the orchestra for mood music to go along with their picnicking. Last year we set up camp quite a ways from the stage and chit chatted between surreptitious sips of wine; it was splendid.

Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, Central Park, 2008

Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, Central Park, 2008

Wednesday night Central Park has another excellent event to offer- The New York Grand Opera will be performing Il Trovatore at the Naumburg Bandshell (@72nd St). I saw them perform a semi-staged version of Aida last summer and it was excellent. I think this is a great introduction to opera- casual but with the excitement of costumes and such to give the story a visual element. You should read the story beforehand and, as with all outdoor events, bring a picnic!

If you’re not in the mood for opera you should consider heading down to Pier 54 on the Hudson to watch Vicky Christina Barcelona under the stars. I don’t know what got into got into Woody Allen when he was abroad but this is a very hot film- bring someone you want to take home.

There’s only one event on Wednesday worth staying inside for- The Mixer Reading and Music Series at Cakeshop. You may recall I’ve written about this event before and tomorrow’s lineup is perhaps even better than usual; readings by Walter Aikens, Fiona Maazel, Monica Youn, and musical guest, Rebecca Schiffman. Monica Youn is both an attorney and a published poet, which I find intriguing and Rebecca Schiffman is downright adorable (and a talented musician).

Rebecca Schiffman

Rebecca Schiffman

Thursday night at the Prospect Park Bandshell you can see one of B’s favorite acts- the Kronos Quartet! They’re playing alongside the Luminescent Orchestrii.

If you’re looking for something a little more old school to round off your week I highly recommend watching The Maltese Falcon under the Brooklyn Bridge. Here’s the trailer for this stunning 1941 picture with Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor:

Enjoy your week and stay tuned for additions!