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40 amazing things to do in NYC in August

Written by
Jennifer Picht

Dynamite things to do

Black Lives Matter Art Show Showroom (266 W 37th St); Aug 5; Free
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, a local artist is taking a creative stance in order to expand awareness and generate discussions on the movement. This free art showcase, curated by Carla Cubit of Occupy Art, includes her visionary mixed media assemblage pieces as well as posters and photographs she took during recent protests in NYC. Folks are welcome to enjoy performances by Cubit and a guest speaker from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Attendees can express their emotions by getting crafty, and they can create their very own Black Lives Matter–inspired artwork with art materials provided.

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival Flushing Meadows-Corona Park; Aug 6, 7; Free
Travel to beautiful Hong Kong without ever leaving the city thanks to this annual event at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, now in it’s 26th year. Around 180 teams gather at the lake to race on long boats while paddling to the beat of their boat’s drummer at this culture fest inspired by Chinese tradition. On land, you can join in on the fun with music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations and food-court vendors selling Asian cuisine like steamed dumplings, pork-belly buns and frozen delights such as Sno Biz shaved ice.

ELEMENTS by BangOn!NYC Location TBA; Aug 13; $30-$140
Four stages featuring electronic music acts, 3D projections, food trucks, vendors, death-defying aerialists, circus performers and a giant inflatable slide? It looks like BangOn!NYC is going all out for this bash. Get pumped for DJs such as Sweater Beats, LE YOUTH, Prince Fox and plenty more. This mind-blowing music and arts festival is not one to be missed, so grab your tickets and keep your eyes peeled for the secret location announcement.  

Full Moon Festival Governors Island; Aug 20, 21; $65–$5,500
Howl at the full moon during this two-day beach-side music festival on Governors Island. There will be live music from stellar acts such as Santigold, Pusha T, Dave Harrington and Allah-Las, plus art installations and delicious culinary grub. 

US Open 2016; Billie Jean King National Tennis Center; Aug 29; Various prices
For two weeks each summer, New York becomes the capital of the tennis world as the sport's final Grand Slam thwacks its way into Queens. Watch stars play under the lights during the popular evening sessions.

Can’t-miss LGBT events

White Elephant Burlesque Rockbar; Aug 3–31; $5
Viktor Devonne’s weekly downtown affair gets saucy and sexy with a rotating roster of the burlesque boys and girls of NYC. With insane themes that range from geeky to gory, this act promises a bizarre, high-energy and totally titillating night. 

BenDeLaCreme’s Inferno A-Go-Go Laurie Beechman Theatre; Aug 3–19; $22
Performance artist and RuPaul's Drag Race Miss Congeniality winner BenDeLaCreme takes on Dante's Inferno in an "evening of entertainment about an eternity of suffering." If her previous shows are any indication, there's some truly divine comedy in store. 

ElevenEleven Open House; Aug 5–26; $5, before midnight free
This packed multilevel throwdown, the creation of nightlife queen Ladyfag, features resident spinner Michael Magnan, plus weekly guests.

Lesbo-a-GoGo The Stonewall Inn; Aug 5–26; free
Gay ladies pack the upstairs dance floor at Stonewall for this Friday night party featuring cheap drinks with visiting guests rotating on the decks. 

Troupe429 Mayfair; Aug 5; 10pm; free
Head to the Mayfair's underground every first Saturday of the month for a relaxed night of crowd-pleasing jams from your favorite divas and queens from the past and present. While Britney, Christina, Left Eye and Aaliyah play all night, revisit classic N64 games (GoldenEye, anyone?), snag cheap drink specials and whiskey tastings, and even play some sloppy beer pong.  

Hilarious comedy shows

Nerd Is the New Black Q.E.D; Aug 6; $5, day of $8
Fast-witted comic Charles McBee brings his glorious sense of self-deprecation to this solid showcase night. Get to the show early to catch happy hour, but be sure not to get too tipsy, or you may miss McBee's mile-a-minute jokes. 

Late Night with Lani The PIT Loft; Aug 16; 9pm; $5
Hostess with the most-est Lani Harms is taking on the late-night scene with a "talk show" chock-full of sketch, improv, insane characters and pretty much whatever else she wants. The show winds up with an improv set based on an interview with a special guest comedian. Mike Kelton, Casey Jost, Keisha Zollar and other improv darlings have showed up in the past.

Amazeballs: An Experimental Magic and Comedy Show The Creek and the Cave; Aug 18; Free
Open your brain to mind reader Eric Dittelman (America’s Got Talent) and some of the best magicians in town. Comics try out new material while also working on their sleight of hand at this monthly celebration of the unknown.

Tamara and Evelyn’s Tarot Variety The PIT Loft; Aug 19; 7:30pm; $7
If you’ve ever wanted your fortune read by comedians, you’re in luck! Show up preshow for a free tarot card reading (first-come, first-served), then stick around for a variety hour that fosters community, creativity and trying to figure out your future from a pack of cards.

BackFat Variety 61 Local; Aug 30; Free
Emily Winter and Janet Manley host this monthly variety comedy show featuring acts from Late Night with Seth MeyersInside Amy Schumer, the Onion, Vice and MTV. This month's edition features Hari Kondabolu, Anna Drezen, Ben Wasserman and more. 

Major movie and theater premieres

Little Men; Opens August 5
Parents fight over possession of a Brooklyn building while their children grow into adolescents in Ira Sachs's keenly observed New York story. It has the same exquisite ear for urban life as Sachs's prior dramas Keep the Lights On and Love Is Strange, this time with a greater emphasis on the kids (played here by some superb young actors who deserve to break out).

Suicide Squad; Opens August 5
Is superhero fatigue permanent? Never count out the crazy passions of comics geeks. If there’s an antidote, it’s more laughs, fewer scowls—exactly what this DC spin-off about a crack team of supervillains seems to promise. Let’s hope those reshoots were productive. 

Hell or High Water; Opens August 12
Raves are already pouring in for this twisty crime drama starring Star Trek’s Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges in crusty Texas menace mode (one he’s excellent in).

Morris from America; Opens August 19
A reinvented Craig Robinson plays a single father raising his son in Germany, where their African-Americanness is exotic. It’s an unusually smart Sundance indie. 

Don’t Breathe; Opens August 26
Horror-movie titles like to tell you what to do: Scream! Lights Out! Don’t Look Now! Let’s Scare Jessica to Death! Even though this one fits the trend, we’re there. It’s about a blind man who gets his revenge on teens who break into his house. 

Awesome live music and concerts

Erykah Badu The Amphitheater at Coney Island; Aug 3; $45–$305
Take a trip to Coney Island to see R&B empress Erykah Badu light up the new 5,000 seat amphitheater. For the past five years, we've been on the lookout for a follow-up to the singer's New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh with no end in sight. However, last year's collection of Drake-inspired tunes, But U Can’t Use My Phone, has us more than satisfied in the interim.

Drake + Future Madison Square Garden; Aug 4 – Aug 8; $45–$180
Expect selections from these two rap heavyweights' recent acclaimed split mixtape What a Time to be Alive at this four-night stint at New York's massive Madison Square Garden. Viral hit “Jumpman” is sure to be on the menu, alongside a healthy dose of tunes from Drake's fourth studio album Views.

Paul McCartney MetLife Stadium; Aug 7; $19.50–$275
The relentless Beatle returns to New Jersey for the first time in 14 years with this one-night show (the only in the tri-state area on his One On One tour). Hard to say what you'll hear at the show—between his solo releases, The Wings and of course his time with the Beatles, he's got an enormous catalogue of material to draw upon. The thing about Macca, though, is that every song in that archive is a classic.

Neon Indian East River Park Amphitheater; Aug 9; free
Chillwave might be dead but the genre's star Neon Indian keeps on keeping on. His recent album VEGA INTL Night School veered away from those roots into newly fluorescent, loose-limbed electrofunk, which you can hear selections from at this free outside gig. 

Goldlink + Sango Central Park Summerstage; Aug 28; free
Ever since XXL presented GoldLink a spot on its 2015 Freshman League, the Virginia-bred MC has been on a continuous rise. Co-signs from production legend Rick Rubin turned into album assistance on GoldLink's debut, And After That, We Didn't Talk, a collection of innovative hip hop tunes that he terms "future bounce."  

Marvelous theater performances 

Troilus and Cressida Delacorte Theater; through Aug 14; Free
Daniel Sullivan directs Shakespeare’s bitterly funny and sad drama about love during wartime. It’s the second and final presentation of this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park.

Summer Shorts 2016 59E59; through Sept 3; $25 ($40 for both series)
The annual mini-festival of one-act plays returns to 59E59 with two series featuring work by Neil LaBute, Richard Alfredo, Idris Goodwin, Cusi Cram, A. Rey Pamatmat and Alexander Dinelaris. 

Men on Boats Playwrights Horizons; through Aug 14; $50
The characters in this historical play based on an 1869 Colorado River expedition are all men. But the cast includes not a single male. Gender dissonance and humor ensue. 

Paradiso: Chapter 1 Secret location; through Oct 8; $60
Ambitious and visually oriented director Michael Counts mines Dante’s final book in the Divine Comedy for his latest immersive experience. 

New York International Fringe Festival Various venues; Aug 12–28; $18
This grab-bag of wildly varied dance, theater and performance has turned 20—and we expect it to celebrate with tons of booze and oodles of inappropriate behavior. 

Delicious food and drink opportunities

NYC African Food Festival Brooklyn Navy Yard; Aug 13–14; $30–$150
This day-long festival will showcase the diverse and delicious foods of Africa, with an emphasis on vegan and vegetarian dishes. Sample dishes from rising star chefs and attend cooking demos to learn how to recreate 'em at home. $30 regular admission gets you access to food, art and music, or pony up some extra dough for special events such as a bottomless vegan brunch or a five-course pan-African meal.

TONY’s Battle of the Burger Seaport District NYC; Aug 18; $50
Break out the stretchy pants and get ready to taste your way through 20 of New York's best burgers at Time Out New York's Battle of the Burger, presented by Budweiser. Join Time Out as we crown the 2016 champ and celebrate with games, giveaways, refreshing Bud beers and live music playing throughout the night. 

Blues BBQ Festival Clinton Cove; Aug 20; Free
For the 17th annual event at a new uptown location in Hudson River Park, some of America’s best blues and roots musicians, including Cash Box Kings and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, will pair their tunes with New York barbecue favorites like Arrogant Swine and Mighty Quinn’s.

Ciderfeast! Stuyvesant Cove Park; Aug 6; $55 general admission, VIP $80
This sophisticated outdoor cider event and cookout features domestic and European ciders from more than a dozen producers pouring 30-plus bottles, alongside tacos, burgers and live entertainment. It’s the mid-summer solution for those who just can’t wait until the fall for NYC’s annual Cider Week.

Tap+Cork: Brooklyn Beer & Wine Fest Restoration Plaza; Aug 6; $25 early bird, advanced admission $30, VIP $50
It’s a smorgasbord for the senses at this festival catering to both hops and vine lovers alike, with more than 45 craft beers and artisanal wines, local eats and DJs, live music and dancing on the docket. General admission includes 15 drink tickets, each one worth a three-ounce beer sample or two-ounce wine taste.

Spectacular art shows

“diane arbus: in the beginning” The Met Breuer; through Nov 27; suggested donation $25
Never-seen photos from the first seven years of Arbus’s career have been collected for this show, featuring more than 100 images by one of photography’s most iconic and provocative figures. Taken in such locations such as Times Square the Lower East Side and Coney Island, and left undiscovered until years after she died, these images demonstrate that Arbus’s vision was unique from early on.

“Turner’s Whaling Pictures” The Metropolitan museum of Art; through Aug 7; suggested donation $25
Near the end of his life, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) created a quartet of marine paintings centered around the theme of whaling and the life-and-death struggle of man against whale. Herman Melville may have seen them while in London—thus, Turner possibly played a role in inspiring Moby-Dick. 

“Saint Clair Cemin: Psyche” Paul Kasmin Gallery; through Aug 19; free 
The noted Brazilian sculptor’s latest show consists of a single 16-foot, 30,000-pound marble sculpture of a boat based on the mythical tale of Eros and Psyche.

“Impressionism: American Gardens on Canvas” New York Botanical Garden; through Sept 11; $20–$25
American Impressionism’s love affair with gardens is the focus of this show bringing together period artists with a recreation of a 19th-century formal garden.

“Peter Piller: Erscheinungen” Andrew Kreps Gallery; through Aug 19; free
Photos of ads printed on the back doors of tractor trailers become enigmatic images in the hands of this German artist.

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