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25 stellar things to do in NYC this weekend

Written by
David Goldberg

August 21

Good Morning America Summer Concert: 5 Seconds of Summer Central Park, Rumsey Playfield; 7am; free
Wake yourself up with a rush of pure boy band glee with a televised performance by the Aussie pop sensations. 

Battery Dance Festival Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University; 6­–8pm; free
The global dance festival ends with showstopping works from leading Norwegian, Indian and local projects, followed by a closing reception.

Analog Soul presents Theo Parrish Location TBA; 10pm; $35
Pack comfortable shoes: Local techno duo Analog Soul is joining Detroit deep house star Theo Parrish for a guaranteed eight-hour set (at minimum), and you’re likely to dance until you drop.

Afropunk Fancy Dress Ball Commodore Barry Park; 8pm; $80­–$500
To raise money for its Global Initiative, Afropunk is pulling out the stops with fearless performances by Cakes Da Killa, MikeQ, Bill Coleman and reigning alien queen Grace Jones.

The Fabulous: A Trans-Formative Xperience Pianos; 11pm; $10
Glorious disco drag duo Amerigogo presents its gender-bending live music show that involves intergalactic transsexual queens, space odysseys and lots of alcohol.

Quiet Clubbing in the Garden Studio Square Events, Queens; 10pm; $10
Rage hard in total silence as three DJs spin Top 40, ’80s and ’90s hits and hip-hop straight into your headphones. LED lights will indicate which DJ you’re listening to, making it even easier to find the perfect dance partner.  

August 22 

Carly Rae Jepsen Rough Trade, Brooklyn; 11am; ticket with CD purchase
Stop pretending you don’t love “Call Me Maybe” and see Jepsen perform songs from her new album E-MO-TION at Rough Trade. Get in line early to buy the album and score a wristband for the show.  

Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre, Long Island; Sat, Sun at 1:30pm; $194
Jones Beach is about to be ravaged by die-hard fans of The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Skrillex, Nicki Minaj and more. If you’ve mastered every lyric of “Can’t Feel My Face” or “Anaconda,” then prove it among your people on the sand. 

Blues BBQ Hudson River Park, Pier 26; 2pm; free
Lay back and pick the meat off the bones of some of the city’s best BBQ restaurants while a foolproof lineup of blues and roots acts rock Pier 26.

Afropunk Festival Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn; Sat, Sun at noon; $45
This year’s edition of the multicultural music bonanza features Grace Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Kelis and many more raucous acts. Send off your summer in sweaty mosh-pit ecstasy. 

Bangon! NYC’s Elements Festival GBX Gowanus Bay Terminal, Brooklyn; 1pm; $40–$60
Watch a waterfront warehouse transform into a kingdom of pop-color psychedelia as the Bangon! crew packs the space with aerialists, art pieces, food and clothing vendors, rides and a stellar lineup of dance floor acts. 

Fort Greene Park Summer Literary Festival Brooklyn; 2pm; free
Teenage participants in the New York Writers Coalition get the chance to read their original poetry and prose with the help of esteemed literary vets like Mahogany L. Browne, Morgan Parker and Tiphanie Yanique. Meet the rookie and pro authors at the after-party. 

Dance at Socrates Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens; 4pm; free
See inspired modern dancers move with a view of the city as a backdrop. Meagan Woods, Julia K. Gleich, Boomerang and Wake deliver powerful performances to end the residency season.

Beach Sessions Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk, Queens; 4pm; free
Choreographer Shannon Gillen turns the beach into an endless stage with her imaginative performance of the cinematic Horizon High.

Madonnathon Brooklyn Bowl; 8pm; $15
For 12 years, Madonna fans have thanked their lucky stars for this purist party, and with dozens of inventive acts this year, including an all-metal Madonna tribute by Tragedy, the immaculate celebration should be better than ever.

August 23 

“Tom of Finland: The Pleasure of Play” Artists Space; noon–6pm; free
It’s your final chance to step into Touko Laaksonen’s homoerotic dreamland and learn how Tom of Finland’s illustrations defined the gay male aesthetic for generations to come.   

Go Topless Day Pride Parade Columbus Circle; 12:30pm; free
Join a brazen band of activists to march for gender rights worldwide. Your sure-to-be stifling subway ride will have you dying to take your top off anyway.

Jamie xx 50 Kent, Brooklyn; 1pm; $60–$150
The xx’s breakout darling joins Verboten resident DJ Maya Jane Coles for a day of sick, soulful beats by the water.

Waterfront Walking Tour Hudson River, Pier 66; 3:30, 4:15pm; free
Walk aboard a historic lighthouse and learn the history of Chelsea’s waterfront in this interactive guided tour.

Good Room and Dope Jams present: First Annual Yacht Party Pier 62; 5pm; $40
Yachts: You can party on them, too! Drink rum and dance yourself silly as DJs Slow to Speak and Tom of England set sail with sick sets.

Titanic Trivia Videology, Brooklyn; 7pm; free
Fans who have never let go of the goliath ’90s blockbuster have a chance to prove their knowledge of doomed lovers and cruise ships over five rounds of intense trivia. 

WWE SummerSlam Barclays Center, Brooklyn; 6:30pm; $30.50-$530.50
John Stewart loosens his necktie to host this glorious collision of wrestling titans, including John Cena, Undertaker and Arrow star Stephen Amell. Brace yourself for campy dialogue, fight choreography involving chairs and greasy hot dogs.

Santana PNC Bank Arts Center; 8pm; $35–$657
Nearly 50 years and 10 Grammys later, the Mexican guitar virtuoso continues to shred it with no sign of stopping. Catch up on his 2014 album Corazon before you watch the master melt the guitar down.  

Brooklyn Comedy Festival The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn; 9pm; $7
A slate of comedians including John Early, Rebecca Vigil and Michelle Buteau start the weeklong festival with a kick-off party and a solid night of stand-up. Keep an eye out for special guests: previous surprise appearances have included Louis C.K. and Sarah Silverman.

Sundays on the Roof: Soul Clap + Nicolas Matar Output, Brooklyn; 3pm; $20
Watch the sun set over Manhattan and eat hot empanadas from the Bolivian Llama Party food truck as Soul Clap spins its signature mix of moody dance and disco, followed by an always-unpredictable set from Output’s Nicolas Matar. 

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