The U.S. Open Opens For Business in the Eight-Day Week

Sunday, August 28

Arms and the Men

Who’s the strongest in New York? Now that Michael Bloomberg’s strongman administration has seen its biceps deflate a bit, ho ho, and since most of the grotesquely buffed gents we’ve been seeing in Us Weekly are Los Angeles-based, the field is fairly open. The Brooklyn-Kingsboro Arm Wrestling Championships, held during the Brighton Jubilee Festival, seeks to answer the question with a succession of pumping forearms—though be careful not to run afoul of the rules. The New York Arm Wrestling Association’s website specifies that “Magnesium Gym Chalk or other dry powder substances can be used at each event. NO STICKUM or other sticky substance permitted,” and that baseball caps must be worn backward. These are serious competitors—willing to MacGyver a forward-facing cap into a game-winning weapon. Why should the annual gluttony celebration that is the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest out on Coney Island steal the entirety of the novelty-sports spotlight? We think strong arms are more valuable, evolution-wise, than an iron digestive tract (though the arm-wrestling contest’s sponsor, White Castle, might disagree!).

3264 Coney Island Avenue (Brooklyn), 1 p.m.: visit nycarms.com for more information.

Monday, August 29

Tennis, Everyone?

It’s finally open! Tennis has returned from the stuffy strawberries-and-cream-and-royals lawns of Wimbledon, back to where it belongs, in Flushing Meadows. We can’t wait to join the gritty crowd of Connecticut commuters and Wall Street types. (Uh, strike that “gritty.” We’ve been hearing that even Queens is getting hip!) Anyhow, we didn’t count that opening-ceremony concert for much—good show and all, if a bit bass-heavy, but tennis begins when the first serve is struck, or when office workers in Manhattan hear Maria Sharapova’s first trademark shriek from clear across the river. (What is it about these tennis players—they just keep getting louder, even as we thought we were getting deafer! Is dear win-bereft Maria trying to compete with Girl Talk?) The draws aren’t yet available, but we’ll be rooting for that Serbian sweetie Novak Djokovic, the best inspiration we’ve ever had for taking on a gluten-free diet! The racketeer can’t—or won’t?—eat wheat. Cancel our order of beer and pretzels—are there any strawberries and cream around?

Play begins today with draws to be announced on Aug. 25; visit usopen.org for tickets and information.

Tuesday, August 30
Adagio, al Fresco
It’s finally the part of summer during which we can bear to be outdoors in the city—the beginning of that mild Indian summer that bears no resemblance to the sweaty, sticky-icky mire that keeps us fleeing to the Hamptons every weekend and buying out entire trucks full of Mister Softee. After spending our hours in the city trapped indoors watching terrible movies in an attempt to stanch the flow of sweat from our beleaguered brows, the prospect of opera—one of our favorites!—draws us out into the long-deferred pleasant weather. We’ll sit with the crowds at Lincoln Center Plaza, then, for the Summer HD Festival, during which operatic favorites are screened under the stars. (But wait—aren’t free outdoor screenings usually of mass-appeal butt-numbers?) Tonight brings Puccini’s La Rondine, a taped production that’s set in the roaring 1920s and whose plot comprises all that we look for in an opera—mistaken identity, poorly matched lovers, a scandalous past. Wait: this kind of sounds like everything we look for in a crummy romantic comedy, too, but after an air-conditioned summer, we’re finally ready for a night out that is actually spent, you know, out.
Summer HD Festival runs from Aug. 27 to Sept. 5, at Lincoln Center Plaza; visit metoperafamily.org for more information.
Wednesday, August 31
Party Like It’s 2099
The artist and filmmaker Ryan Trecartin’s show “Any Ever” blew a lot of minds during its run at MoMA’s PS1—and tonight’s closing celebration sounds either equally momentous or like a parody of arty, indulgent nightlife (either way—is there a difference, anyhow?). MoMA’s PopRally program—which organizes concerts and musical collaborations in the hallowed halls of art—brings live performances by acts called AraabMUZIK, Glass Popcorn, and #HDBOYZ, as well as a Lindsay Lohan impersonator, body-builders, dancers and something called “age-inverted tween-iors,” which is probably that thing from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button where an old person looks really young or vice versa, maybe? It’s hard to say precisely what we might expect beyond a party that attempts to make a statement about social media—the party hopes to “collapse the virtual and the real into an immersive, real-time media party performance,” which sounds to us what all parties do anyway now that everyone’s checking their smartphones throughout. Most parties, too, lack the post-post-modern theory underpinning it all. When all’s said and done, we prefer simple surreality to the merger of virtuality and reality that the collision of humble partygoers and gonzo tween-iors provides. We’re going to try to catch a midweek ride back to Sir Ivan’s, where the surreality goes un-commented-upon! We’ll see you on the Oprah Winfrey Network!
MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Avenue (Long Island City), 6 p.m. with cocktail reception, last-chance viewing of “Any Ever,” and musical performances; visit moma.org/poprally/upcoming for tickets and information.
ddaddario@observer.com :: @DPD_
The U.S. Open Opens For Business in the Eight-Day Week