Gothamist Summer Guide: 16 Very Fun Things To Do In August

<br/><br/>One moment you're slicing into the season's first watermelon at a Memorial Day barbecue and the next second you turn around and it's August. Not cool, time! But while it's easy to get a bit sluggish this time of year, the final month of summer is also a critical period for following through on all the Fun Summer Things you've been meaning to get to. Because pretty soon it'll be winter, and you'll be stuck inside, kicking yourself for missing that block party or bike ride or concert in the park. Now is the time to push back against the dog days, to make up for the crushed dreams of your unbuilt childhood treehouse project. Grab those calendars, it's time to make some August plans! <br/><br/>

<br/><br/>In honor of Prospect Park's 150th anniversary, the Prospect Park alliance is teaming up with Nitehawk Cinema to offer a weekly <strong><a href="">Summer Movie Under The Stars</a></strong> each Wednesday at sundown. On August 2nd, <em>Moonrise Kingdom</em> is coming to the park, which means there's halfway decent chance that you'll bump into a <a href="">roving Bill Murray</a>. The following week brings <em>Zootopia</em>, a kid-friendly animated film with an eye-popping 98 percent on <a href="">Rotten Tomatoes</a>. There's <a href="">plenty</a> of other free outdoor movie screenings to chose from, but SMUTS (our acronym) has the added benefit of being based in Prospect Park's very spacious, easily accessible Long Meadow. <br/><br/> <em>Wednesday, August 2nd and Wednesday, August 9th, 7 p.m. // Prospect Park, Long Meadow North // Free</em>

<br/><br/>Looking back, it's hard to understand how a single director could be responsible for one of the all-time great thrillers, one of the first films to tackle AIDS on the big screen, at least two of the decade's best screwball comedies, and a host of acclaimed music documentaries. But such was the brilliance of the <strong><a href="">Jonathan Demme</a></strong>, whose "warm-hearted worldview and empathic concern for his characters," as BAM puts it, "marked him as an heir to the tradition of great cinematic humanists." To honor the late director, BAMcinematek will be showing the entirety of Demme's body of work, including <em>Silence of the Lambs, Something Wild, Philadelphia, Married to the Mob, The Manchurian Candidate, Stop Making Sense</em> and 25 others. Check out the full, choice-paralyzing lineup <a href="">here</a>. <br/><br/> <em>Friday, August 4th - Thursday, August 24th // BAMcinématek, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn // <a href="">Tickets</a>: $15</em>

<br/><br/>While the summer of 1977 brought New York to the brink of collapse, the big screen was experiencing something of a golden age, both artistically and commercially (it was "the best summer in years at the movie box office," according to Variety). In tribute to this memorable moment, the Film Society of Lincoln Center is hosting a full month of screenings that explore the year in film, dubbed <strong><a href="">Cinema '77</a></strong>. Unlike Film Forum's <a href="">NYC-centric retrospective</a> last month, these movies span the globe, from the small South American towns of <em>Sorcerer</em> to the British punk circles of <em>Jubilee</em> to wherever it is that <em>Eraserhead</em> is supposed to take place. See the full schedule <a href="">here</a>. <br/><br/> <em>Friday August 4th - Thursday, August 24th, showtimes vary // Walter Reade Theater, 165 W 65th Street, Manhattan // <a href="">Tickets</a>: $14 for public, $9 for members</em>

<br/><br/>The best Saturdays are always <a href="">Target First Saturdays</a> at the Brooklyn Museum, and on August 5th the Eastern Parkway institution is kicking it up a notch when West Indian culture and art group caribBEING House takes over for the evening. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., attendees can enjoy traditional and contemporary Haitian music, get a behind-the-scenes tour of the new exhibition "We Wanted A Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85," take a soca dance class, and watch a preview of the upcoming prison drama <em><a href="">Crown Heights</a></em>, based on the true story of a wrongfully convicted Brooklyn man. <em>(Rebecca Fishbein)</em><br/><br/> <em>Saturday, August 5th, 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. // Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway // Free</em>

<br/><br/>A famous singer once said, "All we are is space dust in the wind," and according to <a href="">Project Stardust</a> researcher Jon Larsen, about 10 tons of that space dust falls to Earth on the daily. You can learn more about our dusty planet on August 8th, as part of the Elysian Brewery event "<a href=""><strong>Under the Microscope: A Conversation on Space Dust.</strong></a>" Larsen will be on hand to showcase his micrometeorite photos, along with NASA’s Space Dust Curator Dr. Michael Zolensky. Bonus: Elysian Brewing will be on hand to dole out tastings of their new Space Dust IPA beer, because teeny pieces of planets are more fun to look at with a drink in hand.<em>(Rebecca Fishbein)</em><br/><br/> <em>Tuesday, August 8th, 7:30 p.m. through 10:30 p.m. // White Space at Agora Gallery,530 West 25th Street // $10</em>

<br/><br/><strong><a href="">Uptown Bounce,</a></strong> a series of summer block parties celebrating East Harlem, will have its final bash of the season on August 9th with a "sizzling Latin-infused '70s dance party." The party begins atop Museum Mile, on the front terraces of El Museo del Barrio and the Museum of the City of New York, before spilling out into the street for music, dancing, food trucks, art-making workshops, and more. Should you need a break from the action, head into the Museum of the City of New York to check out the <em>Rhythm &amp; Power: Salsa in New York</em> exhibition, the day's inspiration.<br/><br/> <em>Wednesday, August 9th, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. // 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street // Free with <a href="">registration</a> </em>

<br/><br/>When they are not <a href="">nearly killing Gothamist photographers</a> and then <a href="">denying</a> it, They Might Be Giants spend a lot of their time these days writing songs for children. But just as you don't need an MIT degree to appreciate the polymathic eccentricities of TMBG songs, you also don't need a kid to enjoy the band's headlining set at this year's <strong><a href="">Central Park SummerStage Family Day</a></strong>. On August 12th, the elder statesmen of Brooklyn art rock will once again bring their educational tunes to music nerds and their precocious children. If the last go-around is any indication, expect songs from No!, Here Come the ABCs, Here Come the 123s and Here Comes Science plus "some all time TMBG favorites." Fans who are not fans of children can catch the band at <a href="">Music Hall of Williamsburg</a> later this year, but really, the youngster stuff is not half bad: <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe><br/><br/> <em>Saturday, August 12th, 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. // Central Park SummerStage // Free</em>

<br/><br/><strong><a href="">Tap + Cork Brooklyn Beer and Wine Festival</a></strong> joined the ever crowded field of summer beer festivals five years ago, and wasted no time establishing itself as one of the best. The boozy Bed-Stuy celebration has expanded once again, and this year is taking a larger part of Restoration Plaza for a day full of drinking and merrymaking. Over 60 artisanal beers are on tap, along with wine options and the first annual Tap + Cork brunch. The $30 ticket gets you 15 drink tickets, each of them good for a 3 ounce pour. <br/><br/> <em>Saturday, August 12th, 2 p.m. - 8 p.m. // Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton Street, Brooklyn // <a href="">Tickets</a>: $30 </em>

<br/><br/><strong><a href="">Battery Dance</a></strong>, New York's longest running free public dance festival, is returning to Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park for a week of free performances from some of the world's top dancers and choreographers. Now in its 36th year, the festival kicks off with local troupes like Akerman/Jansen and Janis Brenner, before moving into international acts, including several Indian dance companies and the world premiere of a Sri Lankan ensemble led by Danuka Ariyawansa. Six to seven performances are scheduled every night for a week, each of them followed by an "Everybody Dance Now" portion with a strict no-judgement rule. But if you're still self conscious about those two left feet, sign up for a <a href="">free workshop</a> courtesy of Battery Dance Studios. <br/><br/> <em>August 13th through 19th, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. // Robert F. Wagner Park // Free</em>

<br/><br/>The recurring dance party/radio show/music collective known as House of Feelings has been making the rounds in Brooklyn all summer, thanks to a slew of shows put on by the DIY-promoting folks over at AdHoc. Like all good parties, this one must end, so on August 18th, they'll celebrate their final night of the season with a stacked show at Ridgewood's Trans-Pecos. Shamir, pop-music extraordinaire and <a href="">noted feelings-haver</a>, will perform with House of Feelings, bookended by DJ sets from Mr Twin Sister and Working Women. The collective also promises to "teach you how to love again," which is a pretty solid deal for just $10. <br/><br/> <em>Friday, August 18th, 8 p.m. // Trans-Pecos, 915 Wyckoff Avenue, Queens // <a href=";utm_medium=ampOfficialEvent">Tickets</a>: $10</em>

<br/><br/>There's a long history linking southern barbecue to southern blues music, and every August New Yorkers get their own chance to experience this winning combination. For the 18th straight year, the <strong><a href="">Blues BBQ Festival</a></strong> will take over Pier 97 on the Hudson for a full day of smoky meat and simmering tunes. Hometown favorites Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Pig Beach, and Mighty Quinn's cater the event, with an all-day soundtrack of live music from nationally renowned performers including the Campbell Brothers, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, and Eric Gales soundtrack. <br/><br/> <em>Saturday, August 22nd, 2 p.m. - 7 p.m. // Hudson River Park Pier 97 at West 59th Street // Free</em>

<br/><br/>The long-awaited <strong><a href="">exhibition celebrating Muppets-mastermind Jim Henson</a></strong> finally has a forever home in the Museum of the Moving Image. Following an <a href="">acclaimed</a> first run in 2011, the collection returned to Astoria (the <a href="">debatably true</a> home of Sesame Street) at the end of July, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than 3 times the initial goal of $40,000. At last, the Henson installation is permanent, and now features 300 objects belonging to the inimitable puppeteer. Highlights include Mrs. Piggy in her "Muppets Take Manhattan" wedding dress, David Bowie's goblin-king outfit from Labyrinthe, and, of course, Kermit. Throughout the month, the museum will also be screening various Henson-directed films, including Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets From Space, and The Dark Crystal. <br/><br/> <em>Exhibition on view during museum hours; screening times <a href="">vary</a> // Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Queens // <a href=";tab=2&amp;txobjid=a5b1edc3-7efd-4eb0-b1d9-54094d213aba">Tickets</a>: $15 (advanced reservation recommended)</em>

<br/><br/>Grab your sequin dresses and slender cigarette holders, because the summer's second and final <a href="">Jazz Age Lawn Party</a> is fast approaching. The 1920s-themed soiree comes to Governors Island for two more days in late August, bringing with it a few thousand revelers who <em>do not</em> take a dress code lightly. Tickets range from $35 all the way up to $5,000, though we've heard that some budget conscious flappers just ride the ferry over and do their own thing outside the confines of the lawn. Before you go, take a quick moment to laugh at F. Scott Fitzgerald's ridiculous <a href="">hairdo.</a><br/><br/> <em>Saturday, August 26th and Sunday, August 27th // Governors Island // <a href=";__utma=1.1937050651.1501109477.1501109477.1501109477.1&amp;__utmb=;__utmc=1&amp;__utmx=-&amp;|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/&amp;__utmv=-&amp;__utmk=81370903">Tickets</a>: $35 and up</em>

<br/><br/>Brooklyn's annual <strong><a href="">Afropunk Festival</a></strong> has a well-deserved reputation as one of the summer's most formidable blowouts, and this year looks to be no exception. Headliners include Macy Gray, SZA, Gary Clark Jr., Soul II Soul, serpentwithfeet, and, depending on <a href="">who you ask</a>, Mary J. Blige. There's another stage exclusively curated by Solange's Saint Heron label, along with a yet-to-be announced special guest (Solange!?). And in addition to the truly exciting lineup, Afropunk is one of the few major festivals that can pull off a pointed political message that doesn't scan as pandering. From this year's announcement: "We, the people have the will to heal the divisions that threaten to reduce our dreams to ashes. We believe in resurrecting the creative power of our diversity. We open our hearts and minds, and dance to the rhythm of a brand-new future. Together. Brave and compassionate. And beautiful."<br/><br/> <em>Saturday, August 26th - Sunday, August 27th // Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn // <a href="">Tickets</a>: $55</em>

<br/><br/>Take a bike tour through the rugged hills of the Shaolin, and learn some stuff along the way, on Bike New York's <strong><a href="">Pedaling Through the Past </a></strong>ride. Starting at Staten Island Borough Hall, you'll hit up former military base Fort Wadsworth and get some great views of the Verrazano Bridge. From there, you'll visit the Alice Austen House Museum, where you can learn all about the life and work of Victorian photographer and female cycling advocate Alice Austen and even check out Austen's original darkroom. Plus! The 12-mile ride comes with its own catered picnic, which Bike New York promises will be "delicious."<br/><br/>And hey, as long as you're on Staten Island, why not take a ride to Mother Pug's Saloon, one of the <a href="">best dive bars in New York City</a>? After you do that, you can hit up Denino's Pizzeria, which has excellent thin crust pies. Make a day of it. <em>(Dave Colon)</em><br/><br/> <em>Saturday, August 26th, 10 a.m. // Staten Island Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace // Tickets: $35 Bike New York non-member, $20 members</em>

<br/><br/>There's a lot going on in Kaari Upson's multimedia project <strong><a href="">"Good Thing You Are Not Alone"</a></strong>: hundreds of human-size stuffed dolls crammed into supermarket shelves, a library's worth of worn "For Dummies" books beneath a video of a flowing river, a different video of the artist sitting atop Pepsi cases in a Costco aisle whispering product names. And still more, all of which may have the effect of plunging you into an existential crisis in the elevator of the New Museum. But it's also a beautifully executed exhibition, and the first New York museum show for the Los Angeles-based visual artist. Catch it before it's over on September 10th, and be sure to head upstairs for Lynette Yiadom-Boakye's series of oil paintings, "Under-Song For A Cipher," also ending next month. <br/><br/> <em>Through September 10th // New Museum, 235 Bowery, Manhattan // <a href="">Tickets</a>: $15</em>