Best Things to Do in New York City This Weekend, Aug. 9-12 - Metro US

Best Things to Do in New York City This Weekend, Aug. 9-12

Watch an immersive screening of The Fifth Element as only BBQ Films can do it at Brooklyn Mirage.
BBQ Films

The best things to do in New York City this weekend include an immersive outdoor screening of The Fifth Element, a Gelato Festival and queer comedy.

A sexy take on Shakespeare, with food

Shakespeare in the Square isn’t quite traditional; in fact, instead of laughter or sadness, their productions tend to provoke unexpected feelings — like hunger. This August, a cast of six performs all 20 characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Their only props are food, from marshmallows to mashed potatoes, oats to oranges. Seeing how they’re juggled, cradled, weaponized and otherwise transformed for each scene is part of the messy, erotic fun. Through Aug. 19, The Access Theater, 380 Broadway, $30-$45, shakespeareinthesquare.com

Revel in the embarrassment of others

If you’ve passed a few hours suffering happily through the new Netflix series Mortified, where talented comedians and storytellers recount their most humiliating stories onstage, you’ll be thrilled to know that you can experience that secondhand embarrassment firsthand with a live performance of Mortified at Littlefield this Thursday. Seats are first-come, first-served. Aug. 10, 8 p.m., Littlefield, 635 Sackett St., Brooklyn, $10, littlefieldnyc.com

Immersive theater goes outdoors

You could pack a picnic and check out an outdoor movie in one the city’s parks — or you could head to the tropical outdoor dance hall Brooklyn Mirage for an immersive screening of The Fifth Element with projection effects, a 32-foot screen, an interactive photobooth of movie scenes, an ice cream social and lots of cookout food, a post-show dance party, and a full cocktail menu of tropical drinks that will make you think you’re aboard the Fhloston Paradise, all courtesy of BBQ Films. Aug. 10, 6-11 p.m., 140 Stewart Ave., Brooklyn, $14-$50, eventbrite.com

Hear a new take on West Side Story

Bobby Sanabria’s Multiverse Big Band adds some modern flair while playing through Leonard Bernstein’s classic in West Side Story Reimagined. Infusing the score with fresh Latin sounds — like Afro-Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, and Mexican rock, funk and jazz — the concert is accompanied by live poetry readings and takes place blocks from where the acclaimed movie was filmed. Proceeds will go to the Jazz Foundation of America Puerto Rico Relief Fund. Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m., Damrosch Park, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, free, lcoutofdoors.org

Eat the world’s best gelato

For the first time, Italy is exporting its famous Gelato Festival from its hometown of Florence to the East Coast. It’s worth the trek to Jersey City to sample the creations of a dozen of the world’s best gelato makers, including a local star, all challenged to come up with unique creations just for the festival. Between tastings, drop into the Gelato School to learn about the history of Italy’s take on ice cream, see how it’s made, test your skills to see if you could crack it in a gelateria, watch chef demos and more. Aug. 11-12, Liberty State Park, 1 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, $30, eventbrite.com

The buzziest weekend activity

Have you heard the buzz? It’s all about bees and their highly popular product this weekend at Wave Hill in the Bronx. Honey Weekend has activities for all ages, from honey-extraction and candle-making workshops to tasting sessions, plus arts & crafts. Whether you’ve got a sweet tooth or just into beekeeping, Honey Weekend is all about education and hands-on fun. Aug. 11, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Wave Hill, W. 249th Ave. at Independence Ave., Bronx, $12, wavehill.org

Try out the latest music gear

Whether you love to personally shred some axe or just find that every playlist you love leans heavy on guitar, from acoustic American folk to ear-splitting electric rock, you’ll be in heaven at the Fear the Riff Expo. Over 70 companies will be showing off their latest instruments, amps and other accessories, catch celebrities like Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist Zakk Wylde, plus cocktails, craft beer, tacos and barbecue. Expect artist appearances and demos, plus live performances. Aug. 11, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Brooklyn Expo Center, 79 Franklin St., Brooklyn, $10-$40, feartheriff.com

NYC’s largest indie video game festival

Last year saw the debut of New York’s largest gathering of video game developers, Play NYC. This year, the convention to try new games (and even help devs on works in progress) expands to the Manhattan Center with over 140 games across four floors, plus more than 20 panels, talks and guided demos from industry insiders. Aug. 11-12, The Manhattan Center, 311 W. 34th St., $33, play-nyc.com

Cheer on the dragons

Over 120 fierce and majestic dragon boats take to the waters of Queens to vie for glory during the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. The two-day fest isn’t just limited to spectatorship: learn about the history of the annual tradition with authentic food, live performances (including drumming, dance, kung fu, and fashion shows) and hands-on crafts. It’s free for all ages. Aug. 11-12, Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, Free, hkdbf-ny.org

The most scenic dance festival

The Battery Dance Festival can lay claim to have the most scenic venue in the city: All of its free performances happen outdoors in Battery Park with the Statue of Liberty as the backdrop. The week of performances all take place at sundown, with diverse styles from international companies including the Martha Graham School, Ballet Nepantla, and Jamal Jackson Dance Company, as well as workshops at Battery Dance Studios (with RSVP). Capping it off is a free Closing Night event at the Schimmel Center, with a VIP reception for $65. Aug. 11-18, multiple locations, free-$65, batterydance.org

Comedy = tragedy + time

Comedian Zach Zimmerman wants you to know that he’s very, very gay. That’s despite growing up Christian, with conservative parents, and hitting the big city in the time of Grindr. But it’s okay to laugh about it now, especially with a drink in hand. Union Hall debuts his scathing show, I Started as a Bottom, Now I’m Here, which might be about him, but it’s really about the determined queers in us all, surviving their way to the top. Aug. 12, 7:30 p.m., Union Hall, 702 Union St., Brooklyn, $8-$10, unionhallny.com

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