Tag Archives: Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

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!!

July 31-August 2 (+ Ongoing) Events!

Watching To Catch a Thief under the Brooklyn Bridge was amazing; it was one of those evenings that make you fall in love with NYC all over again; I’ll post some pictures of the magic later today. First let me tell you (a bit belatedly this week, sorry about that!) about the great events happening this weekend!

If you missed seeing Cary Grant last night you have another chance to tonight- Notorious is showing at the Rubin Museum as part of their Cabaret Cinema series. This is another great Hitchcock film, complete with secrets, treachery and lust; Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains (both of Casablanca fame) play alongside Grant. Here’s the original 1946 trailer:

For something a bit more explicit you can join fans of Andy Warhol for a screening of his rather unusual film The Nude Restaurant at the Anthology Film Archives:

Wondrous Warhol vixen Viva dishes up a monologue of hysterically epic proportions while co-star Taylor Mead and other nearly naked actors comically mill about the set in this rarely screened feature from The Factory gang. Warhol and crew supposedly rented a restaurant called The Mad Hatter and filmed this barebones, bare-skinned comedy in just one day. While the title aptly reflects the film’s content, it was also a smart marketing move on the part of Warhol and his assistant, Paul Morrissey, to exploit the then-current controversy surrounding “skin flicks” and the emergence of pornography in Times Square grindhouse theaters. Many favorite superstars – Billy Name, Alan Midgette, Louis Waldron, Ingrid Superstar, and someone named Electro Banana – appear in g-strings and much less….

If it proves to be a nice night stay out and enjoy it with opera in East River Park; this lovely strip of green has much the same feel as Brooklyn Bridge Park and tonight’s performance, with two singers from the Metropolitan Opera (Joyce El-Khoury and Keith Miller), is sure to be enchanting.

If you’d rather spend the evening in a less… hmm… green outdoor space, head down to Ludlow and Broome where Shakespeare in the Parking Lot is performing Measure for Measure- starting this weekend and continuing through August 15th.

Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

Shakespeare in the Parking Lot

On Saturday you can continue the celebration of all things Warhol at the Prospect Park Bandshell, where his even weirder film Silent Film Portraits will be accompanied by a live soundtrack, provided by Dean & Britta:

Dean & Britta, who are beloved as one of the sexiest duo’s in rock, in addition to being alumni of the groundbreaking alt-rock band Luna, perform original scores to Warhol’s rarely seen short silent film portraits, which captured Factory superstars, celebrities, and anonymous teenagers in mesmerizing four-minute shots. Commissioned by the Andy Warhol Museum, the project is like an archeological dig unearthing NYC’s 1960s art scene, complete with an unforgettable soundtrack. Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts, whom Pitchfork describes as “moody-sounding f*ckers who make fabulous stripped-down garage-pop,” will set the tone for the night.

Move from Warhol’s 60s milieu to the 70s punk scene with a visit to a hot new exhibit at the MOMA-Looking at Music: Side 2. I was there last week and I thought the setup was very effective; there are listening stations where you can hear the music being discussed, as well as music videos and various ephemera. Here’s a pic of a mother and daughter rocking out together:

Mom and daughter at Looking at Music: Side 2

Mom and daughter at Looking at Music: Side 2

For a different sort of punk you can learn to Punk Rope this Saturday at 10am  on the Driggs side of the track at McCarren Park!

Punk Rope in action!

Punk Rope in action!

If you like your comedy outdoors head back to East River Park for NYC Laughs– the only outdoor comedy series!

On Sunday get one last dose of black and white cinema this weekend with a screening of Pygmalion at Symphony Space! I saw the live version with Claire Danes in 2007 but she can’t hold a candle to Wendy Hiller.

Wendy Hiller and Leslie Howard in Pygmalion

Wendy Hiller and Leslie Howard in Pygmalion

Finally, I’m pleased to announce that Restaurant Week has been extended- make your reservations fast!

Have an excellent weekend and stay tuned for additions! Don’t forget you can get the latest updates by following TheBigRedApple on Twitter!

July 7-9 Fun in the Sun!

It’s my first week of funemployment and NYC has never felt so full of promise! There are lots of excellent events to consider attending this week.

The Summer Play Festival (SPF) starts Tuesday at the Public Theater:

The Summer Play Festival (SPF) stages original new plays and musicals by emerging writers during the summer months at the legendary Public Theater in New York City. Since its inception in 2004, SPF has invested millions of dollars in emerging theatre artists, produced over 500 public performances, and has provided an opportunity for 75 writers, as well as hundreds of directors, designers, actors, stage managers, and interns to present their work in a protected environment.

This year’s lineup includes a “testosterone-driven new musical” (Departure Lounge), which is possibly the most questionable statement I’ve heard this summer. All tickets are $10, so this is an excellent way to get your dose of questionable theater cheaply!

Tuesday night you can be part of the drama at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where an interactive retelling of an 1873 Murder Mystery casts the audience as the detectives. You can learn about the underbelly of NYC a century ago and test your intuition.

If you’re looking for a slightly more athletic participatory event on Tuesday, you can head out to The Bell House and join the Ping Pong Tournament. The Tournament is strictly amateur and just $5 to join but be forewarned- “whiners will be paddled!”


On Wednesday night at The Slipper Room you can experience a book release party of an unusual nature; this dirty book needs an array of naughty performances to usher it into the world:

On July 8th, Fugu Press will release “Scarlett Takes Manhattan,” the first graphic novel by Dr. Sketchy’s creator Molly Crabapple and her longtime collaborator John Leavitt. Set in the demimonde of Gilded Age New York, “Scarlett Takes Manhattan” tells the story of poor Bowery girl Shifra Helfgott, who rises to become the premier fire-eater of her age. Chock full of rigged boxing matches, dirty politics, and turn of the century lesbian culture, “Scarlett” has been described as “disgustingly wonderful” by Warren Ellis and led Margaret Cho to call Molly “THE artist of our time.” Hosted by Amber Ray, New York’s “Salvador Dali of Burlesque” / Book signing by “Scarlett Takes Manhattan” creators Molly Crabapple and John Leavitt / Burlesque by Gal Friday / Fire performance by Jo Boobs / Vaudevillian music by The Two Man Gentleman Band, who will debut their new song “Scarlett Takes Manhattan” /  Free red-hot flavored cupcakes by Glittle Cupcakes.

scarlett flier

Also on Wednesday you can see Reality Bites at the ball fields at McCarren Park, as part of the Summer Screen Series by L Magazine. This is the movie that used the trope of home video years before youtube would propel our angst into the public realm. Check out the original trailer here.

ALSO on Wednesday, if you want to see some truly vintage movies head over to Dead Herring, where there will be a screening of “rare old-time cartoons hand-picked by Owen Kline and Tom Stathes, all projected on 16mm film.”

Thursday afternoon, if you’re funemployed (like me!), you can grab some gourmet munchies for a pittance at the World Financial Center Restaurant Showcase:

The 16 eateries of the World Financial Center will offer a tasting of world class cuisine for as little as $1 (and as much as $5) under the palm trees of the World Financial Center Winter Garden.


This may be the last week to see Twelfth Night at the Delacorte, but Thursday is opening night for another distinguished outdoor Shakespearean theater- Shakespeare in the Parking Lot! This year the parking lot, on the corner of Ludlow and Broome, will open its season with Midsummer Night’s Dream; what could be more dreamlike than Puck in a parking lot?

Finally I have one special advance theater notice: there will be two performances of Cirque Jacqueline July 25 and 26 at the Players Loft. This one-woman play about the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis has received excellent reviews and the tickets are likely to sell out quickly, particularly as they’re only $20 apiece! The New York Times says that its author and star, Andrea Reese, “becomes uncannily Jackie-esque.”


Have a great week and stay tuned for additions!