It’s August. A time that we inevitably look back at all our summer goals to consider if we have checked all the boxes–and then scramble to get everything accomplished before the leaves begin to crisp. Add to this list six stellar cultural endeavors hand-selected by SIXTY writer Scott Heins, who has scoured the monthly calendar for that of both high and lower brow. Herewith, your guide to the month ahead.
NEW YORK CITY: Maybe it was the animation style, the dystopian setting, or the muted Hollywood buzz, but for some reason Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson’s latest film, never got the attention it deserved. And that’s too bad, because the movie features one of the director’s funniest and most heartwarming plots in decades, backed up by a dazzling voice cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bryan Cranston, and Greta Gerwig. Isle is a weird and excellent work with an unforgettable ending, and this month New Yorkers (and visitors) can catch it outside for free in Manhattan this month. Plus, the ASPCA will be bringing cats and dogs ready for adoption to the screening. You can’t bring them back to the hotel, but there’ll definitely time to hand out a few belly rubs before the opening credits. Thursday, August 9th, 8:30 p.m. (arrive early!) // Matthew P. Sapolin Playground, Manhattan // Free
NEW YORK CITY: While the Whitney Museum serves as home base for some of the most futurist, genre-bending art shows in the world, it’s also a crucial cache of history, and its archives contain some of America’s boldest political documents. With that in mind, Whitney curators are unveiling An Incomplete History of Protest this month, a show comprised of politically engaged art dating from the 1940s to present day. Be it Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, the AIDS crisis, or more current events, the pieces stand as a case study for the ways in which politics and art perform one another. The exhibit is deliberately composed of challenging pieces that open up America’s old wounds, so walk in with an open heart and expect to walk out a little raw. Exhibit opens Saturday, August 18th // Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, Manhattan // Admission $18-25
LOS ANGELES: A lush garden, great cocktails, food trucks, flea shopping, and food trucks. All this is in store at the Natural History Museum Los Angeles’s August Summer Night in the Garden. Forget about the city’s gridlock as you roam the museum’s sprawling back garden, where there’ll be live music shows, nature-themed crafts, and open picnic space. What’s more, the night also features extended hours in all five galleries of the California African American Museum until 7 p.m. Starting off a Friday night in California doesn’t get much better than this. Friday, August 10th, 5-9 p.m. // Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, 900 W Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles // Free
LOS ANGELES: “It’s very much about abstract matter, in a very accessible way.” When it comes to describing Reality Projector, even its own creator fumbles a bit. Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson has taken over the first floor Theater Gallery of the Marciano Art Foundation to create a captivating matrix of bright lights and deep shadow. The finished work uses pivoting lights and bright screens to recast the gallery as a 13,500-square-foot kaleidoscope that invites you in to sit and wonder. Reality Projector has been a can’t-miss show in L.A. ever since it opened in March, but it’s being turned off at the end of August. Get to it now before it’s too late. Exhibition closes Sunday, August 26th // Marciano Art Foundation, 4357 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles // Free Admission (early registration encouraged!)
MIAMI: Coming to Miami and not getting a taste of all things Afro-Cuban would be a terrible mistake indeed. Luckily August will feature the 20th Annual IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Festival, an eight-day party featuring food, vendor booths, academic panels, a parade, hands-on dance classes, and many, many live shows. Founded by world-renowned Afro-Cuban choreographer Neri Torres, the festival is meant to reflect the vast ethnic diversity of south Florida, tracing the tradition of local residents back to the Caribbean and the African continent. Expect nothing but great food, grooves, and history lessons. A full schedule of events is available here. Festival runs August 6-10th, 16-18th; Times vary // Some locations vary; Workshops and performances at the Koubek Center, 2705 SW 3rd Street, Miami // Tickets $20 and up
MIAMI: If you’re reading this, you know. Fueled by the surprise release of their joint album Everything Is Love, Jay-Z and Beyoncé are once again the hottest live ticket in the country, and lucky for all of us their summer tour is touching down in South Beach just before season’s end. On The Run II promises to pack Hard Rock Stadium with the greatest spectacle in modern music and will feature plenty of both Hov and Beyoncé’s extravagant solo catalogs. With past marital issues apparently resolved, the duo’s recent shows have been described as the highest-energy couples therapy in history. Whether you’re making up or breaking up, single or committed, you know this is going to be fire. Friday, August 31st, 7:30 p.m. // Hard Rock Stadium, 347 Don Shula Dr, Miami Gardens // Tickets $54 and up
Header photo courtesy of Andy Sweet