Agenda Newsletter - June 1-3, 2007

Free shows trump the cliché
River to River Festival

Through August 31
Free outdoor shows too often involve bands named something like Blues Hammer playing to children and their picnicking parents. And then there’s this summerlong downtown festival, which kicks off tonight with the (surprisingly poppy) avant-weirdos Animal Collective (South Street Seaport, 7 p.m.). Tomorrow, psychedelic legend and part-time mental patient Roky Erickson makes a rare NYC appearance (Castle Clinton National Monument, 7 p.m.). It’s a hot start to a season that will also bring the Drive-By Truckers, Battles, and more.

Bring a baby mama (or papa) to this movie
Knocked Up
  If you plan on getting baked before seeing it—The 40-Year-Old Virgin’s Judd Apatow is the director—know that this story of a slacker (Seth Rogen) impregnating a go-getter (Grey’s Anatomy’s Katherine Heigl) may induce deep thoughts. David Edelstein: “Apatow’s talent is for telling complicated truths about the peculiar ways in which people defend themselves from the pain of living—with jokes.” Heavy! But not to worry: The banter is “bruisingly funny” and the characters “brilliantly childish.” Yay! Opens tonight Review  » Trailer  » Tickets  »   More weekend picks

Hot 97 Summer Jam, aight?

Japan Day brings karaoke to Central Park.      

Plays take down lords of highbrow
Pretentious Festival
  Is seeing someone slip on a banana peel not funnier if he’s reading The Descent of Man? We submit that it is. In this clever theater festival, lords of the highbrow take gloves to their cheeks: Shakespeare (Macbeth Without Words), New Wave cinema (The Children of Truffaut), and the polydimensional universe (Ivory Tower or Sagan?). If you’re wondering what ever happened to the impertinence of Off-Off-Broadway, it left the Lower East Side for Williamsburg years ago. The Brick Theater
July 1
Tickets  »   More weekend picks

The Big Sleep bring the fuzz-rock.

Bushwick opens its studios.      

Artist exploits a ghetto space
Neo Rauch at the Met: Para
  In yet another sign that the fusty ol’ Met is beginning to take contemporary art seriously, the museum commissioned a whole show’s worth of paintings from hot Leipzig school alumnus Rauch. They’re installed in a low-ceilinged ghetto of a gallery, but the artist plays up the claustrophobia in panoramic tableaux inspired by the Socialist Realism of his East German childhood: In Para, a hulking figure seems to bump his head on the top edge of the canvas. The Met
Through October 14
More info  »   More weekend picks

“Slavery in New York: Brooklyn Stories” closes.

Martha Graham Dance—on Wall Street.      

Long-awaited, possibly subversive film debuts
The Fifth Empire
  When we’re pushing 100, we’ll probably relinquish control over everything but the remote. Manoel de Oliveira, now 98, made a film that’s positively withering in its critique of power. Made in 2004 and just now getting its U.S. premiere, it tells the story of young King Sebastião from sixteenth-century Portugal. Attended by fawning servants, he contemplates invading Africa for the sake of empire and spreading Christianity. Any parallels you draw to our current political situation are your own. Anthology Film Archives
Opens tonight
More info  »   More weekend picks

Neil LaBute’s dark, dark new play.

Last chance: seventies Francesco Clemente.      

Show her other kids making art
Red Hook Waterfront Arts Festival
  Perhaps your child will be interested in hip-hop didgeridoo player Baba Israel’s performance. Perhaps. But this year’s festival, which has been moved to one of the city’s only harbor beaches, offers plenty of talented people we’d sooner steer her to, from the Red Hook step-dance team (a youth troupe from Brazil will also perform) to teen filmmakers from the neighborhood. And the hourly (didgeridoo-free) ferry service is an attraction in and of itself. Louis J. Valentino Jr. Park and Pier
June 2 or 3 (rain date)
10 a.m.
More info  »   More weekend picks

Or go to Governors Island for Family Fest.

Thomas the Tank Engine—live!        

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June 1-3, 2007

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Agenda Newsletter - June 1-3, 2007