Fri June 20, 2014
Thornton Wilder’s classic, “Our Town,” is getting a site-specific restaging at Green-Wood Cemetery, complete with a cast of modern-day Brooklynites in place of its original New Englanders. Photo: Hunter Canning
If it has been a while since you’ve seen Our Town performed–and I’m betting it has–a few things will likely come back to you as I jog your memory. The set is minimal, the Stage Manager breaks the fourth wall, and a good bit of the time we spend with Emily Webb and George Gibbs in Grover’s Corners takes place in a cemetery. While part of the beauty of the play is the amount of imagining it asks of its audience—to see George and Emily perched on ladders and understand they’re really talking through their bedroom windows, for instance—having it set within Green-Wood Cemetery is a choice you could imagine Thornton Wilder would approve of, even if it breaks his no scenery rule. Award-winning director and playwright James Presson, founder of the Less Than Rent Theatre, along with its executive director, Nora McNally (24 Hour Plays on Broadway) are taking a few more liberties with Wilder’s timeless classic about the cycle of life, setting the play to music from this century and substituting the usual New England cast for a cast of typical Brooklynites, including Amanda Brooklyn as Emily (yes, Brooklyn is her real last name). Catch it Wednesdays through Saturdays before it closes June 28, and if you want to up the creepiness factor, go to one of the midnight shows on Saturdays. Tickets are $30 (in advance) to $40 for midnight shows, available here.
Tue June 17, 2014 - Wed June 18, 2014
There tend to be these moments of cultural pile-up in New York–weeks where there are just too many cool things to do and not enough time to do them in. For example, right now we have both BAMcinemaFest and the film portion of the Northside Fest going on. Your best strategy is combine the two and see If You Take This, a new movie that is screening at Northside, curated by BAM. A European-educated Wall Streeter who grew up in Morocco hires a film crew to travel with him as he re-discovers his native country, but they get bored with his navel gazing and push him to talk to the Joujouka musicians so admired by Brion Gysin and Brian Jones. The result is a richly musical, deeply weird road trip that goes far, far the vanity project it started out as. Screenings on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.
Thu June 19, 2014
When we help Tom Shillue book Funny Story each month the goal is always to get an eclectic mix of performers–some who tell stories for a living, like writers and comedians, and some who just happen to be great storytellers. This month we have one of our best mixes in a looooong time. Mikey Kay is a journalist and documentarian with a sexy British accent. He also used to fly assault helicopters in Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force. Tom Mylan is Brooklyn’s original rockstar butcher (a term he really hates), and just published his first book, The Meat Hook Meat Book (bring your copy for him to sign, if you like). Lawson Clarke is copywriter who has worked on campaigns for everything from Ocean Spray to Jack Daniels and has one of the best personal websites we’ve ever seen. Brooke Van Poppelen not only has a fun-to-say name, she’s also a comedian who has performed at the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival and been on pretty much every comedy podcast and in every festival that’s funny and smart. Enter here for a chance to win tickets, and even if you don’t all this personality, plus a beer, is just a $10 ticket.
Tue June 24, 2014
Emma Straub discusses her new fictional tale of family disfunction, The Vacationers, on June 24 at Inkwell Cafe. Straub photo: Jennifer Bastian
It’s still early in the season, but Brooklyn author Emma Straub may have already penned this summer’s best beach read with her new novel The Vacationers. Straub’s second novel, about a family dealing with various interpersonal crises and secrets during a two-week stay on the Spanish island of Mallorca, has attracted praise everywhere from The New York Times to NPR, since its release last month. (She talks about it with us here). Part of its popularity stems from the book being such a breezy read, as NPR puts it, with plenty of entertaining plot lines and wit—which is kind of what you want in a book about now. In case you’re curious to hear her take on all the talk, Straub will sit down with Biz Mitchell to discuss The Vacationers as part of the PLG Reading Series at Inkwell Cafe on June 24. Conversation starts at 7:30pm.
Sat June 21, 2014
Make your way to Gowanus after the Mermaid Parade on Saturday for a festooned loft party. Photo: Liza Eckert
This Saturday, after the parade craziness at Coney Island and musical madness at Grand Army Plaza, get ready for even more partying at Gemini & Scorpio’s Sea Creature Stomp, a post-Mermaid Parade, post-Make Music New York party featuring live music, DJs, cheap booze, rooftop lounging and ice cream. At the G&S loft in Gowanus you’ll be treated to the live sounds of Underground Horns, M.A.K.U. SoundSystem, Batala NYC and dancing all night long. All of the bands are brass and percussion ensembles who will have performed earlier during the day as part of the all-boroughs, free music festival. Come as you are–even in costume if you’re making your way from the Mermaid Parade. Admission is a $10-$20 suggested donation (all going to the bands) and you must RSVP to get the address.
Sun June 22, 2014
The Outdoor Rise adventure festival offers over 50 affordable ways to enjoy the great outdoors this week. Photo: Francois Lebeau
Outdoor Rise, New York City’s annual adventure festival, starts this weekend and with it comes more than 50 ways to enjoy the great outdoors in all five boroughs for as little as $5. Events are happening daily from June 21-27, including stand-up paddle boarding, slacklining, yoga, rock climbing, hiking, nature walks, bouldering and a Sherpa talk, because honestly who better to give a lecture on enjoying the great outdoors than someone who lives in the Himalayas? Here is a full list of events and info on what’s going on–some things have started selling out, but there are still plenty of ways to participate, like a free rock climbing session and after party at The Cliffs at LIC on June 22. Just make sure to sign up in advance if you want to attend.
Sat June 21, 2014
Brooklyn Bhangra party band Red Baraat will premiere new work commissioned by NPR during Make Music New York, on June 21. Photo: Red Baraat
More than 1,300 free concerts will take place all over the city as part of Make Music New York this Saturday. The massive, live music celebration coincides with the longest day of the year and turns unexpected spaces, like streets and sidewalks, into stages for a single day. Among the performances happening here in Brooklyn are a live jazz concert in the Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden inside Brooklyn Museum, which is free with museum admission; and a music crawl along Myrtle Avenue, from Fort Greene Park to Bed-Stuy, featuring over 30 musicians spanning several genres including soul, Latin, R&B, folk, bluegrass, jazz, pop and neo-soul. Possibly the most anticipated performance taking place on Saturday will happen on the central library plaza of BPL: the world premiere of Red Baraat’s 100+ BPM. A performance by the critically acclaimed Bhangra party band, founded by Clinton Hill resident Sunny Jain, is always a good time, and this Saturday, when the group premieres a special interactive work commissioned by NPR Music, should be no exception. Any local musician with a mobile instrument is invited to download the score and participate in the performance, which includes a parade through Prospect Heights that begins and ends on Grand Army Plaza, starting at 4:30pm. This is really a can’t-miss event, but if for some reason you can’t make it, all is not lost–NPR plans to document the performance and put it up online.
Sat June 14, 2014
The 18th annual Brooklyn Pride celebration is this weekend. Photo: Brooklyn Pride, Inc.
The Brooklyn Pride Parade is on Saturday, closing Brooklyn Pride Week with a six-block long street festival on 5th Ave. between 3rd and 9th Sts. from 11am to 5pm, followed by the Twilight Parade that begins at 5th Ave. and Lincoln Place at 7:30pm and heads south to 9th St. For fun before and after the procession, minus the massive crowds, head to 3rd Ave. where Brooklyn Based’s resident LGBT advisor, Tom Fagan, recommends parking yourself at Lowlands or Lucey’s Lounge.
Thu June 19, 2014 - Sun June 29, 2014
BAMcinemaFest starts June 18; tickets to the all-American indie film festival are going fast, but a free screening of three Les Banks films in Brooklyn Bridge Park on June 19, plus standby tickets to sold-out screenings are two ways to still experience the cinematic showcase. Photo: Janus Films
Six years ago BAM set out to showcase bright new talent in the American independent film industry and thus BAMcinemaFest was born. The two-week festival begins June 18 and promises 30 screenings of new indie films made here in the US of A, as well as a couple classics. like Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, celebrating its 25th anniversary. Several screenings have already sold out, but standby tickets will be made available at BAM’s box office for most shows and there will also be a free, outdoor screening of three Les Bank films on June 19 at pier 1 in Brooklyn Bride Park. Banks, a documentary filmmaker known for capturing off-beat examples of America’s micro-cultures, was especially fond of making films about food culture. Thursday night’s screenings will be accompanied by live music and Smorgasburg vendors to add to the entertainment. Before heading to the movies, make sure to check out our interview with Gabriele Caroti, BAMcinemaFest’s director, as well as our review of one of the festival’s standout films, Boyhood, if you want a better idea of what you’re in for.
Thu June 12, 2014
A night at Get it Out There. Photo: BAM
Get it Out There at BAMcafé is basically the best setting for stand-up in Brooklyn. There is no other venue here that gives you the fancy comedy-club feel, minus the annoying drink minimums and cramped seating. But it’s coming to an end. This Thursday is the last installment of its spring season, but more importantly, it’s likely the last time Caroline Creaghead will be putting her imprint upon this showcase. The woman responsible for booking some of the coolest series in Brooklyn comedy, like Big Terrific and formerly, Pretty Good Friends, is leaving the behind-the-scenes world of stand-up producer to begin producing her own work. Even if you don’t recognize all the names on the lineup for this Thursday—Claire Titelman (Chelsea Lately on E!), John F. O’Donnell (Keith and the Girl podcast), and Kurt Metzger (Comedy Central Presents Kurt Metzger) and host Jared Logan (VH1’s Best Week Ever)–rest assured, Creaghead has a knack for introducing audiences to rising stars. Arrive early to get a seat.