May 4, 2009 / GO Brooklyn / Music / Brooklyn Is Awesome

Something to ‘Celebrate’!

The Brooklyn Paper
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As if you needed another reason to celebrate Brooklyn, you just got a big one: the schedule for the annual “Celebrate Brooklyn” summer music, dance, film and arts festival has something for everyone.

“It’s our 31st year, and we’re continuing our tradition of presenting a large and eclectic series that is reflective of Brooklyn’s diversity,” said Jack Walsh, director of performing arts for BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn, which presents the annual series — which features 23 free shows, plus a growing number of ticketed “benefit” concerts by Jackson Browne, TV on the Radio, Bonnie Raitt, MGMT and Animal Collective.

Celebrate Brooklyn — one of the city’s longest-running free outdoor performance festivals — kicks off on June 8 with a free show by Talking Heads frontman David Byrne.

But Walsh offered some even quirkier personal highlights:

“We have three special movie nights,” he said. “In one, Andy Warhol’s ‘Screen Tests’ are set to music by Dean and Britta from the ’90s alt-rock band, Luna. It’s very cool and interesting.

“Then, we commissioned the Ethel string quartet and Gutbucket to create a new score for ‘La Nave de Los Monstruous,’ which means ‘The Monster Ship.’ It’s a Mexican sci-fi film about female aliens who come to Earth looking for men. It’s very campy fun.”

Then, of course, is the movie night to end all movie nights: a sing-along version of Prince’s “Purple Rain” (everybody, “Purple rain rain/Purple rain”) on Aug. 6.

In between will also be performances by Blonde Redhead (June 26); the Williamsburg aerial dance troupe, Streb (July 9); a family concert with They Might Be (July 11); blues rocker Robert Cray (July 17); Bollywood superstar Kailash Kher (July 25); and reggae giant Burning Spear (July 30).

Here’s the full lineup:

Monday, June 8, 8 pm: David Byrne

Thursday, June 11, 7:30 pm: Goran Bregovic and His Weddings & Funerals Orchestra

Friday, June 19, 7:30 pm: David Rudder/Samantha Thornhill

Saturday, June 20, 7:30 pm: Movie, “La Nave de los Monstruos,” a Mexican sci-fi film with live score by Ethel and Gutbucket

Thursday, June 25, 7 pm: Femi Kuti and The Positive Force/Melvin Gibbs’ Elevated Entity

Friday, June 26, 7:30 pm: Blonde Redhead

Saturday, June 27, 7 pm: Dr. Dog/Phosph­orescent/T­hese United States

Wednesday, July 1: MGMT* (sold out)

Thursday, July 2, 7 pm: Obie Juan Bermudéz/Cucu Diamantes/Rebel Diaz

Thursday, July 9, 8 pm: Dance, “STREB: Invisible Forces”

Friday, July 10, 7:30 pm: Los Amigos Invisibles­/Aterciope­lados

Saturday, July 11, 4 pm: Family concert with They Might Be Giants

Thursday, July 16, 7:30: Kronos Quartet/Luminescent Orchestrii

Friday, July 17, 7:30 pm: Robert Cray Band/The Sweet Divines

Saturday, July 18, 2–9 pm: African Festival with King Sunny Adé/Freshly Ground/The Mandingo Ambassadors/Cheikh M’Baye & Sing Sing/Abena Koomson/Yasser Darwish

Tuesday, July 21: Jackson Browne*

Thursday, July 23, 8 pm: Dance, Stephen Petronio Company

Friday, July 24, 7:30: Buckwheat Zydeco/The Holmes Brothers

Saturday, July 25, 7:30 pm: Kailash Kher/Electro Morocco

Thursday, July 30, 7:30 pm: Burning Spear/Naomi Shelton and The Gospel Queens

Friday, July 31, 7 pm: Soulive’s 10th Anniversary Celebration with John Scofield and Christian Scott/Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk

Saturday, Aug. 1, 7:30 pm: Movie, “Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests” with Dean and Britta from Luna

Thursday, Aug. 6, 7:30 pm: Movie, “Purple Rain,” sing a long

Friday, Aug. 7, 7 pm: Grace Potter and The Nocturnals/Deer Tick/The London Souls

Saturday, Aug. 8, 7 pm: Big Daddy Kane

Tuesday, Aug. 11: TV on the Radio*

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal*

Friday and Saturday, Aug. 14 and 15: Animal Collective*

All concerts take place at the Prospect Park band shell (enter park at Ninth Street and Prospect Park West in Park Slope) and are free with a $3 suggested donation (except *, which indicates concerts with varying ticket prices). For ticketing information, visit

Updated 5:31 pm, May 7, 2009: Story was updated to include more comments from Walsh and more context overall.
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