Block parties in New York City turn traffic-clogged streets into a pedestrian paradise made for lazy weekends, elephant ear consumption and sunburns. The Queens Council on the Arts will continue the tradition on June 22 with a celebratory feel and a quirky touch. The arts nonprofit recently moved into the Kaufman Astoria Studios complex from its former home in Forest Park. At the Saturday event it will officially cut the ribbon on the new space.
For going on 31 years thousands of New Yorkers have flooded Astoria Park for the annual pre-Independence Day fireworks show and concert. This year the Queens Symphony Orchestra — a 47-member crew that is embarking on its 60th year — is ecstatic to be warming up the crowd for the June 24 Central Astoria Local Development Coalition’s Independence Day Celebration.
“We do it a little before because not everything can be done on the Fourth,” said Teresa Raimondo with the CALDC.
You won’t need to get out your favorite MGM film to see people singing and dancing on the streets this summer.
The annual Make Music New York festival which welcomes in summer with scores of free musical performances scattered throughout the streets and parks, is coming to dozens of locations in Queens.
Since Time Warner owns both DC Comics and Warner Brothers Pictures, it makes complete corporate business sense to produce a retelling of the Superman saga every few years.
When baby boomers think of “Superman,” they think of the 1950s TV series that starred George Reeves and the late ’70s and early ’80s films that had Christopher Reeve in the blue bodysuit and red cape. While it was always good versus evil, it was done with a wink of the eye.
Standup comedy has been described with terror, joy and despair by some of its better-known practitioners. There’s an authority in being the only person in a room on a stage holding a microphone, but it comes laced with an additionally poisonous caveat: a very high probability of failure.
So when lifelong Rego Park resident Liam McEneaney takes the stage, he knows he’s assuming a risk akin to tightrope-walking during a windstorm. And he should. The 36-year-old has been hitting the stage for nearly two decades. His story mirrors Steve Martin’s own slog, a course the comedy great described as “more plodding than heroic.”
Born and raised in Woodhaven, Greg Cerar, 31, says organizing a concert at the Forest Park Bandshell has been on his mind since the age of 6.
“I grew up two blocks from there. As a child, my father used to take me there. I would hang out on the stage with my friends. Things just developed and I’m finally able to do it,” Cerar said.
Jorge Posada’s works take anatomy to another level.
His several-foot-tall paintings suggest knees, legs and sometimes just the act of an arm whisking through the air. The smoothly painted tendons twist and bend on the canvases, appearing both strong and vulnerable.
Artist Felix Sherman loves quoting Picasso, who said, as an older artist, that he had tried his whole life to paint like a child and now he finally could.
Sherman can relate.
Named for the small Ohio town in which its founder grew up, the Piney Fork Press Theater is bringing one installment of its inaugural play festival to Queens on June 15, spotlighting eight short plays averaging about 10 minutes apiece.
Best of all, the event is free, in keeping with the theater group’s tradition since its inception.
With a stadium named in his honor at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, jazz and entertainment legend Louis Armstrong’s name has long been associated with the sport.
But with the Major League All-Star Game coming to Flushing this year for the first time in 49 years, the museum in Armstrong’s former Corona home is calling attention to Satchmo’s passion for baseball in an exhibit that will run through August.
Twenty years ago Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist started “do it.”
Supposedly he was having drinks with two artists, Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier, in Paris when the idea of the ultimate “work in progress” show was birthed.
People love mash-ups. There’s the bi bim bop taco (Korea meets Mexico), the Beatles meet Bob Marley (“Let It Be” and “No Cry” mix), sculptures that are paintings and paintings that are sculptures.
The list goes on of mix-ups and mash-ups, and Flushing Town Hall has been getting in on the fun with its Cultural Crossroads series, featuring musicians from different countries coming together to jam.
As part of Queens College’s Year of India, it is looking at the meaning of namaste through a very wide lens.
“It’s a character study of the inner life of the person and the respect for the whole living world,” curator Suzanna Simor said.
When you search “New Music” on Google, the results are overwhelming. New hip-hop, pop, Latin, new wave, classical and other genres are listed for what seems to be an infinite number of pages. But while none of these genres are new music, they aren’t entirely wrong either, as the new music genre cannot be confined or compared to any other music type.
New music is classical, in that many composers write for violin, piano or flute, but it is also pop in that it uses electronic sounds and riffs; even still, it is also opera, rock, hip-hop and other music types.
It is considered something of a cinematic clichÈ: the wide-eyed child stepping under the big top for the first time, walking out hours later to swear to anyone who’ll listen that he or she will join the circus.
The story rarely plays out. Inevitably, the kid comes to his or her senses and picks up a seemingly sensible career, like accounting or lawyer. Yawn.
“You end up making a lot of words in the world of neon,” Krypton Neon Studio co-founder and artist Kenny Greenberg said as he sifted through a pile of discarded words in his Long Island City shop. Twisted white tubes that turn a spectrum of bright colors when plugged in lay on the concrete ground — “smile,” “come,” “the,” “a” and “extraordinary.”
The words come from broken signs and Broadway play displays. The “a” came from a neon piece for the traveling performance of “The Producers.” During the show’s travels they broke the “a” several times, and Krypton would have to ship a replacement to wherever they were. After several last minute Fed-Exes they decided to make a backup just in case.
It’s about people — where they live and what they stand for, or what they could stand for or appear to stand for.
“Strength of Character,” a group photography show, is one of the many exhibitions open for viewing from May 15 through 19 as part of the LIC Arts Open, a week in which most of Long Island City’s art studios, stores, galleries and performance spaces open their doors to show off — not in a braggy way but in a “you might have not known our neighborhood had such a high concentration of artsy talent” way.
One day, while biking to work, Jessica Findley noticed her jacket flapping in the wind. She was working on a project with inflatables at New York University at the time and conceived the idea of a group of bikers wearing inflatable costumes. She mentioned her idea to a friend, but soon forgot all about it.
Following the September 11th attacks when Findley was “not in a good place,” her friend called and encouraged her to pursue the idea.
Willy Russell's musical “Blood Brothers,” which enjoyed healthy runs both in London’s West End and on Broadway, is being staged anew by the Astoria Performing Arts Center through May 18. A tragic tale of how class can dictate one’s direction in life, the show is perhaps more relevant today than ever.
Recently during a rehearsal break, director Tom Wojtunik likened some of the events in the show to today’s world.
From 1975 to 1979 the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia.
Its leader, Pol Pot, envisioned a preindustrial society centered around small rural villages. He vacated the cities and forced everyone to move to the countryside where they were born. Artists, intellectuals, urbanites and anyone with even a hint of opposition were the first of the two million people out of a country with a population of eight million executed.
Set in the court of the legendary King Arthur, the now-classic musical "Camelot" began its original Broadway run late in 1960, becoming forever linked to the presidency of John Kennedy, whose tenure is often referred to as the Camelot era.
The show is being presented in concert form by Beari Productions in Bayside through May 5.
Don’t go to this show looking for works that just please the eye. Some are pretty or entertaining, yes, but all have a complex theory or analyze a social issue that goes beyond the aesthetics. Grab the curator’s essay and study the plaques.
‘Better Homes’ calls up images of women in pearls with their fine china as seen on the glossy pages of the iconic magazine Better Homes and Gardens. The SculptureCenter’s current exhibit by the similar name plays with this idea.
Queensborough Community College has soul.
The Spinners, who started their reign on the Top 40 charts in the ’50s, will perform hits like “Cupid,” “I'll Be Around,” “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love?” and “Games People Play” at a May 5 show at Queensborough Performing Arts Center.
When ordering a plate of seafood paella, you might imagine traditional images of Spain, like flamenco dancers and plucking guitarists, not necessarily the whitewashed houses and ancient ruins of the Greek isles.
But some Greek chefs in Astoria are ushering in a new wave of Greek fusion cuisine, combining traditional dishes with other ethnic influences or modern flourishes.