Friday, July 29, 2011

The Weekend: 7.29-7.31

Friday, July 29

Gowanus: Calling all kings of New York — the Bell House is hosting a "Newsies" sing-along tonight. There'll be trivia and a dance off, so practice those high kicks.

Fort Greene/Williamsburg: An animation festival lands at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Automotive High School this weekend — but don't expect Bugs Bunny.

Windsor Terrace: The Bard meets Brooklynese in the newest production from Brave New World Repertory Theater — "The Merry Wives of Windsor (Terrace)." Also Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, July 30

Coney Island: Coney's got talent in the second annual Coney Island Talent Show, right on the Boardwalk.

Red Hook: Practice your "Arg, mateys!" A pirates festival comes to the Enviromedia Mobile, a traveling nature and maritime museum.

Sunday, July 31

Prospect Heights: That's no toga party — a free production of Sophocles' "Antigone" comes to Mount Prospect Park today.

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Carnie talent show comes to Coney Island

By Alex Rush

The carnie competition is back!

The second annual Coney Island Talent Show returns to the Boardwalk on July 30, paying homage to the neighborhood’s history as the early 20th century capital for kooky entertainment.

This year’s contest will feature circus freaks and sideshow geeks (hey, it’s what the category’s called), including contortionists and celebrity impersonators; dance troupes; and a costume contest. There’s also a “creative kids” round for pre-teens and teens who think they have what it takes to be the People’s Playground’s next great circus performer.

The show’s host may be just as entertaining as the competing acts: World Famous BOB — a longtime staple on the city’s burlesque and drag queen circuit known for Marilyn Monroe-look and the ability to mix martinis with her cleavage — will lead the annual ode to Coney’s past, when sword-swallowers and men who could blow smoke through their ears were a dime a dozen.

“It’s really great to bring the entertainers together with people from the community to celebrate the tradition,” said Gin Minsky, a Bushwick-based dancer who will be competing with a less-bodily harming, 1940s-style swing routine.

The Coney Island Talent Show on the Boardwalk (between W. 10th and W. 12th streets), July 30 from 4 to 8 pm. Free. For info, visit www.thirstygirlproductions.com.

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One serious play

By Meredith Deliso

It’s no toga party when the Xoregos Performing Company does a free performance of Sophocles’s tragedy “Antigone” this month at Mount Prospect Park.

The July 31 show, at the park near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, marks the company’s first Brooklyn stop for its annual summer show, which travels to various parks and libraries.

And this is a serious play: In the Theban civil war, two brothers who died leading opposite sides of the battle for the thrown. The new king, Creon, decides to honor one, Eteocles, while refusing to honor the other, the rebel Polyneices.

The injustice drives their sister, Antigone, to defy the king, and bury Polyneices herself — even though punishment means being buried alive.

Written more than 1,500 years ago, the play has remained relevant thanks to one central question.

“The whole idea is do you follow your conscious, or do you follow man-made laws that you know are wrong?” said director Shela Xoregos. “The audience has to make up their minds.”

“Antigone” at Mount Prospect Park [enter on Eastern Parkway next to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Prospect Heights, (212) 239-8405], July 31 at 6:30 pm. Free. For info, visit www.xoregos.com.

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Spread the 'Newsies'! Sing-along tonight

By Meredith Deliso

Calling all kings of New York.

Tonight, the Bell House hosts a sing-along to “Newsies” — that early-1990s Disney musical based on an 1899 strike by the city’s newsboys (you know, the ones who yell “Extra, extra! Read all about it!”).

The film stars a fresh-faced, pre-Batman Christian Bale as the leader of a ragtag clan of poor newsies, who go on strike when publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst try to take some of their profits.

It’s pretty cheesy stuff — the boys have names like Specs and Boots, and there’s plenty of big group dance numbers and fist-raising anthems including “King of New York” and the Musketeers-esque “Seize the Day” — but that’s all part of the fun.

All musical numbers will be subtitled so you can sing along, and there’ll be themed drinks, trivia and costume contests, and a Newsies dance-off. So work on your high side kick now.

“Newsies” sing-along at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], July 29 at 8 pm. $8. For info, visit www.thebellhouseny.com.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Arg, matey! Pirates Festival coming to Red Hook this weekend

By Jared Foretek

Calling all Brooklyn buccaneers!

Enviromedia Mobile, a travelling nature and maritime museum in Red Hook, will throw its first ever Treasure Cove Pirates Festival on July 30 — and you won’t have to hand over a single copper piece to be there.

The festival will feature pirate theater, pirate music, pirate “edutainment,” and yes, even a pirate ship, while leaving out all the scurvy, mutiny, and rum binges.

“It’s a fantastic festival,” said Ludger Balan, the museum’s culture director. “It’s as good as any one that goes on around the country.”

Indeed, these maritime celebrations are a common occurrence in places like Northern California, Tampa, Fla., Georgia’s Tybee Island, even Wisconsin.

In what’s sure to be a highlight of the family-friendly event — beyond photo-ops with Jack Sparrow look-alikes — young aspiring sailors can meet a team of seamen who set the record for the most days at sea without seeing land (1,152 days, or three years!). Reid Stowe and Soanya Ahmad’s record-setting vessel, the Schooner Anne, will be anchored nearby for visits.

Kids will also be able to participate in a catch-and-release fishing tournament, make arts and crafts, and canoe with the organizers, who will all be dressed as “The Pirates of Red Hook” — a team of buccaneers who “plunder for the natural resources of the urban estuary,” said Balan.
So start practicing your “Arg, mateys!” now.

Treasure Cove Pirates Festival at IKEA/Erie Basin Park [Beard Street between Otsego and Dwight streets in Red Hook, (347) 224-5828], July 30, 11 am-5 pm. Free. For info, visit emmredhookpirates.blogspot.com.

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This cartoon festival is no child's play


By Haru Coryne

Brooklyn’s biggest animation festival features plenty of cartoons — but it’s no child’s play.

The eighth annual Animation Block Party presents nearly 100 short films over the course of three days, with love stories and war films screening at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Fort Greene and Automotive HS in Greenpoint from July 29 to 31.

Just don’t expect “Looney Tunes.” The animated shorts promise to capture the full variety of filmmaking as an art form, with plenty of abstractionism to boot.

“Parents come here expecting Bugs Bunny and Mighty Mouse, and all of a sudden they get some German experimental film with nudity,” said festival founder Casey Safron.

Take, for instance, Williamsburg filmmaker Becky James “Shapes in the City.” The difficult-to-define piece runs just under five minutes and follows the “life” of a simple, geometric shape — with all the action of a dark, 1940s noir.

“There’s a murder, there’s a dance scene, there’s theft,” said James. “There’s even a circle smoking a cigarette on a corner.”

Animation Block Party at the Automotive High School [50 Bedford Ave. near N. 13th Street in Greenpoint, (718) 218-9301] and BAMcinématek [30 Lafayette Ave. between St. Felix Street and Ashland Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], July 29-31. Free. For info, visit www.animationblock.com/summerfest2011.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's 'The Merry Wives of Windsor...Terrace!'

By Meredith Deliso

Hey, Shakespeare — Fuhgeddaboudit!

Brave New World Repertory’s newest site-specific production adds some much-needed “dese” and “dems” to update the Bard, Brooklyn-style.

In “The Merry Wives of Windsor (Terrace),” a free production running July 28–31, the company takes some liberties with Shakespeare’s domestic comedy, setting it in the neighborhood during the 1980s with the knight Falstaff reimagined as a low-level gangster, and the women he tries to swindle as big haired, “Real Housewives” types.

And, of course, there’s lots of Brooklynese — a bit of Clifford Odets mixed with that guy from Avon — but does it work?

“The Brooklyn accent sings with this language in a way Shakespeare probably would have been surprised by,” said company founder Claire Beckman, who stars as Mistress Ford in the play. “The cadence and music of Brooklynese plays beautifully with Shakespeare’s language.”

Still, the play did require some changes — the Thames, a body-dumping ground in the original, becomes the Gowanus Canal; and Prospect Park, Canarsie and Carroll Gardens substitute for English parks and neighborhoods. And, of course, Windsor is always referred to as Windsor Terrace.

“Our Brooklyn take on the play is a very affectionate love letter to an old Brooklyn that’s disappearing,” said Beckman (save, of course, for pubs like Farrell’s on Prospect Park West). “We set it back before the information age, when people were a little more social, out on their stoop messing in each other’s business, and Brooklyn was a little bit louder and less gentrified.”

And this being the ’80s, think big hair, shoulder pads and leggings. 

“Since we’re playing him as a mob guy, we’ve got Falstaff in a track suit, with a gold chain kind of look,” said director John Morgan.

Keeping with the theme, the play will also take place in the heart of Windsor Terrace, outdoors at Holy Name Parish’s Our Lady’s Field, right next to the little league baseball field.

“The audience will be watching the action, and right behind them is the background of Brooklyn brownstones,” said Morgan. “And we’re right on Windsor Place. You can’t be any better than that.”

“The Merry Wives of Windsor (Terrace)” at Our Lady’s Field at Holy Name Parish [130 Windsor Pl. at 16th Street in Windsor Terrace, (718) 768-3071], July 28 and 29 at 5 pm, July 30 and 31 at 3 pm. Free. For info, visit www.bravenewworldrep.org. 

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Bueller...Buelller...

By Meredith Deliso

Don’t play hooky on this coming-of-age classic.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” — John Hughes’s much-loved comedy about a popular high school senior who gets away with cutting school — screens at McCarren Park tonight as part of the SummerScreen outdoor film series.

The series’ theme is cool movies — and it wouldn’t be complete without this 1986 film.

The story follows a day in the life of the titular character (a baby-faced Matthew Broderick), who feigns illness to run around Chicago with his girlfriend and neurotic best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck).

It’s the perfect day — the trio takes in a game at Wrigley Field, visits the Sears Tower, browses the Art Institute of Chicago, and even assumes a central role at the Von Steuben Day Parade, where Bueller lip-syncs “Danke Schoen” and “Twist and Shout.”

The movie is great, but if it’s not enough to get you to play hooky for a few hours, there will be food from Pizza Moto, V-Spot, Bark Hog Dogs and Coolhaus, as well as brews from SixPoint.
Bueller himself couldn’t have planned a more perfect outing. 

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” at McCarren Park ballfields (Bedford Avenue and N. 12th Street in Greenpoint, no phone), July 27, movie starts at dusk. Free. For info, visit www.thelmagazine.com.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Your Celebrate Brooklyn Pick of the Week!

By Meredith Deliso

Celebrate Brooklyn isn’t just about music.

The outdoor festival brings the Mark Morris Dance Group to Prospect Park on July 28 for an evening of spellbinding works that honor the Fort Greene company’s 30-year history.

Joined by two other borough cultural powerhouses — the Brooklyn Philharmonic, in its first appearance under Artistic Director Alan Pierson, and the Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir — the company cherry picks from its decades-long history for a program of spellbinding original works.

Kicking things off is “Resurrection” (2002), pictured, set to Richard Rodgers’s “Slaughter on 10th Avenue” and with costumes by Isaac Mizrahi. That’s followed by “Lucky Charms” (1994), an explosive piece set to an original score by Jacques Ibert, and, lastly, one of the famed choreographer’s earliest, most-celebrated pieces, “Gloria” (1981), a walk-and-crawl duet set to the first movement of Vivaldi’s “Gloria in D.”

With Morris himself taking the baton to conduct the symphony, and the choir joining in for the echoing refrains of “Gloria,” it promises to be a powerful, moving finale that will be a highlight of the outdoor summer festival season across the city — not just in Brooklyn.

Mark Morris Dance Group at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park band shell [Ninth Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope, (718) 683-5600], July 28 at 8 pm. Free. For info, visit www.bricartsmedia.org.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Catch these 'old-timers' at Jalopy


By Meredith Deliso

These musicians are old-timers — and they hardly have any wrinkles on their faces.

The twentysomething members of the Union Street Preservation Society don’t touch a track that’s younger than 60, and when writing their own string arrangements, strictly look to rag time and early Americana roots — hence calling themselves the “preservation society.”

“The type of music that we play generally tends to be antique — something to preserve,” said mandolinist Sara Bouchard.

On Sunday, the Park Slope-based band (that’s where Union Street comes in) celebrates its debut EP, “Spring to Rust,” a collection of bluegrass and proto-jazz-inspired songs, at — where else? — Jalopy, the Red Hook home of old-time tunes.

“We’re excited and honored to be doing the CD release there,” said guitarist Dave Leiberman. “There’s really no other place we would want to do it.”

At the release party, you can except the quintet’s own original mix of bluegrass, blues, country and early jazz, along with some newly favorite jazz standards, including “Some of These Days,” made popular by Ella Fitzgerald, and “Crazy Blues,” considered by many to be the first recorded blues song.

“This is universally and objectively the best kind of music,” said Leiberman. “Why wouldn’t anyone love it?”

Union Street Preservation Society at Jalopy [315 Columbia St. between Hamilton Avenue and Woodhull Street in Red Hook, (718) 395-3214], July 24 at 7:30 pm. $5. For info, visit www.jalopy.biz.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pig out at 3rd Ward this Saturday

By Meredith Deliso

It’s OK to pig out at this party.

On July 23, 3rd Ward’s annual, aptly named Pig Out returns, transforming the Bushwick art space into an urban pig roast.

In a season of barbecues, it’s one of the best — and it certainly doesn’t hurt that this foodie free-for-all is free.

Come hungry for the BBQ fare, manned by chef Jeremy Spector of the Brindle Room, as well as some cooking demonstrations, including chocolate sculpture and knife-sharpening. There will also be workshops in bicycle care and how to do an algae cast. That one’s just for fun.

The party will also feature DJs and live music, courtesy of the Union Street Preservation Society and Northern Bells. So you can bust a move, in addition to your gut.

Annual Pig Out at 3rd Ward [195 Morgan Ave. between Meadow and Stagg streets in Bushwick, (718) 715-4961], July 23, 2-9 pm. Free. For info, visit www.3rdward.com.

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Catch a rising star

By Meredith Deliso

Theophilus London is a star — and he hasn’t even released a full-length album yet.

The snazzily dressed MC has been the toast of city’s press, handily sold out a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last month, and has been garnering deafening buzz for his debut album, “Timez are Weird These Days,” for the past few months (that album, by the way, finally dropped this week).

So it seems like a no-brainer to check out this musical nebula when he plays a free — yes, free — show at the Weeksville Heritage Center’s garden on Saturday.

Thanks to a few EPs, London’s associated with his 1980s electro-soul sound, though his influences are as varied as Marvin Gaye, Leon Ware and Morrissey.

The Weeksville party will feature an outdoor show by London and opener Phony Ppl, as well as food from NY Dosa, Wafels and Dinges, Nha Toi, La Table Exquise and Kem’s Jerk.

The hip hopper dreams of being Jay-Z big one day, so catch him before his next show is at Madison Square Garden.

Theophilus London at Weeksville Heritage Center [1698 Bergen St. between Buffalo  and Rochester avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (718) 756-5250], July 23 at 6 pm. Free. For info, visit www.weeksvillesociety.org.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hot dog! Wiener cookoff this Saturday

By Meredith Deliso

Now here’s a competition that really finds out who’s the top dog.

The Great Hot Dog Cookoff returns to Kelso on July 23 with some of the most-creative concoctions between a bun.

“Some of them are pretty ridiculous,” said cookoff founder Kara Masi. “It’s a completely silly event.”

Masi started the cookoff six years ago at her Fort Greene apartment as a way to eat some really good hot dogs, as well as raise money for a cause. The gathering was so popular, she had to find a bigger venue — and that’s where Kelso in Clinton Hill came in.

This year, the cookoff is raising money for the Food Bank for New York City, and will feature such hot dog combinations as the Cracker Jack Daniels — a hot dog coated in a whiskey caramel sauce and topped with pretzels and peanuts; a dog topped with truffle oil, fontina, caramelized onions, and sauteed spinach; and a hybrid of a veggie frito pie and a chile dog.

“People really get into it,” said Masi. “Some of the teams have been doing rounds of test dogs for weeks.”

Among the 24 competitors vying for Top Dog and Best in Show will be Nick Suarez (pictured). The founder of another foodie competition, the Food Experiments, won two years ago for his fried corn salad hot dog. This year, he’s back with his own take on the classic chili-cheese hot dog, topped with short rib chili, as well as a cheesy fondue sauce, homemade Persian cucumber pickles, deep-fried jalapeno chips and slaw.

“I always thought chili-cheese dogs are the best kind of hot dog, so I want to really elevate the classic to another level,” said Suarez.

In addition to all the hot dogs, you can feast on ice cream from SoCo Creamery, Sodastream and P&H fizzy drinks, and of course, brews from Kelso.

“Beer is the perfect thing to wash down hot dogs,” said Masi. 

Great Hot Dog Cookoff at Kelso Brewery [529 Waverly Ave. between Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue in Clinton Hill, (718) 398-2731], July 23 at 2 pm. Tickets $45 and must be purchased in advance. For info, visit thegreathotdogcookoff.com.

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New market for Downtown Brooklyn opening Saturday

By Meredith Deliso

This is not your average container store.

Vendors return to the old site of the Albee Square Mall this month, when the long-awaited Dekalb Market, a temporary shopping center constructed from shipping containers pieced together like Leviathan Legos, opens on July 23.

The newest market for the borough — which joins a crowded field that already includes the Brooklyn Flea in nearby Fort Greene, as well as the Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg and Northside Market, new to Williamsburg this year — has an added edge by bringing food and crafts makers to the site seven days a week, year-round, rather than only on the weekend.

The 40 or so vendors setting up shop in the containers include Cheeky Sandwiches, Robicelli’s, of cupcake fame, and Sour Puss pickles on the food front, and 3rd Ward, Harriet’s Alter Ego, and Little Poco on the crafts and clothing front.

“It’s a wide variety,” said Jessica Tolliver of Urban Space Management, the group putting together the market. “We’re hoping to provide something new and interesting to people in the area.”

Beyond shopping, market goers can check out the market’s on-site farm, which will feature cooking demos, as well as live music and a beer garden. The weekend will also feature more vendors setting up shop at the temporary market, which will be operating until CityPoint is complete.

“Urban Space really focuses on going into areas that are not being used to full potential and putting something there for the community to enjoy,” said Tolliver. “This is a great opportunity for that.”

Dekalb Market (322 Flatbush Ave. Ext. between Willoughby and Fleet streets in Downtown, no phone), opening July 23. Open seven days a week from 11 am to 7 pm. For info, visit dekalbmarket.com.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Storybook Burlesque brings your Cinderella like you've never seen it before

By Meredith Deliso

This ain’t your Disneyfied version of Grimm’s fairy tales.

Storybook Burlesque is adding some pasties and overt sex appeal to the same old “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty” in a new show inspired by the brothers’ dark tales.

“We like to see how far we can take something and still make it recognizable and entertaining,” said troupe member Victoria Privates. “Storybrook Burlesque to me means being able to interpret one piece of literature in a wide variety of ways. And we always like being a little cheeky.”

For her, that means a “straight up classical burlesque” take on the lesser-known story, “The Moon.”

“It’s just sparkling and pretty, like the moon,” said Privates.

Other stories getting a sensual spin include “The Frog Prince,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Cinderella,” and “Sleeping Beauty.” Host Cyndi Freeman, aka Cherry Pitz (pictured), will also dress up like a sexy fairy godmother.

It should go without saying, but this fairy tale adaptation is not for kids.

Storybook Burlesque presents “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” at the Coney Island Sideshow Theatre [1208 Surf Ave. at W. 12th Street in Coney Island, (718) 372-5159], July 21 at 9 pm. Tickets $12 at the door. For info, visit www.storybookburlesque.com.


Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival needs your help

We're big fans of Eugene Mirman's comedy festival at the Bell House and Union Hall, which brings in such names as Kristen Schaal, Mike Birbiglia, Sarah Vowell, Daniel Kitson, David Cross, Jon Glaser, we could go on.

If you're fans too, the team put together a Kickstarter fund to help them "bring the awesome" this year.
 
If that's not enough, here's a list of things they'll do with the money:

-Pay a living wage to the people who work really hard to make this event possible.
-Build an ice cream limo or buy an ice cream truck
-Pay comedians enough money to afford one very nice meal and maybe even buy a pair of shoes.
-Fly out and put up some performers so that we can have more events/ panels/ shows/ comedy/ music
-Set up a petting zoo outside of our venue
-Awkward Party Bus
-Have musical guests on some of our shows
-Have fun after-parties
-Pay recent college grads to have sex in a pit (probably not, but we’ll see how much money we raise)
-Delicious free food!
-More surprises!

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More classes at the Brooklyn Brainery announced

The Brooklyn Brainery, that bastion of DIY education in Carroll Gardens, has released its new schedule. Here's your pick of the new classes this month and next:

One Session
The Whats and Whys of Programming Languages
 - daytime! 
Backyard Chickens - all you need is a patch of dirt and some know-how
Edible Botany - brush up on your Latin and learn to tell a pumpkin from a squash 
Cocktail Alchemy - infuse your way to awesome drinks
Solving Crossword Puzzles - tips and tricks from two expert solvers
How I Learned to Solve a Rubik's Cube in 2 Minutes - you'll impress everyone
Jars of Joy: Homemade Chutneys - or, what to do when you have too many tomatoes
English Grammar - never confuse 'lie' and 'lay' again
How to Kill at Karaoke  - everything you need for a stellar performance
Cooking 101: Organic, Local, Sustainable - eating well, on the cheap

Longer Night Courses
Music Theory for Non-Musicians - demystifying music for the rest of us
Living Philosophy - back for an August session! 
Sustainability vs. Culture - plastic, shelter + food
Playwriting: Your First Work - two weeks to your first play

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Our Celebrate Brooklyn Pick of the Week!

By Meredith Deliso

Practice your finger snaps — a “West Side Story” dance and sing-along is coming to Prospect Park.

On July 21, Celebrate Brooklyn screens the Academy Award-dominating 1961 musical.

This being a “Romeo and Juliet” for 1950s Manhattan, Romeo is an American gangster, Tony, his Juliet a Puerto Rican immigrant, Maria. Their balcony is a fire escape, the feuding families two gangs, the Jets and the Sharks.

You can guess where it’s headed for our two doomed lovers, but not before some gorgeous and enduring melodies sung by the cast, including “Tonight,” “I Feel Pretty,” “Maria,” “America,” and “Jet Song,” to name just a few. The lyrics will be featured on the screen so you can sing along, too, and pre-screening there will be a choreographer teaching the famous steps to the musical.

Indeed, one of the film’s most-memorable moments hardly has any dialogue at all — that famous finger-snapping prologue, that features some of the most graceful punks you’ll ever see.

But you better choose your allegiance in advance — Sharks enter at 11th Street, Jets at Ninth Street.

“West Side Story” dance and sing-along at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park [Ninth Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope, (718) 683-5600], July 21 at 8 pm. Free. For info, visit www.bricartsmedia.org.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

The Weekend: 7.15-7.17

Friday, July 15 

Brooklyn Heights: Theater 2020, a new local company, puts on a production of "Romeo and Juliet."

Saturday, July 16

DUMBO: Go kayaking under the Manhattan Bridge as part of a waterfront festival, then check out Q-Tip as he headlines the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.

Borough-wide: It's National Ice Cream Day — so get out there and get some crazy ice cream.

Park Slope: Bring the kids to Prospect Park for a free concert by Dan Zanes, the king of the kid's music scene.

Sunday, July 17


Carroll Gardens: Smith Street Stage puts on a production of "Macbeth" in Carroll Park. Make it a picnic.

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Your favorite new read, handpicked by your favorite bookstore

Who can you always count on when you’re in a bind and need a good book? Your neighborhood bookstore, of course, whose employees read all the newest books before you do. That’s why we’re running this semi-regular column featuring must-reads, handpicked and written about by the staff at some of our favorite independent bookstores in Brooklyn.


The BookMark Shoppe’s pick: “The Templar Legacy”
For any fan waiting for the next Dan Brown novel, then “The Templar Legacy” by Steve Berry is a must read this summer! Book One in the Cotton Malone series, “The Templar Legacy” has all of the history and mystery as “The Da Vinci Code,” with a twist of conspiracy. If you are already a Mallone follower, then check out the newest installment, “The Jefferson Key.”

— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-5115].



Greenlight’s pick: “The Devil All the Time”
Following up on “Knockemstiff,” which was his gritty debut collection of interconnected stories, Donald Ray Pollack’s new book takes place in the same rural back-country town and surrounding areas. And I gotta say, it feels somehow wrong to say I like a book that makes me feel so unclean, but it’s dang good. If you like Pete Dexter or Chuck Palahaniuk, then Pollack is right for you.

— Rebecca Fitting, co-owner, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200].



WORD’s pick: “The Chairs Are Where the People Go”
This book is part-philosophy, part-self-help, part-business, but without any of the bulls—t you probably associate with those categories. Sheila Heti worked with Misha Glouberman to write down his thoughts on cities, education, art, love, charades, and other important things — in short, smart chapters that cohere closer and closer as the book goes on. Full of sharp insights and never boring. Next time you find your brain needing a jump-start, this is the book to dive into.

— Stephanie Anderson, manager, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096].

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nautical and nice

By Kim Lightbody

Don’t miss the boat on this festival.

A tugboat and barge from the early 1900s are docking at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 this month, bringing with them nautical-themed fun to Brooklyn Heights.

The aptly named “Tug and Barge Week,” running from July 15 to 25, will include activities like kayaking and fishing, as well as theater and live music on dry land.

“We’re trying to bring back the waterfront,” said David Sharps (pictured), captain of the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge, which will move upriver from its longtime Red Hook home for the festival. “Too many times, we rebuild waterfront parks and we ‘miss the boat,’ so to speak. There’s pedestrian piers and volleyball courts, but where’s the waterfront use?”

Along with Pamela Hepburn, captain of a 1907 tugboat, Sharps has planned 10 days of outdoor fun to change local attitudes about the East River. On July 16, adventurous locals can go kayaking under the Manhattan Bridge, fishing off the Pier, and watch a squid dissection, among other things. And on July 24, families can come see Showboat Shazzam, a circus show aboard the docked barge that includes flying trapezes, acrobats, and features Captain Sharps himself as a vase-balancing trickster.

Plus, each day of the program visitors can explore the Waterfront Museum on the barge, which is housing an art exhibition dedicated to deep-sea creatures.

“There’s a lot of activity,” said Sharps. “We’re trying to highlight the importance and significance of our water highway, for both commerce and enjoyment.”

“Tug and Barge Week” at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 [Atlantic Avenue and Furman Street in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 624-4719] from July 15 to 25. For info, visit www.brooklynbridgepark.org.

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A new twist on a Shakespearean classic

By Meredith Deliso

In this “Romeo and Juliet,” the young lovers have faith, as well as feuding families, to contend with.

Theater 2020, a new Brooklyn Heights-based company, puts a new twist on Shakespeare’s enduring love story with a Hindu Romeo and Muslim Juliet in its production of “Romeo and Juliet,” running at Saint Charles Borromeo on Sidney Place starting tonight and then later this month at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier One.

The producers were inspired to add this religious element to the play after reading about a Muslim girl in India killed by her family for dating a Hindu boy. When the boy found out, he killed himself.

“It was ‘Romeo and Juliet,’” said Judith Jarosz, who runs the company with her husband, David Fuller.

This isn’t the first time the bard’s classic has been staged with some poetic license; last year, Bensonhurst’s Genesis Repertory did a Brooklynized version of the play, where the star cross’d lovers were a Russian-Jewish Romeo from Sheepshead Bay and a Palestinian Juliet from Bay Ridge. The modernized version had the cast in baseball caps, sneakers and hijabs, and the men wielded swords instead of guns.

Theater 2020’s production doesn’t take as many liberties, though there will be hijabs sported by the Capulets, as well as Middle Eastern dancing and music, and some Jim Henson-style puppets.

“Obviously ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has lasted for hundreds of years, but I was just looking for some contemporary feel,” said Fuller, who directs. “The idea of a girl falling in love with boy whose parents don’t approve of is just timeless. I think everyone in the world can relate to that.”

Theater 2020’s “Romeo and Juliet” at Saint Charles Borromeo [21 Sidney Pl. at Livingston Street in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 624-3614 ], July 14 to 24, Thursdays at 7 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets $18. Also at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier One (at the foot of Old Fulton Street in DUMBO), July 30 at 6 pm and July 31 at 2 pm. Free. For info, visit www.theater2020.com.

Photo by David Fuller

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