07/11/14 1:00pm

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This Friday, all are invited to bring a mat and enjoy sunset yoga in Flushing Town Hall’s garden. Yumcha Yoga Studio teachers will lead a series of poses, followed by kirtan singing from the Indian bhakti devotional tradition. Inner peace will certainly be in the air, but the event will also informally kick off the Northern Boulevard venue’s summer activities program. This jam-packed schedule includes dance performances and concerts featuring R&B, Jazz, country, drumming, and African-based music. Details are on the jump page.

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06/10/14 1:00pm

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America’s got talent, but Queens has talent and pride. On June 21st, Flushing Town Hall and Terraza 7 Café will celebrate Pride Month with an LGBTQ-themed concert featuring musicians, dancers and other performance artists who were selected via an open call. The two-set lineup includes the Mahina Movement (below), whose members are storytellers, music makers, everything painters and community mover-shakers. Brad Bradley (above, right), whose theater credits include Spamalot and Annie Get Your Gun, will do a set from his one-man show B Squared. St. John’s University student, singer, songwriter, musician and activist Nadia Bourne will share “original work about love, life, and revolution.” Londel Collier, known as “KenJi, will play rhythm and blues related to finding love then losing it. Also set to rock the house are singer, composer, songwriter Marissa Soo and Timothy Mathis, an award-winning songwriter and playwright who penned the musical Sylvia So Far, celebrating the life of transgender pioneer Sylvia Rivera.

Details: LGBTQ Immigrant Voices, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, June 21st, 7 pm, $15 for the general public/$10 for members and students.

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Top photo: Brad Bradley FB; bottom photos: Mahina Movement FB

05/22/14 1:00pm

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James Brown, who was known as “the hardest working man in show business,” would feel right at home at Flushing Town Hall. This multi-faceted arts venue, located in a historic landmark at 137-35 Northern Boulevard, completed a $1.2 million renovation in March and immediately started churning out visual art exhibits, live music and children’s shows. Now it’s picking up the pace with eight events — including jazz, tango, drama, and poetry — between May 23rd and June 21st. The details follow.

  • Helen Sung Trio: The (Re)conception Project, Friday, May 23rd, 8 pm, $15: A graduate of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance and winner of the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition, Sung creates music that swings with a funky intellect while integrating her jazz & classical worlds. The pianist performs with Harish Raghavan on bass and Rodney Green on drums.
  • Tanglolando and FestejationSaturday, May 24th, 7 pm, $15: Two performances with an open dance floor. Tangolando mixes tango with Afro-Peruvian music, while Festejation melds traditional Afro-Peruvian music with jazz, funk, and other Latin styles.
  • A Dream of Red Pavilions Staged ReadingSunday, June 1st, 4 pm, $10: The Pan Asian Repertory Theatre presents a staged reading of a classic Chinese novel. Set in 18th century China, two beings from the heavenly kingdom — a stone and a flower — are reborn on earth as cousins. They fall in love, but their union is forbidden by their elders. Meanwhile, the noble Jia family heads for social disgrace and financial disaster as the Chinese aristocracy finds itself unable to maintain the facade of noble infallibility and comes into conflict with ancient Buddhist and Confucian values.
  • Monthly Jazz Clinic with Special Guest Kenny Brawner, Wednesday,  June 4th, 5 pm, $10/free for players: Ray Charles look- and sound-alike Kenny Brawner participates in this periodic jam session, which is open to professional jazz musicians, graduate students studying the genre, and music educators. Some come to listen. Others come to network, hone skills and have fun. House band and jam session led by Queens Jazz OverGround.  
  • IAM Open Mic, Thursday, June 5th, 7 pm, $10: Join the advocacy group Immigrant Advancement Matters for an event that brings together some of NYC’s most talented performers/poets to share their work for a unifying cause: Immigration. Proceeds will support IAM’s Educational Programs.
  • Queens & Brooklyn Jazz Party, Friday, June 13th, 8 pm, $15/$10 students: The Queens Jazz Overground has some fun with its Brooklyn brethren. Each group plays a set, then they join forces for an inter-borough collaboration.
  • Kenny Brawner is Ray Charles, Friday, June 20th, 7 pm, $20/$10 students: This hybrid concert/theater work brings the music and story of the great Ray Charles to life. Kenny Brawner leads his 12-piece orchestra and three sultry vocalists (a la Raelettes) performing Ray’s top hits and recounting the legend’s life. Brawner offers a lecture at 7 pm.
  • LGBTQ Immigrant Voices, Saturday, June 21st, 7 pm, $15/$10 students: An LGBTQ-themed talent show co-presented with Terraza 7 Cafe in celebration of Gay Pride Month.

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05/15/14 1:00pm

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Food for thought, sounds for the spirit, and dancing for soul are part of a jam-packed weekend of entertainment at Flushing Town Hall. The fun starts on Friday night, when the Queens Jazz Orchestra (below) honors the music of Charlie “Bird” Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, who were known for their innovative contributions to the genre’s improvisation and vernacular. QJO Conductor Jimmy Heath will lead a discussion on these Jazz icons before the show. On Sunday afternoon, the group Ologunde will perform a mix of music, dance and martial arts inspired by the rich African-Brazilian culture of Salvador, a city in the Brazilian state of Bahia. The show will include rituals associated with candomblé, a synthesis of the Yoruba and Catholic religions; breathtaking capoeira martial arts dances; maculelê, a warrior dance with sticks and machetes created in the sugar cane fields by slaves; and the exhilarating samba de roda, which can be traced back to Angola. Later in the afternoon, Queens College Adjunct Professor Anahí Viladrich will deliver a paper on her work with Elmhurst, Corona, and Jackson Heights botánicas, which provide religious articles to practitioners of Santería, an African-Caribbean religion.

Details: To Bird and Dizzy with Love, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, May 16th, 7:30 pm, $40/$20 for students.

Bonus details: Ologunde, May 18th, 2:15 pm, preceded by a drumming workshop at 1 pm, $12/$8 for children.

Extra bonus details: Invisible Pharmacies: Queens Botánicas and the Informal Economy of Healing, May 18th, 4 pm, free.

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Photos: Flushing Town Hall

04/10/14 1:00pm

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The maestro has met the MC… and they make great music together. On April 12th, Flushing Town Hall will host Wil B and Kev Marcus, the members of the revolutionary group Black Violin. These classically trained violinists — who say their influences range from Shostakovich and Bach to Nas and Jay-Z — have created a music genre that mixes the violin, which first emerged in Italy’s Bresica area in the 16th century, with Hip Hop, which evolved organically at block parties in the Bronx during the 1970s. Get prepared for rhymes, dulcet tones and some great stage antics.

Details: Black Violin, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, April 12th, 2:15 pm, $12/$8 children. Buy two family shows and the third is free.

Bonus details: The Mark Wade Trio, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, April 11th, 8 pm. $15/$10 students. Bassist and composer Mark Wade leads his dynamic trio in an evening of original jazz compositions.

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Photos: Black Violin FB

04/09/14 11:00am

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I love this building. It has a wonderful sense of whimsy and joy to it, and is just a delight to behold. Unlike the usually dour and ponderous town halls of most cities and towns, the Flushing Town Hall is not trying to convince you of how serious and important Flushing is. To me, anyway, it says that the Flushing of 1862, which is when the building was finished, was a town reaching for higher and loftier goals. Considering it was built while the nation was embroiled in a horrible Civil War, that was certainly a good thing.

Flushing was originally called “Vlissingen” by the Dutch who founded the settlement in 1645. They named it after the city of the same name in the Netherlands, which was the port city of the Dutch West India Company. English settlers came soon afterwards, and “Flushing” is an Anglicization of the Dutch name. When the English took over New Netherlands in 1664, Flushing was one of the original five towns that made up Queens County.

Fast forwarding to the middle of the 19th century, Flushing had become a populous and popular area, due in part to its proximity to Manhattan. It was already spinning off separate neighborhoods such as College Point and Whitestone. The farms and fields of Flushing were quickly being developed into residential neighborhoods, with Northern Boulevard as the town’s main street. As the town grew, it became apparent that a centrally located town hall was needed for civic functions. (more…)

04/02/14 1:00pm

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Portland’s A-listers are ready to rock Flushing Town Hall on April 5th. One Night in Frogtown is a multi-media musical based on a story by Emmy-winning author/composer Philip Pelletier (seen above with a few co-workers). This multi-faceted show celebrates multi-culturalism with different social groups of frogs that play different kinds of music — R&B, Classical, Jazz, Hip-Hop, etc. — while living in the same pond. The tale comes alive through beautiful illustrations, projected animations, live narration and live tunes by Portland’s best musicians. Pelletier, whose book won two National Gold Awards in Children’s Literature, handpicked the talent, which includes saxophone star Devin Phillips as lead character Tad, the jazzy tadpole. Attendance has some side benefits, too, as Pelletier will autograph books after the show and those present can enter a contest to win four tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s show Amaluna, which is currently running at Citi Field.

Details: One Night in Frogtown, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, April 5th, 2:15 pm, $12/$8 children (buy two family shows and the third is free).

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Top photo: PP; bottom photo: FTH

03/26/14 1:00pm

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There’s no argument, Ron Carter (above) is the most prolific and influential bass player in the jazz world. He has contributed to more than 2,000 albums, including collaborations with one-time St. Albans resident Lena Horne, Thelonius Monk and B.B. King. The Michigan native has also toured the world many times, including gigs with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and one-time Corona resident Julian Edwin “Cannonball” Adderley. Add the film scores, such as projects with the Public Broadcasting System, and awards, such as two Grammys, and the lectures, clinics, classes and ensembles and this distinguished professor emeritus at City College of New York has had a very full life. On Friday, the Ron Carter Quartet will perform at Flushing Town Hall, a city landmark which just finished a $1.2 million renovation and now features traditional wood flooring, a new HVAC system and even new seating with a special tweeting section. 

Details: Ron Carter Quartet, Flushing Town Hall (below), 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, March 28th, 8 pm, $40/$20 for students.

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Top photo: Ron Carter; bottom photo: Flushing Town Hall

03/12/14 1:00pm

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The five-month theater renovation is finished, and Flushing Town Hall is going to celebrate just like it did before the restoration: with great music and top-notch acting. The fun starts on Friday night with the Trumpeters in Queens Part II concert. Ron Horton’s Sextet and Josh Deutsch’s Pannonia Band, both part of the NYC jazz scene for years, will perform an homage to such inspiring trumpet players as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Clark Terry, who all lived in Queens. On Saturday, the British educational theater troupe Tall Stories will perform The Snail and the Whale. Based on the award-winning book by Julia Donaldson, this family-friendly play tells the story of a tiny snail that longs to see the world, so she hitches a ride on a huge humpback whale’s tail. Together they go on an amazing journey, experiencing sharks and penguins, icebergs and volcanoes mixed in with music and sound effects created live on stage by an electric viola player with an effects pedal.

Details: Trumpeters of Queens Part II, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, March 14th, 8 pm, $15/$10 for members and students.

Bonus details: The Snail and the Whale by Tall Stories, UK, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, March 15th, 2:15 pm with a workshop at 1 pm, $12/$10 for members/$8 for children/$6 for member children.

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03/05/14 1:00pm

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Even the Polar Vortex needs to have fun every now and then. This weekend, the warmth and fun of the Caribbean come to Queens in various forms. On March 7th, Flushing Town Hall hosts a tribute to singer and actor Harry Belafonte with Jeff Zúñiga and his band recreating the King of Calypso‘s signature steel-drum tunes, “Day O” call, and such hits as ”Matilda” and “Jamaica Farewell.” On March 8th, Queens Museum kicks off a day of fun at 1 pm with Caribbean storytelling with Michael Manswell, a dancer, singer, choreographer, teaching artist and artistic director who is currently affiliated with the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning and other entities. At 2 pm, teaching artists host a mask-making activity that will lead to participants wearing their masks and dancing to the steel drums around the museum in Carnival style. Then at 3 pm, steel drum expert Patrick Davis and his group give a live concert.

Details: A Tribute to Harry Belafonte, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, March 7th, 8 pm, $15/$10 for students.

More details: Caribbean Carnival Celebration for Families, Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, March 8th, 1 pm, free.

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