For seven years now, Bushwick Open Studios has been one of the most reliable, beloved institutions of early summer, and this weekend's festivities—the biggest yet, with over 600 scheduled shows—promise to be some of the best in the festival's history.
And of course, part of the beauty of this whole thing is the option of wandering aimlessly from studio to studio seeing wildly different types of art and meeting the people who make it (plus sampling the beer, snacks, and wine a lot of the artists bring into their studios for the occasion), but at the same time, it can't hurt to go into this whole thing with a plan. So, in the spirit of having at least a vague itinerary for the weekend, we talked to the festival's organizers about the shows (and parties) you absolutely can't miss this time around.
It almost goes without saying that this whole thing is kicking off with a very serious party at Shea Stadium, co-sponsored by our friends over at The Bosco, and headlined by L Magazine favorites Darlings, alongside Eula, Air Waves, and Lodro. Admission also comes with an open bar courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery. Per organizer (and launch party co-host) Samantha Katz, "everything from the photo-booth to the bands, from the balloons to the beer, is Brooklyn-based." If there's any one thing you make it out to this weekend (besides, you know, at least one artist's studio), this is it.
Friday, May 31, 8pm - 2am, Shea Stadium. $10 admission at the door.
Since launching during Bushwick Open Studios 2010, Seeking Space has become one of the weekend's most popular, eclectic events, and is based around a simple idea: providing studio and exhibition space to artists who need it. With 3rd Ward as their venue this year, the exhibition encompasses everything from large-scale installations to video to live musical performances, all of which kick off during the show's opening event from 7-11:30pm Friday night, though the whole thing will be on display through June 16th. Your best bet may be to go on Saturday, so you can kill two birds with one stone and stop by 3rd Ward's 7th Birthday Barbecue, featuring live music and food from Fitzcarraldo, their new in-house restaurant.
195 Morgan Ave (3rd Ward), on view May 31st through June 16th
Of course, there are literally hundreds of shows you can see this weekend (a full map and directory can be found here), making it fairly impossible to play favorites. But if you find yourself overwhelmed by the options (or just need a base camp to meet your friends), Brooklyn Fire Proof is a good one. There's a bar to wait in, which helps, but their labyrinth of studios upstairs is always a good time, and a perfect jumping-off point for a day of gallery-hopping.
120 Ingraham St.
Yes, another huge party (meaning you should probably pace yourself), this time at Bossa Nova Civic Club, one of the neighborhood's most reliably solid new venues. Part of a series of shows taking place throughout the weekend, this is one of the festival's first events focusing in on dance music. "We had a lot of awesome musical events for rock, punk, folk, etc., but nothing for electronic music," explains Mikael Henaff, the event's host and one of BOS' organizers. "In selecting the lineup, I wanted to have a night that would highlight the artsier, more experimental side of dance music." So this'll be great for EDM super-fans, sure, but given the large roster of up-and-coming local DJ's, should be a pretty good time for just about anyone who likes things like "dancing," and "fun."
1271 Myrtle Ave (Bossa Nova Civic Club)
A first for Bushwick Open Studios (and probably a nice, low-key way to wind down the weekend), Cinema Sunday is just what it sounds like: an evening of themed film screenings, hosted by local co-working space Bat Haus. The night will be broken into to screening blocks ("Concrete" and "Flux") of work by local filmmakers selected from an open call by event organizer Mandy Mandelstein. Filmmakers will be available for Q&A sessions, and the whole thing will close out with a backyard barbecue.
June 2, 6pm - 1am, 279 Starr St.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.