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In 1831, the United States government forcibly relocated the Choctaw tribe from Mississippi to the Oklahoma territories. Many Choctaws died during the trip, known as “The Trail of Tears,” while many survivors faced tremendous hardships adapting to the cold weather. However, the Choctaw had a tradition of helping others and a mere 16 years later — during the height of the Irish Potato Famine in 1847 — they pooled resources and donated $170 to relief efforts on the Emerald Isle.

This weekend, Queens Museum and Queens Theatre will honor this act of generosity with An Irish Choctaw Thanksgiving, featuring live music, dance performances and screenings of inspiring films. Funds raised will go to Hour Children, a Long Island City-based nonprofit that works with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children, and No Kid Hungry Share Our Strength, a nonprofit that connects children in need to nutritious food.

Details after jump.

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11/11/14 1:00pm

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Guinness World Records 2014 declared last year’s model to be the largest in the world with 152 houses, 65 trees, five train cars, four cable cars, and an underground candy subway station. This year’s GingerBread Lane is even more impressive, weighing more than 5,000 pounds and stretching up more than seven feet in some spots. It contains only edible ingredients — gingerbread, icing, and candy — and creator/chef Jon Lovitch drafted, designed, planned, built, baked, decorated and made it by hand. Check out this exhibit’s busy schedule at the New York Hall of Science on the jump page.

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11/05/14 1:00pm

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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and in this case, it translates into more chances to watch great theater in Queens. Last November, the Astoria Performing Arts Center presented The Cottage, a hilarious play about sex, betrayal and maybe even love. Set in an English country home in 1923, a woman decides to come clean about an affair to her husband and her lover’s wife. Hilarity ensues as a surprising web of secrets unravels via stinging barbs, mischievous looks, and wacky plot twists. Fast-forward to this November, and Queens Theatre is ready to present nine showings of the same play (above) with a little-changed cast. Meanwhile, APAC is ready to offer In The Bones (below) 12 times throughout the month. This somber drama is based on a soldier who returns home from Afghanistan and ends his life. In a series of wrenching scenes moving ahead a year at a time, his surviving family and partner are transformed by their grief. This is a world premiere, but if it has a successful run, maybe we’ll be able to catch it at Queens Theatre next year.

Details: The Cottage, Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, November 7th to November 16th, Fridays at 8 pm with a special matinee on November 14th at 2 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm and 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, $25-$42.

Bonus details: In The Bones, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 30-44 Crescent Street, Astoria, November 6th through November 22nd, Thursday through Saturday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 pm, $18/$12 for seniors and students.

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Top photo: Queens Theatre; bottom photo: Astoria Performing Arts Center

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Queens Theatre + MuSE + Dance Entropy = Great Borough Synergy. This weekend, a Long Island City-based troupe will give three performances at a Flushing Meadows Corona Park venue with help from Astoria-based musicians in another example that creativity overflows in Queens. Simply titled “Valerie Green/Dance Entropy” in homage to its choreographer, this diverse program features the world premiere of Titanic.Si, (below) a performance piece based on the story of the Titanic with guest artists from Slovenia. The show’s other two pieces are Hinge, which celebrates the time-honored tradition of live music and dance with Multicultural Sonic Evolution; and Inexplicable Space, which combines movements and encounters amid steaming crystal balls and flying orbs inspired by fortune cookies (above).

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Details: Valerie Green/Dance Entropy, Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, November 1st at 2 pm and 8 pm, November 2nd at 3 pm, $25-$42.

Photos: Dance Entropy

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Martha Graham Dance Company has dazzled for decades. The troupe was founded by the eponymous choreographer and performer whose global impact was so great that she was the first dancer ever to win a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

This month, the ensemble will present for the first time ever at Queens Theatre as part of a jam-packed recently announced season that features various presentations by dance troupes, as well as comedy, Shakespeare by local company Titan Theater, children’s specials and magic. More dance info and images on the jump page.

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Nothing says “welcome” like fluorescent orange and pink. For the next year, visitors to the New York Hall of Science will walk into Scattered Light, a dazzling installation consisting of 528 25-feet-long strands of non-adhesive flagging tape. In tune with the museum’s philosophy of teaching science through hands-on activities, this exhibit takes advantage of the front rotunda’s circular shape, which allows for multiple views of the patterns and color shifting. The piece, which also uses paperclips and metal rods, plays with space, light, color and perception, and changes as sunlight moves around the building. The creator, Richard Esterle, is an artist and architect who also invented math toys such as the Nobbly Wobbly ball.  

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Details: Scattered Light, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona/Flushing Meadows Corona Park, runs through September 13th, 2015.

Bonus details: An opening for Scattered Light is set for October 22nd, 5 pm to 8 pm, at the museum. The evening is inspired by the Celebration of Mind Festival, which honors the memory of science and mathematics writer Martin Gardner. It will feature magicians, music, and activities that puzzle, raise mathematical concepts, and tease ideas of perception. Free with admission.

Photos: New York Hall of Science

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America’s favorite centenarian comedian is back, and as he might say: “Alive and kicking!” George Burns was an Oscar-winning actor, singer, dancer, funnyman and best-selling author during a lifetime that began in 1896 and ended in 1996. This weekend, he returns to the stage thanks to artist Alan Safier in the Tony-nominated Say Goodnight Gracie. This one-man show launches Queens Theatre’s jam-packed 2014-2015 season, which includes visits by Martha Graham Dance Company and Ballet Hispánico, family plays like Charlotte’s Web, special seasonal events such as A Christmas Carol, and the in-house residency of the Titan Theatre Company.

Click here for a full programMore information and images after the jump.

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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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09/10/14 1:00pm

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Hindus cleanse their sins by making an offering into a body of water. India’s Ganges River is the world’s most famous spot for this ritual, which is called “Ganga Pooja,” but the most common Queens venue is a Jamaica Bay beach on the Broad Channel side of the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge.

Of course, practitioners of this religion are not the only ones who leave litter in Jamaica Bay, but many of their offerings are not biodegradable. Thus, after the Ganga Poojas first appeared roughly 25  years ago, they immediately attracted negative attention from residents of Howard Beach, Broad Channel, and the Rockaways. Enter Sadhana, an NYC-based coalition of Hindus bent on asserting principles of tolerance and inclusiveness. (more…)