Expert Picks

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

Shakespearean dinner parties! Sociopolitical escape rooms! Beer brewing! Here’s what we’re excited about this month.

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn United Music and Arts Program/Facebook

This month is a hot one. Fill up the next (steamy) days and nights with reflective video installations, steampunk pub crawls, and meta-comedies about creating art in New York.


“Implicit Tensions: Robert Mapplethorpe” at the Guggenheim, part one runs through July 10; part two begins July 24
I’m one of those people who can’t get enough of Mapplethorpe. Whether it is his achingly beautiful self-portraits, snaps of NYC legend Patti Smith, or elegant floral still lifes, I always want more. I was happy to stumble upon this show while visiting the epic Hilma af Klint exhibition, where I spent equal time gazing at his photographic masterpieces. Molly Surno, art expert 

Photo courtesy of Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation/Guggenheim Museum

“Peter Campus: Video Ergo Sum” at Bronx Museum of the Artsthrough July 21
It’s the last month to catch these fascinating works from Campus, a pioneer of video art. While viewing this immersive exhibition, you’ll find yourself inside “complex installations that engage and amuse, while leading [you] in a journey of discovery and self-awareness.” Camera-activated video projections highlight your relationship with your reflection. Ross Tipograph, performance expert

Peter Campus, Optical Sockets, 1972–73. Installation at Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2017. Photo Adrien Chevrot © Jeu de Paume / Peter Campus.


Brewing 101 With Bitters & Esters at Rooftop RedsJuly 9
No need to set up a micro-brewery on your fire escape! The grape crushers at Rooftop Reds have invited Prospect Heights’s Bitters & Esters to their Brooklyn Navy Yard home to lead the coolest kind of summer school, revolving around malts, hops, yeast, and everything in between. —Jess Bender, dining and drinking expert

Photo courtesy of Rooftop Reds/Facebook

Midsummer: A Banquet, begins July 15
Shakespeare in the summer sounds great, but can we add some protein and greens to that? Our fondest hopes have been fulfilled in this immersive offering by the resourceful Third Rail Projects in a “historic building” near Union Square. A new staging of the Bard’s comedy about fairies and men turned into donkeys is matched with a multicourse tasting menu. David Cote, theater expert

The Infinity Engine Pub CrawlJuly 27
This on-the-go experience will be a live-action journey that takes you through several New York bars. Enter this steampunk story of a madman murdered, and unravel the tale over several locations, offering delicious drinks at each. Ross Tipograph, performance expert

Photo courtesy of Sinking Ship Creations


Celebrate Brooklyn!: Oddisee & Good Compny / 47Soul / NarcyJuly 6
Celebrate Brooklyn! presents a triple-headliner concert showcasing the international impact of hip hop. Sudanese-American MC Oddisee counts Native Tongue rappers De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest as foundational influences; the voices and humanistic deconstruction of those luminaries ring loud on all of his lyrically rich albums. Palestinian quartet 47Soul plays a high-energy mix of global pop, with all its hip-hop and disco signifiers, for a modernized electronic take on the high-energy Arabic celebration music called dabke that they refer to as “shamstep.” Lastly, multimedia artist Narcy focuses his hip-hop musical production work on artists from Islamic and Canadian cultures, giving voice to performers generally on the outside of the rap world. John Seroff, music expert

Photo courtesy of Oddisee/Facebook

Sherie Rene Scott & Norbert Leo Butz: Twohander at 54 BelowJuly 9–28
These beloved musical-theater performers have shared the stage a couple of times before—in The Last Five Years and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. They have great chemistry: She’s sexy and funny; he’s, well, he’s sexy and funny, too. Now they’ll appear together for a night of pop and show tunes. David Cote, theater expert

Photo courtesy of 54 Below

Fantastic Negrito at BAMJuly 18
After a number of false starts throughout the 1990s and 2000s—including a violent robbery, a coma, a fruitless major label contract, and a serious injury to his guitar-playing hand—singer-songwriter Fabulous Negrito finally found his stride. After winning the inaugural Tiny Desk Concert open call competition in 2015, Negrito’s 2017 album, Last Days of Oakland, won the best contemporary blues Grammy. Catch up with him at BAM’s R&B Festival, where he’ll headline a bill that begins with the local percussion corp Brooklyn United Drumline Band. John Seroff, music expert


Crushing Baby AnimalsJuly 5–21
Two female artists make a case for the meta-show by involving you in their insane journey of…making this show. Anxiety, comedy, sci-fi, and more collide in this unpredictable dark comedy about New York creators, performed at the Plaxall Gallery in Long Island City. Ross Tipograph, performance expert

Photo courtesy of Dirt [Contained]/Facebook

The Privilege of Escapebegins July 18
The Privilege of Escape serves up a classic escape room–style event—an immersive environment that requires you and strangers to solve clues and escape to beat the clock and cement a personal best—but with a twist. There’s a sociopolitical element, and you’re cast in a critical role. Ross Tipograph, performance expert

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