Because we’re still on a sugar rush from Oscar Murillo’s exhibit that opened earlier this week, we’re not about to lose momentum. Tonight, poet Aaron Belz and Mike Topp read at Hullabaloo Books in Crown Heights; tomorrow, the Tribeca Film Festival hosts a free street fair in the West Village; and don’t forget, the East Village’s cat café is open until Sunday. Plus, The Princess Bride screens at Lincoln Center.
Friday, April 25
[Fashion] Black designers have long played a part in determining our national sense of fashion: Slave-turned-entrepreneur Elizabeth Keckley was dressmaker to Mary Todd Lincoln, and eventually Mrs. Lincoln would insist on wearing her designs exclusively; the fabulous Ann Lowe made Jacqueline Bouvier’s iconic ruffled wedding dress, immortalized on the day she became Mrs. Kennedy. Today you can often spot Michelle Obama in one of Tracy Reese’s flowery concoctions, like the crowd-pleasing pink number she wore to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. “Black Dress: Ten Contemporary Fashion Designers” at the Pratt Institute, features Reese, Byron Lars, Omar Salam, and others. The exhibition, curated by fashion professor Adrienne Jones, transforms the gallery space into Madison Avenue-style window displays in order to make visible the work of 10 established and emerging black artists. Don’t miss the video supplement created by MacArthur Fellow Carrie Mae Weems. —Heather Baysa. Opens at 11 a.m., ends Saturday, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, free.
[Poetry] The poetry of Aaron Belz is almost like a Mitch Hedberg or Demetri Martin joke: one-liners with a slapsticky residue, legitimized by a tongue-in-cheek yet undeniable logic. It’s all in the delivery, and tonight Belz comes to Crown Heights to show us how it’s done for the release of his third book, Glitter Bomb (Persea). Hear his loving jabs at Laura Dern, Starbucks, the blue hotness of lady avatars, and palindromes as he justifies the presence of pop culture in poetry, proving that there’s beauty, or at least a lot of laughs, to be found in CGI and rampant unchecked capitalism — all those lovely American things. He’ll be joined by fellow bard Mike Topp, who has been described as “the Andy Warhol and Ralph Nader of literature,” and claims to get constantly mistaken for an Italian underwear model. —Heather Baysa. At 7 p.m., Hullabaloo Books, Brooklyn, free.
[Festival] Now in his third year at the helm of the former Dance Theater Workshop, Bill T. Jones adds intellectual heft to the operation with a project called Live Ideas. In 2013, he and curator Lawrence Weschler celebrated Oliver Sacks. This week, a diverse consortium of academics and artists gather for James Baldwin, This Time!, five days of attention to the pioneering black, gay writer’s life and prose, on the eve of what would have been Baldwin’s 90th birthday. Carrie Mae Weems and Jamaica Kincaid talk with Jones on opening night (Wednesday), Stew previews his new work, Notes of a Native Song, on Friday, and Charles O. Anderson and Dianne McIntyre offer new dances inspired by Baldwin’s work. Plus, appearances by poets, scholars, activists, and actors. —Elizabeth Zimmer. Through Sunday, New York Live Arts, free-$60.
Saturday, April 26
[Recreation] Who would have thought that the corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street would become the fly fishing headquarters of New York? But with two Orvis stores right there, you can’t find a better place to learn to fly fish and get ready for some great outdoor experiences. To get you started, the folks at Orvis — who sell the gear, teach you how to use it, and offer a wide range of adventures as well as sponsoring a strong environmental protection program — conduct a free fly fishing class every Saturday through July 19 at Bryant Park, focusing on fly casting and outfit rigging. Later on, they can help you find great local places to test your new skills. Meet at Fifth Avenue Terrace at 41st Street. —Allen Barra. At 10 a.m., Bryant Park, free (call 212-827-0698 to reserve a slot).
[Festival] Today’s Tribeca Family Festival will consist of a full-day of free and fun activities from learning how film-making works to watching a live chef demonstration from a local restaurant. There are also video game installations, a life-size bubble-maker in the Bubble Garden, and arts and crafts pavilions where you can dance to live music. At 10 a.m., Greenwich Street at Chambers Street, free.
[Lit] For the past three years, the Brooklyn Zine Fest has been displaying everything we love about DIY publishing, and 2014 looks to be the biggest gathering yet. For the next two days, at the Brooklyn Historical Society, get the chance to mingle with approximately 150 writers, artists, and publishers from New York City and elsewhere, with each day featuring an entirely different roster. The event also offers panels, including “Collecting Zines” and “Queer & Trans* Zinesters,” and a special “Student Section” showcasing the next generation of zine makers. At 11 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn, free.
[Lit] Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy talks on the art of making the perfect craft beer and how that led to success of Brooklyn Brewery’s empire. Tonight’s talk, “The Craft Beer Revolution,” also includes Bronx Brewery’s Chris Gallant. Those that purchase a copy of Hindy’s book (also titled The Craft Beer Revolution) will be able to enter a raffle; prizes include a gift certificate for 10 tokens at Brooklyn Brewery and a special Brooklyn Brewery Big Bottle. At 6 p.m., PowerHouse Arena, Brooklyn, free.
Sunday, April 27
[Poetry] This weekend’s free Poetry in Motion Springfest celebrates National Poetry Month and features “The Poet Is In,” which includes award-winning poets on hand to create a poem just for you, “The Poet Is You,” which encourages aspiring writers to take part in a poetry-writing workshop for young people (ages six and up), and many more fun poetry activities. RSVP required at nycharities.org. At 11 a.m., Saturday-Sunday, Grand Central Station, free.
[Pop-up] Tokyo’s cat café craze has finally invaded New York — for a couple of days, anyway. Purina ONE® is opening the first New York cat café to spark conversation among cat owners and experts about cat health and well-being while we sip on some tea and coffee. Come in (if you don’t mind waiting in a long line) and pet the cute felines that need a home. Who knows, you might go home with one. At 11 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, Purina ONE Cat Café Pop-up, free.
[Film] Twenty-seven years since its release, The Princess Bride, directed by Rob Reiner, still holds a warm place in our hearts, and makes us randomly shout “inconceivable!” Watch the film, starring Cary Elwes (who is planning to publish a memoir on the making of this film) and Robin Wright, on the big screen this afternoon. At 2 p.m., Walter Reade Theater, $10.