We’ve crossed over into mid-May and are squarely in the middle of graduation season, and if that has you feeling nostalgic for the days when you spent the bulk of your time learning new stuff from smart, interesting people (and not, say, being mashed between a stroller and a backpack on the subway while a stranger serenades the entire car with terrible drum and bass on an iPhone speaker), take note of some events going on this week that might be of interest.First up, tonight is the swan song for the Happy Ending Music and Reading Series, the long-running and totally original literary event. To give it a proper sendoff, make your way to Symphony Space tonight to see Charles Bock, Belinda McKeon, Amber Tamblyn, and musical guest Ani DiFranco perform live. This weekend also brings NYCPodfest 2016 to town, which means that a curated group of popular podcasts will be recording live episodes at the Bell House and Cakeshop starting on Friday night. Some shows are already sold out, but you can still catch some pretty big names on the bill, like Janeane Garafolo, Caroline Rhea, Ted Allen, Morgan Spurlock, and Colin Quinn.
If you’re the type who spent more time socializing than studying in school, there is, as always, plenty happening this week to scratch that itch too. A drive through Red Hook last weekend confirmed that the ballfield food trucks are back, so maybe grab a few buddies and take a bike ride out there for a kickass pupusa this week, before weddings and beach trips and the like block out your calendar for the next few months. Or arrange a day trip to Storm King Art Center, which is newly reopened for the season, to take in both world-class sculpture and exploding springtime flora just a few miles north of the city. If you’re looking for some outdoor hang time closer to home, try Nowadays, the massive bar/restaurant/greenspace that opened last summer and Ridgewood and is back again as of a week ago.
Those are some evergreen tips to keep you busy now that sunny skies are (hopefully) here to stay for a while, but read on for ideas of fun things to do that are specific to this week in particular. Go forth and make plans and, no matter what you do between now and next Wednesday, make it an Ideal Week to remember.
Monday, May 23 RED HOOK Shipwrecked mini-golf, $14 per round ↠
Tuesday, May 24 PROSPECT HEIGHTS Homebrewing Essentials, 6:30pm, $55 tickets ↠
Wednesday, May 25 GOWANUS Grist Comedy Extravaganza, 8pm, $25 tickets ↠
Thursday, May 19 Tori Amos’ highly influential album Boys for Pele celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, and Bed-Stuy’s C’mon Everybody wants to celebrate. On Thursday night starting at 8pm, the bar and music space will host a tribute concert where artists Edith Pop, Granville Automatic, a place both wonderful and strange, Frank Deserto, knifesex, Dani Mari, and Felix and the Future will cover the entire groundbreaking record from front-to-back. Proceeds from the $8 ticket sales will benefit RAINN’s work with victims of sexual assault. Before you head over, drop by Brooklyn Roasting Company in DUMBO for Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse’s Annual Fundraising Party, where you can hobnob with other kayakers, take down a couple of drinks, and enter a raffle for tons of cool prizes like gift certificates to restaurants and beer-making classes. Tickets are $20, which goes to build and maintain the Boathouse’s fleet, and the party starts at 7pm.
Friday, May 20 Friday night marks the return of Rooftop Films, now in its 20th year, and they are kicking things off with a night of short films at the Bushwick Generator. Check out a curated slate of daring, creative and educational films that explore everything from operatic flash mobs to the NYC subway to a roofer and daredevil known as the “Russian Spiderman.” Tickets are $15, which includes drinks, live music from The She-Devils, the screening, and an afterparty. Another option is to check out the Fleetmac Wood dance party and music fest going on at Baby’s All Right. This isn’t just another cover band–it is an EXPERIENCE for true Fleetwood Mac aficionados who appreciate deep cuts and don’t balk at the idea of embracing a total stranger during Landslide. Tickets are $17.
Saturday, May 21 Cobble Hill is definitely the place to be on Saturday during the day, because that’s the neighborhood that we’ve chosen for our first Brooklyn Based Immersion of the season. There are still a smattering of $25 tickets left, and if you grab one, you’ll get an envelope of coupons that will guarantee you all kinds of deals–including four beers and a delicious lunch– from participating bars, restaurants, and shops in the area like Fawkner, 61 Local, Jakewalk, Habit and Shen. Come join us and dive into spring with a day of drinking, exploration, and revelry! Saturday also brings Brooklyn’s first annual all-vegan food festival, Plant-Based Bushwick, to Light Space Studios from 10am-6pm. It’s free and you’ll get to sample wares from vendors hawking hot dogs, skin care products, cannoli, and more, completely free of animals and animal-byproducts. On the other hand, for a decidedly non-vegan meal, you can celebrate Notorious B.I.G.’s birthday with a special themed menu running all day long at Williamsburg’s Southern grub hotspot Sweet Chick. The dishes are all inspired by Biggie’s best-known lyrics, like “A T-bone steak, cheese, eggs and Welch’s grape,” which features a 16-oz T-bone accompanied by spinach egg custard, morel mushroom cheese sauce, and a red wine and grape soda spritzer.
Sunday, May 22 The Good Fork is one of the spots that put Red Hook on the map as a fine-dining destination, and this Sunday the New American joint with a Korean twist is toasting ten remarkable years in business (including the one when it was almost wiped out by Sandy) with an all-day champagne pig roast. For $25, you can imbibe some bubbly, devour roasted pork and a variety of delectable sides (we’re guessing the resto’s famous kimchi fried rice will be available), and groove to live music between noon and 8pm. You can also shop your heart out at The Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint, which is hosting nearly 200 maker-vendors selling unique jewelry, home decor, gifts, clothing, and more all weekend long as part of the Renegade Craft Fair.
Monday, May 23 Anyone who was lucky enough to experience first-hand one of the Christmas-light-and-sound extravaganzas put on every year by longtime South Slope residents and friends Chris Schneider and Ryan Powers will be excited to check out the duo’s latest project: An 11,000-square-foot interactive, theatrical, indoor 18-hole miniature golf course in a warehouse near the Red Hook Ballfields, complete with fog machines, strobe lights, volcanos, and booby-traps. Shipwrecked NYC just opened a few weeks ago, and Monday happy hour seems like a good time to swing by and take advantage of the course, the arcade games, and snack bar before it gets completely overrun with kiddos this summer. It’s open seven days a week, until 9pm on weeknights, and a regular adult ticket is $14.
Tuesday, May 24 Have you always wanted to try your hand at brewing your own beer but have no idea where to start? You’re in luck on Tuesday, because Bitter & Esters is collaborating with Brooklyn Brainery on a Brewshop 101: Homebrewing Essentials class that is just right for beginners. The 2.5-hour-long course, which covers malts, grains, yeast, and loads of other things that you need to know to get started, costs $55, and includes reference materials and tastings.
Wednesday, May 25 On Wednesday night, The Bell House is welcoming a slew of uber-talented comedians to its stage as part of the Third Annual Grist Extravaganza Presented by Pretty Good Friends, which starts at 8pm. The star-studded showcase features the likes of Eugene Mirman, Michael Che, Jon Glaser, Aparna Nancherla, Baratunde Thurston, and a few more as yet unrevealed special guests. This will definitely be one of the highlights of my Ideal Week, and tickets are just $25, which is a great deal given this lineup.