Have a progressive bent but still love fireworks? Tomorrow, Rooftop Films is throwing its latest screening party with three local bands (the New Dress, the Subjects, Vic Thrill and the Saturn Missile), an open bar (Beaujolais, not Budweiser), and a slate of seven short “Un-American Films”—including a Croatian twist on Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan and ‘toons that examine the complicated lives of animated characters from a Mussolini parody to a raccoon with a taste for American-style entrepreneurship. And yes, you’ll have an unparalleled view of the pyrotechnics (see above).
Brush up on local lore—and see fireworks!
Presidential Walking Tour New York City may not boast the world’s biggest ball of twine, but we’ve got pride-swelling landmarks all the same. On this special Independence Day walking tour, well-informed guides will set you straight on the Washington Square Arch’s backstory, take you past Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace and some of our forefathers’ favorite hangouts, and give a general overview of the Village’s Revolutionary War roots. The last stop is FDR Drive, for a fireworks extravaganza you’ll appreciate all the more. NYC Discovery Walking Tours Greenwich Village and Gramercy Park July 4
Tickets » Have a laid-back Fourth of July
Lights Brooklyn psych-folk trio Lights are hosting this BBQ party so that they can hang out on a holiday afternoon and play songs with their friends. And they’ve got some talented friends: Patrick Cleandenim plays smart orchestral pop; the brand-new band the Minetta makes layered, proglike rock with lovely vocals; and Greg Weeks, of Espers, will contribute a sad, sweeping solo set. The event ends early, so there will be time to get yourself to a roof for fireworks. Rose
More info » Faux documentary lampoons the “oligarchy”
The American Ruling Class How about a faux documentary on wealth and power in America? This hilarious, coruscating program tracks the career paths of two Yale graduates—one of whom goes into investment banking and another who dreams of making it as a writer—as they navigate the perils and pitfalls of gaining a place in what narrator Lewis Lapham calls “the American oligarchy.” With sage advice dispensed by the likes of Robert Altman, Walter Cronkite, and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., it’s a master class in master-of-the-universe studies. The Sundance Channel
The master violinist and co- founder of the Emerson String Quartet has written a World War II novel. And it’s good! Win a copy in time for Drucker’s in-store signing and performance.
Solar One; Films at 9:30 p.m.; Ticket-holders must arrive before 6 p.m.; $30, $25 online;
Japanese anti-blockbuster comes to DVD
Taste of Tea Director Katsuhito Ishii is the Michel Gondry of Japanese pop cinema, which makes his latest film a fine antidote to the American summer blockbuster. Though for a family drama, there sure are fireworks: Trains explode from a boy’s head, grandpa indulges weird obsessions, mother rekindles her love for violent anime, and a young girl is stalked by a gigantic version of herself. Somehow, it all works: Each family member is rendered with a kind of cockeyed empathy. Viz Pictures
On sale today
Buy it »
Teach your children well
A Young People’s History
of the United States They’re going to lose their innocence in degrees, anyhow, so you might as well take this opportunity to introduce your offspring to Howard Zinn’s chronicle of America’s powerless versus American power. Abridged, illustrated, and updated, this is a perfect prelude to fireworks for the thinking tween or teen. Point your young idealist to volume one’s Revolutionary War narrative (Washington’s army cuts Loyalists’ bodies into pieces!). The rest of the story will make for edifying summer reading. Volumes One and Two
Howard Zinn, adapted by Rebecca Stefoff
Buy it »