The word “taiko” can refer generally to a genre of Japanese percussion, but it can also refer to a specific wadaiko drum. Found in Japanese folklore dating back to the sixth century, taiko can be part of everything from a theatrical performance to a religious ceremony to a form of communication. This Sunday, one of the world’s foremost taiko ensembles will perform in Queens, and the host is offering tickets for only $6 each. More information and another photo on the jump page.
It’s known as the “beggars’ opera,” but it’s more of a boisterous musical. It was written in Berlin in the 1920s, but it takes place in Victorian England. It offers a socialist critique, but is defined by capitalist norms. And it features acid harmonies that mock traditional opera, but its opening number is one of the most recognizable, most sweet-sounding songs of all time, “Mac the Knife.” More information on jump page.
After becoming a professional dancer and choreographer in 1954, Paul Taylor has enjoyed a long and influential career, shaping a distinctly U.S. style of modern dance. In 1993, he established Taylor 2, a modern dance unhindered by technical limitations and spanning a broad spectrum of his original work, including his sunny Aureole, and his serious The Uncommitted. This Saturday, Flushing Town Hall hosts a performance of Taylor 2 with a pre-show, interactive workshop for those who want to learn how to move like Taylor.
Bonus details: Storybook Discovery: The Luck of the Irish at the Voelker Orth Museum, Bird Sanctuary, and Victorian Garden, 149-19 38th Avenue, Flushing, March 14th, 11 am, free with $5 suggested donation. This venue hosts a monthly reading for children. This Saturday’s event focuses on tales of leprechauns and shamrocks.
Though last night’s snow might confuse the issue, it’s time for Queens gardeners to start preparing their summer vegetables. This is the key to earlier harvests, greater variety, healthier crops, stronger soil, easier transplanting, and especially more satisfaction and enjoyment.
This Sunday, Queens Botanical Garden Director of Education Emeritus Fred Gerber will host a workshop dedicated to growing indoor vegetables during the warm weather months. There should be something of interest for everybody from the novice to the experienced gardener with the greenest of thumbs. Details on the jump page.
Wonderful sounds of Asia, Europe, and Latin America will fill the Queens air this weekend during three different concerts. The fun starts on Saturday afternoon, when the EastRiver Ensemble presents a workshop on Chinese music at 1 pm, followed by a concert at 2:15 pm. This group presents traditional folk music, dance, and acrobatics with a focus on the Dongbei and Hebei regions of north China. Instruments include the yangqin (dulcimer), the pipa (lute), flutes, fiddles, and percussion. More photos and information are on the jump page.
At first glance, calligraphy is a visual art. But upon further investigation, its characters and images also express philosophy, culture, and inspiration. Chao-Lin Ting (above) has been engaging in this practice for roughly nine decades. The Chiangsu Province native is world renowned for his seal and semi-cursive scripts. This Sunday, the 102-year-old will co-present an afternoon dedicated to calligraphy at Flushing Town Hall. At 1 pm, Ting and James Shau will teach the basics of the Chinese genre, while Seoul native Yoo Sung Lee, a professional with over 30 years of practice who wrote a chapter in the World Encyclopedia of Calligraphy will inform on the Korean styles at 3 pm. Plus, the town hall’s walls are currently covered with Ting and Lee’s work as part of the Dynamic Writing: A Century of Calligraphy exhibit, which runs until March 22nd. (Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 pm.)
More details, another photo, and bonus details on jump page.
In many ways, he’s the Louis Armstrong of South Africa. And just like Satchmo, he makes beautiful music in Queens. Hugh Masekela is a world-renowned trumpeter, bandleader, composer and singer who was also very involved in defying Apartheid in his home country. His career has spanned five decades during which he has released more than 40 albums.
Vusi Mahlasela is known as ‘The Voice” in South Africa. With poetic, optimistic lyrics, his songs of hope connect the Apartheid-scarred past with a promise for a better future. He even performed at Nelson Mandela’s presidential inauguration in 1994.
Masekela and Mahlasela are now touring together for the first time ever, and they will make a stop in Queens next week. More details and a photo follow.
There’s some confusion as to whether it’s the Year of the Goat, Sheep or Ram, but it’s perfectly clear that Flushing is “The Place” to celebrate Lunar New Year this weekend. The neighborhood will be radiant in the colors red and gold, and red-clothed individuals will be in the street, handing out money wrapped in red envelopes and oranges. The 19th annual parade will kick off in the vicinity of Union Street and 37th Avenue on February 21st at 11 am with an estimated 5,000 spectators, lanterns, fireworks, dancing lions, and large dragons. It will end near Main Street and 39th Avenue about an hour later. However, this is the prize at the end of the stretch; two unique, inspiring Lunar New Year events are set for this weekend.
It’s the most diverse county in the world and the best tourism destination in the United States, so it’s no surprise that Queens is overflowing with wonderful Valentine’s Day activities and bargains. In fact, local chances for romance and fun related to this international holiday are so numerous that they run for more than two weeks and include everything from live music to a “love run,” hotel getaways, and even a blood drive for the do-gooders. Another photo and many more details are on the jump page.
The Puppet State Theatre Company of Scotland is heading to Flushing Town Hall to present The Man Who Planted Trees (also known as The Story of Elzéard Bouffier) on Sunday. This multi-sensory adaptation of Jean Giono’s classic French tale depicts a shepherd who plants acorn after acorn until transforming a barren section of the Alps into a forest. Often hilarious while at other times touching, this allegorical story demonstrates the difference one man (and his dog) can make in the world.
Meanwhile, Queens Theatre will present Charlotte’s Web, adapted from E.B. White’s book about the friendship between a pig named “Wilbur” and a spider named “Charlotte,” on Sunday. Amid a farm full of mad-cap animals, Charlotte uses her writing and web-spinning skills to help Wilbur avoid being butchered. Another photo, more details, and discount offers follow on the jump page.