Summer party guide to NYC: 50 great parties and nights out

Whether you want to dance to music by a world-beating DJ, or prefer a sophisticated evening under the stars, we have the right summer party for you.

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Photograph: Kambriel

Gemini & Scorpio's 10th Anniversary parties

Miss Gemini and Miss Scorpio are two Brooklyn scene makers with a virtually unprecedented reputation for delivering all things dark, delightful and subculture-chic, keeping alternative revelry seekers in the know about the city’s soirees with their weekly newsletter and throwing their own fantastical parties to boot. They’re marking a decade in a most fitting fashion: with a three-day steampunk bender sure to leave guests feeling out of this modern world. (geminiandscorpio.com/events). Aug 9–11; weekend pass $50, VIP $65.

43

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra + Rosin Coven

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For three weeks each summer, Lincoln Center loosens its tie and spills out onto the Josie Robertson Plaza for its free performance series Out of Doors. G&S kicks off its celebratory weekend here with an arsenal of acts in the plaza—Vau de Vire’s circus performers and the Hungry March Band­—before moving to the bandshell. Amanda Palmer, legendary eccentric and one half of the dark-cabaret duo the Dresden Dolls, Palmer will perform a set with her band, the Grand Theft Orchestra. Opening is pagan lounge ensemble Rosin Coven, co-founder of the San Fran Edwardian Ball scene.

  1. Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center W 62nd St, between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves
  2. Fri Aug 9 at 6pm
More info
44

The Lost Circus

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Attendees must come in costume (let a sexy Tim Burton be your muse) to this extravagant night, where co-founders of San Francisco’s Edwardian Ball, Rosin Coven and Vau de Vire, share a New York stage for the first time. In between and during a series of live musical acts, including New Orleans’s Russian street-punk band Debauche and DJ Joro-Boro, the circus unfolds with stilt walking, acrobatics, fire shows, body art, tarot readings and, ah yes, jousting—the Armored Combat League will be holding an exhibition of medieval battling.

  1. Irondale Center 85 South Oxford St, between Fulton St and Lafayette Ave
  2. Sat Aug 10 at 9pm
More info
45

Steampunk Boat Cruise

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Gemini & Scorpio's weekend of 10th Anniversary parties winds down on board a three-story paddleboat full of libations and resilient partygoers. The Hungry March Band and other musical acts will perform.

  1. Queen of Hearts Pier 78, W 38th St at the Hudson River
  2. Sun Aug 11 2–5pm
More info

Burlesque shows

46

!BadAss! Burlesque: Dark Side of the Rainbow!

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The always-outrageous Velocity Chyaldd has been titillating and terrorizing audiences for almost a decade with this signature show. Dark Side of the Rainbow! is the theme of the August edition, with cohosts the World Famous *BOB* and gender-bending club icon Michael Formika Jones presiding over a colorful lineup of acts that pay tribute to Pink Floyd masterwork The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz. Performers include nerdlesquers Mary Cyn and Stormy Leather, mouthy magician Albert Cadabra and Chyaldd herself, plus the premiere of Chyaldd’s “Electra” music video, featuring what feels like half of the NYC burlesque scene.

  1. Dixon Place 161A Chrystie St, between Delancey and Rivington Sts, 10002
  2. Fri Aug 2 at 10pm
More info
47

Bedlam Burlesque

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

From his smart suits to his quick wit, host Neil O’Fortune harks back to an earlier era. His biweekly revue evokes the old-school atmosphere of early neoburlesque shows—fun-loving, accessible and unpretentious affairs that featured big-wigged demigods alongside stage virgins. Bedlam boasts vets like Legs Malone and Delirium Tremens (Fri 19), Sizzle Dizzle (Aug 2), Fifi Dupree and Broadway Brassy (Aug 16) as well as fresh faces—make that figures.

  1. R Bar 218 Bowery, between Prince and Spring Sts
  2. Every other Fri at 9pm. Next event: Fri Jul 19
More info
48

Burlesque at the Beach

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

At a barely legal 17, Coney Island USA’s summer series is NYC’s oldest neoburlesque revue. Unlike other shows with regular rosters, the Great Fredini and Bambi the Mermaid curate two weekly one-offs that showcasing up-and-comers and va-va-voom vets. Thursdays tend toward the fresh and weird—see The Great Clown Caper: A Horror Play (Aug 1)—along with a smattering of long-running local shows like Brown Girls Burlesque (Aug 8), Le Scandal (Aug 29) and Kitty Nights (Sept 5). Fridays bring out big guns such as the World Famous *BOB* (July 19), Jo “Boobs” Whedon (Aug 2), boylesque top dog (sorry, cat) Tigger! (Aug 16) and the 11th annual Miss Coney Island Burlesque Beauty Pageant (Sept 13), in which all the contestants will be handpicked by Bambi.

  1. 1208 Surf Ave, (at 12th St), 11224
  2. Thu at 9pm, Fri at 10pm; through Fri Sep 27
More info
49

Dead Sexy Burlesque

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

There’s no shame in seeing burly-Q these days, but we’d blush if you caught us in Times Square, let alone at year-round haunted house Times Scare. Still, we make an exception for burlesque mastermind and mayoral candidate Jonny Porkpie’s twice-weekly horror-themed show (the tourists—the horror!) and its rotating cast of more than 100 scenesters. Every performance is hosted by Porkpie in his Mad Doctor persona and stars at least one nightlife luminary, like New York School of Burlesque founder Jo “Boobs” Weldon (Fri 19, Sat 20; Aug 23, 31); sideshow great Todd Robbins (Fri 26); Kitty Nights empress-ario Fem Appeal (Sat 27, Aug 23); Mat “Sealboy” Fraser, from the U.K. (Aug 2); and perpetual pinup Angie Pontani (Aug 3).

  1. Times Scare 669 Eighth Ave, between 42nd and 43rd Sts
  2. Fri at 8pm, Sat at 10pm
More info
50

Gotham Burlesque

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The brainchild of filmmaker Gary Beeber, the man behind the 2010 documentary Dirty Martini and the New Burlesque, this monthly variety show has an upscale feel and an uptown clientele, which is reflected in the talent pool and ticket prices. There are no newbies here, only seasoned hosts—trick roper Chris McDaniel (Aug 3), Shelly “The Singing Siren” Watson, the funniest operatic soprano you’ll ever see (Sept 7)—and stunning showgirls like Gal Friday and Tansy. At Gotham, it’s more about being artistic than outré.

  1. Stage 72 158 W 72nd St, between Columbus Ave and Broadway
  2. First Saturday of the month at 10pm
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