07/20/15 1:00pm

HtH

What is Antonio to do? He’s a well-respected community leader, but through a complex effort to help a friend in love he owes a pound of his own flesh to a man who despises him.

And what about that pathetic Sir John Falstaff? He devised a get-rich-quick scheme that backfired big time. Now he’s being humiliated bigger time.

These two scenarios come to eight Queens parks in July and August (the Bronx, Jersey City, and Southampton, too). The Hip to Hip Theatre Company is back for its ninth year, providing free, family-friendly performances of Shakespeare plays. This summer, Woodside-based co-founders Jason and Joy Marr have chosen The Merchant of Venice, a dark drama about a 16th century merchant, Antonio, who defaults on a loan from a moneylender, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, a comedy about a flat broke, alcoholic aristocrat, Sir John Falstaff, who tries to bed the wives of two rich men. However, the women are not amused and respond with a series of practical jokes.

The fun begins on Wednesday with Merchant at the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. On Thursday, Merry Wives plays at Crocheron Park in Bayside. Then, the professional actors do 17 more productions in such neighborhoods as Forest Park, Fresh Meadows, Long Island City, and Sunnyside.

Click here for the complete schedule.

Photo by Hip to Hip Theatre Company

07/10/15 1:00pm

FG2

You won’t believe your ears or your pocketbooks. Queens is about to experience a streak of fantastic, free, outdoor concerts over the next five days. Listeners will be able to bring their folding chairs, blankets, and dancing shoes to Flushing, Long Island City, Queensbridge, and Sunnyside and enjoy everything from hip hop to polka to R&B. George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic, and the Chi-Lites are the biggest acts, but some performers, such as minimalist musician Florent Ghys (above), are masters of lesser-known genres.

Here is the schedule:

  • The Glukh Polka Band plays polkas, waltzes, and polonaises at Flushing Town Hall on July 12 at 2 pm.
  • Florent Ghys mixes minimalist music with classical forms, musique concrète, and even clapping and hair dryers as part of the Bang on a Can series at Noguchi Museum on July 12 at 3 pm.
  • The Chi-Lites, a group from the 1970s Chicago scene that was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2000, kicks off the borough’s SummerStage series at Queensbridge Park on July 14 at 7 pm.
  • Gerard Carelli & His Orchestra do a wide variety of swing music in Juniper Valley Park on July 14 at 7 pm.
  • George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, bring their unique funk to Queensbridge Park as part of SummerStage on July 15 at 7 pm.
  • Yesterday and Today, a Beatles tribute band, jams near the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on July 15 at 7 pm.
  • Large Professor, a hip hop star from Flushing, and Marley Marl, a hip hop star from Queensbridge, take the stage at Queensbridge Park as part of SummerStage on July 16 at 7 pm.
  • Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band perform Latin jazz fusion in Sunnyside’s Bliss Plaza on July 16 at 6:30 pm.
  • Soul Inscribed plays a mix of hip hop, dub, funk, and soul, while Jennifer Cendaña Armas tells diaspora stories as part of SummerStage in Queensbridge Park on July 17 at 7 pm.

Photo by Florent Ghys

07/03/15 1:00pm

tour

On your mark. Get set. Go…but not too fast. On July 12, the eighth annual Tour de Queens will take participants on a roughly 20-mile loop that starts and ends in Astoria Park. Basically a rolling parade, the tour rides en masse at a family-friendly pace –about 10 mph — with NYPD escorts, volunteer safety marshals, and occasional stops at intersections to gather riders. This year’s route goes through Long Island City, Sunnyside, Rego Park, Forest Hills, and Corona with an optional rest stop with light snacks and water at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village.

Proceeds go to Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit that promotes bicycling, walking, and the use of public transit in New York City.

Details: Tour de Queens, meet in the Astoria Park parking lot off 19th Street and Hoyt Avenue North, Astoria, July 12, 8 am check in, $22.50.

Photo by Tour de Queens

06/16/15 1:00pm

IrishDance

The 7 train has been horrible this year. Sometimes it skips stops. Other times, it terminates at Willets Point instead of Main Street. And every now and then, it doesn’t run at all. In fact, disgruntled riders have created a Facebook page to vent their frustrations.

But now there’s something to celebrate.

On June 18, Sunnyside Shines and ReCreate Queens will kick off a performance series at Bliss Plaza, which is located near the 7 train’s 46th Street stop off Roosevelt Avenue. A local group, the Street Beat Brass Band will present a multicultural program of brass- and street-based music from various parts of the world at 6:30 pm.

Then the series will re-appear every third Thursday over the following four months. (more…)

06/11/15 1:00pm

11

On Monday, we posted about the Historic Jackson Heights Weekend, which features two days of walking tours around the neighborhood. This was accurate as far as it goes, but it deserves an amplification, as there are guided treks all around the borough this weekend.

On Saturday, official Queens historian Jack Eichenbaum gives his signature expedition, The World of the 7 Train. It’s actually a series of six walks along with subway rides. He discusses the history and impact of the 7 line, while stopping in Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Corona, and Flushing, where the event ends with lunch, probably at a Chinese restaurant. (more…)

06/05/15 1:00pm

CS1

Carol Sudhalter loves music. One the one hand, she plays flute, baritone sax, and tenor sax. On the other, she has pioneered such gigs as the Athens Square Park Jazz Mondays series, the Astoria/LIC Waterfront Jazz Festival, and the Sunset Jazz Concerts also in Astoria.

In 1986, the Boston transplant founded the Astoria Big Band, which jams all over the borough — at street fairs, in churches, in front of carousels — to promote its namesake genre. (more…)

05/22/15 1:00pm

abuso

It’s one of those plays that makes audience members want to jump out of their seats and enter the scene to yell at the actors. Abuse (or La Visita in Spanish) presents conversations between Padre Lucio, the director of a Catholic college, and Esther, an insurance agent. Based on a true story from a Dutch archdiocese, the drama, written by Madrid-based Antonio Muñoz de Mesa, begins with a discussion about changing an insurance policy to cover sexual abuse of children as a workplace accident. A debate ensues, during which the priest shows apathy to abuse victims and the agent flits between her economic needs and her moral code.

Tonight, Thalia Spanish Theatre launches the United States bilingual premiere of Abuse, starring Soledad Lopez and Francisco Fuertes. The play will run in English on Fridays and Saturday afternoons and in Spanish on Saturday nights and Sunday, until June 28. (more…)

05/08/15 9:45am

nb.astoria.village

12th Street near 27th Avenue, Astoria Village

Queens has been a county since 1683. Just as the USA originally had 13 states, the state of New York has 12 original counties: Albany, Cornwall, Dukes, Dutchess, Kings, New York (Manhattan), Orange, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester.

Nassau County, you say? It’s a Johnny come lately. In 1898, when four counties voted to become part of New York City, becoming Greater New York, half the county of Queens — the eastern towns of North Hempstead, Hempstead and Oyster Bay — chose to become independent, and in 1899 they created a county of their own, Nassau.

Had these towns not separated from Queens, our present task — examining the origins of the names of the borough’s neighborhoods — would call for entries on Lynbrook, Long Beach, Port Washington, Oyster Bay, Massapequa… and I’d be writing till Christmas. As is, Queens is large enough. (more…)

04/20/15 1:00pm

Flamenco1

Cha, cha, cha. Cha, cha, cha. Ah, flamenco! The music. The dancing. The hand clapping, finger snapping, and guitar jamming. There’s a reason why this Spanish/Gyspy art form has become popular all over the world: It’s awesome.

In fact, it’s so awesome that UNESCO declared it to be a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2010. And it’s so popular that there are now more flamenco academies in Japan than Spain.

From this Friday through May 10, Thalia Spanish Theatre will present an exciting show of traditional and contemporary flamenco that celebrates the various cultures that the genre brings together. (more…)

04/08/15 9:30am

Kris Seto

Some enrichment options head outdoors with such events as a carnival, a gardening extravaganza, and a guided walk. But with “April Showers” in mind, the borough also hosts indoor fun, such as comedy, live music, film, theater, photography, and some 3-D magic. Here’s the rundown. (more…)