The snow has melted and the crocuses are sprouting — spring is pretty much here. But that’s not the only thing that’s arrived. The next few months are chock full of must-see music, art, theater and, of course, outdoor events. And, to help you make the most of it, here’s our ultimate guide to the season. Don’t leave home without it.
You know it’s spring when the pink, peaceful cherry blossoms bloom at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Officially known as Hanami, the Garden’s 220 trees — the largest collection outside of Japan — are expected to start blooming around April 2, reaching their peak around May 1, just in time for Sakura Matsuri, a celebration of Japanese culture, food, dance and music that’s always one of the season’s biggest bashes.
Hanami at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden [1000 Washington Ave. near Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, (718) 623-7200], April 2-May 1. For info, visit www.bbg.org.
Double the flea
After being cooped up indoors all winter, the Brooklyn Flea gets to stretch its legs once again outdoors, with its Fort Greene location at Bishop Loughlin HS opening April 2, and a new Williamsburg location along the East River opening the same day. So there’s twice as much vintage finds — and artisanal food — to enjoy.
Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene (176 Lafayette Ave. between Clermont and Vanderbilt avenues, no phone) starting April 2 and Williamsburg (27 N. Sixth St. between Kent Avenue and the East River, no phone) starting April 3. For info, visit www.brooklynflea.com.
Coney Island comes alive again on April 16 with the opening of the amusement district, including the debut of the Scream Zone, featuring four new adrenaline-packed rides; the opening of Luna Park, back for a second season of games and rides; and, of course, the Cyclone roller coaster. The first 100 guests ride for free, but at only $8, it’s still one of the cheapest thrills around.
Luna Park [1000 Surf Ave. between at W. 10th Street in Coney Island, (718) 373-5862], opens April 16 at noon, with the Scream Zone opening at 10 am. Cyclone [834 Surf Ave. at Eighth Street in Coney Island, (718) 265-2100)], opens April 16 at noon. $8. For info, visit www.lunaparknyc.com.
Brooklyn Bridge Park welcomes the season with a spring fling on April 23 to help you take advantage of all the park — and the season — has to offer, including great views, tons of green space and activities for the kids like an egg toss and relay race. Remember, it’s for the kids.
Spring Fling at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 (lawn of Pier 1 at the foot of Old Fulton Street in DUMBO), April 23 from 10:30 am-1 pm. Free. For info, visit www.brooklynbridgeparknyc.org.
Mermaids on parade
Spring’s pretty much over by mid-June, but not before the Mermaid Parade takes over Surf Avenue with colorful costumes — or none at all! So now’s your chance to fully commit and participate, so start working on those costumes now and looking for inspiration. Topical costumes may have to wait a while.
Mermaid Parade [W. 21st Street and Surf Avenue in Coney Island, (718) 372-5101], June 18 at 2 pm. For info, visit www.coneyisland.com.
The Scottish play
The Brooklyn Academy of Music is in full Shakespeare mode this season. Fresh off “A Comedy of Errors” this month, the Fort Greene theater turns to tragedy with “Macbeth,” as Cheek by Jowl presents a physical, chilling production, complete with the infamous witches, madness and bloodshed, starting April 5.
“Macbeth” at the BAM Harvey Theater [651 Fulton St. at Rockwell Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], April 5-16. Tickets $25-$70. For info, visit www.bam.org.
Theater of war
If you missed “Black Watch” the first and second time around at St. Ann’s Warehouse, you can stop kicking yourself. The much-acclaimed production from the National Theatre of Scotland about a Scottish Army regiment’s view of the war in Iraq, returns to the DUMBO stage starting April 16. Now, don’t mess it up this time.
“Black Watch” at St. Ann’s Theater [38 Water St. between Dock and Main streets in DUMBO, (718) 834-8794], April 16-May 8. Tickets $55-$80. For info, visit www.bam.org.
More Shakespeare at BAM! One of the most celebrated theater actors takes on one of the bard’s greatest roles when Derek Jacobi stars in “King Lear,” a new production from Donmar Warehouse opening April 28. We tend to use the phrase “not to be missed” a lot, but this time, it’s an imperative.
“King Lear” at the BAM Harvey Theater [651 Fulton St. at Rockwell Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], April 28-June 5. Tickets $25-$80. For info, visit www.bam.org.
Can two con men out-con each other? That’s the name of the game in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” which the Bay Ridge-based Strivelli Players put on starting May 6. Throw in a beautiful young dame and some show-stopping musical numbers, and it pretty much sells itself.
“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” at The Block Institute [376 Bay 44th St. off of Shore Parkway, (347) 492.0534], May 6-21. For info, visit strivelliplayers.com.
Ka-pow! Comic books and theater converge at the Brick this season, when the Comic Book Theater Festival lands at the Williamsburg theater this June 2. Expect strange, imaginative, and humorous hybrid pieces all month long.
Comic Book Theater Festival at the Brick [575 Metropolitan Ave. between Union Avenue and Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 907-6189], June 2-25. For info, visit www.bricktheater.com/comics.
Music, photography and poetry collide at powerHouse Arena on March 21 for the release of “Letters to Distant Cities,” a multimedia album from Shara Worden (better known as My Brightest Diamond). Expect performances from Clare and the Reasons, Rob Moose, poet Mustafa Ziyalan and, or course, Worden, who’ll also share some even newer tunes.
“Letters to Distant Cities” release at powerHouse Arena [37 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 666-3049], March 21 from 7-9 pm. Tickets $10. For info, visit www.powerhousearena.org.
As the son of Fela, Femi Kuti has a fairly large shadow looming over him. But after multiple albums, he’s developed his own distinctive afrobeat voice. Hear how at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 27.
Femi Kuti and the Positive Force at Music Hall of Williamsburg [66 N. Sixth St. between Kent and Wythe avenues in Williamsburg, (718) 486-5400], April 27 at 9 pm. Tickets $25. For info, visit www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com.
It’ll be hard not to rock out when Phosphorescent stages the stage at Brooklyn Bowl on May 11. Led by Matthew Houck, the alt-country band’s live shows have impressed fans world-wide for its raw emotion, passion and a little thing called talent.
Phosphorescent at Brooklyn Bowl [61 Wythe Ave. between N. 11th and N. 12th streets in Williamsburg, (718) 963-3369], May 11 at 9 pm. Tickets $10. For info, visit www.brooklynbowl.com.
Right in tune
Merrill Garbus, the endearing frontwoman tUnE-yArDs, won us over with her compelling debut, “Bird-Brains.” We can’t wait for her followup, “whokill,” out on April 19, with a tour that brings her to the Music Hall of Williamsburg on May 21. Now, about that spelling…
tUnE-yArDs at the Music Hall of Williamsburg [66 N. Sixth St. between Kent and Wythe avenues in Williamsburg, (718) 486-5400], May 21 at 9 pm. Tickets $13 in advance. For info, visit www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com.
Esteemed Times film critic A.O. Scott puts on his teacher hat when he leads “The Holocaust in Film,” a lecture series at the Park Slope Jewish Center. The four sessions cover such films as “Shoah,” “Schindler’s List,” and “Inglourious Bastereds,” as well as documentaries and eye witness accounts.
“The Holocaust in Film” at the Park Slope Jewish Center [1420 Eighth Ave. at 14th Street in Park Slope, (718) 768-1453], March 20-April 10, Sundays at 7 pm. Tickets $20 a session, $60 for all four. For info, visit www.psjc.org.
A Muppet movie
Lighten things up a bit on March 27 when the Bell House screens “Superheroes!” a night of superhero-related footage from classic Muppet-related shows and specials. They’ll also be Muppet-themed drink specials, audience participation, trivia contests, cool giveaways, and, of course, sing-alongs.
“Muppet Vault: Superheroes!” at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], March 27 at 2 pm. $8. For info, visit www.thebellhouseny.com.
Check out the latest in Cuban cinema with the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s series “Cine Cuba,” a weekend of new films including Sundance favorite “ Boleto al Paraíso.” and an exclusive presentation of the long-unseen film “Los Sobrevivientes” by Cuban master Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
Cine Cuba at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [651 Fulton St. near between Rockwell and Ashland places in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], May 20-22. Tickets $12, $7 members. For info, visit www.bam.org.
Get ready for some mega-masterpieces when 3rd Ward hosts its “Inflatable Sculpture Student Show” on March 26. The inflatable sculptures will take over the entire space, from floor to ceiling, as well live music and free drinks!
“Inflatable Sculpture Student Show” at 3rd Ward [195 Morgan Ave. at Stagg Street in Bushwick, (718) 715-4961], March 26 from 7-10 pm. Free. For info, visit www.3rdward.com..
Place your bets
Get your fix of art, horses and mint juleps at Smack Mellon’s Kentucky Derby Part on May 7. Bring your most outrageous hat, enjoy some tasty food and leave home with an original work of art. It’s the best Kentucky Derby party outside of Louisville.
Kentucky Derby Party at Smack Mellon [92 Plymouth St. at Washington Street in DUMBO, (718) 834-8761], May 7 at 4 pm. Tickets $250 (includes original piece of art). For info, visit www.smackmellon.org.
The Bushwhack Series returns from June 3-5 for more experimental performance art at the Bushwick Starr. It coincides with the Bushwick Open Studios festival, so there’s that, too.
Bushwhack Series at the Bushwick Starr [207 Starr St. between Wyckoff and Irving avenues in Bushwick, (212) 868-4444], June 3-5. Tickets $12. For info, visit www.thebushwickstarr.org.
The Doctorow is in
“Ragtime” author E.L. Doctorow has it at it for over 50 years, and is still more productive than writers a third his age. On March 23, he celebrates “All the Time in the World,” a collection of new short fiction as well as previous, enduring classics.
E.L. Doctorow at BookCourt [163 Court St. between Pacific and Dean streets in Cobble Hill, (718) 875-3677], March 23 at 7 pm. Free. For info, visit www.bookcourt.org.
Eat with Egan
Hear from one of the most talked-about authors of the past year when “A Visit from the Goon Squad” author Jennifer Egan reads at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on March 31 as part of its “Eat, Drink and Be Literary” series. And now that she’s won the National Book Critics Circle award for the book, the buzz is sure to continue.
Jennifer Egan at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], March 31 at 6:30 pm. Tickets $50 (includes dinner, wine, tax, and tip). For info, visit www.bam.org.
The other book fest
Going on 30 years strong, the Literary Arts Festival returns to City Tech on April 12, headlined by “Push” author Sapphire, reading from her second novel, “The Kid.” Other presenters include the Norwegian jazz/poetry ensemble The Science Fair, and City Tech’s own student and faculty writers.
Literary Arts Festival at City Tech [285 Jay St. at Tillary Street in Downtown, (718) 260-5000], April 12 at 5:45 pm. Free. For info, visit www.citytech.cuny.edu.
A filmmaker’s and a literary figure’s lives intertwine around drugs, murder and disappearances in Jessica Hagedorn’s savagely funny yet heartbreaking new novel, “Toxicology.” Broadway veteran Kathleen Chalfant gives it an appropriately dramatic reading at the powerHouse Arena on April 19 that’s sure to give chills.
“Toxicology” reading at powerHouse Arena [37 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 666-3049], April 19 at 7 pm. Free. For info, visit www.powerhousearena.com.
It’s time to break out the zoot suit when Swing House comes to Greenpoint on March 26. The costumed dance ball will feature jazz bands, sizzling burlesque, an exotic cocktail menu, and of course you in your vintage finest.
Swing House, March 26 at 9 pm. Tickets are $15 with RSVP and themed dress ($20 at the door, $10 after midnight). Address given upon RSVP. To RSVP, visit www.geminiandscorpio.com/events.html.
For the foodies
Get your fill of some of Brooklyn’s best when 25 food and drink vendors unite at DUMBO Loft on April 5 for Tasting Brooklyn. Enjoy samplings from the likes of Fornino Park Slope and the Clover Club, as well as some live cooking demos to help hone your own craft.
Tasting Brooklyn at DUMBO Loft (155 Water St. at Anchorage Place in DUMBO, no phone), April 5 at 6:30 pm. Tickets $45, $60 for a 5:30 pm VIP hours.
Come inquisitive to Galapagos Art Space on April 8 for its Nerd Nite Presentations, where you can learn about mythological and religious iconography, video games or even baseball.
Nerd Nite Presentations at Galapagos Art Space [16 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 222-8500], April 8 at 9 pm. Tickets $10. For info, visit www.galapagosartspace.com.
It’s all about the beer and beef at the Brooklyn Beefsteak on April 10 at the Bell House, where you get heaping stacks of hot beef cuts, piles of bread, and seemingly endless pitchers of oat soda. Utensils absolutely not included.
Brooklyn Beefsteak at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], April 10 from 1 to 4 pm and 5 to 8 pm. Tickets $50, $45 per person for groups of four or more. For info, visit www.thebellhouseny.com.
Take in Tchaikovsky’s other ballet when the Russian National Ballet Theatre performs “Swan Lake” at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts on April 17, bringing the magical love story and masterful score to life.
“Swan Lake” at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College [2900 Campus Rd. at Hillel Place in Flatbush, (718) 951-4500], April 17 at 2 pm. Tickets $27-$50. For info, visit www.brooklyncenter.com.
Grab a glass
Brooklyn Uncorked returns to the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 10. Enjoy wines paired with dishes from some of the borough’s best, including Applewood and Buttermilk Channel. It’s a wine tasting without the vineyard, but better food.
Brooklyn Uncorked at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [30 Lafayette Ave. at Ashland Place in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], May 10 from 6-9 pm. Tickets $40. For info, visit www.ediblemanhattan.com.