Tag Archives: short films

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!!

Pixar Short Films, Mel Brooks, Romeo & Juliet, etc.

I apologize for the gap between posts; I’m becoming increasingly immersed in Gemini & Scorpio work (I am the newest addition to their excellent enterprise) and I haven’t figured out how to balance everything quite yet.

This week my darling little sister (not that little anymore) is coming to town and I’ve come up with all sorts of excellent events to make her time in The Big Apple amazing. I’m going to share my itinerary with you as I’m confident I’ve made the best possible choices.

On Christmas Day we will be partaking of a grand Jewish tradition- movies and Chinese food. However, rather than hole up in my apartment we will be joining other members of the tribe at 92Y Tribeca, where there will be an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet and a Mel Brooks double feature- Blazing Saddles and Spaceballs! This trailer, for Spaceballs, will make you wish you didn’t celebrate Christmas (or make you happy you don’t!):

I’m also planning to pick up tickets to The Kitchen‘s telephone-game version of Romeo and Juliet:

Nature Theater’s founders, Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper, derived the play from phone conversations with nine friends, all of whom answered the question, “Can you tell me the story of Romeo and Juliet?” Some of their colleagues remember the play quite well, others freeze up and protest that they recall West Side Story far more clearly. Nearly everyone has some confusion over who takes the sleeping draught, who sips poison, who commits suicide with a sword. A few versions prove particularly inventive: Juliet has a brother? Romeo sings? In place of iambic pentameter, the script supplies low-diction renditions of the play’s events. On finding the corpse of Juliet, the Capulets remark, “Oh, holy shit. So sad. Our daughter’s dead.” Occasionally a line from Shakespeare sneaks in, but only in travestied from: “What light through yonder window speaks?” or “Run fast, you fiery-footed steeds.”

We’re excited to see our favorite Pixar short films on the big screen again at the Museum of the Moving Image; they’re screening the series six times daily from Dec. 26th to Jan. 3rd. Remember ‘For the Birds’? Watch it here on your small screen then come out and watch it again on the big screen!

I’m a very good sister so I may let her drag me through the Frog Exhibit at the Natural History Museum again; she is a major fan of frogs. If you have any interest in them at all it is truly an amazing exhibit, featuring live (captive-bred) frogs from all over the world.

Chinese Gliding Frog

Chinese Gliding Frog

On Saturday I’ll be taking her to see my favorite comedy act- The Raspberry Brothers! This time they’ll be mocking one of the silliest holiday movies ever made- Home Alone. Watch the trailer and tell me you don’t want to see it mocked by the pros!

And of course, on New Year’s Eve, we will be attending the most spectacular party The Big Apple has to offer- Gemini & Scorpio’s Bootleggers’ Ball. I know I’m biased, but take a look at the flyer, read the Flavorpill and Time Out NY blurbs, and then email me if you find a more spectacular party.


Stay tuned for updates and follow me on twitter for the very latest! Also be sure to subscribe to Gemini & Scorpio’s event listings so that you can see what else I’ve been working on!

Film Festivals, Ecofest, Atlantic Antic, NYMF, etc.

There is nothing, I mean nothing, more questionable than questionable musical theater. The New York Musical Theater Festival showcases new and still-in-development musicals; some will go on to be Broadway sensations (Avenue Q got its start at NYMF), others will be so terrible that they will become immortalized. In my mind the art of choosing which show to see is in finding the show that will be just bad enough to be good. My pick for this year is The Last Smoker in America– a musical about smoking. With lyrics like “the glowing tips of all those cigarettes looked like fireflies” this could be the best/worst musical I’ve ever seen. For help in picking your poison check out this article.


After listening to this analysis of the New York Film Festival I have decided that I am simply not miserable enough to attend any of the films being shown this year. I am hoping to have more luck at the other two film festivals happening this weekend. The Coney Island Film Festival involves “a stunning array of high and low-brow fare, as diverse as the neighborhood it represents. Subjects range from the profound to the profane, showcasing the independent spirit and irreverent nature of the one and only Coney Island.” I am particularly drawn to the short films, such as “Mollye Asher’s Slim and Lena a modern film noir set in the grit and glamour of the neo-burlesque scene,” which I think will fit in very well with The New York Burlesque Festival (also happening this weekend). The Red Hook Film Festival is also focused on our fine city; the festival brings us 2 days of shorts filmed in NYC.

On Sunday you can help save the world, or at least learn about the people who are saving the world, at Ecofest! This massive event includes everything from a fashion show presenting sustainable clothing to live concerts and demonstrations of environmentally friendly cars.

If you’re more interested in fried dough than hemp you may want to spend your Sunday at Atlantic Antic- my favorite annual street festival. Last year K and I enjoyed lots of live music, tried on hats made by local artisans, and checked out the antique buses that the Transit Museum rolled out for show and tell!

Bus @ Atlantic Antic '08

Bus @ Atlantic Antic '08

Don’t forget to look at my last post for information on other great events happening this weekend, like NY Pickle Day, the Lamb Takedown and the Mile High Dance Party at Pianos! Plus, as always, you can follow me on Twitter for 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!

June 26-28 Hope for sunshine!

First of all I’d like to remind you that I’ve posted some excellent events for tonight, including the event I’ll be attending- the Raspberry Brothers’ Top Gun show. If you come out be sure to introduce yourself to the ringleader (Jerm) and tell him you found out about them through TheBigRedApple; he’ll point you my way and possibly buy you a beer after the show.

Tomorrow night please join me in petitioning the weather gods for sunshine (rain dance anyone?). If it doesn’t rain you can partake of a free open bar on the rooftop of the Empire Hotel, courtesy of Citybartenders.com. Here’s the invite; be sure to RSVP!

The New York City Opera will be performing outside Friday and Saturday nights (cross your fingers). Friday night is La Navarraise:

Massenet’s rarely performed La Navarraise is a turbulent love story unfolding against the backdrop of civil war in Spain.  This work, which is often compared to Leoncavallo’s Cavalleria rusticana, showcases Massenet at his lyrical best.  La Navarraise is set in two short acts with an intermezzo for a total running time of 50 minutes.

and Saturday is

a concert program of beloved arias, duets and overtures that have become part of American popular culture.  Featuring popular melodies from Puccini, Rossini and Verdi.

Hearing these performers sing outdoors is a unique and powerful experience; don’t miss this chance for free opera!

La Navarraise

La Navarraise

This is the last weekend to see Paved Paradise Redux: The Art of Joni Mitchell at The Abrons Arts Center Henry Street Settlement. John Kelly’s interpretation of Joni Mitchell is both “haunting and hilarious.” This is the sort of tribute that is worth seeing on its own merits.

Paved Paradise Redux The Art of Joni Mitchell

Paved Paradise Redux The Art of Joni Mitchell

This is also the last weekend to see a dance performance in a public bathroom. Yes, I said a dance performance in a public bathroom. Only in New York, right? Well, Dark Horse/Black Forest is certainly an interesting piece and it’s performed in the lobby bathroom of the Gershwin Hotel.

It’s an intense love story presented in the most intimate of spaces: the bathroom. It’s dance. It’s art. It’s interior design.

Dark Horse/Black Forest

Dark Horse/Black Forest

On Saturday there are a number of great events to choose from. B is a fan of Dr. Dog, who is performing at the Prospect Park Bandshell as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn! summer concert series. Check out this video for a taste of their brand of psychedelic madness:

If that’s not your thing you may want to check out What’s On Your Plate?, an outdoor screening/foodie event that’s part of the BAMcinemaFEST:

You’ve read Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation and you try to buy local and organic produce at your neighborhood farmer’s market. But do you really know how what you’re eating ended up on your table? Through the eyes of two intelligent and inquisitive eleven-year-old girls from New York City, we follow the many paths, the conflicting economics, and the disparate decision makers who all play a part in what we eat. Ideal for families to watch together, the film presents a variety of perspectives on how food reaches our urban community and its associated challenges. An introduction by the filmmakers will precede the screening. Presented in conjunction with The Afro-Punk Festival.

ALSO on Saturday you have another chance to see Black Taxi, performing this time at Pianos (G and I will be there!). I’ve written about them before; check out this post to see a video of their single ‘Wanted.’

On Sunday there’s a fantastic foodie event- The Unfancy Food Show. Brooklyn Based has all the details; let me just say this will be finger lickin’ good!

Unfancy Food Show

Sunday is your last chance to see acrobats on a boat! The Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge have earned well-deserved praise for this unique entertainment venture; check it out!


Also on Sunday, there are 4 programs of short films screening at the BAM Rose Cinema; I’m particularly drawn to the animated shorts.

BAM Animated Shorts Program

BAM Animated Shorts Program

Have a great weekend and stay tuned for additions!