Tag Archives: Shakespeare

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!!

Sept. 9-12 Fashion, beer, the Dutch and more!

Once again we have a super stuffed weekend coming up, not to mention the days before and after! I’ll admit as one of the funemployed I fail to recall what day of the week it is most of the time…

Tonight, as I’ve told you already, I’ll be at Comix to see the Raspberry Bros do their thing to The Breakfast Club (plus participate in the John Hughes sing-a-long). If you’d like to join buy your tiks in advance using the code RASP and they’re just $5 ($15 at the door)!

Tomorrow is ‘Fashion’s Night Out‘- an advertising ploy by Vogue and the rest of the fashion industry to get you to shop before they all go broke (the blurb in the Sept. issue of Vogue says “don’t you miss shopping?”). There are innumerable sales and events involved; my pick is champagne fueled lingerie shopping at Kiki de Montparnasse (starts at 8pm).

Four hundred years ago a Dutch ship called the Half Moon, guided by Henry Hudson, reached the shores of Manhattan. This week the Dutch are celebrating that historic landing and all that’s followed it with a slew of exciting events! I’ll admit I’m at a loss to choose between the explorations of Dutch culture, the environmental lectures, the sports and the historical events. However, the big three are The Flying Dutchman Sailing Race, the NiEuW Amersterdam Restaurant Week and the New Amsterdam Market. The Restaurant Week runs from Sept. 5 to the 20th; participating restaurants are offering prix fixe menus for $24- the amount Hudson paid for Manhattan (now THAT’s inflation!). I recommend Bachas, Bar Tabac and Resto! The New Amsterdam Market is your standard farmers market but with the additon of various workshops and events (for example ‘drink with Henry Hudson’). Embrace your inner Dutchman!

New Amsterdam Market

New Amsterdam Market

If your favorite part about the Dutch is their beer you’ll be glad to know it’s also NY Craft Beer Week from Sept. 11 to the 20th! This year’s NY Craft Beer Week includes 83 different venues featuring 162 unique beers throughout the five boroughs. There are also all sorts of events such as beer “strolls,” “walks” and “crawls” (I find the distinction in naming quite intriguing…). Get out and take your knowledge and appreciation of this fine form of alcohol to a whole new level!

Backtracking a bit… tomorrow you can learn some secrets of Jewish cooking just in time to impress your mother-in-law (or any Jewish mothers in your acquaintance) on Rosh Hashanah! Joan Nathan will be sharing her tricks at the Tenement Museum!

If you can’t pay tribute to John Hughes tonight you have another chance Thursday night- Cattle Call Tribute to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This event is highly participatory so you should only go if you want to be part of the show! Audience members will reenact their favorite scenes from the film with some dubious direction; do you have what it takes to be Ferris? Here’s a clip to remind you of the size of the shoes you’re trying to fill…

This weekend previews for A Steady Rain begin at The Schoenfeld Theatre. This is Daniel Craig’s Broadway debut and the general feeling seems to be that he is likely to be terrible, but hey, you never know, especially with Hugh Jackman around. Here’s a panel from an excellent cartoon in New York Magazine that perfectly sums of the problem:


Friday night Flux Factory is throwing the dance party to end all dance parties; there will be DJs, bands, installation art, weird performers and much much more, ALL ON A BOAT.


Starting this Sunday Philip Seymour Hoffman is back on stage in The Public Theater’s production of Othello. He’ll be playing alongside John Ortiz in what is certain to be one of the most memorable productions of this challenging play. Get your tickets now before the critics start raving in earnest.

From Sept. 22 to Oct. 3rd New York City Center will host some of the most creative and talented dancers from around the world. Not only that but the tickets to these marvelous performances, all part of the annual Fall For Dance Festival, are just $10 each! The catch? Well, the catch is that this Sunday you’d better get up early and join me on line to get your tickets as soon as they go on sale!

Post-ticket buying head out to The Bell House for the Brooklyn Cheese Experiment:

Competitive cookoff gurus Theo Peck and Nick Suarez, present to you the Brooklyn Cheese Experiment, a cheese cookoff and homebrew-off of epic proportion. Amateur chefs will whip up their favorite cheese-based dishes ranging from sweet to savory, while local homebrewers pit their home made brews against each other in Brooklyn’s premier culinary competition. The audience will vote for their favorites along with a judging panel of highly touted cheese and beer aficionados. Prizes and cash will ceremoniously be given away to those who strive for cookoff glory. Do you have what it takes to compete?

Sunday is also the most anticipated literary event of the year- The Brooklyn Book Festival! Last year I came unprepared and failed to make strategic choices when waiting on line for tickets to readings. This year if I’m able to make it out there post-FFD ticket line (so unfair that these are the same day!) I’ll follow Brooklyn Based Cheat Sheet!

If you miss the other “premier screenings” of No Impact Man check it out at the Anjelika Tuesday night with the added bonus that Kate1, who collaborated on the book, will be speaking about local/sustainable food before the screening!

Also on Tuesday, anyone who hates Jane Austen and/or loves Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, should be at Idlewild Books for the release of Ben Winters’ newest mockery- Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. There will be co-readings by co-author Ben Winters and The Good Thief author Hannah Tinti. Here’s a clip of a staged scene:

Now if that doesn’t make you feel gleeful I don’t know what will! Remember to RSVP for the reading!

Have an excellent weekend and stay tuned for additions! Also be sure to follow me on Twitter for the latest news!

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!

First Wknd Post-LSAT Adventures

I had a marvelous weekend, full of adventures! It was great to have the LSAT behind me (for the moment).

Friday night G and F and I checked out New York Classical Theatre’s production of King Lear. The show begins at 103rd St. and Central Park West and the cast members beckon the audience to follow them from one area of the park to another whenever the scene changes (sometimes with fabulous Shakespearean epithets like “come you mongrels!”). The constant moving around keeps you much more engaged, though towards the end I would have preferred to settle down. The best scene was definitely the battle near the end of the play; rushing after the cast and hearing the clash of swords through the trees as you approached them was super exciting. I would definitely recommend this production as a much simpler way to enjoy Shakespeare in Central Park- no waiting in line for free tickets, etc., just show up and settle on the grass. Here are some pictures of the show (all by Miranda Arden):

Kent (John-Patrick Driscoll), King Lear (Donald Grody) and the Fool (Andrew Sellon)

Kent (John-Patrick Driscoll), King Lear (Donald Grody) and the Fool (Andrew Sellon)

The Fool (Andrew Sellon)

The Fool (Andrew Sellon)

 On Saturday I saw some very forgettable ballets at the New York City Ballet; I will not discuss them further as they were far from spectacular (the ballets, not the dancers).

Post-ballet we had intended to hit the Big Apple BBQ but sadly it was raining so G and I took shelter in Brasserie Cognac and munched on croissants until it was time to head to our next entertainment- a performance by the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus at St. Peter’s Church. The chorus performed the first two pieces in the round and the surround-sound effect was fantastic. The concert showcased original pieces, one of which was declared the winner of the Competition for Young Composers. It was fascinating to hear the innovations of these talented young composers, performed by talented young NYers.

Young New Yorkers' Chorus at St. Peter's Church

Young New Yorkers' Chorus at St. Peter's Church

On Sunday G and I had yummy Israeli brunch at Miriam’s in Park Slope and then headed to Governors Island to check out Figment. It was truly a unique “participatory art” experience. There was a giant polygon to climb on and a huge putt putt golf course and rubber chickens hanging from trees and umbrellas planted like flowers and giant chalkboards… Here are a couple of pictures; some of the pieces will remain through the summer so you still have time to play!

Part of the City of Dreams Mini Golf Course, open through the summer

Part of the City of Dreams Mini Golf Course, open through the summer

Shield/Coraza by Hector Canonge

Shield/Coraza by Hector Canonge

Sunday night G and I had dinner at Prime Meats, an excellent restaurant featuring local and seasonal produce and meat in Carrol Gardens. After ordering dry-aged beef by the ounce our steak was brought out to us (raw) for our inspection, this sort of emphasis on process is inherent in the service and the quality of the food; we enjoyed ourselves a great deal and will certainly be back.

Stay tuned for news of the weekend yet to come!

May 29 – June 7 (extended forecast)

The next week leading up to the LSAT is going to be a bit hectic (read: traumatic) for me so I’m going to unload a whole bunch of upcoming events on you- brace for impact!

First, some additions for this weekend. Tonight is the first night of the Raspberry Brothers’ new show at Clearview Chelsea Cinemas! This month they will be making fun of the original Terminator! I have actually seen their Terminator routine at Union Hall and I can guarantee that you will have an excellent time!


On Saturday the NYC Lab School presents TASTES: from the meatpacking district to chelsea. TASTES is…

an exciting new culinary festival that will benefit arts and enrichment programs for public school children at the NYC Lab School on 333 West 17th Street. Patrons will sample a broad array of specialty dishes from fine restaurants in The Meatpacking District and Chelsea.

Also on Saturday head to Union Square to experience the Silent Rave! The idea is that everyone gathers at a given place and time (the south end of Union Sq. at 6:30pm) and begins simultaneously dancing to whatever music is playing on their individual iPods/MP3 players. It’s something you have to experience to understand but believe me, it’s amazing! Check out this picture from a Silent Rave I attended last summer:

silent rave union sq 2008

An exhibit worth swooning over will be opening at the Open House Gallery this weekend; to celebrate 60 years of damsels in distress Harlequin is putting on a show of their cover art. Here is a prime example:


Starting this weekend and continuing every weekend through Labor Day you can party all day on top of the Gansevoort Hotel. The Get Up Get Down party will involve brunch by the pool, lounging around, and dancing once the sun goes down; you may not be in St. Tropez but you will feel almost as chic.


On Monday at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Félix Lajkó will perform with violist Antal Brasnyo as part of the River to River Festival:

Hungarian violinist Félix Lajkó fuses folk, jazz, Gypsy, and Jewish klezmer music to create a unique and energetic musical style. Known for his charismatic performances, Lajkó has collaborated with everyone from Japanese Butoh dancer Min Tanaka to the French rock band Noir Désir. Here he will perform with violist Antal Brasnyo as part of Extremely Hungary, a yearlong festival celebrating Hungarian arts and culture in New York and D.C. (extremelyhungary.org).

Monday is also the start of Sake Week! More than 100 restaurants will be offering menu pairings, cocktails and other “sakecentric” events.


Wednesday is the premier of the Ninth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival:

The Media That Matters Film Festival, one of the world’s first and largest online film festivals, kicks off its ninth year with an offline world premiere tonight. This year’s festival showcases twelve jury-selected shorts tackling a broad range of social issues, including climate change, urban planning, and immigration, with humor, humanity, and honesty.

On Thursday, in celebration of Internet Week, Thrillist is hosting a crazy bash at M2 Ultra Lounge. There will be free booze, trapeze artists, a dj battle and visuals by ValuJet Visuals (aka my talented friend W).

Thursday is also opening night for two great shows. First, the Gallery Players present The 12th Annual Black Box New Play Festival, which begins with ‘Father Mike,’ “a nostalgic comedy that takes place in 1955 in the home of a proud Catholic family.”


Also on Thursday the Hudson Warehouse starts their summer season with Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

On Friday you can finish off Internet Week properly at the Webutante Ball! This classy coming out event is happening on the roof of the Empire Hotel; there will be free vodka cocktails from 6-7 and a ceremonial crowning of a Webutante King and Queen!

webutante ball flier

Next Friday and Saturday you can see the results of the New York 48 Hour Film Project:

The 48 Hour Film Project’s mission is to advance filmmaking and promote filmmakers. Through its festival/competition, the Project encourages filmmakers and would-be filmmakers to get out there and make movies. The tight deadline of 48 hours puts the focus squarely on the filmmakers—emphasizing creativity and teamwork skills. While the time limit places an unusual restriction on the filmmakers, it is also liberating by putting an emphasis on “doing” instead of “talking.”

Click here to see some of the films from previous years and from other locations around the world!

Next Saturday Gemini and Scorpio will be screening Serenity on a private rooftop:

A rooftop screening of Joss Whedon’s (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse) space-western “Serenity,” to benefit Equality Now, an international women’s rights advocacy group and Whedon’s favorite charity. Also featuring “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” Whedon’s musical-romp internet series created during the WGA writer’s strike. The screening is a prelude to a bigger CSTS shindig on June 28 hosted by The Browncoats of NYC, and to a series of semi-private rooftop “Firefly” screenings starting June 11, info on which will be available via the G&S mailing list. Look for The Browncoats at the event offering June 28 CSTS tickets and merch.

On Sunday my favorite fitness guru will be performing along with her dance company- Skin, at Symphony Space. Tina Thompson is a force of nature, as you may recall from my past ravings, and you won’t want to miss this performance!

skin dance

Finally, next weekend is also the start of two exciting theater festivals! The first is the Antidepressant Festival at the Brick Theater:

This summer’s fiesta is meant as a diversion at a time of plummeting stocks and rising unemployment. Nineteen productions are planned, including “Exit, Pursued by Bears,” about the fictional vice president of a Chicago sanitation union who leads a double life as Tickle Bear, the center of an anonymous online furry sex community; and “Schaden, Freude and You: A 3 Clown Seminar,” which provides the audience with a chance to laugh at others as a means of fighting depression. In this case the “others” are clowns, so they’re used to it. For more extroverted types, the Brick is including “Suspicious Package: Rx,” a sequel to last year’s “Suspicious Package,” an interactive theater piece that put audience members, each wearing a Zune media player, into the middle of a film-noir-type mystery. This year a trip to the future is in store.

The second is the Muslim Voices Festival, which will involve events at various locations:

The Asia Society, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the New York University Center for Dialogues will present a festival and conference that explore and celebrate the arts of the Muslim world. Offerings encompass visual arts, crafts, documentary film, standup comedy and theater, including “Richard III: An Arab Tragedy,” a contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare’s play that examines the Arab world’s relationship with the West, from Sulayman Al-Bassam, a Kuwaiti director. The production, commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, will be presented at the BAM Harvey Theater.

Enjoy and stay tuned; I will try to post additional events as my schedule allows! Oh, and wish me luck!