10/24/14 6:58pm

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Over the last dozen years of Louis Armstrong’s life, the jazz legend liked to joke that Jack Bradley was his “white son.” The famous composer/singer/trumpeter didn’t have any biological children, and he was black. But he and Bradley, a professional photographer and avid sailor, became extremely close after meeting through a mutual friend in 1959. As such, Bradley had almost unlimited access to Satchmo, and he took countless photos of the star while collecting more than 2,500 sound recordings, fan mail, set lists, diet charts, handwritten notes, laundry receipts, rare books, and figurines. Bradley is still alive today, but the Louis Armstrong House Museum acquired his collection in 2005. It took years to relocate all the treasures and then arrange, preserve, and catalog them, but the Corona museum unveiled the collection last week. Visitors can check out rare recordings from the 1920s; a Giardinelli trumpet mouthpiece; unique photos of Pops on the road; and photos of Armstrong at home shortly before his death on July 6th, 1971.

Details: The Jack Bradley Collection, Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, open Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Saturday/Sunday, noon to 5 pm, $10/$7 for seniors, students, and children.

Photo: Louis Armstrong House Museum

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This is truly an out-of-this-world experience. On Sunday, the Queens Museum will facilitate Solar System Walk, Vol. 2, a guided, 1.5-hour, family-friendly stroll through Chris Burden’s Scale Model of the Solar System, which is located in the museum and throughout the surrounding area.

Some explanation. Burden has created a scale model in size and distance of the solar system. The sun is represented by a sphere 13 inches in diameter and 40 inches in circumference that shines above the Panorama of the City of New York (above photo). The other planets are placed at the correct relative distances from the sun.

The tour – led by PJ Gubatina Policarpio, a curator and museum educator who is interested in the intersection of art, history, creativity, and identity — will start at the sun and end at pluto, which is at Leo’s Latticini, the famous Italian food store at 46-02 104th Street in Corona. (Forget about whether Pluto was downgraded as a planet or not.)

Details: Solar System Walk, Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, September 21st, 3:30 pm to 5 pm, free, but spots are limited. For more information and to RSVP, send an email to exhibitions@queensmuseum.org.

Photo: Chris Burden

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Excuse the pun, but this really is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth. This weekend the New York Hall of Science will host its fifth annual Maker Faire, which has been described as “the ultimate geek fest,” but is actually a family-friendly celebration of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. More than 750 makers — including tech enthusiasts, crafters, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubbers, and artists  – will be at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park venue, showing off their DIY creations and hands-on activities. Expect everything from personal drones to humanoid robots that can take blood pressure and dispense medications. Cupcake cars, Swap-O-Rama-Rama, and smart lamps are possible.

More photos and a partial list of inventions that will be on display after the jump.

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08/27/14 1:00pm

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The Mets have hosted some unforgettable non-baseball moments in 2014, such as concerts by 50 Cent and Boyz II Men; the Citi Field Sleepover; The Wright Thing; and Dinosaur Education Day. Now as the Flushing team’s season winds down, there’s still some great sports drama to take place at Citi Field, as well as unique promotions and another live concert.

This Saturday, Yen-Hsun Lu (below), Taiwan’s top-ranked professional tennis player, will headline the tenth annual Taiwan Heritage Night by throwing out the first pitch before the Philadelphia Phillies game. Beforehand at Mets Plaza, fans will be able to check out Taiwanese aboriginal dance with Techno San Tai Zi and singing performances. The island near mainland China’s tourism mascot, Oh Bear, will interact with Mr. Met in the stadium and be available for photo opportunities with fans. Plus, the first 750 purchasers through a special online offer will receive a limited edition of Taiwanese cheering sticks.

On September 27th, Austin Mahone will perform after the Houston Astros game. This 18-year-old singer/songwriter is poised for stardom with several hit singles on iTunes, including “What About Love?” which peaked at No. 7, “Say You’re a Friend,” and “Banga! Banga!,” which climbed as high as No. 14.

Oktoberfest will take place on September 26th, when ticket purchasers will get access to a pre-game party in Bullpen Plaza and a limited edition Mets Oktoberfest Beer Glass.

There are also three remaining chances to take advantage of Free Shirt Fridays. Every attendee will get a uniquely designed Mets themed tee shirt at the August 29th game against the Phillies; the September 12th game against the Washington Nationals; and the September 26th game against the Astros.

There are also three remaining chances (August 31st, September 14th, September 28th) to enjoy Family Sundays, when there are family-friendly activities such as kids inflatables, face painters, balloon artists and entertainment at Mets Plaza starting at 11 am. After the final pitch, children can go onto the field and run the bases during the Mr. Met Dash.

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Top photo: New York Mets; bottom photo: Yen-Hsun Lu

08/26/14 1:00pm

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It’s unique, but multifaceted. It’s local, but international. It’s filthy rich in culture, but free. On August 30th, the Queens Museum will host Oye Corona, an afternoon celebration of art, music, dance, print-making, and exercise at Corona Plaza. Visitors will be able to partake in creative activities with roots in Bangladesh, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and even the United States.

Photos and information on the inspiring activities follow the jump.

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08/19/14 1:00pm
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There will be dancing in the streets. This Thursday, the Louis Armstrong House Museum will hold its annual Jazzmobile Block Party, an end-of-summer blowout with live music, great food and countless activities. With the street free of vehicular traffic, the fun will begin at 4 pm with a children’s art workshop presented by the Queens Museum. At the same time, a hula-hoop specialist will share her twirling skills, spirit and stash. At 7 pm, the Ray Mantilla Septet will perform. Born in the Bronx, Mantilla has a unique jazz style, replete with Afro-Cuban and Neo-Nuyorican influences. A short list of this legendary percussionist and bandleader’s credits includes gigs with Tito Puente, Charles Mingus, and Eddie Palmieri.

Details and another photo after the jump. (more…)

08/14/14 1:00pm

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It’s kind of a battle of the bands, but if traffic is light and one group starts late, music lovers can catch them all. On August 16th, three fantastic concerts will take place in Queens. At 2 pm, Gordon Au & The Grand Street Stompers (above) will perform at the Louis Armstrong House Museum as part of the historic site’s Hot Jazz/Cool Garden Summer Concert Series. Though based in New York City, this jazz band revives the New Orleans-style music of the 1920s and onward. At 3 pm, Choban Elektrik will give a free concert at the Ridgewood Branch Library. This electric dance band draws from the folk music of Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, and the Romany people. Beyond singing in various languages and a powerful rhythm sections, attendees can expect traditional line dancing. Then at 6:15 pm, the party continues with The Ebony Hillbillies at the Queens Botanical Garden. New York City’s only African American string band plays all-American jazz, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, rock and roll and country.

More information is on jump page.

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08/08/14 4:00pm

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Queens got talent. United States Tennis Association employees set up mini courts in Corona Plaza and gave free instruction to youngsters this morning. Activities included lessons on basic skills, balance, and coordination, as well as ball-and-racket exchanges and tips on long-term athletic development. The participants used loaned mini-rackets and foam balls, and USTA employees imparted gifts and provided information on low-cost programs at the nearby Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (where the two-week US Open will take place starting on August 25th).

Then as a special treat, officials showed the permanent US Open singles trophies to the awed crowd. It was so much fun that the USTA will do it again in the same plaza next Friday, August 15th, at 10:30 am in conjunction with other activities such as healthy eating demonstrations, a merchant showcase, health screenings, and back-to-school discounts. Corona Plaza project manager William McCarthy hopes to offer these events weekly as part of his “Fridays Under the Seven” healthy living series. In the top photo, Assemblyman Francisco Moya holds the US Open men’s singles trophy, the same one that Rafael Nadal hoisted last year, in the second row, while City Council Member Julissa Ferreras shows the women’s singles trophy, which Serena Williams won last year. Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jack Friedman is in back right in a suit, while Community Board 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol is in suspenders next to him.  Check out more photos after the jump… (more…)

07/14/14 1:00pm

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Bria Skonberg is on fire! The trumpeter/vocalist/composer was recently nominated as “Up and Coming Jazz Artist of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists’ Association and she won a New York Bistro Award for “Outstanding Jazz Artist.” A Canadian transplant who can hula-hoop while playing, Skonberg (above) has performed as a bandleader and guest artist at more than 50 jazz festivals in North America, Europe, China, and Japan and headlined at Symphony Space, Birdland, and Dizzy’s. (Hmmm, if she keeps this up she’ll be compared to Satchmo soon.) On July 19th, Skonberg’s quartet will perform at Satchmo’s former residence, the Louis Armstrong House Museum, as part of the venue’s Hot Jazz/Cool Garden summer concert series. In addition to great music and Skonberg’s pure, playful and sultry voice, attendees will be served Armstrong’s favorite dish, red beans ‘n’ rice, and sweet tea.

Details: Bria Skonberg Quartet, Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, July 19th, 2 pm, $18 in advance, includes a pass to tour the house which is valid for six months ($20 at the door without house pass.).

More information on the Hot Jazz/Cool Garden series is on the jump page. 

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06/13/14 1:00pm

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There will be dancing in the streets. Many, many streets…bars, cemeteries, gardens, historic houses, malls, parks, nonprofits, restaurants, stoops and triangles, too. On June 21st (aka the longest day of the year), Make Music New York will host a Summer Solstice festival consisting of more than 1,000 free concerts throughout the five boroughs. From 10 am to 10 pm, musicians of all persuasions — hip hop to opera, jazz to punk, high school bands to pop stars — will do their things. Queens, of course, will be in the center of the action. For example, South African artist Toya DeLazy will perform her unique blend of hip hop, jazz and electronica at LIC Landing (52-10 Center Boulevard, Long Island City) at 1 pm. Meanwhile from noon to 4 pm, the Queens Council on the Arts (37-11 35th Avenue, Astoria) will present Reggae artist Desmond followed by Instrumental Jazz Fusion by Mind Open. Six hours of music and dance are scheduled at the Spaceworks LIC Block Party (33-02 Skillman Avenue, LIC). All told, Astoria, Corona, Elmhurst, Glendale, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, LIC, Ridgewood and Sunnyside will host events.

Click here for a complete list of all performers, venues, and times in Queens.

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