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As summer nears its end, don't miss this season tradition


Dreamgirls Photo Credit: (L to R) Anika Noni Rose as Lorrell, Beyonce Knowles as Deena, Sharon Leal as Michelle.(David James)

With fall around the corner, this week marks one of your last best chances to take in a true NYC summer tradition: a free outdoor movie.

The theme for the 2011 edition of the Central Park Conservancy Film Festival, which runs from Tuesday to Saturday, is music. Organizers have amassed an impressive roster for the nightly fest, with movies both classic and little-seen, centered on musicians of diverse genres, styles and backgrounds.

Each night’s film will be shown on the grounds just north of Sheep Meadow and south of the 72nd Street entrance, beginning at 8 p.m.

The program also includes a guest DJ, who will begin spinning when the gates open at 6:30 p.m. We break down the schedule for you.

“El Cantante” (2006)
Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez might be dunzo in real life, but the ex-couple lives on in this drama about the late salsa legend Hector Lavoe.

“Bird” (1988)
Directed by Clint Eastwood, this film tells the story of saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker. It was well received by critics but has been argely forgotten.

“Dreamgirls” (2006)
While Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson certainly kills her rendition of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” there’s much more to Bill Condon’s adaptation of the Broadway musical about a Motown group than that showstopper.

“Shine a Light” (2006)
Martin Scorsese, a Rolling Stones aficionado who’s used their music in countless movies, captures the band in concert at the Beacon Theatre during its 2006 “A Bigger Bang” tour. His documentary only re-emphasizes the fact that Mick Jagger, Keith Richards et al. are basically immortal.

“A Star Is Born” (1976)
The 1937 Janet Gaynor and 1954 Judy Garland versions of this timeless romance are the classics, but you could do far worse than Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in this second remake.

If you go:
The festival runs Tuesday-Saturday at 8 p.m just north of Sheep Meadow. Use the 72nd Street and Central Park West entrance. 


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