There’s strength in numbers, but there’s fun in words. A lot of fun.
This weekend, authors, booksellers, essayists, poets, and other verse enthusiasts will head to LIC Bar for the Queens NYC Lit Fest, a two-day celebration of the borough and its booming writing scene. Organized by Michael Geffner from The Inspired Word, this first annual extravaganza will feature scheduled readings by residents from around the borough, including Maria Lisella, the newly appointed Queens poet laureate, and Audrey Dimola, hostess of the reading-and-live-writing series Nature of the Muse. Plus, both days will begin with open mic time at 11 am. (First come, first served. Five-minute slots.) More information and another photo on jump page.
Five-time Grammy winner James Taylor comes to Queens to give a concert this week. He might want to arrive early and leave late so he can enjoy a huge foodie event, a ghost tour, outdoor movies, festivals and concerts, and even a chance to watch top-notch cricket. Here’s the rundown.
July 30, Haunting Histories and Legends of Astoria, 7:30 pm. This two-hour stroll visits some lesser-known historical sites and reveals tales of the neighborhood’s grim and ghostly past. Astoria is filled with tragic Hollywood film stars, voodoo, potters’ fields, grisly murders, poltergeists, hidden treasure, and deadly waters. $20/$25 at the door, location upon registration.
If you can’t beat them, make your own show. After a second-place finish on a Jeopardy! episode, Noah Tarnow created The Big Quiz Thing, a team-based, multi-generational trivia contest in 2002. With questions about geography, history, pop culture, science, and sports, teams (sometimes families) compete against each other — with audience participation at times — in such categories as the Lightning Round and the Text Message Challenge. There are “Smart-Ass Points” for entertaining-but-incorrect answers.
On August 4, Quiz Thing will begin a residency at Q.E.D., an eclectic cafe/working space/hang out spot in Astoria. During the kick-off, Tarnow will divide the audience into groups that will compete using an interactive app/website with tablets and smartphones. Shows will continue on the first Tuesday of each month (September 1, October 6, etc.) with no confirmed end date.
Details: The Big Quiz Thing, Q.E.D., 27-16 23rd Avenue, Astoria, August 4, 7:30 pm, $8 in advance/$10 at the door.
It’s kind of like Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game — which pits superstars from one league against their counterparts in the other circuit — except with this challenge, everybody wins.
On August 1, Flushing Town Hall will host The Catskills Comes to Queens, a premiere farm-to-table, food-and-wine tasting with more than 20 chefs, pitmasters, and culinary artisans. Attendees will be able to walk around the venue’s outside garden, theater, and exhibition space, sampling such delicacies as rabbit mortadella hot dogs, lamb tagine, Cuban-Chinese spit-roasted goat, whole hog BBQ, and crispy tripe with Sichuan peppercorn and jalapeño. (more…)
There’s English-speaking Hollywood. There’s Hindi-tongued Bollywood. And there’s Mani Ratnam, the man who revolutionized and popularized India’s other major movie genre, Tamil-language cinema. Over a four-decade career, Ratnam has made boundless films that criticize politicians, challenge social mores, question intellectual thought, and reap commercial success.
The Museum of the Moving Image will pay tribute to this prolific director by showing three of his most powerful works—Roja, Bombay, and Dil Se—all of which investigate romance against the backdrop of Indian politics. (more…)
Poet and novelist George Dawes Green founded The Moth, a nonprofit dedicated to the art of storytelling, in 1997. His aim was to revive a favorite childhood pastime: spinning yarns with his buddies on his Georgia porch during hot summer nights while moths zoomed in and out of sight.
He ended up creating a phenomenon, and that’s no fish tale.
On Monday, July 27, The Moth spearheads a friendly “StorySlam” at Flushing Town Hall. The night’s theme is “business,” and anyone with a true (well, mostly true), five-minute narrative about a professional dealing can apply to participate.
The format is straightforward. Potential contestants put their names in The Moth Hat. Contenders take the stage (no notes allowed) after their names are randomly picked from the pool. Judges selected from the audience then choose the StorySLAM winner.
Details: The Moth StorySLAM, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing. July 27, 7 pm, $10.
It’s a chance to make history or at least take part in it.
The Greater Astoria Historical Society is going to host two unique parties this summer. From 1 pm to 4 pm on July 25 and again on August 8, all are invited to the Long Island City headquarters to scan old photos.
Do you have any pictures of the old neighborhood or beloved family members? This is the way they can achieve immortality. Agency members will scan the photos, return them to attendees, and then include the images in their archives.
It’s free, but the impact might be priceless.
Details: Summer Scan Party, Greater Astoria Historical Society, 35-20 Broadway, Long Island City, July 25, 1 pm, free.
The New York State Pavilion has a tremendous history and an uncertain future. Designed by legendary architect Philip Johnson and built for the 1964 World’s Fair, it once had 100-foot columns suspending a 50,000 square-foot roof with multi-colored panels. It also boasted three towers (measuring 60 feet, 150 feet, and 226 feet, respectively) and a 26-foot replica of the St. Lawrence hydroelectric plant. Then there was Texaco’s map of New York State with 400-pound terrazzo mosaic panels. An estimated 51 million walked through it.
After the World’s Fair, the site was a concert venue — the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones played there — and even a roller rink. But it experienced years of neglect and abandonment until People for the Pavilion, an advocacy group, was launched about three years ago.
This Sunday, the Queens Historical Society will screen Modern Ruin, a documentary that was written, directed, and edited by Matthew Silva, who co-founded People for the Pavilion.
Details: Modern Ruin, Queens Historical Society, Weeping Beach Park, 143-35 37th Avenue, Flushing, July 26, 2:30 pm, $10 with limited seating.
Outside. Outside. Outside. There are very few indoor events in Queens this week. Whether theater, film, music, magic, a brew fest or an American Indian pow wow, it’s happening under the sky and stars. The exceptions include tango dance lessons, a story-telling contest, and a scanning party. The details follow.
July 23, The Merry Wives of Windsor, 7:30 pm. The Hip to Hip Theatre Company presents a Shakespeare classic with seduction, temptation, mayhem, and hilarity. Children’s program at 7 pm. Free. Crocheron Park, 35th Avenue and Cross Island Parkway, across from Golden Pond, Bayside.
July 23, Johnny Cash Tribute, 7:30 pm. Michael Patrick’s Ring of Fire Band takes the audience on a journey through the struggles, challenges, and adventures that Johnny Cash sang about. Free. Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and the public pool, Astoria.
July 24, 37th Annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow, through July 26. New York City’s oldest and largest pow wow features three days of intertribal Native American dance competitions. More than 40 nations are represented, and a large selection of unique Native American art, crafts, jewelry, and food are available. $10/$15 for weekend pass and $5/$7 for children. Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park.
July 24, Rural Route Film Festival, through July 26. This 11th annual series screens 19 films about rural life from 16 countries (and all seven continents), with filmmakers in person and live musical performances. $12/$9 seniors and students. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.
July 25,Botanical Brew Fest, noon to 3 pm or 4 pm to 7 pm. Enjoy a selection of craft beers from local and international breweries, plus food and live music. Tickets required, ages 21+ only, early bird tickets for $35 through July 24, $50 at the gate. Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing.
July 25, 78th Street Play Street, dusk. The Queens World Film Festival collaborates with the Jackson Heights Green Alliance to present indie films under the stars. This week is all about documentaries. Free. Travers Park (aka 78th Street Plaza), 78th Street and 34th Avenue, Jackson Heights.
July 25,Summer Scan Party,1 pm. Bring old photos of the neighborhood or family gems to scan. Free. Greater Astoria Historical Society, 35-20 Broadway, Long Island City.
July 25, The Wings of Eagles, 2 pm; Mogambo, 4:30 pm. Shown as part of The Essential John Ford, a tribute to the consummate American filmmaker, Wings of Eagles is a about a Navy flier who fought back from paralysis to become a World War II Navy commander and screenwriter. Mogambo is a remake of Clark Gable’s 1932 Red Dust. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.
July 26, Modern Ruin, 2:30 pm. Screening of a documentary about Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion from the glory days of the 1964 World’s Fair through its demise over the following 50 years. The film details its use as a 1960s concert venue and 1970s roller rink, plus the years of neglect and the recent advocacy efforts to save and repurpose the structure. $10 with limited seating. Queens Historical Society, Weeping Beach Park, 143-35 37th Avenue, Flushing.
July 26, Upstream, 2:30 pm; Fort Apache, 4 pm. Shown as part of The Essential John Ford, a tribute to the consummate American filmmaker, Upstream, presented with live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin (keyboard) and Joanna Seaton (vocals), is about an egotistical actor and a vaudeville couple who partner in a knife-throwing act. Fort Apachedepicts the travails of Thursday, a rigid West Point officer who tries to take command of a desert outpost town and tragically mishandles several clashes with the Native American population. Shirley Temple plays Thursday’s daughter. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.
July 27,The Moth StorySLAM, 7 pm. This open-mic storytelling competition is for anyone with a five-minute yarn on the night’s theme, “Business: Selling Out or Buying in.” Participants throw their names into The Moth “hat.” A half hour later, names are drawn to determine the order slammers take the stage. Judges, selected from the audience, pick a winner from 10 featured stories. $10. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing.
July 29, Kings of the Wind & Electric Queens, dusk. Outdoor screening of a documentary as Bollywood film, reporting on Sonepur Fair, a festival held at the confluence of the Ganges and Gandak rivers on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Kartika. Free. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City.
July 29, Wayne “Superius” Garland, 11 am. Children love this magical presentation starring the original hip hop magician, ventriloquist, and comedian. Free. Beach 97th Street and Shore Front Parkway, Rockaway.
Consider it to be a Fresh Air Fund activity without physical traveling.
On July 24, the Museum of the Museum Image kicks off the Rural Route Film Festival, a three-day series that focuses on life in the boondocks. This 11th annual event will screen 19 films—from 16 countries and seven continents—with live musical performances and Q&As with the filmmakers.
This year’s theme is strong women, and highlights include the New York premiere of Edén, director Elise DuRant’s debut feature inspired by her childhood experience in Mexico, and the world premiere of Down Down the Deep River, a narrative about growing up in New Hampshire by Will Sheff of indie band Okkervil River (with a live performance and Q&A with Sheff). The festival also boasts the New York premiere of Stream of Love, director Ágnes Sós’s look at romance among the senior citizens of a rural Transylvanian village, and a special preview screening of Sailing a Sinking Sea, director Olivia Owens Wyatt’s documentary on the seafaring Moken people of Thailand and Myanmar.