Summer Superlatives 2019: East End Arts & Entertainment

Mural in memory of Jordan Haerter by Amp 26, Photo: Oliver Peterson
Mural in memory of Jordan Haerter by Amp 26, Photo: Oliver Peterson

With art galleries, theaters, performers and museums scattered across the East End, it’s not hard to enrich your life with arts and entertainment during the summer. But there’s so much more to find if you look past the obvious—here are some deep cuts that are sure to fascinate and provoke countless return trips to the Hamptons and North Fork.

Find more entries in a variety of 2019 Summer Superlatives categories.

Most Beloved Illegally Created Memorial
Look beneath the Jordan Haerter Veteran’s Memorial Bridge between Sag Harbor and North Haven for AMP 26’s striking street art mural featuring Captain America, the Stars & Stripes and an eagle with an anchor in its talons in honor of late U.S. Marine LCpl. Jordan Haerter, a local hero who was killed in 2008 defending a checkpoint in Ramadi, Iraq from a suicide bomber, who would have killed many others if not for Haerter’s actions. Following overwhelming public support, the Sag Harbor Village Board voted to allow the graffiti to remain, even though AMP 26 did not have permission to paint it.

Most Sold-Out Show-and-Tell
The format of PechaKucha is simple: a group of interesting persons each select 20 images of their work—be it sculpture, philanthropy or anything in-between—and discuss them for 20 seconds apiece. The Parrish Art Museum has yet to host a PechaKucha night that hasn’t sold out with blinding speed. 279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill. 631-283-2118,

Ken Hirasuka's “Ken’s Rock, Driftwood Cove,” Photo: Oliver Peterson
Ken Hirasuka’s “Ken’s Rock, Driftwood Cove,” Photo: Oliver Peterson

Most Difficult-to-Find Public Art
“Ken’s Rock, Driftwood Cove” is a 2004 rock carving many mistake for an ancient or alien artifact in Montauk. Look for this enduring piece by artist Ken Hiratsuka during low tide.

Most Intimate Theater Seat
Guild Hall’s JDT Lab incubator program fosters new theatrical works by local playwrights and artists, and most productions seat the audience right on the stage. There’s nothing quite like sitting mere feet away from performers as they bring exciting new plays to life, and the talkbacks make patrons part of the artistic process. Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. 631-324-0806,

Most Likely Place to Hear Spontaneous Jimmy Buffett
You never know if Jimmy Buffett or Billy Joel or any other legendary musicians will stop by The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett! 161 Main Street, Amagansett. 631-267-3117,

Knife by Dereyk Patterson, Photo: Oliver Peterson
DP Knife by Dereyk Patterson, Photo: Oliver Peterson

Most Artistic High-End Kitchen Knife
With visually striking, razor-sharp blades and handles built from a wide array of exotic materials, East Hampton craftsman Dereyk Patterson’s DP Knives have carved a unique niche in the world of high-end cutlery. Each one-of-a-kind knife is an exquisitely functional work of art that stands out among the comparatively humdrum Henckels, Globals and Wusthofs one might find in a typically well-appointed East End kitchen.

"Play It By Trust" by Yoko Ono at Longhouse
Play It by Trust, (detail) 1999 by Yoko Ono, marble dust, concrete; 36x198x198″ Permanent Loan, courtesy of the artist, 2008 © Yoko Ono

Most Confusing (or Un-Winnable?) Game of Chess Surrounded by Fabulous Sculpture and Flora
Founded by Jack Lenore Larsen in East Hampton, the Longhouse Reserve sculpture garden in East Hampton’s Northwest Woods has wide array of sculpture, both permanent and temporary, placed amid beautiful ornamental plantings throughout its 16-acre grounds. See “Play It By Trust,” an all-white chess set by Yoko Ono, “Reclining Figure” by Willem de Kooning, “Fly’s Eye Dome” by Buckminster Fuller and dozens of other works by masters of their form. 133 Hands Creek Road, East Hampton. 631-329-3568,

Coolest Permanent Museum Installation
Set within a historic firehouse and then church on Bridgehampton’s Corwith Avenue, The Dan Flavin Art Institute was launched in 1983 as a permanent installation of the minimalist’s fluorescent light bulb creations. The exhibition follows the artist’s career from when he began using only fluorescent tubes in 1963, to 1981 when he developed his idea for this display. 23 Corwith Avenue, Bridgehampton. 212-989-5566,

Donald Baechler's "Walking Figure" in Westhampton
Donald Baechler’s “Walking Figure” in Westhampton, Photo: Kyle Miller

Tin-Foiliest Figure
Few forget Neo-Expressionist artist Donald Baechler’s towering “Walking Figure” sculpture at a roundabout near Westhampton’s Gabreski Airport. Developer Rechler Equity Partners commissioned the 30-foot, 5,000-pound, aluminum art-brut style figure, which was erected in 2014.

Rockiest Monuments
Bear Rock Studio is not a studio at all, but an outdoor art creation where in the 1930s fisherman Elliot Alvah Brooks chiseled a pile of boulders into a collection of carvings that stand as a monument to, as the artist
said, the “memory of the vanquished Poquatucks.” Orient

Most Immersive Theater Company
The Neo-Political Cowgirls present theater that is unlike anything else you’ll see on the East End. With daring, original works that incorporate music, dance and non-linear storytelling, the Neo-Political Cowgirls’ productions are true artistic experiences. Much of their work is about the complexity and color of the female experience, which is conveyed through beautiful performance art.

Red Check at Nova's Ark Project.
Red Check at Nova’s Ark Project, Photo: Thiery Van Biesen

Largest Collection of Integral Art
Late artist Nova Mihai Popa dedicated four decades of his life to the creation of integral art—towering, abstract sculptures, murals, paintings and architecture that fuse life, art and nature. The Sculpture Park at Nova’s Ark Project features the largest collection of Popa’s work on 100 acres. 30 Millstone Road, Water Mill.

Most Mysterious Telephone Pole Art
Have you ever noticed the colorful, happy, quirky pieces of art on telephone poles throughout the Hamptons and North Fork? Those are known as Spontaneous Entities and are the creations of Michael R. Zotos. Spontaneous Entities can be seen everywhere from Southampton to Mattituck. Keep your eyes open for one of these mysterious and lovely designs.

Yesterday's Treasures in Southampton
Yesterday’s Treasures in Southampton, Photo: Oliver Peterson

Most Likely Place to See Superman, Buddha and a T-Rex Hanging Out Together
Behind the Fence Gallery offers a limitless selection of statues for sale with the likes of Superman and other classic characters and creatures lined along County Road 39 and inside the gallery, as well as custom pieces available for commission. 1547 County Road 39, Southampton. 631-283-5591,

Isabelle Haran-Leonardi at Nova Constellatio Gallery, Photo: David Taylor
Isabelle Haran-Leonardi at Nova Constellatio Gallery, Photo: David Taylor

Most Popular One-Woman Art Gallery
Nova Constellatio Gallery has won Dan’s Best of the Best for the past five years in a row, and it’s all thanks to one woman—owner and sole gallery artist Isabelle Haran-Leonardi. While other galleries host exhibitions featuring the works of various artists, Haran-Leonardi keeps the walls of stocked with her masterful paintings of boats, local wildlife and iconic North Fork landscapes. 419 Main Street, Greenport. 631-443-0242,

Wildest Late-Night Karaoke
When most other restaurants close, head to Jerry & The Mermaid to sing your heart out—with dine from the full menu—at karaoke nights every Friday and Saturday from 10:30 p.m.–2:30 a.m. 469 East Main Street, Riverhead. 631-727-8489,

Best Wine-Art Pairing
The William Ris Gallery and Sherwood House Vineyard in Jamesport are connected in spirit and space, allowing for creativity and indulgence to flow. 1291 Main Road, Jamesport. 609-408-5203,

Must-Hear Street Music
Main Street in Westhampton Beach comes alive on summer nights with informal, rousing performances of rock, classical and pop stylings by local street musicians. Westhampton Beach

More from Our Sister Sites