Lest we forget amidst all the Coop douchery and our ongoing Bugaboo fury, Prospect Park -- the defining feature of Park Slope -- will soon return to all of its summer glory in the form of Celebrate Brooklyn. So sunscreen up for the BBQs, unshaded runs, and two months of fun shows at the bandshell. Here's an early (unofficial, for now) partial lineup (with more to come soon!):
* Tuesday, June 5: Jimmy Cliff: The 2012 opening gala will ring with the sounds of Jamaica, with raggae OG Jimmy Cliff at the mic. The show coincides with the 40th year anniversary of Cliff's landmark raggae hits "You Can Get it if You Really Want" and "The Harder They Come" -- and the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence. You might know him best for his cover of "I Can See Clearly Now" (yes, from Cool Runnings), but socially conscious work like "The Harder They Come" built his rep back in the day. But, this being Park Slope, prepare for more than a few white-guy dreadlocks. 8pm, FREE (but if you want the whole gala thing, then it's like, $325).
* Thursday, June 14: Laura Marling: A pair of young Brits exemplifying contrasting genres share the stage for this show -- Marling, an English folk musician and supporting act, Michael Kiwanuka, a British soul singer. 7pm, FREE.
* Friday, June 15: Esperanza Spalding: Up the next night is some danceable jazz from this bassist and singer who famously beat Justin Bieber for a "Best New Artist" Grammy in 2011, leaving tons of Beliebers and bloggers asking, "Who the fuck is Esperanza Spalding?" Spalding tries to bring Jazz back its original roots in black music through hip-hop (she says). Sounds like a pretty good Brooklyn alternative to the stuffy jazz over on the island. She's supported by jazz pianists Geri Allen Patrice Rushen and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington.
* Saturday, June 16: Balkan Beat Box: These guys are fun. I caught them at Lollapalooza in 2010, and it was an energetic, a bit frenetic show. But mostly, it's just an interesting mix of sounds and musical lineages. Check out "Bulgarian Chicks" for a sample of their style: it's the Eastern European/klezmer boompa brass sound familiar to lovers of "Slavick Soul Party" at Barbes, with hip hop swagger and world-music vocals over the top. Pretty good stuff to get sweaty to.
* Tuesday, June 26: Childish Gambino: In the summer's first benefit show, the rapping alter ego of comedian Donald Glover (Community) will spit some rhymes that are...you know...Honestly, I only really know Glover through his Community role, in which he is pretty funny. But his first EP has gotten some praise for smart, catchy lyrics. The Royal Family, consisting of hip-hop acts Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q, opens. $35, 6pm Doors.
* Tuesday, July 10: Dirty Projectors: Next up on the ticketed, benefit lineup are experimental, indie rockers the Dirty Projectors. Check out the clash of backing sounds and the vocals fluctuating between strained and prettily cooed on 2009's "Stillness is the Move," blending world music sounds and R&B-esque vocals. Really, you're not a Brooklyn indie kid unless you at least hang out outside the gates for this one. $30, 7pm.
* Wednesday, July 18: Hot Chip: Finally, the non-free BRIC shows conclude with an exemplar of the current wave of kinda danceable, indie, electronica-influenced bands, heavy on synthesizers. Hot Chip's new album, "In Our Heads," is set to come out June 12. Take a look and listen to the dizzying video for their new single "Flutes," which highlights their building, spiraling, and let's admit, intentionally repetitive style. And then there's that clubby, metrosexual-sounding, and a bit synthed out, voice that sounds like it belongs below an airbrushed haircut from 1987. This stuff'll work if you're looking for a chance to shake your assets this summer in the park. $35, 7pm.
* Saturday, July 21: Arturo Sandoval: Living up to Celebrate Brooklyn's world music rep (I guess) a Cuban-born jazz legend closes off the season. Adept on both the keys and on trumpet, Sandoval goes way back, having collaborated with Dizzy Gillespie in the '70's.