Jonathan Toubin at Sunday Soul Scream (photo by Joel Henderson)
Jul 25, 2023
Honor your inner king, queen or non-binary monarch in Kings County this Leo season
Here's how to let your lion-side roar in Brooklyn through August 22 this Leo season
It’s Leo season, and the fiery, fixed, fifth sign of the Zodiac hosts its leading luminary, the sun, for a month of midsummer nights. Happy solar return to all those celebrating a birthday the last week of July or during the first three weeks of August! It’s your time to shine even more than usual and a great time for the rest of us to get on board with what Leos automatically know: that each of us contains an inner monarch who proudly struts their stuff, boldly steps into the spotlight and loyally protects and uplifts their loved ones like a lion would lord it over his pride.
One reductive and unkind cliche about Leo folk, perpetuated by haters and astrology memesters, is that they love to be in the spotlight, the center of attention, as if this were a crime. Consider that Leo is ruled by the sun, the celestial body which by its very definition is at the center of our solar system, and think about the warmth and light radiated by this very compelling star. It’s only natural that we turn our attention to the golden orb in the sky, recognizing its daily appearance literally means the world has continued to turn.
Leo is the sign of both the entertainer and the impresario, and when not occupying the spotlight themselves, Leos love to turn others on to who and what is lighting up their own brains, often working behind the scenes, setting the stage for others to shine.
Get curious and curatorial
We may have recently lost longtime Brooklyn nightlife king Jonathan Toubin to the county of Queens. But Toubin — who has made a career out of flashily flexing his Leo traits as a high profile international DJ and curator of historic revues — still hosts the weekly Sunday Soul Scream party on the rooftop at Our Wicked Lady in Bushwick where hipster and rock ‘n’ roll royalty congregate for wild evenings of live music and dance to the selections of groovy vinyl DJs (often including Jonathan Toubin himself). Toubin’s leonine “show us what you got” attitude, which precipitated his infamous Soul Clap Dance Off series, permeates the nights out, and many decadent attendees dress and party like it’s 1989, roaring 2020s style.
Down the road and ‘round the corner at Ivy House Studio, longtime Bushwick resident Julie Miller opens her photography studio to the community and has cultivated a beloved cultural center where old school locals mingle with the newer arrivals. For those looking for a place to shine, Ivy House Studio hosts curated open mic nights on Thursdays. The first Thursday of each month is a jazz jam run by Frank Trippett; comedy open mic is every third Thursday and is led by Talent Harris, Jr. On Sundays, the studio opens at 1 p.m. for The Sunday Situation. Take a donation-based yoga class accompanied by live music from 1 to 2 p.m., sample the wares of a local vendor at the marketplace from 2 to 6 p.m. (I’ll be offering Leo season Zodiac readings, come through). At 7 p.m., you can enjoy free live music (naturally this means bring cash for the tip bucket, please). The vibe here is chill and comfortable, and the 420 friendliness Julie pioneered at her “accidental after hours club” in the aughts maintains.
Another artist-owned and run performance space is The Owl Music Parlor on Rogers Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, where Brooklynites Oren Bloedow and Jennifer Charles of Elysian Fields present curated live music in an elegant backroom theaterette setting, complete with grand piano. Tuesday nights in the summertime Charles invites you to an intimate salon — meet in the front bar at 7:30 to sip on something refreshing. Her curations — “each week will be different” — will be revealed in the backroom at 8.30. I went last week and saw a 1952 French film. Popcorn was provided.
Many Leo boxes are checked by DJ duo disco divas/performance artists The Illustrious Blacks. Half of the pair, Monstah Black, is celebrating his birthday on August 11 at C’mon Everybody on Franklin Avenue in Bed-Stuy. He and his husband Manchild Black have been throwing parties for years all while cultivating their ever more illustrious international following and releasing their original dance music. Individually and as a pair, The Illustrious Blacks have steadily established themselves as Afrofuturistic fashion icons, fiercely strutting their stuff and striking poses that would make any mama lion proud. Monstah Black’s birthday party will be one of their classic versus events: Diana Ross vs. Donna Summer.
Astrology enthusiasts are all abuzz about Venus being retrograde in Leo for the entirety of Leo season; interpretations abound as to what this means for us collectively and individually. My short comment is this: There is a doubling down on all things Leo this Leo season. In fact, Leo season kicks off with Mercury still in the sign, which triple matters. So whatever you understand the sign of Leo to mean, multiply it and intensify it. Side note: Venus was retrograde in Leo in July-August of 2015, so I recommend looking back through your camera roll and Facebook memories to see what was going at that time and imagine a fractal of the themes reemerging eight years on.
Wonderment on wheels
That said, whatever you may be doing this Leo season, you may want a fabulous new outfit to rock while you’re at it, and The Bike Fashion Show presented by Bed-Stuy Clothes Swap on the afternoon of Saturday, July 29 would seem to be the place to deck oneself out in such finery. Attendees have the option to model or be an audience member in the inaugural debut bike fashion show. Bikes will be provided by Citi Bike, and models will have the option to ride or walk when showing off their groovy threads.
“We want to see your most fierce, retro, audacious ensembles! Prepare to show off and show out!” say the organizers, and I couldn’t have put it more astrologically.
Further fabulosity on wheels is going down at the Dreamland Roller Rink in Prospect Park on hot August Friday nights at Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Disco, emceed by Brooklyn’s Queen of GoGo dancing, karaoke cabarets and AC/DC cover versions, Ms. Anna Coco Cabanna. Each Friday has a different theme – “Soul Train,” “Breakin’” and “Friends” vs. “Beverly Hills 90210.” Dress up in the most fabulous, retro outfit in your closet and hit the dance floor. Roller disco outfits, glitter, sparkle, glitz-and-glam costumes are highly recommended (but not mandatory)!
Finally, if you’re a Brooklyn Magazine fancier with a song in your heart, find a karaoke spot in which to unleash it this Leo season. In fact, karaoke may just be the most Leo-friendly pastime in history. As Sly Stone said, “Everybody is a star,” and what better set and setting in which to explore that side of oneself than in one of Brooklyn’s dozens of Karaoke houses? The Cobra Club on Wykoff Avenue in Bushwick plays host to the Kings of Karaoke Friday and Saturday late nights from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.; they also offer a chance to shine at The Simple Mic open mic night every other Wednesday. Goldies in Greenpoint is another good go-to for egalitarian songbirds, offering a dedicated room for your karaoke party of 20-30 at which everyone gets to take the stage in a private corner of the bar.
But the crown jewel of the Brooklyn Karaoke scene is surely 100 Fun on 60th Street in Sunset Park. The largest karaoke establishment in North America, 100 Fun boasts 45 luxury rooms and a huge song selection in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean. And remember, in Leo season boastfulness need not be a dirty word. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!
If you’re wondering what all this means for you if you’re not Leo, consider checking your chart for hidden Leo planets or to discover which astrological house is activated for you during Leo season. Join me for a ChartChat and I’ll break it down for you. And if you have specific questions about Leo season in Brooklyn, drop them in my mailbag and I’ll answer them in the Stories on the Brooklyn Magazine instagram. You can get in the Leo mood by listening to my Zodiac Soundtrack for the season.
You might also like
Fashion Community Comes Together to Launch a Raffle for New Yorkers in Need
Fashion Community Comes Together to Launch a Raffle for New Yorkers in Need
5 Fragrances That Should Be In Your Beauty Regimen