While its green exterior and wooden booths are reminiscent of an Irish pub, Rockwells American Restauant?s cuisine embodies the ?American? found in its title. Burgers topped with gorgonzola cheese, bacon, and other accoutrements share menu space with steaks, chicken sandwiches, and alcoholic drinks such as mudslides, as well as red and white wines. For entertainment, the restaurant broadcasts football games every Sunday, hosts comedians on Saturday night, and encourages diners to reenact their favorite Dogs Playing Poker painting under the emerald bar lights.
In 2004?on a mission to bolster its community?s wellspring of creativity and education?the nonprofit Bergen Performing Arts Center took over the former John Harms Center, an art-deco-style movie and vaudeville palace built in 1922. Today, in the same antique theater where Frank Capra screened his first car chase, the venue hosts 150 yearly events that bring dance, music, and theatrical productions to an estimated 250,000 annual audience members. Networks such as HBO, PBS, and MTV all have filmed international broadcasts on the stage, which has seen the likes of Diana Krall, Heart, and ZZ Top.
The Long Island Comedy Festival, which won a thumbs-up from Newsday in 2009, sends laughing fits rippling through southeastern New York with showcases of some of the area's most accomplished comedians. The namesake festival spreads out across Long Island every summer, landing at venues that might range from an old-fashioned playhouse to a family amusement park. Many alumni return to perform year after year, making for a festive atmosphere that executive producer Paul Anthony likens to "a comedy party that the audience members have been invited to," rather than one that they sadly listen to through the floorboards. During the rest of the year, the organizers stay busy producing comedy series at other historic venues and exporting their team of comics to college shows.
Hard-rock juggernauts Five Finger Death Punch give audiences four for flinching on their Share The Welt tour, a high-octane evening of nail-driving metal and chugging aural concrete. Since bursting onto the scene in 2007 with its gold-selling debut, The Way of the Fist, Five Finger Death Punch has scaled the charts and the musical food chain, gulping its competition like a possessed Takeru Kobayashi. For the tour in support of its latest effort, American Capitalist, the gang enlists an entire posse of heavy hitters. Massachusetts metal mavens All That Remains, fresh from melting soles on the Vans Warped Tour, bludgeon audiences with an arsenal of hits, and hardcore shredders Hatebreed share unkind words as they haze the speed of sound. Adding power-chord crunch to the show, Fort Wayne’s Rains sprinkles audiences with raw and emotional sonic sleet.
With no costumes, sets, or functioning lightsabers, Canadian comedic force Charlie Ross whisks audiences to a faraway galaxy in his One Man Star Wars Trilogy, a funny and fervent reinvention of cinema’s most hallowed science fiction series. A smash hit off-Broadway and across the globe, Ross’s breakneck performance has earned accolades from critics, the respect of Lucasfilm, and love from famous Ewoks such as Vin Diesel and Conan O’Brien. Racing through George Lucas’s six-hour opus in only one parsec, Ross screen-wipes audiences to Tatooine, Dagobah, Cloud City, and the Death Star without ever changing his pants. The performer inhabits all of the trilogy’s heroes, villains, and droids to draw Jabba-sized laughs from Star Wars fans and the sci-fi averse alike.
The Nuyorican Poets Cafe began in 1973 as a literary get-together in the living room of college professor and celebrated scribe Miguel Algarin. By 1975, sick of cleaning up dangling clauses left all over his house, Algarin began renting the Sunshine Café to give local writers and performers a venue to develop their craft. In 1980, the non-profit organization moved to its current home in a century-old tenement on East Third.
Today, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe plays a crucial, street-level role in New York's art scene. Randomly selected audience members judge weekly poetry slams, and the venue plays host to small theatrical productions on many Thursdays through Sundays. Other evenings may feature hip-hop concerts, snappy Latin jazz, and freewheeling open mic nights.