The borough’s official tourism slogan is “It’s in Queens,” but over the summer, it could also be “It’s Outside in Queens,” as countless parks, cultural venues, and boulevards host countless plein air movies, concerts, plays, food festivals, and parades. Among the most popular is Live at the Gantries, a series of free performances in Gantry Plaza State Park featuring a diverse collection of musicians doing everything from Prog Rock to Reggae to Arab sounds with bellydancing. Tonight, Dahka Band, which infuses traditional music from Algeria, Nigeria, and Turkey and sings in Arabic, Berber, Yoruba, and English, will take the stage, which boasts the East River and the Midtown Manhattan skyline as its backdrop.
Information on the remaining performers and a photo of the venue are on the jump page.
Brooklyn has hipsters. Queens has Hip-to-Hip. This theater company, which specializes in family-friendly productions, performs Shakespeare classics for free in various public spaces throughout the borough each summer. This year, Hip-to-Hip will put on the Bard of Avon’sTwo Gentlemen of Verona, an early slapstick comedy about love, friendship, betrayal, forgiveness…and a dog, and Cymbeline, a late romance/fairy tale about a king, his only daughter, an evil stepmother, and a forbidden love. The professional actors will perform in repertory, and 30 minutes before each performance, they will host “Kids & The Classics,” an interactive workshop for children of all ages.
Some will sit on folding chairs. Others will lie on blankets. Still more will stand or maybe even sit on the curb. But all will certainly enjoy FLIC NIC in the Street in Jackson Heights this Saturday — and again next Saturday. The Queens World Film Festival and the Jackson Heights Green Alliance will offer two evenings of action, family, feature, international, local and short movies at the 78th Street Play Street, which is permanently closed to vehicular traffic.
Descriptions of the scheduled flicks are on the jump page.
He could draw a wisecracking Bugs Bunny, an exasperated Daffy Duck, an enamored Pepé Le Pew, and a sinister Wile E. Coyote. Over a three-decade career, artist Charles Martin “Chuck” Jones (1912–2002) made some of the most popular cartoons of all time while directing more than 300 animated films. This Saturday, the Museum of Moving Image will open What’s Up, Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones, an exhibition that will run through January 19th, 2015. The first stop in a national tour organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the show will feature 23 of Jones’s animated films, interactive experiences, and more than 125 original sketches and drawings, storyboards, production backgrounds, animation cels, and photographs. The films include classic Warner Bros. cartoons such as What’s Opera, Doc?and classic TV specials such as Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
For the duration of the show, the museum will present Chuck Jones Matinees, cartoon screenings every Saturday and Sunday at 1 pm The museum will also host Animation Takeover in the Drop-In Moving Image Studio. Working with museum educators and using pencils, crayons, cameras, computers, and tablets, children will make their own media projects inspired by the exhibition.
More details and five additional images are on the jump page.
Shoko Kazama has always been fascinated by Chinese characters and poetry. From childhood, the Yokohama native studied calligraphy and passionately orchestrated the brushes, Japanese paper, and Chinese ink. After studying independently and with various mentors for decades, she is now the distinguished official calligrapher of Kencho-ji, a Zen sect with its high temple in Kamakura, Japan. This Friday, Kazama opens her first ever exhibition in New York City, Bokusai, at Resobox, an LIC gallery/cafe that promotes art and cuisine from the Land of the Rising Sun. The show’s theme is Otogizoshi or stories from the Muromachi period (13th century) that have been passed down verbally among children for generations. Kazama mixes black ink with white paper because her art explores expressing the invisible through the visible.
A quote from Kazama, another image, and more exhibition information are on the jump page.
Thirty-five years ago, Vincent and Patricia Chin relocated their business, VP Records, from Kingston, Jamaica to Jamaica, Queens. It was a good move as VP quickly grew to become the largest reggae company in the world. This Sunday, VP will add spice to the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival New York with a storyboard installation featuring a detailed map exploring reggae’s impact in every continent and an illustrative timeline covering each era. This seems like the perfect addition to this fourth annual event, which is now the biggest Caribbean food festival in the world, attracting roughly 20,000 visitors last year. They come for the tremendous cuisine, live music acts, shopping, and even a cultural stage, which will host folk dances, poetry readings, storytelling and creative fashions. Meanwhile, chefs will compete to win cash, bragging rights as the “Jerk Champion” and the coveted Dutch Pot Trophy as decided by a panel of distinguished judges.
More information and five additional photos appear on the jump page.
Bria Skonberg is on fire! The trumpeter/vocalist/composer was recently nominated as “Up and Coming Jazz Artist of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists’ Association and she won a New York Bistro Award for “Outstanding Jazz Artist.” A Canadian transplant who can hula-hoop while playing, Skonberg (above) has performed as a bandleader and guest artist at more than 50 jazz festivals in North America, Europe, China, and Japan and headlined at Symphony Space, Birdland, and Dizzy’s. (Hmmm, if she keeps this up she’ll be compared to Satchmo soon.) On July 19th, Skonberg’s quartet will perform at Satchmo’s former residence, the Louis Armstrong House Museum, as part of the venue’s Hot Jazz/Cool Garden summer concert series. In addition to great music and Skonberg’s pure, playful and sultry voice, attendees will be served Armstrong’s favorite dish, red beans ‘n’ rice, and sweet tea.
Details: Bria Skonberg Quartet, Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, July 19th, 2 pm, $18 in advance, includes a pass to tour the house which is valid for six months ($20 at the door without house pass.).
More information on the Hot Jazz/Cool Garden series is on the jump page.
This Friday, all are invited to bring a mat and enjoy sunset yoga in Flushing Town Hall’s garden. Yumcha Yoga Studio teachers will lead a series of poses, followed by kirtan singing from the Indian bhakti devotional tradition. Inner peace will certainly be in the air, but the event will also informally kick off the Northern Boulevard venue’s summer activities program. This jam-packed schedule includes dance performances and concerts featuring R&B, Jazz, country, drumming, and African-based music. Details are on the jump page.
Manhattan has the inspiring Empire State Building. Paris has the romantic Eiffel Tower. Queens has authentic, affordable and amazing restaurants. Lots of them. A culinary tour company that debuts this weekend, Local Finds: Queens Food Tours, hopes to bring taste-conscious tourists to as many borough establishments as possible. This two-person agency will organize weekly food sampling and cultural walking tours of Long Island City for now with hopes to expand to Flushing, Jamaica, Richmond Hill and the Rockaways as soon as possible. One of the company’s two founders, Queens native Sergey Kadinsky, will lead three-hour journeys every Sunday morning, starting at 11 am. Kadinsky, who also works for City Council Member Karen Koslowitz, will bring patrons to six local establishments, including a micro-brewery, a hip coffee shop and Manducatis Rustica (photo), where signature dishes will be awaiting. Plus, participants will receive a brochure with a neighborhood map, list of attractions, and recommendations for about 30 other great eateries in the area.
“When it comes to good eats, Queens is the king of the boroughs,” stated Richard Mumith, the other founder and a former Council Member Koslowitz employee. “We are all about discovering, eating, and supporting…local.”
A list of other Queens food tour guides is on the jump page.
Triple anniversary, double digit authors, one huge celebration. The Queens Theatre was established in 1989 in the formerTheaterama site, which is one of only three buildings remaining from the 1964 World’s Fair. The performance space is marking these 25- and 50-year milestones by presenting The World’s Fair Play Festival over nine days. Ten playwrights have created 10 original, 10-minute pieces inspired by the 1939 (a 75-year milestone) and/or 1964 World’s Fairs, both of which took place in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In these dramas, six main actors work with three directors and a small ensemble to encourage audiences to look into the future with the same optimism and hope that the two Queens World’s Fairs inspired in their visitors. The participants are celebrated writers and actors, including Todd Almond(Lear deBessonet’s The Tempest at the Public Theater, Girlfriend); Deen (Public Theatre Emerging Writers Group; Draw The Circle, Queens Theatre and elsewhere); and Kristoffer Diaz (Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety, Welcome to Arroyo’s, Queens Theatre and Lark Play Development Center).
Details: The World’s Fair Play Festival, Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave. S., Flushing Meadows Corona Park, July 18th through July 27th, $18 with the following schedule: Friday, July 18th through 20th; Friday, July 25th through 27th; Fridays, 8 pm; Saturdays, 2 pm and 8 pm; Sundays, 3 pm.