New York events in August

Plan your month with our events calendar featuring St. Vincent, the Electric Zoo festival and the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival

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The dog days of summer have officially arrived, but instead of staying indoors, use our events calendar to experience the best things to do in August. See tons of exemplary live jazz at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, check out an outdoor film screening, or simply enjoy the season by hanging out at one of the best beaches.


Our August highlights

Smorgasburg

  • Critics choice
  • Free
  1. Brooklyn Bridge Park Main St, at Fulton Ferry Landing, 11201
  2. Sat May 24 - Sun Nov 23
More info

Billy Joel

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice
  1. Madison Square Garden 4 Pennsylvania Plaza , between 31st and 33rd Sts, 10001
  2. Thu Aug 7 - Thu Dec 18
More info

SummerScreen

  • Critics choice
  • Free
  1. McCarren Park Bayard St to Nassau Ave, between Leonard and North 12 Sts
  2. Wed Jul 9 - Wed Aug 13
More info

The Monster Tour: Eminem x Rihanna

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. MetLife Stadium 102 Rte 120
  2. Sat Aug 16 - Sun Aug 17
More info

More events in August 2014

Calvary

What do you tell a priest whom you plan to shoot point-blank between the eyes? “Say your prayers,” of course. John Michael McDonagh’s follow-up to 2011’s The Guard is a wickedly funny and Tarantino-esque black comedy—all fatalism and gallows humor but with a beating heart and an inquiring mind beneath its tough-guy bluster. The mighty Brendan Gleeson, a visibly weathered actor, plays Father James. In the confession box, a man tells him how he was raped by a priest at the age of seven. That cleric is now dead, so it’s Father James who must pay. The mystery voice gives James seven days to put his affairs in order; the murder is set for next Sunday.

  1. Opens Fri Aug 1

Guardians of the Galaxy

Following the blockbusting success of The Avengers, Marvel Films' sinister-sounding Phase 3 is about to swing into action, offering up some of the more obscure characters from their comic-book back catalogue to the ticket-buying public. First up its Guardians of the Galaxy, the simple tale of a rogue space pilot, a slinky green-skinned minx, a walking tree and a foulmouthed raccoon who team up to defeat the evil Thanos. Sure, it may sound bonkers, but that's sort of the point: now that they’ve sold the public on old-fashioned superheroes like Iron Man and Thor, the Marvel team are fully intent on pushing the boat out and making the kind of crazy action movies they’d love to see on the big screen. And we salute them for it.

  1. Opens Fri Aug 1

PotterCon

  • Free

We know, you're still waiting hopefully for that acceptance letter sent to you via owl to let you know you've finally made it into Hogwarts. News flash: That's never happening. But the next best thing! PotterCon is for all you Potterheads out there who have since come into adulthood but would still wear your wizard robe with pride. There will be butterbeer, costume contests and of course a chance for you to be sorted into your witchcraft-and-wizardry house. Gryffindor, anyone? Or maybe you're more Hufflepuff. Go find out at this Muggle mingle for grown children in honor of the Boy Who Lived.

  1. The Bell House 149 7th St, between Second and Third Aves, 11215
  2. Sat Aug 2
More info

Summer Streets

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For this three-Saturday event, nearly seven miles of NYC turf from the Brooklyn Bridge all the way to the Upper East Side are cleared of vehicles, creating a pedestrian paradise complete with food and entertainment. This edition’s offerings include free bike rentals, a rock-climbing wall, a zip line and outdoor art installations (including a misting station and a minigolf course). It also includes pedestrian access to the Park Avenue Tunnel, with an interactive sound-and-light work by Jana Winderen. From Centre St at Brooklyn Bridge to Park Ave at 72nd St (nyc.gov/summerstreets).

  1. Various locations
  2. Sat Aug 2 - Sat Aug 16
More info

Christopher Williams: “The Production Line of Happiness”

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Like Robert Heinecken, Williams came out the West Coast as a photographer who deconstructed his medium through unconventional methods. In Williams's case, this has meant employing commercial photographers to create his works, images which dispassionately dismantle the mystique of the darkroom, the photographer's studio and the camera itself. The results often have the look of mid-century catalogs for photographic services and equipment.

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 W 53rd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10019
  2. Sat Aug 2 - Sun Nov 2
More info

All Jazzed Up Performance Series

In conjunction with its exhibit "Jazzed! The Changing Beat of 125th Street," the Children's Museum of Manhattan—in partnership with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem—presents a series of solo tap performances.

  1. Children's Museum of Manhattan, 212 W 83rd St Upper West Side, New York 10024
  2. Wed Aug 6, Wed Aug 13, Wed Aug 20, Wed Aug 27

John Legend

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

John Legend, who will forever have a place in our hearts for his performance in a bat mitzvah scene on Curb Your Enthusiasm, gives vintage soul a respectful tweak. We're tearing up just thinking about the inevitable encore performance of the gorgeousness that is "All of Me."

  1. Barclays Center 620 Atlantic Ave, at Flatbush Ave, 11217
  2. Wed Aug 6
More info

Mark Morris Dance Group

  • Critics choice

Mark Morris Dance Group returns to the Mostly Mozart Festival with Acis and Galatea, a production of Mozart's arrangement of Handel's operatic work depicting a tragic love triangle among Acis, an Arcadian shepherd; Galatea, a sea nymph; and the giant Polyphemus. Costumes are by Isaac Mizrahi, and scenic design is by Adrianne Lobel. San Francisco's Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale, led by Nicholas McGegan, performs, and Morris—of course—choreographs and directs. Acis and Galatea marks his 12th opera.

  1. David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center) 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, at 63rd St
  2. Thu Aug 7 - Sat Aug 9
Buy tickets

Dance Theatre of Harlem 2014 Summer Street Festival

Dance Theatre of Harlem engages the neighborhood with its annual street fair. In addition to vendors, the daylong shindig includes performances by the summer-intensive students, guests artists and the company.

  1. Dance Theatre of Harlem Everett Center for the Performing Arts, 466 W 152nd St, between Amsterdam and St. Nicholas Aves
  2. Sat Aug 9
More info

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Legend has it that on the fifth day of the fifth moon of the lunar calendar in 278 B.C., the Chinese poet Qu Yuan drowned himself in the Miluo River in Hunan province. To prevent evil water spirits from consuming their hero’s body, local fishermen set out onto the river, beating drums and splashing paddles. Centuries later, the rescue mission is commemorated with aquatic races held annually around the globe. New York’s event attracts more than 180 teams from across North America to compete for cash and other prizes. Starting at 9am, oarsmen will propel colorful teak vessels carrying drummers onto Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. Heats continue through the day, and performances—including martial-arts demonstrations and traditional lion dances—will entertain spectators. If you need a snack, pick up some zongzi (sticky rice wrapped in palm leaves) and other fare at an international food court. MTA shuttle runs from Mets–Willets Pt 7 station.

  1. Flushing Meadows–Corona Park 111th St to Van Wyck Expwy, between Flushing Bay and Grand Central Pkwy
  2. Sat Aug 9 - Sun Aug 10
More info

Ai Weiwei: “According to What?”

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The Brooklyn Museum’s Ai Weiwei retrospective has a before-and-after quality, befitting the artist’s career. Once a darling of Chinese officials, and codesigner of the “bird nest” stadium that was Beijing’s 2008 Olympics centerpiece, Ai became a vocal opponent of government policies, and in 2011, he was briefly imprisoned on charges of tax fraud. Now free, he’s no longer allowed to leave China. He’s still permitted to communicate with the outside world, however, and to produce works of art that, judging from the examples here (a large installation of ceramic crabs; a huge, undulating carpet of rebar salvaged from a schoolhouse destroyed by an earthquake), haven’t suffered from his travails in terms of scale or ambition.

  1. Brooklyn Museum 200 Eastern Pkwy, at Washington Ave
  2. Wed May 21 - Sun Aug 10
More info

The Maids

  • Price band: 4/4

A revival of this classic drama by Jean Genet—French master of perversity and power struggles—would normally not equal box-office gold. But this Sydney Theatre Company import stars the incomparable Cate Blanchett. The film star plays a domestic servant who dreams of the fancy life—and maybe knocking off her wealthy employer.

  1. New York City Center 131 W 55th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. Wed Aug 6 - Sat Aug 16
Buy tickets

Battle of the Burger 2014

  • Critics choice

Taste your way through the best burgers in New York at this cook-off featuring free beer from Amstel Light.

  1. South Street Seaport 19 Fulton St, New York, NY, 10038
  2. Thu Aug 7

The New York International Fringe Festival 2014

The 18th edition of this sprawling annual downtown festival features work by 205 frantically repping companies. The wild variety of shows includes musicals, dance pieces, classical revivals and ramshackle new works on subjects that include Moses, Taylor Swift and pretty much everything in between. Click here for full TONY coverage of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival, including multiple reviews.

  1. Various venues
  2. Fri Aug 8 - Mon Aug 25
More info

Drive East 2014

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Navatman hosts the second annual Drive East, a weeklong festival of classical Indian music and dance in an intimate setting. The dance offerings highlight Bharata Natyam, kathak, kuchipudi and lesser-known styles sattriya, mohiniattam and chhau; for more details, visit navatman.org.

  1. La MaMa E.T.C. 74A E 4th St, between Bowery and Second Ave
  2. Mon Aug 11 - Sun Aug 17
More info

The Trip to Italy

"Second-album syndrome" is how co-star Steve Coogan, in a meta moment of self-critique, describes his impending food tour with also-slightly-fictionalized Rob Brydon in director Michael Winterbottom's sequel to 2010's The Trip (which existed as both a film and a BBC series). This time, the duo is headed to Italy's glorious Amalfi Coast and several ridiculously good-looking plates of pasta.

  1. Opens Fri Aug 15

Jazz Age Lawn Party

  • Critics choice

Brush up on your Fitzgerald and Hemingway in time for this outdoor bash, where part of Governors Island is transformed into a Prohibition-era soiree. Over two separate weekends, you can Charleston to Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra playing jazz staples, while donning your finest flapper garb and Zoot suits. Then Lindy Hop over to the bar for decade-appropriate cocktails (that promise to taste better than bathtub gin).

  1. Governors Island Governors Island
  2. Sat Aug 16 - Sun Aug 17
More info

Arcade Fire

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

This Montreal-based band proves that poutine and epic hangovers aren't the only good thing to come out of Quebec. There's also almost as many band members in Arcade Fire as there are seats in the Barclay Center, so there's that, too! 

  1. Barclays Center 620 Atlantic Ave, at Flatbush Ave, 11217
  2. Fri Aug 22 - Sun Aug 24
More info

Bootycandy

  • Price band: 3/4

Audacious writer-director Robert O'Hara weaves together sketches to portray the joys and terrors of growing up gay and black in America.

  1. Playwrights Horizons 416 W 42nd St, between Ninth and Tenth Aves
  2. Fri Aug 22 - Sun Oct 12
More info

Frank

Dazzlingly strange art rock pours out of Frank, both the movie, a dark comedy from Irish director Lenny Abrahamson, and the title character, a singer devoted to lyrics about random tufts of string and terrifying litanies that might have freaked out Joy Division's Ian Curtis.

  1. Opens Fri Aug 22

Love Is Strange

New York-based filmmaker Ira Sachs (Keep the Lights On) creates a special kind of urbanity: softer and more inclusive than Woody Allen's, openly gay but family-focused, alive to the city's tensions and lulls. His latest movie also features a Chopin piano score, adding an exquisite sense of proportion to, what in the hands of most other directors, might have felt like a cautionary tale about the perils of gay marriage. Instead, Love Is Strange emerges as a total triumph for Sachs and his co-leads, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, who, despite lengthy filmographies, turn in career-topping work.

  1. Opens Fri Aug 22

Afropunk Fest

  • Critics choice

This annual Fort Greene fest—a celebration of black music in all its many forms—presents its finest lineup yet, encompassing forward-thinking R&B (D'Angelo, Meshell Ndegeocello), cutting-edge hip-hop (Shabazz Palaces, the Internet), riff-happy metal (Body Count, Unlocking the Truth), mosh-fueling punk (Trash Talk, Fishbone) and a whole lot more. See afropunkfest.com for ticket info.

  1. Commodore Barry Park Navy St, between Flushing and Park Aves
  2. Sat Aug 23 - Sun Aug 24
Buy tickets

Hudson River Park Blues BBQ

  • Free

Spend an evening by the river listening to bands from across the country and sampling barbecue from New York City restaurants. All ages.

  1. Hudson River Park at Pier 84 W 44th St, at the Hudson River
  2. Sat Aug 23
More info

Masters of Disguise: The World of Camouflage

  • Critics choice

Learn about how animals, from chameleons to toads, change their skin to fool predators and blend in with their surroundings—then see how the military co-opted the neat trick for battleships and uniforms.

  1. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Pier 86, Twelfth Ave, at 46th St, 10036
  2. Tue May 20 - Sun Aug 24
More info

Arriba! Community Dance Party

  • Free

Sway those hips to the beat of timba drums at this free Latin dance party. The “Last Mambo King” Orlando Marin will jam out with his Bronx band to traditional salsa and merengue tunes while you shimmy, shake or just watch the pros. Once those dancing shoes have had enough, relax under the stars with dinner and dessert from the many High Line vendors.

  1. Chelsea Market 75 Ninth Ave, at 16th St
  2. Until Wed Aug 27
More info

Buyer & Cellar

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Stars are to be wished upon, not touched. This is one of the lessons of Jonathan Tolins’s giddily funny solo play, Buyer & Cellar, which imagines an evolving pas de deux between Barbra Streisand and a gay employee at her California home.

  1. Barrow Street Theatre 27 Barrow St, at Seventh Ave South
  2. Tue May 20 - Sun Aug 31
Buy tickets

Coney Island Reggae Beach Party

  • Critics choice
  • Free

If you’re getting baked on the beach, time your sunbathing to coincide with Carter Van Pelt’s monthly skankathon, which welcomes local selectors and legends like Clive Chin and Sir Tommy. Stake out a spot on the sand and you’ll still be able to hear the ska, rocksteady, dub, lovers rock and early dancehall emanating from DJ Chanter’s booming speaker stack. Listen to Van Pelt’s Saturday show, Eastern Standard Time, on WKCR 89.9 FM (Sat 8am–noon) or follow @CarterVanPelt to get the latest information on guest DJs.

  1. Coney Island Boardwalk Boardwalk, at 10th St
  2. Sun May 25 - Sun Aug 31
More info

Rocky

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Every few years, a piece of stagecraft drops so many jaws and pops so many eyes, it becomes a Broadway insta-icon: The Phantom of the Opera’s glorious falling chandelier; the awe-inspiring march of animals in The Lion King’s “Circle of Life.” In recent years, the nonpareil has been green-skinned Elphaba levitating while hitting the high F in Wicked’s “Defying Gravity.” Add to that list the spectacular final bout in Rocky. The 20-minute closing coup (spoilers ahead) brings a section of the audience onto the stage, drops in jumbo screens, extends a boxing ring over the orchestra and puts on one hell of a fight before the bloodied guy gets the girl—bellowing her name, of course.

  1. Winter Garden Theatre 1634 Broadway, between 50th and 51st Sts
  2. Tue May 20 - Sun Nov 23
Buy tickets

Hey Queen!

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Sarah Jenny and Avory Agony serve up this monthly panqueer shindig, featuring ever-changing themes, performance art, DJs, go-go dancers, art installations and more.

  1. Littlefield 622 DeGraw St, between Third and Fourth Aves
  2. Sat Jun 28 - Sat Dec 20
More info

Big Apple Ranch

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The weekly country-Western dance has been helping you spin your same-sex partners round and round for more than a decade now. Each week kicks off with lessons in two-step and line dancing, then continues with a soiree that calls beginners, experts and everyone in between to the floor.

  1. Dance Manhattan Studios 39 W 19th St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, fifth floor
  2. Sat May 24 - Sat Dec 27
More info

Comedy at the Knitting Factory

  • Critics choice

The smooth and delightfully understated Hannibal Buress introduces fellow stand-ups.

  1. Knitting Factory 361 Metropolitan Ave, at Havemeyer St
  2. Sun May 25 - Sun Dec 28
More info

13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World's Fair

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

As one of the artists commissioned to make work for the 1964 World’s Fair, Andy Warhol, always the provocateur, plastered a sizable portion of the New York State Pavilion’s facade with enlarged mugshots of the city’s most wanted criminals from two years prior. The checkerboard of front and profile views was quickly painted over by the Fair’s more prudent officials, but months later, the wily Pop artist reproduced the silkscreens. Nine of them are now on view, just a five-minute walk from the scene of the scandal.

  1. Queens Museum Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, enter at 111th St and 49th Ave
  2. Wed May 21 - Sun Sep 7
More info

Night Train with Wyatt Cenac

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This weekly offering, hosted with a cool head and a warm heart by former Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac, welcomes great young New York comics and noteworthy out-of-towners.

  1. Littlefield 622 DeGraw St, between Third and Fourth Aves
  2. Mon May 19 - Mon Dec 29
More info

Radical Alphabet City Tour

  • Critics choice

Learn about the homegrown activism that has long been a part of Lower East Side and East Village culture. The tour visits the areas’ tenements, community gardens and historic sites, including Tompkins Square Park and the Christodora House.

  1. Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space 155 Ave C, between 9th and 10th Sts, 10009
  2. Sun May 25 - Sun Dec 28
More info


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