08/26/15 11:26am
The King of Pop would have turned 57 on Saturday, and Spike Lee is throwing his annual Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson party in Clinton Hill. Photo: Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson

The King of Pop would have turned 57 on Saturday, and Spike Lee is throwing his annual Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson party in Bed-Stuy. Photo: Brooklyn Loves Michael Jackson

As we head into the last gasp of summer before Labor Day signals the return to the real world, people are finally back from vacation and trying to cram everything in before school starts and your job gets judge-y about your casual start time and creative interpretation of what constitutes professional attire.  There’s loads of awesome stuff happening all over the place this week, so take advantage of the long hours of daylight and get out there and do it– you won’t be sorry when the furious hoarfrost returns in a few months.

You have the Brooklyn Comedy Festival to thank for the slew of standup and improv shows popping up at various venues throughout the borough this week. One of our top picks is the special BKFC edition of Late Night Basement, Chris Rose’s live monthly talk-show-style act that was crowned the city’s best comedy show by New York Magazine earlier this year, at Public Livestream on Friday night. The all-star lineup includes Heems of Das Racist fame, the ladies behind Be Here Nowish, Seaton Smith, and Dan Soder, and not only is the show free, but it boasts $3 beers from Sixpoint.

You should really rest up for Saturday though, because there’s so much going on that you might want to double or triple up. In addition to the debut of the Waku Waku Japanese pop culture fest (see below), the day brings several parties to celebrate Michael Jackson on what would have been the pop icon’s 57th birthday. Spike Lee is throwing his perennially popular Brooklyn Loves Michael block party in Bed-Stuy, but this year it’s being combined with the official unveiling of Do The Right Thing Way, the stretch of Stuyvesant Avenue between Lexington and Quincy that was recently renamed in honor of the 25th anniversary of Lee’s influential film. Spike doesn’t have the block party market cornered though, as Clinton Hill’s annual Brooklyn Bazaar is back for another day of beats, bites, art, and fun taking place along Lexington Avenue. They’re also hosting their own tribute to MJ–a best dressed Michael Jackson competition with a cash prize–so you don’t even have to change your outfit.

You can keep the 80s style grooves going into the night at Brokelyn’s 80s Splashback Party, which represents the first-ever adults-only takeover of the splash pad at the LeFrak Center in Prospect Park. Lola Star’s Dreamland roller disco will be rocking its hair metal night dance party on the rink, while the good folks from Brokelyn will be hosting water gun fights, games, drinks, and a summer raffle at the mini water park starting at 7pm.

Get a little dark on Sunday at Morbid Anatomy’s Summer Flea Market, which is hosted by the Bell House from noon to 6pm. A variety of vendors will be on hand to hawk unusual wares like taxidermy, “artful bones,” curious antiques, and insect shadowboxes, so the market is where it’s at if you’re into that stuff. Incidentally, my septuagenarian mother recently fulfilled a lifelong dream by taking a skunk taxidermy class at Morbid Anatomy (don’t ask, she’s an artist) and trust me, that place is worth a visit if you still haven’t been.

For plan-ahead purposes, if you were captivated by the Wikileaks story and its implications for journalism and government secrecy, you’ll probably want to pick up tickets to another Bell House event happening on September 8. To celebrate the release of his new book, The Wikileaks Files: The World According to U.S. Empire, award-winning journo Jeremy Scahill will be joined by none other than Julian Assange (via live video feed) for a conversation and Q&A. If you buy a $10 ticket, you’ll go home with a free copy of the book.

We’ve got lots more in store for you during this Ideal Week, though, so read ahead for our favorite ideas of how to keep yourself busy in the seven days that are stretched out ahead of you:

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08/19/15 10:20am
Grace Jones is gracing Brooklyn with her presence at the Fancy Dress Ball on Friday to kick off this weekend's Afropunk Fest. Photo: Grace Jones

Grace Jones is gracing Brooklyn with her presence at the Fancy Dress Ball on Friday to kick off this weekend’s Afropunk Fest. Photo: Grace Jones

Believe it or not, fall is just around the corner, which means that another season of league shuffleboard play is about to get underway at Royal Palms. Don’t worry, you don’t need any experience, just a couple of friends to round out your 6-10 person team (or not, you can always sign up as a “free agent” too). And if you register now, you can also play shuffleboard for free, whenever you want, for the rest of the summer. Better start practicing if you want a shot at winning the championship in November!

This Thursday night, Rooftop Films and Indiwire are teaming up for a free sneak preview of the SXSW award-winning Krisha at The Bushwick Generator. In addition to the movie, which deals with addiction and a particularly fraught holiday homecoming, the evening promises live music by Haybaby and drinks from sponsors New Amsterdam vodka and Ommegang Brewery.RSVP for free admission but note entrance is first-come, so arrive early.

If you’re looking for a fun and social bike ride this weekend, be sure to sign up for Get Up and Ride’s BBQ and Bronx Brewery ride, taking place on Saturday, before it sells out. For $45, you can join in this 10-mile jaunt through Queens and the Bronx, stopping along the way for lunch at John Brown Smokehouse and a beer at the Bronx Brewery. Don’t have a bike? No problem, you can rent one from Get Up and Ride’s Williamsburg shop for an extra $20. Meanwhile, if you’re in the market for a new ride to cart all your stuff around town, swing by 718 Cyclery in Gowanus between 9am and 6pm for NYC’s first ever Cargo Bike Rodeo, where you can test out all kinds of cargo bikes and gear, enter a raffle to win a new Yuba Mundo, and get a free bbq lunch. Tickets are $10 and proceeds benefit Transportation Alternatives.

If all that biking talk has left you feeling inspired to be more green, the Brooklyn Grange is hosting a workshop on Tuesday night that might make you reconsider the amount of trash you generate. At DIY Your Own Everyday Essentials, Zero Waste lifestyle expert Lauren Singer will teach you how to make your own toothpaste and body scrub, and will provide advice on how to further cut down your output into landfills. Just as an aside, over the past three years, all of the garbage that Lauren has produced fits into one 16 oz. Mason jar, so this lady knows what she’s talking about. Ticketsare $40.

Another fun-filled Ideal Week in Brooklyn awaits, and we’ve got a boatload of ideas about how to while away these waning summer days.
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08/12/15 11:16am
Beats and bites await when DirtyBird BBQ (with special guest Slick Rick) hits the Columbia Waterfront on Sunday. Photo: Dirtybird BBQ

Beats and bites await when DirtyBird BBQ (with special guest Slick Rick) hits the Columbia Waterfront on Sunday. Photo: Dirtybird BBQ

Another mid-August week in Brooklyn means lots of peeps will be out of town and you’ll be able to hit up all your favorite spots without lines, long waits, or reservations made months in advance–take advantage and head over to that new restaurant you’ve been dying to try. If you’re drawing a blank, we’ve got lots of suggestions. Rather drink your calories? No prob–you can sample a slate of craft brews and artisanal vino (40-50 varieties!) at the Third Annual Tap & Cork Brooklyn Beer and Wine Fest in Bed-Stuy on Saturday from 2-8pm. Tickets are $20 and include 15 drink tickets, plus access to a cash food bar and music. For even rarer quaffs, Saturday also brings the Brooklyn Homebrew Takedown to Hill Country from 1-3pm–buy a ticket here and you can help decide which homemade suds are the tastiest.

On Sunday, SF-based label Dirtybird returns to Brooklyn with its grill in tow for another Dirtybird BBQ. This year’s lineup includes Claude VonStroke, Justin Martin, Shiba San, J.Phlip, Kill Frenzy, and a little special guest known as Slick Rick (NBD). Tickets are available here and the party starts at 2pm.

Feeling acquisitive? You can load up on new stuff with a lot less guilt by taking advantage of National Thrift Store Day, which is being celebrated at second-hand shops citywide on Monday. Some of our favorite sources of clothes, furniture, tchotchkes, and other random yet awesome crap are participating, including Build It Green!NYC, Beacon’s Closet, Housing Works, Recycle-A-Bicycle, and more. Get out there and shop til you drop, and read these pro tips before you go.

It’s not all about perusing the racks, though–read on for more suggestions of what to do with Your Ideal Week:
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08/05/15 10:21am
Country music legend and activist Willie Nelson closes out Celebrate Brooklyn's 2015 season next Wednesday. Photo: willienelson.com

Country music legend and activist Willie Nelson closes out Celebrate Brooklyn’s 2015 season next Wednesday. Photo: willienelson.com

Maybe it’s just the blistering heat or the fact that it feels like everyone is on vacation, but it seems things have slowed down a little over the past week, doesn’t it? As everyone who lives in NYC knows, the opportunity to just relax doesn’t present itself too often around these parts, so we’re taking full advantage this week. First stop: One of the handful of colorful, handcrafted Adirondack chairs that have been placed strategically throughout Prospect Park as part of its new Park It project. The sites were carefully chosen to maximize enjoyment of the park’s natural beauty, and if you take a pic of yourself sitting in one and post it with the hashtag #prospectparkit, you could win one of the chairs to bring home.

Speaking of the Park, Celebrate Brooklyn!’s banner 2015 season comes to a close next week with the much-anticipated benefit show featuring the inimitable Willie Nelson, with opening act Old Crow Medicine Show. Tickets sold out a while back, but everyone knows that sometimes it’s even more fun (and less of a hassle) to pack a picnic and set up camp just outside the bandshell, where you’ll be able to hear Always on My Mind just fine.

If you just want to enjoy a totally delicious meal with minimal effort, check out a new collaboration between The Woods, Landhaus, and Brooklyn Brewery that involves a cookout featuring a different type of meat every Sunday in the month of August. This week’s focus is on goat, and you can hang out in The Woods’ backyard and enjoy spit-roasted Hudson Valley goat, goat chorizo, and appropriate fixins and drinks from 4-7pm.

Another mellow way to spend an evening is to head to one of Videology’s themed Sunday Trivia Nights, which start at 7pm, focus entirely on one movie or TV show, and are free. This week, the teams are taking on Ghostbusters , and Twin Peaks, Titanic, and 30 Rock round out the rest of the month. Alternatively, on Wednesday, get back into Settlers of Catan and all your other old favorites at Victory Pints’ weekly board games and beer gathering at Berg’n from 6-11pm.

For a more charitable night out, there’s a cool benefit to help the victim of a really uncool crime in Greenpoint this weekend. An artist was attacked on the way home from his studio and to help pay for the extensive surgery to reconstruct his jaw, his studiomates are hosting an auction. They donate work, you buy a raffle ticket and if you win you get to pick one.

Hopefully, you are feeling totally chill about the week ahead, but one thing we do want to put on your radar is that the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival is coming back to Brooklyn starting on September 18, and you don’t want to sleep on getting tickets to the individual events that catch your eye. A couple have already sold out, so order now and then don’t worry about it for another month and a half.

In the meantime, browse through the rest of our tips on how to have a fun and stress-free Ideal Week in Brooklyn:
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07/29/15 9:56am
Get in some quality time at a quality Brooklyn bar while you can this weekend. Photo: Montero's Bar

Get in some quality time at a quality Brooklyn bar while you can this weekend. Photo: Montero’s Bar

The New York Times reported some sad news this week: it looks like Brooklyn Heights institution Montero’s Bar is not long for the world, now that the owners have agreed to put the building up for sale along with six others on the same stretch of Atlantic Avenue. It’s not clear when that sale will happen, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario where luxury condos aren’t going up by the end of the year, so start celebrating Montero’s swan song by heading over on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday for one of its famous karaoke nights.

On Friday night, you can brush up on your selfie skills with a free iphone photography class at BKC in DUMBO. From 5:30pm-7, learn about lighting and composition tricks that will breathe new life into your Instagram feed, which apps are the most useful, how to use your phone’s built-in lens, and even what HDR is. Admission is totally free with RSVP. If you’d rather see someone else’s artwork on Friday, Sugarlift is throwing an opening party on its rooftop for its newest exhibit of six young, up-and-coming digital artists. Tickets are only $10 if you buy them in advance, and that includes all the local craft beer you can drink, which is pretty much the best deal in town.

Looking to stay up all night on Saturday at a dance party with awesome music and food from the likes of Mile End and Battery Harris? The annual Full Moon Fest starts at 3pm at the Brooklyn Mirage and goes until sunrise, and there are still some tickets available. Or perhaps you’d like to get out of town, in which case you should head to the Wassaic Project’s annual summer festival that brings together bands, films, art, food and camping on their 200-acre property.

Finally, if you still haven’t had your fill of blue crabs this summer, we’ve got some great news: South Slope gastropub J’eatJet is throwing a crab boil on Wednesday night from 5-10pm. For $40, you get unlimited crabs and sides, plus dessert, which is as good a way as any to get through Hump Day.

Read ahead for lots of other ways to entertain yourself this week–it’s gonna be a hot one!

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07/22/15 10:18am
Cool off this weekend at a giant water gun fight in Central Park. Photo: Max Wei

Cool off this weekend at a giant water gun fight in Central Park. Photo: Max Wei

I don’t know about you guys, but after enduring a week of downright tropical heat and humidity, I could really use a giant, old-fashioned water fight right about now. Luckily, an organization called Water Fight NYC is one step ahead of me, having planned a free, giant water gun shootout that is open to all  starting at 2pm on Saturday in Central Park’s Great Lawn. Once you dry off, Flavorpill is throwing a roller skating “Magic Hour” party at the LeFrak rink in Prospect Park on Saturday evening. For $14, you can skate for hours to tunes from DJs Metro Area and Free Magic, and you’ll have access to LeFrak’s full restaurant and bar, gelato parlor, and splash pad.

Interested in old cars? DUMBO is throwing its Second Annual Antique Car Rally on Anchorage Place between 10 and 4pm on Sunday. Twenty meticulously restored and maintained Ford Model As will be on display, along with live music from Jan Bell and the Maybelles starting at 1pm. For a totally car-free experience, the Bay Ridge Summer Stroll is back this Friday, and if you missed our Immersion last weekend it’s a chance to hit up a few of the restaurants and shops we missed.

As the Internet has been telling us for months, the new Wet Hot American Summer miniseries, which will be set as a prequel to the beloved and oft-quoted 2001 film starring pretty much everybody, debuts on Netflix on July 31. Real-life sisters Michelle Joni (whose name you might recognize from the glut of blog posts about the Brooklyn adult preschool she started) and Jessica Lapidos were both extras in the original cult comedy set at Camp Firewood, and although they were a little put out that no one asked them to bring their talents back for round two, they wasted no time in organizing their own Wet Hot Brooklyn Summer Talent Show at X Marks the Lot in Bushwick. On August 4 from 6pm to midnight, fans can get together for reenactments, stories from the set, free Wet Hot American wheat ale, a canned food drive (obviously), and a talent show featuring the weirdest and wildest talents in Brooklyn. We’re giving you a little lead time because a) costumes are mandatory, and b) if you want to enter the talent show as a contestant, you need to audition by posting a preview of your talent on Instagram by August 2 so you should get started.

If you have a soft spot for shellfish, you should treat yourself next Thursday to a serious surf and turf feast in the backyard of PDR, the private dining room of Naturally Delicious caterers. Lobster, scallops and fluke crudo are all on the five-course menu and cocktails and wines are included. Check out the full menu here.

Turning back to the present though, there are a bunch of things going on that struck our fancy for the seven days ahead. Wishing you fun, sun, and tolerable body temperatures, we give you Your Ideal Week:
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07/22/15 9:36am
Summer Stroll on 3rd from 2014 (David Chiu)

Summer Stroll on 3rd from 2014 (David Chiu)

If you weren’t able to make to it to our Total Immersion in Bay Ridge last weekend, there are still opportunities to get to know and explore the neighborhood this summer. Once again, Bay Ridge is holding its annual Summer Stroll on Third Avenue, which allows visitors to walk in traffic-free open streets along one of Bay Ridge’s commercial districts on a Friday during the evening hours. Among the highlights offered are cultural exhibitions, vendors, chess for kids, author signings, and of course food. For this year, the stroll is broken up into two routes for certain dates: from 80th to 90th streets this Friday, and 69th to 80th streets on Aug. 7 and 8. (more…)

07/15/15 10:14am
Beat the heat with a movie that doesn't require you to follow a plotline at Nitehawk's midnight Snakes on a Plane screenings this weekend. Photo: New Line Cinema

Beat the heat with a movie that doesn’t require you to follow a plotline at Nitehawk’s midnight Snakes on a Plane screenings this weekend. Photo: New Line Cinema

This summer is getting steamier, and what we all need about now is lots of ice water, some kind of air circulation system on the subway platform, and a list of fun things to do to take our minds off the oppressive heat. We’re here to help you with the last bit of that equation, with a roster of events going on this week that is guaranteed to perk up the most wilted flower.

Hopefully, you are already planning on joining us on Saturday afternoon for our sure-to-be-awesome Total Bay Ridge Immersion, a neighborhood crawl where $25 buys you four Brooklyn Brewery beers, lunch and other great deals from Bay Ridge businesses, but if you haven’t bought a ticket yet, there’s no time like the present! Brokelyn will be at Lock Yard with us, too, selling their South Brooklyn Beer Books so you can double your fun. And if you’d like to bike to the Immersion, you can get 20% off a rental at Get Up and Ride in Williamsburg with the code brooklynbased (yes, it will be an epic ride, and yes, we encourage you to pace yourself on Saturday so as not to bike home buzzed). We’ve got more sweet deals that will inspire you to try something new in our email, so if you’re not a subscriber, be sure to sign up.

This week also marks the return of the annual Prospect Heights Music and Arts Festival, a showcase of live performances by more than 75 local bands and musicians organized by The Way Station that starts today (Wednesday) and runs through the weekend. Check out the extensive lineup here and start thinking about the sets that you want to see– each is doable for the cost of a $5 suggested donation.

Maybe we should retitle this column Your Dog’s Ideal Week, because there are some pretty awesome canine-centric activities to highlight, including Saturday’s Second Annual Doggy Fashion Show at Freddy’s Bar. From 5-9pm, the stretch of 5th Ave. in front of Freddy’s will be closed to traffic and open for adorable puppies in costume parading down an actual runway. As with all things related to Freddy’s, there will be drinks, live music, and comedians, and we’re just sayin’ that it might be a cool stop on your way home from the Bay Ridge Immersion. . .  Don’t tire your furry best friend out too much, though, because he or she should be in top form for Sunday’s BarkFest 2015, a daylong party in Williamsburg featuring a dog waterpark, agility courses, a beer garden, and dog-friendly LED fireworks. Cat people need not despair because this weekend The Muse is hosting multiple performances by The Amazing Acro-cats, a show featuring over a dozen clicker-trained cats who can walk tightropes, ride skateboards, turn off the lights, and even play in a band.

Sometimes all you want on a hot day is to be transported by a good movie, and while Snakes on A Plane is certainly not that, it would be pretty fun to catch a midnight showing of the delightfully dreadful B-movie disaster on the big screen at Nitehawk this weekend. In other film news, the Alloy Orchestra is providing a live score for The Son of the Sheik, a 1926 Rudloph Valentino vehicle, this Friday night in Prospect Park, and for something even more unusual, you can catch an evening of shorts made by the talented filmmakers at FilmShop, all focused on the theme of “strange bedfellows”at Williamsburg Music Hall on Saturday night.

Summer is a fleeting thing, folks, so make sure you get out there and enjoy it–sweat stains and sunburns be damned! Here are a bunch more fun ways to bide your time while you’re thinking about where to score your next A/C fix: (more…)

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07/08/15 11:00am
Celebrate these adorable little aliens at By Brooklyn's Fourth Annual French Bulldog Party on Saturday. Photo: By Brooklyn

Celebrate these adorable little aliens at By Brooklyn’s Fourth Annual French Bulldog Party on Saturday. Photo: By Brooklyn

With the Fourth of July weekend behind us, summer is officially in full swing, and there’s so much to do around these parts that it can be hard to keep it all straight. Be sure to check out our post on awesome summer day trips, reads, concerts, movies, bars, eats and more to get a jumpstart on your plans for the next few months.

In the meantime, music buffs have a lot to choose from this week: Celebrate Brooklyn! is hosting free concerts by Punch Brothers on Thursday and The New Pornographers on Saturday. Also, the 11th annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival starts today (July 8) with a full schedule of events celebrating hip-hop culture and its influence upon community building and social change, including panels, films, a culinary tour of Brooklyn, and an art gallery/beat showcase/dance off at Littlefield on Friday night. The main attraction, though, is Saturday’s Big Show at 50 Kent Ave. in Williamsburg, which boasts all-around amazing person Common as the headliner, as well as performances by Mobb Deep, Lion Babe, and a host of other legendary rap and hip-hop artists. The concert starts at 1pm and tickets are $50– be sure to grab one before it sells out.

On Saturday, as a precursor to Smith Street’s big Bastille Day extravaganza (see below), By Brooklyn is honoring French Independence Day with its 4th Annual French Bulldog Party at 3pm. Bring your favorite crazy-eared Frenchie (or any dog) and admission is just $10, which includes snacks and beer. Most importantly, all proceeds go to help the deserving pups at Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue.

Wimbledon concludes on Sunday, and you can pay homage to all of that rigorous discipline and stupendous athletic prowess by stuffing your gullet at the Ice Cream Takedown from 2-5pm at The Royal Palms. Tickets are $20 and buying one means that you get to try all the competitors’ goods. Afterwards, walk it off with a trip to Red Hook, where you can check out open studios, live music, and dance performances at Second Sundays, Pioneer Works’ monthly arts showcase series, from 4-10pm.

We’ve got loads of other great stuff lined up too, so read on for tips on how to spend each day of the Ideal Week ahead of you:
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