Oh we are in the thick of it now, my friends. Anyone who doesn’t think that August is the worst weather month in NYC is clearly a pod person, or least some insanely lucky duck who has access to a rooftop pool or a place to crash in the Hamptons or something. It’s hot and sticky as hell out there, so no shade from us if you just want to spend the next several weeks lounging in the shade, or better yet camped out in front of your A/C with an endless supply of popsicles (do yourself a favor a take a trip to La New Yorkina in Red Hook to stock up on paletas and thank us later). That said, there are some very compelling cultural happenings going on this month that might require you to brave the elements, and we’re sure that once you resign yourself to sweating a great deal you won’t be sorry you made the effort. Read on to learn more about all the fun stuff we’re looking forward to this August and hopefully something will inspire you to embrace the humidity once and for all! Stay cool and don’t forget the sunscreen, y’all.
1. Reservation Dogs, now streaming
With the exception of finally rewatching The Sopranos from beginning to end, an exercise that I can’t recommend highly enough, most of my pandemic TV binges were fast and feverish and, ultimately, not all that memorable if I’m being honest. One notable exception to that rule was Reservation Dogs, Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi’s groundbreaking series on FX about a group of disaffected Indigenous teenage friends hell-bent on escaping the Oklahoma reservation that’s the only home they’ve ever known. I loved everything about this show, a dark comedy with tragic undertones featuring well-developed characters and an entirely fresh perspective, and was glad I wasn’t the only one disappointed to see this Peabody Award winner get shut out by the Emmys. The show just returned for its second season, which is already being hailed by critics as “sublime,” and you can catch it streaming on Hulu.
2. Mahler’s 9th for 4 Hands, Aug. 4-5
Hear Mahler’s epic 9th Symphony, a profound meditation on mortality, performed live in an entirely new way on August 4 and 5 at Green-Wood Cemetery. In a rarely heard arrangement, the piece, which is typically played by a 100-person orchestra, will be tackled by two talented pianists sitting at same instrument deep within the Catacombs. It’s an experience you won’t forget anytime soon, and the evening also includes a pre-concert whiskey tasting and snacks as dusk settles over the cemetery.
3. Celebrate Brooklyn!, Aug. 4-6
BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!’s first season back since Covid hit draws to an early close this weekend, culminating in three back-to-back nights of outdoor concerts that highlight the diversity of sound that the beloved program is famous for. First up, Khruangbin, a three-piece band heavily influenced by 1960’s Thai funk, takes the stage on August 4 for a benefit (read: ticketed) show with opening act Vieux Farka Toure. On August 5, the Queen of Neo Soul herself, Erykah Badu, will perform live at another benefit event with Phony Ppl; and the Closing Night show on Saturday, August 6, which is free and open to all, will feature Nigerian singer/songwriter Yemi Alade and opener Amindi.
4. Matrixes Small Works, Aug. 9-27
This month, the Upper East Side’s Kate Oh Gallery is hosting an all-women’s art exhibition, Matrixes Small Works, featuring art by dozens of contemporary female artists with a diverse but overlapping array of creative sensibilities. I’d love to get up there for what sounds like a breath of fresh air, and the fact that the pieces are being advertised as “more attainable” than the artwork you typically find in a gallery certainly doesn’t hurt. If you don’t have other plans, you might consider attending the opening reception on August 9, but you have until the 27th to see the exhibit.
5. As You Like It, August 10
On August 10, the second installment of this summer’s free Shakespeare in the Park series begins its run at the Delacorte Theater, and the play this time around is As You Like It. Shaina Taub‘s participatory, musical adaption of one the Bard’s most beloved comedies has been called “thrilling & terrifically vital” by the New York Times, and its run will extend through September 11, so you’ve got plenty of time to squeeze in a performance.
6. Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Aug. 10
On the evening of August 10, Rooftop Films and NEON will team up for a special screening of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Celine Sciamma’s thrilling film about love that won a Cannes prize and some of the best reviews of 2019. This is a movie I’ve always kicked myself for not seeing, and the opportunity to experience it outdoors in the summer on the roof of the Old American Can Factory is calling my name, especially when all ticket proceeds benefit the National Network of Abortion Funds and there’s an after party.
7. The Resort, streaming now
I don’t have Peacock, yet another paid subscription service that until now hasn’t really been on my radar, but The Resort, a limited-run series about a couple that becomes obsessed with a 15-year-old unsolved mystery they stumble upon while vacationing in the Yucatan to celebrate their wedding anniversary, might just be the motivation I need to hand over my credit card number. The show sounds compelling enough as is, but when you toss in a lineup of stars like Cristina Milioti, William Jackson Harper, Skyler Gisondo, and Nick Offerman, and a time-traveling, trippy storyline from creator Andy Siara (Palm Springs), it’s even harder to resist. The first three of eight episodes have been available to stream since July 28 on Peacock.
8. NYC Pinball Championship, Aug. 19-21
This one is maybe a little weird, but for some reason I find the notion of checking out a weekend-long Pinball Competition at Industry City in the middle of the dog days of summer intriguing. From August 19-21, a bevy of pinball wizards and industry aficionados will descend upon Sunset Park for a weekend of tournament play that will be streamed live to eSports fans all over the globe. In addition to access to world-class competitive pinball, your ticket guarantees you free play on a variety of machines, as well as access to pinball seminars and podcast recordings.
9. KATE, Aug. 20
OK, so to get the obvious out of the way, Kate, the comedy show opening on August 20th at the Connelly Theater has an absolutely terrific name. But, aside from that, I was glad to see that comedian Kate Berlant, whose work in projects like Search Party, High Maintenance, The Good Place, and The Other Two I’ve long admired, has a new one-woman show running from August 20 through October 8 at the Connelly Theater. It’s also directed by Bo Burnham, who never fails to disappoint, and I’m expecting this to be a hot fall ticket.
10. The Thread Collectors, August 30
If you love historical fiction, start getting pumped for the release at the end of the month of The Thread Collectors, an ode to female strength and friendship set against the backdrop the Civil War that represents a collaboration between internationally bestselling writer Alyson Richman and debut novelist Shaunna J. Edwards. The story deftly weaves together the fates of a Black woman in Louisiana who secretly embroiders intricate escape maps for enslaved men and a Jewish woman who stitches a quilt in New York City for her husband who is stationed down South fighting for the Union. The two women’s paths eventually cross in New Orleans when they risk everything for love and freedom and learn that even the most tenuous threads can keep us all connected. In the interest of full disclosure, Shaunna Edwards is one of my dearest friends, but regardless, this sounds like the ultimate end-of-summer read, no? The authors will present the novel at a special release party at McNally Jackson’s South Street Seaport location on the evening of August 30.