Events to check out this Labor Day weekend, August 30 to September 3.
1. Laugh for a cause.
Saturday Night Live writer Julio Torres is a magical oddball comedian with a big heart and an affinity for shapes. He’s also an immigrant, and on Thursday night he’ll host two installments of Julio Torres & Friends, a stand-up show with performers like Mike Birbiglia, Joe Pera, Larry Owens, Eudora Peterson, Peter Smith, Shalewa Sharpe, and Max Wittert, benefiting the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Work.
2. Take a trip to the Seaport.
Wigstock was born in 1984 when a bunch of inebriated drag queens decided to do an impromptu show for whoever was hanging out in Tompkins Square Park late that night. It then became a phenomenon that lost its steam, and petered out in 2001. Lucky for us, this year it’s back this Saturday on the new shiny rooftop at the Seaport’s Pier 17. Talent onboard so far include Alaska, Amanda Lepore, Dita Von Teese, Jinkx Monsoon, Bob the Drag Queen, Murray Hill, Justin Vivian Bond, Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig, and more, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Come early and stop by Bellini, the restaurant at the new Mr. C Hotel (the hotel is owned by descendants of Cipriani, who is credited with inventing the drink). Pro tip: Try the uni spaghetti. Plus, of course, a Bellini.
3. Dance your way out of summer.
Summer may be winding down, but as the wise David Bowie once said, “Let’s dance.” On Saturday, MoMA PS1’s has a sizzling Warm-Up rounding out their season, with a lineup featuring the global pop of Gang Gang Dance and delightful alt-hip-hopper Lizzo. Then don’t forget to check the extensive list of prohibited items before heading out to the ten-year anniversary of Electric Zoo at Randalls Island Park. On the lineup for the EDM-tastic festival this Friday through Sunday are Marshmallow, Kaskade, Tiësto, and so much more.
4. Do it on one wheel.
Sometimes two wheels are just so boring. Head to Governors Island on Saturday and Sunday for the Unicycle Festival, with games, races, demonstrations, unicycle basketball, Frisbee, and sumo, and the opportunity to learn how to ride a one-wheeler yourself. Add a costume, and you may just have found a new profession.
5. Appreciate the human body.
Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Pablo Picasso are all brilliant artists. They were also pretty into naked people. At the Met Breuer’s “Obsession: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele, and Picasso” exhibition, see erotically charged watercolors, drawings, and prints by the masters, shown together for the first time. There are worse ways to spend the weekend.
6. Play the short game.
Love plays but don’t quite have the attention span for one? Hit the Summer Shorts festival of new American plays, through September 1 at 59E59 Theaters. Works are 20 to 30 minutes in length and have not been produced in NYC before. Discover new playwrights or see established ones like Neil LaBute, whose Sparring Partner is on the schedule.
7. Enjoy a spectacle.
Get some fresh air, see some art, and be dazzled by fancy tricks at the free Circus Amok performance in Socrates Sculpture Park on Saturday, with jugglers, stilt dancers, puppets, and paper-mache lions. If you’d rather some more adult fare, Monday is the WERK: Labor Day White Party at the House of Yes, where you’re encouraged to wear all-white for cocktails, BBQ, a rooftop hot tub and circus shenanigans. By the end of the night, you’ll be dirty in more ways than one.
8. Hang with some amigos.
Find yourself some buddies and head to Barclays Center for the Aubrey and the Three Migos tour. That’s rapper (and Canadian) Drake with Georgia hip-hop trio Migos, bringing dance-heavy beats to two nights on Thursday and Saturday.
9. Partake in a parade.
Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to celebrate cultures. On Saturday beginning at noon, Brazilian Day honors Brazil’s independence with 25 blocks surrounding Little Brazil on West 46th Street, featuring music like the country flair of Matheus & Kauan and the rock of Os Paralamas do Sucesso, dancing, food, and plenty of Brazilian pride. And on Monday, it’s the always-exciting Caribbean Carnival Parade, beginning at 11 a.m. and heading down Eastern Parkway. Go for the plumage, steel bands and soca, stay for the doubles, curry, and jerk chicken.
10. Get Sporty.
The U.S. Open is going strong, and if you make it to the courts in Flushing this weekend, don’t forget to try out the new food offerings from Marc Forgione and J.J. Johnson, alongside returning chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Esther Choi, David Burke, Tony Mantuano, and Ed Brown. And If you’d rather get athletic yourself, on Sunday, in honor of the new season of Shameless, Showtime is giving out free 24-hour bike passes on the Citi Bike app. Eat, then bike, then repeat.