Gothamist Summer Guide: 20 Things To Do In July

<br/><br/>Welcome, dear friends, to July in NYC, where the days are hotter, the mornings brighter, the nights longer, and the hours somehow even more jam-packed with phenomenal Things to Do. From exhibits dedicated to nothing but dope sneakers to open-water kayaking to streetside Shakespeare performances, this month has more great events than Albany's got corruption. So open your window, grab a beverage and meet us out in the sunlight; it's time to make some plans.

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<br/><br/>If the warm air and long, bright evenings of summer are for anything, they're for getting funky. <strong><a href="">BAM hosts an R&amp;B festival</a></strong> that continues all through July, and it's your perfect opportunity to catch some of the genre's greatest legends and rising stars including jazz trumpet prodigy Theo Croker (July 30th) and the 11-member, gospel-repping Jones Family Singers from Texas (July 23rd). Each show is free, takes place outdoors at MetroTech Commons, and starts at noon on Thursdays throughout the month, and so if "No Diggity" was the last modern R&amp;B track you swayed and shimmied to, consider taking a half-day at work and renewing your commitment to syncopation. The groove will always take you back.<br/><br/><em>Festival continues all month (<a href="">Showtimes here</a>) // <a href="">BAM</a>, 30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn // Free</em>

<br/><br/>Are they magicians? Comedians? Social crusaders against <a href="">all things bullshit</a>? Whatever the case, <a href=""><strong>Penn and Teller</strong></a> will be bringing their iconic act to Broadway's Marquis Theater this summer for an extended run of shows, and just before it all kicks off the duo will be on hand for one of the <strong><a href="">New York Times' Times Talks</a></strong>. This summer's run will mark 30 years since Pen and Teller debuted in NYC, and 40 years since they first teamed up to spread their signature blend of comedic ennui. Billed as a conversation with the duo (still no guarantees that Teller will speak), the Times Talk will include a bit of live performance and a lot of looking back at what's been a long and storied career. (For more info on Penn and Teller's Marquis residency, <a href="">click here</a>.)<br/><br/><em>Thursday, July 2nd, 6:30 p.m. // <a href="">The TimesCenter</a>, 242 W 41st Street, Manhattan // <a href="">Tickets $40</a></em>

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<br/><br/>If for some reason you prefer to celebrate America's birthday with popcorn and air conditioning instead of beach towels and bright sun, then head to <strong><a href="">Nitehawk Cinema for their American-as-hell series</a></strong> of special weekend screenings, which includes <em>Jaws</em>, <em>Smokey and the Bandit</em>, the almost-banned-in-the-U.S. <em>Without a Stitch</em>, and that pinnacle of fine arthouse cinema, <em>Starship Troopers</em>. To make things even more awesome, the theater will be serving up a special menu of mid-day confections including lobster rolls, liberty dogs, beer, and house-made hard lemonade. All showtimes fall between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., so you'll have plenty of time to make it to the fireworks. But be forewarned, you're gonna need a bigger boat.<br/><br/><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe><br/><br/><em>July 3-5, showtimes vary // <a href="">Nitehawk Cinema</a>, 136 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn // <a href="">Tickets and more info here</a></em>

<br/><br/>While there are <a href="">plenty of things</a> you could do on the 4th of July to celebrate your independence, nothing feels quite so American as <a href="">watching</a> your fellow countrymen shovel processed mystery meat into their mouths and throwing money at whoever can do it the fastest. As always, this year's contestants at <a href=""><strong>Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest</strong></a> will need to take one massive sodium bomb if they plan on <a href="">making history</a>. For a taste of what they're up against: Joey "Jaws" Chestnut consumed <a href="">over 20,000 calories </a>to secure the world record in 2012, and has yet to be defeated. Could some spritely newcomer beat his bun-dipped-in-water technique? Will "<a href="">The Black Widow</a>" get to keep her hot dog-hued (and <a href="">pepto-bismol sponsored</a>) belt? How are the contestants so skinny? Get yourself to Coney Island and find the answers to these questions (and <a href="">more</a>) this Independence Day. <em>(Abigail Rowe)</em><br/><br/><em>Saturday, July 4th, 10:00 a.m. // 1310 Surf Ave // <a href="">Free</a></em>

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<p>It's been a long, strange trip indeed (50 years long, in fact), but The Grateful Dead are playing their last shows as a group, ever, this month. Dubbed <strong><a href="">Fare Thee Well</a></strong>, the weekend-long last hurrah will take place at Chicago's Soldier Field, but is due to be simulcast to sentimental Deadheads across the nation, and both the <a href="">Capitol Theater in Port Chester</a> and <a href="">Williamsburg's Brooklyn Bowl </a>will be screening the shows throughout Independence Day weekend. <br/><br/>In the words of bassist Phil Lesh, these final shows will offer the chance to celebrate "not merely the band's legacy, but also the community that we’ve been playing to, and with, for fifty years." Lesh will be joined by guitarist Bob Weir, drummer Bill Kreutzmann, and percussionist Mickey Hart (Phish frontman Trey Anastasio is filling in for the dearly departed Jerry Garcia). The true end of the road for a band that has become a pillar of American rock music, these simulcasts will be your last chance to <a href="">poke around on Shakedown Street</a>.<br/><br/><em>Friday, July 3rd - Sunday, July 5th 6 p.m. (Brooklyn Bowl), 7 p.m. (Capitol Theatre) // <a href="">Brooklyn Bowl</a> (61 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn), <a href="">Capitol Theatre</a> (149 Westchester Ave, Port Chester) // Tickets $15 (<a href="">Brooklyn Bowl</a>), $15-245 (<a href="">Capitol Theatre</a>) </em></p>

<br/><br/>July marks the re-opening of the <strong>Guggenheim Museum's Kandinsky collection</strong>, which has been closed since April 1st and features some of the most important woodcuts and paintings in the artist's entire body of work. The UES institution has done an admirable job of keeping <a href="">a smattering his pieces viewable on its website</a>, but there really is nothing like the real thing, especially when it comes to pieces as strange and lovely as his. The Guggenheim will also be hosting screenings of <a href="">Matthew Barney's <em>CREMASTER</em> films</a> and special "Eye to Eye" literary nights, in which writers read personal pieces that were inspired by artworks currently on display amidst the galleries. <br/><br/><em>Kandinsky Re-opens Wednesday, July 1st, 10 a.m. // Guggenheim Museum, 1071 5th Ave, Manhattan // <a href="">Admission $25</a></em>

<br/><br/>Some of the most artful and impactful street posters to ever adorn our city streets will be on display at the <strong><a href="">Museum of the City of New York's Posters + Politics</a></strong> night, a joint discussion and viewing opportunity for those with a keen interest in rebellion, design, and street culture. On hand will be a panel of artists including members of the <a href="">Guerrilla Girls</a> feminist art collective, <a href="">Silence = Death</a> founder Avram Finkelstein, radical comic book artist <a href="">Seth Tobocman</a>, curators from Cooper Union, and many more, ensuring that the night touches a wide swath of street poster movements from the last 30+ years. From battling AIDS to pushing back against housing inequality, posters have been a crucial motor of change, and "Post No Bills" has always just been more of a suggestion anyway.<br/><br/><em>Wednesday, July 8th, 6:30 p.m. // MCNY, 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, Manhattan // <a href="">Tickets $12-16</a></em>

<br/><br/>Broke, downtown-area theater nerds rejoice! The Drilling Company's <a href=""><strong>Shakespeare in the Parking Lot</strong></a> is back with a 17th-century style vengeance and will be celebrating its 21st birthday this summer with two months of free performances. After<a href=""> losing its land</a> to <a href="">SHoP Architects</a> and <a href="">Taconic Partners</a>, the self-discribed "plucky New York cultural attraction" secured itself a new space behind The Clemente at 114 Norfolk Street <a href="">just this past April</a>. First up, running between July 9th to the 26th is <em>As You Like It</em>, directed by Hamilton Clancy. Next is the Jesse Ontiveros directed <em>Macbeth</em>, running from July 30th until August 15th. Shows will take place Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. with seating available on a first come first serve basis. <em>(Abigail Rowe)</em><br/><br/><em>Thursday-Saturday, July 9-26th, July 30- August 15th // 114 Norfolk Street // <a href="">Free</a></em>

Shakespeare in the Parking Lot via The Drilling Company/Jonathan Slaff

<br/><br/>You already know the old adage about walking a mile in someone else's shoes, but who's to say a person can't glean cultural insight from staring at them behind a glass case? The Brooklyn Museum explores that question with its second footwear-focused exhibition of the year: <a href=""><strong>The Rise of Sneaker Culture</strong></a>. Following last winter's popular <a href="">Killer Heels</a>, this detailed look at the shoe-of-the-moment uses film, interactive media, photography, drawings, and over 150 pairs of sneakers to document its growth into a "status symbol and urban icon." <br/><br/>The Rise of Sneaker Culture is the first exhibit of its kind, and will give museum-goers an exclusive look into the archives of the biggest names in the business, with Nike, Adidas, Converse, Puma, and Reebok all showing off their classic kicks. The museum also got its hands on the private collection of Run-DMC's Darryl McDaniels, along with those of sneaker aficionados <a href="">Bobbito Garcia</a> and <a href="">Dee Wells</a>. The exhibit runs from July 10th to October 4th, and be sure to double-check the calendar for special <a href="">sneaker-themed event days</a>. Museum hours and suggested admission rates available <a href="">here</a>. <em>(Abigail Rowe)</em><br/><br/><em>Friday, July 10th- October 4th // Brooklyn Museum // <a href="">Suggested Admission $16</a></em>

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<br/><br/>You're always telling your flyover state friends that you live in New York City for all the great music and vibrant culture, right? Well, here's your chance to get immersed in some of the best film, music, art, dance, and food the world has to offer. This year's <strong><a href="">Afro-Latino Festival</a></strong> opens in Harlem on July 10th at <a href="">MIST</a> with South African eats, mixed media art and latin jazz. The fun will continue for two more days, hopping to Williamsburg's <a href="">Cubana Social</a> for a live talk, followed by film screenings at <a href="">Williamsburg Music Center</a>, and finally a late night bailando session at <a href="">The Wick</a>.<br/><br/>The fest will culminate on Sunday, July 12th in Bed-Stuy's <a href="">Restoration Plaza</a> for a massive street fair/block party replete with food, a rotating cast of live acts (including the earth-shaking <em>Fela!</em> afrobeat band), and dance classes. Bronx residents can enjoy two hours of music and a screening of <em><a href="">Celia: The Queen</a></em> in <a href="">St. Mary's Park</a> on the 12th as well.<br/><br/><em>Friday, July 10th - Sunday, July 12th (times vary) // <a href="">Various locations</a> // <a href="">Weekend passes $100, individual tickets vary </a></em>

<br/><br/>If the kicked-back cafe lifestyle is more your speed, then treat yourself to <a href=""><strong>champagne and chocolates in honor of Bastille Day at the French Institute Alliance Francaise</strong></a>. Decadent treats and fine bubbly will be available for tasting throughout the afternoon, making this the perfect opportunity for you to get a little day drunk, indulge your sweet tooth, and make fine use of that beret you just can't bring yourself to throw out. Pastries and champagne from <a href="">Le Cirque</a> will be on hand, as will chocolates courtesy of <a href="">Chocolat Moderne</a>, <a href="">Neuhaus</a>, and <a href="">Valrhona</a>. Two different tasting sessions will be happening, so pick whichever fits your own certain savoir faire and enjoy.<br/><br/><em>Saturday, July 12th, 12:30-2:00 p.m. and 3:00-4:30 p.m. // <a href="">FIAF</a>, 22 E 60th Street, Manhattan // <a href="">Tickets $55</a></em>

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(Scott Heins/Gothamist)

<br/><br/>The cosmic forefather of funk George Clinton will be leading his so-massive-it-might-break-the-stage <strong><a href="">Parliament Funkadelic band in Queensbridge Park</a></strong> for a <em>free</em> all-ages outdoor show. What more does your funky jive-ass really need to know?<br/><br/><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe><br/><br/><em>Wednesday, July 15th, 7:00 p.m. // <a href="">Queensbridge Park</a>, Queens // <a href="">Free</a></em>

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<br/><br/>Each year we're shocked at how many New Yorkers have never Giglio'd. Have <em>you</em> never Giglio'd? Now's your chance. The annual <strong><a href="">Our Lady of Mount Carmel feast</a></strong> will take over much of Williamsburg starting July 8th and continue on until the 19th, bringing carnival-style games, succulent fair foods, a plethora of live music acts, and, most importantly, the astonishing lift and parading-about of the 80 foot tall, three ton Giglio statue by 125 men. Now in its 128th year, the festival is <a href="">a celebration</a> of a 5th Century Italian bishop who, according to legend, willfully took the place of a child bound for a life of slavery.<br/><br/><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" mozallowfullscreen="" src=";title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="640"></iframe><br/><br/>The all-important Giglio lift takes place on Sunday, July 12th, at 1 p.m. Prepare yourself by watching <em><a href="">Heaven Touches Brooklyn in July</a></em>. <br/><br/><em>Wednesday, July 8th - Sunday, July 19th // <a href="">Our Lady of Mount Carmel</a>, 275 North 8th Street, Brooklyn // <a href="">Free</a></em>

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<br/><br/>Be it a Nile Rodgers <a href="">synthpop soundtrack</a> or a <a href="">modern take</a> on a Chaplin classic, the diverse output of 1980s independent cinema has something for everyone. Starting this July, BAM will be screening these bygone gems as part of their <a href=""><strong>Indie 80s series</strong></a>, in a celebration of that "neglected decade between the golden age of 70s New Hollywood and the indie boom of the 90s." The series, which will run through late August, kicks off on Friday the 17th with <a href=""><em>Hollywood Shuffle</em></a>, Robert Townsend's semi-autobiographical satire about race and Hollywood. The selections range from <a href="">obscure dramas</a> to <a href="">cult-favorites</a>, along with a <a href="">smattering</a> of <a href="">classic</a> <a href="">horror</a>. <a href=",5a2c2f2d-5bc5-49e7-9117-a3a900d3226b/20150717">Tickets</a> cost between 10 dollars (for students) to 14 for general admission, and all films screen at <a href="">BAM Rose Cinemas</a>. <em>(Abigail Rowe)</em><br/><br/><em>Friday, July 17- August 27th // <a href="">BAM Rose Cinemas</a> // <a href="">Tickets $14</a></em>

<br/><br/>Brooklyn's first ever <a href=""><strong>Tape Festival</strong></a> is hard to describe concisely, but you can just think of it as "one big listening party" (to use their own words). <a href="">Mooj Zadie</a> founded this celebration of public radio, which takes after his own podcast <a href="">Tape</a>, a show dedicated to radio and the people who make it. Tape Fest will feature live performances and storytelling from a lineup of familiar voices, including <a href="">Planet Money's</a> David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein; PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman of <a href="">Reply All</a>; producers <a href="!sharon-mashihi/c19u0">Sharon Mashihi</a> and <a href="">Kaitlin Pres</a>; <a href="">Nate DiMeo</a>; <a href="">Andrea Silenzi</a>; <a href="">Yowei Shaw</a>; <a href="">Steve Roggenbuck</a>; and more. Tape fest is also hosting <a href="">a competition</a> for the best in "orphaned audio," with winners announced on the night of the event. <br/><br/>You can catch Tape Festival: A Celebration of Public Radio at <a href="">The Bell House</a> in Brooklyn on July 26th. The early show already sold out, so hurry up and secure your spot for 9 p.m. <a href="">Tickets</a> are 25 regular price, 45 "donor level" for anyone who wants to offer a little extra support. <em>(Abigail Rowe)</em><br/><br/><em>Sunday, July 26th, 9 p.m. // <a href="">The Bell House</a> // <a href="">Tickets $25</a></em>

<br/><br/>Jazz, R&amp;B, hip-hop, and psychedelia all come to a crossroads in <a href="">Emily King</a>. The Manhattan-born and raised vocalist has made genre-killing her artistic M.O., and on her new record <em>The Switch</em>, the 29-year-old leaps effortlessly from groove to groove. With equal parts soul string interludes, Jose Gonzalez avant-folk guitars, and J Dilla-sanctioned drums, her music defies both description and your best efforts to get it out of your head. The Grammy-nominated <strong><a href="">King will play Bowery Ballroom</a></strong> this month to celebrate her new record's release; this is your chance to catch up on the modern frontier of vocal soul. <br/><br/><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src=";color=ff5500" width="100%"></iframe><br/><br/><em>Monday, July 27th, 7 p.m. // <a href="">The Bowery Ballroom</a>, 6 Delancey Street, Manhattan // <a href="">Tickets $20</a></em>

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<br/><br/>Imbibe with some of the best beer New York City has to offer at <strong><a href=";__utmb=;__utmc=1&amp;__utmx=-&amp;__utmz=1.1435540339.4.2.utmcsr=google|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=(not%20provided)&amp;__utmv=-&amp;__utmk=24483642">Edible Manhattan's Good Beer gathering</a></strong>, which will bring stouts, ales, lagers and pilsners from breweries like <a href="">Allagash</a>, <a href="">KelSo</a>, <a href="">Sixpoint</a>, and <a href="">Heartland</a> all under the same roof. And you'll need all the pints you can get, seeing as you'll be washing down dishes provided by <a href="">Fletchers' Barbecue</a>, <a href="">Gramercy Tavern</a>, <a href="">Jacob's Pickles</a>, <a href="">The Vanderbilt</a> and many more. New at this year's event will be the the opportunity for attendees to purchase bottles of beer to take home, which should save you a few early-August bodega runs.<br/><br/><em>Tuesday, July 30th, 6-9 p.m. // <a href="">Hudson Mercantile</a>, Hudson Mercantile, 500 West 36th Street // <a href="">Tickets $55-75</a></em>

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<br/><br/>Over 13,000 LED lights and 5,500 feet of acrylic tubing are involved in PRANA, a mesmerizing light display/art installation that responds to viewers' very breath. It's the centerpiece of <em><strong><a href="!sphere/cm23">In the Glow of a Breathing Sphere</a></strong></em>, the hyper-ethereal exhibit at Spring Street's <a href="">Fridman Gallery</a>. As attendees move through the massive orb of lights, music and spoken word performances get incorporated, bringing both the human and the digital into one fully-synthesized moment. The end of July marks the end of the exhibit, however, so make a point to make it to this neon portal of a piece. A full list of musicians and speakers is <a href="!sphere/cm23">available here</a>, and you can watch a very short trailer for PRANA below.<br/><br/><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" mozallowfullscreen="" src=";title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="640"></iframe> <br/><br/><em>Closes Friday, July 31st // Fridman Gallery, 287 Spring Street, Manhattan // <a href="!sphere/cm23">Free gallery open 12-6 p.m.</a></em>

<br/><br/><strong><a href="">Brooklyn Bridge Park has a multitude of kayaks up for grabs</a></strong>, free of charge, and you can use them Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons all month long. No experience is necessary and kayaks for kids, single adult paddlers, and parent-kid couples are all on site. Head over the the Pier 2 dock at least one hour before the closing times (listed below) to claim your vessel and then head out onto the untamed waters of the mighty East River. Paddles and life jackets are provided.<br/><br/><em>Thursdays 5:30-6:45 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. // <a href="">Pier 2 Dock</a>, Brooklyn Bridge Park // <a href="">Free</a></em>

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