This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


Ashleigh Smith will perform at this years annual Harlem Day festivities

Ashleigh Smith will perform at this year’s annual “Harlem Day” festivities

West 135th St. between Malcolm X Blvd. & Frederick Douglass Blvd.
Saturday, August 18, and Sunday, August 19, free, 12 noon – 10:00 pm
Festival continues through August 25

The theme of the 2018 Harlem Week festival is “Women Transforming Our World: Past, Present & Future,” along with the subtheme “The Community within the Community,” saluting LGBTQ rights. The festivities continue August 18 with “Summer in the City” and August 19 with “Harlem Day,” two afternoons of a wide range of free special events along West 135th St. Saturday’s programs include Harlem Senior Citizens Synchronized Swimming, the NYC Children’s Festival in Howard Bennett Playground (with a parade, exhibits, games, arts & crafts, live music and dance, health testing, and sports clinics), the Harlem Week Higher Education Fair (with more than fifty colleges and universities), “Dancing in the Streets” with live performances and WBLS DJs, the International Vendors Village, the Fabulous Fashion Flava Show, the “Uptown Saturday Concert” (with Sarah Vaughan National Competition winner Ashleigh Smith, Bishop Marvin Sapp, Raheem Devaughn, and the Jeff Foxx Band), and the Imagenation Outdoor Film Festival in St. Nicholas Park. Sunday’s “Harlem Day” celebration features live performances on three stages, the International Vendors Village, the Upper Manhattan Auto Show, Our Health Village, the Upper Manhattan Small Business Expo & Fair, USTA Children’s Tennis Clinics, and the second day of the NYC Children’s Festival (with a Back to School theme).


Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival returns to Queens for its twenty-eighth season

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival returns to Queens for its twenty-eighth season

The free summer arts & culture season is under way, with dance, theater, music, art, film, and other special outdoor programs all across the city. Every week we will be recommending a handful of events. Keep watching twi-ny for more detailed highlights as well.

Sunday, August 12
Twenty-Eighth Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Monday, August 13
Movie Nights: Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991), Bryant Park, sundown

Tuesday, August 14
Red Hook Flicks on the Pier: Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991), Valentino Pier, sundown

Wednesday, August 15
SummerScreen: Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988), McCarren Park, sundown

Dr. Strangelove is a grim, if hysterically funny, reminder of the threat of nuclear war

Dr. Strangelove is a grim, if hysterically funny, reminder of the threat of nuclear war

Thursday, August 16
Central Park Conservancy Film Festival: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964), Central Park, landscape between Sheep Meadow & 72nd St. Cross Drive, dusk

Friday, August 17
Hudson RiverFlicks — Family Fridays: The Karate Kid (John G. Avildsen, 1984), Pier 46, Hudson River Park, Greenwich Village, 8:30

Saturday, August 18
Rite of Summer: Collaborative Arts Ensemble, Colonels Row, Governors Island, 1:00 & 3:00

Sunday, August 19
SummerStage: Mura Masa and Jessy Lanza, Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, 7:00


Beach volleyball tournament will be held on Coney Island on August 4

Beach volleyball tournament will be held on Coney Island on August 4

The free summer arts & culture season is under way, with dance, theater, music, art, film, and other special outdoor programs all across the city. Every week we will be recommending a handful of events. Keep watching twi-ny for more detailed highlights as well.

Sunday, July 29
SummerStage: Femi Kuti & Positive Force, Jupiter & Okwess, DJ Geko Jones, Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, 3:00

Monday, July 30
Movies Under the Stars: The Incredibles (Michael Giacchino, 2004), Lower Highland Playground, Highland Park, Queens, 7:30

The Incredibles is screening for free

The Incredibles is screening for free in Highland Park on July 30

Tuesday, July 31
Strictly Tango, free tango lessons, Holley Plaza, Washington Square Park, 6:00

Wednesday, August 1
Carnegie Hall Citywide: Locos por Juana, Bryant Park Upper Terrace, 5:30

Thursday, August 2
New York Euripides Summer Festival Presents Suppliants, American Thymele Theatre, East River Park Amphitheater in John V. Lindsay East River Park, 6:00 (continues August 3, 6-7, and 9-10 at multiple venues)

Peter Wolf will play a free show at Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival on August 3

Peter Wolf will play a free show at Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival on August 3

Friday, August 3
Lincoln Center Out of Doors: Peter Wolf, Super Soul Banned, Damrosch Park Bandshell, 7:30

Saturday, August 4
Brooklyn Beach Sports Festival: Beach Volleyball Tournament (8:00 am - 5:00 pm), Glow in the Dark Beach Volleyball (5:00), Coney Island, free with advance registration

Sunday, August 5
Saturday, August 4

INSITU Site-Specific Dance Festival, with simultaneous performances by César Brodermann and Sebastian Abarbanell, Alice Gosti, N E 1 4 Dance, Quilan ‘Cue’ Arnold, and Melissa Riker Kinesis Project in Hunters Point South Park, House of Ninja, Renegade Performance Group, Donofrio Dance Company, Sarah Chien, Sarah Elgart | Arrogant Elbow, and Cecilia Fontanesi Parcon NYC in Gantry Plaza State Park, Kate Harpootlian, Douglas Dunn + Dancers, AnA Collaborations, and Christopher Núñez in Queensbridge Park, and Sophie Maguire & Emma Wiseman, Javier Padilla & the Movement Playground, Khalifa Babacar Top, the Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival, Fleuve | Espase danse, and JoAnna Mendl Shaw / the Equus Projects in Socrates Sculpture Park, 1:00 - 8:00


New York Jets

New York Jets fans can attend draft party at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night

MetLife Stadium
East Rutherford, NJ
Thursday, April 26, free with advance RSVP, 6:30

It has been a long-standing tradition for New York Jets fans to boo the team’s big draft picks year after year, especially when it comes to quarterbacks. Remember Troy Taylor, Browning Nagle, Jeff Blake, Glenn Foley, Chuck Clements, Kellen Clemens, Brooks Bollinger, Brad Smith, and Greg McElroy? More recently, Geno Smith, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg are lost causes. Gang Green did have temporary success with Mark Sanchez and Chad Pennington, but the team hasn’t drafted a dependable QB since Ken O’Brien at number 1 in 1984 — three picks before their hated rivals, the Miami Dolphins, selected a guy named Dan Marino. This year the Jets have traded up to snare the third choice in a class that includes four potential franchise signal callers: USC’s Sam Darnold, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, and UCLA’s Josh Rosen. GM Mike Maccagnan and the Jets brain trust better grab the right guy or the organization will continue its ineptitude; it’s going on half a century that they haven’t been to the Super Bowl, beating the Baltimore Colts in 1969 behind a dude named Joe Namath. On April 26, the Jets are holding a free draft party at MetLife Stadium in hopes of crowning a new king. There will be locker-room tours, access to the EY Coaches Club, the Jets Experience, Jets Fest, and player appearances by Terrence Brooks, Brandon Copeland, Isaiah Crowell, Jordan Leggett, Mike Pennel, Terrelle Pryor, Brandon Shell, Buster Skrine, ArDarius Stewart, Avery Williamson, and Brian Winters. Who? We’re not sure either, but maybe with just the right quarterback, this team can turn things around and finally get back on the winning track. J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!


Flint Rasmussen (photo by Matt Breneman / Bull Stock Media)

Flint Rasmussen entertains the crowd at PBR event in Anaheim in 2016 (photo by Matt Breneman / Bull Stock Media)

Madison Square Garden
31st - 33rd Sts. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.
January 5-7, $28-$551
After-parties at Hooters on January 5 and American Whiskey on January 6

The Professional Bull Riders’ twenty-fifth anniversary tour barrels its way into Madison Square Garden January 5-7 for the twelfth annual PBR Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden, as thirty-five brave athletes will try to stay atop bucking bulls for the wildest eight seconds in sports. Among those competing to unseat current champion Jess Lockwood is Cooper Davis, the rider we interviewed two years ago who went on to win the 2016 world championship. Last year we introduced you to brothers Tanner and Jesse Byrne, the former a bull rider, the latter a bullfighter who protects the riders from danger. This year we get an inside look at the man who serves as a kind of master of ceremonies for all competitions, PBR “Exclusive Entertainer” Flint Rasumussen.

Since 2006, Rasmussen has been putting on clown makeup and revving up PBR crowds in between bull rides, telling jokes, dancing — specialties include Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk, the Harlem Shake, twerking, and flashdancing — and going into the audience and meeting PBR fans. An eight-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Clown of the Year, eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Barrelman, a big-time high school athlete, and a former math and history teacher, Rasmussen is an avid hunter and fly fisher and the host of Outside the Barrel on SiriusXM Rural Radio (channel 147). His father, Stan, was a popular rodeo announcer, a profession taken up by Rasmussen’s brother Will, while his other brother, Pete, was a former member of the PRCA and the Northern Rodeo Association. Flint married barrel racer and horse trainer Katie Grasky; their two daughters are involved with rodeo as well. After a day of skiing out west, Rasmussen answered questions about his life and career, giving careful thought to his replies, delivered with a refreshing honesty.

twi-ny: PBR refers to you as its “Exclusive Entertainer,” specifically not using the word “clown.” Is there a trend to stop using such terms as “rodeo clown?”

Flint Rasmussen: We went to “Exclusive Entertainer” for a couple reasons. PBR is not a rodeo; it is just bull riding, so Rodeo Clown is not an accurate title. Also, I don’t really look at myself as a traditional clown. The only thing about me that is Clown is the makeup.

twi-ny: This will be PBR’s twelfth annual competition at Madison Square Garden, the longtime New York City home of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which featured such famous clowns as Emmett Kelly. Even if you don’t see yourself as a traditional clown, do you feel that history when you enter the World’s Most Famous Arena, especially with Ringling Bros. now closed down?

FR: With my background, the history that I feel at MSG is more sports and entertainment oriented. It is the home of the Rangers, the home of Bill Bradley and Patrick Ewing and Spike Lee talking smack to Reggie Miller from the front row. The Big East basketball tournament was there for so long. Every great musician has performed there. Billy Joel? Yes!

I am not really a circus guy. Believe it or not, I have never had much interest, or read much history, on circus clowns. I was always comfortable in front of crowds and wanted to be an entertainer of some sort. My family was involved in rodeo in Montana, and I just performed as a rodeo clown on a dare a couple times. It just happened to take off for me, and it turned into a career. We have held on to the tradition of the rodeo clown makeup as a salute to that rodeo tradition and to distinguish me from the cowboy-protection bullfighters who I work with.

None of this is out of disrespect for the true clowns, but I don’t feel I really adhere to much of that tradition in my performances. We use music. I wear a microphone. Much of my performance is ad lib comedy, almost stand-up at times. And my outfit is almost a sports uniform. It is just more contemporary.

I do think, however, that Ringling Bros. was a real part of our history, and a true show. Every show after it somehow stems from how things were done at the circus to entertain crowds and provide a family show.

Flint Rasmussen (photo by Andy Watson / Bull Stock Media)

PBR Exclusive Entertainer Flint Rasmussen takes to the air at the Des Moines Chute Out (photo by Andy Watson / Bull Stock Media)

twi-ny: Who were your inspirations?

FR: My inspirations were athletes, comedians, and musicians. My favorite basketball player ever is Dr. J. He was a great player and great entertainer all in one. I watched Michael Jackson wow crowds of every age. He was the greatest entertainer of all time! Then there was Billy Joel on his piano, Bon Jovi and their big hair, and Garth Brooks taking country entertainment to a new level. And stand-up comedians — Eddie Murphy, Howie Mandel, Jerry Seinfeld — with their amazing timing and audience interaction.

twi-ny: Since this is a blue state with a lot of cynics when it comes to any form of entertainment, do you approach the New York City crowd any differently from those in other cities?

FR: New York City is different than anywhere we go, and probably the most difficult place. New Yorkers expect the best, because they get the best every day of the year. They like to be involved. I have learned over the years to use a lot of audience participation and interaction instead of just liner comedy. I definitely cannot do the same show in New York City as I do in Billings, Montana, or Sacramento, California, or Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I like to think that is why I am the one with this job.

twi-ny: Has the New York audience changed over time?

FR: When we first came to New York, the fans knew absolutely nothing about what we were doing. We constantly had to educate while trying to entertain. Now they “get it” a little better. Also, the people around the city seem to appreciate when we are in town.

twi-ny: When you’re here in New York City, do you have any time to take advantage of the culture? What are some of your favorite things to do here?

FR: Through the years, my family and I have seen some Broadway shows, which I absolutely love! We caught a Knicks game. And we were able to see museums and other sights. Probably not as much as one should; the job we are here to do is always on my mind. Probably my favorite thing to do is eat way too much of the greatest pizza in the world!

twi-ny: You’ve played football, ran track, and were a champion barrel racer — and you were a high school teacher as well — but this is a whole different thing. People might not realize how dangerous your job can be, as shown by that rope takedown you experienced in Glendale in 2012. What goes through your mind when you’re suddenly face-to-face with a fearsome bucking bull?

FR: The danger thing is hard for any of us to address, because we look at it differently. Most people probably look at my job and say, “I could do that,” because it looks like I am just out there goofing around. But there is a lot going on. If I am not paying attention at any given time, I could get hurt very badly. But as far as the bulls go, I think people in cities don’t understand that most of us grew up in a rural, ranch-type setting. We have grown up either around, or directly involved in, the large-animal industry.

I am looking out my window this very moment doing this interview and can see cattle. I have been in corrals sorting cattle my entire life. This lifestyle exists in a strong way in this country. It is how people eat! Yes, bucking bulls are different. But they aren’t bucking because they are pissed off. They are bucking because their bloodlines tell them that is what they are here to do. Not every horse runs fast. But the ones in the Kentucky Derby are bred to do it, so they do. Bulls are not rare, exotic circus animals. There are millions of people in this country who are around bovines every single day as a way to provide food for this country and to make a living for their families.

So when anyone in the PBR is face-to-face with a bull, they aren’t really thinking; they are reacting in the way that their body and mind have been conditioned to over the years.

(photo by Andy Watson / Bull Stock Media)

Former UFC champion Holly Holm gives Flint Rasmussen a unique autograph at the Pit in Albuquerque (photo by Andy Watson / Bull Stock Media)

twi-ny: How was your Christmas?

FR: Christmas is a great time and my favorite holiday. It was a cold and white Christmas here in Montana. My personal and family situation has not been good in the last year or so, so it was different and difficult. I have had a wonderful career, and I love the opportunities, but it can be very hard on a family.

twi-ny: I’m sorry to hear that. You’ve been in the rodeo and professional bull riding business for thirty years, you suffered a heart attack in 2009, and you will be turning fifty shortly after the MSG dates. Does that change your approach to your job?

FR: My health and age have, of course, changed my approach. I no longer completely depend on the physical comedy and dancing aspects. I can’t do many of the things I used to do. I listen to my body a lot to try and stay ahead of any health issues with my heart. I really do think that for a guy nearly fifty, I am in very good shape and can still shake it pretty dang well.

twi-ny: Yes, you can definitely still shake it pretty dang well; our readers can check out some of your best moments here. When the season ends and you head back to your home in Montana, what’s your favorite thing to do there? Since your daughters are or have been barrel racers too and you own and operate a horse ranch, do you ever get a chance to get away from it all?

FR: Montana is definitely home to me. But as I get older, I really don’t like winter. Montana will always be home, but I wouldn’t mind getting farther south once in a while. I fly home between almost all of our events. In the summer I fish when I can. My daughters go to rodeos in the summer, and I get to as many of those as I can. I have helped coach track the last couple springs up here. My oldest daughter, Shelby, is a freshman at Montana State University on a rodeo team scholarship. (Yes, that does exist.) And my younger daughter, Paige, is a junior at Belgrade High School, where she is a hurdler/jumper/sprinter on the track team. She is also very talented in rodeo. They are both very musical, too. Their mom, Katie, trains amazing horses for them, which allows them to excel and be successful.

I also do a weekly radio show called Outside the Barrel on SiriusXM Rural Radio that emphasizes the Western lifestyle, music, and comedy. I host a stage talk show in Vegas for a couple weeks out of the year, too. I probably need to find a way to get away from it all once in a while. But it isn’t a bad life to not get away from.


Barbara Kruger takes back her iconic graphic style in  pop-up skate shop as part of Performa 17 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Barbara Kruger takes back her iconic graphic style in pop-up skate shop as part of Performa 17 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Multiple locations
Daily through November 19, free
“Untitled (The Drop),” Thursday, November 16, $5, 4:00 - 8:00 pm

Newark-born artist Barbara Kruger has been making socially conscious, provocative signs, slogans, and billboards primarily using white Futura Bold Oblique letters on a red background since the 1980s (in addition to black-and-white statements over photographic images). Many call it her trademark style, but watch that language: “Trademark” is a weighty term. In 1994, the Supreme skateboard and clothing brand opened up shop, creating a logo co-opted from Kruger’s work, which explores aspects of women’s rights and American consumerism; the Pictures Generation artist is also a cultural critic and graphic designer for magazines. In 2013, Supreme sued Leah McSweeney of Married to the Mob for her “Supreme Bitch” T-shirts, which also utilized Kruger’s style with Supreme’s brand name. Kruger, who had not previously commented on Supreme’s use of her iconic design, sent an email to the Complex pop-culture site in response to the lawsuit, writing, “What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers. I make my work about this kind of sadly foolish farce. I’m waiting for all of them to sue me for copyright infringement.” Kruger, who is based in New York and Los Angeles, has taken the issue even further with her Performa 17 commissions, in which she reclaims her art, incorporating Supreme’s business practices in a series of ultracool installations. On the High Line at Seventeenth St., her billboard proclaims, “Know Nothing. Believe Anything. Forget Everything.” Kruger has added numerous signs to Coleman Skatepark on Monroe St. under the Manhattan Bridge, including “Love It. Share It. Praise It. Please It.,” “Bad Is Good. Happy Is Sad. Ignorance Is Bliss,” and “Plenty Should Be Enough.” Be on the lookout for a school bus traveling across the city wrapped in black-and-white phrases with the word War. And in her ultimate coup, she has built “The Drop,” a pop-up shop at the Performa Hub at Broadway and Canal where people wait on line to purchase skate-related items made by Volcom featuring white type on red backgrounds, including a white T-shirt saying, “Whose Hopes? Whose Fears? Whose Values? Whose Justice?,” a black hat, black sweatshirt, and black T-shirt proclaiming, “Want It. Buy It. Forget It.,” and skate decks declaring, “Don’t Be a Jerk.” Entry is $5 in advance, and the items for sale range from $15 for patches to $65 for a skate deck and $300 for a complete skateboard. It’s a fabulous way to turn everything inside out and upside down while raising money for Performa.


US Open

The Seaport District will host the free US Open Experience on August 24-25

USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Queens
Seaport District, Lower Manhattan
August 21-27, free - $60

The 2017 US Open championships begin at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Park on August 28, but there is plenty to do leading up to the main event, mostly for free. Fan Week kicks off August 21 with free admission to the grounds to watch the pros practice, daily through August 27. From August 22 to 25, the qualifying tournament takes place, as men and women fight for the final sixteen spots. On August 23, Queen’s Day will feature live entertainment and booths from local institutions. On August 24-25, the festivities move downtown to the Seaport District for the US Open Experience, serving live entertainment, appearances by tennis stars, interactive games, food tastings, the US Open Draw Ceremony, and more. And Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day swings into action on August 26 back at the National Tennis Center, with interactive activities, workshops, storytelling, competitions, practicing pros, Jack & Jack, Roger Federer, Sofia Carson, Rafael Nadal, Alex Aiono, and Venus Williams and a free concert with Skylar Stecker, Spencer Sutherland, Aja9, Summer Valentine, and Sky Katz from 9:30 to 12:30, followed by a ticketed live show at 1:00.