It’s time to break away from winter and jump into the great outdoors! Good thing the borough is ready. Tomorrow, the Queens Botanical Gardens will host two programs for nature lovers. At 10 am, the Flushing green space will launch its intergenerational garden (above). Interested individuals will be able to tour the facilities, meet gardeners of all races and ages, and learn the ropes with the coordinator. Then at noon, QBG will offer an introductory workshop on how to grow summer vegetables indoors. Meanwhile just south of Little Neck Bay, Urban Park Rangers will teach wilderness survival at the Alley Pond Park Adventure Center. Participants of all ages will learn how to build shelter, start a fire without matches, and find water sources in a forest. The fun continues on March 10th at the Rockaway Community Park Coastal Clean-Up, where do-gooders will work with Natural Areas Volunteers from the Parks Department to remove debris from the shoreline and protect Jamaica Bay’s natural habitat.
Start Your Summer Veggies Indoors, Queens Botanical Gardens, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, March 8th, noon, $6, advance registration and payment required at email@example.com or 718-886-3800 ext. 230.
Wilderness Survival, Alley Pond Park Adventure Center, vicinity of Little Neck Bay, Long Island Expressway, Union Turnpike, Springfield Boulevard, Douglaston Parkway and Hanford Street, March 8th, 11 am, free, but call 718-352-1769.
Remember: In Strawberry Fields, nothing is real. The Fab Faux, a world-renown Beatles tribute band whose members include Will Lee of Late Night with David Letterman and Jimmy Vivino from Conan O’Brien’s show, will perform at Flushing’s Colden Center on Saturday night. Famous for painstaking attention to detail and an unwavering respect for their idols, The Faux impeccably recreate the harmony, notes, sound and general experience of a Beatles concert, but with extra vocalists to achieve a double-tracked effect. For this show, the group will celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show with a mixed set of favorites. They will be joined by the Creme Tangerine Strings and the Hogshead Horn.
Details: The Fab Faux, presented by JES Entertainment, Colden Center at Queens College, Kissena Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway, Flushing, March 8th, 8 pm, $65/$55/$45.
Even the Polar Vortex needs to have fun every now and then. This weekend, the warmth and fun of the Caribbean come to Queens in various forms. On March 7th, Flushing Town Hall hosts a tribute to singer and actor Harry Belafonte with Jeff Zúñiga and his band recreating the King of Calypso‘s signature steel-drum tunes, “Day O” call, and such hits as ”Matilda” and “Jamaica Farewell.” On March 8th, Queens Museum kicks off a day of fun at 1 pm with Caribbean storytelling with Michael Manswell, a dancer, singer, choreographer, teaching artist and artistic director who is currently affiliated with the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning and other entities. At 2 pm, teaching artists host a mask-making activity that will lead to participants wearing their masks and dancing to the steel drums around the museum in Carnival style. Then at 3 pm, steel drum expert Patrick Davis and his group give a live concert.
Details: A Tribute to Harry Belafonte, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, March 7th, 8 pm, $15/$10 for students.
Some cinema inspires without special effects, beautiful people and Hollywood endings. The ReelAbilities NY Disabilities Film Festival, which is presented annually in 15 U.S cities, features award-winning movies about people with disabilities, post-screening discussions and exhibits. On March 7th, ReelAbilities will start a three-day run in Greater New York City. The Central Queens Y will show Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, which tells the story of an autistic Rockaway Beach teen who rides the subway alone; Gabrielle (below), which is about a singer in a group home for developmentally disabled adults and her inseparable boyfriend; and Do You Believe in Love? (above), a Hebrew-language flick about Tova, who is paralyzed by muscular dystrophy, but works finding love matches for people with disabilities. The Forest Hills venue will also display Pearls Project Photography Exhibit through March 11th. Meanwhile over in Astoria, the Museum of the Moving Image will show Gabrielle and Stand Clear of the Closing Doors as well as Cinemability, a documentary on cinema’s effect on the evolving conception of disability; Little World, a Catalan movie about a wheelchair user who travels from Spain to New Zeland; and Run & Jump, which depicts a family’s struggles after the father suffers a stroke.
Details: *New York Disability Film Festival, movies and an exhibit atCentral Queens Y, 67–09 108th Street, Forest Hills, and movies at Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, March 7th through March 9th, times vary, click here for schedule.
*Movies will also show in Brooklyn; Manhattan; Staten Island; the Bronx; Garden City, Great Neck and Huntington, Long Island; and Mamaroneck and Pleasantville, Westchester. Click here for full list of films.
In 1979, Kurt Walker, a 20-year-old from the Bronx whose stage name was “Kurtis Blow,” signed a contract with Mercury Records to release the song Christmas Rappin. This was the first time a major label promoted the hip hop genre, and the ditty sold over 400,000 copies. Blow went on to release 10 albums over the following 11 years and enjoy success as an actor and producer before becoming an ordained minister and founding The Hip Hop Church in Harlem. On March 15th, Blow will share the stage with other Old Skool rappers, including the Grammy winning Naughty by Nature (above), who rose to fame with “OPP” in 1991, for the Legends of Hip Hop Volume I Reunion at Resorts World Casino New York City. Other confirmed acts are Black Sheep, DJ Marley Marl, DJ Skribble and DJ Kool.
Details: Hip Hop Legends, Resorts World Casino NYC, 110-00 Rockaway Boulevard, Jamaica, March 15th, 9 pm (doors open at 8 pm), $25-$80.
Who needs Hollywood when there’s Mumblecore? Only a little over a decade old, this movement of DIY filmmaking is known for its micro-budgets, improvisation, naturalistic conversations in real places, single characters in their 20s and 30s and minimal soundtracks. Some movies are in black and white. This Saturday and Sunday, the Museum of the Moving Image will celebrate this genre with a six-film retrospective on one of its major figures, Joe Swanberg (above, left), who will be present for all screenings.
Details: Mumblecore, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, 0n March 1st, the films are Hannah Takes the Stairs, 2 pm; Nights and Weekends, 4:30 pm; and Silver Bullets, 7 pm; on March 2nd, the films are Art History, 2 pm; Uncle Kent, 4:30 pm; and All the Light in the Sky, 7 pm, free with admission.
It’s four “firsts” in one. This weekend, SculptureCenter launches simultaneous premiere presentations by Rossella Biscotti, Radamés “Juni” Figueroa, Jumana Manna and David Douard. Each artist will be showing a solo project for the first time in a U.S. institution. Biscotti’s film The Undercover Man depicts Joseph D. Pistone, an FBI agent (aka Donnie Brasco) who spent six years undercover with the Bonnano crime family, resulting in the conviction of over 100 mobsters in the 1980s. The film is part of a larger project that includes sculptures, photographs, and a publication. Juni will display a site-specific structure referencing a tree house (below) in Naguabo, Puerto Rico. The sculpture incorporates materials inspired by the tropical rain forest and urban structures found throughout the island. Manna will show a group of sculptures related to her video work, Blessed Blessed Oblivion, which examines macho culture in East Jerusalem. In his )juicy o’f the nest (above), Douard explores notions around a city’s literal and figurative underground. Mirroring systems that aren’t necessarily seen, but are essential to daily life (sewage systems, public transport, etc.), Douard creates an elaborate scheme connecting fruit, fountains, a sofa, and other elements.
Details: Spring Exhibitions, SculptureCenter, 44-19 Purves Street, Long Island City, opening reception, March 1st, 5 pm to 7 pm, exhibition runs from March 2 to May 12, hours are Thursday through Monday, 11 am to 6 pm (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays), $5 suggested donation/$3 suggested donation for students.
Knowledge is power — and it can lead to geek glory at the Queens Museum. The recently renovated Flushing Meadows-Corona Park institution will host a geographical, trivia-based game night at its fabled Panorama of the City of New York (above) on March 7th. Dubbed “The Panorama Challenge,” this friendly contest will be heavy on questions about city landmarks, bridges, neighborhoods and parks. Levy’s Unique New York representatives will pinpoint locations with laser pointers, and participating teams (which can have as many as 10 members) will try to identify the most locations. The winning squad will have its name etched on a trophy (and enter into urban legend, of course). During the first intermission, teams will be able to get extra credit during a special music quiz in honor of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Brooklyn in April. And post-quiz, Batala NYC (below), an all-woman Brazilian drum corps, will provide an electrifying performance.
Details: Panorama Challenge, Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (a free shuttle will run to and from the Mets-Willets Point 7 train station), March 7th, 7 pm to 10 pm, $15, includes a Brooklyn Brewery beer, sandwiches and snacks; plus the event raises funds for the City Reliquary Museum.
There will be movies from around the world — and around the corner. On March 4th, the fourth annual Queens World Film Festival will kick off a six-day moving image rampage of everything from feature films to shorts. Attendees can check out a dazzling selection of foreign flicks from such exotic ports of call as Belgium, Iran, India, Spain, Kosovo, Switzerland and Vietnam and enjoy the work of 18 borough-based auteurs. Like-minded films will be blocked together and will roll at Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image, The Secret Theatre and Nesva Hotel in Long Island City and PS 69 in Jackson Heights. The fun starts with an opening night party featuring the world premiere of the director’s cut of the of 2014 Academy Award-nominated documentary The Act of Killing. Directed by English-born Joshua Oppenheimer, the movie portrays his country’s national guilt potentially exhumed by a love of movies.
¡A bailar! The Queens Theatre is about to launch a six-session Latin dance instruction series for just about every taste. The fun begins on February 27th with a free, informal introductory event during which teachers from the Farrington Ballroom Dance School will provide information on the different rhythms and steps. The first actual class will be on Cha-Cha-Cha, which has Cuban origins, on March 6th. The schedule then continues as follows: Tango (Argentina/Uruguay), March 13th; Samba (Brazil), March 20th; Salsa (Cuba, Colombia, Panama, Puerto Rico, et al), March 27th; and Merengue (Dominican Republic), April 3rd. Then at a future date, those who participate in at least three classes will perform in a showcase.
Details: Latin Dance Lessons, Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, February 27th to April 3rd, all one-hour classes begin at 7 pm, followed by open dance until 9 pm. $10 single class/$45 for five classes. Skip the class and join open dance at 8 pm for $5 each time.