7 NYC Cultural Events to Attend This Week

This time of year, New York City is in full bloom. In just about every borough, tourists and natives alike have the opportunity to experience a part of the city culture through annual festivals, art exhibitions, and rare events. This week, three festivals begin, creating a number of both free and paid events to attend throughout the boroughs. In addition to this, the Blue Note Jazz Festival will be finishing up its 5th run as the largest jazz festival in NYC. Though some exhibits and performances will be running through the summer months, we suggest getting to them sooner rather than later. So, get your calendars out, because here are the 7 Best NYC Cultural Events to Attend This Week:

Harlem Arts Festival 1. Harlem Arts Festival: June 26th- 28th @ Various Locations

This multi-genre event takes place primarily in Marcus Garvey Park, with a kick-off party @ Ginny’s Supper Club on the 26th. For two days in one of NY’s most culturally rich boroughs, come and see open studios, live music performances, film, and more. And did we mention its free? Just come, grab seats, and be ready to witness the creative processes of both old and emerging Harlem artists. For those of you who hardly make the trek up there, the Harlem Arts Festival is the perfect opportunity to delve into the neighborhood’s blossoming identity. For more info and to schedule your Harlem Arts Festival experience,  check out their website for a full list of events.

NYC Pride Parade2. NYC Pride: June 23rd- 28th @ Various Locations

There are several ways to delve into the beautiful, expressive culture that is NYC Pride. First, you MUST attend the Kick-Off Rally @ Pier 26, hosted by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Broadway star Titus Burgess. Next, the NYC Pride Parade: with over 50 floats and 300 marching organizations, the march down Fifth Avenue is, year after year, a sight to see. For other NYC Pride 2015 events, we also suggest attending Teaze, a dance party hosted by DJ Ruby Rose of OITNB, and Bette Midler’s performance @ MSG.

River to River Festival 20153. River to River Festival: June 18th- 28th @ Various Locations

The free annual River to River Festival is back with a number of film, dance, music, and art presentations to take place at several downtown venues. Hosted by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the River to River Festival largely focuses on the creative and historical background of downtown Manhattan, a place which has experienced great change and movement in regards to its public spheres. We think you should definitely check out the exhibitions held at the Governor’s Island Art Center, as well as Olga Bell’s set at Pier 15.

Blue Note Jazz Festival4. Blue Note Jazz Festival: June 1st- 30th @ Various Locations

This year, the Blue Note Jazz Festival will be celebrating it’s 5th anniversary as NYC’s largest jazz festival. From humble beginnings, the festival used to only take place at the Greenwich Village Blue Note, but now, you can catch live jazz in several locations around the city this month. Since there’s only one week left of the festival, here are some premier events to check out this week: Robert Glasper Trio @ Blue Note, Natalie Cole @ Town Hall, Darlene Love @ B.B King’s, and many more.

Contemporary Color5. Contemporary Color: June 27th-28th @ Barclays

Okay, this concert is a must-see for several reasons.Contemporary Color, an event created by musician David Byrne and brought to us by Barclays + BAM, will feature 10 colorguard teams performing alongside 10 musicians. Not sure what a colorguard is? Simply, they are dancers with flags. By bringing the colorguard teams in junction with performers Nelly Furtado, St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, and more, Byrne has made a completely immersive experience of movement and sound. This event is a must-see cultural event, taking place over two days in just two cities.

Preludes @ Lincoln Center6. Preludes: Through July 19th @ Lincoln Center

Need something to relieve you of writer’s block? What better way than to see a performance about writer’s block! Preludes, an Off-Broadway show taking place at Lincoln Center this summer, details the three years of writer’s block Sergei Rachmaninoff endured after his disastrous debut symphony. Audience members journey together with Rachmaninoff as he endures therapy to overcome man’s biggest obstacle: himself. For a dazzling performance and some added inspiration on the side, Preludes definitely delivers. Don’t hesitate to buy Prelude tickets soon, due to word of mouth, the show is growing in popularity.

Frida Kahlo NY Botanical Gardens7. Frida Kahlo: Through October @ New York Botanical Gardens

From now until November, the New York Botanical Gardens presents to the public NYC’s first solo exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s work in ten years. Several of the garden spaces have been reoriented towards Kahlo’s fixation of plants and the natural world, in addition to a complete re imagining of Kahlo’s art studio and home, the famous Casa Azul. This exhibition is a rare opportunity to step inside Kahlo’s mind, view never before seen sketches, and experience her art in a natural setting. The NY Botanical Gardens will also be hosting Frida al Fresco Evenings, where ticket holders will experience live music, libation, and more Frida after hours.

Let us know if you attended any of these events, or any other cultural shenanigans you experience this week, on Twitter or in the comments below!

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