04/15/14 1:00pm

NLJ

It’s the New York City marathon for word lovers. Queens Writes Weekend 2014 will facilitate more than 12 literary events at a minimum of six venues throughout the world’s most diverse borough over the last weekend in April. The fun will start on Friday, April 25th, with an open reading at The Astoria Bookshop featuring contributors to the third issue of Newtown Literary, a semi-annual journal. On Saturday and Sunday, the events will differ, but authors of all kinds — young, old, novice, expert — will simply sit down together and write for a few hours. Participants will then share the products of their efforts at an open mic event at Terraza 7 in Elmhurst on Sunday night.

Details: Queens Writes Weekend 2014, begins with Kick-Off Reading at The Astoria Bookshop, 31-29 31st Street, Astoria, April 25th, 7 pm, click here for times and venues on April 26th and April 27th, ends at Wrap-Up Open Mic at Terraza 7, 40-19 Gleane Street, Elmhurst, April 27th, 6 pm, suggested donations at all times to defray the costs of publishing Newtown Literary‘s fourth edition and other good works. So far, events are set for Astoria, Bayside, Corona, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights and Kew Gardens, but more sites are expected to be confirmed before the weekend begins. Schedule and venues will be posted and updated regularly on this page.

Photo: Audrey Dimola

03/17/14 1:00pm

1000arms

It’s time to go crazy with love. Cirque du Soleil is going to perform this year’s smash Amaluna in a tent near Citi Field from March 20th to May 11th. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s The TempestAmaluna takes the audience to a mysterious island governed by goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. In the wake of a storm caused by Queen Prospera, a group of young men lands on the island, triggering an epic, emotional story of love between Prospera’s princess daughter and a brave young suitor. The couple must face numerous demanding trials and overcome daunting setbacks before they can achieve mutual trust, faith and harmony. With tremendous acrobatics, dance moves and costumes, the story unfolds on a set featuring hand-crafted branches resembling bamboo, towering trees near the center stage’s edge, dense flora and a huge waterbowl. The musical score comes from an all-female band that features guitars supported by bass, drums, cello, vocals, keyboards and percussion.

Details: Amaluna, Citi Field Parking Lot, 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Corona, March 20th to May 11th, times vary, price vary tremendously with family-pack options, click here for times and prices.

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01/29/14 1:00pm

Satchmo

He had good reasons to sing “It’s a wonderful world.” In the 1950s, Louis Armstrong was the unofficial “Goodwill Ambassador” of the United States as his jazz music had fervent fans all over the planet. In 1957, the trumpeter toured South America, performing 67 concerts over six weeks in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela. Satchmo hung out musicians in Buenos Aires, spent time with President Juscelino Kubitschek and popular singer Cauby Peixoto in Brazil, graced the cover of periodicals in Chile and Uruguay, and performed a mock bullfight on stage in Caracas. The mementos he brought home — including records, tapes, magazines and photographs – are on display through April 30 as part of Señor Satchmo: Louis Armstrong in South America, an exhibit at his Corona house, which is now a museum (master bathroom below). During February, as part of Black History Month, each museum visitor will receive a complimentary, limited-edition photo of Armstrong in Buenos Aires in October 1957, wearing a catcher’s mask to protect his trumpet-playing lips and doing his best to avoid the mobs of adoring fans fighting for a chance to see and touch him.

Details: Señor Satchmo: Louis Armstrong in South America, Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, on display through April 30th, complimentary photo offer in February with admission ($10/$7 seniors, students and children/$6 group rate/free for children under four), museum hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 pm.

Bathroom

Photos by the LAHM

12/24/13 1:00pm

founder

Ah, the week after Christmas. The youngsters have no school and no outdoor place to blow off steam. They can stay at home and fight or they can bend, twist, light, sculpt and animate at workshops, demos, art installations and other activities at the New York Hall of Science. From December 27th to December 30, the Corona museum will offer daily theme projects, ice sculpting with Bill Bywater and a screening of Bag It, a movie in which Jeb Berrier embarks on a tour to unravel the plastic world. What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic’s effects on oceans, environment and living creatures. Here’s a breakdown of the fun:

December 27th: Wire It (circuitry-based projects)

  • Hack an electronic toy with DiYAbility;
  • Turn recycled paper and cards into lanterns with LEDs, noon to 4 pm;
  • Recycle wire into Calder-like mobiles with Skraptacular, noon to 4 pm;
  • Reinvent the lightbulb, noon to 4 pm;
  • Create snowflakes using recycled materials, noon to 4 pm;
  • Ice sculpting by Bill Bywater, noon to 2 pm;
  • Ice sculpting demonstration with Bill Bywater, 2 pm;
  • One-on-one ice sculpting with Bill Bywater, 10-minute sessions at 3, 3:10, 3:20, 3:30 and 3:40 pm;
  • Origami with staff from Invent-abling, noon, 12:45, 1:30, 2:15 and 3 pm;
  • Screening of Bag It, 3:15 pm.

December 28th: Build It (3D design, building, architecture and printing)

  • Recycle Newspaper Building Challenge, noon to 4 pm;
  • Build the next city or skyscraper with Skraptacular using recycled materials, noon to 4 pm;
  • Make gingerbread houses under the guidance of GingerBread Lane creator Jon Lovitch, 2 to 4 pm;
  • Learn a variety of free and inexpensive building techniques with staff, noon to 4 pm;
  • Create unique snowflakes with recycled material, noon to 4 pm;
  • Ice sculpting by Bill Bywater, noon to 2 pm;
  • Ice sculpting demonstration by Bill Bywater, 2 pm;
  • One-on-one ice sculpting with Bill Bywater, 10-minute sessions at 3, 3:10, 3:20, 3:30 and 3:40 pm;
  • Screening of Bag It, 3:15 pm.

December 29th: Animate It (moving image and animation)

  • Watch a 15-minute selection of old cartoons and learn how film strips and old projectors work, noon to 4 pm;
  • Experience a new portrait technique with an animated photobooth, noon to 4 pm;
  • Learn how to repurpose animations into 3D sculptures with folks from Mappathon, noon to 4 pm;
  • Upcycle used DVD cases into animation travel kits and learn about Thaumatropes and other forms of animation with Unplug Kids, noon to 4 pm;
  • Create unique snowflakes using recycled materials, noon to 4 pm;
  • Ice sculpting by Bill Bywater, noon to 2 pm;
  • Ice sculpting demonstration by Bill Bywater, 2 pm;
  • One-on-one ice sculpting with Bill Bywater, 10-minute sessions at 3, 3:10, 3:20, 3:30 and 3:40 pm;
  • Screening of Bag It, 3:15 pm.

December 30th: Wear It (sewing, garments and accessories)

  • Make garments and accessories from recycled materials, noon to 4 pm;
  • Make a button or pendant from recycled materials, noon to 4 pm;
  • Beginner sewing sessions, noon and 12:45 pm;
  • Sew and use zippers to create cases for phones, tablets or laptops, 30-minute sessions, 1:30, 2:15 and 3 pm;
  • Learn about e-textiles and how to use fabric to build a switch with Invent-abling, noon to 4 pm;
  • E-textiles;
  • Use textile paint and stencils to remake garments or accessories, noon to 4 pm;
  • Hair and makeup by professional stylists, 1 to 3 pm;
  • Trashion Show Runway, 3:45 pm;
  • Create snowflakes using recycled materials, noon to 4 pm;
  • Ice sculpting by Bill Bywater, noon to 2 pm;
  • Ice sculpting demonstration by Bill Bywater, 2 pm;
  • One-on-one ice sculpting with Bill Bywater, 10-minute sessions at 3, 3:10, 3:20, 3:30 and 3:40 pm;
  • Screening of Bag It, 3:15 pm.

Details: ReMake the Holidays, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona, December 27 and December 30, 9:30 am to 5 pm, December 28 and December 29, 10 am to 6 pm, free with admission ($8 to $11) except some activities cost extra. Plus, some activities are on a first-come, first serve basis.

Photo: Skraptacular
12/02/13 1:00pm

LA1

They will deck the halls! Many, many halls. On December 8th, the Queens Historical Society will host the 26th Annual Holiday Historic House Tour through Flushing and Corona. A trolley will bring participants to seven landmarked sites, which will offer special seasonal programming, a glimpse at life during holidays past and refreshments. Consider the following:

  • Kingsland Homestead was built around 1785 and occupied by the same family until the 1930s.
  • Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary & Victorian Garden (1891) was purchased by an immigrant who published German-language newspapers. It was home to three generations of one family.
  • Lewis H. Latimer House Museum (1889) was home of African-American inventor Lewis H. Latimer, who lived there from 1903 until his death in 1928. The son of fugitive slaves, he played a vital role in the development of the telephone and the incandescent light bulb.
  • Friends Meeting House (1694) is the first house of worship in the village of Flushing and NYC’s oldest structure in continuous use for religious purposes. The venue also has an historic cemetery.
  • Flushing Town Hall (1862) was the cultural and political focal point of the village of Flushing. The building features a rich history that includes visits by dignitaries such as PT Barnum and Tom Thumb, operas, murder trials and even a jail cell. Frederick Douglass once spoke from the portico.
  • Bowne House (1661) is known for its connection to the principle of freedom of conscience in the United States. Nine generations of the Bowne family lived in the house (below).
  • Louis Armstrong House Museum (1910) was purchased by jazz legend Louis Armstrong and his wife, Lucille, in 1943. For the season, the house (above) will feature rare audio clips from Satchmo’s personal recordings.

Details: Holiday Historic House Tour, Organized from Kingsland Homestead, 143-35 37th Avenue, Flushing, December 8th, 1 pm to 5 pm, $10 in advance, $12 at the door, children under 12 are free. (more…)

mappathon_home_ftd

It’s so nice, they have to do it twice. Last weekend, the New York Hall of Science organized Dead or Alive, a pre-Halloween festival that included pumpkin chucking, live wolves and Frankenstein-like wall projections. Now, the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park venue is getting ready to host a post-Halloween celebration with Dia de los Muertos-related activities. On November 2nd, the fun will begin with Science Story Time at 11 am. Daring souls will gather in the Science Technology Library as a librarian reads from Littlebat’s Halloween Story by Diane Mayr. At 1 pm and 3 pm, the Organization for Bat Conservation will present — what else? — big brown bats from North America, fruit ones from Africa and Asia and the largest of its species in the world, a gigantic flying fox bat from Malaysia. Meanwhile at 2 pm, the Hall of Science’s catapult, named “Chuck” of course, will toss pumpkins in the air. Then from 3 pm to 6 pm, the Dead or Alive Party will include Frankenstein-like wall projections by Mappathon, forensic science activities, Dia de los Muertos-inspired treats and Halloween make projects. (Prizes will be awarded to those in costumes.) The next day, November 3rd, will feature more live bat encounters at 1 pm and 3 pm and more pumpkin tossing with Chuck at 2 pm.

Details: Dead or Alive, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona, November 2nd and November 3rd, 1 pm to 6 pm, $8 child/$11 adult. Most activities are free with admission. Some have extra charges. (more…)

10/21/13 1:00pm

1025harvfest

It’s scary how many Halloween-related festivals will take place in Queens over the next 10 days. On tap are everything from costume contests (for humans and dogs, of course), haunted houses, enchanted walks and Dia de los Muertos celebrations. Here is a list of some of the free or low-cost fun.

Oct. 25, See It Big!, 7 pm, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria. Despite the availability of movies on portable devices and small screens, there is only one way to really see a scary movie: BIG! Enjoy the 1978 Halloween classic starring Jamie Lee Curtis. Free with MMI admission ($6-$12).

Oct. 25, 26 & 27, Halloween Haunted House, 4 pm-7 pm, Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy., Floral Park. Hayrides, mulled cider, pumpkins and apples. The haunted house is recommended for children ages 4–12. Adults will find it creepy too! $4 with purchasable items.

Oct. 25 & 26, Haunted Lantern Tour, 6:30-8:30 pm, Fort Totten, 212th Street and Bell Boulevard, Bayside. Urban Park Rangers will lead a nighttime tour of the Civil War-era bastion’s battery. Expect frights mixed in with a history lesson.

Oct. 26, Second Annual Woodside Halloween Pet Parade and Festival, 11 am-2 pm, Windmuller Park, 52nd Avenue and 39th Drive. An afternoon of surprises including a costume contest, training workshops, grooming demos and giveaways. Free.

Oct. 26, Canine Costumes Carnival in the Rockaways, noon-2 pm, Freeway Dog Park/Beach 84, 83-02 Beach Channel Dr., Rockaway. Indulge your desire to dress up your pooch as a caped avenger. This costume contest for canines has carnival games, a photo booth and pet-friendly services. Free.

After the jump, many more Halloween events taking place all over the borough… (more…)

10/15/13 1:00pm

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Celebrate hundreds of birthdays under one roof and in one day. This Sunday, the New York Hall of Science will host the New York Birthday Show, featuring insider access to some of the best entertainment, activities and products for parties that are currently available. More than 65 exhibitors — everything from cupcake- and cake-decorating stations to DIY products activities to a pop-up gift shop — will be on hand to help attendees look at ways to celebrate special occasions and provide giveaways. Plus, the museum will be open with its permanent displays and exhibits on evolution and natural selection, the link between dinosaurs and modern birds, woodworking and machinery.

Details: The New York Birthday Show, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona, October 20th, 10 am to 4 pm, $13-$15.

10/09/13 1:00pm

picLifeMask

Now this is a party that Satchmo would have loved! On October 15th, the Louis Armstrong House Museum will host its 10th anniversary bash, and the joint will be jumping like never before with live jazz, delicious food and a special unveiling. The Hot Sardines, which went from playing a Queens coffee shop to headlining Lincoln Center, will provide the jazz. These cats take a blustery brass lineup, mix it with a rhythm section led by a stride-piano virtuoso, and tickle the notes with a frontwoman with a sultry voice. In tune with the night’s theme, cuisine will be provided by Tamara Reynolds, a trained musician who shifted gears after she fell in love with the kitchen. A regular on The Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats, Reynolds has run the the Sunday Night Dinner in Astoria, an underground dining club, for the last 10 years. She’s also the chef/owner of the traveling feast Van Alst Kitchen. The night will also feature the unveiling of a little-known Louis Armstrong life mask, a plaster disguise with a painted, bronze-patina finish probably created in the 1960s. Life masks are a distinct genre of sculpture that has existed for centuries. Specific to the famous, there are also life masks of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ludwig Von Beethoven and Tutankhamen.

Details: Louis Armstrong House Museum’s 10-Year Anniversary Bash, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, October 15th, 6 pm to 10 pm, $30, $45 and $100, including beer and wine. Advance purchase only: $45 tickets include a limited-edition commemorative print of Armstrong, while $100 tickets include the print and a one-year museum membership.

Photo via Louis Armstrong House Museum

10/03/13 1:00pm

Drivein1

This isn’t your mother’s drive-in movie theater. For 16 days, the New York Hall of Science will host Empire Drive-In, a large-scale, multi-media collaboration with artists Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark that reflects on car culture, technological obsolescence, creative reuse and sensory-based nostalgia. Cinephiles will be able to sit inside — or atop — 60 cars salvaged from a Brooklyn junkyard and watch films on a 40-foot, outdoor screen made from discarded wood. The installation features a sound program about cars and manufacturing curated by Ann Heppermann and broadcast on low-power FM. Plus, all nightly programs begin with a slideshow of late industrial images by photographer Stephen Mallon.

Details: Empire Drive-In, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona, October 4th to 20th, open from 10 am to 5 pm, but only from 10 am to 2 pm on movie days, $15. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The film schedule includes the following: The End of the Road: Cars and Other Junk with Greg Saunier’s Casio Orchestra, Oct. 4, 7 pm to 11 pm; Bollywood Bash, Oct. 5, 7 pm to 11 pm; A Samuel Z. Arkoff Double Feature, Oct. 6, 7 pm to 10 pm; Animation Flip Out, Oct. 10, 6 pm to 9 pm; The Space Between: Public, Private, Borders, Edges, Oct. 11, 7 pm to 11 pm; Teenage Wasteland: Double Feature, Oct. 12, 7 pm to 11 pm; Spaceship Earth: Visions, Forecasts and the Future That Never Was, Oct. 13, 7 pm to 11 pm; Youth Media Night: New Films and Filmmakers, Oct. 16, 6 pm to 9 pm; Galactic Drive-In, Oct. 17, 7 pm to 10 pm; A Night at the Races, Oct. 18, 8 pm to 11 pm; Silents and Noise: Handmade Films with Live Scores, Oct. 19, 7 pm to 11 pm; American Made: Cars, Trucks and Working Machines, Oct. 20, 7 pm to 10 pm. (more…)