Expert Picks

Here’s What Our Culture Experts Are Doing in August—And You Should, Too!

Gin and ice cream! Groundbreaking directors! A zine flea! Here is what we’re excited about this month.

Photo courtesy of HH Bespoke Spirits/Facebook

Who said New York City slows down in August? Enjoy the last few weeks of summer with an embarrassment of cultural riches and outdoor happenings.


Books Beneath the Bridge at Brooklyn Bridge Park, August 5 and 12

Most New Yorkers have seen their share of outdoor movie screenings, but many have never had the pleasure of listening to literature in the open air. Change that this season and take a ferry or bike ride to Brooklyn Bridge Park for some readings curated by indie literary haunts like Powerhouse Arena and Community Bookstore. Molly Surno, art expert 

Small Press Flea at the Brooklyn Public Library, August 24

Find your final summer beach reads at the fifth installment of this local literary fest, copresented by the Brooklyn Public Library and Bomb magazine. Molly Surno, art expert 

Photo courtesy of Bomb magazine/Facebook


Unexpected Pairings: Gin Fizz à la Mode at the Museum of the City of New York, August 8

Harlem has always been known as a community of movers and shakers, and two budding businesses along Malcolm X Boulevard—Sugar Hill Creamery and HH Bespoke Spirits—are continuing that trend. The owners behind each brand sit down with Edible Manhattan editor Ariel Lauren Wilson to discuss the evolution of their products, along with debuting a collaboration perfect for the dog days of summer. Yes, there will be samples. —Jess Bender, dining and drinking expert

Pineapple NY Presents: Queer to Stay at Live Nation, August 13

Even with our society’s current state, at least it’s nice knowing that we’re in the golden age of dining—and living—loudly and proudly. The women behind gourmand-focused safe spaces like This Queer Kitchen, Jaynes Beard, and Queer Soup Night will be discussing the evolution of mainstream dining culture and how modern diners have expanded their mind about what LGBTQ+ food looks like. —Jess Bender, dining and drinking expert

Food Culture Women Do
Photo courtesy of Pineapple Collaborative/Facebook


Under Siege at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart FestivalAugust 8–10

Following in the wake of the similarly themed (and poorly reviewed) Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise at the Shed, the U.S. premiere of this operatic Chinese movement piece—a loose adaptation of the classic Chen Kaige film Farewell My Concubine as choreographed by acclaimed artist Yang Liping—comes with high expectations. Based solely on the ecstatic reviews for the work’s UK performances, plus the outrageously sumptuous costumes and near impossibly acrobatic moves from the show’s promo video, I’m hopeful that this wuxia-inspired extravaganza will walk the fine line between spectacle and emotionally engaging drama. At the absolute least, it promises some innovative visual staging. John Seroff, music expert

Noirtown at Teatro Latea, August 9–24

Literally follow in the footsteps of three detectives and discover characters in this noir-style immersive show about a trio of interlocking mystery thrillers, each linked by one puzzling woman. Part of the inaugural Rave Theater Festival. Ross Tipograph, performance expert

Photo courtesy of Rave Theater Festival/Facebook
The Rolling Stone at Lincoln Center Theater, through August 25

Named after a Ugandan newspaper that published the names and addresses of 100 LGBTQ+ people and called for their hanging, this new play by Chris Urch examines the persecution of sexual minorities in Africa. It already played in London, where it won raves for its unflinching portrayal of a political and moral nightmare. David Cote, theater expert

Photo by Jeremy Daniel/Courtesy of Lincoln Center Theater
Hercules at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, August 31–September 8

In an unusual pairing of institutions, the Public Theater teams up with Disney to present a live musical version of its 1997 animated hit. Lear DeBessonet directs the production, which includes masses of extras from various community organizations. David Cote, theater expert


Sons of Kemet at Industry City, August 6

The British quartet features two rising solo stars in Shabaka Hutchings and Theon Cross, along with one of the stranger sound profiles in modern jazz: one sax/clarinet player, one tuba player, and two drummers. The band is touring on the strength of its boisterous 2018 LP, Your Queen Is a Reptile, part of the resurrection of the newly reactivated Impulse! label and one of last year’s best instrumental albums. John Seroff, music expert


The Blue Man Group Live at Uptown Bounce, August 7

Spend a vibrant night (way) uptown while saluting downtown. The Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) and El Museo del Barrio are hosting a family-friendly version of their weekly summer block party with a live performance from the Blue Man Group, there to celebrate its newest interactive exhibition, “Ready…Go!,” at MCNY. —WSWD editors

Photo by Filip Wolak/Courtesy of Museum of the City of New York


Punks, Poets & Valley Girls: Women Filmmakers in 1980s America at BAM, August 7–20

From genre-bending classics to radical indies, such pioneering directors as Kathryn Bigelow, Lizzie Borden, Penny Marshall, and Donna Deitch shook Hollywood’s landscape to its core during the Reagan era. The Brooklyn Academy of Music celebrates the adventurous female filmmakers who dared to challenge the movie industry’s status quo. Molly Surno, art expert 

The Goonies Party at Alamo Drafthouse, August 18–22

You’re invited to dress up as a Goonie at this interactive movie party event. Enjoy “a pirate ship’s worth of fun props for you to play with, including flashlights (for bully blinding), a pirate’s eye patch, and even a Smell-Along card featuring Goonies-themed scents like bubblegum and inhalers.” Ross Tipograph, performance expert

Get more NYC culture recommendations on our mobile app. The city, curated just for you.