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Why hello there sunshine! I believe you and I are beginning a beautiful friendship! Let’s celebrate with a week of outdoor activities!

This week the New York Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing outdoors in Central Park (tonight and Friday night), Prospect Park (Wednesday) and Van Cortland Park (Thursday). I’m planning to attend Friday’s performance. If you go be aware that the people close to the stage will expect you to be quiet and listen to the music, while those further from the stage will use the orchestra for mood music to go along with their picnicking. Last year we set up camp quite a ways from the stage and chit chatted between surreptitious sips of wine; it was splendid.

Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, Central Park, 2008

Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, Central Park, 2008

Wednesday night Central Park has another excellent event to offer- The New York Grand Opera will be performing Il Trovatore at the Naumburg Bandshell (@72nd St). I saw them perform a semi-staged version of Aida last summer and it was excellent. I think this is a great introduction to opera- casual but with the excitement of costumes and such to give the story a visual element. You should read the story beforehand and, as with all outdoor events, bring a picnic!

If you’re not in the mood for opera you should consider heading down to Pier 54 on the Hudson to watch Vicky Christina Barcelona under the stars. I don’t know what got into got into Woody Allen when he was abroad but this is a very hot film- bring someone you want to take home.

There’s only one event on Wednesday worth staying inside for- The Mixer Reading and Music Series at Cakeshop. You may recall I’ve written about this event before and tomorrow’s lineup is perhaps even better than usual; readings by Walter Aikens, Fiona Maazel, Monica Youn, and musical guest, Rebecca Schiffman. Monica Youn is both an attorney and a published poet, which I find intriguing and Rebecca Schiffman is downright adorable (and a talented musician).

Rebecca Schiffman

Rebecca Schiffman

Thursday night at the Prospect Park Bandshell you can see one of B’s favorite acts- the Kronos Quartet! They’re playing alongside the Luminescent Orchestrii.

If you’re looking for something a little more old school to round off your week I highly recommend watching The Maltese Falcon under the Brooklyn Bridge. Here’s the trailer for this stunning 1941 picture with Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor:

Enjoy your week and stay tuned for additions!

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I am terribly sorry to have neglected you for so long! There are a number of exciting events in the next few days I want to pass along.

I have always been an advocate of NYC tap water but tonight an advocate with much more credibility will be speaking about our H2O:

Scott Chesman PhD will speak about the construction of City Water Tunnel No. 3 and the Moshulu Tunnel, which brings Croton water into the new filtering plant being built under Van Cortland Park; he has worked on both.

The lecture will be held at the Community Center at St. Jeans Baptiste at 7pm.

On Wednesday The Lance Drummonds Experience will be exploding on S.O.B.’s stage in the E. Village. His compositions have been called soulful and ambitious; he certainly looks soulful to me…

Lance Drummonds

Lance Drummonds

Also on Wednesday you can be among the first to discover the new band The French Exit when they play at The Local 269. They’re already getting good buzz so get out to see them while you can still get close enough to introduce yourself!

Wednesday is also a big night for the Mixer Reading and Music Series; the line-up includes Chuck Klosterman, the New York Times bestselling author of ‘Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs.’  He will be reading alongside Rivka Galchen and Nick Flynn; the musical talent will be Datus. I love the combination of book readings and musical performances, especially in the context of a great little venue like Cakeshop– you can have your fiction and your vegan cupcake too!

On Thursday Discovery is playing at Public Assembly. I’ve mentioned them to you before; K and I fell in love with the singer New Year’s Eve at the Cameo Art Gallery. She’s quite the fireball so it’s sure to be a high energy show!

Also on Thursday the Raspberry Brothers are having a special early show; they’ll be blasting Garden State out of the water at 10pm at the Clearview Chelsea Cinemas!

gardenstate

If you enjoyed the Media That Matters Film Festival, which I directed your attention to earlier this week, you should check out one of the films showing in the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival at the Walter Reade Theater. The festival, now in its 20th year, is presented by the Lincoln Center Film Society. Check out this trailer of one of the films, ‘Good Fortune,’ which explores how international efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa can sometimes cause the opposite effect:

I’ll be back with all sorts of fun for this weekend!

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This studying thing is killing me; missing events is against my nature. This seems like a negative sign in terms of law school. Why isn’t going to burlesque shows and art exhibits a job? Sigh… Well, for those of you with free time there are some great events this week.

Tonight at the Japan Society you can learn the subtleties of sake:

Koji-making is the heart of the sake brewing process. Koji is steamed rice onto which a special mold has been grown with great precision and skill that converts starches to sugars, which in turn are fermented to yield alcohol. Making good koji requires precise regulation of temperature and moisture, and nothing has a greater impact on the final flavors and aromas of sake. Like much of sake brewing, koji-making is more art than science. Sake expert John Gauntner discusses the art and science of making koji, what it is, the myriad ways it can be accomplished, and how tiny changes to koji can result in major differences in sake flavor. Followed by a sake tasting.

If you want a bit more madness in your Tuesday head over to Galapagos for the ISSUE Project Room’s Sixth Anniversary Party. There will be shows by a range of performers including Elysian Fields, (“They carry a torch for nature, sex, love, the cycle of death and rebirth, and the sounds of folk and jazz ballads, new wave and classical music, seamlessly interwoven into a style that is at once languorously romantic and tough.”), Ray Sweeten and Brock Monroe.

Elysian Fields

Elysian Fields

Tomorrow you have a chance to check out one of the bands I’ve raved about recentlyThe Woes. As I said before, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many instruments used in a rock concert… their music blends jazz and blues and country into something unique and catchy.” Check them out at the Bell House.

Also tomorrow the Mixer Series is back at Cakeshop! This week there will be readings by Bret Anthony Johnston, Tracy K. Smith, Alex Mindt and music from Young Lions.

On Thursday there are two absurd and marvelous parties to consider. First, at Monkey Town, Twi the Humble Feather will be performing their [ahem] extremely original music, with L Magazine calls “part Gregorian chant, part Christmas carol and part Panda Bear’s Person Pitch unplugged.” They will be accompanied by the psychedelic visuals ofNobuko Hori.

Was your High School prom a disaster? Don’t worry, on Thursday you have a chance to be the cool kid you couldn’t be at 17- The Music Hall of Williamsburg is hosting ‘The Prom You Were Promised.’:

The night will feature rare DJ sets by VAMPIRE WEEKEND, PAT MAHONEY (of LCD Soundsystem), and HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR, and will be hosted by one of our favorite comedians (and 826NYC advisory board member!) LEO ALLEN. So fire up the limo, dust off that tux (or not), break out the hairspray, and get ready to dance!

It’s currently listed as sold out but some tickets may be available at the door, or you can always look for someone who needs a hot date.

Prom Dress (I almost wish mine had actually been this bad)

Prom Dress (I almost wish mine had actually been this bad)

Have a lovely week and stay tuned for additions!

NOTE: The Big Red Apple is now TheBigRedApple.net

To view this post at its new location click HERE!

I apologize for the tardiness of this e-mail; I stayed home from work today and have been lying about sleeping and drinking tea and feeling sorry for myself. Since I am posting so late in the day I will skip Monday events altogether and move right along to… St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day in NYC involves beer at noon, girls wearing very little green (and nothing else) and a whole host of other absurdities. Here are a few to consider:

Pot of Gold

Pot of Gold

  • A, who actually is Irish (born and bred), is planning to party at some less traditional spots- The Brass Monkey and Cielo in the Meatpacking District. Now Meatpacking is not always my thing; on weekends the whole velvet rope business can get out of hand, but St. Patrick’s Day is usually a pretty friendly and inclusive occasion so it might be the right time to head west.
  • For a cozier and less high maintenance crowd check out Black Rabbit in Greenpoint; their fireplace will be as cozy as always plus they will have Jameson specials and the sort of Irish music we generally know and love (the Pogues and the Waterboys).
  • Generally speaking there will be drink specials and people wearing green throughout the city so go out and join in the madness (just be safe everyone!)!

There are 2 ongoing things I’d like to mention before I forget. First, the play ‘Fire Throws,’ which A and I saw some time ago and which I reviewed, is in it’s final weeks at 3LD. While I had mixed feelings about it I do think it’s visually stunning and a unique theater experience. Secondly, The Best of Slamdance Festival at the IFC has some great selections to choose from, including two tonight.

On Wednesday, if you haven’t been to the Mixer Music and Reading Series at Cakeshop this is a good week to go; it’s their 2-year anniversary and they’re celebrating with a great selection of artists- Jedediah Berry, Matthew Zapruder and Leni Zumas will read and there will be music from La Marcha as well as special performances from your hosts Melissa Febos and Rebecca Keith; go and get your dose of poetry and cupcakes for the week!

If that’s not quite enough poetry to satisfy your literature related cravings on Thursday the St. Mark’s Bookshop Reading Series is happening at Solas again; JERRY STAHL and FRANCIS LEVY will be reading.

If you’d like to be part of a much more controversial discussion, the first public discussion between the graffiti community and the ‘Vandal Squad’ will be taking place in response to the release of a book by a former ‘Vandal Squad’ officer:

The recent book release Vandal Squad: Inside the New York City Transit Police Department, 1984–2004 has caused consternation throughout the global graffiti community with charges that author Joseph Rivera is profiting off the very criminals he spent his career incarcerating.

In response, the powerHouse Arena will host a conversation between former members of the Vandal Squad and the graffiti writers, the first such event of its kind. With the intent of providing an open forum for public discussion to discuss the issues regarding the methods that the Vandal Squad employs and their impact on the lives of the writers themselves. Panelists include Vandal Squad author Joseph Rivera, former Commanding Officer Lieutenant Steven Mona, original Vandal Squad Lieutenant Ken Chiulli, graffiti legend COPE2, graffiti activist Ket, and street artist Ellis G. The event will be moderated by Stern Rockwell, Streets Are Saying Things.

Founded in 1980, the Vandal Squad’s mission was to protect the subway system from hardcore criminal acts of destruction like kicking out windows and throwing seats out of train cars. It was only with the Clean Car Program of 1984 that graffiti became the primary focus of this specialized Unit. On a mission to catch those who gained fame under tag names, the Vandal Squad had to identify and locate these individuals cloaked in anonymity (and often so transient they were referred as “ghosts”) using every means available, including the NYPD computer database, Search Warrants, subpoenas, and even vandals themselves. These strategies, and their impact on the lives of the vandals, as well as concerns about the publication of the book, will be the focus of the conversation.

Vandal Squad: Inside the New York City Transit Police Department, 1984–2004

Vandal Squad: Inside the New York City Transit Police Department, 1984–2004

Also on Thursday, Black Rabbit will be hosting a speed dating event with a Smiths soundtrack. I know, speed dating sounds a bit sketch, right? I will have you know that I once dated someone for 2 whole months after meeting him speed dating AND we’re still friends (a true rarity for me). Think about it- you spend 5 minutes talking to someone and either you like them and want to talk to them further or you aren’t that interested. It’s much much less painful than going on a date with that guy from Match.com who looked so hot in that one picture… At any rate, be optimistic, feel sexy, go make some first impressions!

I will add more events as I come across them (and as this dreadful virus leaves my system).

NOTE: The Big Red Apple is now TheBigRedApple.net

To view this post at its new location click HERE!

I hope everyone is as happy to have a 4 day week as I am! Celebrate tonight by taking home arm loads of free clothes from Thrift On!, a crazy clothes swap at the Botanica Bar. There will be a DJ, comedy, contests and mayhem. Bring something you’re tired of and remember one person’s trash is another’s treasure.

On Tuesday Sam Mickens will be playing his “soul music for the present age” at Zebulon. Time Out New York says

Zs (say “zees”) combines cutting-edge contemporary classical with avant-rock, diluting neither style in the least. The trio’s hyperinvolved compositions and feverishly exacting performances make it essential listening for any enthusiast of either genre. Sam Mickens hails from visionary art-pop group the Dead Science.

I know I’ve mentioned this venue before, but I will reiterate that this is really the pinnacle of artsy hipsterness in Wburg.

On Wednesday I will be attending a preview performance of a new show called ‘Fire Throws’ at the 3LD Art and Technology Center. It’s a modern twist on the classic play Antigone, which makes it in my opinion the epitome of ‘Questionable Theatre.’ Naturally A and I are going and I expect it will either be amazing or awful; either way we are certain to enjoy ourselves immensely.

Fire Throws

Fire Throws

If you aren’t as confident in your ability to laugh off potentially dreadful theater I encourage you to check out the Mixer Reading and Music Series at Cakeshop. Dare Dukes was the musical performer last time and I totally fell in love with his crooning city-folk style. It didn’t hurt that Dare is what my friend K would call ‘sexy ugly.’ Actually he’ll be performing this Friday at Banjo Jims, so you can judge for yourself. This week the Mixer includes readings by Janice Erlbaum, Rob Sheffield and Melissa Seley and a musical performance by Allison Clancy. It should also be noted that not only is Cakeshop a great basement bar, it is also the purveyor of yummy pastries both vegan and otherwise.

On Thursday there will be another great literary event- the St. Mark’s Bookshop Reading Series at Solas. It was at one of these events that I heard Junot Diaz read from ‘The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ and became an instant die hard fan. As someone who enjoys both Llosa and Kanye West this was probably bound to happen. This week Brian Evenson and Jesse Ball will be reading. It tends to be crazy packed so get there early, find a comfy couch and be prepared to be be wowed.

Also on Thursday ‘Handmade Music’ will be umm… exploding at 3rd Ward. If you can get yourself out there (if it’s not too cold) these events are always worth the trip. They involve a coming together of “geeksters and the geek curious” and are generally a truly un-godly racket and a very good time.

I’ll be posting about next weekend as awesome events come to my attention. Please bring any to my attention that you come across!

Past Shenanigans

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