Well, it’s always something to wake up in the morning to find that a candidate for the highest office in the land has basically put a bounty on his opponent’s head, but that’s where we are today. If you haven’t listened to Malcolm Gladwell’s fascinating Revisionist History podcast yet, I suggest that you take an hour for the first episode, The Lady Vanishes, which explores the concept of moral licensing and why it always feels like we take two steps backwards in the immediate wake of social progress (think about all the crazy racism that surfaced after we elected our first black president, for example). There is really well-done section in there about the cruel and terrifying misogyny that the first female prime minister of Australia faced a few years back and the similarities to what the Clinton campaign is currently dealing with are striking to the point of near-implausibility.
The other thing that I am consuming ferociously at the moment is HBO’s The Night Of, which, as a taut, well-written drama involving the systemic failures of our criminal justice system, falls right into my personal zone of perfect television. But even so, I recognize that zoning out on my couch or with my headphones in does not an Ideal Week make, so I might venture over to Columbia Street on Saturday to check out the Elements Outdoor Music and Art Festival brought to you by Bang On. Headliners include Gramatik, Klingande, and special guests the Desert Hearts Crew, but there will be five stages featuring all kinds of entertainment, like interactive and large-scale art installations, aerial performance, fire breathers, extreme wakeboarding (?!), food, clothing and jewelry vendors, and more. It all starts at 1pm in an industrial, waterfront venue, and some tiers of tickets are still available.
Aside from that massive display of revelry, we’ve got a ton of other cool activities you can choose from to round out Your Ideal Week. It might be hot and humid and thunderstorm-y, but that’s part of what makes August in New York what it is. Get after it.
Thursday, August 11 CARROLL GARDENS Prime Meats Crab Boil, 7pm, tickets $84↠
Friday, August 12 CROWN HEIGHTS Love Conquers All fundraiser for Black Lives Matter, 9pm, tickets $25↠
Saturday, August 13 BROOKLYN NAVY YARD NYC African Food Festival, noon, tickets start at $30↠
Monday, August 15 GOWANUS Night Train with guest host Giulia Rozzi, 8pm, tickets $5↠
Tuesday, August 16 RED HOOK, outdoor meditation and breath work led by Buddhist monk and meditation master Ajahn Punadhammo, 7:30pm, free↠
Wednesday, August 17 BOERUM HILL Writhing Society writing workshop, 7pm, $5 with RSVP↠
Thursday, August 11 Summer just isn’t summer without a proper seafood cookout or two on your calendar, and if it hasn’t happened for you yet this year, you should grab a ticket to Thursday’s Prime Meats Crab Boil before they’re all gone. The secluded and beautiful backyard of Frankie’s Sputino in Carroll Gardens is an ideal place to celebrate the beginning of the end of summer over a feast of seasonal hors d’oeuvres, piles of crabs served with corn and sausage, and unlimited glasses of rose. Tickets are $84, which includes all food and drinks plus tax and gratuity, and dinner starts at 7pm.
Friday, August 12 Crown Heights watering hole Friends and Lovers is drumming up a big Friday night party to benefit the Black Lives Matter movement, and they have amassed a star-studded lineup of DJs and other performers to help make it an event to remember. Prince Paul, the legendary producer who is responsible for one of my favorite albums of all time, joins Jean Grae, Heems, and a mess of other awesome acts to take care of musical entertainment, and a raffle with great prizes presents reason to donate more money (on top of your $25 ticket fee) to a deserving cause. Love Conquers All starts at 9pm, and all night long, 100% of ticket and raffles sales and 20% of proceeds from the bar will be given to the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter.
Saturday, August 13 Expand your palate this weekend at Afropolitans’ NYC African Food Festival taking place on both Saturday and Sunday in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. From noon on, sample new flavors and take in cooking demos featuring 25+ renowned and up-and-coming African chefs, food experts, cookbook writers, and curators. Tickets start at $30. While you’re in the Navy Yard, make sure you stop for a drink at the Gatehouses, Kings County Distillery’s new bar/tasting room featuring whiskey cocktails and a lovely outdoor space.
Sunday, August 14 Get out of dodge (sorta) and head to Queens on Sunday where the intimate and beautifully-designed Noguchi Museum (if you’ve never been, it’s a must) is hosting its sixth annual music performance series in partnership with Bang on a Can. At Sunday’s concert, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) will play Philip Glass’ String Quartet No. 5, Meredith Monk’s Stringsongs, and will introduce a brand new solo cello piece composed by ACME’s own Caleb Burhans, all in the museum’s lovely and secluded outdoor sculpture garden. The show begins at 3pm and is free with the cost of admission. Then you might want to move inland to Ridgewood for an early dinner at Houdini or Bun-Ker before hitting up the always-fun Mister Sunday dance party, which runs ’til 9pm at Nowadays.
Monday, August 15 Littlefield’s weekly Monday night comedy show, Night Train, is a go-to standby for the Your Ideal Week listing, but this week’s lineup is even more exciting than usual because it features guest host Giulia Rozzi filling in for Wyatt Cenac and a set from one of my favorite comics, Todd Barry. Barry’s dry, sarcastic style is a great match for a case of the Mondays, and he will share the bill with Matteo Lane, Theo Von, Ramon Rivas II, Rob Haze, and Marcia Belsky. Tickets are $5 as always and the show starts at 8pm.
Tuesday, August 16 I’ve been developing a theory lately, which is that even though Monday gets all the attention and its very own famous cartoon cat detractor, Tuesday is, when you really get down to it, the day of the week that is actually the most exhausting and anxiety-producing. Good vibes left over from the weekend are gone, you are back in full swing at work, and you have DAYS of alarm clocks and subway commutes and meetings standing between you and another two-day block of freedom. If you feel similarly bummed about Tuesdays, you could probably stand a trip to Red Hook for a free, outdoor meditation session at in the garden at Pioneer Works. After a meditation and breathing exercise led by Buddhist monk and meditation master Ajahn Punadhammo dispenses with all your stresses and worries, you will learn about how to use breathing to increase your awareness and bring you more joy. The session runs from 7:30 to 9pm and is completely free to attend.
Wednesday, August 17 Take any and all writing projects, whether you haven’t even been able to put pen to paper yet or the writing process has been vexing you for years, to The Commons on Wednesday night between 7 and 9pm for a regular meeting of the long-running Writhing Society, a casual writing workshop/salon experience for wordsmiths of all levels. The group practices the technique of constrained writing, which provides a framework for coming up with fresh ideas in a world where creativity seems increasingly influenced by the discourse driven by disproportionately powerful outside groups. There is a $5 fee per session, and glasses of wine are available at the ridiculously low price of $2 each. If you plan to attend next week, be sure to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.