Other arts and culture: Summer was fun, but autumn is when Brooklyn gets serious

Other arts and culture: Summer was fun, but autumn is when Brooklyn gets serious

By Meredith Deliso

The days may be getting shorter, but that doesn’t mean there’s any less to do. From music and art to theater and food, Brooklyn has some of the best culture has to offer this fall. But we’re not going to leave you clueless — here’s our guide to spending the coming months right.


Ride the ‘Wave’

If it’s the fall, that means it’s the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The three-month long art feast features more than a dozen new works. These are not to be missed:

• “Awakening: A Musical Meditation on the Anniversary of 9/11” (Sept. 21-24) by the Kronos Quartet, with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The 12 compositions feature works that violinist David Harrington calls “equilibrium in the midst of imbalance.” Sounds very fitting.

• Director Robert Wilson’s bewitching interpretation of “The Threepenny Opera” (Oct. 4-8), which doesn’t abandon its Germen Expressionist roots one bit.

• Renowned choreographer William Forsythe’s “I don’t believe in outer space” (Oct. 26-29), a funny, startling, moving exploration of, in a nutshell, life.

• “Brooklyn Babylon” (Nov. 9-12) — because it wouldn’t be the Next Wave Festival without a piece about our fair borough. This one comes courtesy of Darcy James Argue’s jazz big band Secret Society, among others.

• “Krapp’s Last Tape” (Dec. 6-18), a one-act play starring one actor, a tape recorder and bananas. Hey, it’s Beckett.

Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [30 Lafayette Ave. near St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], Sept. 21–Dec. 18. For info, visit www.bam.org.

Food for thought

This ain’t your average dinner theater. Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant sets up its banquet at the Irondale Center, bringing with it five courses of seasonal gourmet dining mixed with performance art, which has included earnest renditions of “Come Sail Away,” ballet and the occasional naked man.

Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant: The Mothership Landing at the Irondale Center [85 S. Oxford St. near Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 488-9233], Sept. 15 to 25 at 7 pm. Tickets $40 to $60. For info, visit www.irondale.org.

Miniature matters

The newish ClockWorks Puppet Theatre on Columbia Street is thinking big (sort of) for its first legit season. “An Evening of Miniature Masterpieces” features a trio of works that explore such big ideas as time, space, death and even lust. It’s philosophy, through puppets.

“An Evening of Miniature Masterpieces” at ClockWorks Puppet Theatre [196 Columbia St. between Degraw and Sackett streets in the Columba Waterfront District, (212) 614-0001], Sept. 8-16, Thursday through Saturday at 8 pm, and Sept. 17 at 9 pm. Tickets $25; $50 for the Sept. 17 show and reception. For info, visit www.cosmicibicycle.com.

Comic possibilities

The hit of the Comic Book Theater Festival, “Action Philosophers!” returns to the Brick in Williamsburg for two weeks. The smart and silly adaptation of the comic book series by the same name creates caricatures of major thinkers, from Plato (you know, the Greek wrestling superstar) to Ayn Rand, and her many love affairs. You read that right.

“Action Philosophers!” at the Brick [575 Metropolitan Ave. between Union Avenue and Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 907-6189], Thursday–Sunday, Oct. 6-16. Tickets $18. For info, visit www.bricktheater.com.

Yeah, yeah, yeah

Singer Karen O has been at work on a non-Yeah Yeah Yeahs endeavor — a “psycho-opera” about youth called “Stop the Virgens,” directed by Adam Rapp and featuring members of her band and the Greenhorns and Raconteurs, as well as actress Lili Taylor, keyboardist Money Mark. The piece opens the last season of St. Ann’s at its DUMBO warehouse, if you needed another reason to go.

“Stop the Virgens” at St. Ann’s Warehouse [38 Water St. between Dock and Main streets in DUMBO, (718) 834-8794], Oct. 12-22. Tickets $45-$75. For info, visit www.stannswarehouse.org.

Theater with a climax

Sarah Ruhl’s “In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)” shook up the theater world last year with its refreshing, whimsical comedy inspired by the early history of the vibrator, which was used clinically to treat women for “hysteria.” If you missed the Tony Award-nominated run, you can catch it at, of all places, the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, which is branching out into more adventurous fare this season.

“In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)” at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College [2900 Campus Rd. at Hillel Place in Flatbush, (718) 951-4500], Oct. 14-23. Tickets $6. For info, visit www.brooklyncenteronline.org.

Stop the presses! Colson Whitehead has a new book coming out! And it’s about zombies!
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

Feed me, Seymour

This show is one mean, green mother. “Little Shop of Horrors,” that campy classic about a bloodthirsty plant, a nerdy florist and the woman he loves, has seen multiple theatrical and film productions, the latter including Rick Moranis as, of course, the nerd. The incarnations continue, as The Gallery Players brings the rocking doo-wop and Motown score by Howard Ashman, which includes “Suddenly, Seymour,” “Skid Row (Downtown),” and, of course, the catchy title track, to its Park Slope space for more horrors.

“Little Shop of Horrors” at the Gallery Players [199 14th St. between Fourth and Fifth avenue in Park Slope, (718) 832-0617], Oct. 22-Nov. 13. Tickets $18, $14 for children 12 and under and seniors. For info, visit www.galleryplayers.com.


Do us wrong

Bluegrass legend Jimmie Dale Gilmore joins The Wronglers for a rootin’, tootin’ country show at Southpaw. The Texas singer, known for his “sagebrush soul,” is an appropriate fit with The Wronglers, a San Francisco-based old-time band. The two have joined forces to make “Heirloom Music” a collection of classic hill country tunes. Southpaw will be a honky tonk yet.

The Wronglers at Southpaw [125 Fifth Ave. at Sterling Place in Park Slope, (718) 230-0236], Sept. 13 at 8 pm. Tickets $20. For info, visit spsounds.com.

Spin the wheel

It’s one big weekend of opening celebrations for Roulette, a long-time Manhattan-based experimental performance venue that now has a home on Atlantic Avenue. Baring some liquor license disputes, the venue gets things started on Sept. 15, with Henry Threadgill’s Zooid Ensemble, Kaija Saariaho and Margaret Leng Tan, followed by Marc Ribot’s Film Noir Project “Ethel” on Sept. 16, and Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed and John Zorn Trio on Sept. 17. When Laurie and Lou are in the house, you know it’s legit.

Roulette [509 Atlantic Ave. at Third Avenue in Downtown, (212) 219-8242]. For info, visit www.roulette.org.

That indie spirit

Here’s another CMJ-inspired music festival: The Independent Music Festival lands at Littlefield for three days of local talent. That includes drum-bass duo Comandante Zero, power pop’s Le Mood; and Moby’s rock band side project, The Little Death.

Independent Music Festival at Littlefield [622 Degraw St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, (718) 855-3388], Sept. 16–18. Tickets $17-$55. For info, visit bkindiefest.org.

Perfect harmony

Seattle’s Fleet Foxes makes music that will make you smile one minute, cry the next. If you’re so inclined, get ready to do plenty of both when the band plays the Williamsburg Waterfront in what will be the last of the venue’s shows this season. The Walkman open, who’ll just want to make you shake your head and rock out.

Fleet Foxes at the Williamsburg Waterfront [N. Eighth Street and Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 963-0830], Sept. 24 at 6:30 pm. Tickets $39.50. For info, visit osanb.org.

Simply delightful

It’ll be a hip hop flashback at the Knitting Factory, when Wonder Mike and Master Gee, the MCs behind the groundbreaking single “Rapper’s Delight” unite at the Williamsburg venue. Shedding their old name The Sugarhill Gang for Rapper’s Delight, they’ll perform that oft-covered track, and other favorites including the cowbell classic “Apache” (jump on it!).

Rapper’s Delight at Knitting Factory [361 Metropolitan Ave. at Havemeyer Avenue in Williamsburg, (347) 529-6696], Sept. 28 at 8 pm. Tickets $18, $15 in advance. For info, visit www.knittingfactory.com.

Cuddly ‘Panda’

Before there was Animal Collective, that much-loved, boundary-redefining electronica outfit, there was Panda Bear. Né Noah Lennox, he’s one of the band’s founding members. On Oct. 2, he’ll go back to his roots and go it solo at Brooklyn Masonic Temple. He also plays Webster Hall the day before, but why go into Manhattan when you don’t have to?

Panda Bear at Brooklyn Masonic Temple (317 Clermont Ave. at Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene, no phone), Oct. 2 at 8 pm. Tickets $25. For info, visit masonicboom.com.

Big star

Sure, she’s from LA, but Lady J is NYC through and through (though her breasts are apparently made in Silicon Valley). On that topic, she’s presenting a new one-night-stand, “Sunshine and Silicone,” an evening of the songs that mock Hollywood and its hills. But don’t focus on the cosmetic enhancements — focus on the pipes! This sultry Lady can sing gospel like nobody’s business.

Hot stuff: The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Chili Fiesta returns on Oct. 1, with chilis, and other festivities, bringing the heat.
Photo by Joseph O. Holmes, courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden

“Sunshine and Silicone” at Galapagos Art Space [16 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 222-8500], Oct. 3, 8 pm. Tickets, $20. For info, visit galapagosartspace.com.

Judy lives

Liza Minnelli may get all the attention, but Lorna Luft is no slouch when it comes to continuing their famous mother’s legacy. And in her award-winning show, the singer pays tribute to Judy Garland through — what else? — music, in a joyous show that shares personal memories along with the famous songbook.

“Songs My Mother Taught Me” at Kingsborough Community College [2001 Oriental Blvd. at Decatur Avenue in Manhattan Beach, (718) 368-5596], Oct. 15 at 8 pm. Tickets $30. For info, visit www.onstageatkingsborough.org.


Touré tells it

Hip hop authority and Fort Greene luminary Touré tackles a big one in his newest book. “Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? What It Means to Be Black Now” is a thoughtful look at racial identity in the age of Obama culls from the writer’s own varied experiences, as well as those of varied interviewees who include Malcolm Gladwell, Kara Walker and David Paterson, as it examines what it means to take pride in being black, while not wanting it to define you.

Touré at Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200], Sept. 13 at 7:30 pm. Free. For info, visit www.greenlightbookstore.com.

Call it Booklyn

It’s a literary who’s who as usual at the Brooklyn Book Festival, as this year’s book bash features appearances by Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan, Colson Whitehead, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Safran Foer and Joyce Carol Oates. This being a book festival, autographs are encouraged.

The Brooklyn Book Festival at Borough Hall [209 Joralemon St. between Adams and Court streets in Downtown, (718) 802-3700], Sept. 18. For info, visit www.brooklynbookfestival.org.

Wise guy

McSweeney’s editor John Warner knows humor, but in his debut novel, he decides to take a look at the dark side of bad comedy. “The Funny Man” satires celebrity culture as it follows one stand-up’s rise to cheesy Hollywood movie heights to the lowest depths after he gains fame for his gimmick — literally sticking his fist in his mouth.

John Warner at powerHouse Arena [37 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 666-3049], Sept. 26 at 7 pm. Free. For info, visit www.powerhousearena.com.

‘Great’ works

Enter the curious mind of Bay Ridgite Seth Fried through his debut collection, “The Great Frustration.” Part George Saunders, part Steven Millhauser, the short stories go to some pretty dark places — there’s the one about the harem of a pathological king, another about a town’s annual massacre, and the title story, which explores the desires and violence that keep the peace among the animals in the Garden of Eden — in an attempt to show the, yes, frustrating aspects of human nature.

Seth Fried at Franklin Park [618 St. Johns Pl. near Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, (718) 975-0196], Sept. 12 at 8 pm, and Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096], Oct. 2 at 7 pm. Free.

Family feud

There are many ways to measure failure, but for Jeanne Darst, it all points to unfulfilled literary ambitions. In “Fiction Ruined My Family,” the memorist details her family’s ruin at the hands of her father’s unpublished novels and, stemming off of that, her mother’s alcoholism, and the author’s attempts to avoid both. It’s not all doom and gloom — Darst did wind up writing about it, after all.

Jeanne Darst at BookCourt [163 Court St. between Pacific and Dean streets in Cobble Hill, (718) 875-3677], Oct. 4 at 7 pm. Free. For info, visit www.bookcourt.org.

In the ‘Zone’

We’d pick up Colson Whitehead’s new book, “Zone One” on the premise along — a post-apocalyptic New York is rebuilding from a pandemic that’s turned people into zombies. The fact that it’s written by one of the most preeminent writers of our time? Even better.

Colson Whitehead at Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200], Oct. 19 at 7:30 pm. Free. For info, visit www.greenlightbookstore.com.

The grandaddy of all street fairs — the Atlantic Avenue — returns on Oct. 2.
Photo courtesy Auster Agency


Destination DUMBO

Almost everywhere you look in DUMBO during the DUMBO Arts Festival, there will surely be art, as the neighborhood institution brings performance art and multi-media pieces to studios and galleries, as well as storefronts, streets, parks and even on the East River. Be mindful of what you touch.

DUMBO Arts Festival will run from Sept. 23–25 at several venues in the waterfront area. For places, times, and tickets visit www.dumboartsfestival.com.

Child’s play

The Bible, and our parents, may urge us to put away childish things, but, much like children, we don’t always listen. That’s the crux of Tabla Rasa Gallery’s newest exhibition, “Childish Things,” which encourages its artists to play with objects, games and meanings associated with our youth, including Hershey’s Kisses and lollipops.

“Childish Things” at Tabla Rasa Gallery [224 48th St. between Second and Third avenues in Sunset Park, (718) 833-9100], Oct. 12-Dec. 10. Free. For info, visit www.tablarasagallery.com.

Art of Breukelen

For its latest marathon show, The Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition doesn’t look too far for inspiration — “Tales of Breukelen” features more than 300 artists exhibiting more than 1,200 pieces that explore the borough, from tranquil scenes by the Brooklyn Watercolor Society to works by featured local artists photographer Richard Capuozzo, printmaker Richard Lubell and wood sculptor Zane Treimanis.

“Tales of Breukelen” at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition [499 Van Brunt St. near Reed Street, (718) 569–2506], Sept. 17–Oct. 16. Free. For info, visit www.bwac.org.



Bobby Fischer is almost as synonymous with Brooklyn as cheesecake and a certain bridge. And a new documentary by director Liz Garbus explores the life of the late, great chess master, who, despite his obscurity and reclusiveness towards the end of his life, will always be ours.

“Bobby Fischer Against the World” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], Sept. 12 at 7 pm. Tickets $12 ($7 for members). For info, visit bam.org.

Cinema in Coney

This one’s sure to keep you busy: More than 100 films make up the annual Coney Island Film Festival, whose selections include plenty of Coney Island fare (“Shoot the Freak,” “Save Coney Island,” “Boys From Coney Island”) as well as intriguing titles like “Devil Town” and “An Evening With My Comatose Mother.” Because discovery’s the name of the game.

Coney Island Film Festival at Sideshows by the Seashore [834 Surf Ave. near W. Eighth Street in Coney Island, (718) 372-5159], Sept. 23–25. For info and showtimes, visit www.coneyislandfilmfestival.com.

Science non-fiction

The Bell House plays host to the Imagine Science Film Festival once again, which screens a night of shorts comprised of real footage from experiments and laboratories, as well as short films created by scientists. Leave your lab coats at the door.

Imagine Science Film Festival at The Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], Oct. 17 at 7:30 pm. Free. For info, visit www.thebellhouseny.com.

Food and drink

Park Slope sampler

For a free introduction to the strip’s diverse cuisine, head to Park Slope for the “Taste of Fifth Avenue,” where you can fill up on samples from French bistro Moutarde, Aunt Suzie’s, sports bar 200 Fifth Avenue, and Peruvian Coco Roco. But leave room for dessert from Trois Pommes and Culture.

“Taste of Fifth Avenue,” between Dean and 18th streets, in Park Slope, on Sept. 15 at 6 pm. Visit a booth at 269 Fifth Ave. at First Street for tickets to redeem for free food at participating restaurants. Followed by dessert at Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue at 8 pm. For info, call (718) 369-0300 or visit www.parkslopefifthavenuebid.com.

Feeding frenzy

The Tobacco Warehouse becomes Brooklyn’s artisanal food headquarters for one day, when more than 75 vendors bring their local and specialty food items to the DUMBO spot for the City Harvest fundraiser The Brooklyn Local. Don’t forget your tote bag.

Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan is one of the highlights of this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival, returning to Borough Hall on Sept. 18.
Photo by Pieter M. Van Hattem

The Brooklyn Local at the Tobacco Warehouse [enter on Water Street at Dock Street in DUMBO, (917) 351-8725], Sept. 17 from 11 am to 4 pm. Tickets $5. For info, visit www.cityharvest.org.

Local flavor

More than 40 North Brooklyn restaurants are at your hungry fingertips during TASTE Williamsburg Greenpoint, a fundraiser for the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center that has some pretty good taste. While supporting the cause, feast on samples from Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn Brine, Dressler, Dumont, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream and more. Come hungry.

TASTE Williamsburg Greenpoint at the Williamsburg Waterfront (N. Eighth Street and Kent Avenue in Williamsburg), Sept. 18 from 1 to 6 pm. Tickets $35-$150. For info, visit tastewg.wordpress.com.

Meet your maker

The Brooklyn Historical Society looks to the present for its annual fundraiser with Brooklyn Bounty, a celebration of the borough’s local food movement. The evening will feature a mozzarella-making demonstration by Chef Michael Ayoub of Fornino Pizza, cocktails made with Brooklyn Gin, and tastings from Brooklyn growers chefs and purveyors. To keep it historically relevant, there’ll also be a viewing of old maps related to local food and agriculture, for all you history buffs.

Brooklyn Bounty at the Brooklyn Historical Society [128 Pierrepont St. at Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 222-4111], Sept. 21 at 6:30 pm. Tickets start at $150. For info, visit www.brooklynbounty.org.

Get crafty

Something about fall just screams craft beer. And you’ll have several chances to get your microbrew on, first up with the annual New York Craft Beer Week, which kicks off at Southpaw with the Freaktoberfest Boutique Beer and Music Festival, featuring some 20 breweries, as well as burlesque, freaks and human curiosities that you can raise a glass to. Then, the Village Voice gets in on the hoppy action with Brooklyn Pour, where dozens of local craft beers, food and more converge at Skylight One Hanson. Between these two, we’re worrying about the Freshman 15 all over again.

Freaktoberfest at Southpaw [125 Fifth Ave. at Sterling Place in Park Slope, (718) 230-0236], Sept. 16 at 7 pm. Tickets $50. For info, visit www.nycbeerweek.com; Brooklyn Pour at Skylight One Hanson [1 Hanson Pl. near Flatbush Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 230-0400], Oct. 15 at 2 pm. Tickets $40. For info, visit microapp.villagevoice.com/brooklyn-pour.


Street parties

Fall doesn’t mean the death of the block party, as these two bashes show. First up, it’s the Columbia Street Waterfront Fall Festival, where local restaurants including House of Pizza and Calzone and Caselnova will set up on the street, joined by live music from Union and Rusted Hook. Then, it’s the mother of them all — the Atlantic Antic, which takes over the strip from Hicks Street all the way to Fourth Avenue for food, shopping and live music, as well as a booth manned by your very own Brooklyn Paper and Courier-Life sister publications. So stop by and say hello!

Columbia Street Waterfront Fall Festival (Columbia Street between Union and DeGraw streets), Sept. 10 from 11 am to 6 pm; Atlantic Antic (Atlantic Avenue between Hicks Street and Fourth Avenue), Oct. 2 from noon to 6 pm.

Laugh on

In its fourth year, the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival is like a high school reunion at this point — a lot of familiar, friendly faces. That’s the case when the four-day fest returns to the Bell House and Union Hall this fall, with Mirman, Kristen Schaal, John Oliver and John Hodgman in tow for more hilarious times.

Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-651] and Union Hall [702 Union St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 638-4400], Sept. 15-18. Visit www.eugenemirmancomedyfestival.com for tickets and showtimes.

Merry good news

It’s been several years in the making, and this fall, Jane’s Carousel will finally be installed in DUMBO’s Brooklyn Bridge Park. The restored 1920s-era carousel has been given a second life by artist Jane Walentas (wife of DUMBO developer David), and will be housed inside a Jean Nouvel-designed Pavilion. Parents, don’t forget to bring your cameras for this classic photo-op.

Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park (enter at Water and Dock streets in DUMBO), opening Sept. 16 at 4 pm. Free. For info, visit www.janescarousel.com.

Roll the Dice

Those with delicate sensibilities should stay far away from MCU Park when Andrew Dice Clay takes the stage in a homecoming concert. The Brooklyn-born-and-bred comedian has been foul-mouthed as long as we can remember, and we love him for it.

Andrew Dice Clay at MCU Park [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 507-8499]], Oct. 1 at 8 pm. Tickets $39.50. For info, visit www.diceinbrooklyn.com.

Hot stuff

The weather may be cooling down, but things are heating up at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. During the Chili Pepper Fiesta, it’s all about raising temperatures, thanks to spicy sauces, fiery artisanal chocolate, and even hot tunes courtesy of Cajun band The Lost Bayou Ramblers. The beer, thankfully, will be cold.

Jane Walentas is certainly all smiles — her restoration project, Jane’s Carousel, finally comes to Brooklyn Bridge Park starting Sept. 16.

Chili Pepper Fiesta at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens [1000 Washington Ave. at Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, (718) 623-7220], Oct. 1, noon–6 pm. Admission $10. For info, visit www.bbg.org.