Is the heat getting to you? Are you seeking comfort in front of your AC or in darkened movie theaters? Well, perhaps you should embrace the heat and all it has to offer. This year’s SummerStage has gotten off to a slammin’ start and shows no signs of abating. The question is, can you take the heat?
Freedom Party recently celebrated its 13th anniversary at packed Rumsey Playground in Central Park. M.J., Prince and many other crowd favorites were spun as old sorority sisters from Spellman and newer friends jammed out under sunny skies. Kamasi Washington brought his R&B/hip-hop infused version of jazz in June. But let’s not dwell on the past. The SummerStage schedule is not even half over and for some, the best is yet to come.
Have we talked about how SummerStage, once upon a time only to be enjoyed in Manhattan, has spread out to the other four boroughs? Well it has. Some of you simply have to step outside your door; others will need to take a long trip on the Iron Horse. Either way, there are some great performances that you shouldn’t miss.
Want to take the way back machine? Well the Classical Theater of Harlem has you covered with its performance of “Macbeth” in Marcus Garvey Park at West 122 Street, starting July 8 and running through July 31. And if you haven’t seen “We Like It Like That,” the great film that chronicles the rise, fall and rise of boogaloo, then you’re in for a treat when the great NYC DJ Felix Hernandez of the Rhythm Revue hosts a screening of the film at St. Mary’s in the Bronx July 15.
Black Moon and Smif-N-Wessun rock the house in Queensbridge Park July 26. The next night, jazz legend Dianne Reeves will be in the same spot. So maybe just pitch a tent to save a good location. July 29 the Nuyorican Poets Cafe will host an evening of performances from Queens-based poets at Queensbridge, if you’re into that kind of thing.
If you are more of a Shaolin fan, then head over to Cloves Lake Park Aug. 4 to catch the Jungle Brothers perform and come back Aug. 5 to hear Terrence Blanchard and his quintet perform.
Some people hate summer in New York. They claim it’s smelly, hot and sticky. But where else can you hear this level of talent under the stars and all for free? There are far too many great acts to list here, so visit http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/summerstage/ to find all the shows that will help make your summer all that and then some.