On July 14, 1789, a Parisian mob stormed the Bastille prison, a symbolic victory that kicked off the French Revolution and the establishment of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Ever since, July 14 has been a national holiday celebrating liberté, égalité, and fraternité. In New York City, the Bastille Day festivities are set for Sunday, July 10, along Sixtieth St., where the French Institute Alliance Française hosts its annual daylong party of food, music, dance, and other special activities. There will be a Wine, Beer, Cocktail, and Cheese Tasting in FIAF’s Tinker Auditorium at 12 noon, 1:30, and 3:00 ($25), as well as luxurious ninety-minute Champagne & Chocolate Tastings in Le Skyroom at 12:30 and 3:00 ($75) featuring delights from G. H. Mumm, Piper-Heidsieck, Drappier, Brimoncourt, Billecart-Salmon, La Caravelle, Neuhaus, La Maison du Chocolat, Valrhona, MarieBelle, and Maman Bakery. The annual raffle ($5 per ticket) can win you such prizes as trips to Paris and New Orleans, concert tickets, beauty treatments and gift baskets, lunches and dinners, and more. Food and drink will be available from Babeth’s Feast, Barraca, Booqoo Beignets, Dominique Ansel Bakery, Éclair Bakery, Epicerie Boulud, Financier, Bec Fin, Le Souk, St. Michel, Tipsy Scoop, François Payard Bakery, Mille-feuille, Oliviers & Co., Ponty Bistro, and others. Taking the stage will be cast members from An American in Paris (12:30), CanCan dancers led by Sarah O’Dwyer (1:15 & 2:15), a French puppet show by Samantha Grassian (1:30), the Hungry March Band (2:30), the Sheridan Fencing Academy (3:15), and Myriam Phiro’s Accordion Trio (4:00). The festivities also include a roaming French Mime for Hire (Catherina Gasta), a photobooth, a book signing with Marc Levy (A Spin on the Horizon, 1:00), the annual Citroën Car Show (1:00 – 5:00), a live screening of the UEFA Euro final between France and Portugal (3:00), and more. Vive la France!
Who: Matthew Aughenbaugh, Michael Ruby, Graham Fawcett
What: Immersive theater piece
Where: The Old Stone House, Washington Park & JJ Byrne Playground, between Fourth & Fifth Aves. and Third & Fourth Sts., Park Slope, 718-768-3195
When: Friday, June 24, $15-$20, 8:00
Why: On June 24, Matthew Aughenbaugh will perform his one-man show, Song of Myself: The Words of Walt Whitman, at the Old Stone House in Park Slope, in the borough where the mighty poet was raised. “Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes, how curious you are to me! / On the ferry-boats the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose, / And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose,” Whitman wrote in 1856’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.” Aughenbaugh, a Shakespearean actor who has also done musical theater, noted in a statement, “I was inspired to create a theater piece using only original text as a way to share my passion for our greatest American poet.” The immersive show, presented by London’s Upper Wimpole Street Literary Salon, will be followed by a Q&A with Aughenbaugh and Brooklyn poet Michael Ruby, moderated by British broadcaster, teacher, and translator Graham Fawcett. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door and come with wine and refreshments.
Who: Anna Raff
Where: The Astoria Bookshop, 31-29 31st St., 718-278-2665
When: Saturday, June 11, free, 11:30 am
Why: “When you wake up on the wrong side of the bed . . . you’re in for a BAD day.” So begins the new picture book The Wrong Side of the Bed (G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, March 2016, $16.99), in which writer Lisa M. Bakos and illustrator Anna Raff show just how lousy things can get until . . . On June 11 at 11:30, Raff, who has also illustrated such books as A Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper, You Are Not a Cat by Sharon G. Flake, and World Rat Day by J. Patrick Lewis, will be at the Astoria Bookshop for a special storytime session that should be a fun way to start a day on a good note.
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, June 4, free, 5:00 - 11:00
Pride Month is the centerpiece of the Brooklyn Museum’s June edition of its vastly popular free First Saturday program. The evening will feature live performances by New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and DJ Mursi Layne; storytelling by Queer Memoir; screenings of Jake Witzenfeld’s Oriented, followed by a talkback with Tarab NYC, and Asurf Oluseyi’s Hell or High Water, followed by a talkback with activists Kehinde Bademosi, Noni Salma Lawal, Ekene Okuwegbunam, and Adejoke Tugbiyele; a movement workshop inspired by domestic workers, by Studio REV-; pop-up gallery talks on “Disguise: Masks and Global African Art”; a hands-on workshop in which participants can make their own Pride-based iron-on patch; a curator talk by Catherine J. Morris and Stephanie Weissberg on “Agitprop!”; the talk “Women, Art, AIDS, and Activism,” with Joy Episalla, Kia Labeija, Jessica Whitbread, Egyptt Labeija, Sue Schaffner, and Carrie Moyer, hosted by Visual AIDS and moderated by LJ Roberts; a printmaking workshop about immigration and undocumented youth; and outdoor projections by the Illuminator. In addition, you can check out such other exhibitions as “This Place,” “Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective, 1999–2016,” and “Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (to a Seagull).”
Before word of mouth, before the reviews, before the public sees the cast and sets and hears the dialogue and music, a Broadway show attempts to define itself — and sell tickets — by establishing a look, a unique brand, via posters, billboards, and advertisements. For the last twenty years, SpotCo, originally known as Spot Design, has been at the forefront of this business, working on campaigns for more than three hundred clients, including eight Pulitzer Prize winners and the last eight winners of the Tony for Best Musical. The company’s history is celebrated in the new coffee-table book On Broadway: From Rent to Revolution (Rizzoli, April 2016, $45), which explores SpotCo’s branding of such shows as Rent, Chicago, The Vagina Monologues, Doubt, Avenue Q, Hair, Once, Kinky Boots, Fun Home, and Hamilton. “What separates SpotCo’s oeuvre from what has come before and makes it so astounding is that as a whole it has no recognizable visual style, in a business that was long thought to rely on exactly that, no matter how hackneyed and clichéd,” author and graphic designer extraordinaire Chip Kidd writes in his foreword. “The only thing that unites them all is an unwavering sense of intelligence and the apparent belief that their audience is comprised of people who can think, intuit, and take a chance on something they haven’t quite experienced before.” The book also features text by SpotCo founder Drew Hodges and producers, composers, illustrators, playwrights, artistic directors, photographers, and actors (Harvey Fierstein, Cherry Jones, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Patrick Stewart, Sting) detailing the various campaigns, in addition to an introduction by former company maid David Sedaris. On May 23, the Rizzoli Bookstore will host the annual Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS charity event while also celebrating On Broadway: From Rent to Revolution; the evening will include a red carpet entrance for numerous stars of the Great White Way, an auction of original art, and more.
Who: Wong Kar Wai, La Frances Hui
What: Modern Mondays
Where: MoMA Film, Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves., 212-708-9400
When: Monday, May 23, $8-$12, 7:30
Why: “Our distant comradeship went on for twenty years, all of them blessedly unconstrained by the inhibiting, red-eyed presence of a tape recorder. We never did a proper interview, much less anything so large as a book,” pop-culture and film critic John Powers recently wrote in his Vogue essay “How to Write a Book with Wong Kar Wai,” continuing, “As I flew home to L.A., I was experiencing what I’d long heard about working on one of Wong’s long-gestating films: You spend your time waiting and waiting, dependent on his decisions, wondering if there’s any end in sight.” They were trying to finish what would become WKW: The Cinema of Wong Kar Wai (Rizzoli, April 2016, $65) in time for the opening of the Met Fifth Avenue’s exhibition “China: Through the Looking Glass,” for which Wong was serving as artistic director. Well, they made it, and on May 23, Wong, the writer-director of such cutting-edge works as Days of Being Wild, Chungking Express, Happy Together, and the lush In the Mood for Love, will be at MoMA for a Modern Mondays presentation including film clips, a conversation with MoMA Department of Film associate curator La Frances Hui, and a book signing. “China: Through the Looking Glass” continues in the Met’s Chinese Galleries and Anna Wintour Costume Center through September 7.
Who: Bob Rosenthal, Ada Calhoun
What: Celebration for the paperback publication of Cleaning Up New York: The ’70s Cult Classic (the Little Bookroom, March 2016, $12.95)
Where: Rizzoli Bookstore, 1133 Broadway at 26th St., 212-759-2424
When: Wednesday, May 18, free, 6:00
Why: “$60. I needed $60 in three weeks’ time. I was out of a job so the idea of doing temporary work just popped into my head. I called a friend who had once done cleaning jobs and he told me to call up Everything for Living Space.” So begins Bob Rosenthal’s 1970s cult classic, Cleaning Up New York, which features the rather lengthy explanation on the front: “In which our hero coffees up with a pill, fortifies himself with some (pocketed) weed, and mops and waxes his way through weird vibes, domestic dramas . . . and seduction.” Rosenthal, who documented his time as Allen Ginsberg’s secretary for the Local East Village blog a few years ago, will be at the Rizzoli Bookstore on May 18 to talk about Cleaning Up New York with Ada Calhoun, the author of St. Marks Is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street (Norton, November 2015, $27.95).