12/17/14 1:00pm
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The legend lives on, but it won’t be pigeonholed. Trumpeter Theo Croker is both a bold newcomer on the jazz-soul scene and the grandson of arch-traditionalist trumpet legend Doc Cheatham, whose seven-decade, award-filled career ended on his death in 1997. Still in his twenties, Croker is deeply immersed in jazz , but he also writes and produces R&B, hip-hop, rap, and film scores, along with contemporary classical music. In addition to his grandfather, this 2006 Presser Music Foundation Award recipient lists Louis Armstrong, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, and Outkast among his influences. On Friday, Croker and his DVRK Funk outfit take their act to Flushing Town Hall. Expect some swinging jazz with trumpet, saxophone, drums, bass, piano…and general impunity. More details on jump page. (more…)
12/16/14 1:00pm

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Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…through Jackson Heights. Instead of Prancer, Vixen, and Comet, a group of warmly dressed carolers will wind through local streets on Saturday night as part of the sixth annual Winter Holiday Sing-A-Long. Participants — representing a wide array of ages, races, and voices — will chant, hum, and croon Christmas tunes and other religious or seasonal favorites in every language that group members know, including American Sign Language, thanks to students and faculty from the Lexington School for the Deaf on 30th Avenue. Sheet music will be provided, and some will bring musical instruments. More details on jump page.

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12/15/14 1:00pm

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Born in County Louth, Cathy Maguire is an Irish singer and songwriter who also dabbles in modeling, acting, and presenting TV shows. A prodigy, she recorded her first album at age 12 and completed her third album at age 17.

Born in County Galway, Gabriel Donohue is an Irish singer and songwriter who also plays the guitar, piano, bouzouki, mandolin, and other instruments. A prodigy, he was performing with the Leitrim Ramblers Ceili Band by age 14. He later joined Magic, a show band which had a few top hits in the Emerald Isle. He also did the TV thing.

This Saturday, Maguire and Donohue will join a talented ensemble to present Réalta Na Nollag, an Irish Christmas music concert that will include such favorites as “Christmas in Killarney,” “Wexford Carol,” “Don Oíche Ud in Mbeithel,” and “Ding Dong Merrily on High.” Plus, Murphy’s Lobster Bar, a Sunnyside establishment that won Best Appetizer at Queens Taste 2014, will provide mulled wine and mince pies.

Details after the jump… (more…)

12/12/14 1:00pm

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What’s in a name? O Sole Trio consists of three musicians who amaze audiences with plenty of Italian music, especially opera arias and Neopolitan songs. But this Sunnyside-based ensemble also dazzles with virtuoso piano and violin playing, jazz and American pop standards, and a stage presence heavy on punny humor and crowd interaction. Erin Shields (center) provides the lush soprano. Giuseppe Spoletini (right) takes care of the baritone. And David Shenton, who is actually Erin’s husband, has the melodies. He can actually play violin and piano at the same time. They perform all over the world, but they like to do an annual show at Sunnyside Reformed Church because it’s close to home and they love the pastor and the congregation. So get ready for a cozy night during which “Figaro” might be followed by a Madonna tune in doo wop style, and then the crowd favorite, a diddy about a lonely oyster.

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Details: O Sole Trio, Sunnyside Reformed Church, 48th Street and Skillman Avenue, Sunnyside, Saturday, December 13th, 7 pm, no charge, but donations accepted.

Photos: O Sole Trio

Queens Theatre Christmas Carol

If you attend this play, you’ll think about it whenever your hear the words “Bah humbug!” Today, the Titan Theatre Company launches a two-week run of its unique version of A Christmas Carol at Queens Theatre, where the group is currently in residence. Founded in 2009 in Western Queens, Titan’s mission is to perform classical theater with innovative, mind-expanding productions and fresh, powerful language. Titan will provide a cast of 12 adults and six children for this timeless Charles Dickens tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts from his past, present, and future.

Details: A Christmas Carol, Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, December 11th through December 21st, times vary (check here for the schedule), $30 each or four for $100).

Photo: Titan Theater Company

12/10/14 4:00pm

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Come and visit. You’ll like it. Lonely Planet named Queens the best tourism destination for 2015 this morning. The travel media company commended the borough “for topicality and buzz-worthiness,” while praising the food, diversity, hotels, events, and unique neighborhoods.

“Nowhere is the image of New York as the global melting pot truer than Queens,” reads Lonely Planet’s editorial in its Best in the US list for 2015. “Browse New York’s biggest Chinatown in Flushing, shop for brilliantly colored saris in Jackson Heights, and inhale the heady aromas of coffee and hookahs in Astoria.”

The editorial continues: “The incomparable array of world cuisines makes Queens a destination for food lovers from all parts of New York City. For your art fix, ogle the new upgrades to the Queens Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image, look for the new Emerging Artists Festival in Long Island City, and stroll Astoria’s new 24-block Kaufman Arts District. If you prefer sand and surf to paint and canvas, head to Rockaway.”

Western South Dakota came in second on the list. The other members of the top 10 were, in order, New Orleans (LA), the Colorado River, North Conway (NH), Indianapolis (IN), Greenville (SC), Oakland (CA), Duluth (MN), and the Mount Shasta Region (CA).

12/10/14 1:00pm

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The next chance to root for the Mets is during spring training in Florida. But the next chance to have a blast at Citi Field is this Saturday at the inaugural Winter Fest. Family-friendly fun is the focus with the mandatory meet-and-greet with Santa, as well as arts & crafts provided by Oriental Trading, appearances by Mr. and Mrs. Met, cookie decorating, winter-themed games, holiday décor, caroling, and specialty eggnog. There’s also a charitable aspect to the festivities, as the hosts, Metropolitan Hospitality, will raise funds for Toys for Tots, a nonprofit that collects new, unwrapped presents to distribute as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children. An array of New York legends put their creative imprint on official Major League baseballs. These decorated and autographed balls will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to Toys for Tots.

Details: Winter Fest, Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Corona/Flushing, December 13th, 1 pm to 5 pm, $10/$7 for children, free parking in Lot G for ticket-holders (enter at Hodges VIP Entrance).

Bonus detail: Attendees are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped donations to Toys for Tots.

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Photos: Citi Field/Metropolitan Hospitality

12/09/14 1:00pm

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Go ahead, deck the halls. But for real holiday inspiration, head over to any one of four fantastic concerts scheduled for this upcoming, jam-packed weekend. The fun begins on Friday with a special show at Queens Museum featuring the Corona Youth Orchestra, the Corona Children’s Orchestra, and the No Frontiers Children’s Orchestra playing Beethoven and other classics. There’s a double dose on Saturday, as the Forest Hills Choir performs a collection of choral pieces, such as “Magnificat” and “O Magnum Mysterium,” which honor the Virgin Mary. At night, the Queens College Choral Society, whose membership includes high school students and adults who have been with the group for more than 40 years, does Handel’s Messiah and other favorites with a full orchestra. Finish the fix — and get another dose of Handel’s Messiah – on Sunday when Our Lady of Martyrs Church’s Sacred Music Society joins forces with the Oratorio Society of Queens to offer an annual concert that always involves tremendous audience participation.

Four sets of details after the jump. (more…)

12/08/14 1:00pm

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They call it the “Holocenter,” and it’s dedicated to producing, exhibiting, researching, and educating the public on holographic artwork. Until April 2014, it operated out of The Clock Tower, but now it manages an office at Flux Factory in Long Island City and the Holocenter House gallery on Governors Island. On December 19th, it will offer a tantalizing, end-of-the-year showcase with projections, 3-D films, and light art. More on jump page.

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12/05/14 1:00pm

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This one really does keep on giving. Street artist Leon Reid IV‘s installation The Gift (above and below) is a geometric play on the traditional gift box. With its varying perspectives, it encourages viewers to think about the act of giving this holiday season. The piece will be illuminated in Flushing next Wednesday during a special ceremony featuring performances by Miss New York Teen and Miss Chinese Cosmos. Organized by the Queens Crossing shopping center and the Crossing Art gallery, the event kicks off the season in Flushing, while the outdoor, public-art project will remain through December 30th, encouraging the gifts of time, compassion, and love. 

Details: All Wrapped Up: Holiday Delights, Queens Crossing Outdoor Plaza, vicinity of 136-17 39th Avenue, Flushing, lighting ceremony on December 10th at 5:30 pm.

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Photos: Queens Crossing