08/26/15 2:00pm

It's In Queens

Children don’t usually enjoy anything that includes the words “back to school.” However, Jamaica hosts a back-to-school fashion show this week with young models and performers that people of all ages will love. Music is a big draw this week with African beats, the blues, choral auditions, doo wop, a drum circle, and jazz. Bike lessons and Jews in Iran are also part of the mix. The details and another photo are on the jump page.

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08/12/15 2:00pm

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A concert by Carlos Santana (above, right) is the week’s highlight, but Yo-Yo Ma and even the Beatles make appearances. These events are joined by countless outdoor activities, such as movies, music, water fun, 19th century crafts and a honey festival. The rundown is on the jump page.

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08/05/15 12:00pm

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Pets gone wild! Activities this week include a doggie ice cream party, a dragon festival, an exhibit on how cats are taking over the internet, and a screening of the movie ET. There are also various outdoor activities, such as the annual Jamaica JAMS concert and street festival with more than 500 vendors. Here’s the rundown.

August 6, Passport Thursdays Outdoor International Dance, Music & Film Series, 7 pm. A screening of Mateo, a Colombian film about youngster who collects extortion money on behalf of his uncle to help out his poor mother. This action leads to some difficult choices. Free. Queens Museum, NYC Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

August 6, Central Astoria Waterfront Concert Series, 7:30 pm. A live performance by Dance Machine, New York City’s only authentic 11-piece disco band. Bring a blanket or chair, but also bring bell bottoms, polyester shirts, and platform shoes. Free. Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between the Hell Gate Bridge and Astoria Pool.

August 6, The Merchant of Venice, 7:30 pm. The Hip to Hip Theatre presents Shakespeare’s story about a Venetian gentleman who has to default on a loan from moneylender. Free. Children’s program at 7 pm. Crocheron Park, 35th Avenue and Cross Island Parkway, across from Golden Pond, Bayside.

August 6, Outdoor Concert, 7 pm. Orville Davis & the Wild Bunch perform country music — honky tonk with attitude — as part of a series sponsored by the Northern Woodside Coalition. Free. Sgt. Collins Triangle, Broadway and 58th Street, Woodside, 718-205-1030.

August 7, How Cats Took Over the Internet, through Jan. 31, 2016. This exhibition, which includes screenings and live events, looks at the phenomenon of cats online and how they have transfixed a generation of web users. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.

August 7, JAMS Under the Stars, 5 pm to 10 pm. A mega concert with Toni Ann Semple, a powerful singer who blends the nuances of her African and Native American heritages into soul, funk, and jazz; DJ Jordan Knoxx, a mixologist from Hollis; and Dallas Forte, a Christian crooner from Guyana. Free. Rufus King Park, vicinity of 153rd Street and 89th Avenue, Jamaica, www.go2ccj.org.

August 7, Free First Friday, 10 am to 8 pm. Free admission, public tours in English and Japanese, and Center of Attention, an extended conversation about a single work of art. (Noguchi’s Cloud Mountain is the topic on Aug. 7 at 7 pm.) Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City.

August 7: ET, about 8:30 pm. Outdoor screening of a classic movie with Midtown Manhattan in the background. Free. Hunters Point South Park, Center Boulevard and 51st Avenue, Long Island City.

August 8, Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, through Aug. 9. More than 170 teams and 2,000 participants compete and celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. Expect racing, cultural performances, and great food. Free. Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Meadow Lake near the boathouse.

August 8, Jamaica Arts & Music Summer Festival, 11 am to 7 pm. Expect 200,000 revelers enjoying live performances, fashion, art, and more than 500 vendors. Free. Jamaica Avenue from Parsons Boulevard to 170th Street, Jamaica.

Aug. 8, Chinese Theatre Works: Holding Up Half the Sky, 2 pm. This opera and puppet spectacle tells the story of four legendary women warriors, spanning 2,000 years of Chinese history. The piece was written and directed by Flushing Town Hall Space Grant recipients Kuang-Yu Fong and Stephen Kaplin. $8/$50 VIP package. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing.

August 8, Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Concert, 2 pm to 7 pm. An all-day event honoring a jazz legend who lived in the neighborhood. Free performances by Sunnyside Drum Corps, Street Beat Brass Band, Lindy Hoppers, Sunnyside Wolverines, Sunnyside Social Club, Sunnyside Arch at 46th Street.

August 8, 78th Street Play Street, dusk. The Queens World Film Festival collaborates with the Jackson Heights Green Alliance to present indie films under the stars. Free. Travers Park, 78th Street and 34th Avenue, Jackson Heights.

Aug. 8, Hindu Awareness and Swami Vivekanada Day, 3:30 pm. Entertainment program includes chanting, colorful dances, and meditation. The Hindu Temple Society of North America, 45-57 Bowne Street, Flushing.

August 8, Storytime & Craft, 2 pm. A relaxing afternoon with nature-inspired stories followed by a botanically-themed craft activity. Free with admission. Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing.

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With more than 200 teams, it’s the largest multi-cultural contest in the Tri-State Area and the biggest festival of its kind in the United States. It’s also celebrating its 25th anniversary with special dances and live performances this year. Plus, the food is tremendous.

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival will take place at Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Meadow Lake on Saturday and Sunday. More than 2,500 competitors will jump into colorful, custom-made teak boats (18 paddlers, a drummer, and a steerer per vessel) and row for cash and prizes, such as round-trip tickets to Hong Kong. The event will also celebrate the Year of the Ram, so attendees will be able to check out martial arts shows, the traditional Dragon dance, Asian music, and demonstrations of folk arts and crafts. A food court with booths staffed by sponsors will be erected near the lake, and many booths will give away promotional items.

Dragon boat racing dates back to Qu Yuan‘s death in the third century B.C. One day, this poet and reformer started to drown while protesting his emperor’s policies, prompting locals to race their boats in an attempt to rescue him. To prevent fish and water dragons from eating his body, the locals beat their drums and splashed their paddles. (More information and another photo are on the jump page.)

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07/29/15 1:00pm

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Five-time Grammy winner James Taylor comes to Queens to give a concert this week. He might want to arrive early and leave late so he can enjoy a huge foodie event, a ghost tour, outdoor movies, festivals and concerts, and even a chance to watch top-notch cricket. Here’s the rundown.

July 30, Doo Wop Concert, 7:30 pm. Golden Oldies from the 1950s and 1960s. Free. Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and Astoria Pool.

July 30, Haunting Histories and Legends of Astoria, 7:30 pm. This two-hour stroll visits some lesser-known historical sites and reveals tales of the neighborhood’s grim and ghostly past. Astoria is filled with tragic Hollywood film stars, voodoo, potters’ fields, grisly murders, poltergeists, hidden treasure, and deadly waters. $20/$25 at the door, location upon registration.

July 30, I Will Not Be Silent: A Comfort Woman’s Road to Activism, 6:30 pm. Yong Soo Lee, who was forced into prostitution by the Japanese during World War II, speaks. Special presentations by Holocaust survivors. Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center, Queensborough Community College, 222-05 56th Avenue, Bayside. (more…)

07/22/15 11:00am

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Outside. Outside. Outside. There are very few indoor events in Queens this week. Whether theater, film, music, magic, a brew fest or an American Indian pow wow, it’s happening under the sky and stars. The exceptions include tango dance lessons, a story-telling contest, and a scanning party. The details follow.

July 23, The Merry Wives of Windsor, 7:30 pm. The Hip to Hip Theatre Company presents a Shakespeare classic with seduction, temptation, mayhem, and hilarity. Children’s program at 7 pm. Free. Crocheron Park, 35th Avenue and Cross Island Parkway, across from Golden Pond, Bayside.

July 23, Johnny Cash Tribute, 7:30 pm. Michael Patrick’s Ring of Fire Band takes the audience on a journey through the struggles, challenges, and adventures that Johnny Cash sang about. Free. Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and the public pool, Astoria.

July 23, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, sunset. Outdoor screening of an all time Hollywood classic. Free. Hunters Point South Park, Center Boulevard and 51st Avenue, Long Island City.

July 23, The Moveable Feast, 7 pm. Outdoor film screening of a Chinese movie with English subtitles. Free. Queens Museum, NYC Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

July 23, Tango Dance Classes, 7:30 pm. Learn how to dance like an Argentine. $25. Thalía Spanish Theatre, 41-17 Greenpoint Avenue, Sunnyside.

July 24, 37th Annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow, through July 26. New York City’s oldest and largest pow wow features three days of intertribal Native American dance competitions. More than 40 nations are represented, and a large selection of unique Native American art, crafts, jewelry, and food are available. $10/$15 for weekend pass and $5/$7 for children. Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park.

July 24, Queens Symphony Orchestra Salon Concerts, 5 pm. A popular series returns with an evening of summer strings and post-performance talks about the pieces played and the lives of the composers. Free. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing.

July 24, Rural Route Film Festival, through July 26. This 11th annual series screens 19 films about rural life from 16 countries (and all seven continents), with filmmakers in person and live musical performances. $12/$9 seniors and students. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.

July 25, Botanical Brew Fest, noon to 3 pm or 4 pm to 7 pm. Enjoy a selection of craft beers from local and international breweries, plus food and live music. Tickets required, ages 21+ only, early bird tickets for $35 through July 24, $50 at the gate. Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing.

July 25, 78th Street Play Street, dusk. The Queens World Film Festival collaborates with the Jackson Heights Green Alliance to present indie films under the stars. This week is all about documentaries. Free. Travers Park (aka 78th Street Plaza), 78th Street and 34th Avenue, Jackson Heights.

July 25, Summer Scan Party, 1 pm. Bring old photos of the neighborhood or family gems to scan. Free. Greater Astoria Historical Society, 35-20 Broadway, Long Island City.

July 25, The Wings of Eagles, 2 pm; Mogambo, 4:30 pm. Shown as part of The Essential John Ford, a tribute to the consummate American filmmaker, Wings of Eagles is a about a Navy flier who fought back from paralysis to become a World War II Navy commander and screenwriter. Mogambo is a remake of Clark Gable’s 1932 Red Dust. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.

July 26, Music from France, 1 pm (dance lesson) and 2 pm (concert). French chanteuse Violette and her accomplished musical ensemble, La Vie En Rose, enchant with French chanson, Golden Age swing, timeless American standards, and jazz/pop compositions. Free. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing.

July 26, Modern Ruin, 2:30 pm. Screening of a documentary about Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion from the glory days of the 1964 World’s Fair through its demise over the following 50 years. The film details its use as a 1960s concert venue and 1970s roller rink, plus the years of neglect and the recent advocacy efforts to save and repurpose the structure. $10 with limited seating. Queens Historical Society, Weeping Beach Park, 143-35 37th Avenue, Flushing.

July 26, Upstream, 2:30 pm; Fort Apache, 4 pm. Shown as part of The Essential John Ford, a tribute to the consummate American filmmaker, Upstream, presented with live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin (keyboard) and Joanna Seaton (vocals), is about an egotistical actor and a vaudeville couple who partner in a knife-throwing act. Fort Apachedepicts the travails of Thursday, a rigid West Point officer who tries to take command of a desert outpost town and tragically mishandles several clashes with the Native American population. Shirley Temple plays Thursday’s daughter. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.

July 26, Katz Concert Series, 5 pm. The Beatles tribute band Yesterday and Today performs. Free. Tudor Park, 133rd Avenue between 81st and 82nd streets, Ozone Park.

July 27, The Moth StorySLAM, 7 pm. This open-mic storytelling competition is for anyone with a five-minute yarn on the night’s theme, “Business: Selling Out or Buying in.” Participants throw their names into The Moth “hat.” A half hour later, names are drawn to determine the order slammers take the stage. Judges, selected from the audience, pick a winner from 10 featured stories. $10. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing.

July 27, Singin’ in the Rain, 11 am. Outdoor movie screening of a 1952 Hollywood classic. Free. Al Oerter Recreation Center, 131-40 Fowler Avenue, Corona.

July 27, The Princess Bride, 8:30 pm. Outdoor screening of a comedy that became a cult classic. Free. Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and the public pool, Astoria.

July 28, 1980s Tribute Night, 7 pm. The White Wedding Band plays popular hits from the 1980s. Free. Juniper Valley Park, 80th Street and Juniper Boulevard North, Middle Village.

July 28, 17th Annual Great Lawn Summer Concert, 7 pm. The Queens Symphony Orchestra plays Broadway classics. Free. St. John’s University Great Lawn, 80-00 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica.

July 29, The 38th Asian American International Film Festival, through July 31, always at 5 pm. This first-ever festival presents the best and most recent Asian American and Asian independent cinema from more than 30 countries. Also enjoy panels and workshops, industry mixers, staged readings, exclusive interviews, live performances, receptions, and more. Free. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing.

July 29, Kings of the Wind & Electric Queens, dusk. Outdoor screening of a documentary as Bollywood film, reporting on Sonepur Fair, a festival held at the confluence of the Ganges and Gandak rivers on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Kartika. Free. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City.

July 29, Wayne “Superius” Garland, 11 am. Children love this magical presentation starring the original hip hop magician, ventriloquist, and comedian. Free. Beach 97th Street and Shore Front Parkway, Rockaway.

July 29, Italian Nights 2015, 7:30 pm. The romantic music of Bruno Macari under the stars. Free. Athens Square Park, 30th Street and 30th Avenue, Astoria.

Photo by Queens Museum

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

07/15/15 1:00pm

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It’s another huge week for outdoor music with classical, funk, gospel, hip hop, jazz, a tribute to the Beatles, and two Italian nights. Other options include a new night market, sculpture, story-telling, an e-waste recycling event, an art conference, pie-crumbling, and poetry.

July 16, Queens Night Market, 6 pm to 11 pm. A social event and night market with food, crafts, live performances, and a deejay. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd.

July 16, SummerStage: Lyricist Lounge, 7 pm. Large Professor, a hip hop producer from Flushing, and Marley Marl, a hip hop producer from Queensbridge, perform. Free. Queensbridge Park, vicinity of 41st Road, 40th Avenue, Vernon Boulevard, and the East River, LIC.

July 16, Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band, 6:30 pm. Through the Third Thursdays in Bliss Plaza program, Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band present Latin jazz fusion invigorated by Afro-Caribbean musical styles. Free. Bliss Plaza, Queens Boulevard and 46th Street under the elevated 7 train station, Sunnyside. (more…)

07/10/15 1:00pm

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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

07/08/15 12:00pm

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George Clinton and Funkadelic highlight a series of free outdoor concerts this week. In addition to the live music, fun-seekers can choose a Colombia flower extravaganza (above), a noncompetitive bike race, a book festival, plenty of movies, and a night market. Here’s the rundown.

July 9, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, 7:30 pm. The Central Astoria LDC’s 2015 Waterfront Concert Series begins with a night of music from the Harlem Renaissance (1930s-1940s). Free. Astoria Park’s Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between the Hell Gate Bridge and the pool.

July 9, Preview Screening of Boulevard with director Dito Montiel in person, 7 pm. The movie Boulevard premiered to warm praise at the Tribeca Film Festival, but its release was delayed after main actor Robin Williams’s death last summer. Now it premieres on July 10, but it screens at the Museum of the Moving Image the night before with Astoria-born director Montiel in attendance. $15. MMI, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.

July 9, Flushing Historical Diversity Tour, 6:30 pm. Official Queens historian Jack Eichenbaum walks and talks about the area’s past and present. $12/$6 for children. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard. (more…)