Every year around June 23, the Portuguese-speaking world honors São João (or St. John the Baptist). Young and old mix religious observance with fun, food, fireworks and even playful fights with garlic flowers as part of a tradition that dates back to the 16th century. Next weekend, Queens gets in on the fun, when O Lavrador Restaurant hosts a three-day extravaganza highlighting the wonders of Portuguese culture. Expect live folk dance groups from Portugal and Spain, a Portuguese DJ, two live Portuguese bands and a fashion show. Along with the entertainment, the iconic Jamaica eatery will sell typical BBQ cuisine and even raffle off a Portuguese racing bicycle. Details: Festa de São João, June 21-23, O Lavrador, 138-40 101st Ave., Jamaica, free admission but food will be on sale.
Finally a Father’s Day gift he will really appreciate! This Sunday at the Queens Botanical Garden, a unique, talented, completely local group will play songs composed by present and former borough residents. Expect Quintet of the Americas (above) to perform jazz by Louis Armstrong (Corona) and classical and symphony pieces by Soong Fu-Yuan (Briarwood), James Cohn (Douglaston), Beata Moon (Forest Hills) and Morton Gould (Richmond Hill). The band might also try sounds from Harry Potter and Star Wars by John Williams (Flushing). The concert kicks off QBG’s Music in the Garden series, which will feature live performances of Balinese, Irish and Arab genres. Details: Quintet of the Americas, QBG, 43-50 Main St., Flushing, 2 pm to 3:30 pm, $4. (more…)
Located smack dab on the Queens-Brooklyn border, the Onderdonk House is the city’s oldest Dutch Colonial, sitting on land granted by Peter Stuyvesant in the mid-17th century. Currently, the preserved property has city, state and national historic status and provides a hands-on look into the architecture, furniture, clothing, gardening and cooking styles of Old New York. This Saturday, the Onderdonk House will host a timeless celebration: fresh fruit in the summertime. The Annual Strawberry Festival will feature plenty of berries and strawberry shortcake as well as music by a DJ, clown magic by Bobo the Hobo, old-fashioned games and a pie-eating contest. There will also be guided tours of the house, which features a gambrel roof, Dutch doors, central hallway and double hung windows with shutters. And, as a special treat, the East Coast Car Association will drive over vintage cars for some modern era fun. Details: Annual Strawberry Festival, Onderdonk House, 1820 Flushing Avenue, Ridgewood, June 15, noon to 4 pm, $3. Click through to the jump to see a photo of the house. (more…)
Irish eyes — and ears — will be smiling. The Guggenheim Grotto, consisting of County Mayo natives Kevin May and Mick Lynch (above), has created a genre fans describe as “folk-influenced indie pop.” The duo, which won a 2007 Independent Music Award with the song “A Lifetime in Heat,” likes to mix harmonies with piano instrumentals and intricate acoustic guitar hooks. This Friday, these lads will share the stage with Cathy Maguire, a singer, songwriter, model and TV presenter from County Louth. With a style honed in Nashville with help from Cowboy Jack Clement, Maguire (below) has a bluegrass style and stunning stage presence. Details: The Guggenheim Grotto and Cathy Maguire in Concert, June 14, 7:30 pm, New York Irish Center, 10-40 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, $25/$15 for students, seniors and the unemployed. (more…)
It’s New York State Museum Week, and the living is easy, especially in Queens. Starting today through June 16, five local cultural venues will offer discounts and promotional offers to visitors. Mention “Museum Week” and receive a complimentary collectible at the Louis Armstrong House Museum (while supplies last) along with a 10 percent discount in the gift store. Bring a friend for free with two-for-one admission at the Noguchi (above), King Manor and Moving Image museums. At the Queens Botanical Gardens, there will be half-off admission. Meanwhile, the Queens County Farm Museum will offer free tours. Statewide, participants include about 250 venues, stretching from Manhattan’s 5th Avenue, where El Museo del Barrio will have free admission on June 11, to the Hyde Collection in upstate Glens Falls, where visitors will receive a free poster.
It’s a match made in musical Nirvana. Yungchen Lhamo, a Lhasa native, has dazzled audiences around the world with her hypnotic a capella singing and deep spiritual commitment to Tibetan Buddhism. Born is Moscow, pianist Anton Batagov is an internationally renown post-minimalist composer who draws openly from his Buddhist philosophy and practice. These performers currently collaborate to create music based on movement and improvisation. This Sunday, Lhamo and Batagov will kick off the Music in the Garden Series, which the Noguchi Museum offers with Bang on a Can/Cantaloupe Music every second Sunday during the summer months. Details: Yungchen Lhamo and Anton Batagov, June 9, 3 pm, free with admission, Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Rd., LIC. (Other concerts are July 14, Kyaw Kyaw Naing; Aug. 11, Vicky Chow; and Sept. 8, Mantra Percussion.)
It looks like 5 Pointz is going to leave ‘em rhyming. This Saturday, the world famous graffiti Mecca, aka “The Institute of Higher Burning,” will hold a five-hour tribute to hip hop with live performances by New York and New Jersey rappers. With DJ Raydar Ellis as the host, expect such acts as Rabbi Darkside, Elijah Black, Delvebeer and Dax Medina. Also scheduled are label showcases from ThemRecordings and Bucktown USA. Countless taggers from as far away as Europe and Asia have displayed their work at this 200,000-square-foot outdoor space since its founding in 1993. Recently, the property owners announced plans to convert the Long Island City venue into luxury housing that might include a 41-story residential tower, a 47-story tower, an indoor rock-climbing wall, a simulated golf course and barbecue areas. Details: Hip Hop Fest, June 8, 2 pm – 7 pm, 5 Pointz, 45-46 Davis Street, LIC.
Photo from big cities bright lights