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29 amazing things to do in NYC this (long) weekend

By Will Sabel Courtney
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September 4

Electric Zoo Festival Randalls Island Park; Sept 4–6 at 11am; $109-$799
Rock down to electric avenue at this ginormous EDM festival, which features performances from some of the biggest names in electronic dance music. If electronica is your jam, it's well worth the trek to this island park. 

Damon Wayans Carolines on Broadway; Sept 4, 5 at 7:30, 10pm; Sept 6 at 7:30pm; $60–$130
Wayans is best known for his work on In Living Color and My Wife and Kids, but he's been doing stand-up for more than 30 years. See him go back to his roots with a weekend-long stint at this world-renowned comedy club.

Benny Golson Quartet Jazz Standard; Sept 4–6 at 7:30, 9:30pm; $35
Golson may be 86 years old, but this saxophonist extraordinaire has spent enough time on the circuit to earn the title of NEA Jazz Master—the jazz equivalent of the Medal of Honor. Catch him while you can.

The Odyssey Delacorte Theater, Central Park; Sept 4–7 at 8pm; free
A Greek adventurer faces one-eyed monsters, wailing sirens and other obstacles as he battles his way home from the Trojan War in Todd Almond's musical treatment of Homer's epic poem, conceived and directed by Lear deBessonet as part of the Public Theater's wide-armed Public Works program. 200 cast members from community organizations across NYC join a professional cast that includes Almond, Brandon Victor Dixon, Karen Olivo, Andy Grotelueschen and Lucas Caleb Rooney. Nab free tickets much like Shakespeare in the Park—by waiting in line or through virtual ticket lottery.

Here and Now Labor Day Festival Bargemusic, Brooklyn; Sept 4, 5 at 8pm, Sept 6 at 4pm; $35
If Electric Zoo sounds like the exact opposite of your idea of a good time, this waterfront classical music festival might be right up your alley. The floating concert hall presents a program of contemporary classical music that includes premieres from around the world.

Dollypalooza: An Epic Fan Tribute to Dolly Parton Littlefield, Brooklyn; 8pm; $15-$20
It's exactly what it sounds like: a salute to the most-honored female country music artist in history, Dolly Parton. Parton cover band Doll Parts will be there, along with a host of other performers, all to celebrate the prolific performer, who has composed more than 3,000 songs.

Xylouris White Union Pool, Brooklyn; 10:30pm; $12
George Xylouris hails from Greece, and he sings and plays the Cretan lute. Jim White hails from Australia, and he plays the drums. Together, they form an exotic, entrancing musical team unlike anything you've likely heard before. 

Ida Engberg + Reset Robot + Sarah Myers Verboten, Brooklyn; 11pm; $25 
Swedish DJ Ida Engberg has played almost every major techno festival on the planet since she started spinning more than a decade ago; now she's got a flurry of international hits under her belt and a residency at Verboten in Williamsburg.

September 5

Richmond County Fair Historic Richmond Town, Staten Island; Sept 5-7 at 11am; $16 
Staten Island's old-fashioned Richmond Town already feels a million miles away from the big city, but the effect is amplified when it's filled with rides, performers and puppets. And if you like showboating pooches, check out the Ultimate Air Dogs, who perform tricks while jumping 20 feet through the air.

NYC Unicycle Festival Governors Island; Sept 5, 6 at noon; free
If the idea of riding a unicycle seems like a challenge to you, prepare to have your mind blown when you see the pros play hockey and sumo wrestle while rolling on one wheel.

Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit Washington Square Park; Sept 5–7 at noon; free
Hundreds of artists gather in this twice-yearly outdoor event, displaying their jewelry, metal work, ceramics, acrylics, graphics and oils for art enthusiasts of all ages to enjoy.

Warm Up at MoMA PS1 MoMA PS1, Queens; 3pm; $20
The final 2015 installment of this summertime series features performances from techno music master Derrick May, hip-hop artist Vince Staples and many more, as well as fresh air, tasty beer—oh, and plenty of modern art, too.

The Bitch Seat Union Hall, Brooklyn; 8pm; $10
Come see host Lyssa Mandel get her guests to open up about their beautiful, awkward and/or touching creations (poetry, songs, sketches and so forth) from their formative adolescent years in this live talk show. 

Coney Island Beard and Moustache Competition Sideshows by the Seashore, Brooklyn; 8pm; $20
If you think those hipsters you see off the L train have impressive facial hair, just wait until you see the jaw-dropping displays at this competition. And if you think your beard or 'stache can measure up, get there to enter by 6pm.

Ricardo Arjona Madison Square Garden; Sept 5 at 8pm; $44-$164. Prudential Center, New Jersey; Sept 6 at 8pm; $43.75-$143.75.
Catch a ride across the river on the PATH to see this Guatemalan singer perform in support of his 14th studio album. The rebellious political and social themes of his music have helped make him a Latin American sensation—along with his smooth voice, of course.

Swervedriver + Gateway Drugs Bowery Ballroom; 9pm; $25 
Let your angsty inner self run free for a night as grunge '90s band Swervedriver takes to the stage. Touring behind their first new album in 17 years, the British band is ready to make you feel those shoegazing feels all over again.

Skin Tight USA Nowhere; 10pm; free
If the X-Men's Northstar didn't have to be out on Saturday nights keeping Magneto from destroying Manhattan, he'd be at this superhero-themed party, hosted by Mischief Matthew with tunes by DJ Jeff Jackson. BYO costume or rent your own for $8.

September 6

Great North River Tugboat Race Hudson River Park, Pier 84; 10am; free
And they're off! Watch tugboats race from Hell's Kitchen up to the 79th Street Boat Basin and back again, then test out your hand-eye coordination with a line-tossing contest—or just sit back and enjoy the spinach-eating contest, inspired by a certain cartoon sailor man (toot toot).

Tropical Goth Labor Day Weekend Beach Party Rippers, Queens; 11am; free
Brace yourself for an epic Sunday afternoon at the Rockaways jamming out to some of the biggest local names in the techno scene: Alex from Queens, FBI Warning, Marcus Webb, Kiddo Sincere...the list goes on and on.

West Side County Fair Riverside Park South, Pier 1; 1pm; free
Okay, so the UWS isn't its own county, but we'll forgive the use of the term—considering this "county fair" is bringing rural treats like carnival rides, a petting zoo and sideshow acts to the banks of the Hudson.

Gilmore Girls Trivia Videology, Brooklyn; 7pm; free
If you've been watching this WB classic on repeat ever since it landed on Netflix, this may be just the trivia night for you. Five rounds of clips, images, general knowledge and other types of questions mean you'd better have been paying close attention to the dramatic lives of Lorelei and Rory.

Kenny Barron Dizzy's Club Coca Cola; 7:30pm and 9:30 pm; $40
Considered one of the most influential jazz pianists of recent times, Kenny Barron teams up with saxophonist Marcus Strickland, bassist Ben Williams and drummer Joe Dyson to form a heavy-duty jazz band sure to set feet a-tapping. 

The Goonies Habana Outpost, Brooklyn; 8pm, free
Truffle-shuffle your way down to Fort Greene to catch the 1985 cinema classic in this restaurant's backyard. Be prepared to shout out your favorite lines—after a margarita or two to loosen up first, of course.

Labor Day's Black & White Affair 49 Grove; 9pm; $10
Dance the night (and, alas, the summer) away at this final opportunity to break out your white pants in 2015, with Coney Island's DJ Melly Mel rocking the turntables.

Horse Meat Disco Cielo; 10pm; $35
The four members of this London DJ collective combine their powers, Captain Planet-style, to deliver a night of disco-funk-electro music that'll keep you dancing straight onto the street at 4am. 

September 7

West Indian-American Day Carnival Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn; 11am; free
Celebrate the Caribbean at this rip-roaring festival full of dancers on stilts, upbeat music blasting from parade floats, and of course, plenty of bare skin. And bring an appetite—there's plenty of vendors selling regional cuisine like oxtail and jerk chicken.

Fool's Gold Day Off 50 Kent, Brooklyn; 4pm; $40 
If you still have energy left after three days of Electric Zoo, book it to Billyburg for this celebration of hip-hop and electronic music. Meek Mill will be headlining, but event founder-slash-electro sensation A-Trak and a host of other talented artists will be there, too.

Darius de Haas: Something to Live For—Celebrating Strayhorn and More Birdland; 7pm; $30 plus $10 minimum
De Haas's voice has brought him critical acclaim on Broadway; now he turns his pipes to the music of late jazz maestro and Duke Ellington collaborator Billy Strayhorn, in honor of the legend's 100th birthday. 

The Moth StorySLAM The Bell House, Brooklyn; 8pm; $8
Ten amateur storytellers each tell five-minute stories in this live storytelling series. Three judges decide who told their story best; the winner heads to the GrandSLAM championships. The theme of this installment: betrayal. 

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