Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Go 'Fourth'

By Ben Kochman

On July 4, the smart set stays right here in Brooklyn rather than rushing off to beaches (we’ve got those), parties (check) or hot concerts (um, this is music city, after all). Don’t believe us, here’s our full guide to this weekend (so full, in fact, that you’ll need to take Monday off).


Kicking off the holiday weekend, Prospect Park will be ablaze on Friday night, as Jamaican reggae veterans Fab 5 hit the Celebrate Brooklyn stage. The group will celebrate its 40 years on tour with an evening of lively grooves. Opening will be percussionist Junior Wedderburn’s band Uzalo, who will get the party hopping with a “cornucopia of rhythm.”

Afterwards, head down to Coney Island’s weekly Friday night fireworks over the Boardwalk. Shot from the beach, the bombs burst directly overhead, dazzling beach-front revelers. Deno’s Wonder Wheel, the Cyclone Roller Coaster and the Brooklyn Cyclones are some of the sponsors who make this festive tradition possible.

Fab 5 at the Prospect Park band shell [enter at Prospect Park West and Ninth Street, (718) 855-7882], 7:30 pm. Free; Fireworks (between W. 10th and W. 12th streets, no phone) begin at 9:30 pm. Free.


The Brooklyn Cyclones offer fans a chance to pre-game the holiday on July 3 with fireworks display plus a BBQ tool set giveaway so you can grill in style this Fourth. Pepsi outfits the first 2,500 fans in attendance with free grilling paraphernalia before the Cyclones beat the despised Staten Island Yankees. The team celebrates Independence Day with post-game fireworks shot from the outfield. Sounds like a home run.

If you’d rather watch a film than baseball, head the Old American Can Factory, where Rooftop Films screens a selection of shorts that are sure to make foodies blush. In a collection from the Umami film festival, viewers will witness experimental interpretations of the complex power that food possesses. Umami is the Japanese word for “savory,” and these films hope to capture the elusive yet satisfying taste of a savory, earthy delight.

After stimulating your mind, quench your thirst at an after-party, where free Radeburger Pilsner will be on tap. That’s free, as in you can drink as much as you want.

Later, rewind back to 1980 at Brooklyn Bowl, where rockers Destroy Babylon will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of “London Calling” by performing The Clash’s famed album in its entirety.

Destroy Babylon describes its sound as “punky reggae,” which makes them a good fit to honor The Clash, who were known to experiment not only with various substances but with different musical styles.

Independence Day Celebration at MCU Park [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 449-8497]. Game starts at 6 pm; Films at Old American Can Factory [232 Third St. between Sackett and Union streets in Gowanus, (718) 417-7362] begin at 8 pm. Tickets are $10; Destroy Babylon at Brooklyn Bowl [61 Wythe Ave. between 12th and 13th Street in Williamsburg, (718) 963-3369] starts at 8 pm. Tickets $5.


It will be man-eat-dog mania when the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest returns to Coney Island. Last year, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut set an all-time record of 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, and has apparently sent Takeru Kobayashi packing as he goes for his fourth consecutive title at the corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues. If Kobayashi doesn’t show, look out for “Notorious B.O.B” Bob Shoudt — who just recently surpassed Kobayashi for the No. 2 eater.

If you’re a betting man, head on over to Willie’s Dawgs instead and sign up for the Park Slope spot’s hot dog eating contest lottery pool, with the spoils (a $100 discount at Park Slope Veterinary Care) going to whoever correctly predicts the amount of hot dogs it will take to win Coney Island’s fabled event (last year it was 68, and everyone knows that Chestnut will eat 74 this year). The hot dog joint plans to donate all proceeds from the lottery to the Sean Casey Animal Rescue organization, which helps keep man’s best friends safe.

Later, head to Floyd Bennett Field for a Fabolous day. That’s no misprint: the Brooklyn MC will co-headline the third annual Brooklyn Music Festival at Aviator Sports. He’s joined by the infamous Shaggy, whose hit song “Wasn’t Me” lit up the charts in the late 1990s, and B.O.B, the young budding rap star from Atlanta who topped the charts in 2010 with his soulful ballad “Nothin’ on You.” Other acts include Tony Matterhorn and Lady Saw, two Jamaican dancehall deejays who plan to ignite the dance floor, and Jamaican crooner Barrington Levy.

For those looking to move, put on your Fourth of July dancing shoes and head out to Bushwick for a patriotic powwow of massive proportions. The Sunday Best crew is at it again with its self-proclaimed “best doggone backyard barbecue in Brooklyn,” at its new home at Brooklyn Fire Proof. Burgers, corn on the cob and, of course, hot dogs will be on the grill, while special DJ guest Rich Medina will keep the tunes pumping from 3 pm into the night — but ending early enough for you to catch some fireworks.

And for a good old-fashioned picnic, head to Bay Ridge for state Sen. Marty Golden’s third annual gathering. Blues Circus, the Groove, High Tides, Piranha Bros., The Ridge, and Frank Marra and His Band will provide the tunes, while hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage, drinks and ice cream will be available.

Hot Dog Eating Contest at Nathan’s Famous [between Surf and Stillwell avenues in Coney Island, (718) 946-2202], noon; Hot dog eating contest lottery at Willie’s Dawgs [351 Fifth Ave. between Fifth and Sixth streets in Park Slope, (718) 832-2941], noon. Enter for $5; Brooklyn Music Festival at Floyd Bennett Field [3159 Flatbush Ave. off the Belt Parkway in Marine Park, (718) 758-7556], noon to 10 pm. Tickets $59; Sunday Best at Brooklyn Fireproof [119 Ingraham St. at Porter Avenue in Bushwick, (718) 456-7570], 3-9 pm. Tickets $12. RSVP to; Greater Bay Ridge Fourth of July Picnic [82nd Street and Shore Road, (718) 238-6044], 11 am to 9 pm. Free.


What better way to mark Independence Day than through an exhibit devoted to the Revolutionary War?

At the Harbor Defense Museum in Bay Ridge, you can explore artifacts from the period that were used to secure your freedom, including a three-pound cannon, Coehorn mortar and 18th-century Charleville musket at its permanent exhibition devoted to the war.

And if you’re looking to shake things up on your day off and throw in some variety, head on over to Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO for a night of tap-dancing bears, Kung Fu juggling, clown bands, sword swallowers, physical comedy and more. It’s all part of the Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show, so anything’s possible. Hope to one day be part of the act? Get a set of juggling balls and spend the day beforehand at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 and practice, practice, practice.

“Battle of Brooklyn, August 27, 1776” at the Harbor Defense Museum [230 Sheridan Loop at Sterling Drive in Bay Ridge, (718) 630-4349], 10 am-4 pm. Free; Bindlestiff Variety Show at Galapagos Art Space [16 Main St. at Water Street, (718) 222-8500], 8 pm. Tickets $5.

— with Stephen Goodstein and Damian Harris-Hernandez


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