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15 stellar things to do in NYC this weekend

Written by
Jennifer Picht

Fri 22

Annual Trans Day of Action at various locations; 3pm; free
This annual march and rally helps raise awareness and visibility for trans, non-gender-conforming individuals and queer people of color, and seeks to mobilize the community to fight for housing for its homeless members in the year to come. March gathers at Chelsea Street Pier.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in NYC this weekend 

The Pride Kickoff Rally The Stonewall Inn; 5pm; free
Before the glittery spectacle of the Pride March and the rest of weekend festivities, gain perspective on the fights that still remain for the global LGBTQ community. This official Gay Pride Weekend opening event started as a "gay power" demonstration with 500 protestors in Washington Square Park a month after the 1969 Stonewall riots, considered the dawn of the modern gay-rights movement. Since then the rally has jumped locations all over town, including incarnations in Central Park and East River Park. Big-name performers often take the stage—Lady Gaga performed in 2013—while local politicians, comedians, and other members of the LGBT community offer both serious and silly takes on Pride themes.

Reclaim Your Power Retreat Maha Rose North; $550
When the hustle and bustle of New York City becomes too much, escape upstate to recharge at Maha Rose North—a center for healing. During the weekend of June 22–24, meditation instructors Sah D’Simone and Moun D’Simone will help you reconnect to yourself and teach you how to live life with more passion and power through a series of meditation, breath work and yoga exercises. It’s going to be emotionally, physically and spiritually uplifting. Lodging and food is included with the event price. Click here for more information.

Azealia Banks Sony Hall; 11pm; $35–$60
Banks can't be pigeonholed. Recent releases like Slay-Z fluidly maneuver through everything from ’90s Detroit house ("The Big Big Beat") to dubstep anthems ("Can't Do It Like Me" flips Benga and Coki's "Night") with unmatched wordsmithery and quicksilver flow. Expect her to traverse similarly diverse territory as she plays from her upcoming Fantasea II: The Second Wave, which incorporates tropical R&B, seapunk and more.

Harry Styles + Kacey Musgraves Madison Square Garden; 8pm; $79–$129
The breakout star of One Direction takes over the stadium stage with country star Kacey Musgraves, who mixes a classic, honeyed sound with a subversive lyrical take on the traditionally straitlaced genre. Her newest album, Golden Hour, is the strongest demonstration of those gifts yet, an collection of hits, by turns heart-rending and jubilant.

Sat 23

Figment Festival Governors Island; 10am; free
Volunteer-driven arts group Figment takes over Governors Island with its usual hodgepodge of mind-bending, genre-crossing projects. Wander through more than 300 art installations, which include live performances, animation workshops, storytelling gatherings and a "City of Dreams" pop-up pavilion.  

New York City Dyke March Bryant Park; 5pm; free
This annual event to raise awareness about women's and trans rights brings noise, puppets and plenty of body positivity to NYC's streets the day before Pride. BYO signs and banners, and keep in mind that the Dyke March doesn't have a permit—it's a protest, not a parade—so be prepared for possible interference from the fuzz. The march itself is open to all self-identified dykes. All other supporters are encouraged to cheer from the sidelines.

Punk Island Randalls Island Park; various times; free
The summer months are never short on music festivals, but sometimes bank accounts are short on cash, so thankfully there's this free annual event on Randalls Island, which invites more than 70 punk bands to rage. With subgenres including pop-punk, grindcore and Gypsy punk, you’re sure to find an act that plays your preferred brand of rebellion.

Rugged Maniac Obstacle Course Aviator Sports and Recreation Birthday Parties; $99
Adrenaline junkies can leap over fire, slip down a giant inflatable waterslide, crawl through mud (under barbed wire, no less), climb cargo nets, jump on trampolines and more at this massive obstacle course. Once you've completed your run, get in on a beach volleyball game, hop on a mechanical bull or compete in a pie-eating contest. Honestly, we're getting tired just thinking about it. Go get 'em, tiger.

Renegade Craft Fair Brooklyn Expo Center; Sat + Sun at 11am; free
Browse imaginative maker-designed goods from 150-plus creators; indulge in bites from purveyors like Dub Pies, Makina Cafe and Nodoka; groove to live DJ sets; and attend workshops with crafty friends at this fabulous summer market. You’ll walk out with enough DIY crafts, knickknacks and artisanal treats to get you through the winter and beyond.

Torture Garden NY: Midsummer Night Pride Ball Capitiale; 9:30pm; $60–$595
Dances of Vice and Company XIV team up with fetish nightlife brand Torture Garden for a sexy soiree at the lavish Capitale. Sit back and watch sideshow, burlesque, opera, aerial and kink performances from the likes of Katrina Lilwall, LouLou D'vil, Emily Shephard, Eli Rose, Raven Kindness and the Boylesque Bullfighters, or get in on the action yourself in a BDSM playspace hosted by La Maison du Rouge and Hacienda Community. Check your inhibitions at the door and go have a little fun.

Sun Ra Arkestra Union Pool; 2pm; free
The world owes a great cosmic debt to time-traveling bandleader Sun Ra. He went back to Saturn and left the funkiest, swingingest band in the Milky Way here on Earth. This afternoon matinee show is your opportunity to travel the spaceways; your captain is 90-year-old Arkestra mainstay Marshall Allen.

Sun 24

NYC Pride March; noon; free
Our favorite parade of the year paints Fifth Avenue all the colors of the rainbow. More than 80 floats, 350 marching organizations and thousands of spectators come together for a celebration of love, equality and a whole lot of drag queens.

Femme Fatale Hudson Terrace; 4pm; $30
NYC Pride's official rager for women-identified revelers welcomes over 1,000 party girls to Hudson Terrace for food, laughs and nonstop dancing courtesy of DJs RosyQ, Mary Mac, Tatiana and Madison Paige.

Nicky Siano’s Hallelujah Disco Central Park, Rumsey Playfield; 7pm; free
Iconic NYC DJ Nicky Siano looks back on the history of disco and gay rights from Stonewall to Studio 54 at this special SummerStage event. He's joined for high-verve performances by Melba Moore and The Harlem Gospel Choir.

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